Martin glances at the gold band on my right ring finger. “I hear you’re not doing too bad in your love life either.”
Something attempts to bungee jump down my throat. “I’ve been in a relationship for over a year now. I’m sure you’ve heard with whom.”
“How could I not? Everyone was in a titter when you were caught holding hands with Ian Mathers, of all men.”
I recognize that tone in his voice, but choose to ignore it. I’ve got enough anxiety right now. “We’re here on vacation together.’
“Together? Where is he? I can’t believe you have him under lock and key somewhere. That sort of play was never your style.”
He’s right. It wasn’t. I like my men paraded around, not hidden away. “He’s in our room, sleeping. Poor dear’s worn out.”
Whatever Martin infers from that remark, I let him have. “I’m happy for you. Surprised to find out you were serious with a Dom, but…”
My eyes narrow. “But what?” Dare I be judged in a Parisian café at eight in the morning? By a fellow North American? Come on, universe. You can do better than that.
“I was there when you and Mr. Mathers debuted as a kinky couple. If I didn’t know you as well as I do, I would’ve thought you had always subbed.”
“Holy crap. You were there?”
“Lots of people were there.”
Kill me. That was my coming out to the kink community. For years I had built my image as a Domme. Sure, I’d occasionally fuck an alpha asshole like Damon Monroe, if it was vanilla, but that’s because I’m a woman with sexual needs. For the long term, I preferred making men worship me. Martin was good at that. The only reason we broke up after three months was because he was changing schools and I didn’t feel like following him to California. We went well together, but it was never I’m in love serious. I didn’t have that freak-out until I started dating Ian.
“You’re a good looking couple.” Martin shrugs. “Far be it from me to tell you what you want in your relationships.”
Judgment. Here it comes.
I know how it is. Do I ever. I judged other Dommes when they suddenly started submitting to those alpha assholes we sometimes slept with. It was one thing if they had admitted to being switches from the beginning, but being a Domme in our area is a point of immense pride. We take a lot of shit. As much as we give back, really. We have to be tough and ready to defend our domineering honor at any moment. Society, especially high society, does not like women who take as much control as we do.
There I go. Still saying we. Most of those women only talk to me out of politeness now. I sometimes miss it.
Okay, I miss it a lot.
Ian and I have dabbled with our relationship going in the other direction. He’s not really into submitting. He’s a guy who Doms most of the time. He’s not going to openly admit that, even to me. The few times we’ve taken things in that direction, though, I could tell he enjoyed it.
I often fantasize about going further. While he was in the shower last night, I momentarily distracted myself with thoughts of going in there and telling him to get on his knees and eat me out. Then I went back to thinking about my mother and that killed every fantasy in my head.
“Either I’m having a crazy dream, or you’re living it up in Paris with another man, Katie.”
I jerk up. Where the hell had Ian come from? I had left him upstairs, naked and snoring. Now he’s dressed in casual slacks and a plain T-shirt, his aftershave wafting in this direction. He even had time to shower and shave? How long have I been down here?
“Good morning.” My smile is as genuine as pyrite is real gold. Ian leans down and kisses my cheek. Martin is getting up from his seat. “You’ll never guess who I bumped into here.”
My past and present exchange cautious looks before shaking hands. “Martin Charles,” my ex-boyfriend and former sub says. I never realized how much shorter than Ian he is. I mean, I knew he was shorter than me, but talk about a trick of the eye. “Kathryn and I used to, ah…”
“We dated. We’re having a mutual blast from the past here.”
Most people wouldn’t be able to see it, but I catch the very slight turn of Ian’s lips and that glimmer in his eye that says “You fucked my girl? I’ma fuck you up too!”
Men. They do not surprise me any longer.
“I hate to introduce and run, but I’m due on the other side of town in half an hour. Wish me luck.” Martin grabs his jacket and leaves the café, posture straight and head held high. Like I said. It’s hard to guess he sometimes begs tough women to peg him in the ass. I hear Solange delivers in that department.