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Their Obedient Pet

by

Evelyn Prince






Copyright © 2018 by Evelyn Prince


All rights reserved.


No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.


The characters in this book are entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.


All characters in this piece of fiction are over eighteen years old.






Find the previous books in this series on Evelyn's Smashwords author page






Sitting in his study at home, Cole was halfway through an email to his boss when Sarah knocked on the doorframe. “Do you have a sec?” she asked.

“Not really,” he said, but saved the email as a draft, closed the browser, and swivelled his chair to face her anyway. “What’s up?”

She entered the room and shut the door behind her. She sat in his lap, facing him. Warmth from her body sank into him and he wrapped his arms around her to pull her even closer. “Hey, gorgeous,” he said.

“Hey.” She kissed him, but it was light, distracted, and she pulled away soon. “Amberly’s sad,” she said.

Cole frowned. “What did she say?”

“Nothing. But it’s obvious. Isn’t it obvious?”

Cole tipped his head back. Amberly had been quieter than usual over the past two weeks, but he’d assumed she was just busy and caught up in her own thoughts. Thinking about it, though, when was the last time he’d seen her laugh? When was the last time she’d been sassy or cheeky? And when was the last time they’d had sex? She’d had an excuse for why she couldn’t join him and Sarah for the past… at least two weeks, maybe longer. She always said they should carry on without her, that she’d join them soon, but ‘soon’ never seemed to arrive. She crawled into bed with them right as they were about to turn off the lights, or she didn’t come to the bedroom at all and Cole would venture out to find her at the kitchen table, still hunched over her homework from university.

“Huh,” he said.

“What do we do?” Sarah asked. “I want to help, but I don’t know what’s going on and I don’t want to freak her out, but something’s wrong and—”

“Slow down, baby,” he said. “Step one might be for us to talk to her, don’t you think?”

She let out her breath in a huff. “Yeah,” she said. “You’re so reasonable.” She curled her fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck. “I miss having sex with her. And I miss her being a cheeky little brat. And I miss her laugh.”

“We’ll work it out,” Cole said. He knew he needed to get back to work, but the weight of Sarah in his lap was too soothing to give up just yet. The only thing that could make this better was if Amberly was here, standing behind him and rubbing his shoulders. She used to do that all the time—come in and give him a back rub while he worked. She usually kept it up for at least half an hour, though every time, she’d eventually end up naked in his lap and demanding his attention.

He missed her.

“We’ll work it out,” he repeated. He kissed Sarah. “How hard can it be?”

*

How hard can it be? was maybe a stupid question. Now he was looking for it, Cole couldn’t stop noticing how off Amberly currently was. She avoided eye contact all evening. Every smile held tension at its edges and she didn’t laugh once. She barely spoke, which was rare for their girl, who usually had a sassy comment to suit every occasion.

After dinner, Amberly stood up from the table. “I’ll take care of the clean up,” she said. She started to walk away, but Cole caught her arm.

“Wait a sec,” he said, and pulled her into his lap. “What’s bothering you, love?”

He expected a brush off. Maybe a vague excuse or the denial that anything was wrong.

What he hadn’t expected was for Amberly to burst into tears.

“Whoa,” Sarah said. Her chair screeched against the floor when she pushed it back from the table. “Baby—”

Amberly pressed her face into Cole’s shoulder, shaking her head. “I’m fine,” she said, which was the most blatant lie he’d ever heard in his life. Then she drew in a deep shuddering breath and it all came spilling out—how stressful school had recently become, the mounting pressures and expectations, how she hadn’t slept properly in weeks, how tired and anxious she felt all the time; how half of her wanted to drop out and go back to work, but she’d hated that job, God, she’d hated it so much, and she needed to be in school, but it felt like it was actually going to kill her; and she felt so needy all the time, but also like she’d start crying if anyone even looked at her, never mind touched her…

Cole hitched her higher in his lap and held her through the torrent of words. Sarah knelt on the floor by his chair and rubbed Amberly’s thigh as she spoke. “Jesus,” Cole said when she finally trailed off. “Baby, why didn’t you say anything?”

Amberly blinked at him with big wet eyes. Her mouth wobbled, but she pressed it into a tight line, trying to pull herself together. “I’ve got it,” she said. “You two already do so much—you do everything. You’re pretty much supporting me while I go to school. This is your house. This is—fuck.” The tears started bubbling again and she wiped at them impatiently with the back of her hand. “I’ve got it,” she repeated. “I’m just really caught up in my head, but I’m fine, I’ll be fine.”

Sarah raised herself up on her knees and cupped her hand around the back of Amberly’s neck. She pulled her down for a soft, tender kiss. “Can we take a look at your syllabuses together?” she asked.

“Why?”

Sarah combed her fingers through Amberly’s hair. “We need to work out when we can set aside some time for us to get you out of your head.”

Amberly frowned. “My reading break is coming up soon,” she said slowly. “What are you thinking?”

Cole wasn’t sure either, but he knew Sarah. If she was making suggestions, then she already had a plan in place. He had no idea what the plan was, but chances were it would be a good one.


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