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The Whole Chicken

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When Steven opens the door and shows her in, the hotel room is just as nice as she expected. Elizabeth gets a little frisson just looking at the big, soft bed; later, much later, he's going to spread her out across it and do horrible, wonderful things to her, until she's whimpering and sore and begging him to do whatever he wants with her.

Unfortunately, he's well aware that that's the easy part for her, the part where all she has to do is lie back and let go. And now that they're here, on Earth and on vacation, far away from Colorado Springs and all their contradictory entanglements, he's definitely going to make her work for it.

"Liz," he says, while she's standing and looking at the bed, her carry-on still in hand, and it startles her a little. "You get to say yes or no," he says seriously. "But until I tell you otherwise, that's the only choice you get."

She has to swallow hard before she answers; she's never done anything even remotely like this before, just given herself and all her choices over to someone else, but she already knows there's only one answer. "Yes."

"Here," he says, and she drops the bag and goes to his side immediately, just like she's supposed to. He laces a hand in her hair, tilting her face up to kiss her; but before she can even get used to it, he smacks her on the ass, pushing her away. "Get what you need and go take a shower," he orders. "No talking until I say."

The shower is amazing; she spends maybe a little more time than she should just standing there, letting it run over her. While she's washing her hair, she hears the door open; she's disappointed when it closes again, half expecting him to come in and join her.

When she finally brings herself to leave the shower, her outfit is already laid out for her on the counter. The expensive and minuscule panties go on first. She's not surprised when the matching bra fits perfectly; he's always been good at things like that, sneaking tags out of her clothing while she's not looking, making sure every detail is in order. Next is a short black skirt that shows off far more of her long legs than she's accustomed to, followed by a low-cut purple blouse.

When she gets to the shoes, she has to just stand there and stare at them for a long moment; it's been so long since she bought a pair without considering whether she could run and fight in them that the flimsy heels look alien to her, like some far-off luxury that she's only ever heard of. She has to sit down to slide them on, the straps unfamiliar against her skin.

She has almost no jewelry to speak of; he's taken her watch and left something else for her to wear. It's not even a collar, just a length of black velvet ribbon with a clasp at the back, but somehow, it feels as heavy and as reassuring around her neck as if it had been made of iron.

He's left her some makeup, so she applies it quickly, dabbing a little perfume behind her ears for good measure. When she's done, she steps back and looks at herself in the mirror. The effect is interesting- perfectly within the bounds of good taste, but shockingly revealing when compared against what she's accustomed to. She finds herself trying to cover up, but she's got nothing to cover with.

She takes a breath and opens the door, walking back into the bedroom. He's sitting with his feet kicked up on the bed, his tie halfway undone, a can of Coke from the minibar next to him. She bites her lip as he examines her critically. "You look good," he says approvingly, swinging his legs down and standing up. "We're going out," he tells her. "Get me ready."

She takes a look around. His coat is the most obvious thing, so she retrieves it from the bed; she's proud of herself for noticing his wallet, too, lying forgotten on the nightstand. She hands it to him, then helps him into his jacket. When that's done, she steps in close and fixes up his tie for him, smoothing it down against his shirt. She tries to step back, but he stops her, his hand tight on her arm. "You forgot something," he says, and he kisses her before she can start worrying about what she's done wrong.

They make their way down to the taxi stand, his hand on the small of her back the whole time. It doesn't hit her until she's in the cab and the driver asks where they're going- they're in public, and he still hasn't told her she can talk.

While she's still sort of freaking out, he slides in beside her and gives the driver an address. Unlike the ride from the airport, he doesn't hesitate to touch her, putting a proprietary hand on her knee, moving it up to where her skirt stops, but no further- they might be kinky, but they're adults, and groping in the back of a cab is a bridge too far.

The cab stops in front of a nice-looking bistro, and Steven helps her out. He's got reservations, of course, and soon enough they're seated.

"Welcome to Anthony's," the waitress says, smiling at both of them. "Can I get you started with something to drink?"

"Two glasses of the house red," he replies.

"Very good," she says. "Let me tell you about our specials tonight." The server rattles more than anybody needs to know about blackened fish, and then takes her leave.

When she's gone, Elizabeth turns and raises an eyebrow at Steven; she knows he knows that alcohol means no pain- it's his rule, after all.

"Tomorrow," he promises. "We're relaxing tonight."

She wants to protest- he might be relaxing, but she certainly isn't- but she keeps herself in check, because her comfort is not the point here.

"I found us a place," he says, keeping his voice down. "The kind of place where they have a lot of ropes and don't ask too many questions," he adds, at her confused look. "We're going to go there tomorrow. I want you to rest tonight."

Elizabeth nods, because she doesn't have another choice. If she could, she'd stammer something about how this dinner is already the kinkiest thing she's ever done in her life and she doesn't know how she could possibly deal with more; if she could talk, she'd talk herself out of it, and that's the last thing she wants to do.

The waitress comes back with their wine while Elizabeth is still silently freaking out. "Have you decided on your entrees?"

Steven closes his menu. "The porterhouse, medium rare."

"Of course, sir. And you, ma'am?"

She waits for him to cut in, to save her from having to talk; but when she looks over, he's just looking at her, waiting to see what she's going to do. She leans over to him and points at the menu, but she still doesn't say a word.

"She'll have the pollo al mattone," he tells the waitress.

The waitress gives her a look, like she's not quite sure what's going on here; Elizabeth just smiles at her, trying to seem less nervous than she feels.

"Excellent choices," she says uncertainly, collecting their menus, apparently satisfied that Elizabeth isn't going to raise hell when her food arrives.

When she leaves again, Elizabeth glares at him.

"I know, that was mean," he says. "But I wouldn't do it if I thought you couldn't handle it."

She struggles to keep herself from preening just a little at the implied praise. This is all terrifying, but at least she's getting some of it right; she's not helpless after all.

He entertains her while they're waiting for their food by mocking the other patrons' attire in a low voice, a guilty pleasure that they unexpectedly share. Dinner arrives quickly and is exquisite, and he leaves her to eat in peace, enamoured of his steak.

When they've finished eating, he puts his arm around her, trailing an audacious finger along the neckline of her top, low enough that she wants to smack his hand away; she knows she's tensing up, but she doesn't know how to stop doing it.

"You're acting like you're afraid I'm going to put you over my knee in front of the whole restaurant," he tells her, only halfway a warning. "Give me a little credit. I might be a dirty old man, but I'm not tacky."

She laughs, despite herself, putting her hand over her mouth too late to stop it escaping. "No," he says, pulling her hand away gently. "Let me hear it."

That's how the waitress finds them, his hand still on her wrist; she gives Steven a dirty look. "Can I get you anything else this evening?" she asks, taking their plates.

Just when she thinks she's about to get out of this, he orders dessert and coffee. She keeps herself from sighing, but he somehow hears it anyway, pulling her closer. It's too hard to resist; he's big and warm and so solid, and she lets herself curl right up into him. He presses a kiss to the top of her head, obviously pleased with her.

The waitress comes up and puts their dessert down without a word, having apparently washed her hands of the whole situation. The chocolate cake looks just as divine as the menu claimed; Elizabeth's about to reach for her fork, but she stops herself, looking at him.

"Good girl," he praises. "Close your eyes," he says, and her heart's pounding, but she does it. "Open your mouth."

She hears the scrape of the fork against the plate, and she's surprised when he feeds her by hand. "Drink your coffee," he says, taking her hand and placing it on her mug, and she carefully lifts it, sips, and lowers it back to the table without incident. "Very good," he murmurs. "Open up again."

She's ready this time; when he places the cake gently into her mouth, she laps at his fingers, laving off the last bits of chocolate. "That's it," he says. "Just like that."

By the time he lets her open her eyes again, they've demolished the cake, which Elizabeth thinks is a job well done. Before too long, the check comes, Steven pays, and just like that it's over.

He walks her out and hails a taxi, escorting her in and directing them back to the hotel. "You can speak at will," he tells her, as the car pulls away from the curb; the cab driver gives the two of them a funny look in the rear view mirror.

There were a thousand important things she wanted to say when she couldn't, but the first words out of her mouth are, "I hope you tipped that poor waitress well."

Steven laughs. "She did seem confused, didn't she?"

"Well, honestly," Elizabeth says. "It's not in her job description."

He snorts. "You really are something." He leans over and kisses her. "My something."

Her blush lasts all the way back to the hotel.