Erin knelt beside the sobbing Melissa. She tried to console her friend, but the distraught woman was so upset she didn't appear to know Erin was there. Erin wanted to get Melissa up from the floor but knew she couldn't do it herself. She looked over to David and Sam. They were still squared off against each other and it looked like fists would start swinging any moment. Erin had to act, and act fast.
“DAVID! SAM! Drop the macho act and help me move Melissa!” The two men looked at Erin kneeling next to Melissa. If the situation wasn't so tense the look of shock on both of their faces would have been hilarious.
Sam moved first, dropping his arms and rushing over to kneel by his friend and Dominant. David took a few seconds longer to react, perhaps because he had never experienced Erin shouting at him before. He rushed over to where Erin was kneeling and got down on one knee opposite Sam.
“On three,” he said as they put their arms under Melissa's shaking body. At the signal, they lifted her and moved her over to the chaise lounge. They set her down gently, then went right back to their stand-off.
“How could you have done that to her!” Sam was still angry.
“I... I tried to get her to... I... I didn't think...” David was visibly shaken.
“Damn right you weren't thinking!” Sam bellowed.
“Boys! BOYS!” Erin's voice grabbed their attention again. “Could you stuff it for now and help me get Melissa calmed down?”
The commotion that raged around her brought Melissa slowly back to awareness. The first thing she saw was Erin hovering over her, worry etched on her face. She started crying again, though softly this time. “I'm so sorry, Erin. I didn't know. I would never have done anything to...” Erin gently shushed her friend.
“Shh, Melissa. Calm down, dear. Everything's OK.” Erin was stroking Melissa's forehead and comforting her, which only made Melissa more upset.
“But... but Erin, I ruined your marriage...”
“What do you mean?” Erin was still trying to calm her friend.
“Your... your husband... Ronald... I've been... he's been...”
“Melissa, listen to me.” Erin held her by her shoulders and stared right into her eyes. “You did nothing wrong. You didn't know who he was when you took him on. You didn't even know who I was until yesterday. How could you have ruined my marriage?”
“But... But Erin...”
“No buts. Did you force Ronald to come to you the first time?”
Melissa looked puzzled. “Huh?”
“Did you force Ronald to come here the first time or did he seek you out?”
“He... he...” Melissa thought for a moment. “You're right, I didn't make him come to me.”
“Did you make him come back?”
“No, Erin, I didn’t... I get it now.” Melissa looked up at her friend. “I can't... You... Erin, you don’t blame me at all?”
“No, I don't.” Erin was smiling at her. Melissa could see real concern in her friend's eyes. “I... I can't believe you, Erin. How can you be so... so forgiving?”
“What's to forgive? You're just trying to make a living. Ronald was the one who made the decision to desert me. Besides, you aren't the only one...” Melissa's eyes flew open.
“WHAT? He's seeing OTHER Dommes?” Erin started laughing. “Hon, what's so funny?” Melissa asked.
“He's cheating on both of us, Melissa.”
David and Sam were standing there, watching Erin comfort Melissa. David was in awe of his slave's compassion and kindness. Sam had tears in his eyes. He turned to David to apologize.
“I'm sorry I came down on you so hard. I didn't know Erin's husband was a client of Melissa's.”
“No, you did what you had to, considering what you knew at the time.” David looked at Erin. “I'm finding it... I'm in awe of her, Sam. I've only really known her since Wednesday and yet, she's gotten to me so completely.” His eyes glistened with tears. Sam threw his arm around David's shoulder.
“Are you sure you're not mad at me, Erin?” Melissa was still stunned by her friend's concern for her.
“No, Melissa, I'm not. I'm realizing Ronald left me... abandoned the marriage... long before any of this. You didn't cause that, he did.”
“Erin, I will help you any way I can to get away from that... that...”
“Rat bastard?” Erin giggled. “That's what I called him when I found out he had sold my car.”
“Yeah. He didn't even get any money from it. He just didn't pay the repair bill and signed the title over to the mechanic.”
“Come to think of it, he hasn't been flashing so much cash as he was at the beginning...” Melissa grew quiet.
“Don't go there, girlfriend.” Erin was attempting to give Melissa a stern look. She almost got it right, but the hint of a smile was on her face. “If you're thinking of the money, again you didn't force him to come to you.”
Melissa turned to David. “Just where did you find this angel, David?”
“She was waiting for someone to find her and love her.”
Melissa took some deep breaths and sat up. “I'm better now,” she told Erin. “You said he's seeing other prodommes?”
David picked up the envelope and pulled out the rest of the photos. “We're not sure, but we did learn he goes to two other places every week. One is Mondays and Thursdays, the other is Wednesdays only.” He handed the photos to Melissa. “He stays about the same amount of time as he does with you. The addresses are on the back of the photos.”
Melissa leafed through the pictures. “I think this is...” she said while looking at one, then she flipped it over to read the address. “Yes, this is Sonja's address. The other one I don't recognize.”
“Sonja?” Erin asked.
“Sonja is another prodomme,” Davids explained. “She goes by the name “Goddess Natasha”.”
“Let me go see her,” Melissa suggested. “She and I have a pretty good working relationship. We've done some two-on-one scenes before. We have different but complementary styles of domination. She'll talk with me.”
“Thanks, Melissa. I'm sorry for how I started out with this. I was afraid that if you knew he was Erin's husband you'd meltdown.”
Melissa laughed bitterly. “I've just never had that happen to me. I'm usually so careful to make sure I have no relationship to any of my clients...”
“But at the time he started you didn’t have any,” Erin reminded her.
“But he said his wife knew and approved... That she couldn't give him what I could.”
“He never said anything to me.”
“He even gave me a letter from his “wife”....” Melissa stood up quickly. “I kept the letter in my client file. I'll go get it.” She left the room and came back with a letter a few minutes later. Handing it to Erin, she asked, “Is this your handwriting?”
Erin glanced at the signature. “Not only is it not my handwriting, it's not even my name.”
“Sam, get me my cell phone. I'm going to get this settled now.”
Sam headed into another room, then returned with the phone. Melissa looked up a number and called it. “Sonja, it's Melissa... I know it comes up on caller ID, it's just an old habit of mine... I need to talk to you about one of your clients. He may be a client of mine, too... No, he didn't give me his real name, so I don't know if he used an alias with you. I've got a photo... Yes... Tomorrow for lunch? Luigi's would be fine. See you then!”
Melissa looked at David. “May I hold on to this photo?”
“It's Erin's.” Melissa turned to Erin.
“Sure. I've seen his face enough to last a lifetime. When you're finished with it, stick it behind your fridge. It'll scare away pests.” Erin laughed.
“Remind me to never get you mad at me!” Sam was grinning, then they all started laughing. Suddenly, Erin got a horrified look on her face. She faced David and dropped to her knees. “Please forgive me, Master!”
“I...I... yelled at you!” She was near tears.
David walked over to her and lifted her up. “Little one, what you did was entirely called for. Melissa needed help and we should have been taking care of her, not squaring off against each other. You showed the best instincts of any of us. I should ask you and Melissa to forgive us for being so insensitive to her needs.”
“Besides,” Melissa added, “I did declare a time out.”
“You know, it just occurred to me,” Sam mused, “Is Ronald wealthy?”
Erin laughed. “He's just an office manager. We got by, but we didn't live lavishly. Why?”
“I see where you're going, Sam,” said Melissa. “How can he afford prodommes four nights a week?”
David nodded in agreement. “Good question. Erin, when was the last time you had a chance to check your bank balances?”
“Oh, my. Not since before the twins were born, I think.”
“You have twins?” Melissa was suddenly fascinated.
“Yes. Two boys, about seven months old.” Erin beamed.
Oh, my! I've got to come over and meet them some day, Erin!”
“We'll have to plan on it... Won't we, Master?”
David looked up from where he was picking up the photos Melissa had dropped. “Um, sure, Erin. Sorry, Melissa, we've got to go. I want to get over to Erin's bank ASAP.”
“No. Wait.” Erin was deep in thought. “I did see it about two weeks ago. It was actually higher than I expected.”
“I still want to get over there. Who knows what he might have done since then?”
“Of course, David. I understand. I'll let you know what Sonya says after we talk.”
“Thanks, Lissa.” David stood up and grabbed the envelope to put the photos back.
“Oh, wait! What am I going to do about Ronald? Suddenly I don't want to be anywhere near him.”
“Is that because you're worried or you're too pissed off?”
“I guess a little of both, David.”
Erin asked, “Could you cancel him? Say you were sick?”
“Why didn't I think of that?” Melissa picked up her phone and searched for Ronald's phone. Erin was standing next to her and noticed she stopped at a contact with the name “Matthew.” “Is that him?” she asked.
“Yes, it is, Erin. Why?”
Erin gave a bitter laugh. “I should have known. That's his middle name.”
“I see.” Melissa pressed “SEND” and put the phone to her ear. After a few seconds, her eyes widened. “I got a “This number is not in service” message. I guess he had to give up his cell phone or it got canceled.”
'I don't know what else to tell you, Melissa,” David said. “But if he does come tonight, try to act normal. You might spook him otherwise. Also, remember Sam is here. He'll keep you safe.”
“You're right, David. Sam would be able to handle him.” She turned to Sam. “I'll take you out of chastity for tonight so you'll have nothing to impede you.”
“You don't have to, I'm sure I’ll be alright, but I would appreciate being clothed.”
“You can wear your leathers and hood. He'll never recognize you with that on and it will be an extra intimidation factor.”
“We really have to run, Melissa. Call me when you find out anything or if you need help.” David and Erin headed for the door.
David pulled the car back onto the street. “We can check your bank balance online, Erin, so unless you have any other business we can skip the bank and go pick up your car.”
“I just remembered I do have some business at the bank, so could we go there Master?”
“Of course, little one. Just give me directions to the branch you normally use.”
Erin guided David to her local branch of her bank. As they parked, David noticed a store next door that he wanted to check out. “I'll be there in a few minutes, little one. You go ahead and get started with what you need to do and I'll find you.”
A smartly dressed blond woman was standing just inside the door when Erin walked in. “How may I help you?” she asked.
“I need to check the balance of one account and update some information on another.”
“I'll be happy to assist you today. My name is Cynthia, but you can call me Cindy... And your name is?”
“Erin Donnelly.” Erin followed Cindy into an office off the lobby. “May I close the door?” she asked. Cindy said, “If you'd like privacy, by all means, go ahead.”
Erin sat down in front of the desk after closing the door. Cindy, logging into her computer, asked, “Before we start, may I say I just love your necklace, Mrs. Donnelly.”
Erin broke into a big smile. “Please, just call me Erin, and thank you. I just got it today. It's very special to me.” She ran her finger around the heart shaped lock..
Cindy smiled. “I'm sure it is. Now, what may I do for you today, Erin?”
“First, I want to check the balance in my joint account.”
“I'll be happy to. Do you have the account number?”
Erin frowned. “No, Ronald always handles the finances. I just need to verify something before I make a decision.”
“I understand, Erin. How about your Social Security number?” Erin gave the number and Cindy entered it into the computer. After twenty seconds or so, she read the screen and frowned. Turning to her, Cindy asked, “How much are you expecting to be in the account?”
“The last time I did anything with the account, I believe there was about thirty-seven thousand dollars left in it when I was finished.”
Cindy turned back to the computer screen, clicked her mouse a few times, entered some more information and waited. Whatever she saw on the screen after that did not make her happy. “Mrs. Donn... er, Erin, I need to check something else out. I'll have to step...”
Erin leaned forward and smiled sweetly. “Just tell me what your computer is showing for a balance now.”
“I... I don't know how this has happened, Erin. I'm sure it's probably...”
“Cindy, whatever it is, I'm sure it's right. Please tell me what you see.”
Cindy took a deep breath and said, “There's ten dollars and thirty eight cents in your account.”
Erin sat back in her chair. Her smile had grown thin. “I thought so.”
“Mrs. Donn... Erin, I promise you I'll look into what has happened with your...”
“Cindy, please relax. There's no need to look into anything. I know what happened to the account. My husband.”
Cindy shook her head. She had had too many women sit there and learn that their husbands had left them without any money. She knew she was once again going to have to explain to an angry, frustrated... then she noticed that Erin was not angry or frustrated. She wasn't crying or threatening. She even had a bit of a smile on her face. “Are you alright, Erin? Did you understand what I said?”
“Oh, I understood you perfectly.” Erin was still calm and speaking normally. “I'm glad Karen got me to open up a separate account and transfer some money over to it before this happened. I'm just a bit upset at myself for not taking out more.”
Cindy gave a sigh of relief. Erin had someone in her life that was watching out for her. “I'm glad to hear that, Erin. May I ask who this Karen is?''
Erin's smile returned to her face. “She's my lawyer, Karen Akiyama.”
Cindy returned the smile. “It's nice to know that there are people out there to help those in need like you, Erin. Now, you said you also want to update some information on another account. I take it that's the account you just set up?”
“That's correct. I want to add another person to the account with full privileges.”
Cindy started pulling papers out of a desk drawer. “We can do that, but the other person will have to sign some paperwork. I'm guessing it's your mother or a friend?”
“No, it's not my Mom, and right now I don't have any friends that I'd trust. My husband ran them all off. I'm expecting the person who I want to add to the account to arrive any minute. He said he just wanted to check out something in the shop next door.”
Cindy got concerned. “Are you sure that, after what your husband has done to you, you want another man added to your account? Can you trust him?”
Erin looked Cindy straight in the eye. “I trust him with my life.” Just then, there was a knock on the door. Cindy called out, “Come in!” The door opened and David poked his head in.
“I'm sorry for interrupting, I'm just looking for... Cyn? Is that you? Where've you been hiding yourself?”
Cindy's face brightened up. “David! I could ask the same thing about you. It's been too long. By the way, you're looking good.”
“You look great, too, Cyn...” David stopped and his expression changed to one of concern. “What happened?”
“You noticed. He released me two months ago. We can talk later, after I help my customer.”
David looked down at Erin sitting in the chair and broke into a big grin. “So there you are, little one! My radar must be working fine because this is the first office I checked.” He walked in, closed the door and sat down next to Erin. “I take it you two have met?”
“Is everyone in this city kinky?” Erin asked, shaking her head.
“No, little one, just the vast majority of people I know. So Cyn, what did that idiot Jason do now?”
Cindy frowned. Erin could see it was still painful for her to talk about it, but Cindy started nodding her head. “He's decided he wants to go poly. He knew it was a boundary for me, but he still wanted me to try it out with him.”
“I'm so sorry, Cyn.” David had a look of concern on his face. “I thought you two would be so good together.”
Erin was puzzled. “How do you know Cindy, Master?” she asked, not realizing what she had said.
Cindy's eyes flew open. “Master? David? She's your slave?”
“Not yet. I have a problem with doing an official collaring before we get through Erin's divorce. It's kind of a trial period, to see how we fit together as Master and slave.”
“I see. Congratulations, Erin. You have the best Dom in the city... perhaps in the state. David was my protector for a time when I first got into the lifestyle. He also did some of my training. Truth be told, I'm just a bit envious that you got such a great catch.”
“And now they're talking about me like I'm a record setting trout,” David said to no one in particular. Erin and Cindy giggled.
“Oh, Erin? That whole lecture about trust I was going to give you? Forget it! You have the most trustworthy guy I know sitting right next to you.”
“Trustworthy? Why is the question of my trustworthiness coming up?”
“I want to put you on my account, Master. After all, I, and all I own, is yours.”
“But Erin, right now... you don't have to rush into this.” David was concerned.
“See what I mean, Erin? Any other man would have jumped at the chance to control your money. David's not like any other man.”
“I know,” Erin said to Cindy. She turned to David and pleaded, “Please, Master. I want... no, I need you on the account. I want to protect that money from anything Ronald might do to get it.”
“Does that mean he drained the joint account?”
“All but ten dollars and thirty eight cents.”
Cindy added “There was thirty seven thousand dollars in it two weeks ago.” Erin looked at him with pleading eyes.
David turned to Cindy. “You see? How can I say no to those puppy dog eyes?” He turned back to Erin. “Oh, OK. I'll do it.”
Cindy slid the paperwork over to David to sign. “You'll also need to sign, Erin. Which name do you want first?”
“David's,” Erin insisted.
“By the way, little one. How much do you have in your account?”
“I moved fifty thousand dollars over to our account, Master.” David's eyes grew big.
“How did you get fifty grand?”
“I don't know. Ronnie never let me see any of the statements, but since it's a joint account, I just took out what I thought I'd need and left thirty seven thousand in there.”
“If he was expecting eighty seven thousand, he must have been royally pissed when he saw the actual total. Was that part of what he was harassing you about?”
“No, it wasn't, Master.”
Cindy looked on her computer screen. “No, he actually withdrew the money at about one PM today.”
“That was after he confronted me in the restaurant, Master.”
“He looks like he's been sleeping in his car, his cell phone's turned off for non-payment, I assume, and then he withdraws a large amount of cash all of a sudden? I wonder what's going on?” David mused.
Cindy finished up revising Erin's account information and turned to the couple. “It's all in the computer now, David and Erin. There's just one more thing. I'm setting it up so that you need a pass word or phrase to withdraw money. What do you want to use for it?”
“I have no idea. Can you think of one, Master?”
David though for a few seconds, then a smile blossomed on his face. “Charley horse.”
“Charley horse?” Erin wrinkled up her nose. “I don't know if I could say that to anyone.”
“Yes, little one, charley horse. It may make you think twice before withdrawing any money. Or I could suggest “I am an anal slut”?”
Both Erin and Cindy blushed when they heard the term. Erin looked at Cindy. “You too?”
Cindy had a wistful look on her face as she nodded. “Even though I'm on my own right now, I can't leave the house without putting it in. Ir makes me feel...” A tear appeared in the corner of her eye.
David went to Cindy and embraced her. “You'll get through this,” he told her, then he looked at his slave and said, “I'm sorry, Erin. Cyn needs this.”
Erin also came over and embraced Cindy. “Yes, you'll be OK. If you want, I'll talk with you any time.” She looked up at David. “I love you, Master. You always do the right thing.” The three of them hugged for a few minutes.
“I'm... I'm better now. Thank you... both of you.” Cindy dabbed at her eyes with a tissue.
“You're welcome, Cindy,” Erin replied. Then she looked at David. “Well, to get back to the question at hand, I think I can get used to saying charley horse.”
“Charley horse it is,” Cindy said as she entered the pass phrase into the computer. “There. We're all done.”
“Thank you for everything, Cindy.” Erin gave her another hug. “May I consider you a friend?”
“No, Erin, not a friend. A sister.” Erin gave Cindy a big grin. “Ooh! I've never had a sister before! Thank you, Cindy!”
David gave Cindy another hug. “I know there's a Dom out there for you. One that will value your submission and honor your boundaries.”
“Thank you both! David, take care of her. Erin, take care of Master!”
Erin was putting on her seat belt. “Why did she call you Master?”
“She was a good submissive... well, she still is... but we just weren't right for each other,” David explained. “She was like you, a provisional slave for a while, but she had to end it. She still carries that pain in her heart, I think.”
“I see. That won't happen to us, will it?” Erin had a worried look on her face.
“Not if I can help it, little one. I fell in love with you as soon as you opened the door that day. I'll do whatever it takes to keep us together.” Erin still looked sad. “What's wrong, little one?”
“The price of my happiness is someone else's sorrow.”
“I know it sound cruel, but that's life, Erin. I don't like it any more than you, but in this case, I truly believe Cyn will find the Dom for her.”
Erin tried to smile. “I'll be OK, Master. Where to now?”
“Let's go get your new car!”