“Colleen, what happened to last night?” David asked as he got up from the floor and faced Erin's mother. He was annoyed but he tried to stay in control.
“What do you expect me to do when I see my daughter in pain?” she retorted.
“Yes, she's feeling a bit of pain, but it was consensual,” David explained, an edge of exasperation creeping into his voice.
Colleen was seething. “What's that bullshit mean?” she demanded.
“I did spank her, Colleen. Hard,” he said, “but she agreed, no she asked me to do it. That's what I mean by consensual.”
“How could she consent to being beaten?”
“I only used my hand,” David continued. “I wouldn't call that being beaten. If she felt it was too much, she could have always used her safeword.”
“It's a way a submissive can exert control in a scene,” David explained. “It's an agreed upon signal that, when the submissive says it, all activity ceases. I gave Erin a safeword, Antares, yesterday. If she had used it, I would have stopped the spanking-but she didn't use it.”
“She started crying...”
“...And you still claim you didn't...” Colleen sputtered
“...and I stopped just as soon as she did,” David insisted. “Erin didn't indicate that I had done anything she hadn't wanted me to do. She confirmed that I did exactly what she wanted.”
“You're not convincing me, David” Colleen warned.
David stood there quietly for a minute or so, fighting back the urge to give her a sarcastic reply and walk out. “Colleen, I know you're upset... understandably so,” he said in an even voice, “and I'm trying to explain things as best as I can, but you've got to let me have a chance to do so.”
“You're right about that, David,” Colleen admitted. She relaxed a bit, then continued, “I'm just so worried about Erin after all she's gone through the last few months.”
“I am, too,” David told her. “I'm not sure, but I think she was trying to work something else out. If only you could have seen her this morning...”
“What do you mean?”
“We were having a great morning,” David explained. “Erin was at the range, preparing breakfast. I was at the table, entertaining the twins. She looked over at us and smiled, then... a veil of sadness descended on her. I think she was sorry, or upset or having regrets over the situation.”
“You mean about divorcing Ronald?” Colleen was dubious.
“No, about...” David searched for the words. “I think, about making me an instant father of twins.”
“Have you said anything about that to her?”
“Only that I'm looking forward to it-which I am. I love those boys already,” David said, tearing up a bit.
“OK, now what does that have to do with the spanking?”
“I've seen it before,” David explained. “I think Erin was using the spanking as... the only word I can come up with right now is penance.”
“Penance?” Colleen looked confused.
“Look, I'm not a mind reader. I'm guessing about what Erin intended from what I saw this morning. If you want more answers, you'll have to talk to her.
“I was intending to, David,” Colleen insisted, “whether you give me permission or not.”
“I told you I would never keep you from talking to Erin,” David reminded her, “and in fact, right now I'd encourage it. I just have one request... Don't go at her with an accusatory tone. If I'm right, I'm afraid in the mindset she's in right now she'd just shut down. Just go to her as a concerned mother and let her tell you what she will.”
“I'll try,” Colleen said, “but I don't know how long I could do that.” She turned and headed for the nursery. She knocked on the door frame and said, “Erin, could we talk for a minute?”
“Sure Mom,” Erin replied. “I'm just about done here.” She snapped the last fasteners on Thomas's pants and picked him up. “What do you want to talk about?”
Colleen took a breath. “It looks like something's wrong with you this morning and I'm concerned about you. It's been a busy couple of days and...”
“There's nothing wrong, Mom,” Erin replied, “other than my asking for, and David giving me a spanking this morning. It's going to hurt for a bit, but I wanted it that way.”
“You know I don't understand much about this whole thing,” Colleen said, trying to keep an even tone, “but I don't understand why you'd want him to hit you.”
“It makes me feel loved. I know that's hard for you to grasp, Mom, but it's true.”
“Is that all it is?” Colleen asked.
“What do you mean, Mom?” Erin seemed hesitant.
“Was that the only reason you asked him to spank you?”
Erin hung her head as a “veil of sadness” descended on her. Erin's eyes teared up. “I... I deserved it,” she choked out.
“Why would you deserve punishment, Erin?”
“I... I... How can I make David be responsible for the twins?” she sobbed. “They're not his! Why couldn't I have met him first, instead of Ronnie?” She clutched Thomas, who was getting upset at seeing his mother cry.
“Let me take him from you, dear,” Colleen said softly as she reached for Thomas. There was a knock on the door frame. When Colleen turned around, David was standing there. “Let me take him off your hands for now,” he said quietly. Colleen handed the boy to David, who left without saying another word.
Erin rushed over to her mother. “See what I mean?” she insisted, tears running down her face. “He's so wonderful to them and to me, but... but...”
“Is it that you think you don't deserve him?” Colleen asked as she embraced her daughter.
“Why couldn't I have met David first?”
“I can't answer that,” Colleen confided, “but I know one thing. If any man has the heart to take over a family, it's David. He loves you and he loves the boys and I don't think he feels you're forcing him into anything.” They stood there for a minute, then Colleen asked, “Is that why you asked him to spank you this morning?”
Erin laid her head against her mother’s chest. “He was harder than he was yesterday, but I asked him to spank me hard... To mark me.”
“Why would you ask him to do that?”
“So I can show people I'm his,” Erin replied. “And to show him that I can take it.”
“Did he hurt you?”
“No more than yesterday. It was quicker and I didn't has as much time to prepare but I'm not really hurt. I just feel like I would if I overworked myself exercising or cleaning yesterday.”
“Then why did you cry?”
“I... I... I just feel guilty for dragging David into all of this!” Erin wailed.
“Erin, baby, I can guarantee you that David was not dragged into anything,” Colleen said. “He made the choice to defend a woman from an abuser. The rest he does because he loves you and the boys.”
“Are you sure?” Erin said, wiping her eyes.
“To put up with this Mama Bear? The only way he'd do that is for love,” Colleen told her daughter.
“Mom? Did you jump on him again?” Erin demanded.
“Yes, but he stood up to me and made me see what was really going on,” Colleen admitted. “He's not flinched when I've made accusations and he's been able to give me explanations that eventually make sense to me.”
“Eventually?” Erin was concerned.
“It's taking a bit of work to get this old “vanilla” woman to understand your world,” Colleen said, chuckling.
“I'll loan you the book, Mom, I promise.”
“OK. Um, Erin?” Colleen started.
“Could I see the... damages?”
Erin blushed from her forehead to below the collar of her dress as she took a deep breath. “I said I didn't care who knew,” she said as she turned around, lifted up her dress and bent over to give her mother a good look. Erin saw that almost all of the skin of of her buttocks was a deep red and there were a scattering of small purplish bruises about the size of fingertips. She also saw something else.
“You're not wearing panties again?” she asked Erin.
“Mom, just having the dress touch my ass is bad enough,” Erin explained. “I can't imagine how I'd feel with panties on, much less pantyhose. You're not mad at David now, are you?”
Colleen shook her head. “I've seen worse,” she confided, “in the mirror.”
Erin looked puzzled, then remembered. “Oh, right!” she exclaimed.
“I'll give you a tip,” Colleen said. “It'll hurt at first, but after you sit down it'll lessen.” The two women headed out to the living room to find David playing with the boys.
“Once again, I have to apologize to you...” Colleen started.
“No, you don't,” David replied, cutting her off. “I want you to challenge me when you see something you don't think is right. I can handle it. Remember, I was in the Navy, so I've been chewed out by the absolute best at it-Master Chief Petty Officers.”
“Well, I am sorry I held you up,” Colleen said. “You wanted to leave by now, I assume?”
“I've been working on that,” David said, “and I realized that we have plenty of time to get everything done and be back home before 5:00 PM.” David turned to Erin. “However, I was thinking about the talk we had with the lawyer yesterday, Remember when I looked at the photos that I said I thought I recognized one of the places?”
“Yes, I do, Master,” Erin replied.
“I want to make some time to stop by and take another look at them. I wish I could show them to Barb and George. They have lived here longer than I have and might recognize the building.”
“But you don't have to do that, Master,” Erin said excitedly. “I have copies of the photos, too!”
“Erin, they're at my house, remember?” Colleen said.
David smiled. “I want to see those photos-maybe even take them to the Emporium. Would you mind running back home and getting them for me?”
“Anything that will help move this mess along, David,” Colleen said as she picked up her purse and headed for the door.
About fifteen minutes later, Colleen returned with a brown envelope in her hand. “Here it is!” she announced. “I guess you can keep it here now,” she added, handing the envelope to David.
David pulled out the photos and leafed through them until he found the ones of the building in question. He studied them again, then sighed. “I'm glad he got the time and date on the photos but I wish he had written the addresses on them, too.”
Erin was picking up some toys Francis had tossed out of the play yard. “He did, Master. They're on the back,” she told David as she picked up a teddy bear.
“Why didn't I think of that?” David mused as he flipped over the photo. Written on a sticker on the back was the case number, date, time and the address. David read it out loud. “2470 Hudson St. Now where did I hear that address before?”
Still picking up toys, Erin replied, “Wasn't that where George had to deliver that new toy?” when she realized what she had said, she turned around and exclaimed, “Isn't that...”
David was racking his brain to remember who had told him that address. When Erin said “George” and “new toy” it all fell into place. David jumped up and said, “You mean he's been going to...”
Together, they said, “Melissa's place?” Then they broke out laughing. When he stopped laughing, David yelled, “Busted!”
Colleen just stared at the two of them, completely confused. “Who's busted?” she asked.
“Dear sweet Ronnie is!” exclaimed David, grinning evilly. The two women then saw his grin fade. “What is it, Master?” she asked with a panicked look on her face.
“It's a twelve story apartment building,” David recalled. “We don't know which floor he went to.”
“I'll just call up Victor and ask him,” Colleen offered.
“No good, Mom,” Erin observed. “All of the pictures are from outside. It looks like he didn't leave his car.”
“Well, I guess he'll have to do it this time,” Colleen said. “I'll go call him now.”
“Wait, Colleen, I think I can check this another way,” David said. “Erin, would you like to go see Melissa's place?”
“Why, sure, Master,” she replied, then she looked puzzled. “Will she tell us anything at all?”
“She'll do it for me,” David said confidently as he pulled out his phone and looked up Melissa's private number. “I'm sure she'll be up,” he said, “she doesn't keep late hours.”
Erin could hear a faint ringing, then a click. “Hi, Melissa, it's David,” he said. “No, Melissa, it doesn't... I do have a favor to ask of you... yes, that's right... are you free any time this afternoon? Good. Erin and I would like to come over for a bit.” David looked at Erin, who nodded her approval, “could you make it one thirty? I know... what? OK. We will. See you then!”
“So we're going over to Melissa's place?” Erin asked. “Isn't she going to be working?”
“Not today,” David explained. “Her early afternoon client for today is out of town on a business trip, so she has some time free. We just have to be gone before three PM.”
“Who's Melissa,” Colleen asked, “and why are you going to see her?”
“Melissa is one of the sweetest but most scatterbrained people you'll ever meet,” David said.
Erin started giggling as she remembered her introduction to Melissa. “I met her yesterday, Mom, and she was a real trip! It seems she had a thing for David when he first moved here but he didn't feel the same way and she's been teasing him about it ever since.”
“And you're taking Erin over there?” Colleen was once again confused.
“Oh, don't worry, Mom,” Erin said. “When David introduced me to her yesterday she said I was the luckiest girl in the country and she wouldn't tease David any more.”
“She must have meant in front of you, Erin,” David commented, then turned to Colleen. “When I first met Melissa, she wanted us to get together, but I turned her down.”
“You didn't want her as your submissive?” Colleen asked.
“No, not quite,” David explained. “She wanted me to be her slave.” Colleen looked puzzled, so David continued, “You see, To her friends, she's Melissa but to her clients, she's Mistress Payne, the top professional dominatrix in the city.”
“And you want to take Erin over to her... to her...”
“Penthouse? Yes,” David replied. “Her penthouse is on the top floor of this building,” as he held up the picture of Ronald entering 2470 Hudson Street.
“No!” Colleen gasped.
“I'm going to see if Melissa will confirm my suspicion,” David said with a smile.
Colleen started laughing. “Oh, the will be sooo rich!” she chortled, “the bastard who's threatening to smear my Erin is actually seeing a prostitute!”
“Technically, she's not,” David said. “She never is nude with her clients, much less have intercourse with them, but to find out that the guy who would claim Erin forced her to be a dominant actually is a submissive... Oh, that is so full of WIN!”
“I wonder where he goes the other nights?” Erin mused. David and Colleen both looked at her.
“Hmm, good question,” David observed. “If he's going to any other pro dommes, then he's in bigger trouble than he thinks. Melissa is very territorial. She demands loyalty from her clients. If he's seeing other dommes, then he's lying to her and she will not stand for it one bit.”
“It sounds like you've stumbled on the very thing that will give us leverage over Ronald,” Colleen noted.
“But...” David cautioned, “we have to play this right. I know Melissa will help us.”
“Time's a wasting, you two,” Colleen said. “You better get going!”
David glanced at his watch. “Yeah, we have a lot of ground to cover. You ready, Erin?”
“Yes, Master,” she replied, smiling.
“Well, then, grab the photos, kiss the boys and let's go!”
“David, did you move your car in the garage last night?” Colleen asked.
“Yes, I did, on the right hand side. Why?”
“Good, then I'm not parked behind you,” Colleen said.
Erin and David gave kisses to both of the twins and headed out for the day. As they got on the road, David said, “First stop, the Emporium!”
Erin put a finger inside her collar and rubbed it. She noticed that the leather was getting rough against her skin. “I think I see what you're talking about, Master,” she said. “This collar is getting a bit rough inside.”
“I shouldn't have let you wear it in the shower,” David said, annoyed at himself. “But I think George may be able to get the leather back in good condition.”
They arrived at the Emporium and went into the waiting area. David used his code to open the door. As they went in, Erin asked him, “Should we be here now, Master? The store doesn't open until four. Barb and George won't be...”
George's voice boomed out, cutting off Erin. “Erin! David! Why are you here so early? Checking up on us, Captain?”
“Oh, knock it off, George,” David said. “I just want to get Erin a permanent collar and have you look at this one. Dummy that I am, I let her shower in it twice.”
“That's not like you, David,” George observed. “It must be love!” He started walking over to a room full of display cases. “I have the stealth collars over here.”
As Erin and David followed George, Erin whispered, “I don't want a stealth collar! I want everyone to know you own me!”
“Wait until you see them to decide,” David told her.
George lifted the glass of the display case he stood by. Erin saw a number of metal collars. There were round ones, like George wore. Some had eyelets for placing a lock, others used invisible or hidden locks or screws. Erin wasn't too excited about them. Then she spied one collar that made her heart leap. It was stainless steel, shaped like a teardrop and molded to drape onto her chest from her shoulders so that it looked like a necklace. The closure was a stainless steel heart shaped lock, but the ends of the teardrop hoop fit into the holes where the lock's hasp usually would be.
“This is the collar I want to put on you forever,” David said as he picked up that collar. Erin's eyes gleamed as David removed the lock and fit the steel hoop around her neck. “This isn't your usual key lock,” David told her, “it actually is locked with a brass Allen screw set into the hole in the lock. You can only remove the lock with an Allen wrench. Don't worry, once I lock this on you, you will have a wrench on you all the time.” With that, David slid the lock on the ends of the hoop and tightened the screw, then handed Erin her emergency wrench.
Erin turned to a mirror on the top of the display case and admired her new collar. She had to wipe the tears out of her eyes to see it clearly. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever worn. “Oh, Master!” she cried, then buried her face in his chest. David had a goofy grin on his face and George was smiling and wiping a tear from his eye, too. David fished his keyring out of his pants pocket and unlocked Erin's leather collar, removing it so he could hand it to George. “I'll get it looking as good as new, David, I promise,” George told him.
The door to the office opened and Barb walked out. “What's going on in here?” she asked. Erin turned around to show Barb her new collar. When Barb saw it, and Erin's joy at wearing it, she gasped. “You... You are so beautiful, Erin!” she cried. She rushed over and hugged her tightly, then held her out at arm's length. “Do you know what's the best part of this?” Erin could only shake her head. “Your David designed this collar,” Barb announced. “Oh, my!” Erin gasped. She turned back to David and flung her arms around him.
George was smiling broadly as he watched the couple. “We've sold a number of those collars but never the one in the case. That was at David's insistence. The one you wear now is the prototype-the first one made to David’s design.”
“I designed the collar to be discreet and elegant,” David said with obvious pride, “and while I had a picture in my mind of how it would look on my slave; seeing it on such a perfect neck as yours, Erin, I realize now I had to be designing it for you. I love you, my sweet slave Erin.”
“I love you, my wonderful Master David,” Erin replied softly.