Disclaimer: Anything recognizable is not mine. Everything else… well, all the naughty stuff… yeah, that's me.

AN: Please excuse this long ass author's note, but a few things need to be mentioned. First, this is the first outtake for TMaHM. It was a part of the FGB auction that was won by PrimroseHill. We decided that she'd be one of Edward's previous subs… so that's where and how it fits into the storyline. Many, MANY thanks to PrimroseHill for her donation to Alex's Lemonade Stand to help battle children's cancer. Let's see if we can all come together and help kick this disease's ass, okay?

Second, I'd like to welcome AHelm to the TMaHM team. She's my new beta for this story, and she's wonderful. She moves sentences around and overall makes my shit look pretty. She might also tell you that I'm a big fan of the semi-colon, but that's neither here nor there. I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship. So, without further ado… on with the chapter!

Memoirs of a Dom

Primrose Wine

I didn't often reflect on my life.

It wasn't that I was ashamed of any of it. On the contrary, I wasn't ashamed of any of my actions, in the least. I just never had the time to give it too much thought. Being with Bella made that different, though. Bella made everything different. She was such a natural at all of this; I didn't have to spend as much time training her. Not only that, but she had already done so much research on her own.

I had never met anyone as prepared and analytical as she was. It nearly made me ashamed that I had never prepared myself in the same way. When I was initially getting into the lifestyle, I just jumped in with both feet. I was lucky to have found a patient Mistress in Trish, who had taken so much time and care with me. I owed my success as a Dom to her, too.

I thought being a submissive first would have better primed me for the life of a Dom. I was so wrong. Nothing could have readied me for the nearly crippling fear I felt the first time I was in control. Thankfully, Trish had been there to hold my hand and guide me through that experience as well.

"She's ready, Edward." Trish's voice broke me out of my musings. My heart was racing and I wondered if I had perhaps made the wrong choice. Trish was my safety net. She was my rock. Why did I think I was ready to leave her? As if she had sensed my discomfort, she walked up behind me and began to stroke my shoulders through my black robe.

"Don't worry so much, Edward. Everything will be fine - I'll be there the whole time." She continued to rub my back, easing the tension out of my body. She was always so gentle and tolerant.

"Are you sure I'm ready? I mean, I think I'm ready, but I don't want to do anything to hurt her." I knew my own limitations, but would I be able to sense Kimberly's?

"Edward, calm down. The fact that you're worried about her well-being is a good sign, but you're going to need to relax. I will be there to monitor and supervise. I promise I won't let any harm befall either of you." She was a balm to my frantic mind. Of course she wouldn't let anything go wrong.

I let out a sigh. I trusted Trish and knew she would never lead me astray. "Thank you. I needed that." I leaned in to place a kiss on her forehead. "I can do this."

"Of course you can. Satisfying a woman's primal needs has never been your weakness," she purred and raked her nails against my scalp before continuing, "at least, you've never had that problem with me. You've always been very… attentive." She paused and then said, "What you need to do is to get out of your head. You know you're ready. Stop over-thinking it." Then, she smacked my ass.

I glared at her, but smiled anyway. She knew how to draw me out of myself. I straightened my shoulders and set my resolve; I was going to be a successful Dom. I walked into the room first, with Trish right behind me. It didn't matter that Kimberly was blindfolded and couldn't see me, I needed to set a precedent. I needed to be in control.

I saw her immediately. She was on her knees on a padded bench with her fingers linked behind her head. She was absolutely stunning. Her curvy body was displayed nicely in pink lingerie with black trim. My cock twitched at the sight. I smirked at Trish - she had probably told Kimberly of my weakness for really girly and frilly lingerie. Trish winked back at me and walked to the other side of the playroom.

As I approached Kimberly, I saw her tense. I was well aware that she was new to the lifestyle. The thought was that maybe it would make things easier on the both of us if we both went in without too many expectations of the other. Kimberly was interested in becoming a submissive and had asked Trish for help finding a suitable Dom. I felt honored that I had been chosen to introduce her to my world.

"Shhh, my pet. I mean you no harm." I kept my tone calm and even, hoping it would ease her. When she relaxed visibly, I continued my approach. As I got closer, I was able to take in more of her features.

Even kneeled, I could tell that she was tall, probably around 5'8" or 5'9". Her long blonde hair fell loosely down her back, stopping a few inches above the curve of her waist. Some of it spilled over her shoulder, resting on her breasts. Her hips flared out nicely, giving her an hourglass figure. I couldn't see the color of her eyes since she was blindfolded, but I was hoping they were green. Or blue, to match the polish on her nails.

She really was exquisite.

"What is your name?" I already knew it of course, but I wanted to get her talking to me.

I saw her swallow before she moved her pretty pink lips. "Kimberly," she whispered. "My name is Kimberly."

"And what do you desire, Kimberly?" My voice was growing huskier by the moment. I was fully in control now.

She swallowed again and turned her head toward the sound of my voice. "I desire to pleasure you, Sir."

The added title made me twitch again. I closed my eyes and breathed in the scent of her. Then I felt something click in my mind. I was her Sir, and she was my pet, at least for the moment. That place, at that moment, was where I was meant to be. I looked over at Trish once more and smiled in gratitude. She had chosen well. I already knew that Kimberly and I were going to be a nice fit.

That day was the first of many for Kimberly and me. To date, the agreement we had was the longest I had with any of my submissives. Eighteen months. In fact, I'm not sure that we wouldn't still be together if she hadn't moved from Chicago back to Georgia, but I would always carry fond memories of the time we did share.

Back then, I wasn't as well-known in the medical community as I am now, but I had still been required to attend any and all of the formal gatherings we had: fundraisers for the hospital, luncheons for specific causes, and every once in awhile there had been out-of-town seminars. Watching Kimberly mix and mingle with my crowd had been so refreshing. She moved gracefully among the patrons of the hospital, and it was obvious that mine were not the only eyes locked on the buxom blonde.

I couldn't stop the smirk from crossing my features when I thought of the many torturous things I had done to her at those gatherings. She might have pouted over it, but the little minx loved it. On more than one occasion I had required her to wear vibrating panties. The thrill of knowing that the remote was safely nestled in my pocket never ceased to arouse me… but not nearly as much as flipping the switch had done for me.

To any outside observer, they would have sworn she was riveted by whatever topic of conversation they were talking about. Her eyes would widen and those gorgeous green orbs would dilate with anticipation. Of course she looked interested, but only she and I knew that she was battling desire - and the need to come.

I never thought I would find another submissive quite like Kimberly. She too had been so incredibly responsive to me, and if I hadn't known any better, I would have sworn she had been made for me.

I sat back at my desk and let my mind recall so many of our moments over those eighteen months. As I felt my pants tighten, I leaned back and released the button of my slacks, though it did little to relieve the tension. Lifting my hips, I slid my pants and boxers down and took my shaft in my hand, stroking up and down, imagining her plump lips wrapped around me once more.

"How do I look?"

I turned from the liquor cabinet and took in the sight before me. Kimberly stood tall and proud, clad in a sinful excuse for a dress. It clung to her curves perfectly, delicately highlighting the creaminess of her complexion. I was certain that some women should be banned from wearing little black dresses. They left little to the imagination and were designed to bring a man to his knees. Little did she know, I would not be the one on my knees by the end of the evening.

I strode over purposefully until I was standing closer to her than could be considered polite. My eyes raked over her form and I spun my finger around indicating I wanted her to turn. Her lips quirked on one side before she slowly complied, allowing me to get as good of a view of her from the back as I had from the front. When she stopped, she brought her eyes to mine and put a hand on her cocked hip. One perfectly sculpted brow rose in question as she smiled.

"Lovely. But I think you're missing one little thing…"

Her hand reached to her neck, fingering her 'collar' for the evening. It was black satin and had a single charm dangling from the center. The charm was a pear-shaped onyx, roughly the size of my thumbnail.

"No, dear, that's perfect. I was thinking of something a bit more… intimate." I reached into my pocket and pulled out the wireless bullet. Then, I stepped toward her again and ran one hand up her leg until it disappeared under the hem of her dress. When I came in contact with the lace, I held back my groan. There was no doubt she was wearing her signature pink and black underneath her dress.

I gently rubbed her warm sex and heard her gasp. Then I pushed her panties to the side and slid the bullet easily into her wetness. Her pupils constricted slightly and I felt her breath come out in a small whoosh.

"Now you're perfect." I leaned forward and kissed her brow. Her breathing was a little shaky and I knew I had her right where I wanted her. There was no doubt in her mind who was in control now.

I reached into my pocket once more and fingered the remote to the bullet. I pushed the first button and felt her tense against me. A small moan broke through her lips and she quivered.

"Tut tut, Kimberly. We can't have any of that this evening, my dear. And if you're a good girl tonight, there will be a reward for you when we return from the auction."

Her glassy eyes met mine and I was amazed to watch her bring herself back under control. She took several deep, cleansing breaths, closed her eyes, and finally opened them again to reveal clear green eyes. "Yes, Master," she purred, causing my cock to twitch.

"Naughty minx," I scolded, swatting her bottom before turning the bullet off and moving to the front closet to retrieve our coats.

As we climbed into the Aston Martin, Kimberly looked over at me. "Edward, what is the auction for tonight?"

Several times a year, the hospital hosted a charity ball and auctioned off items for said charity. This event was very special. While there were often events to raise funds and awareness for children's cancer, this event was genuinely unique. A local youth, who had been battling her own illnesses, was being spotlighted. During her many stays at the hospital, Lucy had become very close to another girl there, Maria, who was battling leukemia, and while Maria had been in remission for the past several years, it hadn't stopped Lucy from making it her mission to help find a cure for cancer. Lucy was a firm believer that, though there was no cure for her own illness, it didn't mean we weren't close to a cure for cancer.

For several years, Lucy had been making various crafts, selling them, and donating all of the money to the hospital in order to find a cure. The entire community had been so moved, as well as the board of the hospital, that they were going to put Lucy in the spotlight. The auction was being held in her name, and every penny earned in the auction would be donated to the hospital in her name. It was the highest honor we could bestow on the fourteen-year-old girl. As I explained all of this to Kimberly, her eyes had filled with wonder. They were shining with unshed tears of sheer astonishment.

"That makes me nearly ashamed of myself. That one child could be so selfless and giving, despite her own medical maladies... if only more people could strive to be like Lucy." Then she smiled brilliantly. "I'll make sure to bid richly."

Moments like these reaffirmed why we were such a wonderful match. While she didn't think she was, Kimberly was amazingly selfless herself. She always had change handy to drop in a cup as she passed those less fortunate, begging on the downtown streets. She had even carried small bags of chips and other snacks in her purse to hand out along with whatever spare change she had on her. When asked why, she'd simply shrug and say, "At least now they won't have an empty stomach. Maybe now they can use the money for a warm room tonight instead of a meal."

She was staring out the window with a sad smile on her face. I wondered what she was thinking. She sighed once and shook her head, then turned and smiled at me.

"What were you just thinking?" I couldn't stop myself from asking.

"Nothing really, just missing my family. Next week is my parent's 30th wedding anniversary." Then, she sighed again. "Hearing about that little girl just made me want my family close, you know?"

I knew what she meant. And I knew she was missing Georgia. She had been lost in daydreams more often in recent weeks. I could feel us drifting apart, something that I knew I couldn't stop. I was just glad I still had that night.

I reached over and laced my fingers with hers before bringing them back to settle on the gearshift. "You are an amazing creature. You know that, right?"

Her warm laughter filled the confines of my car as she rolled her eyes. "Whatever, Edward. Now pay attention to the road and quit looking at my legs. I'd like to get there in one piece."

I could hardly be blamed for my inattention, though. That little black number had crept up dangerously high on her thigh and I could swear that I could see the edge of her garter. I was definitely going to have to pay her back for that, tenfold.

Over the course of the evening, I would randomly choose a setting and hit a button on my remote. I knew it was driving her crazy. Her skin had a healthy sheen and she was flushed. She looked ravishing.

Once dinner and the auction were completed, the music had started and people were beginning to dance. I looked at Kimberly and raised a brow; I loved feeling the length of her body pressed against mine.

She was an amazing dancer.

The music turned to a Latin sound that was heavy on the brass and her body slid sinuously up against mine. I discreetly reached into my pocket and turned the bullet on to the highest setting, and then I ran my hand up her side. She let out a shaky breath and tensed against me slightly. I couldn't help but chuckle in her ear - she was putty in my hands.

I only had a moment to gloat before she slid her leg between mine and began to move. As we turned around the floor, she would brush up against me in the most provocative ways. Her hands would brush a little lower than necessary and barely stroke my hardening cock.

By the time the song was over, I wasn't sure who was more turned on. I pulled her up against me as the music faded out and whispered hoarsely in her ear, "You are going to pay for that, my Kimberly."

Her breath was still shaky and she shuddered against me. Then, she leaned back so that she could look into my eyes. "Yes, Master," she whispered back. And she smiled.

We quickly made our good-byes and raced out of the ballroom. The valet had my car to me in mere moments, but that seemed too long. I needed to feel her. I called on every bit of control I had built and forced my pulse to calm. I needed to be clear-headed. I needed to become the Master.

I reached over the console and brushed my hand up the inside of her thigh. "I have big plans for you tonight, little one."

Her body reacted at once, her warmth radiating from her and seeping into my pores. I bit back my grin and listened to the quickening of her breath.

"Tonight, my pet, you were very naughty on the dance floor." I brushed one hand over her center, feeling the wetness already soaking her panties. I could feel the bullet, still buzzing away inside of her. The feeling of that, combined with my clever fingers working at her, soon had Kimberly writhing in the front seat of my car.

Suddenly, I pulled away, reached into my pocket, and turned off the bullet. She growled slightly and arched her back against the seat while grinding her hips down into the seat. She was frantically seeking release, one that I would not permit, for now. I reached over again and pressed my hand against her lap, forcing her to stay still.

"Stop," I commanded quietly. She stopped abruptly. "You are going to have to be patient, Kimberly." Then I cupped her once more, pressing my palm into her sex. Her eyes went wide and her mouth fell open. "You shall get what you want, eventually." Then, I winked.

Kimberly knew me well enough by this point to know that I was up for a session when we returned to the house. Her breath shuddered one last time before she met my eyes and replied, "Yes, Master."

My cock hardened even further. I loved hearing that sentiment roll off her tongue. When we finally made it back, I methodically parked the car in the garage. I engaged the alarm, and moved into the kitchen to retrieve a glass of water. Kimberly stood just in the doorway, awaiting instruction. I smirked over my glass.

I looked her up and down and noticed that she was still trembling slightly. Her already heightened arousal would make the night so much more fun. When my eyes got back up to her face, I looked into her clouded eyes. "Ten minutes," I said, and strolled from the room.

Once I got to my room, I removed my formal clothing and donned a pair of dark jeans. I left the snap undone because I knew it would break Kimberly's concentration, and I wanted to test her tonight. I wondered just how much pleasure she could take before she broke. It was going to be fun finding out.

I strode up to the third floor and immediately located Kimberly, kneeled on the floor in her pink and black lingerie. I took a few deep, calming breaths before proceeding further into the room. Her hands were linked behind her back, hovering over the curve of her ass. Her blonde hair was spilling down her back in loose curls.

She always took my breath away.

I walked around to the front of her and stood. She stared straight ahead, directly at my abdomen. She had learned so well. I leaned down and took her face in my hands, turning it upward so I could see her eyes.

"What do you desire, my pet?" I didn't often call her by her given name in the playroom. In the playroom, she was not Kimberly, in the playroom she was my submissive.

Her green eyes gazed into mine for a long moment before she sighed. A small smile played at the corner of her lips as she whispered, "I desire to please you, Master."

I smiled fully. I had plans for her tonight.

"What is your safe word?"

"Peach," she said, wistfully. I knew she was missing home and wondered briefly how much more time I would have with her. I pushed that aside - I just wanted to have at least one more night.

"Peach," I whispered back to her. "Now please get on the spanking horse," I said more forcefully. Kimberly responded best when I used a dominant tone. She liked it a bit rough.

I saw her body flush before she rose to her feet and walked over to the horse. Once she had straddled it, I walked around and secured wrist and ankle cuffs on her, then I cuffed those to the hooks around the perimeter of the horse.

Once she was secured, I walked back around to the front of her. I reached over and grabbed a ping pong paddle off the bench and saw her eyes widen in glee. Kimberly liked to be spanked. I was glad to oblige.

I moved around behind her and smoothed my hand over the lace of her panties. It was so soft and moved so gracefully over her curves. I moved the paddle in the same pattern my hand had just traveled and saw her muscles bunch. I could smell her arousal in the air, and it was thick and heady.

My senses were overwhelmed and I was drowning in her excitement when I brought the paddle down the first time. I heard the crack and heard her low moan follow. It emboldened me. I could make her feel this way. I could bring her pleasure like she had never known.

I paddled her again, making sure not to strike too hard or in the same place more than twice. I wanted her ass to be a pretty shade of pink as I fucked her. When I was sure her cheeks matched the shade of her panties, I grabbed them in both hands and rend them in half. I heard her gasp of surprise and grinned.

My hands smoothed over the skin of her ass once again, and I could feel the slight warmth coming from her skin. She groaned and pushed back into my hands, searching for more contact.

"Aren't you eager, little one?" I chuckled as I gently palmed her skin. I could see the white imprints of my hands when they left her skin. The sight of that never ceased to excite me.

"Yes, Master. Please…" she trailed off as she bucked her hips back into me again.

"Please what, my pretty?" I cooed at her. I could see her arousal beginning to drip from her and knew she was close, but I wasn't ready to grant her a release… yet.

"Please," she panted. "Please take me." She was rubbing her clit against the leather of the horse, trying to gain any kind of friction she could. I knew she was succeeding when I heard her breathing pattern change.

I smacked her ass with an open palm swiftly and she immediately stilled. I leaned over her until my mouth was right next to her ear. "I don't believe I permitted you to come. You will wait until you have permission."

My warm breath fanned over the skin behind her ear and I saw goose bumps erupt over her flesh. I chuckled darkly and pressed my face into her neck. "Do you like that?" I growled into her skin. I felt her trembling and I nipped at her neck, careful not to leave any marks.

I stood and loosened the zipper on my jeans. As they hit the floor, I entered her fluidly and slowly. My movements were deliberate and restrained. I gave her enough that she was writhing with pleasure, but not enough to send her tumbling over the edge.

She started struggling against her restraints, trying desperately to get more leverage. Her position made it difficult for her to thrust back into me effectively. She was whimpering in frustration. My hands molded the flesh of her bottom and I rocked in and out of her at a steady pace. I watched again as the pink skin whitened under my touch and felt a groan building in my chest.

I picked up my pace so that our skin was slapping together. I wasn't going to last much longer like this, and I knew it. She had been teasing me for far too long over the course of the night and I wanted a release, but I didn't want it like this. I changed the angle slightly and felt her clench. I would permit her release before I got mine.

I leaned over her again so that my bare chest was pressed against her bare back. Our skin was slick with sweat and we were sliding against each other. I reached around with one hand and was able to slide it between her body and the spanking horse. My fingers grazed her clit and she whimpered.

"That's it, my pretty girl, let go. Come for me." I flicked her clit once more and bit lightly on the juncture of her neck and shoulder.

Her whole body stilled before I felt her explode around me. She screamed as her orgasm rolled through her and it took every bit of control I had not to follow after her. When her trembling had ceased, she laid her head on the horse and tried to calm her breathing. I slid the still hard length of myself from her and walked around the horse, releasing the restraints as I went. When I was done, I helped her down and guided her down to her knees.

She sat back on her heels and waited for further instruction, just like she had been trained. I was throbbing by this point, aching for her mouth around my length. I walked forward and slid my fingers into her hair, guiding her face so she was looking at me. Once again I was struck with how beautiful she really was, even more so with her cheeks pink and her eyelids heavy.

"Open your mouth. Please me, little one." She immediately obeyed and my cock slid willingly into her waiting mouth. Her hands went to work kneading the flesh of my bottom and pulling me further into her mouth. I felt my balls tightening but wanted to prolong my release a bit more. She moaned around me, silently begging me to come.

I fisted my hands in her long blonde hair as she worked over my length. Back and forth, her head bobbed, making my cock glisten with her saliva. Her teeth were grazing my shaft very lightly and every few thrusts she'd pull back and nibble on the head. I could see her tongue peek out of her mouth and flick over the slit and my balls tightened again. This time it was impossible to hold back.

I groaned deeply. "Yes, suck it. Just like that." She moaned again – she always loved when I was verbal with her - and I felt the coil in my belly snap. With another groan, I released into her mouth and down her throat. She took every bit of it with a smile and then licked up and down the length of me, cleaning me off. When she was done, she sat back on her heels once more and rested her cheek against my thigh.

I reached down and cupped the other cheek softly, stroking it with my thumb. She always loved little gestures of appreciation like that. "Thank you, little one." I leaned down and helped her to her feet.

"Thank you, Master," she replied, smiling. I led her over to a chair and had her sit down so I could check her wrists and ankles. She had pulled against the restraints rather forcefully and I didn't want her creamy skin marred.

I worked her fingers and toes back and forth, making sure they were getting adequate blood flow before massaging the skin around each wrist and ankle. Her skin was reddened, but not broken. It wouldn't be bad enough to bruise, but there was a possibility she would have some soreness in the morning.

Kimberly purred and moaned as I worked lotion into each red spot, trying to erase the marks from her skin. The aloe and cucumber in the lotion would help with any redness or swelling. When I was finished, I pulled her to her feet once more and gently led her to her room.

"Would you prefer to take a bath or a shower, Kimberly?" I needed to get her into her bed very soon. She was starting to come down from our session and would crash shortly.

"Mmmm…" she moaned. "A hot shower sounds heavenly right now." The pulsing jets of the multiple shower heads would do wonder for any stiffness in her muscles. I led her into the bathroom and sat her down on the padded stool. Once I had the shower at a temperature that wasn't too high, I guided her to the shower.

I wondered briefly if I should allow her some privacy and let her shower herself, but she swayed slightly on her feet showing me she was much more tired than she was letting on. So I stepped in behind her and closed the shower door. As I washed her, I wondered again how much longer I would have with her. I knew she was homesick and that she wouldn't be a permanent fixture in Chicago.

There was a pang in my heart at the thought of her leaving. She was my first submissive, and somewhere in the back of my mind, I had hoped she would be my only. I knew I loved her, in a way. There was no way to go through the things we had experienced together without developing strong feelings for each other, but I also knew deep down that we weren't made for each other in that way. There was something else out there for Kimberly, something better than I was ready to offer right now. It wouldn't be fair to make her wait.

I loved her enough to let her go.

My fingers were a blur as they stroked my shaft faster and faster. Years of control had taught me well and I could now prolong the pleasure indefinitely. I wanted more. I wanted to remember her. I wanted to wallow in the moment.

My mind was flashing images through my head. Images of all the times we had shared, as partners and as friends. Even as lovers. Kimberly had been all of those things to me and so many more. She had been my confidante. She had been my world.

My chair creaked as I leaned back further, straightening my legs out under my desk. I slowed the movements of my hand again and tightened my grip slightly. My thumb swept through the pre-come leaking from the tip and worked it into the pulsing flesh of the head. It was so sensitive - and so swollen. I could feel my heartbeat as I gripped my shaft harder and gave it purposeful strokes.

I was nearly panting, but I was trying not to make too much sound. Something tickled at the back of my mind and told me that what I was doing might be wrong, but I couldn't seem to stop myself. I couldn't stop the onslaught of memories. Couldn't stop the emotions that went along with them. And I couldn't stop the pleasure - or the pain, especially when I remembered her leaving me.

The week following the charity ball was rough. Kimberly was very withdrawn and quiet, nothing like her normal self. Every attempt I made to draw her out of her shell failed. She brushed it off and told me everything was fine, but I still chose to forego our session that week. I was planning on taking it easy with her anyway - with only one session that week - but she was in no state of mind for it.

I hoped with time she would talk to me about what was going on. I hoped she knew that no matter what it was, she could tell me anything. I wanted her to know that she could trust me. As much as she trusted me with her body, I needed her to trust me with her thoughts, but I wasn't going to push. Pushing would accomplish nothing. I might get the information I was seeking, but at what cost?

My mind was spinning in circles. I knew it was something big, something she was afraid to talk to me about. My stomach was in knots all week, praying she wasn't leaving, but I think I always knew. I think I knew the night of the ball. Hell, I was pretty sure I knew even before then. I wasn't enough to keep her in Chicago. I knew she would be going back to Georgia soon.

Aside from the daydreams she seemed to get lost in so often those days, she was also having many hushed conversations over the phone. I never wanted to pry, but I couldn't stop myself from being curious. She would always smile at me if I interrupted her, but it never fully reached her eyes. Every time, a little piece of my heart broke.

She made small talk with me over dinner, but she was never fully engaged in conversation. I missed her laugh. I missed her real smile. I missed her: the Kimberly that I had come to know over the last year and a half. The girl sitting before me was not the same. This woman was more distant. This woman had barriers. This woman was not mine.

As the week bore on, she became more withdrawn. She spent a lot of time behind her closed bedroom door, something she had never done. Unless she was feeling unwell or sleeping, she had never locked me out of her room. I had never entered her private quarters without a specific purpose, but the knowledge still startled me. The first time I heard her lock snick into place, my heart thumped painfully in my chest. Why was she shutting me out?

Every evening for three nights straight she would shut and lock her door immediately after dinner. Every evening she would spend in solitude, no longer seeking me out for company. I felt as if she was becoming a stranger. It drove me crazy.

Finally, on Friday I had had enough. I was going to talk to her when I got home from work. I was going to beg her to tell me what was wrong. I needed to know how to fix this.

When I walked in the door, I knew immediately something was different. There was music playing and there was a delicious aroma coming from the kitchen. I tossed my keys into the bowl on the table inside the door and loosened my tie as I walked toward the rear of the house. When I got there, Kimberly was standing at the stove, stirring something in a pot, and she was humming. She looked up as she heard me enter and she smiled brightly. A real smile, one that touched her eyes.

I smiled back at her and walked over to place a small kiss on her forehead. I had missed this side of her so much, and it warmed me to see her back to her normal self. "This is unexpected," I started, leaning back to look her in the eye. "What's the occasion?"

I saw the sadness come and go quickly before she masked her features and smiled brightly at me again. "Oh, nothing really," she shrugged. "I just felt like cooking."

I felt the dread creeping through me again, but tried to shove it away. I leaned over and took and inhaled deeply. "Salmon, wild rice, and asparagus? I think you are trying to spoil me." I teased her, hoping to break her out of her shell so she'd just tell me.

She laughed and playfully pushed me out of the kitchen. "Go clean up. Dinner will be ready in about ten minutes." Again, my heart sunk a bit that she hadn't taken the chance to talk to me, but I was hoping that would change during the course of our meal.

As I changed into something more comfortable, I resolved myself to talk to her, to ask her point blank what was bothering her. I needed to know so that I could help her get through it. I needed to help her fix it. I just needed her to be back in my life the way she had always been before.

The dining room was lit with the soft glow of candlelight. My heart thrummed in anticipation. What was she planning? All too soon, the questions were pushed from my mind and the table was set and ready for us to eat. Kimberly was attentive all through dinner, asking about work, listening with rapt attention as I told her about some of the new research projects I was working on. She filled my wine glass when it was empty and switched me over to water after the second one.

All night I looked for an opening to bring up what had been going on with her, but she steered the conversation away from herself with practiced ease. I knew she was avoiding the issue. It scared me. Finally I wasn't able to stand it anymore. My fork clattered to the plate before I could scoop up the sugared confection she had made for dessert.

"What's wrong?" I demanded. My voice was more forceful than I had intended, but I was no longer able to control it.

She looked taken aback at the sudden change in mood. "I… uh, I'm not sure I know what you mean." Her voice was relatively calm, but there was a storm brewing in her eyes. It infuriated me. She was lying to me.

"I think you know exactly what I'm talking about. You've been so distant lately and you've been more withdrawn than I've ever seen you. And I'm sure it didn't escape your notice that we didn't have any sessions at all this week." I tried to keep the frustration out of my voice. I wasn't really all that angry about not having any sessions, but I was angry at her outright refusal to confide in me. I thought we meant more than that to her.

Her eyes dropped to her lap and I saw a single tear trail down her cheek. She let out a sigh and then she lifted her head, finally meeting my gaze. "I'm sorry, Edward. I've just… I don't know where to start." She looked so torn and so fragile, but she was finally talking to me.

I took a deep breath to steady myself before I spoke again. "Why don't you just start at the beginning? We can go from there."

Another tear fell from her eye and tracked down her cheek. Part of me wanted to round the table and scoop her into my arms and promise we didn't need to talk about it, to promise that it would all work out in the end, but I knew we needed to hash this out. Now.

"I miss my family. If you remember, I told you my parents are celebrating their 30th anniversary this weekend, and my family is planning a big surprise party for them. I'm going." Her voice was soft, but I felt a moment of relief that she was just going home to visit her family. Perhaps a short reprieve would help us get back to where we used to be.

"That's not so terrible. I'm sure your family would love to have you home for a visit. When do you leave?" My heart felt lighter and I knew it was reflected in my voice.

"I leave first thing in the morning. My cab will be here at 7:00 AM."

Before she could continue, I interrupted her. "Your cab? That's not necessary; I can take you to the airport."

She sighed again before meeting my gaze once more. "I didn't think you'd understand. I'm going home, Edward."

We stared at each other for a moment as the meaning of her words began to take root. She was going home. She hadn't corrected me about the visit. She had called it home.

I tried to school my features as much as possible, but I'm sure some of the tension leaked through. "I see. Or I think I do. And why are you just now deciding to tell me about this?"

She blinked furiously, trying to will the tears away. "I've been trying to find a way to tell you all week. Before this week, actually. I've been trying to come to terms with this for about a month now." She swallowed thickly before she continued. "I need to go home. I need to be with my family."

"So all of those hushed conversations?" I trailed off, waiting for her to fill in the blanks.

"I was making arrangements with my sister. She's been trying to help me find a place to live once I get back home."

"And your locked door?" If I could keep her talking, perhaps I could get all of my answers, and then maybe it would be easier to watch her walk away.

"I was packing my things. I didn't want you to find out that way."

I couldn't stop it, the rage coursed through me, nearly incapacitating me. She didn't want me to know she was packing, but she was just dropping the ball on me right before she left. I pushed back from the table and stood so quickly that my chair clattered to the floor. My hands gripped my hair painfully as I felt the angry tears forming in my eyes. I couldn't seem to stop those either.

I laughed, sardonically. "Oh, that's rich. You didn't want me to find out about you secretly packing up to leave me, which ironically might have better prepared me for the fact, but you seem to have no trouble dropping all of this on me the night before you actually go?"

She was no longer trying to stop the tears. They were flowing down her face freely at this point. "I know. And I'm sorry. I was afraid, Edward. I didn't know how to tell you that I needed to go home. I was afraid you would be angry." Then she added in a hoarse whisper, "I was afraid you would hate me."

Whatever anger and frustration I had dissipated with her last comment. No matter what she did to me, I doubted I could ever hate her. She was too kind; it was an intrinsic part of her nature. I was certain at that point that this was just as difficult for her as it was for me, if not more so. Sure I was just finding out about all of this, but she had been dealing with it for a month, all on her own.

I pulled my hair once more in frustration before letting out a sigh. I rounded the table then and knelt beside her chair. I pulled one of her hands into mine and gently rubbed my thumb over the back of it. "I'm sorry I yelled. I could never hate you, baby. I just wish you had talked to me about this. I told you in the beginning that I would be there for you, that your happiness and well-being was vital to me. I wish you knew that I would have done anything I could to help you."

She raised her head and looked at me. "I think deep down I did know, Edward, but I also knew that it would hurt you, and I never wanted to hurt you." Then she let out a broken sob. "I am so sorry. I never meant to lie to you."

I pulled her chair away from the table and sat on the floor so I could pull her into my lap. I rocked her and murmured assurances into her hair as she cried. I could feel my own tears making their way down my face, but none of that really registered. The only thing I could think of was that she was leaving me and that this was the last time I could hold her.

When her breathing was calmer and the tears had stopped, she let out another sigh. Even tear-splotched and swollen-eyed, she was still the most beautiful creature I had ever encountered. Her wet eyelashes were sticking together and the tip of her nose was red. She knuckled away the rest of her tears and tried to dry her face with her hands. We held each other's gaze for a long moment before either of us spoke.

"Do you even know how much you mean to me?" she whispered.

I couldn't help but smile softly. We had almost always been on the same page. "Probably as much as you mean to me."

She leaned forward and pressed her lips to mine gently. When she spoke again, she spoke against my lips, "I never meant to fall in love with you, Edward. This is breaking my heart as much as I'm sure it's breaking yours."

I couldn't help but pull back from her slightly. Could it get any harder than this? I knew she wasn't trying to hurt me even more - and that she probably needed full disclosure in order to move on with her life, but it hurt my heart to hear her confession of love. I smiled sadly back at her. "Neither did I."

Her eyes widened slightly before a few more tears escaped. She seemed to brace herself, as if she was afraid of what I might say in response to her question. "Edward…" she trailed off and I could tell she was unsure of whatever she was going to ask me.

"Yes, love?" Without my meaning it to, the endearment slipped from my lips.

She suddenly seemed very shy, much like she had been on that very first day all those months ago. "I was wondering something, and you don't have to say yes, but I wanted to know…" she trailed off once more.

"Just ask me, Kimberly. You can ask me anything." At that moment, I wanted to give her anything she wanted.

She braced herself and I could see when her resolve was set. Her green eyes met mine, and they were determined. It was beautiful. "Make love to me? One last time, please?"

My heart thudded in my chest. This would be our last time, but it wasn't going to be like any other time. This time we wouldn't be Master and sub; this time we would be equals. This time we would truly be lovers. I swallowed thickly and held her gaze. "It would be my pleasure."

She got up from my lap and I stood, then I took her hand in mine and led her up the stairs and to my bedroom. We had never made love in my room before. If I was being completely honest, we'd never made love at all before and it tore me apart that our first time would also be our last. Aside from that though, I would give her this parting gift. I would give her a piece of my heart, and I would show her through my actions.

As I slowly undressed her, I reveled in the feel of her skin, the smell of her sex, and the sounds she emitted. This was nothing like either of us were used to with each other, but it was still comfortable. It was still erotic. Bit by bit, her body was revealed to me, yet this was so much more tantalizing than what we had experienced in the past. She was giving herself to me in a completely different way, just as I was giving myself to her. My heart clenched once more and I pushed the pain and the heartache aside.

When she was standing before me, clad only her in pink and black lingerie, the surge of emotions were nearly too much. I was on my knees before her, burying my face in her stomach as the tears came. I wondered if every Dom felt this way upon losing a sub, or if Kimberly and I had shared something special, something unique. Perhaps it was because she was my first, but even then I was entirely unsure. We just fit, but soon we would be no more.

I held her there for another moment before I was able to compose myself enough to continue. There were no words spoken, both of us knowing that would hurt too much in the end. Instead there were murmurs of assurance and sighs of pleasure as our naked skin made contact.

We stood at the foot of my bed exploring each other. Her small hands ran over my body and felt so familiar, but so foreign at the same time. I felt like I was in a daze, like I was somehow watching myself, looking from the outside in. It almost made me feel voyeuristic, but I couldn't stop myself. Nor would did I want to.

She stood on her tip-toes and captured my mouth with hers. We had never kissed in this way either. Both of us had always kept a safe emotional distance, but those walls were down now and our passion seemed to ignite. Her mouth opened to me as I swept my tongue over her bottom lip and she sighed into my mouth. The intimacy of that one act nearly made me balk. It wasn't supposed to be like this. I wasn't supposed to get so attached. I had failed her and I had failed myself, but there was no turning back. We were both at the point of no return.

As we collapsed onto the bed, I took her into my arms and held her close as our lips and tongues explored one another. Skin heated and flushed, and little beads of sweat broke out over the expanses of our bodies. I was so achingly hard for her, but tried to hold back a bit more, desperate to prolong the moment. I knew once it was over, so would we be. I was being selfish. I couldn't stop it.

When I could hold back no longer, I pressed my length against her wetness and she gasped. We both froze, eyes locked, knowing this was it. Her hair was spread in a halo over my pillows and her green eyes were penetrating mine. Her arms were wrapped around me and I braced myself on one arm so I could cup her cheek with my hand. When another solitary tear slid from the corner of her eye, I brushed it away with the pad of my thumb and leaned down to take her lips once more, never once closing my eyes.

As she held my gaze, I pushed forward into her - for the very last time. It was heaven and hell. My heart was threatening to beat out of my chest from the overwhelming feelings, but I kept a steady pace. Long, deep thrusts followed by a slow retreat. Her wetness coated me, spilling from her and glistening over my length.

I built the pace slowly, steadily increasing until I needed more. When I leaned back, I hooked my hands under her shoulders and pulled her so she was straddling me. We were wound around each other sinuously, with no end and no beginning. We were one creature, one mind, and one heart. Her breasts were pressed against my chest and I could feel her breath on my neck, but I never let go.

Higher and higher, the tension was building, the crescendo just waiting over the precipice, but I was not anxious to get there. I didn't want to get to our goodbye. She must have sensed my hesitance as she picked up the pace again on her own, throwing her head back in abandon. Her nails dug into my shoulders and the burn was exquisite.

More and more, up and up, she led me closer to the edge. I didn't think she could ride me any harder or any faster, and I knew it was coming, the end was in sight. Suddenly she stilled, just before she clamped around me and her orgasm tore through her. Her mouth opened in a silent scream and I covered it with mine. My own orgasm followed as I threw myself recklessly after her, knowing I couldn't drag it out any longer.

We sat there for what seemed like an eternity, both sweaty and spent, foreheads touching as we shared our breaths. I didn't know where to go from here. I was scared to open my mouth to speak, afraid of what might come out. I was terrified I might beg her to stay, knowing full well that she wouldn't. That she couldn't. Her place was no longer with me.

Instead, I shifted us both so that she was lying across my chest as I played with the ends of her hair. I would miss the long silky blonde strands that I was running my fingers through. Then I whispered a single word, "Stay?"

I heard her gasp and she shook her head. I rushed in, trying to salvage the mess I had already made. "Just for the night," I clarified.

When she finally spoke, her voice sounded so tired, so broken. "Edward…" she hesitated, then plowed on, "I can't." Then she lifted herself from my embrace and stood in all her naked glory. She pulled her dress up over her body, foregoing her lingerie and looked at me again. "I need to give you something."

I only nodded, not trusting myself to speak again; worried I might make another mistake. She padded out of the room quietly before returning shortly thereafter. In her hands, she carried a simple wooden box. It was a familiar box, and upon seeing it, the cracks in my heart widened. I looked away, trying desperately to hold myself together for one final moment, knowing it was useless.

She slowly set the box on the corner of the bed before her wet eyes sought out mine once more. When I refused to meet her gaze full on, I heard her breath hitch. Then my heart finally shattered when she whispered her final words, "I'm so sorry," and as she backed out of the room slowly, the final word did me in. "Peach."

And with that, she was gone.

I didn't race after her, nor did I get out of bed in the morning to say goodbye. We had said our goodbyes the evening before. As I watched her cab pull away from the curb, I picked up the box and hurled it and its contents across the room. It hit the mirror on my dresser, breaking the glass into thousands of tiny shards - which lay covering my carpet, mixed among her collection of collars, and the remains of my broken heart.

At that point, I vowed to myself to never fall in love with another submissive again.

Even as the pain of it consumed me, I couldn't stop the release. It spewed forth from the end of my cock, coating my hand and abdomen. I knew why that final memory had come to me. I had been so successful at shutting out the pain of it, even all these years later. It worried me. I had tried so hard not to think of it, but the similarities between Bella and Kimberly had been my downfall. I never stood a chance.

I swallowed thickly as I cleaned myself up, wondering what this all meant for my future. Did that mean I was doomed to fall for Bella as well? Try as I might, I had been unable to keep an emotional distance from her. Not the way I had been able to with the submissives after Kimberly. I would just have to be on guard.

When I threw the tissues into the waste bin, remorse and regret flooded me once more. I had just masturbated to thoughts of another woman while my current submissive lay sleeping just down the hall from me. I was a horrible person. I hadn't been able to maintain my control. It angered me. It scared me. It worried me.

I left my office and walked down the hall to her room. Since she had been sleeping in my house, I had made it a point to check in on her every night. Part of that was my fear of her leaving me - like Kimberly had. It was irrational, but I just couldn't shake it. Something about Bella drew me to her. It was so much stronger than with Kimberly, and that scared me the most. I felt like I was fighting a losing battle. I had never had any hope.

I eased the door open and slipped in silently, taking my seat in a chair off to the side. She wasn't sleeping well tonight, tossing and turning, her rest coming in fits and bursts. I smiled to myself, knowing that she was still worked up from our session earlier, and I hadn't given her permission to come; in fact, I had expressly forbade it. Then I felt the guilt again - I had forbidden her release, but I had had mine, all while thinking of someone else. I felt sick to my stomach.

I wanted to flee, to run back to the safety of my own room, but a small whimpering sound caught my attention. Bella was awake. I pressed myself back into the chair, trying to blend with into the darkness so she wouldn't see me. I didn't know how I would explain my nightly visits. It would open too many wounds and then I would need to give her too many explanations. I wasn't ready for that. Yet. I knew someday I would have to tell her, but that day was not today. Or tomorrow.

I watched in awe and a bit of disappointment as Bella looked toward the door and seemed to listen intently for any sound coming from the other side. Then, much to my amazed anger, her hand slid down beneath the cover and she began touching herself. It wasn't long before she was able to achieve her own orgasm, but the fact that she had done so infuriated me. Both of us had failed. Miserably.

Almost as soon as she was done, she slid into a contented slumber and I made my way back to my room to ponder what to do about it. Indeed she would need to be punished for her disobedience, but it was up to me to decide how.

But that was just part of my job.

End Note: A special thanks again goes to AHelm for her beta skills. Even with a little one at home she was able to get his back to me lickety split. Record time, peeps, record time. I'd also like to thank Amanda, Tracy, and Lillie for looking this over for me. They kept me laughing and they encouraged me when I hit a block. But above all else, they never gave up on me and pushed me to get this done. Delayed, yes? But we got to the finish… and that's what counts.

For any of my readers still out there, thank you as well for not giving up on me. If you're still reviewing, even more kudos to you. I'm sorry I've been in such a funk lately… but I'm slowly pulling out of it. And I apologize for not replying to all of the PMs, reviews, emails, and such regarding this story, but I didn't have any news, and I was ashamed that I had nothing of importance to say. I do love all of you, and when I was at my lowest, I went back and re-read all of the reviews and comments pertaining to this story. I can never tell you how much they all mean to me. Hopefully updates will be more frequent.

And last but not least, you can follow me on Twitter. I'm NanMcCullen over there, and I try to respond to everyone that chats me up. I love talking to my readers. But be warned… the perviness you find in my stories carries over into my convos there too. Just thought I'd let you know.