Raw and Broken Ch. 03

Babes

I held my breath, waiting for the inevitable.

What sordid tale would Drake tell? A female supervisor who had seduced and blackmailed him? Or a jaded ex-lover who’d returned to try to win him back? Maybe it was a crazy stranger at the erotic club in Chicago who had been stalking him?

All immature—and not exactly valid—reasons, in my opinion, to tuck his tail and run to another state.

Drake still wouldn’t look up at me. “Do you remember my bachelor party?”

“Yes.”

I recalled that he’d refused Malcolm’s offer to go out and celebrate that rite of passage. Just as I had when Becca asked me. But his coworkers had insisted. They’d surprised him. I’d assumed it had just been a bunch of grown men drinking beer. No harm done except a few hangovers.

I snorted softly. Yeah, like I was one to talk. Look how my impromptu, belated party had turned out.

“It was just supposed to be wings and beer at a sports bar after work,” Drake elaborated. “We were supposed to go back to Brad’s house for cards. But they took me to a strip club instead. And then a night club. I had too much to drink.”

I swallowed heavily. I’d upbraided him at the time for being out all night without calling me. He hadn’t wanted to have sex for a couple of days after that. Gave no explanation why. It hadn’t been like him. But I’d chalked it up to wedding jitters and pushed it out of my memory. Until now.

That sick feeling was working its way up from my stomach.

“I woke up the next morning in a strange bed. With a blonde.” He waved his hand absentmindedly as if that explained what they were doing there. Like I had to guess. “I had vague memories of strippers, drinking, and dancing. Just no recollection of coming home with her.”

Darryl cleared his throat. “Are you sure you—”

“Oh, yeah.” Drake was shook his head. I wondered if he was trying to erase the memory, like you did with an Etch A Sketch. “Even if we hadn’t done anything the night before, she was on top of me—”

“We get it,” Becca said, her voice more snarl than not.

I couldn’t breathe. I did the math. He’d cheated on me three weeks before we’d gotten married?

He finally looked up, but he lowered his head almost immediately once his gaze locked with mine. Had he seen the fire raging in my eyes? He opened his mouth but closed it again.

“Spit it out, Drake.” I hissed my own words at him, wondering if they’d used protection. “No more secrets, right?”

Malcolm snorted. “Unless you got her pregnant—”

“She claimed I did.”

Oh, God. My chest was on fire.

“She told me at the dinner party.”

“She was there?” I was on my feet now.

Mr. Murdoch, his boss and the CEO of the company, had thrown a surprise dinner party for our wedding. Very elaborate. Regal, even. I’d enjoyed the temporary pampering. But now…

He nodded. “Brooke—”

“Wait!” I pressed my hand to my breastbone. Was the room spinning? “As in Brooke Murdoch? You drunk-fucked your boss’s step-daughter?”

Drake seemed to shrink further into the seat of his chair as I attempted a wobbly step toward him. “I didn’t know who she was at the time. I just found out that night.”

“She gave me the Tiffany bracelet I used as my ‘something blue.’ God dammit, Drake! You should have told me!”

“I know! I know!”

The room was quiet for a long moment. I tried to catch my breath. To collect my thoughts.

I managed another step forward, ignoring Darryl’s raised hand as if he were signaling me to proceed with caution. “I get that you cheated on me. I don’t have to like it, but it happened. We can’t change that. And in a strange way, I can see how your guilt made you so paranoid you tried to prevent even me from getting pregnant. But, Drake, there is something I just don’t understand.”

He snapped his head up. “What?”

“Why the fuck did we move?”

He flinched at my growl. Licked his lips a couple of times.

“Mr. Murdoch confronted me the Monday morning after the party. Brooke had told him about us. He threatened to fire me when I said I wouldn’t support her. I countered that I’d sue for wrongful termination. There was a lot of yelling. Accusations and threats. In the end, we agreed I would stay on but transfer out west. If the baby was mine, my raise would cover child support. If not, it would be compensation for my troubles. Any embarrassment.”

He’d told me about his promotion that night at dinner. Our need to move. I hadn’t thought I could be in more shock. Then he’d come clean about his infidelity. I had been devastated, to put it mildly. But he’d apologized and I’d forgiven him.

All this time, though, I’d expected it had been something he’d been mulling over for months. A year even. Not a few weeks.

He hadn’t explained any further last winter, just that the transfer was good news for us. That he knew it would be hard for me to relocate, but we’d be together and we could manage. Plus we’d always have Malcolm and Becca to support us, ataşehir escort no matter where we were.

So many lies. When would it end? I stumbled back and reached blindly for something to hold onto. My hand connected with Darryl’s, and I swayed for a moment.

“What was the result?” Malcolm said.

Drake looked up him, at me, then at Malcolm again, his eyebrows furrowed as if in confusion.

My brother-in-law sighed loudly. “The paternity test? I assume you had one?”

“It wasn’t mine.”

My legs gave out then. The cushion let out a soft whoosh as I landed heavily on the couch. I closed my eyes, silently thanking God for small miracles. But my relief was short-lived as my eyes snapped open at a new thought. “Jimmy. How does he play into any of this?”

Drake had his head in his hands again. “It wasn’t planned.”

Despite the gravity of the situation, I laughed. “Oh, with Jimmy, there is always a plan. Trust me.”

“I was having drinks with an old friend from college I’d run into a few months after we moved. I don’t remember how we got on the subject of dominance, but he said he knew someone who could use my help and gave me a business card. The guy turned out to be a producer who needed expertise on Dominance and submission for an adult film.”

“Oh, God!” I pressed my fist to my mouth. This was not happening.

“One movie turned into two, then three. And well, you know…” Drake stood up suddenly and walked over to the fireplace, his path unhindered this time. He faced away from us, both hands on the mantle. I could see his shoulders shaking as he lowered his head.

Malcolm was still standing beside the chair Drake had vacated. He’d had his arms crossed across his chest, but he shifted to put a hand on Becca’s head as she scooted over to sit at his feet. It had probably been intuitive on both of their parts, but the symbolism was not lost on me. A true, loving Dom protecting his sub who was seeking comfort. And then there was Drake and I. Drifting further apart each passing second. I was ashamed to say I didn’t know the man before me.

“I met JD—Jimmy—on one of the sets,” Drake said, his back still to the rest of the room although he’d straightened up.

Becca gasped, and I saw her staring slack-jawed at her brother. “Please tell me you—”

“No, I just consult. Off camera. Jimmy acts, though. From the first time I saw him, I could tell he had a lot more experience than the other guys put together. He never needed my help. When I mentioned this to him, he told me he’d been involved in the lifestyle for many years. Longer than he’d been in the film industry. It was strange, but we connected. It was nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of.”

“You spent a lot of time together?” Malcolm asked.

My husband glanced at me over his shoulder. “The weekends I’ve been gone? I wasn’t just with Jimmy, like I’d told you the other night. I was helping with the movies, too.”

I pressed my hand to my forehead, trying to ease the tension there. “When did he tell you the truth?”

“Who he really was?” Drake scrubbed his hand over his face as he turned fully around. “Only last week. I swear. He’d been insisting on meeting you for some time now. I had no idea he’d been stringing me along all these months. Getting close once he found out you were my wife.”

My sigh of relief came out ragged. He hadn’t been intentionally deceitful for months like Darryl had suggested. Well, not about Jimmy, that is.

“When we met in February,” Drake continued, “he said he’d been living the 24/7 lifestyle with his partner for almost a year and asked if I had a partner to try it with. I told him I was married and showed him your picture. He made a flippant comment about asking if you still liked to be spanked. When I asked him what he meant, he pointed out that I said we’d been married a few months. He just wondered if my wife still enjoyed the submission as much as she had when we were dating. At the time, it made sense. But after he told me you had been together? I finally understood why he was asking.”

“Why didn’t you say anything sooner?” I held my tears at bay, but just barely. “Why did you invite them to dinner? Especially knowing what you do about my past?”

Drake turned away again. He wasn’t as successful as I was. I heard him sniffling as he spoke.

“Because I believed him when he said he’d only plead guilty to save you from more embarrassment. Yes, he’d gotten a little rough with you, but it had been an accident. He hadn’t realized you were really in pain. He’d realized the error of his ways and had set his mind to improving himself. Becoming a better Master. And he wanted the chance to apologize to you. But he was afraid you wouldn’t agree to dinner if you knew he was the one coming. He told me later that night that he’d talked to you. All was good.”

“He’s a fucking liar! He was smug. He humiliated me. I tried to explain it you, but you wouldn’t listen.” My voice cracked. I ataşehir escort felt the first tear on my cheek. Then another. “Didn’t anything he told you to do sound wrong? Irrational? Like making me quit my job?”

“In hindsight, yes.” Drake made his way to the empty chair beside the couch. Beside me. “But at the time, it made sense. I was deluded.”

I was glad that Darryl had moved to sit on my other side, though he was mostly an observer in this diatribe. The mere knowledge of his presence was encouraging. I didn’t have to handle this alone. Especially since Malcolm seemed preoccupied with calming Becca down. I could hear his soft whispers. I was familiar with his methods.

I stared as Drake reached out and took my hand that I’d limply laid on the armrest. I felt his warm skin wrap around mine. Part of me wanted to pull away, but I refrained. I studied his long, thick fingers. Thought of how they’d aroused and soothed me countless times over the years since I’d met him. They’d never intentionally harmed me against my will. Not like Jimmy’s had. Yet as I’d told Malcolm this morning, one could still be hurt on the inside. Drake’s words—or lack thereof—had already done so much damage.

“I know it doesn’t excuse anything.” Drake’s eyes were shiny as I looked up at him, his lower lip trembling. “But as you well know, he has a way of dropping subtle hints. You don’t always realize he’s convincing you to change until you already have. Other than Malcolm, I’d never met anyone who’d been in the role of Master longer than I have been. So when Jimmy offered to give me some pointers, I was all ears. He told me that by being more controlling, I would only heighten our bond. Full submission is what makes the slave happiest. If she is working outside the home, she cannot be completely happy because she isn’t able to put all of herself into serving her Master. If I eliminated the distraction, you would feel less stress about our roles and would eventually be happier. Remember, all I knew about the 24/7 lifestyle I learned from him. Again, it’s no excuse, but the changes required to get that deeper commitment just made sense. I was wrong. I know it now.”

“Any stress I had was about your decision to change us!” I was sobbing now. “I thought what we had was good. I was already happy.”

Drake squeezed my hand. “I see that now.”

“I admit, it is partially my fault, too.”

“Daphne, don’t,” Malcolm said, his voice low. Firm. Apparently, he had been listening still.

I shook my head. “No, Malcolm. I didn’t tell Drake all of the details about Jimmy. We’ve always had the habit of letting bygones be bygones. Maybe if I had been more upfront, he would have been better prepared. Seen through Jimmy’s lies sooner. Our decision to not discuss our history with previous lovers is a big factor in all of this. I agreed to remain silent. It definitely didn’t help.”

Malcolm sat down in the empty chair, the chair where Drake had started his cathartic meltdown. He frowned as he propped his elbows on the padded arms and steepled his hands beneath his chin. He held my gaze as he seemed to contemplate my words. There was no sound except for the ticking of the clock on the mantle, as if everyone were holding their breath. I know I was.

Then he nodded, which surprised me. “You said it yourself just yesterday. The past in the past. We can’t change what has happened. We can only move forward.”

The question was, how the hell did we do that now?

###

I could see why Becca said she liked to hide up in the observation room. It was very peaceful. With the windows opened to the sky, the sound of the ocean and the vast expanse above made me feel as if I was in my own private world. Especially at night.

It had been three days since Drake had made his confession. Since I’d spoken to him. He’d returned to California due to work. Malcolm and Becca had insisted I remain behind. I’d thanked them profusely and stayed out of their way as much as possible.

But Drake was coming back Friday night. I had a decision to make, as did he. A life-changing one that seemed to be harder to determine the more I thought about it. Two more days to ruminate on if I still wanted to be married…to be submissive to Drake Rockland.

I sipped my glass of strawberry lemonade, wishing it was wine. For the first time, I regretted not telling Drake to put on a damn condom three weeks ago. But neither of us could change that. I had to face the consequences of my actions, come what may.

The truth he’d dealt had been brutal. Unexpected. And it had rocked my already unsettled world. I wish I’d known the guilt my new husband had been dealing with. I could have supported him. Possibly prevented the further devastation Jimmy had brought upon our family.

While Drake was far from blameless, he’d had good intentions. He’d tried so hard to do what he thought was right for us. But his plan had backfired. Instead of a new mentor, he’d found a wolf in sheep’s anadolu yakası escort clothing. And he’d been ripe for taking the bait. In the end, instead of strengthening the bond between us, he’d pushed me away.

It had evolved so slowly, I had been complacent and not realized the trouble we were in until it was almost too late. I’d also been determined that I would stick it out with him no matter what. I loved him too much to leave. Before I knew Jimmy had reentered my life, I had been very close to accepting that I would take whatever Drake threw at me just to be with him. Even if that included his fist.

Thankfully, he had not gone down that dark path to physical abuse. I hadn’t seen the sadistic side like I had with Jimmy. But that didn’t stop me from wondering if he was capable of it.

I was still wounded by his words. Broken. Before he’d left, he’d apologized again for his secrecy as tears streamed down his face. That he hadn’t wanted to hurt me. He’d begged me to forgive him. I’d not made any promises.

Now as I stared out at the blanket of stars, I ruminated on the events of Friday night. Jimmy had come into the kitchen after dinner. I’d been loading the dishwasher with a little more force than necessary, and I hadn’t heard him come up behind me. He’d trapped me against the counter with his body, covering my mouth with one hand to stifle my scream, his other arm wrapping around my chest.

He’d roughly turned my head so I could see him. Laughed as I’d struggled to get away. Pressed his body lewdly against mine. Said I was as feisty as ever. Asked me if I’d missed him.

When I’d started to cry, he’d tightened his grip and hissed that I’d made his life a living hell. If I had thought it was bad before with him, I had no idea what he could do now. It had been karma that he’d met Drake. I had better remain on my toes and be a good little slave, because a husband had the right to put me in my place…and the police would be less likely to believe me a second time.

He had been fondling my breasts throughout. Just when I had felt his hand sliding down my stomach, we’d heard Drake calling for me. Jimmy had smacked my ass and left me leaning over the sink, both arms gripping the lip of the counter to stay upright.

I’d recovered enough to sit in the living room throughout the next hour while the men chatted. I’d even managed a smile every time Drake looked my way. Jimmy completely ignored me. His partner, Monique, sat beside me on the couch, neither of us talking. As if we were robots waiting for our next command. I had agreed to a 24/7 lifestyle, not the 1950s household, which I’d read had a large following within the BDSM community. But what could I do?

Although he’d acted like I wasn’t there, Jimmy’s words had been intended for my ears. He’d told Drake he needed to step it up if he was the one in charge. That if I couldn’t submit the way Drake wanted and needed me to, I could be cast aside. First and foremost, I was his wife second because I’d come into the marriage already submitting. As he said he’d impressed so many times before, I was Drake’s willing slave. That was a fact I’d already learned from my previous relationship with him; I just had to have it reinforced every now and then. Because if I couldn’t remember a simple instruction to make a meal for four, well, I should be taught a lesson and given an ultimatum. I shouldn’t expect my husband to tolerate my insubordination and remain under his roof.

No matter what either of them said, Jimmy hadn’t changed one fucking bit. If anything, he’d become more malicious in his ways. Gotten better at manipulating. I’d just never imagined my husband would be one of those more susceptible people.

As soon as Jimmy had left, Drake had ordered me to the basement. He’d told me how disappointed he was in me. That he believed my act of disobedience had been deliberate. I’d turned to him before entering the main room—as I was to be silent until I was allowed to speak once I’d entered it—and denied his accusation. Said that he’d never told me we were having guests for dinner. That the man he’d let into our house had been the one person I had ever loathed in this entire world.

My knees had buckled when Drake admitted he knew JD was Jimmy. When he’d said that everyone deserved a second chance, and I should accept Jimmy’s apology as we were going to be seeing much more of him.

That had been the pivotal point. I’d known there was nothing I could say that would change Drake’s mind. So I’d set my mind to think of something I could do instead.

Both Drake’s and Jimmy’s words had fueled my anger as I was led to the private room to be chained up in the desired position. I’d focused on them while Drake flogged and fucked me—with a condom, of course, although I knew it was too late—until it was our bedtime and he intentionally stopped short of my orgasm as punishment for not listening to him when he gave me very important instructions. For embarrassing him.

I had let my anger fester even more while I curled on my side facing away from him in bed, wanting to cry but forcing myself not to lest he hear me and punish me more. I’d wanted to tell him over an intimate dinner that he was going to be a daddy. But Jimmy had ruined it. He’d ruined everything.