At the sight of him staring, instinct led her quivering fingers to grasp at her own neck and, in so doing, she felt the solid ball of her nipple beneath the abrasive stitches of the sequins as it brushed the side of her hand, leaving her with a shiver up her spine.
For the first time, she’d been caught, and arousal was beating her thorough embarrassment into submission. She supposed that it had to happen sooner or later. She’d never been walked in on at university, when she’d had her first vibrator deep in her and made herself moan in time with the pulse, as her fingers had rolled over her clit. Her room-mate had decided by that point that it was expected to have to knock on her bedroom door, or risk the sight of Ella, mounted backwards in true cowgirl style on the long and solid cock of the editor of the student magazine. No-one had ever caught a glimpse of her sucking Daniel to his super speed climax on demand in his workplace, either, even though he had the lack of common sense to sometimes yell out, “You dirty little whore, fucking throat it. I want to watch your eyes roll as you gag.” Her brain yelled back, on a side note to her current predicament, that Daniel really could go fuck himself in future.
The Master’s eyes seemed to be locked onto her, and she knew there was nothing to do but to brazen it out. For the first time she realised how much her feet were beginning to hurt on the cold stone. It was as if it was trying to suck the life out of her through her toes. Or maybe all her heat was in her face. And her pussy.
“Well, Ella, do you like the choice of night attire I had made for you?”
Was this all he was going to say? No demanding what she was doing standing there? No immediate dismissal for being much nosier than her first day in this strange interview could warrant? She tried to stem the thumping in her chest, and with an outer calm, queried, “You had made it, sir? I wouldn’t have imagined you adept at needle and thread work. Don’t you have a dressmaker or someone for that?”
He blinked hard at her. She held her face rigid, hiding her sudden amusement by biting down on her tongue.
“I had it made by a member of staff, Ella.”
“Oh, not ‘had made’, pluperfect tense. You didn’t do it yourself. I apologise, sir. It’s all very well doing it yourself, but it’s definitely more fun getting someone else involved.” With an unsuppressed grin at his wide eyes, she added, “The butler didn’t do it, did he?” She giggled; she had a sudden ridiculous feeling that being here was a bit like living the role of one of those play detectives in a murder mystery weekend.
“No. The butler didn’t. Although he may well be doing it right now, if Mary has her way.”
At what she could only imagine was her bolting eyes and ‘fish lips’ as she sucked them in, she detected the inkling of a smile which the Master contained by closing his bedroom door, so he was standing fully in the corridor with her.
“An intelligent Mistress is exactly what I’m seeking, Ella. That, and one with a number of other facets.”
“You did say ‘facets’, didn’t you?”
One huge blink and a bite of the lip, and she very nearly had him. “Yes. That was precisely what I said. Does the dark numb your sense of hearing?” He pursed his lips, but his eyes were wide and sparkling. He offered his arm. “Oh, and spying on the staff won’t be necessary, Ella. They will show you anything you wish. And spying on your Master will be dealt with in other ways.”
Ella curved her hand around his forearm, a lump forming in her throat. The last and only word on her misdemeanour was his.
Although his gaze remained firmly on her face, she knew full well that he’d already done his appraisal: her breasts sticking out like they were desperate to get between his lips, the curve of her body shimmering and twisting — or squirming — and barely masked from him, her pussy so close to being on tantalising display through the translucent fabric. He led her away from his room and down the corridor, away from the bedrooms altogether, until they reached a staircase similar to the one in the main hallway, but only about half the width. Its red carpet had lost its vibrancy, as if the sun had faded it. Except there were no windows lining the wall there at all.
“You’ll fit in well here, Ella. Mary tells me that you are — receptive — to the place. And the staff.”
Ella focused her eyes on her feet and in gathering up the nightdress as they ascended. “Um…I’m not sure…it’s very nice.”
“What is? The house?” His voice softened almost to a whisper, as he pressed his face into her hair. “Or the way the staff have treated you? They have been — good — to you, haven’t they?”
When she spun, red-faced and ready to stammer out some kind of ineffectual nonsense about not knowing what he meant, she noticed that he hadn’t even begun to disguise his grin this time.
Recovering, she continued up the stairs, the Master guiding her to the right and along the corridor. “Where is it that we’re going? It’s a bit late to be wandering about, really, isn’t it? Especially dressed like…” Ella saw the Master’s eyes flick her over; she spotted the bulge in his trousers that twitched and moved in the flickering light cast by the flame. She bit her lip, hoping he’d not spotted her downwardly diverted gaze, as they reached a heavy doorway. “I’m…getting cold.”
“Are you? Then I apologise. The room you are about to enter will be much warmer. Hot, even.” He paused. “I’m not cold at all.”
“No, you’re not. Quite the opposite.” A desperate urge to run her fingertips over his crotch swamped her. She knew she should be shoving her fist in her mouth to prevent anything more inappropriate falling out unbidden, but her urges were so strong, standing outside this door in the semi-dark that she looked him straight in the eye.
“In fact, Ella, I’m getting distinctly warm. Maybe I should remove my jacket. Like this.”
Ella watched, her mouth becoming dry as the Master slipped off the jacket and draped it over his arm.
“I think, Ella, that I should ask you to help. Maybe you could begin by undoing my shirt. Starting here.”
As Ella’s breath grew faster, her fingers brushed against the Master’s neck, the soft skin, the stubble, the pulse all intermingling in her senses and causing a quivering storm in her fingertips as they unbuttoned the top of his shirt.
“Slowly, Ella. Make it slow. It’s good, isn’t it, to do it slow…ly.” His words disappeared, replaced by a throaty moan as Ella’s fingers traced down his neck and into the hair on his chest as she undid the second, then the third button.
Ella’s eyes lifted up from watching the pathway her fingertips took along the flesh beneath the shirt, and fastened onto the Master’s. Instinct lifted her body, stretching her upwards to meet his face, until she could feel his breath heating her lips.
With a deft swirl to the side and the motion of a conjurer, he produced a key from his pocket and placed it in the lock of the door. As the ‘clunk’ sounded, his palm lifted her chin up. She swallowed hard as she watched the flame on the wall dance over his dark eyes, turning them red.
“Are you warmer now, Ella?”
She nodded. Her desires combined with an intense confusion: was everything a test, or did he like manipulating her? Watching her squirm with embarrassment? Her head was a mush of unanswered questions as the Master turned the handle and stopped.
“You’re correct, Ella. It is very late, and a strange time to be wandering around. But you need to understand from this point onwards that much of our more — how shall I put it? Our profitable business, our client work, is conducted at strange hours. And so, although you’ll be trained in the afternoons, guided in the more perfunctory tasks that the Mistress of this house has to be able to deal with, this is when much of your interview will be. At the witching hour.”
“When vampires roam?” She wanted the ground to open up and swallow her. The memory of his teeth against her neck was still lingering. She shut her eyes and wished away the last ten seconds. When she opened them, a slow smile was spreading across his face.
“I imagine so, Ella. Yes, I’m sure that must be the case. However, there are no vampires in the room you are about to enter.”
“What is in there, then?”
The Master opened the door wide.
From the moment she saw inside, something about the room sucked her in. She felt the presence of the colour: purple adorned every surface, from the plush carpet and expensive curtain that shimmered with mulberry thread to the velvet that wrapped itself around the seat and the high back of a chair that sat in the very centre of the room, somewhat like a throne. It had carved arm rests shaped as actual arms and hands, the back being formed of a carving of the god, Jupiter. Ella shivered; she imagined sitting in it and feeling those arms begin to wrap themselves around her, refusing to let her go.
The whole room seemed to absorb the feelings that she had. It drank in the nightie that she wore until she felt it was removing it altogether, dissolving it from her skin, until she stood in the room, her body exposed for the walls to see her, naked and without a clue what she was doing here. But it went further, this room. It seemed to run its fingers over her body, touching every part of her from her forehead, down the length of her body, and probing the tops of her thighs, pushing them open until it found the most intimate part of her exposure. It lingered there a while, and she felt the dissolving happen more intensely there, felt the increase in the tingle as it ate her body. One final push and the feeling took itself all the way. Her toes seemed to disappear and she had no body mass, yet, of course, she was there, and the Master was already talking animatedly.
“This is a boudoir. Of sorts. A room for trying on things. In the past there has always been an adviser to aid in the choices made here, because the room is designated for those who are unsure or who have not tried things on for size before.” He waved his arm towards the chair. “This is where the adviser would sit — for centuries the adviser has always been the Mistress — and the floor space over there, in front of the mirror, is the place where the person who had come for advice would try on their chosen item, and take instruction as to the best way to proceed, and to try and ascertain their exact preferences.”
Ella turned her head to look at the mirror. As she blinked and her eyes readjusted to the glass, in that millisecond, she saw — thought she saw — the room behind her, full of naked forms, some meandering, some coupling in all manner of positions, bent forwards and backwards, and one, standing directly before her. Its voice came clearly to Ella’s bewildered head: “What can I do to make it better? Help me. Please.” The form grew from a blurred human image to that of a young woman, the fingers of one hand swiping tears from her cheek, those of the other driving themselves into her pussy until she whimpered in time to the thrusts.
“Your task, Ella, while you are in here, is to make sure that reflections are seen perfectly through the mirror.” The Master’s words broke the image. Blinking over and over didn’t bring it back. “What else you do here is entirely up to you. Use your judgement. I think you will see.”
“You mean clean it?” Ella rolled her eyes. She’d hoped for something a bit more exciting than housework. Will you be joining me? I mean, are you watching the test? Interview? Whatever?”
The Master’s eyes burned into her face. The fire in her belly was only matched by the flame that took hold of her between the thighs as he replied. “Rest assured, Ella, I will be watching everything that you do. Whether you’re wearing that nightie — or not.”