Chapter 13; Leila's POV
Originally posted on tumblr; can be found at toxxicism, post/110374238888.
The gun is cold in my hands. I haven’t shot it off yet. Would I have time to feel the warmth of the barrel before I toppled to the floor, or would the darkness take over immediately? I stare at it, examining the tiny revolver. The little wooden handle is cold — it’s called a grip, I think; my husband had once described the anatomy of a gun while pointing it at me. It’s the kind of thing I’m going to forget. I tremble while I stare at it, gently squeezing the trigger, without enough force to set it off. My husband used to do that, too, scare me with it. Master had never done that; Master had whipped me and spanked me, but He’d never threatened my life. Master is a good man.
Master is a good man.
The door clicks open. Why? A girl comes in, with dark brown hair and those pretty, pretty blue eyes. Oh. Right. This is it. This is where I meet my replacement. I’ve seen the girl before, in that picture, in Master’s room — in Master’s room! No one is allowed in Master’s room! He doesn’t like anyone in it, He doesn’t cuddle, He isn’t soft. I remember the caning I’d gotten for trespassing; I had to use the safe-word. That’s the only time I can remember Master cuddling, being soft. I needed aftercare, and He was there. He never said He was sorry, but it didn’t matter; I’d broken a rule, and I deserved punishment.
I wasn’t allowed in Master’s room, but my replacement slept in it.
We look a lot a like, from what I had see in the picture, and the little bit I could tell from the dark.
I take a deep breath. Hopefully Little Miss Lookalike doesn’t notice. I will not be weak in front of my replacement. I won’t — won’t — won’t —won’t. Little Miss Lookalike stares at me. Has never seen another girl in her life? My teeth bite into inner cheek; my scars itch, but I meet Little Miss Lookalike’s pretty blue eyes.
What am I doing? I shouldn’t be here. Master will be so angry. So angry. Master will be so angry. The little revolver in my hand is cold and heavy.
“Hi,” she says. I’ve never head her speak. I didn’t think Master would let her. My replacement has a pretty voice. She’s scared, but she still sounds so pretty. I hate her. “Leila, is it?”
I hate her, I hate her, I hate her, I hate her.
“She speaks.” I can’t raise my voice above a whisper. My throat hurts, though I haven’t spoken in forever. Did I talk when I signed myself out? I talked to Gail. I screamed at Gail. She wouldn’t let me see Master! Wouldn’t let me see Master! If I can’t see Master, at least one last time, then what’s the point? The giant gash on my arm, right along my vein, stings. She wouldn’t let me see Master!
There’s a sound. My eye twitches. Who’s talking? Oh, right. Little Miss Lookalike. “Are you here alone?”
Alone. “Alone.” Always alone. Master didn’t want me, doesn’t want me. Master wants Little Miss Lookalike. Geoff doesn’t want me, either; he’s gone, in Heaven, where I can’t get to him, not yet. Geoff, Geoff, Geoff. My husband…I think he loves me. I think he loved me. Loves? Loved? Loves? But if he loves me, then why do I have those nasty bruises? Those pale scars? No, my husband doesn’t want me. Doesn’t want me. Doesn’t want me. I’m alone. Alone. “Alone.”
“What are you doing here?” I’m in her house, uninvited, and she can still sound so…calm! So…together. “Can I help you?” Why does she want to help me? I don’t need help. I don’t need it. I don’t need it. I hate her. I hate her. I hate her. “Would you like some tea?” Tea? Who likes tea? Did Master start drinking tea because of her? Master likes water and wine. Water and wine. Water and wine. I like coffee. Coffee. Coffee. But I’m not thirsty. Not thirsty. I want to see Master, and then I want…I want to go. Go wherever I’m going to go. The gun feels heavier, colder.
I shake my head. My neck hurts.
Little Miss Lookalike takes a deep breath and starts to move. She looks like she’s trying not to be afraid. Why? I won’t hurt — oh. The gun. My gun. What is she doing? Is she making tea? Tea, of all things. Tea. How does someone make tea?
“Is there anyone else in the apartment?”
Why would there be anyone else? The little tool I used to pick the lock burns in my pocket. Does Little Miss Lookalike have a boyfriend? She’s not supposed to! Master likes His toys loyal. I was loyal. I love Master. I shouldn’t have left him. If I hadn’t gone, Master wouldn’t have found Little Miss Lookalike. With my right hand, I reach up to grab my hair. It twirls and tangles between my fingers. I should have stayed. I should have stayed. I should have stayed. If I stayed, I wouldn’t be so — “Alone. All alone.”
“Are you sure you don’t want tea or coffee?”
I’m not thirsty. Haven’t I told her that already? Why is she still trying tohost? “Not thirsty.” Her eyes are big and blue, and she’s pale, and she likestea, but…but we’re the same. We have to be. Master likes His toys like us. Small and with brown hair. There has to be something — something. I just want to know. I want to know. She turns around, and…and we’re still the same. “What do you have that I don’t…?” What, what, what?
“What do mean, Leila?”
What do I mean? What do I mean! “Master — Mr. Grey — he…lets you call him by his given name.” He lets her call Him Christian. Christian! I did that before I signed the contract, once. His eyes got dark. He gave me a spanking after it was signed. Does Little Miss Lookalike like the spankings so much that she calls Him Christian to get them? But Master never looks upset when she does. Never, never, never.
“I’m not his submissive, Leila. Er…Master understands that I am unable, inadequate to fulfill that role.”
Not his submissive!? Master had said He didn’t want anything else! Master told her he didn’t want her, not in any way more than His toys. I tilt my head, cold, trying to figure it out. Master lied. Master never lies — He is honest. He is always honest.
“In-ad-e-quate.” Master never wants more. He is…not happy, but content with just His toys. He…he’s aromantic. He can’t love — not romantically. I…it was okay. Well, it wasn’t okay, but I wasn’t going to make Master unhappy. My job as His toy is to make him happy. I like to make him happy. “But Master is happy. I have seen Him.” The words are forced on my tongue, I can taste them and they taste wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. “He laughs and smiles. These reactions are rare…very rare for Him.” Every time she managed to make him do either of those things had been a sweeter reward than all the clothes in her closet, all the paintbrushes in the world. Master has a very handsome smile.
I blink, trying to focus. I need to talk to Little Miss Lookalike. I need to know. She’s so pretty — pretty like me. Her hair is brown and she’s small and she looks so innocent. “You look like me. Master likes obedient ones who look like you and me.” Before signing, I had asked to see the ones I was replacing. I wanted to know. Master keeps records on all His submissives; I saw them, and I went through them. Brown hair, innocent eyes. “The others, all the same…all the same…and yet you sleep in his bed.” No one is allowed to sleep in Master’s bed. “I saw you.” I saw her. I saw her.
“You saw me in his bed?” She’s squeaking. I feel bad, for a little bit, but I had to know. I had to know.
“I never slept in Master’s bed.” Master never wanted me in it. Master needed time away from me. Was I bad? My husband says I was bad, always bad, always useless. Master never said it. Master cared too much —cared. He didn’t want to hurt me, not…not emotionally. He did, but it wasn’t His fault. It was mine. I let myself fall in love.
“Why does Master like us like this?” I don’t like the way I sound. I sound weak. I promised myself I wouldn’t be weak in front of my replacement, in front of Little Miss Lookalike. We’re all little Miss Lookalikes, aren’t we? But…but for who? Who? Who hurt him so badly that he doesn’t like to be touched? That he likes to hurt girls with brown hair and innocent, big eyes? I don’t mind being hurt — I like it, I like the stinging pain. But why all the girls that looked like me? Who do I look like? Who? “It makes me think something…something… Master is dark… Master is a dark man, but I love him.”
Oh, god, I love Him. I love Him so much. I love Him like I loved Geoff. I love Him. I love Master. It feels good to say it, to say it to someone who isn’t Master, to admit it.
“Leila, do you want to give me the gun?”
Gun? No! I yank it close, holding it against my chest. It can hear my heartbeat. “This is mine,” I whisper, glancing down at it. The silver barrel glimmers. It’ll all be over soon. So soon. “It’s all I have left.” It’s all I have left, all I have left, all I have left. I’m alone. “So she can join her love.” It’ll all be over soon. So soon. Geoff is waiting for me.
My finger brushes over the trigger again, so close to pulling it, but I’d be shooting nothing but the ceiling lamp. Soon. So soon.
The door slams open. I jump. Oh, thank god I didn’t squeeze the trigger. I don’t want to kill anyone, anyone but me. I’ll be gone soon, too.
Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Master is at the door, and He looks so angry. So angry. I haven’t seen Him this angry since I went into his room. Oh, no, no, no. Please don’t be angry with me, Master. What am I doing? Master is here. Master looks so angry. I’m not supposed to look Him in the eye, but I can’t help it — I haven’t seen them in so long. They’re gray and dark, like a storm. Oh, He’s so angry. I can’t look at them much longer — Master doesn’t like it. I squeeze the grip of my gun. I’ve seen Him. He’s angry, but He’s Master. I can go now. I can go.
My head dips. I’ll stay still. I’ll stay still until he tells me not to. I can’t help but look up at him — I’m not supposed to — through my lashes. He’s looking at me, into my eyes. It feels good. I have his attention. Oh, god, that feels so nice.
Why am I still standing? No wonder Master is so upset. Should I kneel? But His new submissive is right there — but she’s not His submissive. His eyes change — and oh, I know that look. It feels so good to see it again. My cheeks burn. I can still do this. I can still be His.
His mouth moves. I love that mouth. I love that mouth. I love that mouth. I know it well. I’m on my knees before I can realize what he’s said — “sit” — and my head is down. The gun falls across the floor. I don’t need it. I’m His. He can take care of me. He can fix me. I don’t look up at Him; I’ll get punished if I do. Master is already angry; I don’t want Him angrier. Someone moves, but I don’t look up to see who. Is it Master? Little Miss Lookalike? It doesn’t matter. All that matters is Master.
“Anastasia, go with Taylor.”
Oh, I’ve missed that voice. I’ve missed it so much that I don’t realize that he actually said something. He’s telling Little Miss Lookalike and Taylor to leave. Oh, yes, oh thank you, Master, thank you, god. He’ll make everything better.
That’s Little Miss Lookalike’s voice, and that’s a man’s name. She does have a boyfriend. That’s against the rules, I rage, but I don’t say a word. Master hasn’t given me permission to.
“Downstairs.” Why is Little Miss Lookalike’s boyfriend downstairs? I stare at the wood floor. “Anastasia.” Oh, Master’s getting angrier. No, no. He can’t be so angry. I hate it when he’s angry. He needs to smile, like he does with Little Miss Lookalike. I need to make him smile. I will make him smile, when this is over. When Little Miss Lookalike and Taylor both leave, I will make him smile.
Master moves. I know it’s Master; I can see His leather shoes now. They’re almost silent on the floor. Oh, I can’t wait. I almost fidget — but I don’t. I don’t. Master hasn’t told me to move. I can feel Him standing over me. My heart calms itself. I’m protected. I don’t know from what, and it doesn’t matter, because Master will protect me.
“For the love of god, Anastasia, will you do as you’re told for once in your life and go!” Little Miss Lookalike never does what she’s told, and she can still make Him smile? It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t matter. I will make Master smile. I will. I thought He would yell at me, but He’s yelling at Little Miss Lookalike. He’ll punish me, I can feel it. It’ll be good. “Taylor, take Miss Steele downstairs. Now.” Little Miss Lookalike says something, but I don’t know what. “Go. Back to the apartment. I need to be alone with Leila.”
Leave us alone! Leave us alone, He wants us alone! But I don’t say a word. I don’t move. I don’t.
“Miss Steele. Ana.” Taylor’s voice sounds nice, too. I missed his voice, but not like I missed Master’s.
“Taylor,” Master says, and of course Taylor moves. I don’t know what he does, but I don’t hear Little Miss Lookalike. I think we’re alone. I want to breathe a sigh of relief, but Master hasn’t told me to move.
Master kneels down beside me — this isn’t normal. Master doesn’t put Himself down with His toys. His arms — those great, strong arms that can do so much with so little — wrap around me. I feel safe. So safe. He drags me into His lap. This is so…new. Master has never done this before. Oh, but it feels so good. His fingers are in my hair, stroking me. It’s like He’s doing aftercare. It’s…nice.
“I’m here now, it’ll be better soon. I’m here now.”
Yes, Master. It will be. I don’t say a word, because He hasn’t told me to.