To Train A Wild Rose

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Chapter 19 - Looking for Patterns

I was all sort of confused when my master woke me up. That sofa was so much comfier than my bathroom bed and he was sitting next to me so, as he rubbed my back, I could sort of squirm into him. It was just such a lovely way to wake up!

But of course he could see I was getting much too comfy again… and maybe a bit too… well… like… intimate, I guess. So he casually leaned down and did his raspberry blowing thing into my neck. I squeaked, of course, and it certainly broke my mood!

“Enough of that, Babygirl!” he said, giving me a not quite gentle pat on my bottom. “It’s work-out time and, now you’re out of the bathroom, you get to join me in the gym, of course!

He sent me off to get changed - and I even remembered to tidy up that lovely blanket first. By now, I’d basically managed to work out that Mr M wasn’t the world’s biggest fan of stuff being left lying around. I mean… it wasn’t quite a dangling from the ceiling level thing but he was pretty good at finding entertaining ways to remind me about that sort of stuff… Entertaining for him, that is… not so much for me! So I folded it up and put it neatly over the back of the sofa.

Of course I was really excited as he led me into the gym - I was going to get to play with all those new toys. But all the excitement type stuff was quickly squished under this dirty great steamroller of knackeredness.

At first, Mr M set me to work on a rowing machine thing. And of course he was totally fussy about exactly how you pulled on the oar bit - in fact, you weren’t even supposed to think of it as pulling. ‘You are driving with your legs not pulling with your arms,’ he explained patiently, about four million times. ‘Your legs are much stronger than your arms so that’s where the power has got to come from!’

When he got bored with nagging me about the whole rowing thing, he took me over to some exercise mats and we worked through a whole series of stretching exercises together. I mean… they weren’t exactly painful but they weren’t particularly comfy either… I guess they basically weren’t meant to be.

And then he stuck me back on my old friend, the exercise bike, whilst he took over on the rowing machine. There was some nice boppy type music going on and for a while I could just relax and do my cycling thing but, for some reason, I couldn’t help looking across at him. I was kind of enjoying the way his muscles sort of tensed up and relaxed as he went through the whole stroke bit… and it was pretty obvious that he knew what he was doing.

“You’ve done that before,” I said when my bike was on a downhill bit and I could have a bit of a breather.

“I used to row quite seriously…” he answered with a bit of a gasp. I guess he was having a bit of trouble with the whole breathing thing too… “when I was in University.” I guess that sort of made sense… in fact it probably explained why he was being so totally fussy about the whole technique thing.

And, when I thought about it, I managed to work out that he must have been a bit… like… totally distracted. I mean… he never normally let any personal stuff like that slip out!

I was basically having a bit of trouble taking my eyes off him with the whole rippling muscle thing he had going on. The t-shirt he was wearing was pretty tight and, with the way he was sweating, it didn’t… well… like… leave all that much to the imagination.

And I could tell he was… like… working really hard. “Do you know you’ve gone a funny colour?” I just had to ask him at last. I basically couldn’t help myself… I blame Ro.

He wasn’t overly impressed by that though. “Babygirl!” he said through his gasps. “There’s a button… in front of you… marked ‘speed up’… press it three times.”

“That’s not fair!”

“Five times!”

I pressed the button and decided that this was a pretty good moment to stop talking and concentrate on the whole breathing thing instead!

Mr M finished a couple of minutes before me but I hardly noticed because, by that time, that horrible bike thing had… like… womped up the speed even more and I was too busy trying to avoid the whole exploding thing to pay any attention to what he was up to! At least he was there to catch me when I collapsed at the end. I was way beyond knackered and out the other side and he had to sort of help me to balance as I went through the whole ‘warm down’ bit.

At last I was done and he helped me off the bike and gave me a lovely but horribly sweaty sort of a hug! “You appear to have turned a funny colour too!” he told me with his most evil grin.

I wasn’t in any sort of a state to answer… even if I’d dared! I mean… it was basically a safe bet that any cheekiness at that point was going to find me back on that stupid bike! I just let him sort of half lug me back into my bathroom where he undressed me and chucked me under the shower.

And he even tidied up my horrible, sweaty clothes for me!

It must have been about a week later and I was snuggled up in my beanbag chair with my latest book, ‘Little Women’. I was sort of enjoying it but it was pretty heavy going so, when my master sat back in his chair after a couple of hour’s work, I was more than happy to put it to one side and scurry over to him.

He gave this deep sigh and so I started kind of rubbing his shoulders. I sort of guessed he might like that when he had been working for a long while.

I also sort of guessed that it might be a good time to ask one of my ‘on the border of the rules’ questions.

“If you don’t mind me asking, Master, what are you doing?”

He didn’t say anything for a bit but it wasn’t one of his normal sort of silence things, he was making these funny kind of grunty type noises and sort of squirming in pleasure as I carried on with the whole neck and shoulder rubbing bit.

At last he sighed and stretched, Then he turned round, pulled me onto his lap and gave me a kiss by way of a thank you. “I’m looking for patterns,” he answered, “or at least, I’m adjusting a computer program I’ve written that looks for patterns.”

“Patterns?” I asked.

That did make him do one of his silence things and I could basically tell that he was trying to work out how to explain this complicated stuff to his little babygirl.

“Most of this,” he waved an arm vaguely round the room, “was paid for by an observation that I made a couple of years ago. If it’s rainy on Thursday and Friday, and there are no big sporting events on the television on Sunday, people buy more beef.”

“You what?”

“Five second silence, please, Babygirl, then ask your question properly.”

He did that from time to time - got me to kind of…well… kind of think before talking. It was another one of his ‘sort of annoying’ habits.

“OK, two questions, I guess,” I said when the time was up. “Why do they buy more beef and how does that make you money?”

“Good questions,” he responded. “The why: I don’t really know - and, for my purposes, it doesn’t matter - maybe lots of people are thinking: ’the weather’s horrible so we can’t go out; there’s nothing on the telly; let’s have a big Sunday lunch.”

“Makes sense, I guess.”

“But, as for the, ‘how does it make money for me?’ What happens to the price if lots of people buy beef?”

“It goes up?”

“Correct! But, by the Wednesday, I know the weather forecast and the television schedule, so, if we’ve met the preconditions, I start making bets that the price is going to rise…”

“And because of the weather and the football stuff you win the bets!”

“Very good!” he answered. “Now you know why I was so interested when you talked about the patterns that mathematics can make.”

I put my arms round his neck and he twizzled us round a couple of times in his posh leather office chair as we snuggled.

Then, after a couple of seconds, he stopped and rubbed his knuckles down my ribs. It sort of tickled but it did funny things inside my tummy and, in a strange sort of a way, I sort of liked it too. Then he did his raspberry blowing thing to my neck and patted me on the bottom. “Come on, Babygirl,” he said, “let’s go and cook.”

He folded up the flaps on his desk thing and tucked his chair away but then he did this sort of dirty look thing in the direction of the babygirl corner. I’d managed to leave my book a tiny bit out of place… on the floor next to my beanbag…

Oh! The horror!

So I scurried over to tidy it away.

Then I joined him in the kitchen and started to prepare the vegetables for our tea - with him keeping a careful eye on me, of course. It was sort of fun to cook with him but I couldn’t quite believe that anyone could get so unbelievably stressy about the way you cut up peppers!

In fact, strike that! This is Mr M we’re talking about. He can basically get unbelievably stressy about pretty much anything!

Then, after tea, I brushed my teeth and changed into my princess nightie and then I did my ‘sprawling inelegantly’ thing on the sofa with my head on his lap as we enjoyed our bedtime chat. By now, I was getting a fair bit more comfortable in my new surroundings and, just occasionally, I could sort of drag my eyes away from that incredible mountain scenery for long enough to think about something else for a bit.

But, that particular evening, my eye kept being sort of dragged back to the view because there was this totally brilliant sunset thing going on. We were sort of enjoying it together in silence when a thought occurred to me. “Hang on!” I said, “I thought you said that the pictures are coming from California…”

“That’s correct, Babygirl,” he answered. I could sort of hear he was doing his smiling thing.

“Then shouldn’t it sort of be sunset at a different time?”

“Very good!” he said and, for once, there wasn’t even his usual sort of slightly amused thing going on. He leaned down and gave me this tickly kiss on the ear. I’d managed to impress him… and that didn’t happen very often. That thought sent a funny little wave of pleasure through my tummy and I sort of snuggled even closer into him.

“The data is cached,” he told me as if it meant something, “and retransmitted with a time delta of fifteen hours.”

“Erm… Please could you translate that for those of us who don’t talk geek.”

He laughed but then a hand slipped down and gave my ribs a bit of a tickle. That was another thing he’d done to me… he’d sort of made me… like… totally ticklish. I don’t know how he’d managed it. I’d really never been all that ticklish before.

Or maybe it was just that I’d never let anyone get close enough before… either physically or… like… emotionally… to tickle me.

“The pictures are stored on a computer somewhere and we’re watching the scene from last night,” he explained when I was done with my whole squirming bit.

I had a little think about that then nodded. I guess it made sense.

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