Melsint sat on the footstool in the corner, letting the light warm her. The hours of daylight on her side of the world were short, and she didn’t want to miss them for any reason. Her mind wandered, as it did each day, back to her recent time at the submissive assessment center. Being ordered to kneel, being paddled for the first time, being exposed and handled… it took her breath away to remember. She’d been teased with seductive knowledge in that unveiling of her inner self. The longing to be taken fully by a dominant man, to quench the need that had been ignited, never truly left now. Strands of her long brown hair tickled her shoulders like fingertips, and she bit her lip, recalling her naked bottom sitting on her heels, her chin lowered to her chest, waiting for the next command from a center instructor.
Hearing footsteps in the hall, Melsint’s mind jerked back to the present and her heart raced. She thought she knew what this talk with her aunt would be about, but she couldn’t be completely sure. The submissive’s assessment she’d undergone had been her own idea, and her mother had arranged it without her aunt Tura’s knowledge. Now that it was completed, however, her mother had likely told Melsint’s other guardian about the results and about what Mels was considering doing.
The door opened, and Melsint clasped her hands nervously. She took a shallow breath and swallowed convulsively. The course of her entire life might be decided today.
“Hello, Melsint,” her aunt said when she entered the small room that was used for work and storage. Silver streaked Tura’s hair and there were lines on her face, but they were normally becoming. She was a thoughtful person, learned and experienced. Today the years seemed to have taken their toll. Melsint’s heart sank. She would never have wanted to cause pain to the woman who had taken them in their time of need.
“Hello,” she said, forcing a nervous smile. “Are you well, ma’am?”
“I’m quite all right,” Tura said, pulling a chair directly in front of the stool Melsint sat upon.
Melsint worried her aunt was going to try to influence her with excessive kindness and reason, which might work because Mels was so very fond of the older woman. When Melsint’s father had died in battle, the family had been broken and quickly ran out of funds to sustain them. If not for her mother’s sister, Mels and the other children might have been scattered to other relatives. Tura was the reason they’d been able to grow up together.
“I want to know who convinced you to have a slave assessment,” her aunt asked.
“Not a slave one,” Melsint blurted.
Tura held up a hand. “My dear sweet girl, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Who told you it was anything else but a slave assessment?”
“I have a friend, ma’am. A good friend who is now placed in a very special household, and she is a pet, not a slave.”
“What’s the difference?” Tura demanded, her voice betraying impatience with Melsint that she rarely ever showed.
“It’s a special type of servitude, but it’s not slavery.”
“Niece,” she said, shaking her head. “The most basic right of every person is control over one’s own body. Forfeiting the right to—”
“She is given free time. One day off per every eight to do whatever she chooses, like any of the house maids. She has a wage that’s kept in trust, and it’s more generous than—”
“You want us to agree to sell you? I will not let you sacrifice yourself so that we can have an easier life! It’s unconscionable.”
“Aunt, I want to be a help! You’ve sacrificed so much so that none of us went to bed hungry and that we all got to go to school and have books! You worked long, hard hours. What I’d be doing would be a lot easier than the extra work you’ve always taken on.”
“It would not be, Mels. You don’t know what it would be like.”
“Answer me something,” Melsint said, squeezing her fingers. “Did you read the letter from the assessment center?”
Tura turned her head and wouldn’t look at Melsint.
“It says that I’m perfectly suited to try this sort of role,” Melsint said gently.
“You could become a healer or an educator. You made very good marks at the school.”
“It was only a village school. Besides, I may still have that ordinary life later. Once my term of service is ended.”
“You would never be accepted into a school for educators after a term of this kind of service. You would not be welcomed into village life anywhere.”
Melsint clutched the cushion on either side of her, her stomach plunging. She knew that some of the young men and women who became pets were not allowed to return home. Some families considered the servitude too shameful. She’d expected her family would be different. They were affectionate and loved each other. But maybe Tura wouldn’t want the younger girls to see the path she’d taken?
“Would you—Aunt Tura, you wouldn’t ban me from trips home, would you? I’d be allowed visits several times per year if you’d allow me to come.”
She turned her head and studied Melsint with a fixed gaze. “It would depend,” she said honestly. “On whether you’d be coming home as the girl we know and love or some broken creature in bondage.”
She reached out tentatively and squeezed her aunt’s hand. “I’ll always be Melsint, yours and my mother’s clever, but respectful girl. Maybe I’ll dress differently, but not scandalously. And maybe you’ll have to remind me not to eat from a bowl on the floor,” she teased. “But other than that…”
Tura shook her head, the ghost of a smile playing at her mouth. “You are too precious for this.”
“I am so lucky that you consider me precious. But the highest value I’d have to the world outside our home would be as a pet. Girls who’d make suitable pets are rare. The compensation is very high.”
“You know the houses who pay so dearly for young men and women to live as pets do so to maintain a tradition? And that the role you’re willing to take on is one that used to be held by slaves? You know that?”
“Yes, I know.”
“It’s wrong if someone forces me. It’s not wrong if I choose it.”
“The only reason you’d ever choose it is because the financial rewards for us would be so high.”
She was silent, not sure whether to tell her aunt the truth about her secret longings or to let Tura hold onto her belief that Melsint was a good and dutiful girl who had been tricked by the submissive assessors.
“I am twenty, so I’m not free to choose this right now. You and Mama as my guardians must agree. Next year, however, I could and would choose it for myself. Why not let the family benefit?”
“If I don’t agree now, I’ll have time to talk you out of it,” she said firmly.
“I won’t be talked out of it. I have to go and see for myself what it’s like. The delay will only result in one thing. The family won’t be compensated, only I will. Clarie won’t get to go to Hammers Academy for secondary. She’ll be forced to become a maid in one of the manor houses. And Tekry will have to enlist.”
“You’re asking me to rank the futures of some of my children higher than others. How can I?” Tura asked, anguished.
“At or before the end of sixty days, I can choose to break the contract and come home. You can visit me partway through and sweep me right away from that life. If I’m unhappy, I promise you, I’ll come home and we’ll never speak of it again.”
“Sixty days is a very long time.”
“When you were pressed as a nurse into helping with the war effort, how long was your training?”
She shook her head.
“I believe you said it was four dulcates. And you were told when to eat and when to exercise and were made to sleep on a thin mattress on the floor. And for your trouble, you were shot in the thigh and got paid too little money to even send home. I’ll make you a bet that I’ll have a much easier time on my sixty days than you did going onto the battlefields to tend wounded men.”
“And I’ll make you a bet that you have no idea how hard the life you’re choosing actually is.”
“Then I’ll find out. It’ll be a very important two-dulcate lesson. And even if the contract is broken, I’ll be compensated a good amount. Not exorbitantly, but enough so that Tekry can be spared battle. Worth it! So worth it. Please say yes.” She took Tura’s hands and squeezed them. “Please, my dear, sweet aunt and friend.”
She saw the older woman swallow convulsively as she stood abruptly to leave. Her aunt did not like to show extreme emotions in front of others. “You can change your mind anytime, Mellie. Even after the sixty days. Tomorrow or in a hundred tomorrows. Understand that. Send word that you want to come home and nothing will stop me from coming for you.”
Mels stood and hugged her. “I understand, and thank you!”
Evston Calex did not enjoy negotiating with guardians, so he’d made it his practice to select pets who were over twenty-one so he could bar family members from the meetings. The girls were free to speak to their families as much as they wanted about the arrangement and to seek advice on the contracts, but he did not have to deal with suspicious looks and questions or the opposite, attempts to manipulate him into paying a higher price for the girl than he’d offered. With pets who had achieved the age of full consent, he had only one person to handle and that was generally easy enough once they’d met him.
Young women found him attractive, and submissives recognized his dominance. The combination was important. There were some young men whose families could afford to get them pets, but they didn’t have the experience or true nature to keep a pet properly. There were other very dominant and experienced men that time and bad habits had physically ravaged, making them less appealing to young women. Just as suitable girls were a rare find for him, Evston was a rare find for them. It gave him an advantage over the other men seeking pets.
Generally, after the first meeting with Evston, the prospective pets signed the contract whenever he instructed them to, without any fuss or additional questions. Evston knew he often could’ve offered less than he did and gotten what he wanted, but he never sought bargain prices for pets. He wanted the compensation to be generous enough to put the girl in a proper state of mind even before her arrival.
It had been more than a year since he’d had a pet, so he was impatient to be done with the negotiations. The thought of a lovely submissive with a collar on her throat, bent double, made to offer up her smooth-skinned heart-shaped bottom for punishment… his cock stiffened at the prospect.
Evston had narrowed the field to one girl who interested him most. He’d broken his rule about age of full consent being achieved, which meant her guardians must sign the contract. He had reason to believe she would be worth the additional aggravation.
She had a light brown hair and a pretty face with pale green eyes and dark brown lashes. The mouth was always important, and she had full lips and a wide smile. She had passed the assessment center’s basic oral fruit training, where long juicy fruit was used to mimic a cock she would be required to service later. During the more advanced testing, she’d demonstrated a good capacity to be trained.
She was a virgin; the village girls of her age always were. That pleased him, not because he wanted to be the first to claim her, though he enjoyed that aspect of things. More important, in his experience, innocent girls had not yet learned to use their sexual power on non-dominant men, which made it easier to train them as pets. Once he’d acquired a pet, he did not negotiate with her for the use of her body. The body was owned by him, and he used it as it pleased him.
He thought of the brief clips he’s been shown of her naked body. She had blushed during their acquisition and her coloring when she did was so superb that that alone had given him a cockstand. With a good long paddling, her ass would go from creamy and pale to pink, and then to deep red. Her ass was fuller and rounder than expected for her small frame, which was a lovely surprise when her shift had been removed. Her breasts too had been plumper than expected and capped with large pink nipples. When she’d been stimulated and pinched by the center’s assessor, the tips had responded by hardening and lengthening beautifully. They would take good-sized clamps.
The other important considerations were her manner and her voice. She dropped her eyes frequently and lowered her voice when unsure. Her underlying submissive nature was demonstrated during questioning and during the staged challenges to her autonomy. She seemed to be of the exact temperament he desired.
His cock was stiff and the anticipation of the acquisition was driving a sexual hunger he’d had to suppress for too long. He wished he could have the contract and payment concluded immediately so he could begin to enjoy his ownership. But there was an element he had not yet told her about, which might frighten her and make her hesitant. It was the last obstacle.
Melsint knew that the price for her had been set quite high. She was told that that was because she was pretty, had lovely skin, and had scored well on certain aspects of the assessment that convinced prospective owners that she wouldn’t become rebellious during her training.
The potential owners had been screened, and she’d had a chance to meet several of them briefly.
After the initial meetings, she’d eliminated some from the list. None of them, however, had withdrawn their offers for her. She was apparently in high demand. She was pleased, but also nervous. Her friend Bebsie had said that the higher the price for a girl or boy, the more that was expected of them.
The man who was coming for a formal meeting with her and her mother today had offered a bonus of a great deal of currency that would remain theirs even if she withdrew from service at sixty days. Her mother had been a little giddy, thinking that it would mean they’d be paid and Melsint could withdraw easily after two dulcates. But Melsint knew there must be some strings attached to that bonus, and she would reserve her excitement until she knew what they were.
Evston Calex was a legislator after all, and everyone knew their work required them to carefully consider all negotiations. Also, he was quite handsome, so must himself be able to choose whoever he wanted without difficulty. She doubted he would’ve suggested a bonus unless he felt it was necessary, but she couldn’t imagine why it would be.
Her mother paced, but Melsint sat quietly in a chair near the window and waited. The room was more sumptuous than any she’d been in. She tried not to let the thick carpet or silky drapes influence her, but an even bigger threat to her judgement were her frequent thoughts of Evston Calex’s tall, muscular frame, lovely jaw, and thick light hair.
The door opened, and her mother whirled toward it breathlessly.
Her mother’s rich brown hair feathered over her shoulders as she turned. Melsint had inherited a lighter shade of that hair and her mother’s ivory skin. She’d gotten her green eyes from her father, who’d passed away many years earlier.
Evston Calex strode in, his dark blond waves tamed in a fashionable style, the cut of his clothes expensive and perfectly suited to him. She caught a glimpse of his gold-trimmed wrist com. Its cost could’ve paid for a year’s stay in a school loft in a major town. His smooth style and cool dominant gaze intimidated her and made her ready to drop to her knees for him.
“Mrs. Dusclove, a pleasure to see you,” he said, taking her mother’s hand and squeezing it warmly. He set a case on the parquet table and smiled at her.
“Hello, Mr. Calex. It’s very nice to see you as well,” Mama said, careful with her inflection and pronunciation. She didn’t want her lower class vowels to emerge and they didn’t. Her mother had been from a very small and not well educated enclave, and she’d worked hard to better herself.
“Have you eaten, ma’am?” Mr. Calex inquired.
Her mother blushed prettily at being referred to as ‘ma’am.’ Mr. Calex was certainly a charmer. Gooseflesh rose on Melsint’s arms.
Don’t get carried away yet, a little voice whispered.
“We had the most delicious luncheon. It was very kind of you to arrange it.”
“My pleasure. I trust you had time to look through the contract?”
Mama’s smile faltered at being reminded that these pleasantries were part of a larger business arrangement in which her oldest daughter was to be sold.
“We read them very carefully. And had them reviewed by a solicitor. My sister, Melsint’s other guardian, insisted,” her mother said apologetically.
And very expensive, Melsint thought unhappily. Her family did not have extensive means. It was why she hoped things would work out for her to help them.
“Are there any parts you’d like to discuss?” Mr. Calex asked.
“Well, yes, we would like to know what caused you to offer a bonus.”
“Circumstances have changed, and that warranted additional compensation. I don’t have any reason to believe that Melsint will object. I’ve read her assessment thoroughly, and nothing will be required of her that she has expressively refused.”
Her mother’s expression was blank.
Melsint’s heart beat a little faster. Her mother might not understand, but she did. Standard contracts included a girl’s purchase to be the pet of the head of the household, and while anyone could talk to a girl and could bear witness to her in her role, there were restrictions when it came to actually touching or interacting with the pet in a role other than as an observer. Melsint had a feeling Mr. Calex wanted to expand her duties. That was a bit presumptuous, considering she hadn’t even agreed to become his pet yet.
“There are some things I’d like to discuss directly and privately with Melsint.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Mama said cautiously.
“Under no circumstances will I touch her until the contract is settled. It would be a conversation. That’s all.”
“If that’s the case, why should I have to leave?”
“Some discussions are better had in private. Some details a mother might find awkward.” Mr. Calex’s broad smile was infectious, and her mother actually smiled herself.
“I suspect you were a very spoiled child, Mr. Calex. Pretty good at getting your way, I’ll venture.”
“Savvy mothers frequently spot that straight away,” he said, leaning back against the table with a practiced casual air.
“Charm doesn’t make you trustworthy,” her mother said.
Mama was right there, Melsint thought, though she hoped her mother wouldn’t disrespect this man with a suspicious tone. If Melsint was going to become his property, she wanted to begin on the right footing.
Mr. Calex’s gaze flicked to her, and his expression was a bit darker as it rested on her. She dropped her eyes, butterflies fluttering in her stomach.
“You’re right. Charm doesn’t make me trustworthy. Your protection will lie in the form of the contracts. I will be legally bound to uphold the terms. If I don’t, Melsint may leave and all of you will be entitled to the contract’s full compensation and any damages incurred from my breach.”
“If you hurt her, I won’t come looking for money to pay damages. I’ll come for your blood.”
Melsint’s eyes widened and she sucked in a startled breath. She had never heard her mother sound so fierce.
There wasn’t a flicker of unease on the handsome man’s part. “I am aware that she’s precious to you and that you love her. And now you’ve warned me that misuse will have dire consequences. Understood.”
Her mother shifted uneasily. The upper, upper class were awfully cool, weren’t they? His tone wasn’t reassuring. He hadn’t offered promises to be careful with Melsint.
“Will you give me your word that you’ll treat her well?” her mother pressed.
“No, I’ll give you my word that I’ll honor the contract.”
Her mother’s gaze shifted to Melsint. “I think we should go home and talk some more about this.”
“Then I rescind my offer and wish you both well,” he said, pushing off the table and lifting his case.
Her mother gasped at the sudden end to negotiations, but Melsint stayed perfectly still.
“Mr. Calex?” Melsint said.
His assessing blue gaze settled her on again, making her shiver slightly.
“If I could have a moment with my mother, I’ll be ready to speak privately with you about the change in circumstances at your household.”
He nodded. “I’ll step out for five matadecants. When I come back, you’ll be alone or our negotiation will be at an end.”
Without a word, he left.
Her mother turned to her. “I don’t trust him! We’re going home! There is absolutely no way you’re going to stay in some house that I’ve never seen, to do things that he’s not even willing to say in front of me!”
Melsint sat silently, glancing frequently at the clock. After three matadecants had passed, she interrupted her mother’s rant.
“Mama, please calm down and listen.”
Her mother blinked.
“I know it’s shocking to you, but this is the way of things. I’m not going to be a maid or a governess. We all know some of my services will be more intimate. He wants you to leave so you’ll be spared the details of what will be required of me. I want that too. Think of it this way, you had certain duties as a wife. Your mother didn’t insist on knowing the particulars of what you engaged in in your bedroom, did she? Allow me the same privacy.”
“I’m afraid of this! A husband loves a wife and promises to cherish and protect her. That man could be planning any number of horrors for you. You heard him. He won’t even promise not to hurt you. That means he plans to!”
“Mama!” she said sharply because there was no time left. She was certain that if Evston Calex came back into the room and found her mother there, there would be no salvaging the situation. “I’ll be perfectly safe at least talking to him. You can wait right outside the door for me. If you hear anything you don’t like, you can call for the hotel’s security officer. Now please go out into the corridor right now because I want to hear what Mr. Calex has to say.”
Her mother opened her mouth, but then closed it again. She swallowed and drew in a deep breath. “You won’t sign anything until after we’ve talked again?”
“No, I promise I won’t.”
Her mother nodded sharply and went to the door, arriving just as it opened.
“I’m going,” her mother said quickly, glaring at him as she passed.
Mr. Calex smirked, walked in, and closed the door behind him. She heard the door click as he locked it.
She trembled slightly. She was now trapped, at least for the moment, with a man who might not be altogether trustworthy.
“Alone at last. Come over here, young lady,” he said, inclining his head.
She knew instantly what he wanted. She wasn’t obliged to obey yet, but it was like he held an invisible string and was tugging it.
She rose and padded across the room, her stockinged feet sinking into the plush carpet. She lowered herself to her knees and then further, so her buttocks rested on her heels. She bent her head and waited.
“Lower,” he said firmly.
She leaned forward and rested her forearms on the floor and then her forehead on them. Her heart thumped wildly. Taking the position caused an immediate change in her. To yield and submit should’ve come later, but she didn’t mind showing him the respect that would be due him if he purchased her. Truth be told, his voice and manner excited her. So far, she liked being alone with him.
“Very nice,” Mr. Calex said.
She waited several beats and then rose so she was back in a sitting position. He stood over her, looking down as she pushed her hair over her shoulders. She licked her lips and glanced up at him through her lashes.
“Take a seat at the table with me, but understand that if you accept a position in my house it will be the last time you do so. There is only one negotiation. This one today. Once you’re bought and paid for, you’ll belong to me and pets don’t dine with me. Understand?”
She swallowed and nodded, licking her lips again. A little thrill raced through her.
“You won’t be mistreated in any ways that would cause permanent damage or overwhelming anguish. My house is safe in that way. But you will undergo physical and emotional chastisements, and more, while being punished or during play. Do you have questions about that?”
“No, Sir.” She’d spoken at great length with the assessors at the center and with her friend who was already in service. She understood the main parts of the arrangement.
“Let me elaborate on the bonus. In the past, my brother and I have shared submissives, but when I began the negotiation for you, he was not at the family estate. He has since returned and will own you jointly with me. It’s an arrangement numerous prior pets have accepted, but you should know that the servitude can be rigorous. We’re both young men.”
She stared at him, her mouth dry, her heart pounding. “Where is he?”
“He wasn’t inclined to come today to meet you. He trusts me with the selection process.”
Her heart was galloping wildly. Another man who would be her other full-time owner? And she would have to accept him unseen? No, she thought firmly. She had been curious what it would be like to be taken by a pair of men; she’d fantasized about it. Her fantasies however were for those episodes to be brief and uncommon occurrences, not a possibly daily ritual.
“You’re shrinking back. Don’t do that before you’re heard me out.”
She nodded, barely able to catch her breath.
“You’ll come for the sixty days. You’ll be obligated to obey me in all the things that I order you to do for me personally. You won’t, however, be obligated to obey him or to serve him during the trial period. As such, if you arrive and find that you can’t tolerate that aspect of things, you can serve just one master for sixty days and leave a great deal wealthier and more experienced than you were before. You can then enter into a different agreement with whomever you choose, if you desire.”
A trial period where she could obey the unknown brother or not? That sounded reasonable. She studied her hands for a moment.
“Serving two masters,” she whispered with a small shake of her head. “For the whole length of the contract? How would I ever get any time to rest or recover? My friend… she has some days when she’s quite sore and needs time.”
“You have a friend in a position? Good. You likely understand better than many what’s actually expected.” He leaned forward. “We will take care of you, and part of that will be allowing you time to recover from rough play. I promise you that.”
Rough play. Her nipples hardened, and her sex felt a stab of lust.
“What’s he like? Like you?”
“No, not like me. Very different, in appearance and manner. The main way we’re alike is that we both like the same kind of pets.”
“You’re handsome. So he’s unattractive?”
“I’m afraid so,” he said with a little glint of amusement in his eyes.
“And not very clever?”
“Afraid not,” he said.
She smirked. “Are you teasing me? Or telling the truth?”
“I’m teasing you. Meet him and see for yourself what he’s like.”
“I can say no when I get there?” she asked, looking into his blue-violet eyes that so reminded her of her favorite flowers.
“You can say no to him. Not to me.”
She nodded, feeling suddenly shy.
“Was that nod an agreement to the arrangement?” he asked.
He smiled his broad and breathtaking smile. “I’m extremely pleased.”
“Me too,” she whispered, looking back down at her hands. She’d wanted this, but now that it was real she could hardly believe it.
“I’ll get her,” he said.
“Who?” she asked, wondering if he’d brought a maid to prepare her for the journey.
He chuckled. “Your mother. Did you forget?”
“Oh,” she said, startled. With her mind jumbled with thoughts, she had forgotten all about the last formalities. “Please forgive her if she’s a bit rude. I’ve never been away from home, and she’s very worried about me.”
“I respect the mothers who ask questions and demand reassurances. It’s the ones who only talk about the money and not about the girl that I don’t like.”
She nodded, struck suddenly by the fact that he’d done this several times in the past. What had happened to the other girls before her? Were they well? And how long had they remained in service? What if his brother was quite beastly? Had many other girls left after the sixty days? She shook her head at herself. Why hadn’t she thought to ask? Those would have been excellent questions.