AUTHOR'S NOTE: While this story stands on it's own it compliments events presented in Be Careful Of What You Wish For. If you have the opportunity, read BCOWYWF first.
He always loved late autumn afternoons when the sun shown through the trees at a low angle and painted the grounds in warm yellow light. The manicured lawns, framed by the tree overhangs were made lush green by the light. He had spent many hours over the years with his master gardener to design these grounds. Between the two of them they had created a masterpiece. Every view from the House was beautiful regardless of the time of year but autumn was the best.
Reluctantly he turned from the view and settled in his favorite chair by the fireplace. The steward had a fire going to take the chill out of the air but in truth it never got all that cold in the Bay Area. At this point in his life he was pampered and his every need attended to. It was an indulgence he could well afford. With time running out no one could begrudge him any indulgence, save one. Lifting the snifter he savored the cognac's flowery bouquet before taking a sip.
The Concierge's health has been declining the past few years causing him to rely more heavily on his protégé and, to a greater extent, more quickly than planned. Even so, his expectations of her were never compromised by his need to quickly groom her as his replacement. He always demanded excellence and she never disappointed. The more time he spent with her the more he was convinced he had made the right choice. Actually, he knew she was the one some time ago but couldn't resist the temptation to congratulate himself for having found and identified her early on, something he did frequently. She was impressive as a submissive and then as a dominatrix. She will be superb as Concierge. Under her leadership Hanover House will quickly be restored to the pantheon of BDSM enclaves as first among equals after he is gone. He was pleased with himself, almost as much as he was with her. Who knows, she might even eclipse him. Wouldn't that be a fine legacy?
The afternoon light and fire were fading. He rang for the steward to tend the flames and refill his snifter. While waiting for help he reminisced about having ceded all day-to-day control of Hanover House to Sophie and reflected on the impact she has had on everyone, most especially him. She was booking talent, using sophisticated marketing to increase interest and patronage such as renting out the theater pavilion for conferences and catering during the week, and is talking about opening a restaurant in the dining pavilion. Her initiatives were attracting new people for indoctrination and training as subs by giving them early theater performance time. She was carefully balancing the capabilities and capacities of the House to meet the new demands she was placing on it. At the present rate of growth she estimates additions to the residential and theater pavilions will be needed in less than five years. She has an architectural firm sizing and detailing her plans to refine cost and schedule estimates. She is a competent executive. The staff and performance troupe are in awe of her, accepting her leadership without reservation. The House has never run smoother, relying less and less on his monthly subsidy.
He knew the strength of his personality sincere interest in her development and unwavering commitment to the House had been enough for her to obey him in all things without question. The Concierge had used other resident Masters to teach her humiliation, function with no control of her body or life, punishment, etc ... While he took a more direct role in her dominatrix training he still used others to supplement his instruction. His manipulations and machinations to develop her through surrogates had been successful, so much so that he has been in contact with other Concierges suggesting that they try similar approaches to see if his results were unique to Sophie, or, perhaps, her training template could be a model for their houses.
Still, there was a nagging regret. For all their years together and since her separation (from her husband) he has never had sex with her. Neither their Dom/sub relationship nor their mutual attraction caused them to indulge the other. This was due, in part, to his never having imposed himself on her. Rather, if they were ever to have sex he wanted her to express interest in him first, to be the initiator. To his great and lasting disappointment, she never had.
His desire to have sex with her was borne of a need, new to him, to possess her without coercion, or any sense of duty or obligation. He already did at some level, with loyalty and commitment to his ideals, but not physically. After living a life of callous disregard for the affection of others he longed to be the object of desire and the recipient of another person's love. Quite simply, he wanted to make love to her and receive love from her in kind. He knew she had great respect for him but did she harbor a repressed love for him that could only be expressed through the physicality of sex? He hoped so but had no idea. His austerity and disciplined life denied him satisfaction of this most basic human need. He longed for it, needed it and wanted to experience it before he died.
The steward asked if he required anything else before leaving. The fire and snifter stoked, the Concierge declined further assistance save summoning Sophie and slipped back into his musings.
As he approached retirement, age and infirmaries made him feel he was running out of time. Casting about for something, anything that could create opportunity to find out if Sophie had a similar need of him he called her to his office. After a discrete knock and pause she came in and closed the door behind her. Turning to face him she waited a moment, long enough for him to take her in. She was formally dressed in anticipation of the evening. It was a performance night that required her attendance and supervision. She knew he took every opportunity to evaluate the presentation his staff made before engaging them in conversation, and was glad to subject herself to his scrutiny.
She was wearing her standard performance evening attire: tuxedo, black bowtie, crimson cummerbund, and trousers with satin ribbon overlaying the pant leg seam to match her lapels. Her cufflinks, buttons and earrings were twisted gold knots (a classic style that had special meaning in the House), her shoes were plain toe three-inch pumps worn with black hose (!). She wore her auburn hair short and blown back in a pompadour. Her makeup made her pale but not overly so; her crimson lipstick worked well with the cummerbund. Her eyes were her only extravagance. Dramatic, her eyes were made to look larger still by the theater makeup she wore. The finish was her sole ring, a delicate wedding band on her left hand. Whenever patrons and outsiders were about she was always addressed as "Dr. Hanover" as the House's namesake. In private it was always "Sophie," regardless of who was addressing her, housekeeper or the Concierge.
A lifelong perfectionist her association with the Hanover House and Concierge in particular had caused her to refine her instincts and elevate them. She reveled in his obvious approval. He was similarly attired with minor exceptions: flats, black cummerbund, a boutonnière and no wedding band, of course.
He offered her a chair opposite his by the fireplace and a cognac that she accepted. Waiting for him to explain his summons she sat on the edge of her seat with straight back while she swirling the cognac to release its bouquet, a fragrance that she frequently enjoyed in the privacy of her apartment noting the difference in cognac between the Concierge and her preferences. Never relaxing in his presence, she sat with her legs uncrossed and leaned slightly toward him in deference and for the respect she had for him.
Although there was a sense of urgency to take the next step in her grooming and let it gestate long enough to bear fruit, he asked, "Sophie, how are you today? (An innocuous enough opening intended to inform him how to proceed.) Good. Good. Any issues with the House I should know about? No? Good. I endlessly marvel at how you've taken to your duties. It's as if you were made for it. Any regrets, none of consequence? Good. When is the last time you talked to your husband?"
(Why had he asked about him? It certainly would not serve his purpose this evening. Perhaps it was an involuntary gesture on his part to make sure his protégé wasn't distracted by her personal life?)
Sophie's husband had wanted a divorce. She fought for and got him to agree to a legal separation instead. That was several years ago. She always called him on their anniversary to inquire into his health and well being, careful never to sever the one remaining thread she had to the outside world. She called him at other times to let him know of her progress, most notably when she was accepted as the first House-trained submissive and when she achieved the same status as dominatrix. Perhaps she should go home for a few days to begin the long, slow and undoubtedly painful process of reconciliation and rebuilding their relationship without knowing if it were even possible anymore. A visit home would help answer that question. To her knowledge, Doug never had a relationship after their separation that lasted more than a few months. The private investigator she retained kept her informed of changes in his life that would jeopardize their separation's status quo. None had materialized in all this time. There was still hope.
.... There is more of this story ...