The Domination Game

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Chapter 4

I had just stepped out of the apartment building, heading to get my cab, when my cell went off. I took it out, looked at a number I’d never seen before, then answered it. “Adire Black.”

A woman cleared her throat. “Yes, good morning, Ms. Black. I was asked by Mr. Mills to give you a call this morning to have you please come to his office for an urgent meeting. I was also informed to tell you that he is not pleased with not hearing from you or any of your associates within the last week.”

I sighed, getting into my cab, no longer heading over to Franklin and Devonshire for an upcoming meeting. The cabbie looked at me. “Yes, that’s fine. I’ll be there within the hour,” I told her, and hung up to give the cabbie directions. “Congress and High, please.”

He nodded while I called one of my associates to let her know I was going to be late for the meeting. “Stacy, hey it’s A.B. Just wanted to give you a heads up that the Gravin Corporation just called me in for an urgent meeting…no, now. The owners are perturbed that no one has gotten hold of them. Yes, I know it’s only been four days… So I’m heading over there to make nice, and then I’ll come to the meeting… Yes, see you when I get there… Bye.”

I just couldn’t understand what had gotten Mr. Clark’s panties in a twist! The sooner I dealt with this the better. Throwing my red, white, and blue scarf around my shoulders, “the colors of my football team,” I sat back, musing on how I was going to deal with this situation.

That’s when I realized what she’d said. Not Mr. Clark, but Mr. Mills. I adjusted my sunglasses and groaned at the hell I was going to receive for not accepting his invitation. But maybe I was over-thinking this. Maybe he really did just want to know what we’re doing to improve his company.

I’d put on my red lipstick that morning and was just giving it a once-over before stepping out of the cab and into the building. The elevator dinged on the top floor of the high-rise, and I walked over to the receptionist to let her know that I was there for a meeting.

She got on the line, smiled at me, and asked me to take a seat in the waiting area. Mr. Mills would call me in in just a couple of minutes. That’s what I was told at least, but that just wasn’t the case.

Making my way to the lavish waiting area, I sat patiently there for forty-five minutes. My phone swished every ten minutes with Shawn asking me where the hell I was at, and to get my ass over there. But I couldn’t; this man had me by the balls, so to speak, at the moment. But what he didn’t understand was, I knew how to be very…patient.

My name was finally called to head to the back and I walked by his secretary, Terry I think it was, who smiled apologetically at her boss’s rude behavior. I had my briefcase in my hand and my coat draped over my arm when I walked into his office.

I pushed open the door and saw the male authority figure sitting perched at his desk, thinking himself the king of his domain, and I mentally rolled my eyes. So many of these men just needed a good spanking. And believe me, I would know.

Taking my seat in front of him, I pulled open my briefcase with my laptop in it. “Good morning, Mr. Mills. I received your message about some concerns you might be having about us not responding to you in a timely manner regarding your account,” I said.

He just sat there, not answering me, so I looked up at him, closed my briefcase, and waited for him to begin. When I made no further statements, just sat still waiting for him to proceed, I could see he was starting to get uncomfortable with the long silence. Which I think was up to four minutes by now. “Good morning, Ms. Black. Sorry to keep you waiting,” came his deep voice with a Texan twang to it.

I smiled at him politely, giving him a little shrug of indifference. “No apologies needed sir. I’m very good at being…patient,” I assured him with a bit of a smile. I opened up my briefcase again, took out my laptop and pulled up their account. “Now, how can I assure you that we at the Thompson Agency are working very hard on what Mr. Clark asked us to look into? We do have some suggestions already put down and were going to reveal those at the conference on Friday. But if you wish for me…”

His chair squeaked as he sat back and looked me over. “I’d like to know why you didn’t call me, when I gave you my personal card. We both know you already knew who I was that night in the club. I mean, hell, you’re sitting in my office not two weeks later. That’s more than just coincidence for me, sugar,” he began. “So how did you know I was going to be at that club that night?” he asked me arrogantly, with a smug smile on his face.

I stopped, lifting my eyes from my work to look up at him. Cocking my head, I was thinking of all the things I would love to rail at him about in this moment. Instead I took a really good look at the man in front of me.

He was about my age, thirty-seven or thirty-eight. Tall if I remember correctly, I’d say six foot four; he looked very lean but nicely built. Probably a nicely rippled stomach under that suit…and I do so love lean men.

His hair was sandy blond, very stylish, with almost an updated fifties look about it. His face wasn’t clean-shaven, and his eyes were very dark blue. Yes, this would be a man I would take home. But there was something about this particular man that gave me a feeling that it would be best to steer clear of him.

Shutting my briefcase, knowing why I was called here now, I could see there was no point going any further with my explanation of my work. “First, that night at the club, I can assure you I had no idea who you were. I was out with my friends, having a nice evening,” I explained, sitting back in my chair as well.

His smile slipped. “And as for asking me out for drinks or having dinner with you, what I said was true. I don’t see people I’m working for,” I informed him.

He sat forward, putting his elbows on his desk. “I realize you just said people, and not just men,” he said, seeming more intrigued with my answer.

I chuckled at him. “Sorry, I’ll make sure I make my answers more gender specific for you. So now that we have that all cleared up, do you have any real questions for me?”

He sat back once again. “Yeah, do you go to the club often?” he smiled at me.

That made me put my briefcase on the floor. “I had a feeling that I wasn’t being summoned to your office today for you to be updated on my work,” I sighed. “And for your information, Mr. Mills, you’re not the only client in Boston I’m working for at this moment.”

I got up from my chair and made my way around his desk to sit on the corner next to him. “This was very unprofessional, and I can see you’re a very persistent man.” My eyes roamed over his body, taking in the full package. “But I must inform you, I’m not into persistent men. Subservient is more my man of choice,” I purred, and his eyes widened.

I squeezed my way in front of him, pushing back his chair just a touch. My hand went to his thighs, spreading them open just enough to let me lean back on his desk and slip my legs between them, kicking my feet underneath his chair.

My fingers wrapped around the edge of the desk and I tapped my nails along the exquisite wood, wondering if I wanted to let this yummy creature into my world. “I don’t think I’m quite your cup of tea, darling. Now if you’re done with your inquiry maybe I can get some of my work done.”

He smiled at me, looking over my body just like I had done to him. “Oh sugar, I think you’re a shot of Jack with a beer chaser. And exactly what the doctor ordered,” he said with a rumble in his voice.

There was something very powerful about this man. I liked the way he spoke, the way he looked. I leaned forward, taking his tie from his suit and pulling his face closer to me. I looked into his eyes and then to his luscious lips, and answered his question. “Yes, I go to that club quite a bit since I’ve been back in Boston. I like the…variety it offers.

“But I would think a man like you would go for the much younger scene. You know, to show the world you’re still full of male virility. So very macho of men,” I chuckled. But pulled him even closer…and he came. “I prefer a little more variety for my taste as well. A young man can be very virile in bed. But a man with some age on him, he can understand a woman’s body more completely. He’s willing to take his time to find the right…spots to please me. Do you understand my meaning?”

His eyes watched my lips move as I spoke to him, and a sly little grin spread across my face. That had his eyes lifting quickly to meet mine. He was about to say something when I heard the door open behind me.

I looked over my shoulder and saw Mr. Clark come in, his eyes going wide with shock. Damn it! Looking back down at the man in front of me, I let that silk tie fall from my fingers as I got up from his desk.

Walking back to retrieve my things, I put on my coat and scarf, and retrieved my briefcase from the floor. “When you’re ready to talk business, then give me a call. Until then, good day, Mr. Mills,” I told him as I passed by Mr. Clark.

***

Once she had shut the door, Davis adjusted himself in his seat, smiling at this highly erotic woman who had walked into his life. But he could tell there was something very sad going on under all that confidence she exuded. And that made her even more intriguing to him.

Yancy chuckled at him as he walked into the office. “I guess I’m lucky I didn’t walk in to you taking her on your desk!” he told him, then crossed his arms. “But you know she’s here to help build support and go through the structure of Gravin Oil, not to service its owner.”

Davis sat back and placed his feet on the edge of his desk, just trying to gather his thoughts. Once again she’d made his mind go hazy and his body on fire. And at the moment he was so fucking turned on he wouldn’t be able to leave his desk until his dick decided to calm down. “Don’t worry about it, Yancy. It wasn’t what you think on her part. I think she was putting me in my place…so to speak,” he laughed. “But I’m goin’ to marry that woman. That’s all I’m goin’ to say about it.”

Yancey’s eyes widened with shock, then with humor. “Now that’s a good one, Davis,” he chuckled. Davis rolled his eyes at his friend, already knowing the truth about what he’d just told him, and yet he knew she wasn’t going to be an easy catch.

That’s when he remembered what she’d said. She liked subservient men. Did that mean she’s into all the leather, chains, whips and shit? “Hey Yancey, have you ever gone to one of those Dungun’s? You know, to get your ass spanked,” he asked him with a grin.

Yancy collapsed into the chair in front of the desk. “No, I’ve never been to one, and I don’t know if I’d like some woman spanking my ass. I think I’m the type who’d be more into spanking hers,” he leered at Davis. “Anyways we shouldn’t even think about going to one. Unless we want pictures of our bare spanked ass on the front cover of a tabloid!”

Davis ran his hand over his face. “I don’t know, sounds kind of enthralling in a way. Let a woman have power over you when you’re having sex…”

“Damn, Davis, there are some things I really don’t care to know about. You want to go get your rocks off with some woman putting you in your place, that’s fine with me. I just don’t want to hear about it, man!” he laughed. “Remember, we have the guys from New Mexico coming in about an hour. So let’s get our heads in the game.”

Yancy got up from the chair, heading out. “Look, we’ve been friends since we were young’uns playing on our mommas’ ranches, and I know that look you get when you want something really bad. Hell, that’s why this company is where it is once again. Because you, Davis Mills, are a go-getter.” He looked at his friend, wanting to give him some advice before he did something stupid.

“Ms. Black is a fine-looking woman. Hell, men stopped just to watch her walk by them when she entered the office. She has some kind of allure about her,” he admitted, shaking his head, thinking back to when he saw her. “But Davis, just let her do her work first, bubba. I mean really, next Friday they come here, we have our meeting, then we’re all done with the Thompson Agency. I think you can wait that long… Right? After she’s done working for us, and if you’re still interested in her, then you can tap that ass, man.” He laughed as the door closed behind him.

Shit, he knew Yancy was right. He looked at his watch. An hour left until he met with the oil company from New Mexico. He still had some time to kill. His feet came off the desk and he clicked on the computer. A subservient man? What did it mean to the female population if you’re a subservient man? He figured he had forty-five minutes to Google it, and get enlightened.

Later on that week, he was stepping out to go have lunch with an associate who had flown in from Texas. He was just about to get into his car when he saw the illustrious Ms. Black in front of a bagel shop, talking on her cell.

She didn’t look too happy with the conversation she was having, and he wondered who she was speaking with. She paced as she spoke, and Davis watched as her hand went to her head in frustration. The call must have ended, because the phone was in her hand and she was staring at it like she wanted to throw the thing. She turned on her heel and stomped into the bagel shop.

“I won’t be needing my car after all,” he told his man Tony happily, and made his way across the street. Getting his secretary on the phone, he watched her order, planning his next move. “Terry, tell Yancy to go over and meet with Scotty. Oh, and tell him I’ll be there in just a bit.” He hung up without waiting for a response.

He walked into the shop, and saw her on the far side of the room with her computer open and paperwork on the table next to her. The cell was also next to her, and he saw it flash a couple of times, but she was ignoring it.

He bought a cup of coffee, then walked over and stopped in front of her. It took her a minute to realize someone was there, before she glanced up at him. “Hello, Ms. Black. Do you mind if I join you?” he asked, taking a seat.

Her brows went up at his presumptuous behavior. “Mr. Mills, I’m surprised to see you come into an establishment like this.”

He took a good look at her in the sunlight, and noticed her smooth complexion, the coiffed hair, soft dainty nose, and beautiful lips. She was almost picture perfect. “What, can’t a man come into a bagel shop for a cup of coffee?” he asked, feigning innocence.

“Oh I don’t know, I think someone of your stature would only drink civet coffee. Not the dishwater we drones drink on a daily basis,” she snipped at him.

He examined her posture. “I’m sorry, did I catch you at a bad time?” he asked, knowing full well he had. But he wasn’t prepared for her hostility. Something new to add to his mental list about her.

She sat up at that statement, blinking at him, and her shoulders sagged just a bit. “I’m sorry, Mr. Mills. I just got off the phone with someone who used their influence to find me. I guess you just got the brunt of my frustration. I do apologize for my rudeness,” she explained.

“No problem,” he said, taking a sip of his coffee. “Now why would someone have to find you? Are you running from someone? Please don’t tell me we happened to hire someone who’s running from the law,” he asked as a joke, but was concerned for her.

She glanced back up at him from her laptop, laughing a little, and he was infatuated by the sound. “No, nothing as elaborate as that. I just chose not to mix work with pleasure, and someone wasn’t pleased with my choice. Some people…excuse me, some men, find it difficult for a woman not to be interested in them when they themselves are so pleased with the power they wield. I figure why throw in a third party, when the two of them keep each other such compatible company,” she retorted.

He chuckled, and she looked up shocked, but then smiled at him. “So I take it money doesn’t impress you then?”

“No, money causes problems. Don’t get me wrong, I make a very nice living. But with my…lifestyle, it affords me some of the comforts of those who have a family at home,” she explained, clacking away on her laptop.

“So you said you don’t see people you work for. But do you see them after you’re done working for them?” he asked her. She’d never answered his question from the elevator about that.

She stopped her work, taking her cup in her hand and letting her eyes roam over him. “The reason for this question is, what, Mr. Mills?”

He took another sip. “Curiosity, Ms. Black. Just plain old-fashioned curiosity,” he replied.

She cocked her head at him like she was trying figure out some puzzle in front of her. “You’re my employer and any discussion about my love life or my personal affairs is out of the realm of propriety.”

That had him crossing his arms. “So this man who called was a lover then, I take it.” He was worried how that bothered him, really bothered him! “Do all the men you see have money?”

She sat still, watching him quietly. “The men I meet in my line of work usually have money. Therefore most men I…see, have money. Really, in my book, not a big deal. I’m more impressed with a man who saved and sacrificed to take me out or wanted to buy something for me. The man who can spare no expense for the best usually doesn’t receive the pleasure of that gift being fully accepted.”

Okay, that pissed him off a bit. “So if I bought you roses and a man with less money bought you roses, his would mean more to you because it affected his wallet?”

She chuckled at him and his attitude towards that statement. “It does sound very crass when you say it like that, doesn’t it.”

“Yeah, it does. If I bought you flowers even though it’s not going to bankrupt me, I bought them to please you,” he told her. And that brought out that sly smile once again. Damn it, he liked that smile.

“I am sorry. Must be my day for the little devil in me to make her appearance,” she told him then started to work again, but stopped. “Did you want to talk to me, Mr. Mills?” She finally shut her computer like he was hoping she’d do, and sat back.

“Yeah, I do. But I want to talk as two normal people,” he began. “And nothin’ you say, even if I don’t like it, will be held against you. That’s a promise.”

Her nail-polished finger tapped against her lips. “Well, now I’m very curious. What do you want to talk about that I’m guaranteed immunity if I affront you?”

“Do you always use those kinds of words?” he chuckled.

“In a world of men, women who can speak with authority will be heard, listened to, and respected. A woman who doesn’t learn the art of communication will fall prey to men who want to dominate her.” She leaned in to him like she was telling him a secret. “I don’t know if you’ve heard, but words have power,” she commented with a smile.

He still regarded her, but was completely engrossed in the banter. “So you like to have power?”

“Yes.”

“And does dating men with power make you feel more powerful?”

“Well, honestly, I don’t date. Therefore dating a man with power really doesn’t have any meaning for me. I don’t go out with him, he doesn’t know where I live, who my friends are, I don’t ask him to take me places. We have an arrangement, and I’m content with that,” she stated simply.

“Now I’m curious. What kind of an arrangement, Ms. Black?” he asked but no explanation came; she just sat there quietly in front of him. She wasn’t going to divulge any of her secrets to his questioning.

His hand went to his face and he looked at this woman, trying to figure her out. “Don’t you talk about your day, your work, something personal? Hang out on the couch and watch a game?” he wondered as he watched her.

“No, I’m not looking for anything personal. I have my work, and I travel all over the world. Who wants a woman who will be gone from home as long as I am?” she admitted. She picked up her cup of coffee, looking at him once more. “You know, what I told you in your office wasn’t a ploy for your attention. Sometimes facts are just that, facts, Mr. Mills.”

“Why don’t you call me Davis?” he grumbled, as he wanted to hear her say his name.

She took a sip of her coffee, and her eyes sparkled mischievously. He saw that little devil she kept in check. “You, Mr. Mills, at this moment are my company’s client, therefore my employer. And even though I’ve let this conversation reach the level it has, if my boss found out about the topic of our discussion, that would be deemed very unsavory conduct on my part and I would therefore lose my job. So to stop this from going any further, calling you by your personal name--I don’t see happening.”

He was about to argue the point when his cell rang. “Excuse me,” he said, and she smiled, letting him take his call. “Davis.”

“Get your ass over here now! Scotty wants to see the owner, not the lowly partner of the group,” Yancy hissed.

“You’re more than the lowly partner, Yancy, you’re the CEO of the company, but fine, I’m on my way,” Davis told him, irked at having to leave such a beautiful creature behind. He sat back down. “I’m sorry, but looks like I’m wanted elsewhere this morning. But I look forward to talking with you again,” he promised her.

***

Three more times I ran into Mr. Mills at the bagel shop I go to in the mornings. And each time he’d pull up a chair and start a conversation with me like we were age-old friends just catching up.

What had me so upset with myself is, it seemed like I was looking forward to his arrival. I’ve never had a man so far on my radar in ten long years. But this man with his good manners, exquisite looks, and a country twang that would find its way out every now and again, had me thinking about him more than I was comfortable with.

The two remaining weeks I worked for Gravin Corporation went by quickly. I had three more meetings with Mr. Clark, and Mr. Mills would always make his appearance. But at these meeting he was very professional and courteous with me.

I preferred Davis…I mean, Mr. Mills, who was funny, easy to goad, and who seemed like he was trying desperately to figure me out but couldn’t. He was a very sexy man. Too bad he wasn’t my cup of tea, because I’d be enjoying the hell out of that body of his.

Finishing up the last bit of work for the Gravin Corporation this evening, I was finally beginning to feel like I’d accomplished something. After a two-hour conference call with Stacy and Shawn, at one another’s throats about the most efficient way of scaling down costs, we finally agreed on the best method and a plan was made. Now I just wanted to lay my head down and get ready for my Friday meeting with the yummy man I wanted to have nothing to do with.

The phone vibrated once more next to my computer. This was getting ridiculous! “Grayson, why are you constantly hounding me?” I asked, wanting to shout. But I kept my cool.

“Adire, this is crazy. Come back to me, punish me any way you see fit, my dear. I won’t ask for you to burn me ever again…I love you!” he begged me.

My hand went to my face. I knew when I met this one particular man, that he could be a problem for me. I could just feel it in my gut. He was my senior by ten years. But he was so fascinating, and so incredibly handsome with his silvery hair and tattooed arms.

His mind was rich in poetry, music, and art, and what came from him was filled with so much beauty. But that wasn’t how he enjoyed his games; he liked very dark dominant behavior done to him. The first night I was with him, the way he wanted me to punish him…it was like he was trying to be the master, but wanted the punishments. After seven months with him, I knew it just wasn’t going to work anymore when he wanted me to burn him with my cigarettes. He was way too dark for someone like me.

The odd thing is I’d ended that arrangement a little over a year ago. I was transferred out of Belgium and ended up in Chicago, and met my new sub. Before I left I introduced Grayson to a friend, one of my mentors who lived in Amsterdam. Yvette had a sadistic side that I believed would suit someone like him much more appropriately than me. I told Grayson that I couldn’t be his master anymore, that we just didn’t fit, and at first he was upset.

But when I introduced him to Yvette, he seemed rather pleased with the topics of conversation, and how she liked to perform her authority to her pets. That did please Grayson; I could see it in his eyes when she spoke. And I thought that would be the end of it. Now I knew better. “You are not making mistress happy, Grayson. In fact she is most displeased with your behavior right now,” I growled.

Allie came in, looking at me with her arms crossed, and truly frightened. Our eyes met and I knew I had to get this under control. “Pet, where is your master!” I barked at him.

“My master is you,” he said with what sounded like tears.

I’d have to get rid of this number if he persisted with this. “I’m no longer your mistress, Grayson. I passed you to another, and you accepted, understanding that I cannot provide you with the dominance you desire. We just don’t fit, and you knew it was never a permanent arrangement. That you’d have to find a new master.”

I leaned back against the couch, my elbows on my knees, doing my damnedest to get him to submit. “Now we are done with this! Do I make myself clear? Through! I will be very displeased if I hear from you again. Now go back to your new master, who will help break her pet in nicely,” I told him, biting my tongue to say no more.

He hung up the phone, and I threw mine on the table, my hands digging into my hair. “Shit!” I yelled out into the room in frustration. Allie came and sat in the chair next to me. “Grayson again?” she asked.

I nodded with my hands still clenched in my hair. “Allie, I don’t know what I’m going to do about him. I’m going to have to give Yvette a call. Shit, I need to make sure she’s okay,” I told her as my hands fell.

“Every time I tell him to give me to his master, he just says it’s me! Hell, we didn’t even have sex all that often, Allie. He wanted me to torture him with not letting him cum, and walking around with a damn chastity belt on. He wanted me to hurt him…I had him read me poetry for fuck sake!”

She nodded at me, but was preoccupied. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Yeah, what?”

“How did he get your number? I thought you never gave out personal information about yourself.”

I wrapped my arms around my head and rested it on my knees. “That’s the problem, I didn’t. I knew this man was off after only a couple months. I told Yvette what I thought about him, but she said it was more of a challenge for her.”

Allie got up from her seat, still disturbed by the situation I found myself in. “Look, remember when you were in Chicago, and you called me all upset,” she started, making me sigh. “No, hold on, you called me. I think you might be right. This has worked for you. You’ve gained your power once again.

“But there comes a time, A.B., when you have to just calm down. Life goes by too quick, sweetie, and I’m worried that you’re going to have one of these men be a little off his rocker, like Grayson. And I don’t want anything to happen to you,” she whispered to me. I nodded in agreement with her.

She came over and kissed the top of my head. “Peter and I are going to watch a movie together. He leaves in the morning for London…remember?” she murmured sadly.

I smiled up at her, winking. “Don’t worry, sweetie, I’ll be around while he’s gone this time,” I joked, making her smile. “Now go on, I’m fine. I’m heading to bed myself, I’m really that tired,” I told her on a yawn.

It was ten-thirty and I was getting ready for bed when my cell went off. I went over to the dresser, not really sure who’d be calling me this late in the evening on a work night. “Adire Black,” I answered.

“Ms. Black, Dianna from Morgan House,” the nurse addressed me.

“Hi, yes, Dianna, what’s going on? Is everything okay with Mom?” I asked, getting a little worried. I never received calls from anyone but Lucy, and even that was a rarity.

“I’m sorry Ms. Black, but your mother took a terrible fall this evening, and she hurt herself pretty badly. We were going to give her meds to calm her down, to get stitches in her head and cast her arm, but I’m afraid she’s a little worked up at the moment,” the nurse told me.

“Lucy said that we needed to call you. We’ve just administered a sedative to calm her down, but Lucy thinks that you should come over to help her relax while they’re stitching her head…she told me something about your being there helps soothe her.”

I was running to the kitchen. “Tell Lucy I’m on my way!” I told her, then hung up and banged on Allie’s door. “I’m taking your car. Mom fell and she’s worked herself up into a lather!” I yelled at the door. Her door opened as I was running. “Call me, A.B., to let me know she’s okay!” she hollered as the door shut.

When I got to the hospital Carla took me back to see my mother, who, even though given a sedative to calm down, was still crying softly. I went into the room, and from the looks of it the doctors had managed to stop the bleeding from her head, but were waiting for me to proceed with the rest.

I stepped into the room, looking at my mother still crying, huddled on her bed, afraid of the men who wanted to help her. “Hi Mom,” I said, slowly making my way to her.She looked up, whipping some tears off her face. “Kitten?” she whimpered.

“Yup, it’s me. I got a call saying you fell down and hurt yourself pretty badly.” I sat next to her on the bed. I carefully untangled her, pulling her into my arms, and saw the bleeding gash in her head. “Now, Mom, I see you really hurt yourself, and you remember Bill, don’t you?” I began. “Bill’s a very nice doctor who’s going to make sure your head’s okay… all right?” Bill took a step toward us and my mother started to tremble.

“Kitten, please,” she begged me.

Damn it! I hated to see my mother distraught. “Mom, I would never let anyone hurt you, you know that. Bill is a friend of mine, and I’m right here with you.”

She looked at me, giving her head a slight shake of acceptance. I smiled at her. “Okay Bill, Mom’s okay now,” I said.

A little over an hour later my mother’s head was taken care of, her arm was cast, and I had put on some soft music to help her fall asleep, tucking her into bed. I made my way out, shaking Dr. Bill’s hand, thanking him for being so kind and helpful with my mother, then went to see Lucy.

She was in front of the hospital having a smoke when I found her. Her black hair was in little braids and pulled into a French bun, and she gave me a little smile, but I could see her dark brown eyes had been crying. “Hey, sweet pea.” She frowned. “Your momma was very unhappy tonight.”

Lucy had been with Mom the last eleven years. She found my mother this community home so she could be with her. My mother was very enamored of men, but was completely scared to death of them as well. She’d found herself a companion in Lucy. But I believed that Lucy was in love with her.

I leaned up against the brick building, crossing my arms and taking a deep breath of the frigid air that pierced my lungs. “What the hell happened tonight? I mean, she’s been doing so well these last couple years, but to all of a sudden revert back to being afraid of men… What was she doing when she fell?” I questioned.

Lucy took another drag. “I wasn’t with her, Marybeth was with the ladies while they played cards this evening.” She looked over at me, as she stubbed out her cigarette. “All I can tell you is she must have seen something on the damn TV that set her off. Nothing else was happening but the ladies playing cards, and Larry wanting to watch some new show, but he stopped at the news for a minute, he told us.” Her hands hung at her sides; she was clearly upset by what transpired this night.

Nodding my head, I let it fall back against the bricks. “I wish I knew more about who did this to her, Lucy. Then I could protect her better,” I said, brushing at the tears that started to fall. She came up to me and took me in her arms, giving me a hug.

“You’re a good girl, A.B. Your momma loves you so much, and she knows you do everything you can to help her. Hell, we’re both so proud of you…and she loves it when you send her boxes of goodies when you travel. Makes her day, sweet pea,” she told me, kissing my cheek.

“Now, I’m sure your momma’s asleep, and I still have loads of paperwork to do.” She let go of me and rubbed my arms. “How long you going to be in Boston this time?” she asked.

I shrugged. “Not sure. If mom’s having a hard time I don’t want to just up and leave her…” I sputtered, trying to hold back more tears.

“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of her, and I’ll make sure you’re in the loop just like always.” Lucy smiled at me.

I gave her one more quick hug. “Thanks, Lucy. I should head home now. I have a huge meeting tomorrow with an oil company that has a macho man complex,” I told her, rubbing my hands over my face.

She chuckled at my words. “Gotcha, sweet pea. You go get ’em, girl!” she shouted to my receding back, making me smile.

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