Morning came to the slave hall much differently than the rest of the house with its tall windows. The sunlight crawled in from the stingy windows barely giving any natural light, keeping the surroundings in shadows. Hadley woke as he always did, his internal clock never failing. His neck was sore and his body stiff from sleeping upright in the hard wooden chair.
Sitting up, he stretched his neck from side to side.
He could have taken himself off to bed as the four bodies slowly slipped into sleep deeper into the night but he stayed. And used a rare opportunity, to watch his charges at their most natural state, and curiously vulnerable as well.
Cade’s breathing was soft, hands curling in his blanket, tucking it up under his chin as he slept on his side, knees drawn up as well. Mia slept on her back, arms loose at her side, the tips of her breasts tight in the early cool of morning, the blankets twisted about her hips and legs.
Daniel would jerk involuntarily but his face was slack. No night terrors in the aftermath of the evening’s whipping. He would need his sleep. He had hard questions to answer upon his waking.
In the early morning shadows, Cameron was awake. Hadley could tell from the too steady breathing, lungs expanding and deflating on a count of four; expand 1-2-3-4, release 1-2-3-4, repeat. Checking the empty cot, Lisbeth must have shared her mistress’ bed.
With a gentle but firm hand to the bed warmed shoulder, Hadley turned Cameron onto his back, blandly watching as those dark eyes fluttered, feigning at waking. “Come with me.” Keeping his voice low and a hand on the slave’s elbow, he led Cameron into the training room. Muscles tensed and then relaxed under firm resolve.
Cameron knew he could not avoid the upcoming conversation; Hadley mused, and decided not to act too rashly. He seemed surprised when Hadley did not interrogate him on the how and the why that lead to him with Daniel’s fist to his face. Instead, Hadley took a decidedly different direction.
“You and Mia have been with Lord and Lady Barkley since their wedding.” He gestured for Cameron to sit on the oilskin-covered table. The movement was stiff, without the natural grace that Cameron possessed, no doubt the bruises in his buttocks pulled uncomfortably. Hadley took the unassuming position of reclining negligently against the wall, hands dipped in pockets of day old trousers. His fastidiousness railed against being so unkempt in front of his charges but there were matters that had to be handled with care and speed.
If Hadley could not get a better understanding of the strange dynamics of the Barkley slave hall, he would be reacting to unplanned tremors and eruptions like the day before rather than training and preparing the property under his care to serve their master and mistress properly.
“Lotus House trained, several years of serving along with Mia alone until Daniel came along?”
Maybe it was the early morning hours, the resulting crash after the day before, or Hadley’s matter of fact question, but Cameron seemed to consider the question, stubble shadowed along his jaw as he frowned thoughtfully.
“Daniel has been with the master and mistress for three years, Sir.” Cameron’s voice was husky, dry lips and throat. Hadley gave a hum of interest, finding the ewer that Cook had helpfully left for fetching water from the loo. Pouring a small cup, he handed it to Cameron and resumed his relaxed posture.
“Do you know to what house he was trained?”
Cameron met his gaze, frowning, no doubt looking for a trap within the words. Hadley kept placid, meeting the dark eyes head on. He read resolve when Cameron licked his lips, and caution as well.
“Daniel was not trained at a house, Sir.”
Interesting, Hadley mulled that bit of information over in his mind. He wanted to curse Smithers as well. It would be a minefield; it seemed to determine more information about Daniel, the rash episode from the day before aside. “He was purchased from a slave pen? By his former master, Lord Orland?”
The gaze turned shrewd and more careful. “Daniel would know the answer to that question, Sir.”
“I am sure he would, but he is indisposed at the moment. I am sure that you know the answer as well, being the oldest amongst the hall.”
Cameron wanted to balk, he could sense the tightening of muscles, a fleeting look of cocky disregard before it shuttered once more. Cameron remembered his own time of being ‘indisposed’ and the events that followed. Opening his mouth, he started to speak only to change course and bit out his words.
“Daniel is fine as long as he is the favorite.”
“Cade seems to curry favor.”
Cameron very nearly sneered at the statement only to school his features, the reaction surprising. Hadley had witnessed Cameron’s dominion over the hall and his care for the youngster. He felt the sneer was for his other cohort, currently bruised and welted and still sleeping in his cot.
“Cade is a pet, a plaything.” Cameron drummed his fingers against the oilskin, legs swinging incongruously young from the table’s edge. “Bright, shiny, new toy for the master…Daniel makes sure that he is the master’s favorite boy, and all is well.”
“That is the balance in the hall, then?” Hadley scanned Cameron’s features as he question off handedly.
With a snort, Cameron lifted his chin mutinously, “Until you arrived.”
Fair enough, Hadley tipped his head. He asked for information and he got it in return. To twist that pact, use the information to twist it in a negative light would put Cameron on the defensive, letting stupidity reign once more. He pushed himself away the wall and Cameron flinched, chin to chest and eyes cast downward. Hadley placed a careful, firm hand on his shoulder.
“A warm bath will help the sting and another cold compress will soothe that eye.”
He felt rather than observed Cameron’s shocked gaping stare. Let him stew in that, Hadley had his own ablutions to care for.
Mid morning, Daniel’s back had been checked, and oiled with liniment. He remained astutely quiet and complacent when Hadley demonstrated the stretches that would help the aching muscles. Leaving the males to their own devices, he summoned Mia into the training room. She followed, hesitancy in her step, the plain soft blue tunic enhancing her beauty.
“Remove your tunic,” Hadley kept his voice bland, but he was interested. It had been a very long time since handling rounded curves and soft bodies. She dutifully climbed onto a different type of table, seating her heels in wooden stirrups that allowed Hadley to efficiently spread her body open for his view.
The female body, so different from a male, but with the same hidden furled entrance so eclipsed by the intriguing, delicate folds of wet, soft skin. Complex with it’s nub that could be as sensitive as an erect cock. The mysterious depths that could easily take a cock into its wet core without the aid of stretching or need for artificial lubricant and the scent, strong with arousal, musky and earthy, that made a mouth water, tempting to taste.
“You are quite smart, aren’t you kitten?” Hadley said conversationally. His hands glided over soft, smooth skin of shin and calve. Mia’s toes twitched slightly. Even those were small, the nails carefully trimmed.
She bit her lip and furrowed her brow, but offer no response as his hands skipped over the obvious choice of exploring her exposed sex. Instead, he touched her, her abdomen, her stomach, dipping his fingertip into her navel. She responded to that, a slight lifting of her hips. Her breasts filled his palms with soft warm weight, the steady pulse drawing his eye to her neck. He thumbed the tightened nipples, giving into the temptation to tug them gently.
“A lesson for you,” Hadley said softly, a hand moving upward to collar her throat lightly, the other moving lower, thumb tracing over hairless skin to the graceful slit already damp between her thighs. “You are a very greedy cunt, you are.”
He barely touched the top of the slit and Mia breathed heavily through her nose, bottom lip bitten, a rosy flush over her chest and staining her cheeks.
“No control, only want, the feeling, maybe just here,” He gently pressed the tender nub with his thumb. She gasped then. “Or here.” His middle finger unerringly dipped deep into her wet core.” Her hips bucked then, surging upward.
“Uh, uh, uh…” He admonished, with tongue in cheek. Hadley was surprised at the grin he wanted to give her. Mia’s responses were genuine, honest, hungry. Nothing faked about a body mindless surging, searching for its pleasure. Adding a second finger within her body, he pushed one of her legs upward by the knee, leaning into her, using his weight to hold her down, to hold her somewhat still.
“Take it.” Hadley ordered, sternly. The wet sounds accompanied the steady plunging of his fingers. When her body tightened, those smooth wet muscles gripping at his fingers, he slowed to the point of stopping. When Mia relaxed her body, he would increase the urgency, the depth. Her legs trembled, her hips strained. Blonde curls teased her breasts as Mia’s head tipped back, neck tight with coiled tension.
“Oh fuck,” she breathed, blue eyes glittering with need. “Please, sir.”
His grin widened, pressing the heel of his hand to her clit, he shoved a third finger in with the other two. “Then give it up.”
She cried out, body trembling, the wet inner muscles gripping and rippling around his fingers. He steadied her with a hand to Mia’s stomach. His fingers were glistening as he slid them out of her body, a thick musky scent heady in the air. How he wanted to taste. Instead of giving in to a selfish desire, he offered them to Mia and watched as she cleaned his fingers with closed eyes and clever tongue.
Helping her to sit up, Hadley pressed a kiss against her forehead, the gesture easier the second time around. “Good girl.”
Handing her the discarded tunic, Hadley noticed Cade lurking in the doorway.
“Come on in, then.”