Tea on Tuesday at Four

Prologue

Elena

Lately, my Tuesday tea with Grace has been a bit dull. Christian has been in something of a funk since his contract with Susannah ran out. I knew the minute that I met her that see would be a one hit wonder. I surprised that she lasted the full three minutes. She might have been a good sub, but her conversation was positively vacuous, entertaining in its own way, but vacuous.

Christian's behavior had been bordering on maddeningly dull. As a result I have been listening to Grace go on and on about her son. As usual, she is worried that he is gay. As if he would hide it if he really was so inclined. Even she can't believe that he is actually celibate. Christian is as fine a specimen of manhood as I have ever met. And I certainly have met my share.

I wonder if he's mentioned the little piece that tripped into his office yesterday afternoon to her? I doubt it. He was actually confused by her. He was so bothered that he called me up to talk about it. Of course, he consults with me about everything. He hasn't made a move without me since we ended our Domme/sub relationship over six years ago. And he has never had any interest in a woman outside of our world.

But I suspect that woman is an overstatement in this case. She sounded more like a girl. For crying out loud she's a college student, a bookish little mouse who could barely look him in the eye. But maybe he's bored with the usual subs. Maybe it's become too easy for him to find one that looks like his mother and knows how to take a good beating. Maybe he wants a girl that he can really kick the shit out of and then "save" from her pain.

I had it figured out years ago. He sees his crack whore mother regularly beaten by her pimp. He thinks that that's the right way to treat women you fuck. But then he's the good little boy who wants to take care of his Mommy. In return for allowing him to do unspeakable (to the average person) things to their bodies, they let him give them all kinds of gifts. Christian's subs have got to be the luckiest bitches in Seattle.

Maybe his tastes are changing. I hope not. Maybe he's looking for a challenge. I hope so. An innocent, little girl will never be able to satisfy him. So I sent him down to Portland. Let him find her and try to talk her into the lifestyle. With any luck, he'll scare the crap out of her and that will be that. Then we will stop by one of the clubs and pick out a new prospect.

Oh, here she comes. Mrs. Perfect has some bee in her bonnet. I wonder what is up now.

Grace

"Elena, darling," I say. "Has it really been a whole week? We missed you at the charity auction last week."

"I'm sorry, dear," she answers. "I sent a check. I'm afraid that I was feeling a bit under the weather."

"Are you feeling better now?" I ask.

"Yes, it was a temporary malaise," she replies. "So how are the children?"

I smile. Dear Elena! She never complains about herself. Most women our age like to go on and on about all their physical complaints. She's too busy worrying about me and my brood to think of herself. I am so lucky to have her.

"Mia seems well," I reply. "She'll be home in a couple of weeks. Her French sounds as if it's improved more than her cooking. I do wish that she would consider college. The poor child is just floundering. I despair when I think of what might become of her."

Elena smiles knowingly.

"Mia's only interest in university would be to find a husband," she replies. "Save yourself the money and trouble and put your efforts into finding her a nice young man."

"You're right, of course. You always are," I say. "I had just hoped for more for her. I had at least expected that she would pursue some kind of career. I only hope that she doesn't regret it someday."

"Nothing is ever certain in life," Elena shrugs. "How are the boys?"

"Elliot has moved on to yet another young woman," I sigh. "I don't know what is going to do with him. At least he has been careful so far and not ended up with any STDs."

"Well, Elliot is a normal, healthy man," she replies.

"And nearly thirty," I say. "It's time for him to stop sowing his wild oats, settle down, and find a nice girl to marry."

"I'm not sure that that will happen," she says. "Oh, I can see him settling down, but I can't see him settling for a nice girl. He's going to need someone to keep up with him."

I would be annoyed with her, but I know that she's right. Elliot certainly has strong appetites. If only Christian . . .

"What is it, dear?" asks Elena sympathetically, reading my facial expression as usual. "Are you worrying about Christian again?"

"How can I not worry about him?" I say. "He's floundering even worse than Mia. I used to think that it was his obsession with making money that was keeping him out of the dating game. He does have this need to control everything. It's impossible to get through a meal with him without that Blackberry buzzing at least a dozen times. And I suppose that I could live with it if I thought that he was happy. But he's not."

"No offense, Grace," she says with her usual honesty. "But how can you tell? Has Christian ever been happy?"

I look away. I don't want to think about it. But she's right. My poor son has never been truly happy. Rather, it seems as though he has always been on the outside looking in. No matter how hard Carrick and I have tried, he has always been unhappy. I know that he had a terrible start in life, but Elliot's life before we adopted him was no piece of cake either. I suppose that it comes down to personality.

"Well, no," I reluctantly agree. "But lately he seems so flat, a though nothing excites him anymore. He seemed to enjoy making money hand over fist on his various deals. And of course he could go out on his boat or go gliding. I couldn't even convince him to come over for dinner this weekend."

"Do you think that a woman is the answer?" she asks bluntly.

"Maybe I am grasping at straws, but yes, I think that a woman could be the answer," I reply. "He needs someone to share his life with. He needs to find someone who will prove to him that he is lovable and that he can trust to love."

"You are selling yourself short, Grace," she says. "You know that Christian absolutely adores you. Perhaps he hasn't met the right person yet. It would take a very special person to love him as he deserves."

"Oh, Elena, I don't know what I would do without you. Of course that must be it," I say gratefully. "What would I do without you?"

Elena smiles back at me enigmatically. What would I do without her? She always knows the right things to say to comfort me. And she's so patient. Carrick has threatened to walk away the next time I start to go on about Christian. He is thoroughly sick of the topic. But Elena is always there for me. Once again, I feel blessed that she is my best friend.