She literally ran away from me, jogging across the crowded rooftop dance floor and darting into a closing elevator before my brain could process that shit was not going as planned. By the time I made it down the fifteen flights of stairs, there was no sign of her in the lobby of the Nines Hotel or on the street outside.
Hailey makes her living as a personal trainer and self-defense teacher, so I wasn"t surprised by her speed, simply shocked that she"s used it to get away from me.
There had been no sign, no warning, not a single fucking clue that our relationship was on the rocks. We"d been making out in the limo on the way to the party, for God"s sake, with her giggling and whispering for me to stop trying to slip a hand up her dress even as she wrapped her arms around my neck, holding on so tight I was sure she would never let me go.
But she did.
She not only let me go, she slammed the brakes on Us so fast it gave me whiplash.
When she finally answered my calls and texts three days later, she calmly explained that she still loved me, but that she had to say goodbye. She"d moved straight from her parents" house to the condo we shared and had never proven to herself that she was strong enough to survive on her own. She insisted she had to do that, had to prove she could make it without a parent or an older boyfriend looking out for her if she was ever going to feel like a whole and healthy person.
I tried everything I could to convince her that she didn"t need to break up with me to feel complete"we could take a step back, live separately, or otherwise alter course without flushing our love down the toilet"but her mind was made up. And after five years together, I knew damned well that Hailey was every bit as stubborn as she is beautiful.
I knew fighting for her was a losing battle, but I fought anyway. I sent her gifts and letters and a shitty painting of a flower I made in the art class Wallace bullied me into taking with him in order to find a "healthy expression for my man pain."
But nothing I said, did, or gifted made a difference.
Finally, after the saddest six months of my life, I stopped calling, stopped texting, stopped driving by the gym we co-own in hopes of catching a glimpse of her through the window. I stopped being a pathetic, love-sick asshole and started back down the road to the man I was before, a man who knew how to control his body, his mind, his emotions, and the submissive woman in his bed.
I wasn"t actively looking to get back into the scene, but the thought was definitely rolling around in my head, slowly becoming a temptation I didn"t want to resist.
That"s why I kept flipping the pages of the Portland Alternative free weekly until I reached the Love Wanted section, why I kept skimming until I reached the sub-seeking-Dom ads and came across a gem tucked away between several less imaginative offerings.
* * *
Wanted: Discreet Dominant gentleman to teach inexperienced,
maybe-submissive woman the rules of the game.
No whips, chains, paddles, handcuffs, ropes, or toys.
No creepy stuff.
No butt stuff.
Just the facts, Sir.
Serious inquiries only.
* * *
"But what if I can make you like the butt stuff, Curious Cat"" I murmur, a smile curving my lips as I flip open my laptop, create a new email account suitable for the occasion, and whip up a response to the ad.
* * *
Subject: Maybe submissive"
Hello Curious Cat,
I saw your ad and was intrigued"
Why are you "maybe" submissive"
I could be interested in applying for the position of your Discreet Gentleman, but I don"t have the time or patience for voyeurs. I do, however, have a significant amount of experience as a Dominant and a familiarity with the Portland scene that could prove useful if you decide you want to give any of the off-limits items on your list a whirl.
Several of them can be a lot of fun with the right person.
Care to tell me a bit more about where you"re coming from"
And just FYI, I"m thirty-one, in top physical condition to meet the demands of my job, drug free, disease free, creepiness free, and I don"t send people running in horror when they see my face, so you can be assured of an education from a well-kempt human being who flosses regularly. I also have three little sisters, a mother who means the world to me, a number of close female friends, and a healthy respect for women. You"ll be safe learning the ropes with me, and I"m willing to meet in public for as long as it takes for you to feel comfortable taking things to a more private venue.