“Ah, here we go,” Edward announced, gesturing across the cobbled street to a modest brick row home. “Number 28. This is where I stay when I visit this manufactory.”
Jane looked up, surprised to see a row of workers’ housing. “Very humble for someone who employs half the town.”
They walked together across the narrow street. She leaned on his arm to help negotiate the cobbles in her heeled boots. With his free hand, Edward dug a key out of his jacket pocket while explaining further, “I am generally only here a few days a month. It would be a terrible waste to keep a grand house, with servants and all. In general, my needs are simple, especially when I am working and can safely ignore my social duties.”
As they mounted the short stoop, she asked, “So, no servants?”
He unlocked the door and handed her into the house, as he replied, “Mrs. Mundy from down the street looks after the house. When I’m in town, she comes by to take care of things. At the end of the day, she leaves a pot of something in the kitchen to keep warm, usually stew.”
Edward closed the door behind them, and Jane looked around the entry hallway. To the right was a small front room, illuminated only by a dull orange glow behind the grate of a cast iron stove. Down the hall was a small table with a candle flickering in a brass and glass lamp. Otherwise, the house was shadows and darkness.
Jane set down her rucksack and began unbuttoning her cloak. Behind her, Edward took off his jacket and slung it over a wall hook. He reached out to help Jane remove her cloak, then hung it beside his jacket. She rubbed her hands together briskly, trying to bring warmth back into them. “It is unpleasantly cold out there. Thank goodness the house is so wonderfully warm. My thanks go to Mrs. Grundy. I assume she got the stoves going.”
“Yes, she comes by around dusk. Winter in the Midlands is truly miserable. Once the sun sets, all that remains is a damp cold that cuts through to the bone.” He rubbed his hands together as well. “So, shall we see what Mrs. Grundy left for us? It is often mutton, which is sufficient for sustenance, but I fear has little else to recommend it.”
He waved Jane forward, toward the rear of the house. Leaving her rucksack behind, she set off down the hall, past a flight of stairs going up to her right, then into a small dining room. Edward took the lamp from the hall table and used it to illuminate their way into a narrow shed kitchen that lay beyond the dining room. Jane looked around the warm kitchen. It was a low-ceilinged shed addition to the back of the house, only half the width of an already narrow row home. Next to the cast iron stove was a zinc dry sink and two pitchers of water.
Edward used a towel to lift the lid of a pot on the stove and bent down to inhale. He grinned, “We’re in luck. It’s not mutton. I am not certain what it is, but It smells perfectly palatable.”
She smiled back, “Excellent, but… I do not suppose this home has a water closet?”
He shook his head, “No. There is a privy out back and chamber pots in each of the upstairs bedrooms. I use the rear bedroom, and the guest bedroom is in the front of the house. You are welcome to stay in either.”
“Thank you. If you don’t mind, may I excuse myself upstairs for a moment?”
“Absolutely not a problem. I will serve out the stew while you venture upstairs.”
“Then I shall return instanter.” Jane bobbed her head, then turned and walked back through the dining room. As she gathered up her rucksack in the hall, she smiled at his wording “welcome to stay in either,” allowing her to decide the terms of their relationship. She knew she would need to stay close to him to protect him, and sleeping with him would have its advantages. He was an attractive, as well as smart, successful, and he made surprisingly pleasant company. A real relationship could be fun. As she walked up the stairs, however, a sadness tugged at her heart. There were good reasons why it had been so many years since her last genuine relationship. She paused at the top of the stairs, reminding herself that it was very likely that Edward would not survive the coming months, no matter how she might try to guard him. Given the foe they faced, she would likely not survive either. While death was the only possible release from her service to the Ministry, it was not an attractive option.
Neither did she like her current path forward. The safest course for Edward would be to take him into protective custody and hide him somewhere he could continue his work. Unfortunately for Edward, her mission was to draw out the plotters. He was the most attractive bait she could dangle in front of them.
“How,” she asked herself, “is genuine affection possible with someone I intend to use… even to the point of his death?” She carried her rucksack into his bedroom, knowing her duty.
* * *
Edward pushed the empty plate away from him, clearly satisfied. It had been his second helping of what Jane had decided was most likely rabbit stew. Dinner had been spent in small talk. They avoided serious topics and took the opportunity to learn more about the lighter side of one another. Jane discovered that Edward detested sports, but loved physical work, such as smithing. In turn, she had revealed that she had little patience for gossip and frivolity, although she did have a secret passion for continental fashion. They both disliked fox hunting.
Now, Edward tuned more serious. He said softly, “All dinner, I sensed a thread of melancholy within you that had not seemed present earlier. Did I do something to disturb you?”
She shook her head. “No, not at all. When I went upstairs before dinner, for some reason I found myself reflecting on the intensity and viciousness of our opponent. I am fearful that they may win. I must admit that ‘fear’ is an emotion I dislike in the extreme.”
“Are these people so fierce?”
“Yes. The more I look back over the last few years, the more I recognize their presence. From some secret hiding place, they have reached out time and again, bringing death and violence. I am convinced they have some grand evil purpose, although my Ministry has utterly failed to discover what that purpose may be.”
Edward nodded grimly, “Their ultimate goal may be obscure, but my uncle’s murder makes my next steps clear. Tomorrow morning we will take an airship to London, where I will accept the title of the Duke of Blackmoor. Then we shall visit some clubs.”
“Thank you, Edward, for joining me in this uncertain adventure, despite the risks.”
“Living without uncertainty and new adventure would be boring. Indeed I cannot imagine, were I timid bout risk, that I would have gotten to where I am now. In every new venture, I have learned much about the world and myself. Given our introduction in the office, I suspect you have much to teach me.”
Jane smiled. Her tension had begun to uncoil with his easy acceptance of the risk, then had fallen away completely with his playful reference to their earlier passion. She ventured coyly, “I am not entirely certain who was teaching whom. Perhaps I pointed out the direction, but you quickly shaped your own path.” She glanced upward at the ceiling, in the direction of his bedroom on the second floor. “Shall we explore further?”
He grinned back, “Indeed.” As he stood, he paused, “I am sorry there is no warm bathwater, nor indeed bathtub in these simple lodgings. I have been here for several days, much of that time spent on the foundry floor. The heat of the furnaces encourages prolific sweat, even in the middle of winter. While I may have become accustomed to the stench, I know I must be rather rank.”
She stood with him, nodding, “I too have been traveling all day, which leaves me feeling grimy as well. Fortunately, I am something of an Organic. May I?”
He nodded, even though he seemed somewhat unsure of her meaning. “Certainly.”
She stepped around the table and put her hands on his shoulders. Closing her eyes, she concentrated for a moment. Suddenly, he felt as though small ants were crawling all over his skin. He exerted significant willpower to not pull away. Then as suddenly as the tingling sensation had started, she stepped away and the feeling vanished.
Looking up at him, she saw his consternation. She apologized, “I am sorry. Have you never been Organically cleansed before?”
“No, I must admit it was a somewhat novel experience.” He lifted his arm to look at his hand. A quizzical expression came over his face and he shifted his legs experimentally. “Um, am I mistaken, or do I no longer have any body hair?”
“Oh damn! I’m terribly sorry. I was trying to save power by cleaning both of us together. I forgot to alter my Organic command to retain your body hair. Never fear, it will grow back. I can accelerate the process, if you wish.”
He shook his head in a bemused fashion, “No, no, I am sure I will find this an interesting adventure as well. I have, um, know some women who preferred to be without body hair. I suppose I had always thought they had used a straight razor, which seemed a dangerous activity. It felt indelicate as to enquire about the details.”
She laughed, taking his hand to go upstairs. “Please set such chivalrous inhibitions aside. When you are with me, you must ask indelicate questions without the least hesitation. We will be venturing into a world where gentlemen and ladies gleefully abandon all strictures of polite society. Thus, we must turn you into a debauched degenerate as rapidly as possible. You mustn’t appear out of place.”
He walked with her to the stairs, chuckling softly, “It seems an odd ambition: dominance and debauchery. I must admit, however, it is a bit intriguing. If I were to protest too vehemently, I would unfortunately reveal myself as a hypocrite.”
At the bottom of the narrow stairs, he motioned for her to proceed him. She gave him a sly grin as she passed him and slid the steel wire out of her waistband, which she had carefully reinserted before leaving his office. Her skirt fell away, leaving her rear naked as she walked up the steps in front of him with a deliberated exaggerated sway to her hips. He laughed, following closely behind her.
As they neared the top, he swatted one butt cheek, then the other. She paused, humming in delight. Arching back, she thrust her butt toward him, inviting further attention.
He gently stroked her pale flesh and asked, “Whatever shall I do with this display?”
Looking back over her shoulder, she cooed, “Whatever you wish, sir. Spank it. Take off your belt and whip it. Stick your penis in it. Use me in whatever manner you desire.”
He paused his stroking, cocking his head with a thoughtful expression, “And this excites you?”
“Intensely so. You are so naturally dominant, I find it deeply arousing to submit to you.”
“This submission, is it why you call me ‘sir’ when we… we undertake activity of this nature?”
“Yes. It is a mark of submission and respect. It is not, however, slave and master. That would come much later, when we knew each other far better and had worked out all the details. At that point, there would generally be a formal collaring ceremony.”
“I see. Apparently I have much to learn. Please, tell me, have you ever been a slave or master before?”
She turned and sat down on the top step, so her face was level with his. “Twice, a slave. Once a master. Those were very intimate relationships for me, all before I was induced to join the Ministry. None since then.” Her voice became quieter, tinged with regret, as she explained.
“I am sorry; I seem to have made you sad again.”
She forced a grin that only lasted briefly before fading. “It was a different time.” She continued, “I am at peace with what I have now, and it does make me happy to be with you. I think I will greatly enjoy being your submissive. I am certain you will become a wonderful dominant. It will be a special privilege to be with you as you develop.”
“I am not so certain as you that I will become this magical dominant that you seem to envision.”
She looked into his eyes, “You are gentle, strong, smart, creative, and a completely natural dominant. I have no doubt about what you can become.”
He gestured dismissively, “Thank you, I suppose. It seems your confidence is misplaced, however, for I have already ruined the mood.”
She looked down in demure pretense, “I assure you, sir, it was entirely my fault, which means you must punish me most thoroughly.”
He laughed, “And how shall I do that?”
Without directly responding, she stood up and disappeared into his bedroom. He climbed to the top of the steps and turned to look through the doorway. She had walked to the room’s only chair, which was generously upholstered. Lifting a leg, she straddled the back of the chair, facing away from him. She leaned forward, arching her back, while grinding her clitoral mound into the leather stretched across the top of the chair.
He barked a laugh, then strode across the room to her, calling out in mock anger, “You speak of punishment, and yet I find you here pleasuring yourself?”
Without responding to him, she continued to hungrily grind herself against the top of the chair.
He slapped his hand sharply across her buttocks. “Stop at once!”
With a sharp catch of her breath, she complied, suspending her motion, despite hovering achingly close to an orgasm.
He leaned close and growled in a low voice, “You may believe you have experience and cleverness, but I recognize a spoiled brat when I see one.” He smacked her again across her rear. “Here I find you seeking to bring yourself to culmination, in direct disregard to my wishes.” Another smack fell across her rear. “Such impudence is simply not to be tolerated.” Smack. “You shall only orgasm when and where I tell you.” Smack. “Is that understood?” Smack.
“Yes sir,” she replied in a husky voice, desperate with need. “I swear I am doing my utmost to hold back, but your enthusiastic correction is driving me to the very edge.”
“What? Now you blame your ill-discipline on me?”
“Oh no sir, all blame is my own. But please sir, I humbly beg permission to orgasm… sir.”
“Ha! Not until I have shot my own seed into you – which, cursed be your tempting nature, may occur rather more rapidly than I would normally prefer.”
“Kind sir, spear me directly in whichever opening would most directly hasten your release. I fear I may not be able to hold back much longer.”
Edward looked at her somewhat dubiously, wondering how much of her fervor was only play-acting. He had never known a woman who could so quickly reach the brink of orgasm, but her desperate panting and wild-eyed longing seemed entirely genuine. Putting aside his uncertainty, he unbuttoned his trousers and released his painfully swollen penis. He looked down in bemusement at the physical reality of his arousal; certainly some part of him was entirely willing to believe the scene that Jane had created.
Setting the head of his penis against the soaking wet entrance to her vagina, he slammed forward into her, filling her completely in a single thrust.
She wailed in pleasure, her pelvic muscles spasming tightly around his shaft. She shoved back against him hard, trying to fit every last bit of him as deep into her as she could.
His eyes flew open in surprise as he struggled against a nearly overpowering urge to orgasm immediately. He was certain that spending himself so quickly would destroy his credibility as a dominant, so he clamped down as hard as he could with his muscles to hold back his semen. Instead of further thrusts, which he feared would quickly propel him over the edge, he used the back of his hand to slap her hard across her buttocks. He growled, “You treasonous vixen! With your wiles and duplicitous magic, you seek to accelerate my culmination, I see your game.”
“Sir, your accusations may have some measure of truth, but please, I do so terribly crave release. I beg of you, let me climax!”
“No, I shall not so rapidly spend myself within your soft cleft.”
“Then spear my ass and fill me with your seed. I plead with you – use me in whatever way will hasten your release. Please dear sir.”
Against his better judgment, Edward slid his slick penis out of her and positioned its head against the puckered entrance to her ass. He was a bit doubtful – only one previous partner had enjoyed being penetrated there, and she always was careful to use a copious amount of lubricant. Since Jane had so willingly volunteered herself to being taken anally, he decided she must know what she was asking to receive. He was also angry about being reduced to a desperate teenager with no control over his need for immediate release, all of which helped convince him to cast aside his fears of being overly rough. He thrust himself deep into her annus.
Jane growled with her own desperate need, squeezing her sphincter muscles tightly around the shaft of his penis. Without further hesitation, he orgasmed into her, pressing his full length deep into her, as she simultaneously contracted in orgasm around him. He pulsed semen into her as he shuddered and arched back. She threw herself backward against him in her own orgasm, trying to cram every last bit of him into her rear.
Edward held himself on tiptoe, pressing hard back against her, until he was completely spent. Then he collapsed on top of her, trapping her between the back of the chair and his heaving torso, while he gasped to refill his lungs. Somehow, he had forgotten to breathe while climaxing.
Jane’s orgasm continued for awhile longer, slowly subsiding into strings of shudders, interspersed with brief pauses to press back against him while she squeezed his penis even tighter within her, as though she was trying to milk every last drop of cum she could from him.
Finally, she fell into bonelessly immobile compliance, trapped between him and the chair. She breathed gently, with the soft hum of a cat purring.
Edward grunted ruefully above, “I fear I have let you trick me into giving you what you wanted.”
She laughed, “Perhaps it is not such a bad thing, when each of us finds what we seek. I cannot believe you are truly angry. You may be a natural dominant, my dear Edward, I also see within you a sensitivity to the needs of others. Perhaps another dominant, one who has a more rigid need for control, would find great fault in my behavior and punish me severely. Alas, I would find little joy being with such a person. I believe you to be a different sort of dominant, and I very much look forward to the time we will have together.”
He lifted himself carefully off her and gingerly slid his still-sensitive penis from her ass. After a moment, he asked, “So a dominant is not always expected to be in control?”
“I believe dominants are whoever and whatever they choose to be. The same holds true for submissives. In carnality, I have never encountered universally hard and fast rules, only understandings that each person works out, one with another. While it may be true that some clubs have an expected standard of behavior and members scrupulously adhere to those standards in the club’s common areas, those strictures are nearly always set aside in private.”
He nodded thoughtfully, “You have given me much to consider. For now, however, we should retire for the night. The airship for London leaves quite early in the morning. Would you prefer the privacy of the guest room, or would you consent to sharing my bed?”
“So long as you do not snore horribly, I would be very grateful to join you in bed.”
He laughed, “So far as I know, I do not snore. At least, no one has ever complained of it.”
* * *
After a more languid round of intercourse in bed, Edward sleepily wrapped his arms around her, pulling her tightly against him. He murmured softly into her ear, “Fear not, I shall do my utmost to keep you safe.”
Jane lay cocooned within his arms, feeling confused. She knew she was far more dangerous and capable of taking care of herself than he could ever be. Nestled within his arms, however, she felt content and protected. She warned herself that these feelings were a fiction. Then she fell asleep easier than she had in years.