But things are also picking up on a personal scale. With the worst hustle of Fashion Week behind her, Alice and I finally get a chance to meet - and reconnect, at least to a certain extent. Things have changed between Alice and me over the last months, and not just the immediate shift after the whole mess. Our friendship hasn't exactly become strained, but a lot of the ease has disappeared. I've known her since Junior High, she has been my confidante through all those years, and I miss her, even when I know I can't talk about everything with her and part of me feels she should just get over herself.

Alice and I have never had that ability to just let conversations - and lewd jokes - run between us like Bella and Jasper used to, but I've never felt like I need to watch what I'm saying around her. Particularly with our plus ones that has been all but impossible over the summer, to no small amount because of my animosity towards Jazz, but now I'm feeling like things are picking up a little when Alice and I are sitting over a latte and espresso at her favorite coffee shop. For the first time in ages I feel like there's no reservation between us, and I'm surprised how relieved I'm at that. She keeps chatting on about all the cities she has visited over the last weeks, people she has met, and after that I get her up to speed on hospital gossip.

We laugh and joke and there's not a single awkward moment between us, just as if we have somehow accomplished the feat of setting back the clock to zero between us. No hard feelings, no avoiding of topics, just two old friends enjoying some time together.

I'm insanely relieved and happy, so much so in fact that Bella can't stop laughing when I tell her. It's a good-natured and approving laugh, and while I can see that she's glad Alice and I have finally overcome our problems, I can see from the sad look in her eyes that she's still fighting with herself about what to do with Jasper.

Then, of course, there is Beth. I've avoided her in the week between our scene together and my weekend getaway with Bella, but after that I feel stupid for tip-toeing around her and visit her one afternoon before work.

One thing I've always admired about her is that she doesn't play games, and it only takes us five minutes until I accuse her of acting weirdly at the end of the scene with Bella's crash, the crash that I feel she partly provoked. At least that's what her just walking out and not really reacting to what happened feels like to me.

Beth being Beth, she tells me to get my head out of my ass. Her offhand remark about things 'working out in the end' pretty much affirms my suspicion that she has expected that things would get too much for Bella on a psychological scale, but I can't be cross with her - because she's right.

There's no need for me to dwell on it. I still tell her that I won't play with her again if she ever tries to manipulate me like that again, and that gets me a slap on my back instead of a hurt scowl most women would have given me.

Even though I know I don't have to prove anything to her, her approval still means the world to me. This more than anything else makes me feel like I'm really back in the game, finally myself again.

And hyped like that, it's no wonder that Bella gets to spend a lot more time on her knees over those weeks than she probably ever dared to expect. Of course we still have non-kinky sex, too, but things keep taking a definite turn towards the less gentle side of things more often than not. And while I'm keeping my promise to make her work for it, she definitely gets off on it -

at least mentally. The physical side, now that's a different chapter.

True to my promise, I force myself to provide her with something to work for, too, and not just demand her submission in the playroom. The day I send her to Beth's shop with a veritable shopping list to assemble a small

'tool kit' she can carry with her everywhere I don't think Bella is able to calm down for a single minute. It doesn't seem to get any better the next day when I call her after her lunch break and order her to grab the small vibrator and bring herself to the brink of orgasm three times in a row without coming in the relative safety of a toilet stalll- and don't let her come for another four days. Whenever we're in the same room she seems ready to jump me at any minute, and before long I really enjoy keeping her at that terribly horny yet utterly frustrated stage - and when I finally let her have that climax when we're in the playroom and I'm fucking her ass while she's tied up like a neat little package I can tell it all pays off for her, too.

Of course seeing her enjoy herself like that makes me crave to take things a step further - so I do exactly that. Until now all the pushing of her limits that we've done has been on a physical basis. Obviously that also entails the accompanying emotional aspects, but now my goal is a different one -

to push her resistance to the point of breaking. I don't set her up for failure -

yet - but I can clearly see that the strain of not being allowed to orgasm is leaving a heavy toll on her. One she seems very eager to pay, but I'm sure that there are moments every day in which she is cursing me. I can sometimes even see that spark of rebellion in her eyes, but I'm surprised that I don't mind, no, in fact, I love seeing that stubborn set to her jaw, that challenge in her eyes - right before she drops to her knees and obediently sucks my cock. Before defiance in my subs has been something that has rubbed me the wrong way, but with her it's different. Every time she swallows her anger and frustration, it's like a small victory for me - because she chooses to adhere to the rules, keeps submitting to me, and doesn't wrestle the control back from me that she so willingly hands over.

In the four weeks that pass since our weekend escape from everyday life I feel like the bond between us strengthens immensely. Maybe it's because nothing else stands between us that has to be dealt with, or maybe it's the fact that even though we have less time to actually spend together, we're constantly on each other's mind. Both of us are pushing into new ground here, experience this together, and I love the added strength, security and confidence that instills in both of us.

It's a late Wednesday evening when we finally have the chance to spend some time together again, just the two of us with no one demanding our attention or work getting in the way. Outside it has been raining for the better part of the day, and I'm just happy to stay at home. We cook dinner together, no small endeavor as I'm more interesting in snacking on Bella's neck than cutting vegetables or stirring the sauce, but she eventually still manages to produce a delectable meal. After we enjoy the rich pasta with a glass of red wine we retreat to the couch to watch TV, but I don't even get to see the news because Bella is very intent on getting her hands into and me out of my clothes at the same time.

She isn't exactly demanding as she's busy giving me a blowjob, but I can tell that the frustration is slowly driving her insane when all I do is lightly rub my fingers over her still fabric covered pussy where she's crouching next to me on the couch. It has been eleven days since I let her come last, stealing at least twenty orgasms from her in the meantime, and I'm surprised she hasn't outright demanded to come yet - or succumbed to begging for it. But when I finally come in her mouth, pretending to leave it at just that tonight, and catch her dejected look, I decide that I've been teasing her long enough.

Leaning over her I kiss her long and deep while my hand is idly stroking her thigh - probably driving her crazy in itself - I savor the moment, before I let my lips drift to her neck. I can feel her sigh more than hear it before she relaxes into my touch, probably telling herself that she can hold out one more day - before I whisper into her ear.

"Get me the lube and some towels, will you?"

The way she's tensing I'm surprised she doesn't explode right out of the plush cushions, and when I pull back enough to see her face, I have to grin at the radiant smile greeting me. The temptation is there to leave her hanging again, but I'm not that cruel. Not if she doesn't royally mess up, that is.

"Like, here?"

"Yes, here, or else I would have told you to bring them into the playroom, wouldn't I?"

"Of course," she yips, then she's off running to fetch the required items, leaving me to wonder if she has deliberately left out acknowledging that order or not. As it is, she seems mostly giddy rather than defiant so I guess she didn't do it deliberately, although that's no excuse.

I'm halfway convinced I should teach her a lesson after all when she returns, but the way she drops to her knees, eyes downcast as she offers me the stack of fluffy towels with the bottle of lube sitting on top pacifies me somewhat again. I decide that one last time I will let things slide, but if she keeps this up I will have to teach her a lesson soon.

I take the stack from her and scoot from my usual place at the bend of the ll-shaped couch to the longer side, spreading the towels on my previously occupied seat.

"You're wearing way too many clothes," I remark dryly, and before I can blink she's on her feet, yanking on her jeans and blouse.

"Yes, Master," she still manages to huff out between shedding the layers of fabric. I'm amused to see that she isn't wearing any panties but her new dark red butt plug, a medium sized toy consisting of three tapered segments, each larger in circumference than the one before, instead of a smooth, bulled shaped one.

"I see you've been a good girl," I remark, earning anther smile from her.

"I'm always trying to be a good girl, Master."

"Hardly" I grunt, then add with a smirk, "or else I wouldn't have so much need to paint your ass with red stripes. Now up with you onto the couch, on your knees, arms on the backrest."

She follows suit, assuming position with her knees spread wide, her head pillowed on her elevated arms. I idly drum my fingers over the base of the plug until a soft moan escapes her, before I extricate the toy and fuck her ass slowly with it. As the tapered segments slide in and out of her her relaxed muscles adjust to the motion, and before long I feel even the slight resistance disappear. Thus satisfied I remove the plug and put it down on the towels, then squirt a generous amount of lube over her anus and the fingers of my left hand.

Two fingers easily slide into her, and after wriggling and spreading them a little I add a third. Bella keeps still for the most part but when I speed up my ministrations her hips start pushing back against my hand, adding to the friction, and I love the way her soft moans and sighs float through the room.

I'm just about to consider adding a forth finger when her cell phone goes off, the annoying ringtone making us both freeze in mid-motion.

"Sorry," she huffs, her annoyance making me grin, and at my nod she scrambles up to shut off the most offending device without even checking who's been calling. When she sees me nod again she does the same with mine, although I'm sure she just shuts off the sound, not the whole phone.

Working at a hospital has some drawbacks, after all.

She looks properly apologetic when she settles back onto the sofa but I don't chide her, instead resume where we've left off before the interruption.

Maybe a little faster and less gentle than before, but she doesn't seem to mind, at least judging from how wet she is as I discover with my free hand.

I keep skimming my fingers over the less sensitive parts of her pussy until she starts bucking in an attempt to get them to slip where she needs them.

"Please!" she eventually moans.

"Please what?"

I'm expecting that she will plead for me to rub her clit now, but she surprises me."Please let me turn around, Master? I'd really like to look at you while you keep fucking my ass.""Sure, roll over."Her motions are lithe as she changes position, more lying than sitting in the corner as she props her ass up near the edge, her heels digging into the cushions. A prod at her ankle is enough for her to scoot forward even more before she raises her legs, holding them spread and pulled back with her hands around the back of her knees.I offer her a lopsided grin as I push my fingers back into her ass, and I have to admit, being able to see her look of need and lust in her eyes is worth the change. Soon her eyes drift close while her face contorts as she starts to fight for control, but I have no intention of easing up on her.Stopping for a moment I try to add a forth finger, but while I can work it past her sphincter I can tell that the added intrusion will take her a while to relax around, and I'm too impatient for that right now. So instead I thrust the same three fingers of my other hand into her cunt.Bella gasps as her eyes fly open, but I don't give her a second to adjust, and go right back to a fast, deep rhythm. I'm sure that if I add any other kind of stimulus, like rub her clit, she'd come this very second, but the past weeks have helped further her control. I can tell that she's fighting hard to keep her hips still not to further play into my hands, but the second I concentrate on rubbing her g-spot directly I feel her seize up with what will turn into a climax very soon."Don't you dare come without permission, slut!"Her fingers, previously splayed around her legs, are now bunched into the towels, and her eyes are pleading with me. Still, her lips remain closed, and only a few cut-off gasps leave her throat.I speed up my motions further, my mind split between letting her climax, and shoving her just that little bit too far to make her fail. Every time my fingers thrust into her in perfect synchronicity I can feel her tense a little further, but as the minutes tick by, my own frustration rises. She should be begging to come be now, and her silent defiance is ticking me off.Bella actually sighs with relief when I suddenly withdraw my fingers, and her reaction surprises me again."Don't you want to come that you seem so happy to be left alone?"Her gaze turns confused at that before her lust crazed mind catches on to the meaning of my words."Oh, I desperately need to come, Master, but I'd rather go unsatisfied than disappoint you.""Really?" I inquire, turning my voice teasing, but she only smiles."Yes, really.""Keep that thought."Then I push my fingers back into her ass, adding that forth one after two thrusts. I don't taper my motion nor speed down and I feel her bear down hard on my hand, a small gasp of pain, or at least discomfort, my reward.But she adepts quickly, and before long I feel her relaxing again, even to the point where it doesn't feel like her ass is trying to stop the circulation in my fingers."Do you like me fucking your ass with my fingers?"The look she shoots me is full of challenge, but when she replies her voice is meek and nice."A lot, Master.""Do you think you can come from that alone?""Of course, Master."I pretend to mull over that option while I keep the motion up for a few more seconds, then stop with my fingers as far inside her as I can get them, and spread them a little. I know exactly when discomfort turns into real pain as the light huffs and gasps from before turn harsh all of a sudden, but I still hold that position for another twenty seconds. Her eyes seek mine and capture my gaze, but that's the only thing she does, no pleading for me to stop or ease up on her. Seeing her determination makes me proud of her, and after I'm done counting silently, I let my fingers slide out of her, with only three penetrating her again the next time I push back in."Then come."Although relief clearly floods her she doesn't climax right away, probably because it takes her a few minutes for her subconscious to let her ease up on her control enough for it to happen - only that we don't have those minutes, as just before I feel her go from relaxing to tensing with her climax, the door bell rings.I stop immediately while Bella utters a loud whine, but I ignore that.Checking the clock of the TV, I'm surprised who would come to visit us at after eleven in the evening."It's probably just someone who got the wrong apartment number!" Bella huffs, and I have to admit, that explanation sounds likely. I'm also reluctant to get up and check, so after a few moments I shrug - and resume my previous attempt to drive her crazy.The interruption has clearly torn her out of the worst of her lust crazed state, but within a minute or two I have her right at the edge again. Her hips now hump my hand as she knows she doesn't have to hold back any longer and can let go whenever she's ready - at least until the bell goes off again.Followed by a knock on the door.Bella's face scrunches up as she lets out a frustrated shout, her head smacking back against the couch, and I start laughing before I can rein in the reaction. That pretty much destroys what little is left of the mood, and when her eyes open her glare is everything but friendly. I know I should remind her of her place in a stern voice now but I can't stop laughing, and it only gets worse when she grabs a pillow and hurls it at me, the motion dislodging my stilled fingers from her ass."Oh, you think that's funny?""Very," I try myself at a dry retort, and her livid glare only makes me crack up again.She's on her feet and yanking on her clothes before I can do much against it, but before she can reach for her jeans I grab her hips, and none too gently shove the butt plug back into her. Well prepared as she is I'm sure it's not even uncomfortable but she gives a surprised yip that sends me into more fits of laughter, and I note to myself that yes, I do deserve the thump onto my shoulder I get for it. The door bell rings once more, making me laugh hard enough that I have trouble breathing and she is able to get out of my grip, finally yanking up her pants.Watching her stomp towards the door, her face still flushed with exertion, her hair mussed while her fingers are clenched into fists I hear her mutter a lethal, "This better be important or I'm so gonna shove my hand up someone's ass!" as she rounds the table. I get up myself while I push the towels together, out of the sight, and vault over the couch to join Bella by the door.Just as I reach her she yanks the door open, and I see her anger turn to stupefied surprise instantly."What are you doing here?"It's a valid question, but not the first one that comes to my mind when I see who is standing in the hall outside, drenched from head to toes from the downpour we've mostly ignored so far. In fact, judging from his overnight bag and backpack I can kind of venture a guess just what Jazz is doing on our doorstep at this hour of the day."What's wrong?"His light eyes flit from Bella to me, then back again, and finally settle on the floor between our feet. He sighs loudly, and his voice is hoarse and slightly shaky when he answers."Alice kicked me out."Another sigh, and when he looks up, his eyes once again do that ping-pong match between us."I know I'm probably the last guy you want crashing on your couch, but I literally have nowhere else to turn to."My brain is a little sluggish to catch on - and parts of it seem to be stuck in Bella's ass stilll- because I haven't even started to formulate an answer when Bella opens her mouth.