“MDom Not Asshole” continues
When she had filled her belly with soup and her mind had calmed down a little, Mélanie looked up at her new owner. “So. Sir.”
“Jasper. or Fox. Or Crazy.”
“So, Jasper. What is it that you want me to do for you? Since you wasted valuable stolen goods on m-”
“Not wasted.” He steepled his fingers and looked at her “Spent, yes. I spent maybe a quarter of what you are worth, half because I cheated the slave-monger as a matter of course and half because he had no idea what you’re worth-”
“But how do you know that either?” She leaned forward, wondering how long she could get away with this. It felt heady, like stealing food after curfew.
“Oh, because I’m a thief.” He grinned at her, a little crooked and not looking like he was taking himself seriously at all. “I’m really good at telling the intrinsic value of things. It’s a skill that’s served me very well over the last few years, I can tell you that.”
“Well, I, well, I guess I’m flattered.” She smiled at him, feeling like she could actually relax enough for a genuine expression. That was a dangerous way to feel, of course, but right now, she was going to indulge herself.
“And well you should be – well, as long as you can stand me Eventually, you’re going to curse the day I bought you, but hopefully by then we’ll have found someone nice to swindle so we can sell you to someone for a life of absolute comfort or something like that. That’s what I did for the last one. Sold her to a human who couldn’t really control her and didn’t really want to. In the end, she forgave me for being an obnoxious pain in the – well, you get the idea.”
“If I might say so, you seem awfully intent on convincing me that I’m going to hate you in the end, si – Jasper. That seems like either you’re playing some sort of really weird prank on me, or you’re going to use it as an excuse for awful behavior later.” What? Had she just said that?
“I do try never to be awful. I assure you of that.”
“Hrmph.” Some part of her brain was screaming in horror. Mélanie told that part to shut up. She was going to enjoy this as long as it lasted. “So. You still haven’t answered my question, you know.”
“I haven’t? Ah, I seem to have forgotten what it was.” he smiled sheepishly at her over the table.
She couldn’t help but smile back. “What is it you want me to be doing for you? I’m afraid I’m not a very good thief, and it doesn’t look like you have any cows.”
“Cows? No, but I could steal some. I do have the horses… Well. Let’s see. I’d like you to help me with inventory, if you’re any good at that. When we trade, you might make a more trustworthy face than I do, so you might be able to help me in moving product. Back in the old day I might call it laundering. We move stolen goods along and trade them for completely legit goods. Often then we trade those completely legit goods for something else we actually need, and the thing we hold on to – say, you, in this case, sorry – was procured with entirely legal funds.”
“Clever.” She nodded slowly, considering that scheme. “You’ve been doing this for a while.”
“Well, a little while,” he allowed. “I don’t really count the years, but it’s been a few winters at the very least. I’ll warn you, things can get very… cabin-fever, in the winter. We end up not going anywhere for weeks at a time.”
“That sounds better than slogging around in the snow. You know, you really do like warning me. Do you think maybe you could tell me about some of the good parts? That is,” her bravery seemed to run out all at once. “If you’d be willing to, sir?”
“Well, let’s see. For one, I don’t engage in rape and I don’t tend to use… much force at all. I mean, if you decide to sit on your hands and not do anything, I may involve an order or two in getting you to comply, but I’d much rather have you a willing partner – in all senses of the word – than in any way coerced. But that’s more like ‘and the house has walls and a floor’ than actual benefits.” He steepled his fingers and looked at her. “I never go hungry and neither does my staff or my animals. The house is warm in winter and decently cool in the summer; you’ll always have enough clothes to wear and, within limits, you’ll pick your own clothes. I’ve been on both sides of the collar and I do my best not to be an asshole or jerk you around with the bond. And I suppose the most important, I want you to be a person.” He studied her over the tips of his fingers. “Is that sufficient?”
Mélanie wanted to scoot back, but found she was afraid to move. “Sir…” She was nearly stuttering.
“I – if this is a joke, I see why your previous… slaves… were tired of you so soon, sir. It’s a very mean joke.”