Title: Sweet Treat
Author: A. Magiluna Stormwriter
Feedback address: stormwriter@shatterstorm.net
Date in Calendar: 21 December 2004
Fandom: Light,Water, Muses
Pairing: Heartsblood/Tessa
Rating: NC17 baby .. the more Xs the better
Category: PWP, established relationship, food kink
Dates Written: 28 November - 21 December 2004
Warnings: Candy kink and lots of it. BDSM and lots of it. Girls and girls, and lots of it. Yee-freaking-ha, and lots of it [thanks to Shatterpath for that last one]
Website: ShatterStorm Productions – Light, Water, Muses
Archive: ShatterStorm Productions only…all others ask for permission & we'll see…
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC04

Disclaimer: These characters belong to ShatterStorm Productions and are the creations of A. Magiluna Stormwriter and Shatterpath. They also belong in the Light, Water, Muses universe, tho' this is a standalone within the whole of that universe.

Note: This is all Lil's fault initially. She was the one who put the candy cane impurities in my brain. And then the rest just started to fall into place.

Beta: Shatterpath

Dedication: To my muses. I'd be nowhere without them.

“Sweet Treat”
by A. Magiluna Stormwriter

++ Anastasia ++


I had been completely lost in thought, when Tessa slipped into my office with a box and a curious look on her face. It didn't help matters that I'd been thinking of her and what she might have planned for our anniversary the next day. I smiled broadly as she closed and locked the door behind her before coming to kneel next to my desk.

“It's a gift from Bane, my lady,” she murmured, offering me the box.

I took the box and set it on my desk, staring at Karen's distinctive handwriting on the label. One hand dropped to stroke the back of Tessa's neck absently, fondly. After a moment or two, I opened the box to find a smaller, gaily wrapped box within, and an envelope lying atop it. Picking up the envelope, I smiled at the stars dotting the paper, drawn by my granddaughter, and began to read the letter aloud.

My Lady and Tessa,

First off, I wanted to wish you a very happy anniversary. As someone still in the ecstatic throes of the honeymoon, I can only imagine what it would be like to be celebrating a twentieth anniversary together. Though I can only hope that I will be doing just that in another twenty years with Dare and our kids and grandkids surrounding us as we celebrate.

Dare and I would be there, if only to take you both out to dinner to celebrate, but Emily's not feeling well. Dare and I had been discussing things to send you for your anniversary, but the actual gift is from Emily. She didn't put the more “unique” spin on what can be done with it, though. That was my idea. Emily just thinks that her Gramma Stasia has a really big sweet tooth. Not that that's entirely wrong, of course. *chuckle*

Oh and just to make sure that everything is usable for your 'tastes,' my lady, I have personally tested each item in this box. And I can attest that they were a rousing success, and should be for you as well.

Congratulations and know that we're thinking of you.

Karen, Darya, and Emily

Curious now, I returned the letter to its envelope and pulled out the smaller box nestled in the packing peanuts. Quickly making trash of the gaudy, commercialized paper, I lifted the lid to find more processed sugar than I could eat in months, perhaps even a year.

“My my my,” I murmured delightedly, running a finger lightly over the contents of the box. “Our Tiger has certainly outdone herself this time. I do believe there are things here I'd never have considered looking at, let alone using on you in the manner she's suggested.”

Tessa let out a soft whimper of curiosity at my words, which brought a broad, almost predatory grin to my face. I quickly closed up the box, replacing it in the shipping box with the letter before I turned to face my longtime love. That delectable lower lip was trapped between her teeth, nostrils flaring with her growing need. She met my gaze boldly, her need clearly shining out of those intense blue eyes. I pressed the box back into her hands.

“Take this back out to your desk, my pet,” I purred, just enough hardness to my voice that she wouldn't dream of disobeying me. “Don't look at it. You'll see what the Tiger's sent us tonight, no sooner. Now go on back to work. We've still four hours until we can call it a day and I have a few phone calls to make.”

“Yes, my lady,” she murmured, clearly disappointed…and anticipating tonight.

I leaned back in my chair, steepling my fingers against my chin, and let my mind wander over the strange choice in the gift Karen and her family had sent. My Tiger certainly had a beautiful kinky streak to her, there was no denying it, but even this went beyond my preconceived notions of her prowess. My gaze fell on the half dozen frames on my desk and I reached for one in particular, feeling the sappy grin spread across my face at the memories it evoked. Finger tracing Tessa's face in the photograph, I let myself slip back into the memories of what had become of us.

It was late June of 1981 when I got the phone call from Jesse. We'd all been settling ourselves into our respective cities. It was such a novel idea to be taking charge of the Scene in our respective regions. And so at Jesse's prompting, I gathered up Bane, gave Heather the information on how to find me, and took off for Chicago.

++ flashback ++


“Jesse, darling!” I called out as soon as Bane pointed him out to me. Even at the tender age of sixteen, Bane stood at nearly six feet tall. She made me feel so small, but perversely it did my heart and my ego some good to see her appearing dwarfed next to Jesse and his boy Tiny.

“Anastasia, my lady, you look ravishing,” Jesse said jovially, pulling me into a warm bear hug. “Always a pleasure to see you, my dear.”

“The feeling's mutual,” I replied, pressing careful kisses to his scruffy cheeks. “Really, Jesse, you should take better care with your appearance,” I chided with a smile. “You look like such a common ruffian.”

“The boys all love it,” he replied with a wink. “And who am I to deny them their fantasies?” I watched as he glanced at Bane, who stood quietly by my side. Already such a beautiful ease settling about her. “I see you brought Bane Sidhe with you, my dear. Not Heather?” Without waiting for my response, he took in Bane's posture again. “She treating you well enough, Bane? Looks like you're putting on a little muscle. Looks good on you.”

“Thank you, Sir,” she murmured softly, fighting the small smile of pleasure at the compliment. “My Lady takes excellent care of me.”

I was certainly pleased with her response and ran my fingers through her curly red hair just starting to grow into a feminine look, smiling as she leaned into the touch slightly. “So, tell me, Jesse, what is this new 'project' you phoned about? You do know how to pique my curiosity, my dear husband.”

He quirked a brow at me before suddenly pulling me into his arms and dipping me low to rub his scruffy whiskers under my chin. I squealed in laughter and batted at his head until he set me down again with a hearty rumble of a laugh. “Still gets you every time, doesn't it?” he teased, patting my hair back into place.

Moving quickly, my hand snaked out to grab at his beard, pulling hard until we were eye-to-eye. “Remember, your secret weapon can become your torment, Jesse my dear,” I said in a low voice, smirking, and leaned in to plant a wet kiss on his lips. “I love you, dear, but I didn't come here just for you.”

“Tiny, go fetch the lady's luggage. Take Bane Sidhe with you. We'll be waiting by the truck.”

“Yes, Sir,” the tall young man replied, heading off with my fiery redhead.

I caught the fond look in Jesse's eyes, knew he felt a great deal more for young Tiny than he professed. I knew I adored young Karen Taylor far more than one would expect, but she didn't hold that special place in my heart like Tiny did for Jesse. I reached up to pat his cheek fondly. “You are an old softie, Jesse Flagg, and I adore you for it.”

The soft buzzing of my phone brought me out of my memories with a startled sigh. It had been far too long since I last thought of that fateful trip. Picking up the phone, I felt the mantle of Anastasia Rogers, the Lady Heartsblood, settle over me again.

“This is Lady Rogers,” I said crisply, knowing the call would be important if Tessa had let it through to me without verifying first.

“Merry Kissmas, Gramma Stasia,” came the happy, slightly stuffed-up voice of my granddaughter.

“Merry Christmas, Emily dear,” I replied. “We got your package today. Did you pick out all of that candy yourself?”

“Yes! Kryn said you like candy and pep'mint sticks. So I got stuff for you an' Aun' Tessa. You like—?” She got cut off by a bout of coughing and I felt horribly for the girl. It was a travesty for a vibrant little girl like that to be sick for Christmas. “Sorry, Gramma. I'm sick.”

“It's all right, dear. I hope you are listening to Karen and your mommy to get better for Santa.”

“Yes, Gramma Stasia. I being good. Wanna talk to Mommy?”

Before I could say anything, I heard Darya's voice. “Happy holidays, Anastasia,” she said happily. “I do hope your gift arrived all right?”

“Yes, Darya, it did. You can tell Karen that Tessa is squirming with the box sitting next to her, and she has no idea what's inside it, outside of the letter Karen wrote.”

She chuckled and mumbled something I assumed to Karen. My assumption was proven right when I heard my Tiger's distinctive laughter. It brought a smile to my heart to hear the three of them so happy. “Oh, and Anastasia?” The tone of her voice had changed and it got me curious.

“Yes, Darya?”

“Karen's letter, what she said was true. She – we tested out the merchandise, tho' I'm told Karen doesn't have your 'finesse.' And to give you a few ideas you may not have, there's an envelope at the bottom of the box.”

My eyebrows rose into my hairline. I knew Karen had wanted to explore that intriguing submissive side to her partner, but I didn't think they'd gotten quite this far this quickly. “An envelope?” I asked, purposely playing dumb. I was curious to see just how quick a study my daughter-in-law had become.

“Karen took a few pictures for you…of us.”

I chuckled softly, knowingly. “Your secret is safe with me, Darya, my dear. Tessa and I will be the only ones to see those pictures. You have my word on it.”

“Thank you, Anastasia. I hope you enjoy them and that they inspire you to truly enjoying your gift and your anniversary.”

“I'm sure they will. We'll see you soon, dear. Give my love to Karen and Emily.”

As I hung up, I wanted nothing more than to get that box back from Tessa and peruse the pictures. But I could be patient. Besides, it amused me to know Tessa was squirming madly out in the other room.

++ Tessa ++

I hadn't been with my Lady this long not to know that she'd keep me in suspense about Bane's gift for as long as she pleased. But that knowledge certainly didn't keep me from internally squirming at the possibilities. Bane always had been inventive, and I knew I was in for quite a ride.

There was also a part of me that was nearly faint with relief. Perhaps time had finally started healing the wounds I'd opened at their wedding almost a year ago. I'd been selfish, prideful, and it had cost me dearly. But thankfully, things appeared to be on the mend with one of my oldest and dearest friends.

Anastasia had an odd look on her face on the way home that night. If I didn't know any better, I'd have sworn it was a kind of nervous anticipation. I squirmed slightly at that thought. If she was feeling that way, how the hell was I going to feel?

Anastasia's dry chuckle made me flush in embarrassment. “It's, all right, pet,” she soothed, caressing my cheek. “Tomorrow will come soon enough to explore the package from Karen and her family.” She paused thoughtfully. “I believe we'll stay in tonight, rather than go out to the Strip. After all, it's not every day that you celebrate your twentieth anniversary, is it?”

“No, my lady, I don't suppose so,” I replied, leaning into her touch.

++ flashback ++


“Jesse, you need to talk to her,” KC replied dryly. I could feel her gaze on me, assessing me, and I kept still and quiet. “No, she hasn't shown up here. I still don't believe Sylvia let her get away with that. I'd have kicked her ass for the presumption.”

She chuckled throatily and I felt a tendril of something snake down my spine at the memories of my training under the Red Queen's hands. It had been perhaps the most disconcerting and terrifying thing I'd ever lived through…with the exception of those months with that street gang in Chicago before Mel saved me. Silverback had been a kind master, and taught me so much about the basic rules of etiquette. Six long weeks of training at his knee had proven insightful and rewarding. And then he'd sent me off to Lady Heartsblood for six more weeks of training, further finesse under her experienced hand, before I'd found myself at the Red Queen's knee. And now, I was nearing the end of my training under KC before heading back to Chicago just before Christmas to decide my fate.

“No, she's calling several times a day to see how the training's going.” KC's strident voice brought me back to the present and I hoped I hadn't missed some cue from her. “How the fuck am I supposed to be training this girl if I'm always interrupted? No, you handle her, Jesse. She's your damned wife, for fuck's sake!” She sighed then, and I could feel some of the tension leaving her body. “All right, I'll do what I can. I'll see you all when you get here for Christmas. Take care, little brother.”

I felt her gaze on me again, more intense now. My heart rate soared with the adrenalin rush. Her fingers curled under my chin, but I kept my gaze down when she raised my face to study me. I couldn't help the nervous swallow, wondering what would happen next.

“Look at me, girl,” she said in a low, almost conversational tone, and I did as she bid. “You've studied long and hard for six months, and you've come quite a long way in that time.” She stroked her fingers through my hair, gripping it tightly. “You've a great deal of potential, Orchid. Don't fuck it up. The others will be here in a few days to decide where you'll go. You'd be a welcome addition to any of us.”

My eyes closed at that and I nodded minutely, secretly praying only one of the four would choose to keep me.

“Tessa? We're home.” Anastasia's warm voice brought me back to reality with a decided blush. She chuckled knowingly and pressed the package into my hands again. “Take it inside, pet. I think we'll do finger foods and a soak in the Jacuzzi tonight. How does that sound?”

I couldn't help the smile spreading across my face. “It sounds wonderful, Anastasia.” I eyed her critically, something I was only allowed to do in private like this. “You look a bit tired tonight. Perhaps a massage?” The delighted sparkle in her eyes made me chuckle. “I'll take it that's a yes, my lady?”

Her only response was to pull me close for a demanding kiss.

Once we were safely within our beautiful home, I found myself herding her into the bedroom. Humming softly, I started the Jacuzzi bubbling before going back out into the bedroom to lovingly undress Anastasia. I kept my touch light, knowing, but not purposefully arousing, as I removed and put away each item of clothing before I escorted her into the tub, lighting candles and putting in her favorite classical CD.

“Relax, Anastasia,” I murmured softly in her ear, pressing a kiss to her temple. “I'll go get the food and come join you in a bit.”

She nodded and closed her eyes, relaxing back into the warm, bubbling water. I watched her for a long moment before slipping out of the room. I quickly undressed and slipped into a deep blue satin robe. Anastasia said it brought out the color of my eyes, made them all the more striking. Heading downstairs, I whipped up a small feast of finger foods we could eat. Arranging them neatly on a tray, I grabbed the gift Silverback had sent us earlier in the week: a bottle of Dom Perignon and two neatly etched champagne flutes bearing our symbols intertwined.

++ flashback ++


I sat silently in the room I'd lived in while under KC's tutelage. I knew I was being hidden away for a reason. KC was being the gracious hostess to her guests, and I was prized gift to be fawned and fought over. Silverback and the Red Queen had already arrived. Silverback had brought Mel and Tiny with him. I was elated to see Mel again, but hadn't been able to talk to her much. Hopefully there would still be time. And then again, I'd still be going back to Chicago, if for no other reason than to gather up my few belongings before I went off to live in my new home.

I jumped at the knock on the door, heart trip hammering in my chest, and I knew it was time. I stood, arranging the blood-red silk kimono, and opened the door. Quietly I followed KC down the hall to the sitting room where the others had gathered. I slid to my knees in the spot she pointed to, falling unconsciously into the unique stance I'd learned from Lady Heartsblood, eyes darting up only long enough to ascertain the other three were there, including the Lady Heartsblood. My heart rate sped up slightly more, knowing she was there.

I sensed KC moving to take her seat and weathered their gazes silently. When KC finally spoke, I was startled by the sudden sound. “As you can see, she's weathered her training well,” she said casually to the others. “I'm quite impressed with the levels of sophistication and finesse she's already showing after only six months among us. As I've actually told her already, she'll be a wonderful addition to any of our houses.”

I sucked in a breath, knowing this was where it all started. They would haggle over my servitude. Silverback had promised me I'd have a chance to speak my own mind on the situation. It had been one of the reasons I'd actually agreed to doing this. I only had one thing in mind, and I couldn't help but silently repeat my wish over and over, falling prey to the childhood beliefs.

The silence stretched for what seemed an eternity before anyone spoke. “Well, fine then,” KC finally said. “I'll start. I've trained her most recently and found her to be an excellent study. I personally have no need of such a feminine sub, though I'm sure there are several among my network who would adore such a beautiful orchid.”

I flinched inwardly, afraid that she might just pass me off to someone else.

“I kind of figured you wouldn't,” Silverback replied. “But I did want her to learn from you. You have always been a consummate instructor.” His voice softened slightly on his next words. “You taught me everything I know, after all.” That brought a round of laughter from the others. “And while I personally have all I need in my Tiny here, I do know that young Mel has taken a definite interest in the girl.”

I glanced up at that in surprise to search Mel's eyes, completely forgetting my training. I'm sure the adrenalin rush of fear must have shown in my face, because Mel smiled sympathetically at me.

“Eyes down, Orchid!” KC snapped, and I acquiesced instantly with an embarrassed flush. “Mind your training.”

Sucking in a breath, I closed my eyes and willed myself to calm down. I didn't hear the next things Silverback said, perking up slightly when the Red Queen began to speak.

“I would definitely like to explore her tolerance thresholds,” she said in that flat, cultured voice that terrified me. It reminded me of my training. “She's got skin that resists markings but does show them off beautifully eventually.” I shuddered slightly, remembering the intricate knots and bonds she'd tied my body into, winding them around me like a python's coils, not letting up until I thought I'd burst from inside out. “And such a quiet, timid little cry she has.”

Shaking myself out of the memories, I also grabbed the box from Bane, balancing the tray on the box, bottle and flutes in the other hand, and headed upstairs. I slipped quietly into the bathroom, placing everything in easy reach. Shedding my robe, I eased into the water next to my partner, pulling her back against me gently. She murmured softly and reached back to pull me down for a kiss. When she finally let me up for air, I chuckled breathlessly. “And here I thought I was supposed to be surprising you with a massage,” I deadpanned, lovingly tracing her body with my hands.

“Far be it from me to stop you, darling,” she murmured. “I just couldn't help myself.”

Smiling broadly, I turned her around and began to knead the muscles in her neck and shoulders. I took my time, working each and every little kink out of her back, and couldn't help nibbling along her shoulders. Her soft moans encouraged me and as I reached the small of her back, I shifted slightly and reached around to caress my way up her stomach to cup her full, heavy breasts. Skilled fingers rolled her nipples, eliciting a low moan of desire. Nibbling up to her earlobe, I let one hand glide back down her stomach, past the sparse thatch of curls to sink two fingers into her gripping warmth, groaning myself. I kept a steady, almost demanding rhythm, even adding a third finger, which made her shudder with need. It wasn't often I was allowed this control, and I relished it for the gift it was.

“Let go, Anastasia,” I murmured encouragingly in her ear. “Don't hold back for me, love.” I shifted again, kissing and nipping my way down to the sole tattoo on her body: the heart-shaped skeleton key over her heart, the mate to the heart-shaped lock over mine. I traced the outline of the key with my tongue, lovingly, slowly, as my fingers sank repeatedly into her, thumb teasing her clit. “You've held the key to my heart for twenty years, my love, you and only you.”

My heartfelt admission was all it took. Her muscles clamped down around my fingers, and her body began to quiver with the waves of her orgasm. She let out a low, keening moan that I finally realized was my name, and I felt my own body tingle in response. I held her close, stroking and soothing as she recovered, murmuring soft nonsense. She finally reached up to stroke my cheek and pull me down for a sweetly demanding kiss that had me squirming when she was done.

“You are the light of my life, Tessa Samuels,” she murmured huskily. “I adore you more than I ever thought possible.” I flushed and rubbed my nose against hers in response. We sat there for a long moment, just relaxing in each other's arms.

++ Anastasia ++

As much as I was enjoying this tenderness between us, I was still exceedingly curious about my Tiger's gift. I nipped at Tessa's lower lip and leaned back. She quickly stood and helped me out of the Jacuzzi, drying me off quickly before passing the towel over her own luscious form. I couldn't deny myself the visceral thrill of running my hands possessively down those long sleek lines of hers, and I mentally reminded myself just how damned lucky I was to have this beautiful woman at my side. Grinning broadly, I snapped the flat of my hand against her ass.

“Get in the bedroom and grab your favorite cuffs,” I said in that low, purring tone I knew would turn her knees to Jell-O. She glanced at the box and I shook my head. “Tend to your cuffs, pet. Go on.”

I watched her head into the bedroom, following with the box. I settled in my favorite chair and opened it up again, relegating Tessa to the periphery for a short time. I reread the letter, smiling at the myriad sentiments rolled into Karen's distinctive handwriting. I shifted the sugared shapes to get to the envelope at the bottom. Setting the box aside, I eased back the flap to pull out a series of 4” x 6” photographs. Oh my. Darya obviously liked submitting to Karen. Perhaps one day…

Bringing myself back to the pictures, I found my mouth watering at the tantalizing images frozen for all eternity on the stiff paper. A whisper of movement to my left alerted me to Tessa's presence. I moved just enough to let her catch a glimpse of the images there, and smirked at the raised eyebrows. Pulling the box into my lap again, I began to pull out the items within and handed them to her. Once they were removed, I turned to face my partner.

“Yes, pet,” I murmured, stroking her hair. “This is our gift. Go get the bath sheets.”

She whimpered softly and went to do as instructed, while I set up the camcorder in the corner. This was definitely something I wanted to keep for posterity's sake. I set out the sugared implements on the nightstand, removing all of the wrappings with ease. When Tessa returned, I pulled her close for a demandingly sweet kiss.

“I love you, Anastasia,” she murmured, the words barely heard.

“And I adore you, Tessa, my love,” I replied, stroking her cheek, and quickly bent her over the bed. Massaging the firm globes of her ass, I marked out the artwork that adorned her lower back and thighs. Each vine, each leaf, each petal; nothing escaped my tracing finger. Reaching over to the nightstand, I picked up the ring pop and slipped it into the oversized condom Karen had provided. Slicking it with a bit of lube, I pressed the protected candy into her ass. “Leave it there, pet. If it falls out…”

I let the threat hang there, unspoken between us, and picked up the licorice whip. Someone had taken the time to hand-braid the ends into a handle, letting the bulk of the long strands dangle loose. Keeping her in place, I took a step back and let the red and black tails snap against Tessa's shapely ass. Her cry of aroused surprise had me dripping almost instantly. This gift would be the death of me; and I'd be sure to find a way to take it out of my Tiger's hide at some point. Taking a deep, calming breath, I snapped the whip half a dozen times across her ass and thighs, delighting in Tessa's jerky quivering responses.

Satisfied I had the cadence right, I reached for the ball gag. Such an ingenious concept. Two holes had been drilled through the diameter of a large jawbreaker, perpendicular to each other, and string had been threaded through and covered in red vines to complete the illusion that the licorice tied the ball gag to her head. I slipped it around Tessa's head, fitting the ball so that she could still breathe easily. I flicked my tongue across her lips, stretched around the candy sphere, purring at the taste, before I slipped the makeshift blindfold over her eyes. I couldn't resist tearing off a small piece of the strawberry fruit roll-up as I positioned it and tied it off with the elastic cords. Picking up the half-dozen candy necklaces, I quickly looped two of them around her wrists, just above the cuffs. Two more were placed around her ankles in the same manner. And the final two were placed around her throat.

“Such a delightful treat you are,” I purred and pinched her nipples for effect. Her low moan, filtering through the gag, made me close my eyes for a moment. Picking up the whip again, I let loose with several more blows. I didn't stop until the thin ropes began to unravel and break apart. I set them aside to be shared later with Tessa and grabbed for the last blatantly obvious toy. Without pausing, I rolled Tessa onto her back and let her squirm against the small welts and the candy plug. Reaching between her legs, I toyed with the plug, shifting it a bit to hear her moan.

Grabbing the foot-long, inch-in-diameter peppermint stick, I took a thoughtful lick or two before deftly plunging it into Tessa's drippingly wet cunt. Her body stiffened in shock and she nearly spat the gag out.

“Don't move!” I snapped sharply. “Arms and legs where they are. And if that gag leaves your mouth before I say it can, you'll be punished to within an inch of your life and you won't like it.”

She stilled beneath me and whimpered softly. Smiling at her submission, I took great pleasure in fucking her with that sweet dildo. After twenty years together, I knew her body as well as my own, if not better. And every time she came close to her orgasm, I pulled out the peppermint stick and waited for her body to calm down again before plunging it into her again. Over and over, I repeated this, denying her release until I wanted it. The sheen of perspiration on her skin caused the candy bonds to start melting slightly and I took pity on my sweet lover. Leaning in, I continued to thrust the sticky treat into her squelching cunt, and flicked my tongue across her clit. The distinctive blend of peppermint and Tessa made me groan and squirm a bit despite myself. I leaned back long enough to murmur, “Come for me, Tessa,” and returned to sucking and tormenting her clit with gusto.

She let out a loud wail around the gag as the orgasm rolled over her. Her body spasmed underneath me, bucking wildly for several long heartbeats. When she fell back into the mattress, limp and sated, I stretched out next to her and lifted the blindfold.

“Tessa?” I asked softly, stroking her cheek. “Are you all right?” She nodded slowly, swallowing with effort. I reached up to remove the gag and drop it on the towel, massaging her jaw muscles. “That better?”

“What--?” Her voice cracked slightly and she swallowed again. “What was…?”

I lifted up the peppermint stick and took an experimental lick, purring. “Mmm, what a wonderful flavor. Tessa and peppermint.” She shivered slightly, but willingly opened her mouth when I offered her the stick. I watched her daintily licking at it and had a thought. “I wonder…”

“Anastasia?” she murmured curiously as I slipped back down between her legs. I slipped the stick back into her, pumping once, twice. “Oh god,” she whimpered, head arching back. I pulled the stick back out, flipped it around and inserted the previously dry end. Grinning broadly, I thrust it into her a bit before leaning in to take as much of the exposed length into my mouth, groaning at the taste combination. Moving my head back and forth also moved the stick within Tessa. “Anastasia,” she exclaimed breathlessly, a hand on my shoulder. “This is subservient, beneath you and your station. Please…”

I gripped the stick and smiled up at her. “It's only subservient if I'm forced to do it, pet. I don't mind.”

“No.” She tugged at me more insistently. “Please, Anastasia, I don't feel comfortable like this.”

Quirking a curious brow, I eased back and pulled out the stick. We could discuss that breakthrough later. Laying it back on its wrapper for later consumption, I slipped the little butt plug from her ass and tossed it into the empty box. I stood and pulled her up with me. “Into the shower with you, pet,” I murmured, swatting at her ass playfully. “Wash up well, we don't want you getting any infections from all that sugar.”

She smiled and gently pushed me back onto the bed, tongue delving between my legs to lap up the evidence of my own arousal. It didn't take very long for her oh-so-talented tongue to bring me to another mind-shattering orgasm. Her cheeky grin made me laugh as she sauntered into the bathroom. I quickly cleaned up the mess from our little experiment and shut off the camcorder. I'd spring the tape on her at a later date. Perhaps clean up a copy for Karen and Darya as a thank you.

I slipped back into the Jacuzzi and opened the champagne, filling both flutes, and waited for my lover. Glancing at the clock on the mini stereo, I realized just how soon the moment of our anniversary was drawing near.

++ flashback ++


I silently listened to the other three haggling over young Tessa's training. I knew all of her training intimately, both at my hand and at the others'. I knew her strengths and her weaknesses. I knew I wanted her. And I wouldn't take no for an answer. Unless it was from her lips alone. Hearing Sylvia mock her femininity, her beautiful submission was more than I could stand.

“Enough of this haggling,” I finally growled, glaring at the redhead. “I want Tessa for my own. Not for someone else in my sphere of influence. Not as a plaything for a young, though gifted child. And not as a project to dissect and break.” I glared at each of them in turn. “I want Tessa as my personal body slave, shared with no one unless she and I wish it.” I surprised myself with my vehemence and took a breath to calm myself. I turned my gaze to the young woman kneeling before us, trembling ever so slightly. “Can't you see it? We've all trained her as we saw fit. And yet whose stance does she sit in?”

“So ask the orchid what she wants?” KC asked smoothly, but I could hear the amusement in her voice. “Orchid?”

Tessa looked up, eyes meeting mine instantly. And I felt the breath leeched from my lungs at the desire and longing in her eyes. When she spoke, her gaze stayed locked on mine. “When Silverback approached me with this proposal, he promised me the opportunity to speak my mind on the final decision of where I would go.” She took a deep breath, finally breaking eye contact with me to gaze timidly at each of my three comrades. “Silverback, sir, you and Mel brought me in off the streets and saved me from something I don't want to think about again. I will always be grateful to you for that, but like you said, I'm not what you prefer. And I don't think I can serve you properly.”

“I understand, sweetcheeks, and I certainly don't hold it against you,” Jesse replied warmly.

“KC, ma'am, you've taught me a great deal, but again we're not exactly compatible.” When KC nodded and smiled, I echoed that smile…until I saw Tessa tense up and turn to face Sylvia. “Red Queen, ma'am, to be perfectly blunt, you terrify me. And I can't live like that.”

“I know,” she replied simply.

And then Tessa's eyes returned to me. “Lady Heartsblood, I would like to offer myself into your service, completely and utterly,” she said softly. “If you'll have me.”

For a long moment, I couldn't speak. I stared at her, felt something deep inside me shifting and opening. When I could finally speak, I motioned her forward. “Come here, Tessa,” I murmured, watching her make her way to me. She dropped to her knees before me again, automatically slipping into that same posture I'd taught her. I curled a finger under her chin, lifting her head. “I would be honored to have you in my service.”

“Anastasia?” Tessa's voice brought me back to the present and I found she'd slipped into the water next to me again.

I smiled broadly, eyes welling up as I realized just how special this young woman had been to me over the past twenty years. “Just reminiscing, pet,” I murmured, pulling her close for a kiss. Leaning back, I grabbed both flutes, handing her one. “To a wonderful twenty years with the most incredible woman I've ever been lucky enough to love. Happy anniversary, Tessa, my heart.”

She blinked back her own tears. “You have been my rock and the love of my life for twenty years. I would want nothing more than to spend the next twenty years in your service and in your heart. Happy anniversary, Anastasia, my love.”

We clinked our glasses, took a sip of the champagne, and kissed again.