Safe Word

Safe Word

A nervous laugh, almost a giggle.

"Hush."

A silk scarf snugs around one wrist, secures it. Then another scarf imprisons the other wrist, ties it.

"I'm not so sure about this."

"You said you'd do—anything."

"Yes."

"This is anything."

A body shifts, pale against the black sheets.

"Isn't this a little clichéd?"

The hand trails caressingly all the way down the outside of one leg, grasps a slender ankle. There is a sharp inhalation of breath as an ankle is made fast.

"Are you having second thoughts already?"

"No, but this is—new, for me."

A soft laugh. "Then it's about time."

The other ankle is tied. There are small, almost surreptitious movements as though to test the bonds.

"Now that is a pretty sight."

A pause.

"Are you just going to stand there and look all night?"

"It would serve you right if I did."

Testing the bonds again. "That's not fair."

"This isn't about fair. It's about trust."

"I trust you."

"Do you?"

The slightest of hesitations. "Yes."

The bed is placed away from the walls, so that it can be circled, paced around.

"You hesitated."

"I'm sorry. I feel very—vulnerable."

"I'm not surprised. Are you afraid?"

"A little."

Another long pause, more pacing, more subtle testing. A few, very light, caresses, delivered unexpectedly. Involuntary movements in response, flexings of bound hands, small thrusts of the hips.

"I need—at least one more scarf."

The question is reluctant. "Why?"

"Worried about what I might do with it?"

A small pause. "Yes."

"You'll see. Or rather—you won't." And silk becomes blindfold as well as restraint.

"Ahhh. Are you sure this is—wise?" The blinded face moves from side to side, seeking input from other senses.

There is no answer. Now, when the teasing caresses come, and then the kisses, they are even more unexpected.

A swallow, and another. Fast shallow breathing.

"Why are you afraid?" The voice floats softly out of the blackness.

"You might—you might hurt me."

"Me? I'd think by now you'd know I never hurt anyone. Unless they ask for it—very nicely."

A long pause.

"Are you asking—very nicely?"

This time the answer is mute, the barest shake of a head.

"I didn't hear you."

A faint whisper. "No. Not—not—"

"Not yet?"

"Yes."

There is expectation of the touch of hand, or lips. Instead, more silk, feather light, almost undetectable if senses were not heightened, floats across neck, a trembling mouth. Across the soles of bare feet, and the delicate skin of the inner elbow. Drawing quiet gasps.

But the whisper of silk against a palm is too much. The fingers grasp, try to hold that ethereal instrument of torment. A transitory second of fleeting triumph, and the fabric slides away with a twitch.

The rebellion has not gone unnoticed.

A clicking tongue. One face so close to the other that the breath of speech sighs over skin that aches for touch. "That was bad. How shall you be punished?"

"I'm sure you'll think of something—creative."

A short laugh. "You know, it is never wise to be insolent to someone who has you tied down."

A gentle nip to an earlobe that peeks from beneath the edge of the blindfold, and the slightly rough touch of a tongue.

"You make—an excellent point."

"I thought you'd see it my way, sweetheart."

The bed creaks once as a knee is placed carefully, and a hand, and creaks again as the full weight swings across, supported above.

The closeness and the separating distance are unbearable, the yearning upward itself a silent torment.

"Please—"

"Be still." The command is followed by a kiss on the neck, a teasing lick and a nibble at the flesh trembling ever more violently beneath.

Slowly lowering until two bodies feel the slide of satin on skin between them.

The words more breathed than spoken. "I can't take much more."

Amused. "If you can't take it, you know the way out." A breath blown deliberately across exposed skin.

Bodies move, the bound and unbound, and there is urgency and knowledge of what must come. The rushing blood pounding so near, and so exposed, calls up the beast in a fleeting rush. No one sees the silver eyes, but they both know through their joined mouths when the fangs extend, sharp and ready.

A head wrenches aside, away, moans. "I can't take this."

The answer is softly growled. "Then say it."

Beneath the blindfold eyes squeeze shut, as though that could stop anything. Before it goes too far, before the final line is crossed, all it will take is the gasp of one word.

It all feels so good: the touch, the weight above, even the false helplessness of the silk bonds.

"I can't—"

"Then say it." Movements continue, unbearable even one second more.

All that is left is the fall into the abyss, the excruciating pleasure that simply cannot be. But until the safe word is spoken, this torture will continue.

The gasp is broken, low, and the word holds worlds of regret.

"Masquerade."

And with a smooth motion, almost effortless, Josef pulls his hands and feet free of the bonds, reaching to pull the blindfold from his crystal silver eyes.

The beast is almost beyond control—but that part of him that remains, always, Josef has spoken the safe word, the signal they agreed he would use to keep himself from harming her.