Cinderella? Not likely. However perception is everything.A D/s relationship unfolds
|HELD ~ Chapter One
At first glance, there was nothing overly extraordinary about the restaurant's lone customer. His attire was neat yet casual; a pair of light khaki Abercrombie and Fitch cargo pants, a nondescript polo, and a pricey, yet well worn, pair of boots. At just a shade over six foot, his wide shoulders tapered to a trim, boyish waist, contradicting slightly the high forehead and receding dark hair. His features were strong...chiseled, jaw squared, a noble Roman beak destroying any hint of pretty and leaving an almost savage beauty behind. They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul...it was in those arctic blue orbs that one truly sensed the power of this common man.
He watched the slender blonde with a predatory intensity. Her movements were timorous, yet graceful...a compelling combination. Slowly she bussed the deserted tables, hefting the utilitarian gray tub with unexpected ease for one so willowy. Her uniform consisted of the conventional short, black wrap skirt and a white oxford, this one a few sizes too large for her small frame. The inexpensive garments showed definite signs of wear but were clean and neatly pressed. A light dusting of freckles was the only embellishment that graced her fresh girlish face. If the pale skin, freckles, and tousled blond locks did not cry her Irish ancestry...the moniker of KARA on her nametag made it a moot point. Ean's experienced eye put her at five foot six and ninety-five pounds. Too thin...vanity or poverty, his cynical, yet realistic, mind pondered.
Interest flared to something bordering on obsession, as the little lass dropped to her knees across the aisle. The submissive position intensified her natural, innocent beauty. His fingers longed to caress the soft alabaster skin at her nape. As he watched, hunger burning in his soul, she retrieved a child's forgotten crayon from beneath the table and rocked effortlessly to her feet.
"While you are down there, doll," an insolent voice insinuated from the kitchen doorway, interrupting Ean's assessment of the little one.
Raucous laughter greeted the tired line, as the rag tag group of waiters and bus boys tossed out their own suggestive comments and catcalls. Seemingly not amused or surprised, the target of their juvenile harassment hefted the heaping tub of soiled dinnerware and headed for the kitchen. Arms full, she had no defense against the pawing hands of the testosterone filled teens and twenty something's. Ean's lips thinned in displeasure as the quartet jostled her rudely as she tried to thread her way through the group to the swinging doors. She whirled, eyes blazing, as a hand snaked under her skirt.
A sharp snap of the owner's fingers and a pointed look made her drop her gaze and meekly back through the swinging doors. The dapper gentleman laughed with the youths, palming the back of one of their heads affectionately. His laughter fell away as Ean pinned him with a long, cold, hard stare. Trapped, unable to tear his gaze away, the restaurateur felt a trickle of genuine fear roll down his spine at the fury and contempt in the man's blue eyes. He sagged with relief; his knees nearly buckling when at last the younger man's gaze flickered away in disdainful dismissal. Wiping sweat from his brow with a trembling hand, he sought the security of the kitchens.
Kara jumped, wincing as steaming, soapy water sloshed over bare legs. Seeing the irritation clearly stamped on her bosses face, fear twisted in the pit of her stomach as she stripped off her rubber gloves, moving to stand before him. The smell of perspiration, garlic, stale cigarettes, and expensive cologne took her breath away causing her already volatile tummy to pitch dangerously.
"I want that cocky little son of a bitch the hell out of my restaurant!" he bellowed, gesturing wildly with his hands. "Who the fuck does he think he is, eh? He thinks he can come into the business that my father built from the ground up...brick by fucking brick...and look at me like that?"
Kara flinched soundlessly as his heavy hand flashed before her wide eyes, the florescent lights glinting off the thick gold rings. Her breath came in short snorts through her pert nose as she fought to control her panic. Her bottom lip trembled as the bass of his voice seemed to reverberate through her slender body. Images of her alcoholic father flashed in Technicolor clarity through her mind. She bowed her head, seeking that place of solitude deep inside.
"What, are you fucking stupid?" The achingly familiar question served to snap her from her memories as much as the slap upside her head. She bit her lip to keep from crying out and kept her gaze fixed on the floor tiles. "Move your ass!" he snarled. "Get him the fuck out of my restaurant or don't bring your sorry ass back!"
Her heart hammering in her chest, Kara paused behind the swinging doors to gather her courage. There was no question of who had pissed off her volatile employer, as there had only been the one remaining customer for the past twenty minutes. Praying he was gone...she stood on tiptoe to peek out the tiny window...and straight into amused blue eyes. She ducked. He laughed. Heat flooded her face but his laughter brought a quirk to her own lips. Steeling herself she straightened and slipped out the doors, trying with all her might for a little bit of dignity.
"Is there anything else I can get you this evening, sir?" she asked softly, trying to avoid his grin.
"I would say a cup of coffee, however by the sounds of things the check is in order," he murmured with a raised brow towards the kitchens. A mortified blush burned her cheeks as she realized he had likely heard every word her enraged employer had bellowed.
"I am so sorry, sir. I will get you a cup of..." Kara's words came to a halt with a squeak as his long fore finger covered her lips.
"There is nothing sorry about you, little one...and it is not your place to apologize. Understood?" he said softly yet firmly. Green eyes wide and lips tingling, Kara could only nod. He smiled again, a twinkle in his eye. "I do not suppose you have a Starbucks near by?"
Kara shook her head depreciatively.
"Not without a forty minute drive. Your best bet would be The Grindstone. Abs has great coffee, cappuccino, espresso, and a fabulous chai tea latte. Not to mention her fresh croissants which are..." Blushing, she trailed off as she realized she was babbling. "I can give you directions if you like, sir," she finished, casting her gaze to the floor.
The air practically crackled with the intensity of their attraction. The silence was deafening. His firm lips curved as a tremble of apprehension wracked her thin form. His voice was barely a whisper when he spoke again, but the power behind it was gripping. "You may show me this place that delights you so."
She replied with a soft, subservient,"Yes, sir," before her brain fully processed the words. Wide emerald eyes flew up to search those of the palest blue. All thought of disagreement fled with the simplest arch of his wicked dark brow.
"The check, please, little one?" he murmured. She blushed again, hastily producing the check along with one of the restaurant's signature gold-foiled espresso chocolates for the gentleman.
Barely glancing at the check, he peeled a couple bills from his money clip and tossed them to the table. Her heart pounded as he motioned her forward with a crook of his forefinger. Catching sight of the ten in his hand, she did not flinch as he reached for her. Tucking the folded bill in her apron pocket he nodded to the cash on the table.
"The remainder is yours, love. Go to the back now and tell the pompous proprietor of this fine establishment that the only way you were able to follow his orders and get me to leave was by accompanying me. Change and meet me out front."
Opening her mouth to reply, Kara realized that orders given...the handsome man had turned his attention elsewhere.
"Yes, sir," she whispered, perplexity evident in the quaver of her voice. Hurrying to the register, she blindly rang the ticket up and pocketed the remainder. Kara had been a waitress long enough to mentally make note of a forty percent gratuity. It was unfortunate he was not a local.
Stepping out into the autumn chill, Kara hunched her thin shoulders burrowing her ears into the faux fur collar of her sage corduroy jacket. Fumbling with her keys she approached her 84 Monte Carlo, nervously scanning the shadowy parking lot. Slipping into the car, she locked the doors before tossing her purse beside her and pushing the key into the ignition. Hidden in her boot, the rectangle of folded bills tucked securely beneath the ball of her foot was a comfort as she pumped the gas pedal once and the burgundy beast purred to life.
Her empty stomach rolled as she put the car into gear and started around the building. Odds were he had just been messing with her and would not even be waiting out front, she mentally chided. Nonetheless, she held her breath as she turned into the customer lot. Disappointment welled in her for a moment at the empty blackness.
Determinedly swallowing the lump in her throat she shrugged it off. She had known better. Men like him had better...a soft cry interrupted her thoughts as headlights flashed on to her left, momentarily blinding her. Holding a trembling hand before watering, squinty eyes, she watched a small black sedan roll from the shadows. Stopping even with her driver's door, the Ford Taurus's passenger side window glided down and the handsome stranger flashed her a dazzling smile.
"Ready?" he asked. At her mute nod his smile softened. "Lead the way, darling."
"Held ~ Chapter Two"