Owned 3: Rope Marks

Friday night is date night. Also the night when Clara introduces Malcolm to new things.


Clara had a weekly routine with Malcolm Tucker now. Strange, bizarre, unpredictable, but true: she and the holy terror of the Party, the PM’s enforcer, were not exactly dating, not in the conventional sense. They played together. Had sex of an unconventional kind. And because Clara had a clear head about this and wanted no scandal, as far as the outside world was concerned, they were dating. On Tuesdays they did something quiet and then went to Malcolm’s home to do something less quiet. And on Fridays they did something more public, the sort of thing that a man in Malcolm’s position would be expected to do with a partner. It was a good routine, one that had made her week a lot more interesting. The sex was turning out to be more fun than she’d thought. All in all, taking that ridiculous risk and pushing him to confess to her, instead of just rescuing him, had worked out rather well.

Today was Friday, and this week it was the West End, Noel Coward, “Private Lives”, Anna Chancellor. Clara liked Chancellor, and Coward was always fun. Malcolm had never seen it before. He had his hand wrapped around the throat of current television, his fingers firmly on the short and curlies of the latest Internet memes, but had little interest in live theater. At least, not until Clara introduced him to it. He was enjoying himself, if the little bursts of laughter from his seat were any indication. At moments he even grasped her hand and squeezed in appreciation.

“Not fucking bad,” he said to her in the interval, and then he braved the crush at the bar to get her a glass of wine. That was the most she’d let herself drink on nights when she planned on tying him up. Malcolm drank very little, she’d noticed, so she hadn’t had to set a rule for him about no drinking on these nights.

Out with the scrum at the end, Malcolm fetching their coats from the check, and then plunging out of the overheated theater into the cold street. It was a vicious winter, snow on the ground even in London. Someone loomed in front of Clara and a flash went. Paparazzi on the fringes of the crowd, sharking for any recognizable faces. Malcolm did not snarl or flash them a two-fingered salute. He ignored them and offered Clara his arm. She could feel the tension in him; he was almost vibrating with it, and his jaw was tight. He was accustomed to journalists flocking around him, in fascinated terror, but not to being pursued by photographers. Being the focus of the story made him profoundly uncomfortable. But public was Clara’s plan, for reasons he agreed with, so public it was, and that meant ignoring the photographers, taking his arm and smiling at him, reassuring him that it would be fine. They were just another couple out after a nice evening at the theater.

Which they weren’t. They were friends with benefits. Kinky benefits. Definitely only friends.

An actor and his partner swept out of the theater behind them, and the photographers lost all interest. Malcolm let out a long breath, and they made good their escape down the pavement and into the crowd.

The Tube tonight, because Malcolm was feeling especially populist after a minor press incident involving a pair of back-benchers and misuse of an official car. Leicester Square, heat and press, crowded platform, no room to sit on the train. Too many drunk lads to count on their way home from bingeing. Clara wrapped her arms around a pole. Malcolm pressed himself up behind her, arms around her, sheltering her. Another one of his charming protective gestures, of which he was strangely fond. Clara enjoyed them. And if he sometimes kissed the top of her head while they were standing like this, well, it was under her instructions, and it looked good in photographs. Not that anybody was taking any right now.

They had a short walk once out of the Tube at Highgate. Not a fast walk, because she was in heels. A civilized walk, if chilly, up bricked pavements, to the leafy street where Malcolm owned a house. Had for over a decade, since before London prices had gone raving mad, he’d told her. Lucky bastard. Enough of the envy there, Oswald. She was making her own way up. She’d own her own place some day. She’d make her own mark on the nation some day.

Clara turned her mind to what would happen once they got to his place. What was on the menu for tonight? Rope bondage. Malcolm’s first experience with it. Everything was Malcolm’s first time; that was one of the pleasures of playing with him. He was probably going to love this, if she understood his preferences, and she thought she did. Would she explain to him ahead of time what she planned? He was always so frustrated with her attempts to be as safe, sane, and consensual as she ought. “Just fucking get on with it,” he would say. “I’ve already said yes.” Reckless bravado, she’d thought, but she’d begun to wonder if it was something else.

No matter. She’d surprise him with it.

She’d stashed a lot of rope at Malcolm’s place, in her drawer for clothes and toys. She had one of those, after the first time she’d brought things over to use on him. He’d shown her the drawer, and told her he would never look inside it. She had everything she wanted for tonight: cotton rope in several colors, bandage scissors just in case.

She hadn’t done anything interesting with rope bondage in a long time. All that rope had been lying around unused since before-- before Danny. Not somebody who’d ever wanted to be tied up. He’d been the most vanilla of men, the shyest of men, the least likely of men for her to fall for.

No. No thinking about Danny right now. This was not the time. She’d done her five minutes, in the morning, and she was not going to cheat Malcolm by mooning about somebody else when she was with him. Move on, Oswald. Move on. Think about Malcolm. She had the rope, the plug she wanted to use, the lubricant. Nothing much else needed for tonight. She liked to introduce Malcolm to one new thing at a time, then give him a couple of sessions to get used to it. No fancy tricks needed with this man. He was almost absurdly responsive to anything she did, even something as simple as holding his hand.

To prove it, she took his hand in hers. He stared at her when she laced her fingers through his and looked as if he had no idea what to do about it. Then he squeezed back. Clara smiled at him encouragingly.

She hoped he wouldn’t get scared off by her any time soon. Her last play partner had told her he wanted a fun change of pace every couple of weeks, not a lifestyle thing. Then he’d dumped her, and he hadn’t bothered to hide his judgment. Her last couple of Tindr dates, half-hearted attempts to find somebody after Danny, had been disappointing milksops. She’d given up on finding anybody as interesting as Malcolm who wanted it as much as she did. But he seemed to be having a good time. Well, she’d enjoy it while it lasted. She was enjoying Malcolm’s company more than she’d expected from her work interactions with him. He had a quick wit and could be savagely funny. He also gave a damn about social and economic justice issues more than she might have expected from a man so close to that middle-of-the-road PM. When they talked politics, which they inevitably did from time to time, they were aligned far more closely than she’d feared.

She was, in fact, in danger of wanting more from this relationship than just sex. That might end up being a problem. Because she couldn’t. Never again. She’d sworn.

They had arrived. Up his little walkway, through his front door, into the warmth of his house. The door on the latch, the deadbolt thrown. Malcolm hung their coats and then stood looking at her. He wasn’t smiling. he looked hesitant, of all things. An odd expression to see on that sharp face. Best to take charge right away, then.

“On your knees, Malcolm. Where are your manners?”

A flash of relief, then he was on his knees, bending to kiss her feet. She’d never asked him to do that. He’d come up with it all on his own, and she wasn’t about to tell him to stop. Another one of those lovely, surprising, incongruous courteous gestures from this raging lunatic. He straightened up again and let his hands drift up over her legs. He was smiling up at her with one of his alarming bared-teeth grins, the kind that sent politicians running in terror.

“Are you ready?”

“Yeah. Think so.”

“Been waiting for this, huh?”

“Since Tuesday.”

When she’d teased him and made him go without. When he’d begged and begged, to her delight, and then sworn himself blue in the face when she denied him permission to come. And he was, she thought, generally obedient about not touching himself when they were apart. Maybe not perfectly obedient, but close enough. He liked it too much, liked being denied so fiercely that he was disappointed if she didn’t. She’d discovered in herself an equally fierce appreciation for denying him.

“Have you been good?”

“Fucking evil. All week. I made a grown cunt at the Daily Mail cry.”

Clara opened her mouth to ask how he’d managed that, because those were truly hardened hacks, then got herself back on track. “Well, then. I think you’ve earned something special.”

“Can’t wait, darling.”

“Take ten minutes to get yourself ready. I want you in the bedroom, undressed, on your knees.”

That grin again, and a cheeky “Thought you’d never ask,” and he was in motion, rising to his feet and running up the stairs, awkward and elegant at once. Such an odd man. So arrogant, so confident in himself, with his quick mind, and so out of sorts in his own body. So different when he was tied up, so much more emotional.

Was that why he liked being tied up? Hard to say. She didn’t have much insight into his inner life yet.

Ten minutes. Clara spent them in his downstairs washroom, washing up, taking off some of her makeup, her shoes, her stockings. They’d only get in the way later.

Upstairs, quietly, on the ten minute mark, to see if he was ready and waiting or if he was being pushy. Sometimes he was; she hadn’t yet figured out whether it was his way of telling her he needed a taste of pain, or if he wanted a reminder of who was in charge. Or both. But not tonight: tonight he was obedient. He was in his bedroom, kneeling on the carpet beside the bed, nude, as instructed.

There was nothing to Malcolm, once you got him out of his clothes. He was a rail. No muscle, no fat, just whipcord under broadcloth. He skipped meals as a matter of habit. He’d eaten almost nothing at dinner, and that was how he’d been every time they’d dined together. Clara let her gaze trail down his chest, following the line of fuzz down his belly. He was hard, of course. He’d probably been hard since the moment he’d locked his front door. He had a nice penis, a good size, broad head, a curve upward that reminded her of his fingers. His hands rested on his thighs. He was looking at her, not quite smiling, but with anticipation.

“Hands behind your back.”

No hesitation, hands clasped behind his back.

“Good boy.”

His eyebrows came together. Did he like that or hate it? Probably he hated it. She’d have to ask him about it afterward.

Clara went to her drawer and pulled out what she needed. Red rope, her favorite. A nice long coil of it, because she’d be needing a lot. She held it up to show him. He tilted his head and his mouth quirked.

“Trussing me up like a turkey?”

“Careful what comes out of that mouth, Malcolm. I might decide you don’t deserve your reward after all.”

His face changed and he dipped his head. “Sorry. I’ll just shut the fuck up.” He sounded sincere. Probably he was sincere.

Clara began by touching him, running her hands over him, over all the places where her ropes would be wrapped around. The snark had been cover for nerves, because his shoulders were tense and a muscle in his jaw was pulsing. If she took the time with him now, it would pay off later. Touch, gentle, almost tender, her fingertips over his shoulders, his hips, avoiding anything overtly sexual. His eyes closed and his shoulders relaxed.

When he was breathing steadily and slowly she picked up the rope again. The midpoint of this one was already tied into a little loop. Five twists, then over his shoulders it went. Now the ends around his ribs, through the twist, back around, looped. Like doing macrame. Or so she’d thought back when she’d taken the class on it with that uni boyfriend of hers, the cheating slime one. Rick, that had been his name. This was one of the more complicated body harnesses she’d done. It used a lot of rope. Lots of rope, wound around and around, which was something Malcolm would like. He loved being bound tightly enough that he could pull against something. The cuffs worked, and were good if she just wanted to get his hands over his head and flog him, but tonight she wanted something more whole-body. Something that demanded his patience. Something profound.

Clara took her time with this. No need to rush. Get it right. Give her partner a good time. He was worth it. He appreciated everything she did so much. She was his first. What a wild ride this had to be for him. No wonder he was nervous. No wonder he was so eager, every time they got together.

Around his chest, each end around his thighs four times, snugly, leaving his arse free for later play. Over his shoulders, criss-crossing, in and out. Malcolm was silent, as promised. He was watching her work. His eyebrows were together and his lips tight, but he cooperated easily enough.

At last, the knot holding it all together, in the small of his back. Clara stroked Malcolm’s face and looked him in the eye. His temples were wet with sweat. She didn’t plan any pain for him at all tonight, just the rope bondage, but he was already as worked up as he got after a spanking. Bondage was his thing, all right. Bondage was his hot button. Made sense. He’d wanted it so much he’d done it to himself. Clumsily. Endearingly incompetently, in fact.

“Stand up and stretch,” she said, and held out a hand for him to grasp.

He rolled his shoulders and shook out his arms while Clara watched to make sure he really was feeling comfortable, and wasn’t hiding anything merely to please her. He raised a hand and touched the center of his chest cautiously, with a glance to her to see if it was okay. She nodded. He ran his hands all over himself, over the ropes.

“Expected you to do my arms,” he said to her, tentatively.

“That’s next.”

He nodded.

“Let’s see how long you can bear this, yeah?”

“As long as you want me to.”

“That’s very bold of you, but I was thinking more like an hour for your first time. Tops.”

A little shake of his head, but no further bravado. He had to be feeling strange with all that around him. Clara wondered what it felt like. She’d been tied up once or twice, in that class, but never seriously and never for very long. Not her thing, subbing. Had never even tempted her. She was doing her best to get into Malcolm’s head right now, to figure out what made him bluster and swear and rampage around, what made him hard, what made him feel good, feel bad, feel fulfilled, but she’d never share that headspace.

Enough of a break. The clock had started ticking when she’d tied that final knot.

“On your knees again, please, and grasp your ankles.”

A moment, then he nodded, and he went down to the floor gracefully.

A second rope, this one black, wound around his right wrist, around his ankle, back again. Nice neat coils, around and around. Over to the left. Count the loops around, keep them even, keep them snug. Malcolm’s breath was coming fast now. Clara ran her hands over the ropes, tugging at everything, making sure nothing was too tight. Tidy work, snug but not cutting into him too much. She hadn’t forgotten how to do it. It was done. He was bound.

She cuddled herself up behind Malcolm and slid her arms around him, kissed the back of his neck.

“How are you feeling?” she said.

Malcolm struggled for a moment, pulling hard at his hands. He shook his head. “Fuck. This is–”

“What is it? Tell me.”

He groaned. “Shit, shit. Clara. I can’t-- You’re here?”

“Right here.” An odd question, given that she had her arms around him, but she was going to reassure him all he needed. This was profound bondage, the real thing, not those toy cuffs he liked that deprived him of his hands and nothing else. The man was wrapped up in rope, tightly enough that he’d be marked by it, and he had to be feeling it. “I’m here, Malcolm.”

“You won’t leave?”

“I’ll be with you the whole time.”

“Fuck. I’m-- You’ve got me-- Fuck. Clara.”

She stood up and went around in front to look at him. His face was strained but it wasn’t pain or discomfort. He was still hard. She could see the muscles in his arms flex as he tugged against the ropes almost rhythmically. But he was breathing too fast.

“Breathe for me, Malcolm, okay?”


“Slow down.”


She knelt between his thighs and took his face in her hands, stroked him. She touched her forehead to his. He shuddered, closed his eyes for a long moment, then opened them again. She held his gaze.

“Breathe with me,” she said. “In. Out.” She counted out seconds in her head as they breathed, slowing him down deliberately. Finally he sighed and blew out a long breath on his own. Clara brushed a kiss over his lips.

“Breathe like that when it starts to get to you, okay? Long, slow breaths.”

“Yeah. Got it.”

“You okay now or do you need me to untie you?”

“Don’t stop. Don’t you fucking stop.”

Clara cuffed his head gently. “Hey, who’s in charge here?”

“You are,” he said, and grinned with one side of his mouth. It was, of course, a ridiculous question given the position she had him in, but his grin told her what she’d wanted to learn. He’d regained his confidence. Now to strip that away from him and leave him open, bare, vulnerable. Where he needed to be.

She settled herself behind him with what she needed next: Lubricant and the plug. Not a big plug, the same one she’d used on him last week. The one that had made him melt down. Malcolm Tucker, the man who liked being fucked. Not that he would ever admit it to anyone but her, but she’d made him admit it.

Strip it all away from him, all the bluster, and what would she find?

She parted his arse cheeks and took a look at him. Arse, balls, prick jutting down. All exposed for whatever she wanted to do. Malcolm tensed up and swore very quietly. Clara grinned. The problem for her now was being patient. He still needed warmup here, but it was getting easier for him. Some day soon she’d be pegging him with something as big as his own cock, while he begged her to do it harder. Not just yet. Not while he still melted into a whimpering puddle at the merest touch of her fingers on his backside. Slick on her fingers, generously, then on him. He shivered and made a tiny sound. The gentlest touch, circling around, teasing him, just for the pleasure of hearing that whimper. He knew what was coming next, and his anticipation was doing all her work for her. More lubricant, and she pushed a finger inside him.

“Clara,” he said, and then, “please.”

After the first time she’d done this to him, she’d smiled to herself, where he couldn’t see her, and gone off to buy him more toys, cut her fingernails short and buffed them smooth. It was too good to ignore, what this turned him into. How it short-circuited all his resistance when she touched him here, what he said to her when she did it. He needed this the way he needed the bondage.

His breath was coming hard and fast now, but that was good. He should be breathing hard. She had two fingers inside him, deep. He was moaning now as she moved inside him. So soft, so warm. So tight.

Time for the plug. Such a pretty sight, such a sexy sight, the tip of a plug pressing inside a man, stretching him open around it. Such a pretty sound, such a sexy sound, a man moaning, saying her name, whimpering a little as the flared part moved inside him. Another little sound from him as it settled into place. Buttocks clenching and unclenching. His head was thrown back, his eyes closed. She squeezed the back of his neck gently with her clean hand.

“How’s that, tiger?”

“Fucking hell. Fuck. Clara.”

“Do you like it?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I like it.”

“You just wait here and think about how big that is, okay? I’m going to wash my hands.”


The advantage of this break was that it gave Malcolm time to stew in his own juices, but really it was that she wanted to touch herself soon. Couldn’t hold off much longer.

She was still almost completely dressed. Shoes and stockings gone, little black dress still on. She looked good in this dress. It showed exactly the right amount of shoulders and back, went down to her knees perfectly, and was easy to take off. Not that she was about to. Take her knickers off now or later? Later, when she could make Malcolm watch.

She saw him sigh with relief when she returned. Still worried that she would leave him like that? Maybe it was just that he craved her presence, her attention. He was watching her with an expression that was half eager, half wary. Probably acutely aware how vulnerable he was. Now came the part she loved best, the part that was the reason she did it. The part where she ripped the lid off him.

His shoulders rose and fell steadily, slowly. He was breathing the way she’d shown him earlier. Good. He learned fast. It was one of the things she liked about him. One of a long list of things. She might really be in trouble here: one could not fall for the PM’s enforcer, the psychotic Glaswegian, without consequences.

She stood in front of him and stroked his face. He closed his eyes and leaned into her.

“Now what should I do with you?” she said.

“Anything you want.” His voice was a little rough, and that again what was she’d wanted to hear. He was in the right headspace at last. She could probably do anything she wanted. He was putty. The Dark Lord of Downing Street, on his knees before her, bound, willing. Except-- it wasn’t the Dark Lord she was interested in, not any more. It was Malcolm the man. The strange prickly man, who’d chose to hand himself over to her. She wanted to know who he was. Right now.

Drive him a little deeper.

“Who owns you?”

“You do.”

Eyes open now, looking at her directly. So very disturbingly blue, those eyes, under the ferocious dark eyebrows. He had ridiculously beautiful long eyelashes. Beautiful. That was the word. He was beautiful. What a shock that was.

“Say it again.”

“You own me.”


“I’m yours.”

There it was, the right pitch of utter desperate conviction.

“I’m imagining what it would be like to whip you right now.” A sharp intake of breath and a fruitless jerk. Probably both entirely unconscious. “Would you like that?”

“What-- whatever you want. Fuck.”

“Would you beg me to do it?”

“Beg you for whatever you want me to beg for. Clara.”

“Beg for it.”

“Whip me. Please. I belong to you. Do what you want to me. Clara, please.”

Oh, so pretty, the sight of his face, strained and desperate, those blue eyes red-rimmed. He was completely unraveled now, completely open. She stroked his hair and he keened her name.

“You’ve been so good,” she told him. “So obedient. I’m going to give you what you want now. Tell me what you want.”

“Take me. Any way you want to take me. I’m yours.”

For that she kissed him, knelt down between his spread thighs and kissed him tenderly. He opened his mouth for her, returned every kiss. Groaned when she twisted a hand on the ropes crossing his chest and tightened his harness for a moment. Then she got her fingers on his nipples and squeezed, ruthlessly, while he made the most amazing sounds. Was there anything else in the world like this? Playing a man like an instrument, making him moan and quiver and beg from simple touches on his body? Nothing like it as far as she could tell. Her will, her whim, worked out on Malcolm’s body. His willing submission to her control. His utter delight in her control. He wanted it, he needed it, and oh fuck, she needed it too.

Clara let go of him. His eyes came open again. Sweat ran down his temples. Oh, yes, he was where she wanted him. She made sure he watched while she took off her panties, dangled them in front of him, then tossed them over her shoulder. All she had to do now was lift her dress, slide her hand down between her legs. Yes, that felt good. So wet already, jesus, already open. She was going to come too fast if she wasn’t careful.

Malcolm was watching, avid, while she touched herself. She gave him a taste. He licked her fingers eagerly. She’d never met a man who liked going down on her as much as Malcolm did. She’d learned that their very first time together, and it was one of the reasons this was fun for her. That, and his utter surrender to her. From that very first time, he’d handed himself over. Such a strange thing from this man, this shark, this bully, this monster. The man her colleagues were terrified of.

One hand on him, the other hand on herself. Just enough friction to tease him, no rhythm to it. He thrust himself against her palm, stealing as much contact as he could get. Clara allowed him to do it, because she had her mind on herself. She hadn’t let him fuck her yet. She was saving that for a special occasion, but damn, she wanted him inside her right now. Bound, on his back, while she rode him. Oh, that would feel so good. Next time, maybe, next time, with Malcolm forbidden to come, fighting the need to come, while she came around him, oh yes that would be fantastic, coming with that cock inside her–

She was there, it was there, she was coming. Nothing inside her, just her fingers on her clit, but more than enough, more than good enough. She let it happen, let it ride through her, just clung to Malcolm and shuddered. When she opened her eyes again, he kissed her. The expression on his face was strange.

“Clara, darling,” he said. “Love watching you come. So beautiful.” And he kissed her again.

She held her trembling fingers up to his lips. He licked her hand, closed his eyes and sucked on her fingers with a rapt look on his face. An idea came to her. First she had to check that he could stand it a little longer. Hands, feet, okay, still warm. He looked fine, if strained. And of course he was hard.

“How are you doing?”

“Goin’ a wee bit fucking mental here,” he said.

“Cramping up?”

“Naw. Want to fuckin’ come. Need to. All I can think about. Coming like this, with your ropes on me. Your plug up my arse. Clara, darling. Please let me.”

“You have been wonderful tonight. Would you like to come in my mouth?”

He whimpered. “Please.”

“Do you think you deserve it?”

“Oh, fuck, Clara, please. Don’t know if I deserve it, but I want it. Darling.”

That was a surprising yet fair answer. She smiled at him, kissed him, then laid her hands on his thighs and bent down to him. Kissed his cock, lightly, flicked her tongue over the top. He moaned. He was hard, so very hard, and dripping already. Foreskin pulled back. Clara licked the head. Salty, with the same taste as his sweat. Pure Malcolm. Clara didn’t mind the taste of women, but it was this that got her going. The taste of cock in her mouth, the way it felt on her tongue, the way Malcolm was thrusting into her mouth. She backed off for a moment and licked her lips. He swore above her. She shifted herself into a better position.

“Come when you’re ready to,” she said.

And she took him all the way in, deep throating him for a long moment, then coming up to use her hands on him. He was making a lot of noise above her. Good. He should be showing his appreciation for this, because she was putting herself into it. Tongue under the head, one spit-wet hand sliding over him, the other cupping his balls, squeezing just enough to give it an edge. Oh, listen to him, moaning and swearing, telling her how good it felt, repeating her name, telling her he he was close, telling her he was going to come in her mouth, so triumphant.

There it was, his rhythm faltering, his balls contracting in her hand, and his whole body tightening up. A choked-off cry from him, and he was coming. He pulsed in her mouth, and there was his release. Clara took it all, but didn’t swallow. She straightened up, gripped his hair, and tugged his head back. She touched her lips to his and he opened his mouth. There. He gagged, just for an instant, then swallowed his own come. Clara stuck her tongue into his mouth again, just to make sure he’d got all of it. He sucked at her eagerly, which surprised her, actually surprised her. And then he kissed her deeply, with his tongue in her mouth.

His breathing slowed down. Almost time to untie him, clean him up. After care. Wrists free, first. Undo the knot, loosen the ropes, and away they fell. He stretched and leaned forward on his hands the moment he could, straightened his legs, and groaned. The knot at the small of his back next. The harness that had taken long minutes to weave around him came free. Clara threw the rope aside as something to clean up in the morning. Right now she needed to look at Malcolm, at what she had done to him. At his skin.

Marks all over him, rope marks in his skin, grooves and dents, running over him. Clara touched him, traced a line around his chest and over his shoulders, over his thighs. Better than whip marks, this was. Her marks on him. Her work, this pattern on his skin. Her cunt throbbed, even though she’d come hard earlier, and had no need to come again. Or maybe she did. This was amazing. This was so beautiful. Next time she’d wait until she’d untied him, wait until she could see this. Oh, fuck.

She let her hand find her clit again. Malcolm seized her and kissed her, told her to do it. Clara leaned on him. He swept her feet out from under her and laid her down on the carpet. His hand came down over hers and she let him take over. He cradled her and crooned to her and fluttered his hand against her, while she thought about those marks on him, thought about what it would be like to be taken by him while he was bound, to take him while he was bound, while her fingers ran over the grooves in his shoulder.

Malcolm’s voice in her ear, his breath on her neck. “That’s right, darling, let it happen, I’ve got you, there it is, yeah.” And she was coming again, this time while he held her close.

In the bathroom, a little later, after their shower, Malcolm was staring at himself in the mirror, mouth open. The rope marks were still clear over his shoulders, around his chest. He rubbed at himself, and swore. Clara came up behind him and laid a hand on his backside. He couldn’t see it, but there were more marks visible there.

“You like this,” he said to her.

“Like what?”

“This shite. The rope marks.”

“Yeah. Do you?”

“Fucking love your face when you look at me. You get this look, fuckin’ dreamy, like you’re a cat in front of a fire.”

“Would you like to do it again?”

He rolled his eyes. “Always the fucking debriefing.”

“Shut up. Tell me how you felt about the rope. Did you like it?”

He frowned at her. “Yeah. That was, I don’t know, fuckin’ surprising? I’ve seen the complicated rope shite in skin mags but thought it was out of our league.”

“Nothing is out of my league, Malcolm. Did you like it?”

“Yeah. Fuck yeah. Pure fucking brilliant. Do that any time you want. Blow job too.”

“So long as you’re ready to taste yourself, sure.”

He grinned at her. “Doesn’t taste as good as cunt, but I’ve had worse. In a wine glass at last year’s Christmas do, to mention one fuckin’ miserable occasion.” He studied her for a moment. “Come on, love, let’s go to bed.”

He stretched out his hand for hers. Clara let him take it and let him lead her back to the bedroom.

Then they were in bed, burrowed under the comforter, nose to nose in the dark. Sometimes she suspected Malcolm of enduring everything she did to him just so he could get the cuddling afterward. He took her hands and kissed them, and then brushed a tentative kiss against her lips. Clara made an encouraging noise and he did it again.



“S’been good. This thing. What we’re doing.”

“I’m glad. Truly.” And that was easy to say, completely easy and true. Malcolm might well be the partner she’d been longing to find, at least before-- Well. She hadn’t been looking for somebody after Danny, but maybe maybe maybe she was getting over him. A little bit. The stab of guilt that she felt at even framing that thought was familiar, but for the first time she wondered if it was fair. It had been years, now. Could she let herself?

Malcolm spoke again. “There’s a thing. Sunday afternoon. Some fucking charity thing. Got two tickets. If you wanted to come–”

“Sounds good.”

She hadn’t even asked what it was for. She didn’t care what it was for. Malcolm would have chosen something she’d like.

Well, well.