Welcome to another journey in my mind!

I hope you're all ready for Domella and Subward. Like always, music inspired me. The song Undisclosed Desires by Muse spoke to me, especially the part below.

A shout-out to Princess Treacle and Pearly Fox for being extra supportive about this project, and as always, a big THANK YOU to my rock, Frannie.

I want to reconcile the violence in your heart
I want to recognize your beauty's not just a mask
I want to exorcise the demons from your past
I want to satisfy the undisclosed desires in your heart

The sound of bass guitar greeted Bella when she stepped into Black Velvet. Since it was a quiet Friday with no event lined up, the music seemed louder than usual.

Bella made her way up the metal staircase and across the catwalk toward the secluded VIP section pushing the velvet curtain aside a little too harshly.

The couple entangled on one of the leather sofas startled and turned to check who'd interrupted their make-out session.

"That's why you asked me here; to see you exchange spit with your pup?" Bella sneered, not attempting to take a seat.

Jacob rolled his eyes, used to her behavior when she was pulled out of her conform zone. He pushed his Sub to sit on the sofa instead of his lap before he pulled all six feet, seven inches of himself upright. He then took two steps in her direction, already covering the distance between them.

"Morning, Grumpy."

"It's nine in the evening, in case you've lost sense of time," she reminded him.

"I have a delicate subject to talk to you about."

"And you couldn't have come over to my house for a drink? Why did you have to drag me here?"

"Because you have to see what I'm talking about." His dark eyes bore into hers.

Bella reeled back. All her instincts told her to back away.

"Please," Jacob begged, pleading with her through his voice and his eyes.

"One drink," Bella agreed reluctantly. "You have one chance. Don't waste it."

She sat on the empty couch, feeling nerves churning in her stomach. She wasn't used to this.

Jacob hovered over Seth, instructing him to fetch Bella her favorite drink from the bar. That was going to be one long trip, which proved Jacob wanted her alone.

Once the curtain was closed behind Seth, Jacob sat opposite her, knees parted, his hands hanging between them. He watched her carefully, gauging her reaction to his news.

"What's going on, Jake?" she asked impatiently.

"Okay, so it's a long shot, but I promised Seth I'd talk to you," he started, not sounding his usually confident self.

Bella scowled. "I'm not into—"

"I'm not asking you to join us. Let me talk." Jacob ran a hand through his hair, tightening his ponytail at the back of his head. "My proposition is for your benefit. You've been alone for so long. Not having a collared Sub is difficult."

"I can get anyone I want. It's not like I don't play. I don't need that sort of baggage in my life anymore," Bella explained.

"Seth's friend recently escaped an abusive relationship; I promised Seth I'd convince you to at least talk to this guy."

"Jesus, Jake." Bella winced, leaning back against the sofa. "I don't want anyone's sloppy seconds, especially one who needs to be put together like a scrambled puzzle."

"One chance," he begged, just as the curtain opened enough to allow Seth back into their private bubble.

"Ma'am," he said quietly, placing the cocktail glass on the small table between the couches.

"Thanks," she said curtly, picking up the glass.

Jacob had brought the heavy weapons if he'd ordered her a Cosmo. It was her most favorite drink.

"Tell me about your friend, Seth." Bella decided to play their game after a sip from her glass.

Seth glanced at Jacob, who nodded, smiling at him. She envied their relationship because she'd never reached that level of depth in trust and devotion to care for any of her Subs more than the strict rules required.

"My friend used to be Master Aro's favorite."

Bella felt the need to interrupt Seth, so she held her hand up. Her eyes met Jacob's. "I don't do queers. You know that."

"He's straight," Jacob said, amused. "Just let Seth speak. Christ, woman!"

Bella pursed her lips but waved Seth to continue talking.

"The one who trained him had to break their contract when she found someone new, who she fell in love with," Seth said softly. "Master Aro had his eyes on Edward for years, and he seized the opportunity to add him to his…harem."

"And what the hell use did Aro have for your friend?"

"He was there for his entertainment, like all the others," Jacob interjected.

Bella noticed the look Jacob shot her, which meant she had to stop asking questions. Aro was notorious for pushing all his Subs more than they could bend. However, none of them had been brave enough to break their contract.

"How did this boy escape Aro?" She had to know because if he'd actually escaped by running away, she wasn't going anywhere near him.

"Aro set him free," Jacob said in a grave voice.

Seth squirmed in his spot. "Ed told me how Master Aro ripped his collar then shoved him out of his house. He didn't go into details about what led to that."

She'd been right to be worried about this boy being broken. She had no desire to put the pieces back. Rebuilding that Sub's confidence and gaining his trust could take months, years.

"He's here," Jacob added. "He doesn't know about this meeting."

"Whoa! I didn't agree to anything." Bella downed her glass, feeling the alcohol seeping through her veins and clouding her head.

"Bella, I don't know what to do with him. He's fucking lost. I can't help him." Jake pleaded. "You're the only one I trust with him. He's Seth's friend."

"And what do you want me to do? I'm not looking for commitment," she reminded him.

"Just talk to him. If all you agree on is a session to get him out of his funk, that's cool. But I think you'll want more." Jake smirked, leaning back in his seat and wrapping an arm around Seth's shoulders.

"Where is he?" Bella asked, eager to put some distance between her and the happy couple but not ready to meet this boy.

"He's at the bar. You can't miss him, ma'am – copper hair, white tee, Heineken in front of him," Seth explained.

Bella was ready to point out that could be half of the male population of this club, but the copper hair might be a dead giveaway. Not many people had that color hair.

"Thanks for the drink," she said, rising.

"Have fun!" Jake grinned lazily, turning to Seth.

Bella escaped behind the curtain before she could witness another one of their kisses. As happy as she was for her best friend finding someone to bring him happiness and joy on all levels, she'd rather not watch them exchange spit.

She made her way slowly down the metal stairs, not feeling as steady on her feet after emptying her cocktail so fast.

Near the bar, she stopped to scan the people around it. Some were familiar faces, which she had no desire to interact with.

If she couldn't spot Seth's friend in the next minute, she'd leave, telling Jake the next day about how she must have just missed him.

When she was about to turn on her heel and head to the door, her eyes found a huddled figure in the darkest part of the bar. No one sat near him because he radiated anxiety and a general 'stay away from me' vibe.

Bella waved the bartender closer because she was going to need another drink in order to face that boy. She was doing it for Jacob and Seth, though his posture tugged at her core to check on him, to make sure he was safe.

With her new cocktail in hand, she walked closer. As she neared him, she noticed he was no boy. This was a man – probably around her age, which was a bigger shock than her instincts pushing her further toward him.

She'd never gotten involved with men her age. They'd all been younger than her by several years. All mature Subs were already taken or too demanding in their needs.

Bella placed her glass next to his beer, allowing him a moment to notice he was no longer alone in his safe bubble. Wary green eyes found hers before they dropped. The man's body had gone rigid with nerves, and one of his hands curled into a fist on his lap.

Bella clambered on the stool next to him, spinning around to face him, as she took a sip from her glass.

"Hello," she said softly. She wished she'd paid more attention to Seth when he'd said his friend's name.

"Madam." His honeysuckle voice wasn't what she expected. It was so low; she'd have completely missed him speaking if she wasn't so close.

Bella racked her brain for some lame pick-up line because she wasn't ready to dive head-first into their conversation.

She'd never had to lure anyone her way. She used a trusted agency when she wanted a Sub, and she had a short list of boys she loved playing with.

"What's a handsome guy like you doing all alone here?"

His eyes met hers again, confusion flashing in them.

Bella decided to make a smooth recovery, offering her hand. "You looked like you needed company. I'm Lady Isabella."

His eyes widened, then he dropped them again, his chin tucked into his chest.

"Hey, look at me," she said reassuringly, itching to cup his chin and guide his head up.

Thankfully, he complied almost instantly.

There was no question or uncertainty in his gaze. He watched her steadily, expecting her command.

"What's your name?" she asked, holding his eyes. Bella had never seen this exact shade of green on anyone else.

"Edward Masen, Lady Isabella."

Bella had never felt so turned on by hearing another man saying her name. She tried imagining him begging, and that thought very nearly ruined her panties.

"Hello, Edward." Her eyes slid to her still outstretched hand, silently reminding him she expected a proper greeting.

He engulfed it in his larger hand, bringing it to his lips. "It's a pleasure, Lady Isabella."

That was so forward and old-fashioned of him, though Bella liked the gesture.

"Tell me. Are you here on your own?" She picked up her glass, taking another sip, never taking her eyes off him.

"Yes, Lady Isabella." There was a brief hesitation in his answer. Edward opened his supple lips, but then set them in a pout, avoiding her eyes.

"I'll bet Jacob wouldn't mind if you don't hog his couch tonight," she said, almost teasingly.

There was no reaction from Edward other than a muscle jumping in his cheek.

"Jacob sent me to talk to you. I didn't have high expectations, but I'm intrigued," she admitted. Bella couldn't remember the last time she'd been around such a well-behaved Sub. "I just want to talk to you. Would you please look at me and speak freely?"

Slowly, Edward met her eyes again, a small smile playing at his lips. "I appreciate the honesty, Lady Isabella."

She licked her lips, regarding him with a thoughtful look. She never had to ask about her potential Sub's desires; they were written in the file sent by the agency.

"Tell me," Bella said, "What do you like?"

"Being tied up is my favorite play."

For once, she hadn't meant it as what he enjoyed during playtime. "What about when you don't play? What are your hobbies?" She had to make herself clear.

Edward frowned, clearly puzzled by her question. "I play the piano."

It was Bella's turn to be shocked. She hadn't expected that. "For fun?"

The corner of Edward's lips lifted. "Professionally."

She'd never had an artist. All her partners were either college boys, businessmen, or spoiled rich brats who got high on the thrill of being dominated by a woman.

"Favorite toy?" She braced herself for being surprised because so far, Edward had been nothing she'd expected.

Bella found herself enticed by his personality and his unexpected answers.

"The riding crop, Lady Isabella," he answered softly.

Coincidently, it was her favorite toy, as well. "Mine, too," she admitted with a smile.

"You said I could speak freely, Lady Isabella," he said, holding her gaze.

"Yes, please."

"You're the most beautiful woman I've seen in my life. To think you chose to sit here and speak to me is an honor."

Bella was horrified to feel her cheeks heating; she hadn't blushed in years. "Thank you, Edward," she answered, allowing her hair to cover her red cheeks.

He smiled softly, picking up his bottle. As he took a gulp, he kept his eyes on her, and for a moment, Bella felt like he'd put her under a spell. She was supposed to be the one in control, but he didn't seem aware of what he was doing.

"How long have you been a Sub?"

Edward cleared his throat, placing his bottle back on the bar. "Seventeen years."

Bella had to keep in her gasp of surprise. "How old are you?" She was intrigued by Edward's person.

"Thirty-five, Lady Isabella." His voice held a hint of shame.

At that age, most people would have found their way, their life partners, or in his case, their Dom.

There was a five-year difference between them. She'd never entertained the idea of getting involved with an older man, not after her first experience with one. But that was something Bella rarely allowed herself to revisit.

"Don't be ashamed," she assured him seriously, touching his knee. "I've been avoiding getting a Sub of my own for years. You're making me rethink that decision."

"If it would please you, Lady Isabella."

She couldn't imagine what Edward could have done for Aro to kick him away. He was the most behaved and endearing Sub she'd seen in a while.

As much as she'd have liked nothing more than to take him home with her, Bella decided to get to know him first. She wanted to know everything about him – his soft limits, hard limits, his favorite band, his favorite dessert, and what fantasy turned him on.

"Are you engaged tomorrow morning?" she asked, sipping from her glass.

"No, Lady Isabella."

Bella tried not to imagine how delicious it would be when he called her 'Mistress,' the term she preferred to be addressed as in the playroom.

"Nine o'clock at the small café near Jake's house?" A neutral ground would be best for their first meeting.

Edward nodded. "I'll be there at nine tomorrow." His eyes slid to something behind her, and a moment later, Jake's familiar cologne stirred the air around them.

Jacob wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "Sorry to interrupt, hon. What's the plan?" He lifted a brow, clearly expecting Bella to tell him she was taking Edward home.

"Give me a moment," she told Edward, sliding off the high stool, nearly losing her balance. She had to remember vodka was the worst.

Jacob laughed throatily, keeping her steady. They walked a few feet away from the bar.

She spotted Seth waiting by the entrance with Jake's jacket in his hands.

"You think I'm taking Edward home?" Bella inquired.

"Aren't you? You looked awfully cozy a moment ago." He winked.

"I hate jumping head-first into anything. I want to get to know him better."

Jake's sly smile slipped, replaced by a grimace. "It's not that I mind his presence there, but Seth's not comfortable playing with his friend around. Vanilla sex is cool and all until I need more."

"Okay, okay," Bella moaned, placating her friend before he got into details.

As much as she supported their relationship, she didn't want to hear details. It wasn't because they were gay; she just felt squirmy hearing about other couples. Maybe it was because she didn't have a relationship of her own or because Jake and Seth had mixed their lifestyle with love, which made them act like horndogs most of the time.

"Thank you so much," Jacob hugged her quickly before hurrying to Seth.

Bella returned to her stool before downing the contents of her glass. "Change of plans," she met Edward's wary gaze, "you're coming home with me."

His eyes held sorrow, and he wasn't quick enough to mask it. "I know I've been a burden to Master Jacob. You don't have to do anything you aren't ready for, or you don't want, Lady Isabella."

"You're coming with me because I want you to," she stated loudly.

"Yes, Lady Isabella."

"How many of these did you have?" She pointed to his beer.

"Just this one." He pointed to the barely half-empty bottle.

"You're driving. Let's go." She climbed off the stool more carefully this time, leading the way outside the club.

She stopped near her black Volvo SUV, handing him the keys after unlocking the doors. She was surprised when he didn't comment on her 'mom car,' but she shouldn't have been surprised by his lack of response. Edward was too well-behaved to say anything about her vehicle.

The schedule is going to be: updating every Friday.

For those following Illicit Affair, we're close to the grand finale, but there's always the sequel to look forward to.

PS: please check out/join the Song to Story challenge - a contest by our dear Frannie. details here: www dot facebook dot / groups/834673544138327

PPS: for teasers and news about my stories, please join my group: addict_writer fanfiction ( www dot facebook dot com / groups/274198112656668)