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Lavender in the Water

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Linda isn't cold, but she still shivered as she knelt, naked, on the blue-tiled floor. She's not sure if it is excitement or fear that made her do it. Maybe, both.

Ann had instructed her to draw the bath, kneel and wait. She had sent Linda text messages, clear instructions on how she was to be prepared.

Steam rose from the water in front of her, and she could smell the essential oils from the bath bomb filling the room. The lavender scent was relaxing, a reminder of spring, but the deeper, earthy scent of the oak moss oil just made her nose itch. If it had been up to Linda, she would have preferred something with roses and vanilla instead. But it wasn't up to her.

Linda kept her gaze on the floor; eyes fixed on the whirls of blue in the tiles. She counts at least eight different shades of blue whirled together. 

She finally hears the sound of feet padding on the bedroom floor behind her and the slight echo to the footfalls as they transitioned to the bathroom floor.

"Oh, that is very lovely," Ann's voice dripped with sweetness. Linda didn't know if Ann was referring to the sight of her, naked and kneeling with her head bowed, or the waiting bath.

She wanted it to be her. To be praised, to be desired, but she knew that ambiguity had not been accidental. Ann always knew what she was saying, picking and choosing her words carefully with the same skill a top-notch surgeon handles a scalpel.

Linda's breath hitches as fingers began to run through her hair, the tips of Ann's fingers just brushing against the nape of her neck. Knowing she was to remain still, Linda was able to resist the urge to lean into the touch.

"I do appreciate you following instructions, you know,"

Ann's fingers tightened, fisting around the base of her ponytail, and Linda bit her lip to keep from crying out at the sudden sharp tug that brought her head up until she was looking into her eyes.

"It is why I was rather upset when you refused to listen to me earlier,"

Ann's fingers went slack, letting Linda's head fall forward again as a gasp escaped her lips.

"I do everything I can to keep you safe, you know. To watch over everyone, of course, but especially you,"

Ann caressed her shoulder lightly before she walked around her, discarding her robe and letting Linda study every curve of her body before she slowly slid into the water.

"Mmmm... very nice, baby. Warm, relaxing, just perfect,"

Ann’s arm came out of the water, and her fingers lightly cupped Linda's chin. Ann tilted her head enough so that Linda had to look her in the eyes.

"When I give you an order, whether it is here or at work, it is for a reason. You will remember that next time, won’t you?"

She closed her eyes. Let out a long, slow breath through her nose and nodded.

“That’s all I needed to know.” Ann’s voice softened, and when Linda opened her eyes, Ann crooked her fingers up, beckoning her into the bath. “Now, come here.”

Linda noted the lavender had turned the water a light shade of purple and gave a little sigh as Ann drew her close, settling in with her head on her lover’s shoulder.

Ann ran a hand gently down her back and turned so she could kiss her forehead. "You may speak freely now if you like."

Linda gave a soft groan as Ann deftly massaged her shoulders. "I am sorry for not..."

"Sh." Ann leaned in to kiss her, swallowing the rest of the apology. "I know. But there is no need to drag yourself over the coals. It is done, and you will do things differently from now on. The subject is closed,"

Linda returned the kiss. Grateful for the forgiveness, for the closeness, for the care behind it all.

She let Ann draw her back in and curled against her, happy to be able to let go and just be hers for a little while.

"Would you like me to wash your hair before we get out of the bath?"

Linda nodded. "Yes, Please,"

Ann made a happy little noise, sitting up in the tub.

"Wonderful. And I think I would enjoy a foot rub after the bath,"

Linda sighed happily, as Ann undid her ponytail and began to work the shampoo into her hair and scalp. She doubted anyone else would have understood, had they been able to watch them, but she didn’t mind the dynamic of their relationship.

They understood each other.

It was enough.