The Lighthouse was an old man’s country pub with just the right amount of charm to stay open for business. Providing villagers with a selection of Ales, there was never not a bearded man at the bar sipping from a pint glass. Derick was the local in this instance and boy did he fit the bill. Over fifty, cheery smile and on a mission to empty his wallet.
On our walk over, Spencer had took to telling me how knowing the owner from way back had resulted in him having shares in the place. He had fingers in many pies, did my man and never ceased to amaze me.
“Hey, you made it!” smiled Sam, waving us both over. “About bloody time. What took you so long?”
“Are you sure you want the answer to that question?” laughed Calvin, piping up from his position next to Lucy.
I offered both men my biggest smirk before focusing on Rosalie; her hesitation obvious.
“Hey you,” I whispered, approaching her swollen belly. “Can I get a hug from my best friend and bump?”
Her shoulders sagged, acting as sure sign to her relief. Instantly, she flung both arms around my neck and kissed my cheek.
“I’m so sorry about your mum.”
“Thanks,” I smiled, offering Lucy and Bethany a similar acknowledgement.
“Jess, drink?” asked Spencer, interrupting.
“Diet coke please.”
Scott joined him at the bar and on his way past, offered my shoulder a small squeeze. I shot him a quick smile and took to removing my jacket when a presence approached from behind.
“Alex? What are you doing here?”
He grinned. Spencer invited me. I was in the loo when you arrived,” he explained, hugging my rigid body to slyly whisper in my ear. “I guess he realised I’m of no threat to your relationship.”
He concluded his statement on a cheesy wink and re-joined Sam and Calvin over by the table. The three of them looked at ease, confirming that there was no awkwardness between Sam and Alex regarding the situation which came to light just the other day. Spencer arrived shortly after with drinks and before any more could be said, I brought his body closer to mine by pulling on his collar.
“Thanks for inviting Alex.”
“You’re welcome, baby. He’s your friend. He should be here.”
He quickly left my side to address Sam, doing so on a manly hug and a sympathetic, “I’m sorry for your loss.” They both chatted for a while and I heard Spencer utter the phrase, “I’ll look after her,” making me feel safe in the knowledge that he would. I both loved and appreciated how determined he sounded.
“Are you two back on then?” asked Lucy, positioning herself in such a way that saw myself, Bethany and Rosalie in a semi-circle of sorts.
I offered the blonde an enthusiastic nod and shot all three of my friends a wink.
“Absolutely. We spent best part of last night getting it back on.”
“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that,” scoffed Scott, mildly horrified.
“Sorry Scott. Is that an image you’d rather live without?” I laughed, genuinely amused.
“Yep!” he chirped, kissing his fiancé on the cheek. “You’ve scarred me.”
Rosalie giggled and made room for her husband-to-be by leaving her seat and sitting on his lap. Lucy returned to her original place once throwing me a small smirk, essentially opening up the entire table.
“Thanks for coming on such short notice,” stated Spencer, capturing everyone’s attention. “Last month, Jessica introduced me to her mum. We only met the once but I count that as a blessing. I didn’t know her personally but any woman responsible for bringing the love of my life into this world is worthy of a medal. Sam, you’re not too bad yourself.”
“Here’s to remembering a great woman. To Linda.”
“And may I add to that?” asked Calvin, receiving a head nod from us all. “Here’s to Spencer and Jessica. Because, fuck the rules. Fuck Alister and Isabelle. And fuck being told you’re not worthy of being parents!”
“I can certainly drink to that!” imputed Scott, throwing his glass upwards.
I welled up at the sheer amount of love present at the table but just about managed to supress the urge to cry. I couldn’t believe what such great friends I had. Considering this time last year I didn’t know any of them bar Sam and Alex, it truly was amazing. Not only were they funny, supportive and a genuine joy to be around, they were caring, loyal and damn well protective.
“So, Mr and soon-to-be Mrs Michaels, what’s the latest baby news?” asked Bethany, fishing for details.
Rosalie could do nothing but grin. “We have our last scan on Monday. We can’t wait.”
“And when’s the wedding?”
“After,” replied Scott, shooting Calvin down in his enquiry.
Once again, laughter enveloped our table. The prying man was no further forward in his investigation and if Lucy’s death glare was anything to go by, he was in trouble. Their dynamic was one of interest and as a thought occurred to me, I pulled on her arm, suggesting a trip to the toilet. Thankfully, our sudden departure didn’t raise suspicion with the others and upon arriving at our destination, I checked that every cubical was vacant before starting our discussion.
“Do you know anything about a switch?”
My enquiry was met with nothing but confusion. “A what?”
“A switch,” I emphasised, hoping that would be enough.
“Assuming you mean that in a BDSM sense…”
She smirked. “Why do you ask?”
She was after information and seeing as I was desperate for some insight, I handed it to her.
“Something happened between Spencer and me last night. I was…in control.”
“Fuck off!” She laughed, outright calling bullshit on my statement. “Really?”
“Yes! Kind of. I had him tied to the bed and when he refused to give me his complete submission, I started playing with myself.”
“Jessica Turner, you kinky fucker!” She smirked, nudging my arm.
Her arse went straight to the comfy looking armchair in the corner where she indicated for me to continue. It was a small bathroom with just enough facilities to accommodate the small pub and luckily for us, hygienic.
“Spencer thinks I’m a switch.”
I sat myself down on the marble sinks, checking all was dry before doing so.
“But you don’t?” she guessed, leaning forward in her position.
I shrugged. “I don’t think so.”
“Why not? Did you not enjoy it?”
“No, I did!” I defended, quick to settle the issue. “I just…I don’t know. I can’t imagine it. I can’t picture myself being a dominant.”
Lucy regarded me carefully and finally gave me some advice by dramatically declaring her need to sigh. She sat back in her chair, though the action failed to introduce comfort. Her body was stiff and although subtle, shook with nerves.
“When I first met Calvin, I was a dom,” she revelled, gifting me a moment.
Well, fuck me!
“I wasn’t expecting that,” I admitted, running my gaze down her petit body. “You’re so obedient.”
She smirked. “When I want to be.”
Both of us smiled, no doubt at our established playfulness. We loved nothing more than to submit to our dom’s but when push came to shove, a little naughtiness never did go amiss. Often, I required punishment more than I required praise.
“So, what changed your mind? Or do you still switch?” I asked, struggling to imagine Calvin as anything other than the controlling beast he was.
“I was in a bad place a few years ago,” she began, looking towards the closed door. “Teddy. He’s the love of my life but it wasn’t always easy for me. His ‘father’– and I say that sparingly– raped me and for a while, I refused to admit I wasn’t coping. My parents helped. I thought I wouldn’t love Ted when he was born but the moment I held him for the first time, I fell head over heels.”
“Fuck, Luce!” I gasped, leaving my position to approach her. “I’m so sorry. I had no idea.”
“That’s okay. I don’t often share this part of myself with people,” she admitted, accepting my bid to hold her hand as I crouched down in front of her. “When he was six months old, I started dating. Nothing serious. Just dinner with the odd person. But I could never… you know?”
“Have sex?” I assumed, thinking that was completely justifiable.
“Yes. Every time I got close, I freaked out. I hated the thought of being underneath another man.”
“So, you decided to get on top?” I smiled, nudging her knee.
“Exactly. I did my research and discovered Red. Membership was twice my annual salary so I had to think outside the box. I noticed members had the power to bring a plus one and started hanging around there on a Friday night.”
“And you met Calvin?”
“Not straight away. I met another man. Sebastian, he was called.”
“I don’t think that was his real name,” she laughed, amused by my reaction. “He agreed to me accompanying him for the night. I was extremely unprepared and inexperienced. It was very overpowering.”
I thought back to my first night at the club and could certainly see why she’d felt so overwhelmed. I had Spencer by my side to keep me safe. Lucy had no one.
“Was Sebastian a sub?” I questioned, keen to keep her talking.
“Yeah. We met every Friday for a month but we never had sex. I would practice discipline on him. He seemed content with that. I actually think he might’ve had a girlfriend and wasn’t interest in a sexual relationship.”
“Christ!” I whispered, still clutching her hand.
“Throughout the month, I noticed a man. He was very captivating. The type of man who unintentionally brought focus to himself.”
“Calvin?” I asked.
“Yes. He’d catch my eye from time to time and I liked the way he would see into my soul. We never spoke. We just watched one another until one night, he brought me one of his subs.”
“One of them?” I laughed. “How many did he have?”
“A few.” She smiled. “Together, we punished our subs and afterwards, Sebastian and I watched as they had sex.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The scene she was describing seemed awfully erotic and a little extreme. Still, hot as fuck!
“It was the first time I felt remotely aroused after the rape. It was a huge turning point for me,” she informed, seemingly grateful. “Anyway, after that, Calvin and I began seeing more of each other. We still didn’t speak much. We would engage in regular scenes but never touch. I must’ve watched him with other women at least twenty times before he invited me for a drink. It’s normal for doms to talk, so I didn’t think anything of it.”
“But…” I prompted, sensing there was more to this innocent drink.
“We chatted, nothing spectacular. We got to know each other and over the course of the next few weeks, we started spending more and more time together. Eventually, he asked me to be his sub.”
“And you agreed?” I asked, making assumptions.
“Not right away. It took some convincing. He saw a potential in me that I couldn’t.”
I understood exactly what she meant by this. Usually, Spencer was able to detect the slightest thing about me. Hell, he was the one who told me I was submissive by nature to begin with. I didn’t believe him of course but be as it may, he was right. He was always right.
“The night he asked, I slept with him for the first time. No scene, no BDSM. Just us.”
“You could say that. It was the first and last time it’s been that way,” she added, sounding a little sad. “Bar having Teddy, it was the happiest moment of my life. I fell for him there and then.”
My heart broke for her. She thought her love was unrequited but it wasn’t. Calvin was just scared to admit his feelings for her. He’d told me he had plenty to fear and until he got over whatever that was, he wouldn’t move forward with Lucy. Still, I held out hope for the two of them. They were great together and had clearly been through a lot. Soulmates, though perhaps they didn’t see it yet.
“What’s he like with Teddy?” I asked, purely for my own benefit.
I was curious.
“Great. Ted loves him. They’re best friends.”
I smiled. “You have nothing to worry about, Luce. Calvin loves you. Just be patient with him. I get the feeling he has a few things to work through.”
She smiled her appreciation and squeezed my hand. “I think you’re right.”
Her statement was followed up by a sigh, yet her expression suggested she felt much better after getting everything off her chest. Her past had certainly been dark and her need to share it with me made me want to return the favour. I considered Lucy one of my best friends and wanted to be honest with her. I wanted her to know about Charlotte.
“I have something I want to share with you too.”
Here goes nothing!