|Isobel Brandt \\ Persephone (praxidike) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-12-01 14:44:00
|Entry tags:||hades, persephone|
i want to know what's your quietest feeling
Who: Isobel & Obed.
What: Birthday kink and coping with new realities.
Where: Ace Hotel
When: Saturday, November 25th.
Obed wore his sleek black suit like armor, and strode into the hotel like a man going to war. The worst of his wounds were covered by his clothing, but there was no hiding the still-raw gashes that crossed his face or the shallower scratches on his hands. For all the elegance of their surroundings he still felt eyes upon him as he moved toward the bar. Furtive glances, of course, quickly sliding away, but there all the same. And even those marks that were hidden, obscured from curious eyes, reminded him constantly of their presence; his chest ached and itched beneath the starched cloth of his dress shirt. He slid his hands into the pockets of his trousers simply to keep from scratching at the taut, healing skin beneath shirt and coat.
He moved into the bar, grateful for the dim lighting and the wide, open space. There were patrons enough, to be sure, and no small number of them turned their attention to him as he entered the room. He squared his shoulders and moved toward the bar with an air of confidence he did not feel. He stood before the bar—sitting, he feared, would make him look more an invalid than he already felt—and nodded to attract the attention of a passing bartender. Obed caught the bartender's slight start upon turning to greet him, saw the way his eyes followed the paths carved by sharp claws over his left eye, the bridge of his nose, down to his chin. The longer that gaze lingered the more sharply Obed's tangled emotions roiled. His jaw tightened, embarrassment and frustration and simple exhaustion hardening his voice.
"A bottle of Jonata Cab Sauv," he said. He waved a hand to indicate his tattered face. "Whenever you're finished, of course."
The bartender blanched. He turned on his heel and slunk away, visibly trying to compose himself as he disappeared behind the high wall at the bar's back. Obed remained standing, more uncomfortable now than he had been before. He fought to tamp down the feeling. Remarkably, staring down at his damaged hands helped. The marks there reminded him of his fight with Savoy, but the heavy ring that now adorned one particular finger went a long way toward calming him. With the pad of his thumb he turned the ring on his finger, spinning it round and round, letting its polished black surface catch what little light shone on it. He was almost smiling by the time the bartender returned with bottle and glass.
Obed paid the bartender no mind as he made a great show of presenting the bottle. His thoughts were elsewhere, on the woman who had given him only an address, a time, and a dress code. He only spun the little ring, reminding himself that whatever else had happened, whatever uncomfortable realities he now had to face, this, too, was real, and well worth the cost.
Whatever attention he'd garnered during his entrance was pulled away a few minutes later by the arrival of another lone party; this one was nearly in every way Obed's opposite. Red flared out behind the woman as she walked, her tight-fitting dress dragging a foot long train. In contrast, her blond bob almost seemed to bounce with each step. Jaws dropped and whispers followed her passage, but she had no sight for anyone other than, it seemed at first, the bar; then it quickly became clear that she was solely interested in the man seated there, alone with his drink and with his hurt. Red nails tipped her fingers, but what was even more eye-catching was the delicate, black metalworking of the jeweled handguard over her right. Her left hand was bare of any jewelry, though a thin tan line around her ring finger gave away that it had not been so for long. The palm of that hand went to the chair next to him, her claiming her seat to Obed's right.
"Is this seat taken?" Her voice was breathy, but familiar. Isobel smiled at Obed with crimson lips that made her teeth seem almost achingly white, arching one still-black brow that revealed the wig for its true origins. She turned the chair toward herself without waiting for his response, and sat, immediately discarding the few inches her tall red heels gave her. Pale legs parted a long slit running nearly the length of her dress' skirt as she rolled the decorated hand into a fist and rested her chin atop it. "You looked like you could use some company."
He turned his head to her only slowly, feigning apathy. But his heart leapt in his throat at the sight of her; he could not suppress the smile she brought to his lips. He motioned to the bartender, calling for a second glass. The man readily complied. While he did, Obed took the liberty of a longer look at her. The handguard was familiar, if unexpected, as unexpected as the lack of her own wedding and engagement rings. There was a question in his eyes when they met hers, but he knew the answer—and the game—before he needed to speak it.
Nodding, Obed took up the bottle, and poured a generous glass for her. He set the bottle down between them. His hand came to rest at the base of his own glass, steady and unmoving as he carefully studied his guest.
"I don't want your pity," he said, his voice low. "But I'll share a drink with you. This is too fine a vintage to drink alone."
Her fingers made sure to brush his as she reached for the glass; perhaps overextending, the cool metal brushing his skin before clinking softly around the stem's base.
"I don't come bearing pity; I simply have good taste in men of good taste, plus," and here her eyes fell to the hand around his own glass, his black ring stark against his flesh, "if someone saw fit to nab you, you must be interesting." The metal guard curled around the glass proper and lifted the red to her lips, sipping it gently. His gaze lingered long on her, on the way the light through the wine glass cast sanguine shadows on her throat, like gems set into pale flesh.
"Mmm, I love it when I'm proved right." Isobel smiled again, this time more softly, but the curl at the edges of her lips indicated her pleasure. Putting the drink down, her hand still circling the stem, she reached out to brush his elbow with her left. Fingers gently plucked at the fine material, worrying softly for the matter far beneath the layers. "I'm Olivia, by the way. What brings you to the Ace?"
He thought on this for a moment, unsure how to best respond. An answer came to him, though it was far too pathetic to give voice. He hated himself for that brief flash of weakness, but focused on her and put it out of his mind.
"Their wine list is one of the best in town," he said, nodding toward the bottle. "And I like the ambiance here. The crowd. You never know who you'll meet." He twitched a guarded smile. Even with that small motion the wounds on his face seemed to stretch and tighten. The slight arch to his brow, when he moved just right under the light, bore a flash of bare skin where a monstrous claw had torn through. Had the wounds been more healed, the effect might have been handsomely rakish. As it was, he only felt freshly embarrassed and unsure, and it showed as his smile quickly faded.
If she noticed, it did not show on her face; her gaze remained fixed on his, her smile widening at the appearance of his. It did not dampen when the latter disappeared.
"It is beautiful, isn't it?" Olivia—Isobel—turned her eyes upward, her gaze roving over the lacework pattern of arches embedded in the ceiling, layered with an icing of overly rich molding. He nodded, but held his tongue, the better to listen to her comforting voice. "In 1989, Gene Scott was the first to lease the place and used it to broadcast Sunday services to the masses. He claimed the place housed the largest collection of Bibles in private hands." She looked back down to Obed, crows feet emphasizing the skip her heart made when her gaze landed on him.
"This hotel version didn't open until about three years ago, so maybe they've still got a little of that old 'Jesus Saves.' Did you feel blessed when you walked through the door?" Her finger tapped the bowl of her wine glass, the metal sharp on the transparent material. "It's definitely some expensive holy water. Looks like indulgences didn't completely die out with Luther."
"Thankfully," Obed said. The smile returned. Damaged fingers curled loosely around the stem of his glass, lifting it from the table, nearly to his lips. "I didn't feel blessed then," he admitted, "but I certainly do now." He took a long, slow sip of wine, savoring its complexity, its rich, dark depths. It seemed now a better, more fitting choice for their evening than he could have guessed when first he chose it. Or perhaps it was only her influence, he thought, strong enough to color even his senses of taste and smell, to render everything greater than it first seemed to be.
"But what about you, Olivia?" The false name slipped from his tongue more easily than he had anticipated. He leaned into the game, his eyes meeting hers as they had the first night they had met, before he wore his scars on the outside as well as within. For a moment, he could almost forget those awful marks. "What brings you here? And dressed like you're ready to break someone's heart, no less."
"Oh, I had plans," she offered, somewhat conspiratorially as her grin turned sharper. "I was going to meet someone here, but he's stood me up. But then there's you, so I think I can safely say my evening's been...resurrected," she chose after some thought, keeping with the aforementioned theme. "I'm glad I didn't have to wait three days, though.
"So, Mr. Mystery Man," she continued, pausing for another sip, "do you spend all your time talking to strange women in water holes? How does your wife feel about that?"
"Oh… I doubt she'd approve," Obed said. "But this…" His gaze moved from "Olivia's" face to the arched ceiling above, the ornate carvings on the walls, the sharply-dressed crowd, the tiled floor below; all of it borderline ostentatious and still somehow beautiful. His eyes drifted back to hers, unvoiced laughter in their depths. "I don't think this is quite her style. But what she doesn't know…"
Olivia/Isobel's hand flew back out to grab at Obed's elbow as her teeth sunk into her bottom lip. "Oh, you are naughty," she whispered amusedly, leaning in. "If you don't tell, I promise I won't. Speaking of which—"
She didn't have a chance to finish her thought as another party entered the fray, taking a seat to Olivia/Isobel's right. Leaning forward, the man—expensively clad, decently handsome, and clearly already inebriated—rapped his knuckles on the bar.
"Martini for me, and one for the lady, please," he started, swinging his head in a leering grin toward his red-clad target. Isobel started, glancing back at the man, but then pointedly turned her chair a little away from him. "Oh come on, don't be like that. We can all be friends. Right?" He offered, raising his brows toward the scarred man on Isobel's left. As his gaze realized the full extent of the injuries on Obed's face, his eyes widened and he gave a low whistle.
"Damn, don't you just look like you've been through the woodchipper."
Obed's jaw tightened. Again he was grateful for the low light of the room; it hid the flush of shame that crept upward from the column of his throat. His lips twisted into the beginnings of a sneer. "You should see the other guy," he answered flatly. Then he looked back to his companion, intent upon not giving the interloper more attention than he deserved.
"You were saying?"
Isobel opened her mouth, but the man's voice came out again.
"Come on, don't be rude," he interjected, reaching forward for one of the two martinis the bartender put down. His other hand reached for the speared olives, using it to swirl his drink. "If people wanna be alone, they don't come to a bar.
"Besides," he said, the switch to Isobel pulling the disgusting smile back onto his face, "she looks like she's too much for one man to handle."
"Oh, you have no idea," Isobel returned, mostly muttering the sentiment under her breath. The next words were clear, both in tone and volume. "I'm not interested in you; since you can't get that from my simply ignoring you, there's your verbal response. And..." here she turned back to Obed, one hand rising to point to the bottle he'd ordered. "How do you feel about finishing that in my room?"
The man guffawed. "Honey, come on, if that's what his face looks like, I can't imagine what his d—"
Isobel rounded on the man, grabbing the martini he'd purchased for her and dashing it in his face. The man's mouth hung open, his eyes blinking. One of his hands slowly rose to start wiping off his face as much as he was able.
"You're very lucky we're in public," Isobel hissed, forcing herself to gently put the martini glass back on the counter. She turned back to Obed, her face softening from its angry expression instantly.
Obed was openly staring and he knew it, but he could not seem to stop himself. But he composed himself quickly enough, picking bottle and glass up from the bar as he rose from his seat. He crooked his elbow, inviting her to take his arm. She did so without hesitation, her fingers pressing into the material of his sleeve with some ownership. The man was still dripping liquor from his chin as they swept past him.
"Do you often have to fight off would-be suitors?" Obed asked, once their unwelcome guest was out of earshot. A little smirk curled one corner of his mouth. "You seem quite well versed in dealing with them."
She grinned readily at him, subtly influencing their trajectory toward the elevators.
"I've had some practice," she admitted, leaning into him to whisper. "I had some help with the last one, the help in the form of this amazingly handsome, sweet man. You know, you remind me of him quite a bit." They arrived quickly enough in the elevator lobby, Isobel stretching out ahead of Obed a little to press a finger to the call button. She had to unwrap one from her still partially full wine glass, but the brief separation from him lasted no more than a moment. Isobel brought the drink to her mouth, sipping before wiping along her bottom lip with an index finger as she met his gaze once more.
"I guess because of that, I feel a little protective of you."
His eyes held hers, as difficult as that was. He could not hide the shame he felt at his condition, but he could play a character much the same as she could. Perhaps if he could pretend not to feel that embarrassment, eventually it would pass. The elevator arrived, and when the doors slid open, he motioned for her to precede him. She did, waiting for him to follow before hitting the fifteenth floor button.
"Well," he said, once they were in the privacy of the otherwise empty car, "I certainly won't complain about that. Though I am sorry I spoiled our conversation downstairs. Since the, ah, accident, I've found I attract a fair bit of unwanted attention like that. I suppose I should learn a better way to cope with it than, you know, shrinking behind the nearest beautiful woman." Obed tried to laugh, but the sound rang hollow. Lacking any useful words to speak, he let his wine fill his mouth, and watched the floor numbers as they passed. But after only a handful of numbers, he seemed to realize he was only further spoiling the mood. He cleared his throat, brought his nearly empty wine glass down, and pressed close to her once more.
"I should have said this earlier, but… thank you."
Isobel reached to run a finger enveloped in metal along the buttons and shirt edge running down his chest; a pinch between forefinger and thumb drew him toward her, tugging on the cloth.
"You didn't ruin anything," she chided; her mouth was never absent long of its crimson curve, her eyes less on his face than they were on his, clearly uncaring about his scars. "I might have had some nefarious thoughts in mind the moment I saw you, and that...gentleman," she spat the word, clearly wishing to use another but forcing herself to not linger on the event, "merely helped me along. Your wife won't be upset if I borrow you for a little while, will she?"
Her hand ran up his shirt, stopping to tug at the crisp, starchy white collar; she clasped this, using it to pull him forward and down to her mouth. He answered in kind, letting the press of his lips and the pass of his tongue respond better than his words could have. His hands full, he could not pull her close as he wanted, but he held himself flush to her chest all the same, seeking out her warmth any way he could. The wine on her lips and the subtle taste of her beneath sent his head spinning. It felt, somehow, like their first kiss, heady and heavy with promise.
The doors opened too soon for his liking. He kissed her still, until the doors closed and then opened again, and he felt impatient eyes upon them both. He broke the kiss, a smile lighting his eyes as he looked out to the couple now staring openly at them. He made no apology; only led Isobel from the elevator and out into the hall of the fifteenth floor, brushing close past the other couple as they entered the car.
Isobel covered her mouth with her glass to keep from laughing until they were completely alone; she didn't quite make it, the sound echoing through the empty hallway just before the elevator doors closed completely. She pulled Obed toward her and kissed him one more time, before grabbing his elbow again and leading him to room 1510, not too far from the elevator lobby. Her hand left the crook of his arm again to fish a keycard out from the well-hidden bra in the depths of her red dress. Then the door was open and Olivia/Isobel was pulling Obed inside by the front of his shirt. Heels clicked smartly on the wood of the entry-way living room.
She took his glass, placing it and her own on a coffee table sitting in front of a couch. Then, Isobel plucked the wine glass from him using the metal handguard on her right. Her hand clasped his for a moment, her form drawing close to press a butterfly-light kiss to his lips before drawing away. Her eyes never left his, a smirk hinting at her next actions. With slow, careful movements, her arm extended and turned the wine bottle until red spilled from its mouth and splashed onto the floor. She poured until a foot-wide puddle started around one heel, and threatened to continue spreading.
Isobel arched a brow in Obed's direction. "Well. You've made quite a mess, Mr. Mysterious. Just what are we going to do about that?"
His mouth opened as if to speak. An anxious smile twitched over his lips. He stepped away from the door—unlocked, still, as if they truly risked being caught—and moved closer to her, just within her arm's reach. After a moment his eyes slid away from hers, dropping to the floor and to the thick stain seeping ever outward. It never occurred to him to feign ignorance. He simply went to his knees, shrugging his coat from his shoulders and bringing it to the floor before him. Thick, lush cloth soaked up the red, thick and dark as blood, but soon it was soaked through, itself.
The woman in red standing over him tsked, the bottle in her metal-clad hand still canted at an angle.
"No, I think you really need to get down there," she said. Balancing on one heel, she lifted her right and set it to Obed's shoulder (the motion careful, precise, only her toe gently touching areas she knew to be unmarked), pressing down.
Obed hesitated, then. He stared down at the stained floor, then at his ruined coat, now dripping down into the spill he had attempted to clean. But the knifepoint of her heel guided him ever downward and he could not help but obey. He set the coat aside without another look. Then he pressed his palms flat to the floor and slowly, deliberately, began to lap at the spill. Isobel kept her foot lightly pressed to his shoulder blade, watching him work. After a handful of minutes, the shoe changed its trajectory from his back to the floor in front of his face. A bare film of wine still coated the floor, making her sole stick.
"And these, too," she said, wiggling her toe just a little. He made a small, soft sound as he moved to obey, some mixture of desire and shame. Lowering himself almost flush to the floor, Obed's tongue flicked out, caressing the heel of her shoe as affectionately and thoroughly as if it were her own flesh.
He did not touch her, though he desperately wanted to. He had not been allowed, and although every fiber of his being strained to grasp that delicate ankle, he kept his hands firmly on the floor. He looked up to her, though, a question in his eyes, his scar-slashed brow arched as if to ask after his own performance.
Her lidded eyes watched him, her whole form ramrod straight other than the leg that was slightly parting the long gown of her dress. After a moment, she nodded—a slight, careful movement crowned with the subtle curve of her lips as she gave him permission, pleased with his display thus far.
Slowly, so slowly, he curled a hand around her ankle. His thumb brushed soft over bone. His lips touched the top of her shoe, just over the place it hid her toes. He moved upward, one kiss, one touch, one pass of awestruck fingers across her skin. He kissed the thin bones at the top of her feet. The place her foot met her leg and curved upward. Her ankle, her calf, her knee, until he strained upward, almost on his knees, still not daring to take a liberty she did not first allow.
He could feel the shivers his touch elicited; Isobel pressed incisors into her bottom lip, white reigning over red.
"Down," she said, her hand reaching out to brush metal over the top of his head. "This is a good start, but only the start. Now, come. And I did not say you could get up." She turned away from him, walking with carefully timed, confident steps down the short hall past a bathroom (the door closed) and into the bedroom beyond. She clicked on a light, and pulled out a briefcase, which she opened.
He followed behind her on hands and knees, his fine suit soaked and stained anew where it dragged through the spilled wine. The toes of his shoes scuffed softly against the floor. He made no other sound. He looked at the doorway they passed, studied the rooms they walked through. The moment his eyes alighted on the briefcase, though, his attention was fully on her. His gaze darted from her face to the briefcase; he could not see what lay inside, though he knew its contents reasonably well. He bit down on his lip to stop himself from speaking, but a slight shift of his hips betrayed his burgeoning arousal better than any words might have.
Isobel could see him from the corner of her eye, straining to keep her red lips from smiling too much. Inside the briefcase, she shifted the usual items—ropes to tie arms and legs to posts, a crop, a glass-handled whip—and instead reached for those most newly acquired. A collar made of thick black leather (they'd gone to a specialty shop for this, her fingers immediately curling around the material like it was familiar) with a shiny, silver buckle holding it together. Another ring draped from it gave the option of tags and a leash, the latter she had in a similar black color rolled up inside the suitcase.
Turning toward the man crouched on the floor, Isobel held the collar between both hands as she uncinched it and wound it around Obed's neck. It fit him perfectly, as though it had been made just for him; she made sure it was tight, though not too tight to choke. The leather was soft, flexible, kind against his so recently abused skin. Her hands lingered on that skin, fingerpads tracing upward over his neck to his face as he tilted his head up toward her. She cupped his cheeks in the palms of her hands, thumbs sliding over cheekbones as a little of the mask she was pretending to wear slipped; for a moment, she wasn't the aloof, mysterious, strange woman who'd happened upon Obed in a seemingly random bar, but the woman who loved him dearly. Her lips curled at the sight of his familiar face, and she had to stop herself from just pushing him down on the floor. Instead, she slowly pulled her hands away; he was cold, always cold to the touch, but she liked to think her own left a trail of warmth that stayed long after it was gone.
She went back to the briefcase, and considered the other, third new purchase that she'd made without consulting Obed; this had been long before the Halloween party, long before her now-husband had been ripped open. She'd bought the blade as a gift, more toys for them to play with, more ways for them to explore each other's bodies. After he'd been cut up by razors that had nothing to do with her, Isobel had considered returning the gift and focusing on something else, anything else that might not evoke the memory of that terrible night that had left him bleeding his life out on the lobby floor and her hoping an ambulance would arrive in time. But then she'd rethought it all, as she'd hovered over him in bed and made sure he had everything he needed—this could be part of his healing process, to associate such a terrible thing with, well, something he enjoyed.
Or it could twist something that brought them together. Her hand slipped into the briefcase, wrapping around the teardrop-shaped blade that sharpened to a fine point. A small hole near the base would allow one to wear it on a wrist or around a neck, but she'd left it nude for the time being. Taking a deep breath, Isobel stilled herself and decided she'd let Obed decide the next interaction, decide if it was too much. She had other things planned, and truth be told, she would be fine with never leaving that hotel room at all to return to the building where he'd almost died. Straightening her back, she brought the knife between forefinger and thumb to rest gently against one hip. She looked to Obed, and walked toward him again; the mask, Olivia, was back, even as Isobel watched with some fear from behind those eyes. She made sure he could see the knife as she drew closer.
"You're overdressed, I think," she said, bringing the knife through the air in an upward arc to stop just before his face. "I can help with that."
His eyes flicked over her hands, across the glinting knife she held with such confidence and care. Her calm went a long way toward easing his fear, but it could not dissipate it entirely. There was a tremor in his hands when he reached up toward the buttons of his dress shirt. His eyes remained solidly on hers even as the metal ring on his collar jingled softly with his shaking. Too late he realized what she meant. His hands returned to his thighs, palms flat, fingers splayed.
"Yes, mistress," he said. His voice was steadier than he had expected, but his anxiety still showed in the pale cast of his face. He straightened his back, his chest subtly puffing out, putting his remaining clothing more easily within her reach.
She weighed his reaction for a moment, the weight of the small knife in her hand suddenly that much heavier. After a beat, she decided he wasn't forcing himself to be comfortable for her sake; still she paused a little bit longer, wanting to be certain that he knew she would be careful, that if he needed to use their safe word, it was always a possibility. She leaned closer to him, one hand going to his face, cupping his cheek and then his jaw. Then, slowly, purposefully, she brought the edge of the knife to the first button in his shirt and snick. It fell silently to the floor, the carpet below Obed's knees instantly consuming it. Isobel's eyes flicked back to Obed's face, measuring his reaction.
He had not so much as flinched; he barely moved now. The breath he drew was obvious given his utter stillness otherwise. The subtle chiming of his collar's ring eased, then quieted altogether. Her actions gave him focus. Purpose. He drew another small breath. And all the while his eyes never left hers, searching her every motion, every shadow of an expression on her face, for her next instruction. He did not dare ask her for more, but the look on his face made plan that unspoken request. And then a small smile began to curl at one corner of his mouth, encouraging, reassuring.
Isobel caught herself, stopping from returning that smile, stopping herself from doing away with the game entirely in favor of just touching him. Instead, more buttons flew—snick, snick, snick—until more and more of his no-man's land of a chest appeared to her and only her in that room. He forced himself to hold her gaze, not to look down to the mess Savoy had made of him, not to focus on the feeling of taut, scarred skin. The blade went between forefinger and thumb as she reached forward to push the shirt off of him, her mouth finding his in an impromptu measure meant to reassure them both. She pushed the shirt off, sloughing over shoulders and onto the floor, red-tipped fingers tracking nails over his skin as her mouth claimed his in one brief, heady rush. When she pulled back, this time her lipstick was smeared all over his chin and lips, which made her grin more widely than before.
She turned back to the briefcase, put away the knife, and withdrew the leash. A smart clip attached the lead to the ring dangling from his collar. Letting it loose, Isobel rolled the lead around one hand enough until it was taut, and she jerked him forward gently. "Up, onto the bed. On your back, where you belong."
He obeyed without hesitation, getting to his feet only to move the short distance to the bed. There he lay down atop it, shifting backward until the back of his head rested on a thick, soft pillow. He never took his eyes off her. He did not feel relaxed, exactly, but he felt closer than he had in some time. Pleasant anticipation sent warm shivers down his spine. Still he kept his hands at his sides, his palms down against the bedclothes. He drew his lower lip between his teeth, biting down to hold back a small, pleasured sound.
Isobel followed him, waiting until he was seated once more to yank the leash gently to the side. "I didn't say on the pillow," she chided, smiling all the while. She directed him to nearly hanging off the bed, his body a half-dressed, diagonal slash across the perfectly made comforter. Then her hands went to her sleeves, pulling the dress down slowly, provocatively, over her form; where his disrobing unveiled scarred flesh, hers was smooth, a porcelain color only a few shades darker than his own. A red bra slashed across her chest; further down, as her dress pooled to the floor, it was made very clear that she had nothing else on.
"Now," she started, raising one heeled foot to the bed and arching her leg at a near ninety-degree angle to bring her slit just over his face, hovering inches above, "how badly do you want to taste me?"
The frigid blue of his eyes seemed less cold when they lingered on her. They turned now to the slick, hot curves of her body, dragged back up to her face with only slowly and with marked difficulty. His tongue passed quick over his lips. A plea shone in his eyes, but he struggled to find the best words with which to give it voice. His arousal strained at what clothes she had left him. He nodded, his teeth still firmly lodged in his lower lip.
"Please," he whispered, his voice a hot breath against her skin. His lips parted. He breathed deeply in, basking in the clean, welcoming scent of her. "Please. May I?"
She considered him for a moment, her body only moving with some natural sway required to remain perched as she was; Isobel jerked on the leash, nodding, finally. "You may," she replied, holding the leash taut. "But you'll have to reach for it," she added, the smile on her lips as she did nothing to make his newfound task any easier.
He balled his fists into the fabric at his thighs. That grip was a poor anchor, but it served well enough as he strained up to meet her body with his mouth. His tongue flicked out over her, though holding himself up proved a strain. With a frustrated groan he fell back against the comforter. He wasted no time in getting up again, raising himself more slowly this time, tightening his middle so that he could remain in place. His tongue flicked over her once more; his lips moved softly, kissing her with a tenderness made more delicate by his precarious position. But though the work was hard, it was certainly to his liking, and he kept at it until he managed to hold himself almost entirely still as he lapped at her.
Her skin twitched under his touch and his breath, and Isobel steadied herself by pressing teeth into her lower lip. A gentle moan ebbed out of her throat, her knees softening a little.
"Use your hands," she said, before quickly modifying the permission. Her breathing quickened as she looked down at him, watching him struggle. "Just on my hips."
At once he brought his hands to rest on her hips. His thumbs fitted to the hard ridges of bone, fingers splayed toward the smooth curve of her backside. He held himself there, close against her, his lips parting on already slick skin. His tongue plunged into her; his teeth skimmed gently over her clit, a hint of roughness just enough to tease. He moaned against her, all warm breath and probing tongue and tightly grasping hands.
Isobel's own reaction broke free of her lips as she was forced to reach forward for the bedpost as Obed's eagerness weakened her knees further. Her hips thrust down against his mouth, the thin line of control she held over her own body winnowing to almost nothing.
"God, yes," she murmured, her eyes screwing shut for a moment before opening again to pass a look down the long length of his body across the bed. "Yes, God, Obed, just like that, just like that, a little more, just—" Her voice cut off with a strangled cry as she felt the edges of her orgasm tease and then swallow her in a gentle wave. Muscles against Obed's mouth convulsed, and Isobel held tight to the bedpost while the other hand wound the leash and thus the collar around his neck tighter and tighter until she almost fell in a heap atop him. Her leg bent at the knee, coming to rest and cradle his head in her lap.
"Oh my God," she said again, wavering a little above him, the hand holding the lead coming down to lightly skim fingers over his face. He drew a deep, shuddering breath as the collar loosened somewhat. "Mmm." She laughed, the sound light and familiar and strange. "I love you, so much," she said, her fingers playing over his features, his scars.
His head canted toward her touch, welcoming it, silently pleading for more. He licked the taste of her from his lips. He did all he could to focus on her, rather than on the changed lines of his face, the way her hand moved differently over his damaged flesh than it had in weeks past. His jaw went tight, but only for a moment. Then he let his hands slide gently up her back, a hesitant touch meant more as question than demand; her hands met his, pressing them tightly to her skin.
"Thank you," he said at last, so soft he could barely be heard. She smiled down at him, a touch of concern kneading her brow.
"Shh." Isobel leaned down, brushing her lips over his forehead. Then, leaving him where he lay, her hands reached for the blond wig and unsettled it from her head. Underneath, her natural, dark hair was wound tight into a bun just above the nape of her neck. She set the wig down on the nightstand nearby behind her, and then undid her hair so that it flowed freely over her shoulders. She sighed, running her nails over her scalp.
"Wow, that's a lot better." Isobel shifted to sit next to Obed, a hand running gently down his chest. She still held the leash's end on her left wrist, and that hand came to hover near the waistband of his pants. She smiled down at him, still prone on the bed. "Are you having a good birthday?"
"I am." He remained lying as she had commanded him, though the game was over, at least in part; he studied her face, the dark hair and soft eyes he had so come to love. He reached over and touched her thigh where she sat, stroking up and down its pale, taut length. "Possibly my best, all things considered." He smiled; several of the scars that marked his face tightened in response. He drew a deep breath, basking in the warm scent of her, in her very nearness. He exhaled on a sigh. "I don't deserve you," he said. "You know that?"
The smile on her face doused for a moment, shrinking, as she shook her head.
"I guess you better appreciate me, then, a lot," she replied, teasing, both hands going to either side of his stomach; the movement led her legs to straddle him, fingers sliding down to undo his fly. The motion finished, her hands went back to resting on his hips. "I just, I love you, Obed. I love you, and I want you to feel loved." Her hands slid back up, gently fingering both smooth skin and scarred, showing no preference for one or the other. She leaned down, her lips and teeth finding his clavicle, kissing and biting in equal measure as she traced a path down toward one nipple. Teasing the areola with her tongue, she drew the taut peak out and up, her gaze turned toward his face to watch his reaction.
His teeth had sunk into his lip once more. He watched her closely, his eyes heavy-lidded and glinting with unconcealed hunger. His hand pressed to her cheek, long fingers sliding through her loosed hair. He shifted beneath her, arching his back to raise himself up to her mouth.
"I do," he said, belatedly. His thumb passed over her cheek, a ghost of a touch. His next small shift on the bed slid his trousers farther down, exposing hard hip bones and the faintest edge of thick, curly hair.
"Good," she replied, after having released him, her breath hot on his skin. "Now I want you to make me feel loved." She moved up, toward his face, her hair a thick fall around them. Isobel's eyes moved over his face, smiling at the familiar sight she found there, before leaning into catch his mouth with her own.
Beneath that touch his self-consciousness melted away. His grip tightened on her, pulling her down as he leaned up to meet her. With gentle hands he rolled her beneath him, and a smile graced his torn face as he moved to obey this last and best command.