He wasn't giving her enough to work with. She tried another tack. “Bethany was twenty-four/seven. Do you want that again?"
"Not necessarily,” he said, shaking his head as he leaned back and rested his arm on the sofa's armrest. “Not at first, for sure. I want twenty-four/seven availability for sex, but I prefer a partner for everything else. Maybe pick an occasional week or two for a full-time dynamic where I spend brief periods micromanaging her, but not on a permanent basis.” He shrugged. “However, if we fell for each other and she needed an Owner, I could do it again."
Damn, that wasn't too far off from the sort of relationship she'd probably want, should she ever venture into another long-term power exchange. Which she didn't plan to do. She wondered though—if he'd already been in what sounded like a TPE and liked it so much...
Dana sat back down, facing him across the coffee table. “Why not full time? You talk as if your relationship worked perfectly for the two of you, why would you not want it again?"
He leaned forward, his elbows on his knees. “Bethany was raised in a fundamentalist household with more rules than any child should have to learn. She got a full scholarship at an out-of-town college, and her parents only allowed her to go after finding a suitable church in the area, and arranging for the pastor and his wife to keep an eye on her and chaperone anything besides required classes. Unfortunately, her father had no idea he'd placed her under the domain of a sadist."
Obviously angry all over again, he shook his head. “He's in jail now but he woke things up in her, turned her into a sexual creature who craved pain and sex. She was a virgin when he got hold of her and...” he stopped abruptly, reining himself in before continuing.
"When I met her she was making a lot of very bad choices, going from man to man to man, needing someone to tell her what to do, clinging to the men who treated her like shit. She was a beautiful soul, but she desperately required guidance. She'd never been allowed to make her own decisions, and I had to teach her how to choose something as simple as what she wanted to eat. Once I took her in and gave her boundaries and the sensations she craved, taught her enough self-awareness to understand how to determine choices based on her own wants and needs, she blossomed. I was so proud of her when she took control and helped manage the design and construction of our home."
He paused, his gaze on the far wall without seeing it. He closed his eyes briefly before turning to meet hers, making her heart stutter with the passion and raw emotion he allowed her to see. “As much as I loved her, I'd prefer more of a partner this time."
"What went wrong with your three month relationship a few months ago?"
"We were compatible in bed and in the play room; we just didn't have much else in common.” He shrugged. “I enjoy attending plays and live music performances; she preferred NASCAR races. We parted on friendly terms, but agreed it wouldn't work."
"You know I'm a masochist. Are you a sadist?"
He shook his head. “I hurt to show I'm in control, to demonstrate I can—more for D/s purposes than sadistic. I am good at inflicting pain though, so as long as you're okay with displaying the proper amount of submission, I think I can provide the sensations you're looking for."
Finally a reason it wouldn't work, so why was she sad? She should be skipping to the door relieved instead of explaining her feelings. “I think I need a sadist, not a Dom. I've only submitted to one man—Garnet woke it up in me, trained me to be his. I've considered bottoming, to take care of my masochistic tendencies, but the idea of submitting is just...” she stopped, started again. “Belonging to someone would be wrong. Dating doesn't feel like cheating, nor does having sex, but he taught me to submit. I can't give myself, my will, to another Dom."
Zach held eye contact for a few dozen heartbeats before giving the briefest nod. “I can work with that. I'd enjoy the chance to Top you without power exchange, to see where it leads. If I may ask, how active have you been since Garnet passed?"
She'd thought she was turning him down, but he was reacting as if he assumed she was making an offer. Could she accept his proposition? Did she dare?
The floor came into focus, and she forced her gaze back up, his gentle eyes calming her nerves. She decided to answer the easy question first—she wouldn't be interested in going out with a man who'd just been on a few dates since being widowed, either.
"I've gone out with maybe seven or eight men, but only had sex with two—one was a three week rebound, and I dated the other for several months. Neither were the least bit adventurous in bed. I'm pretty sure I'll be okay with a relationship with no power exchange, but I won't be satisfied with vanilla for the rest of my life. It's good I gave it a try and got it out of my system, but I'm going to need more."