This follows on from Sunrise in Sapphire City.
‘Oh my God you’re pregnant!’
I close my eyes and curse Eve for bringing me here of all places on tonight of all nights. Spring Equinox. The Grand Ball. The huge hall is crowded with women, the elite of Sapphire City and guests from around the world. Including my sister. I curse Eve for not being here by my side when I need her most.
I open my eyes. ‘Hello, Catherine.’ I haven’t seen her for a year. She hasn’t changed. The Alpine air and high living obviously agree with her.
‘Where the hell have you been, Carolyn?’ she demands. ‘What happened to you? We’ve been worried sick.’
This is my chance. To expose Eve. To tell the truth about her here before the assembled rich and powerful, my loving sister at my side to protect me, to help me.
‘And what’s with that collar?’ she adds, sneering the last word.
‘I met someone,’ I say.
‘I’m sorry for not telling you where I was, but –’
‘I thought you were A. You’re always saying you have no interest in women, and suddenly you’re, what, five months? Six?’
‘Five,’ she echoes, glowering at me. ‘So where is she? This amazing woman who even my sister can’t resist?’
As if in answer, Eve arrives, striding confidently in through the main doors. Her relief, when she sees me waiting for her, is subtle but clear. I have learned how to read my Mistress.
Eve is beautiful. I’ve thought this before, often enough that it’s just one of those facts you’re aware of, but every so often I see her in a new light, like tonight. Her long, dark hair is styled, tied up in elegant curls. Her hazel-blue eyes are framed with mascara, her lips a dark, glossy red. Her svelte figure is clothed in floor-length burgundy silk with a slit all the way up the left side, kept closed with fragile lace, her pale skin peeking through as she walks to me.
All eyes are upon her.
She only has eyes for me. Her possession.
She is beautiful and I am in awe of her. I do not wish to kiss her, but our lips meet in tender, urgent exploration. My hands caress the silk-clad flesh that I am intimately familiar with, but I have no desire to strip away that fragile dress and reveal her naked perfection.
For a moment I worry that her desire for me is more real than mine for her, but I stamp down on the rising panic. It’s just an act. It’s just an act. I try to ignore her breasts pressing against mine, and concentrate instead on the bump of my belly pressing into hers. The new life growing between us.
She pulls away at last and smiles at me, trying for warmth but unable to suppress a subtle flicker of distaste, or impatience perhaps, that I find oddly reassuring in a way that Eve’s unaccustomed attempt at warmth really isn’t.
‘You’ve ruined your lipstick,’ I tell her.
She laughs a little, relaxing. ‘I’ve ruined yours too.’
Catherine clears her throat, and Eve turns to her immediately.
‘My sister Catherine,’ I explain.
Before I can complete the introduction, Eve holds out her hand. ‘Hi, I’m Valery. I’m so pleased to meet you.’
Catherine mumbles ‘Hi’ as she takes Eve’s hand, and looks almost like a frightened rabbit under the direct gaze of my Mistress.
‘I’m so sorry for stealing Carolyn away from you,’ Eve says, ‘but once I got my hands on her I didn’t want to let her go. I’m a very selfish lover.’
Catherine blushes suddenly. ‘It’s okay. I understand. I’m just glad my sister finally found someone.’
Eve cocks her head at a sudden shift in the music. ‘Well, if you’ll excuse us, Catherine, I simply must get the mother of my child onto the dance floor before she grows too big to tango.’
‘Of course! Of course!’ Catherine shoos us away from her with enthusiasm, and I am happy to let Eve guide me away from my sister and her questions.