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Collared: Chapter 57

White or white?
That was the dilemma Abigail woke up to on a cool spring morning days after her birthday.
A silk kimono sooted her naked body with cherry blossom trees, mirroring the panoramic view of Central Park before her. She tightened the floral sash around her waist and took five steps back as she considered the beauty of each dress.
Round pearls decorated the lace fabric of dress number one with intricate detail around the waist. The dress was knee-length and the scalloped sleeves touched just below the top of her elbows. It was a feminine dress that intermingled with the innocent theme of purity.
Dress number two was virginal and covered a multitude of sins with a fold-over neckline that wrapped around the shoulders like a sensual cobra. The ankle-length elongated her figure and made her look taller than she really was. It was the simplicity of it that attracted her to it in the first place.
Both dresses were appropriate for work. Both were fancy and expensive, made by the same designer. Both were beautiful and exotic in their own unique way. Where one was over the top to the point of blinding the eye, the other was elegant and sophisticated.
“I’d go with the white one,” Preston muttered behind a cup of steaming coffee. His dark eyes danced over her body as he trundled into the room, leaving behind a cloud of smoke. Did it come from the burning mug or was his smoking body emanating heat? Whatever it was, Abigail found it amusing and sexy.
He left the coffee in the middle of the island in the master closet and screwed on his cufflinks. She stole the mug and smiled at his scornful eyes as she took a sip of peppermint.
“I was thinking the same thing,” she mimicked his humor. “Which do you prefer?”
She loved it when he woke up like this—when he wasn’t in a hurry to run his empire, when he was as humorous as a comedian and as wild as a stallion.
“A dress is but a cloak needn’t to polish the muse.”
“What salient philosopher said that?”
“A philosopher of Greek myths. He goes by the name of Preston Dimitriou Trice.”
“Hmm.” She weighed his words, humoring him again. “Never heard of him. Must have been before my time.”
His lips twisted into a lopsided smile. “Must have.”
The ringing of a phone halted their connection for a moment, but it didn’t extinguish it. Nothing could ever do that. Their connection was as infinite as a wildfire that spread through the mountains, and no one could tame. It grew strong and powerful. It captured the ocean and made it its bitch—its main source of fuel.
As Preston pressed the phone to his right ear, Abigail gave him a seductive striptease that was sure to haunt him for nights on end. The kimono slipped off her shoulders like the cascades of Niagara Falls.
Her side of the closet resembled a peaceful snowstorm while his held all absence of light. Seeing as she had no other choice, she paired the white dress with light blue lingerie. She rolled up nude stockings mid-thigh and motioned for her lover to help clip it to the garter belt behind her thighs.
“I’ll call you back, Jaqueline.” He sent the phone back into his pocket where it belonged and clipped the stockings with warm adept fingers that burnt her skin. All done, he kneaded her ass and gave it a spank that imprinted the delicate embroidery into her cheeks. He groaned at her moan. “I’ll see you for lunch.”
See her for lunch? It was the first she’d heard of it, but she knew better than to question him when he had her in this position.
“Sounds like a plan, Master Trice.” Abigail followed behind him to the elevator wearing nothing but expensive lingerie and stilettos. “A kiss goodbye?” she asked before he stepped into the elevator.
He kissed her tenderly on the lips. “A kiss see you later, never goodbye.”
She hated how he never said goodbye, how he made love to her like it was the first time they had ever made love.
She hated the thought of losing him to malignant tumors, to chaotic New York traffic, to unfortunate events of everyday life. So every kiss, every chaste caress, every time they made love, she cherished with all her heart and she made it their goodbye because if the Gods forbid he ever left her, she’d remember the last time like it was forever.
The elevator door’s closed and Preston already gone, Abigail walked back to the closet and got ready for the day.
Dress number two suited her best and the alabaster color did wonders to her tan skin. She curled the ends of her hair and twisted it into a bun at the nape with loose strands at the front.
As she took the stairs, she sent Mike a message letting him know not to meet her for their weekly run. Master Trice and whore had plans for the night. She would make sure of it.
Twenty minutes later, she found herself seated in her rolling chair and typing furiously on the keyboard. When Miss Bennett was at work, nothing and no one else mattered but her authors and the many typos in their manuscripts.
It was a tedious job to edit the mistakes of others but rewarding in many ways when she made the dreams of a something-year-old living in a six-hundred square feet apartment a reality. The spark in a writer’s eyes when they touched a printed copy of their first published book made the sleepless nights and blistering fingerprints meaningful.
The first time Abigail saw her name on the second page of a published book had been such a steppingstone, it brought tears to her eyes. Even to this day, she’d sneak into bookstores and look for one of her edited books just to run her fingers over her name. Even after death, her name would be printed somewhere for someone to see, for someone to know she was a part of this world.
Her first year at Sinclair Press hadn’t been easy. Her mother’s name might’ve been on the front door of the publishing house, but Mrs. Sinclair never made Abigail’s job any easier. She started at the bottom as an intern, running coffee and endless errands for upper editors.
Sometimes she’d even do their job all while cashing the check of a first-year intern. She’d worked hard for this job. It wasn’t given to her because of who her parents were. Some might even say she worked harder than any other person in the office.
It didn’t make her love her mother any less. She understood why she had done it the way she did. Abigail was grateful for everything Mrs. Sinclair had done to form her into the editor and woman she was today.
She didn’t say it as often as she should, but she loved her mother with all her heart.
The synchronized mutter of fingers dancing over plastic keys swallowed the discreet knock on Abigail’s office door. The knocker was smart enough to knock gently. Miss Bennett didn’t like to be interrupted for silliness when she had much work to do.
The knock that followed was louder and the third and last knock was sharp enough it sent quakes to the books on the shelves. She let out a sigh as she finished typing the last word and ordered the person to come in.
Linc poked his head. “Miss Bennett.” She raised her eyes from the computer screen to his lanky figure and curly hair. He always managed to bring a smile to her face. “A man by the name of Kenneth is here for you. He’s not on your schedule. Should I tell him you’re busy?”
Her eyes widened at the news. Was it lunchtime already? She could’ve sworn she’d just sat down to start the day.
After her brain processed the words Linc had said, she felt her heart hang on her ribcage. Kenneth picking her up meant Preston was stuck at work, probably getting a migraine. The man worked too much. And she told him as much, but he never listened.
She gazed out the glass where Kenneth watched her like a hawk. There was no point in telling him she was busy when he’d already seen her.
“It’s fine, Lincoln. Could you tell him to wait for me in the car? I have to clear a few things before I head out.”
“Of course, Miss Bennett.”
She saved the last edits of Anderson’s book and walked to the bathroom to relieve her bladder of all the coffee she’d been drinking. From her purse, she pulled out a shade of lipstick and smacked her lips together. Then she rolled her eyes. There was no point of lipstick when Preston wiped it within seconds of seeing her.
As she made her way to the reception area, she took a detour to Mrs. Sinclair’s office. She hadn’t seen her mother all day and wanted to inform her she might take a long lunch. There was no playing it safe when it came to Preston or Master Trice. Being the daughter of Melissa Sinclair also meant she had no advantages.
Betty, Mrs. Sinclair’s assistant, greeted Abigail with a warm and sunny smile.
“Hi, Betty. Is Mrs. Sinclair around?”
“No, Miss Bennett, she called early this morning and said she wouldn’t be coming into the office today.”
Abigail crooked her head to the side, gazing out the window. Nope, the sky wasn’t falling. She checked her phone. Yep, it was noon on a Tuesday, so where the hell was her mother? Mrs. Sinclair hadn’t missed a day since Sinclair Press first opened its doors. That was twenty-three years ago.
“Is she sick?” Abigail’s voice trembled despite herself. Something horrible must’ve happened for her mother not to go to work today. Was her father alright? Was Mike?
“She didn’t say…” Betty began to worry herself.
Abigail made an attempt to ease Betty’s worry and her own. “It’s alright, Betty. I’m sure she’s fine.”
As she walked out of the building, she sent a text to her mother. Her fingers shook as she typed the message.
Her mother was fine. Maybe she went on a trip with her dad like Abigail had done a few months back with Preston. Her mother was a strong woman. She was fine. She had to be. At least that’s what Abigail told herself throughout the drive to the restaurant.
Ten minutes went by, and her mother had yet to answer. She sent Mike a text. Her worry tripled its size when he didn’t answer. Her family was going MIA and she wasn’t liking it. Not one little bit. Had she done something to upset them?
She tossed the useless phone into her purse as she rewound the last week in her head. Was Mike upset with her because she hadn’t been careful at Rye? Was her mother upset with Preston because of something he’d said? Those were the only plausible reasons as to why they’d ignore her, but even then, her family didn’t hold grudges.
“Is Preston still at work?”
“No, ma’am.”
She slowly nodded at his response.
“Are we picking him up or is he waiting for me at the restaurant?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
Talking to Kenneth was like cracking a piece of rock in half.
Abigail gave a deep sigh as she leaned her forehead against the cool glass. For the first time, New York passed by in slow motion, almost as if it were trapped in a glass bottle under the sea. The lights were everlasting in their change of color and the tumultuous noise of traffic was nonexistent.
“Miss Bennett,” Kenneth’s gruff voice woke Abigail from a deep slumber. Blinking the sleep away, she turned to the side where Ken had the passenger door wide open. “We’re here.”
Where “here” was she didn’t know.
A mammoth edifice stood before her. The ivory marble extended as high as it did wide. She tried to catch a name but found nothing other than arched windows and angelic fountains that spewed water.
Kenneth lent an arm as he helped her get down from the car.
“Mr. Trice is waiting for you inside,” he said and jumped back into the SUV. Abigail had a feeling he was fleeing to avoid more of her questions.
“Thank you,” she murmured to the air and took the steps that led to large golden doors. They reminded her of the spiked doors at Preston’s club. A smile lined her colored lips. Had it really been six months since that night?
It had been a crazy-stupid move to go to his club in the middle of the night with no one knowing her whereabouts. But she had done it and it was the best crazy-stupid move she’d ever made in her life.
It had been worth it, and it was all that mattered.
Abigail gave the ornate doors a push. She followed the sinuous path of a long and narrow hallway leading to a beautifully laid out garden that flaunted the splendor of nature.
Wherever her curious eyes wandered, a collection of bloomed flowers, giant trees, and majestic plants stared back. The ceilings had opened to reveal a baby-blue sky and cotton-like clouds. It was a magical place, enchanting and carrying her to another world. The exotic fragrance of flowers wafted around her with a gentle breeze as she gazed ahead.
And there, at the end of a mosaic trail, stood Preston.
Her heart stopped.
Her eyes watered but she wasn’t sad. Her body quivered but she wasn’t nervous. There was no need to be nervous when who she walked to was Preston.
It was with dark eyes he, for the first time, asked her to take the first step. And she did. In fact, she took the first step before he even asked. He didn’t need to ask her, though. She’d run to him if she had to.
It was as she walked down the aisle, she saw the familiar faces of her mother and father, Mike and Niall were there too, along with Mrs. Trice and the rest of Preston’s family. The biggest surprise was seeing Lauren. Her eyes glistened with mirth as the two loves of her life found love in each other.
It had all been because of her, because of an unrequited love that made her vulnerable to love again but strong to believe herself worthy of love. Preston’s and Abigail’s love for her had never been sexual. Their love for her was deeper than skin and bones. And it was such truth Lauren held onto. She’d been loved, not the way she had wanted, but she’d been loved.
“Hi,” Abigail whispered to Preston as she reached the end of the aisle.
“Hi,” he said back with an equal whisper.
His hair was brushed back just as she liked it and the most beautiful smile lined his face. It was the sort of smile that illuminated the sky after the sun had retired. He removed his damped hands from his front pockets and held hers as the officiant spoke of the meaning of love.
She needn’t the definition when love personified itself in Preston. As she gazed into her beloved’s eyes, everyone around them vanished into thin air. It was Preston and Abigail, and Abigail and Preston. Nothing else but flowers and nature surrounded them.
Somehow, he’d pulled this entire thing off and the best part was she hadn’t done a single thing, picked a single thing other than the man holding her hands. He hadn’t proposed in a cliché way that made her skin crawl. Her father didn’t walk her down the aisle because she didn’t need anyone to give her away.
And somehow, he’d managed to get her mother on board. How he did it she didn’t know but she was sure it cost him a testicle. Knowing her mother the way she did, she probably had it in a preservation jar, adding to the collection of specimens in her home office.
Was it Abigail’s job now to take care of the honeymoon? She already had a place in mind.
Somewhere in the Mediterranean with blue roofs and white bricks. A place with an abundant history, rich enough to fill an entire library. The motherland of the Gods who’d brought her to her soon-to-be husband.
Abigail felt the presence of a little human behind her, she diverted her eyes to Eloise who carried a tufted pillow in her hands. In the middle of the white pillow, she saw two wedding bands and then the hand of Preston as he took the thinner band.
The exchange of rings wasn’t for them. Not for the “them” that lived inside either one. A ring was a smaller collar and at times represented less than a collar around the neck did. However, it was deemed of most valued importance to civilians.
The ring was step number four.
The vows followed next.
Preston didn’t need to profess his love with overused proclamations, so he spoke from the heart in a voice so low it felt like susurrus to her ears. In a voice so low, no one heard but for the person the words were intended for.
Although his words were kind, grandiose, and filled with the purest of love, her shoulders sagged as doubt clouded the day. She began to think he would never utter the words she yearned to hear. But then he did.
Three words he had said before, but today held great significance.
Not thinking it twice, she dropped to her knees.
Her place was on her knees next to Master Trice. It was on her knees how she wanted to be, and it was on her knees she had found true love and submission.
She held no control over her own breath or the rhythm of her heart. Her fingers intertwined with each other repeatedly as she waited and waited and waited and waited some more. If Preston didn’t have a hard-on in front of their families, she swore she’d change her last name.
Elliott handed Preston a black box to which Preston opened with a key he’d housed in his front pocket. He took a deep breath when he saw the bonded leather and the lone silver hook hanging from the middle.
Somewhere around them, the voice of Mrs. Sinclair was heard as she asked Mrs. Trice what in the hell her son was doing to her daughter.
“It’s a Greek wedding tradition, dear,” Mrs. Trice said in a calm voice that was far from shocked. She patted Mrs. Sinclair’s hand to keep her steady and not interrupt the intimate scene before her eyes.
As her son clasped the collar around Abigail’s neck, Mrs. Trice’s hand touched the thin collar around her neck as memories of the past conjured in the present.
Abigail felt a profound peace as the top-grained leather kissed her larynx. She’d never felt more submissive. She’d never felt more loved. She’d never felt more owned or possessed. Her eyes fluttered as she held back a cascade of tears, and that was where she found it.
Resting by the side of her thigh was a leash. It was long and black with detailed stitching on the sides that matched the needlework on her collar. He’d collared her, but a collar alone meant nothing without a leash, and a leash was only given to a master who knew of its value.
Abigail found herself in a position she rarely was in her D/s relationship with Master Trice. For the first time, she held all the power. The last puzzle piece rested in the palm of her hand. She didn’t need any time to think it over. She knew what she needed to do as soon as she saw the leash.
But a defiant part wanted to drag it out a little. Not solely for the purpose of remembering this day, but because she wanted Preston to wait. After all, he’d made her wait days to reach orgasm. Months to earn her collar. Years to meet him. But those wasted years now seemed like measly minutes.
She understood a collar and a ring meant she’d never be shared again, and neither would he. She understood this meant they’d live together. She also understood although she was on her knees, she was never below him.
With blazing gray eyes, she tilted her chin and gave him the epitome of her trust, commitment, and love. The breath that expelled from Preston’s lungs was so profound it touched her cheeks and warmed her shoulders.
As he clasped the hook onto the round ring of the collar, they both sighed. It was good to breathe again.
“You may kiss the bride,” the officiant announced.
Preston tugged on the leash as Abigail slowly rose from the ground. Her eyes stayed on him until she melted into his kiss.
He’d married his Abigail.
He’d collared his whore.
He’d leashed his Angel and he’d never let her go.
“You are mine, forever,” he told her with intense eyes and an authoritative tone. “And I am going to show you exactly what it means to be mine.”
Abigail’s entire body chilled with the promise behind his words.
It was a myth the first humans were created with two heads, two faces, four legs, and four arms. In some way, they angered the Gods and Zeus split them in half with a vicious lightning bolt, leaving them to find their other half.
Since the day Abigail was born, she felt a shallow void within her. She spent the mid-years of her life searching for her other half.
Today, that myth wasn’t a myth but a reality. She had finally found him, and he was better than any other dominant she’d read about in books.
He was real, most importantly he was hers and it was love that made them whole again.


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