“You are not what I bid on.”
The sub shop had delivered Steve as per their standard issue, hooded and bound. The gag was extra, but Steve understood why they’d added that part.
He looked up at the speaker — she’d said kneel and he’d knelt, not because he was feeling particularly obedient, but because he wanted the hood off — and tried to communicate his frustrated scorn by eyebrows alone.
She looked down at him with something that could have been irritation. “The Silver Quill has a very good reputation. They shouldn’t have mixed something like this up.”
Steve worked his mouth around the gag, trying to make his displeasure with being something like this as clear as possible. The sooner she worked through her little complaint-fest here, the sooner he could be out of these bindings and…
…he really didn’t know what came after that. He sat back against the bindings and waited. She’d come to her conclusion, or call the Quill, or something, eventually. All he could do was —
“Do you know what happened?”
Steve blinked. Him? She was looking at him, not at anyone else, not at a phone.
“You,” she agreed. “Did you overhear anything?”
He considered that. Those were two different answers. After a moment, he decided he could answer yes to both, and nodded.
“Okay, good. I’m going to take the gag out. It’s easier than playing twenty questions.”
Steve nodded again. What was he going to say? What could he say?
The gag coming out felt strange. The Quill had not really wanted to hear Steve, and so he’d been muzzled for most of the last week. He waited until she sat down in front of him, and then until she cued him to speak with a hand gesture.
“They wanted to get rid of me, as quickly as possible. Mistress.” He bowed his head carefully. It pulled at his bonds in several places. “And they said — that is, I overheard them saying you seemed like the sort that wouldn’t complain.”
Steve risked a glance at her. Her eyebrows were up and her lips were pursed. “Well, then. I suppose I ought to prove them wrong.”
Steven swallowed hard and thought harder. “Please don’t. Look. Please don’t send me back.”
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