Daniel Chapter Six is dedicated to Allie Sanders (@alliesanders) and Taylor Lunsford (@writertay), two favorite Twitches who earned degrees this past month. I’m so proud of my little girls. *sniff*
Chapter Six – Acting Like It
Daniel waited until the late the next evening to hunt Anya down and talk some sense into her. Irina had only given him Anya’s address after he promised another session of showing her life on the other side of the whip. It would be good for him anyway, seeing Irina, seeing anyone at this point. He promised Eleanor he’d let her go completely and he promised himself he would do it too. While his heart might be a little foolish at times, his mind was bright enough to know a hopeless cause when he saw it.
But Anya’s situation wasn’t hopeless. The auction wouldn’t take place for another three weeks. Surely in that time he could convince her that no amount of money was worth giving her virginity to a total stranger. If he thought there was a chance in Hell she’d accept it from him, he’d simply write her a check for however much money she wanted or needed for all her siblings. Considering she wouldn’t even allow him to take her out to dinner, attempting to pay her off seemed rather pointless. Even worse, she’d probably hate him for the gesture of pity. Well, hate him more than she already did. If that was possible.
Daniel trekked across town to the address Irina gave him for Anya. Since leaving his mountains behind for the city, Daniel hadn’t gotten much of a workout. By the time he got to Anya’s floor, he felt like he’d scaled the Andes again. No wonder the girl had such amazing legs. Who needed a mountain or a gym when she had a seven-story walk-up?
“Who is it?” came Anya’s accented voice from inside the apartment. It sounded unusual to him at first. Of course, he realized. She didn’t know it was him knocking on her door. Those three little words were the first of hers he’d heard pass her lips without any trace of hostility.
“Celine Dion,” he said and smiled when he heard her kick the back of her door.
He waited patiently while she unlocked two deadbolts and one chain. Anya’s apartment wasn’t in one of the better neighborhoods in town. It made him slightly uneasy thinking of such a young woman living by herself in a less-than-desirable neighborhood. Surely Kingsley could find something better for her.
The door flew open and Anya stood glowering at him wearing silk Chinese pajamas. She’d even piled her long dark red hair on her head and secured it with two chopsticks.
“You never wear normal clothes, do you?” he asked.
“Some of us care about how we dress.” Anya gave him a stern look that said she believed he most likely dressed in the dark. “Some of us, clearly, do not.”
“These are designer jeans,” he said just to irritate her.
She arched an eyebrow at him.
“Designer jeans? That is an oxymoron.”
“Zat izz an oxymoron indeed.”
Anya crossed her arms over her chest.
“Did you come here to make fun of the way I talk? I don’t remember inviting you.”
Daniel smiled apologetically.
“I’m very sorry. I think your accent is beautiful. I’m incapable of being around a woman as beautiful as you are without teasing her about something. I only came to talk to you for a few minutes. Inside preferably but I’ll stand in the hallway if you make me.”
She sighed heavily and stepped aside letting him in.
“Very nice,” he said as he looked around the small but well-kept apartment. She had a few over-stuffed chairs covered in delicate lacy afghans. A worn but lovely rug covered the wood floor. He saw no television, no computer…just books on white-washed bookcases and neatly folded stacks of fabric everywhere.
“I’m sure it is nothing like the palace you live in. But it’s mine. Mine and Leonard’s.”
She pointed at a chair and Daniel started to sit in it. Then the chair moved.
He stood up as a small grey tabby cat raised its sleepy head and regarded him with feline disdain before tucking his head under a paw.
“Hello, Leonard.” Daniel looked down at the sleeping cat. “Interesting name.”
“Seemed fitting,” Anya said, sitting down on the love seat and picking up a swatch of fabric and a needle and thread. “I found him as a kitten last year under a blue raincoat in an alley.”
It took Daniel a few seconds to make the connection.
“Of course. I’d forgotten Leonard Cohen was Quebecois.”
“Maman used to sing his songs around the house. But only when Father wasn’t home.”
“He didn’t like her singing?”
“He doesn’t allow English in the house. Not even music. Maman had a beautiful voice. But it wasn’t nearly so deep as Leonard’s.” Anya smiled as she threaded her needle.
“I would hope not. I’m sorry about your mother. Must have been very hard to lose her.”
The sweet smile disappeared and Daniel cursed himself for saying exactly the wrong thing.
“Non, it was easy and wonderful.” She stabbed her needle through the fabric.
Daniel already regretted coming here. So much for Eleanor’s theory that Anya had a crush on him.
“My wife…” he began and paused when Anya’s amber eyes flashed at him in shock. “She died a little over four years ago.”
Daniel patted Leonard gently until the small cat reluctantly stood up and made room for him on the armchair.
“I didn’t know you were married.” Anya sat Indian style and flattened the fabric on her thigh. “I’m sorry about your wife. She must have been very young.”
“She was actually fourteen years older than me. But yes, much too young to die. As was your mother. Why are we talking about this?”
Anya shrugged and pulled the needle up through the fabric. Daniel felt a paw on his knee as Leonard uncurled himself and stretched across his lap.
“I blame you for this,” Daniel said, tapping the cat on the top of the head.
Anya laughed softly and Daniel smiled at her. She started to smile back but seemed to remember herself and glanced away again.
“So you’ve come to my little hovel for a visit. Any reason why?” she asked.
“This is hardly a hovel. It’s quite nice actually. But I thought all Kingsley’s submissives lived in the same house.” Kingsley kept another residence just for his favorites. Daniel had gone there once a few years ago–he’d imagined Hugh Hefner himself would have drooled over so many beautiful and submissive women in one elegant residence.
“The cat house? Non, merci. Not for me or Leonard. I could get more work done in Sodom and Gomorrah.”
“You work from home too?”
She stood up and walked over to him.
“Of course. Otherwise I would have to sleep at Signor Vitale’s as busy as we are. Hold out your arm.”
Daniel looked up at her.
“What are you going to do to me?”
Anya only glared at him.
“Fine.” He held out his arm. He saw that the swatch of fabric in her hand was a sleeve for a suit jacket. Smoothing it against his arm from wrist to shoulder, she studied it intently. “Something wrong?”
“Non. It’s just…fitting around shoulders like yours can be difficile with this fabric.”
Anya returned to her seat on the couch and tucked her legs under her.
“Oui.” She started sewing again. A faint blush suffused her cheeks.
“And what are my shoulders like?” he asked, refusing to let it go. He’d never seen a woman blush more beautifully.
She muttered something in French. Daniel cocked his head to the side.
“What was that? I think I missed it.”
Anya exhaled with exasperation.
“I said you have very broad shoulders and it’s difficult to turn the fabric sometimes.”
Daniel repressed a smile.
“Then I apologize for my very broad shoulders.”
She shook her head and a tendril of hair escaped the chopsticks and fell across her cheek. Tucking it behind her ear, she shot him a quick, embarrassed look before turning her eyes to her work again.
“I’m very busy, as you see. Can I help you with something?” she asked. “Or did you come by to stare at me sew?”
“I came by to talk to you about the auction. But staring at you work does have its charms.”
Anya didn’t answer but her blush deepened.
“About the auction…” he continued and Anya put her sewing aside and stood up. “You’re so young. And I’m sure with your mother gone you feel responsible for all your brothers and sisters. But it’s not your job-”
He watched Anya take something off one of her bookcases. Storming over to him she thrust it into his hands. Daniel looked down at the framed photograph in his hands. On one single sofa, six children sat smiling at the camera. Well, two of the three girls smiled. The oldest boy and the youngest boy grimaced at each other in faces of mock anger. The middle boy pretended to pry them apart. The oldest girl, a teenaged Anya, had her arms around the smallest girl and gazed almost sadly at the camera.
“That was taken just a few months before Maman died. I am the oldest by four years. The only one they told.”
Daniel stared at the faces–so young and innocent. The sight of so many children–all of them with Anya’s amber eyes if not quite her luminous beauty–about to lose their mother caused his heart to drop a few inches in his chest.
“I’m so sorry,” he said again. “No one should have to go through that. But-”
“Nothing. But nothing.” She took the photo from his hands and clutched it to her chest. “Father works all the time and when he isn’t working he off somewhere trying to free Quebec-”
“Yes, from their Canadian overlords.”
“Oui. They never see him. My brother Etienne isn’t even considering university. He thinks he’ll have to stay at home to take care of the others. I send the money to him. Father would keep it otherwise. I have a way to help them, and I’m going to do it. You won’t talk me out of it.”
Anya strode back to the bookcase and Daniel stood up and followed her.
“Does your brother know what you’re going to do to make sure he can go to school? Would he take the money if he knew?”
“What do you know of it?” she demanded, putting the photograph carefully back on a shelf. “You’re rich like Monsieur. You don’t know what it’s like to have nothing.”
“I’m not rich. My wife was rich. I was a librarian with two roommates and six-figure student loan debt when we met. I had a boss who sexually harassed me so much she made Kingsley look like the Sainted Virgin Mary. And I said and did nothing about it because I was terrified I’d lose my job and my tiny paycheck that keep me one inch away from total poverty.”
“So you married a rich older woman for her money. Sex for money. How does that make you different from me?”
Daniel clenched his jaw in frustration. Anya easily qualified as the most stubborn, infuriating woman he’d ever met. He wanted to leave, walk away, wash his hands of the whole thing. But he remembered Eleanor saying that Anya was terrified out of her mind about the auction. Then again, Eleanor had also slapped him and told him to act like the Dominant he supposedly was.
He took a deep breath. Dominant. He could do that. Maybe.
Daniel turned his eyes to Anya who watched him warily. Perhaps she thought she’d gone too far accusing him of marrying his wife for money. And perhaps he should disabuse her of that notion.
He took a step to the left and braced his hands against the shelves, boxing Anya in. Dropping her eyes to the floor she tried to step back but was stopped by the bookcase.
Daniel brought his mouth to Anya’s ear.
“I fucked my wife for the first time the night we met. I had no idea who she was, how much money she had. Didn’t know. Didn’t care. I just knew I wanted her. So I took her.”
Anya took a quick breath, a breath that seemed to hover on the tip of her lips.
He inched forward until nothing but the fabric of their clothes separated their bodies.
“I was nobody,” he whispered in her ear. “Just working late, trying to get something done without my horrible boss around finding excuses to grab my ass. This incredible woman wandered into the Map Room and smiled at me. We talked for a few minutes…or she talked and I pretended to talk while mentally fucking her on the nearest horizontal surface.”
Anya glanced up at him and he saw her eyes darken and her skin flush.
“I offered her a tour of the library. She said she wanted to see it by night. It actually looked fairly romantic with most of the lights off, the stacks all in shadows. I kissed her in the 400’s–that’s where we shelve the language books. Appropriate for all the tongue she gave me.”
Anya laughed softly, breathlessly.
“In the 700’s, Arts and Recreation, I pushed her against the shelves and slipped my hand under her dress.”
Daniel took another step forward until he had Anya’s back pressed hard to the shelves. He waited for her to protest, to push back, to say anything to stop him. But she remained silent. As close as they stood he could feel, almost hear, her heart’s frantic beating.
“She wore stockings and garters under her dress…just like you wore when I came for my fitting.”
Anya’s eyes widened.
“Yes, I saw. I can’t keep my eyes off your legs when you’re in the room. Maggie had amazing legs too. And she wrapped them around my lower back as I unzipped my pants. I was inside her in seconds. She moaned so loudly I had to cover her mouth with my hand or the whole library would have heard.”
A small whimper escaped the back of Anya’s throat. The girl might be a virgin but she certainly wasn’t asexual.
“She told me later that covering her mouth with my hand was the most erotic thing anyone had ever done to her. Especially since I pushed a finger into her mouth and told her to bite me only if she needed me to stop. Fucking her against bookcases was awkward and uncomfortable for the both of us. But neither of us had ever orgasmed that hard in our lives. A few days and about a four dozen fucks later, she finally told me about her job, about her money. I said, ‘Good for you. Now take your clothes off and get on your hands and knees.’ She did.”
Daniel cupped the side of Anya’s face and gently forced her to meet his eyes.
“You’d be more right if you accused me of marrying her for sex. I didn’t care about the money then. And I still don’t. I think it’s safe to say me marrying my wife and you selling your virginity for money are very different situations. If only because I have no regrets and there’s a very good chance you will.”
Anya closed her eyes as Daniel stroked the arch of her cheekbone with his thumb.
“Doesn’t matter,” she said, barely breathing. “I have to do this. They have to have a chance to get out of our Father’s house. And I might not regret it. I might like it.”
“You think you’ll like submitting to a stranger? Someone who could be dangerous?”
Anya raised her chin in defiance.
“I’ve done it before.”
“You’ve submitted to a Dominant before?”
“Oui.” Her voice was tinged with pride.
“Tell me,” he ordered.
She swallowed hard.
“I wanted…” she began and took a ragged breath. “I had to know if I was what I thought I was. I had thoughts as a girl. I told a friend once…I was fourteen. She said I was crazy. That’s when I realized not all girls felt like I did, wanted what I wanted.”
Daniel nodded in understanding, recalling his early adolescence and the fantasies he had about women and sex, fantasies that has troubled him even as they excited him to near-dangerous distraction.
“Who did you submit to?” he asked although he had a good idea already.
“Monsieur,” she whispered. “Just once.”
Kingsley…that lucky French bastard.
“What did he do to you?”
She shook her head.
“Nothing. He didn’t even touch me.”
“A Dominant doesn’t have to touch you to dominate you. Anya,” Daniel said again, this time in his sternest voice. “What did he do to you? Tell me.”
Her face turned scarlet at what must have been a potent memory. Daniel’s pulse raced and his groin tightened at the thoughts running through his head, the various scenarios. He could easily think of ten or twelve things he’d love to make Anya submit to–acts the would leave her a virgin but certainly a great deal less innocent.
Daniel inhaled sharply at the image those three words conjured. The first time he saw Anya in her little sailor dress…those high heels with her lacy bobby socks…He could just see her reaching under her dress and pulling her panties down and off. Knowing Kingsley, he would have made her give them to him. Kingsley would have ordered her to lay down on the bed or on one of his fainting couches. He would have stood over her and watched as she pulled her dress up to her hips, opened her legs, and began touching herself.
“Kingsley ordered you to masturbate for him. And you did it?”
“Oui.” Her voice was hardly more than a whisper. But he heard it.
“You enjoyed submitting to him, to that?”
“It’s what I am. I know that now. I had to know.”
“It’s what you are,” he repeated. “You’re a submissive. So you think you’ll be fine letting a total stranger order you around, beat you, and fuck you? He could be a sadist, a blood-play fetishist. He could be into rape-play or breath-play. Or worse he could be as ugly and Canadian as I am.”
Anya laughed nervously.
“I told Kingsley no Canadians were allowed to bid on me.”
“Yes, I suppose a girl has to have standards.”
He pulled away releasing her from the prison of his arms. Slowly she walked back to the sofa, picked up Leonard, and cradled him like a baby in her arms. The cat looked confused but didn’t put up a fight. Daniel wouldn’t fight either if he found himself in her arms.
“I appreciate what you are saying,” Anya said. “I know you think you’re trying to help me. It is…nice of you.”
Daniel nearly laughed at how long she paused before forcing the word “nice” out.
“But I’ve made up my mind. I can earn in one night what it would take me three years at Signore Vitale’s to make. I won’t become a prostitute. Only one night.”
“I lost my virginity to a girl named Allie Lunsford. She had beautiful curly brown hair and big blue eyes. We’d been best friends since grade five and it was the sexiest five minutes I’d experienced in my entire fifteen years of life. Please do not let your first time be for money with a total stranger who might physically harm you.”
But he didn’t say that last part out loud.
“I’ll survive. And Etienne can go to school next year and Marie the year after…”
“When you run out of money will you let Kingsley sell you again?”
“Don’t forget,” she nearly spat out the words, “he’s selling you too. I need the money. What is your excuse?”
Daniel immediately regretted his choice of words. He was supposedly in this stupid auction too. He started to apologize but Anya cut him off by striding past him on the way to the door.
“You should go. I have to finish your suit. You weren’t born rich but you are now. Some of us still have to work for a living.”
Daniel stared at her for a long moment debating whether or not to stay, to force the point. But he’d been married long enough to learn retreat was often the better part of valor in stand-offs with women. He walked to the door, raised his hand and scratched Leonard on the head and looked at Anya.
“I’ll only say one more thing–whatever price anyone pays for it, for you, it wouldn’t be enough. Some things are priceless. Self-respect for one.”
Anya nodded but not in agreement.
“I have five brothers and sisters living with a man who doesn’t even remember their birthdays. I can’t afford self-respect. Please go, Daniel.”
He saw a glimmer of unshed tears in her eyes. He wanted to stay and hold her and keep her from making the worst mistake of her life. Instead he did as she asked and left her and Leonard alone.
Frustrated more than he’d ever been in his life, Daniel left Anya’s apartment and returned to his own. He barely slept that night as he ran his failed mission to rescue Anya from her own stubbornness over and over again in his mind. Usually he slept like the dead but no amount of reasoning or rationalizing with himself could get Anya’s amber eyes out of his head and her foolhardy determination to save her siblings by selling herself on the auction block. She was twenty-two years old. A grown woman. Obviously intelligent. She had every right to make her own decisions. If this is what she wanted to do, then so be it. He’d tried. He’d failed. Time to move on.
So why could he still not sleep?
The next day he got up early and went for a long run in Central Park. Maybe if he exhausted himself with exercise he’d sleep better that night. On his way back home he stopped by the branch of the New York Public Library where he’d once worked, where he’d first seen Maggie. Nostalgia got the better of him and he wandered inside.
Daniel looked around and smiled. So little had changed since he’d worked here right out of grad school. God, it even smelled just the same. The scent of old books wafted through the air sweeter than any perfume. He adored books and not simply for their contents. Holding them in his hands, the weight and heft of them, the leather of the covers, the intricacy of the bindings…he had never been a master bookbinder but it gave him great satisfaction to take an old masterpiece falling apart and slowly piece it back together.
Unable to stop himself, Daniel wandered to the 400’s, the Languages section where he’d first kissed Maggie. In a moment of passion he’d kissed her without warning. And she’d surprised him by pressing her whole body into his with such passion, such eagerness that he’d known he could have her right then and there. But he’d pulled back deciding he liked her too much to push things or rush things or ruin things by going too far only twenty minutes after meeting her. His resolve had lasted as far as the 700’s, Arts and Recreation.
The entire time he fucked her he couldn’t believe this incredibly beautiful obviously over-educated older woman had her legs wrapped around his twenty-five-year-old back and was tight enough around him to clench his cock like a hand. Everything he’d told Anya had been true. He had put his hand over Maggie’s lips to silence her moans. He had pushed a finger into her mouth and told her to bite him if she needed him to stop—otherwise he wouldn’t. He even remembered a small part of him wishing his horrible boss Paige would be at work that night for some reason and see him doing to another woman what she made patently obvious she wanted him to do to her.
Paige…Daniel almost laughed out loud when he spied his old boss standing with a young man by a column. Never particularly pretty, time hadn’t been good to her. And yet, she was still clearly up to her old tricks. The young man had a library cart between him and Paige like some kind of shield, but that didn’t stop her from leaning over it and punctuating each sentence with a touch on his chest or shoulder. Must be an intern or page. He looked far too young to even be out of college yet, much less a MLS program.
Poor kid. Daniel watched them over the top of a row of books. The young intern did a marvelous job of flinching without flinching every time Paige touched him. Daniel remembered those awful days he could barely talk himself into going to work out of fear she’d really cross the line with him, and he’d say or do something to get himself fired. Maggie said she owed Paige a “thank you” for teaching him what it felt like to be helpless around someone in a position of power. Maggie said his experience with Paige made him a better more empathetic Dominant. Of course, Maggie also said the second she heard Paige went farther than flirting with one of her employees, she’d sic her entire law firm onto her with the largest sexual harassment lawsuit in the history of the world. After marrying Maggie he’d gotten a job at another branch and never saw Paige anymore. So he never really did get the satisfaction of watching her squirm.
Never too late.
Paige crooked her finger at the young man who visibly swallowed in nervousness.
Daniel strode forward and stood right next to the young intern. Paige stopped mid-sentence and looked at Daniel in slack-jawed surprise.
“Daniel? Is that you? My God, I haven’t see you in ages. You look wonderful. How are-”
“Shut up, Paige. I have fifty million dollars in my bank account now so I don’t feel any need to politely fake not wanting to be within a twenty-mile radius of you. You were a disgusting power-hungry sexually harassing borderline sociopath stalker fifteen years ago and nothing seems to have changed except for the twenty pounds you’ve gained.” He looked her up and down the way she used to look him up and down. “At least twenty.”
Paige blanched and the jaw of the young man at his side hit the floor and stayed there.
“Shut. Up. I don’t work for you anymore and those are the happiest words I could ever say. I’m only here to talk to him. What’s your name?”
The young man blinked and closed his mouth.
“Taylor Sanders, very nice to meet you. My name is Daniel Caldwell. My late wife was one of the top attorneys in the entire city. I know more lawyers than I do actual people. This is my number. Call me if you want to file a sexual harassment suit against Paige. I’ll pay all costs and even be your star witness.” Daniel scribbled his cell phone number on a scrap of paper and handed it to the wide-eyed intern. “Give that to any other employee or intern who she’s done the ‘I have a special project we can work on together at my place’ routine with. I’m not kidding. Call me.”
The boy blinked again.
“Just Daniel, not ‘Sir.’ We aren’t sleeping together after all. Paige, fuck you. That outfit is hideous. By the way, I fucked my wife once in the 700’s.”
Daniel turned on his heel and jogged the rest of the way home. After that little throw-down, about thirteen years overdue, he could have run all the way to New Jersey and back. Eleanor had been right. He was a Dominant. He needed to act like it. Life improved enormously when he started acting like himself.
Back at his apartment he pulled out his phone and started making calls. He and Maggie had made some great friends in their years together, friends Daniel hadn’t seen in ages. He made dinner plans with one couple for later that week, and made a lunch date with another old friend of his and Maggie’s. Then he pulled out Irina’s card intending to make a date for the weekend if she had time. Even if she didn’t he could order her to make time.
That night, he decided, he would go surprise Maggie’s cousin Ben and his wife. They’d both been in the wedding, both called almost every day to check on him and Maggie during those last weeks before she died.
Still drenched with sweat from his run, Daniel decided to take a long hot bath to help ease the soreness from his legs before going back out again. He started the water but had to walk away when he heard his doorbell.
“Who is it?” he called out before he reached the door.
Daniel was almost too shocked at first to even remember what he was supposed to do. The door. Right. Open it. He wrenched the door open and found Anya standing outside in his hallway. She wore a pale pink empire-waisted sundress and her hair in two small buns on each side of her head.
She didn’t meet his eyes.
“I’m being punished,” she said.
Daniel’s stomach dropped. Of course. The only reason she would be here is against her will.
“Kingsley’s punishing you?”
Anya nodded sheepishly.
She sighed. “I was at his house reading on the floor. On my stomach. He saw me and asked me what I was doing.”
“And you said?” Daniel asked, picturing Anya lying prone on the floor and rather enjoying the image.
“I said I was doing my impression of Paris during the Nazi Occupation.”
Daniel nearly fell over with laughter. It took him a moment to recover himself enough to put on his stern Dominant face again.
“Then you were asking for it. So what’s your punishment? Is he making you come cook dinner for me or something?”
“He said I had to do whatever you told me to do for the next two hours. Except anything….”
“I can’t have sex with you. Obviously. Well, very nice of Kingsley to punish you with my presence. Fine. Come in.”
She eased across the threshold and stood in the middle of his living room looking around without speaking.
“So I can order you to do anything and you have to do it for the next two hours?” Daniel asked.
“Good. Come with me.”
“Where are we going?”
“Bathroom. You can start by helping me out of these clothes.”
To be continued…
The song Daniel and Anya are referring to is “Famous Blue Raincoat” by Leonard Cohen.
Read the Prequel to Daniel Part Two: SEVEN DAY LOAN
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