Safewords:Davenport and Chiffon

By: Candace Blevins

Chapter One

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Dana carefully pulled the chain over her head before purposefully placing both wedding rings in the bottom compartment of her jewelry box—the section with the seldom worn items. Closing the drawer was bittersweet, but she didn't dwell on it as she proceeded towards her bathroom, looking forward to a lengthy soak. She took extra pains to shave everything, kept the conditioner on her hair longer than normal, and used a loofah to exfoliate everywhere she didn't shave. When she got out of the tub, she dried and fixed her hair before polishing her nails a deep crimson, applying her make-up more dramatically than usual, and finally slinking into her sinfully sexy red dress. She couldn't show much skin with her back still bruised, but it was snug from shoulders to just below the knees and left little to the imagination while hiding her marks.

She timed it perfectly and he arrived downstairs as she was wiggling into the sumptuous fabric. She unlocked the elevator, and was waiting at the door as he rounded the corner.

He paused in the middle of the hallway, surprised to see her, and smiled before walking again. “You're beautiful, Dana. I've been so nervous about this weekend, but seeing you in this dress, it's like...” He stopped, scanning her with his gaze so she felt naked all the way down to her soul. Tilting his head, considering, he spoke slowly. “It's more than the dress. Your eyes are clear; the doubt's gone. Something's changed since we had lunch Wednesday afternoon."

"Yes, it has. Don't worry, it's all good, and I'll tell you about it at dinner. Where are you taking me?"

"Foodworks, and then hopefully home with me."

"Hmm, maybe I should pack a few things. Give me a sec."

"I asked you to include me in your adventures from here on out. You said you would."

Dana was taken aback; she hadn't expected him to react with anger over her solo hike. “Yes, sexual adventures. Not hiking through the woods. I had to do this alone, Zach. It was important. I spent Thursday looking back, saying goodbye, and today was devoted to looking forward. I closed a door yesterday, and concentrated on opening another today."

He was quiet a moment, staring into his empty salad bowl, refusing eye contact. When he finally looked up, she realized he wasn't just mad, he was furious. “I asked to be your support, be there for you if..."

He gazed out the window for a few heartbeats before turning back to her, his ice blue eyes cutting into her soul. “I stipulated you should not go off alone to handle emotional things by yourself again."

Her insides shook, but she held it together and spoke slowly, willing him to hear her, believe her. “If that's what you asked, then we have a case of broken communication. If I'd made that promise I'd have told you what I was doing before I left."

He looked down again and she kept her voice low but firm as she said, “Dammit, look at me and please believe me. My understanding of what you requested was that I wouldn't be exploring the depths of my masochism, or the possibility I'm a switch, or anything to do with BDSM or sex unless you're there, too."

She could see him thinking it through; trying to remember exactly what'd been said. He finally let out a long breath, saying, “I believe you. I don't recall the exact wording, but I can see how you could've misunderstood my meaning."

"Are we good, then?"

"Yes. I'd wondered how you'd feel about my drawing up the things I'd like from you in contract form, to go over this weekend and negotiate. With this misunderstanding, hopefully you'll understand why I think a written agreement is better than a verbal one."

Her stomach flip-flopped. “You want me to sign a contract?"

"Not a slave contract, just a written record of whatever agreement we reach—a vehicle to help us figure out what we're both willing to commit to. It killed me to let you go off without me last weekend. I don't want to keep you from branching out and exploring, but I want—I need—to be part of it. I tried to create wording to show I'm not trying to curtail your exploration, to assure you I'm prepared to deal with you needing to spread your wings and experiment as long as I can be there."

"Okay. We'll look it over when we get back to your place. I'm prepared to commit to a good deal, and I'm interested in reading what you've drawn up.” Her eyes flicked up to movement over Zach's shoulder. “I think I see our food coming."

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