Bonded by Ink
by Jillian Verne, an interlude with the protagonists of Masters of the Order: Harmony
I eye Teodor’s tattoo. I’ll never tire of looking at it. A scorpion. The ideal symbol of my man and his passions. Black ink covers one pec, curves over Teodor’s shoulder, and up his neck. Beautiful and lethal. All those years ago, Teodor took me to a tattoo shop in this city and asked me to select an image that was “both beautiful and lethal.”
I chose a scorpion.
Now we’re back. For some reason, being in London feels symbolic, just like Teodor’s tattoo. Like we’ve taken a long journey and come full circle. I suppose in many ways we have.
Judas is playing Wembley Stadium tonight. Amazing, right? Not to me. I’ve known since the first night I met Teodor and stole his French fries in some sleazy, stuck-in-time diner that the guy was touched by God. He is extraordinary in a way most mere mortals are not. The music he writes is inspired by God, and perhaps by Satan too. I giggle at the irony of the media mongers labeling his band, Judas, “the saviors of rock and roll.”
It seems like yesterday that the guys were ecstatic to open for the opening act of the opening act of the headliner at a stadium like Wembley. Now Judas is the headliner. Gone are the days of getting dressed in the back of the van, or a hallway, or the john. No more gigs in washed-out clubs. No more trolling record companies. No more slammed doors. The band has come a long way since then.
Teodor and I have come a longer way.
We’re alone in a dressing room. One fleeting moment of peace before the hysteria, but this is our life: me and my rock star and our posse aboard the money train that is Judas.
Teodor smirks while I guide the eyeliner over one eyelid. “You know, makeup artists don’t usually straddle their models.” He lifts my T-shirt and lets his one-eyed gaze coast over the reflection of my back in the mirror.
“Models don’t usually undress their makeup artists while they work,” I grumble and continue doing him up like a chick. “Quit fooling around.”
How can the guy put so much sex into one eye?
Some men have calculating eyes; some have wimpy eyes. Teodor has fathomless eyes, dark like the surface of the ocean at night. There are secrets hidden beneath those rolling waters, and only I know them.
“Spectacular idea,” he chirps, and I laugh at the innocence in the sound of my not-at-all-innocent man’s voice.
Up and off goes my T-shirt.
I pretend to be annoyed. “Hold still, or the line won’t be straight.”
“This line?” Teodor slides his finger under my T-shirt down my spine to my thong.
“Cut it out,” I order as if I’m not interested in playing, but a quick lift of my butt to drag my tube skirt down and expose more of my ass says otherwise.
I’m not stupid. I’m always interested in playing.
“Goddamn, babe. You are gorgeous.”
I give him my not-at-all-innocent grin. I have a sexy ass and I know it.
Teodor squeezes the globes to remind me of the spanking he gave them this morning, and my thigh muscles clench.
Beautiful and lethal. That’s my man. My Dom. My sadist. My world.
“You’re still wet?” he asks as if he doesn’t know.
“And you’re on stage in twenty minutes.”
He slides his hand around my thigh and touches my crotch. I stop moving the eye pencil. I don’t answer. Not with my mouth, anyway.
“You’re still wet,” he says around a puffed-up laugh and starts to rub me.
“We don’t have time to—”
“My fingers are stiff. You wouldn’t want me to step on stage without warming them up, would you, baby girl?”
Baby girl. That’s me. Teodor’s lover. His submissive. His masochist. His home.
Teodor has conditioned my body to respond to his touch. To rise to it. I shift my hips forward obediently, and a fresh wave of cream saturates the thin strip of cotton moving beneath his fingertip.
I want more. I let my head fall back so my predator has the advantage. He shoves me backward onto the makeup counter with one hand and plays with my rapidly swelling clit with the other. I arch my neck and take in the upside-down reflection of my bare skin, milky in the stark light created by the frame of bare bulbs, and Teodor’s hand wrapped in a fingerless leather glove touching me.
My pert nipples sit up high, and my piercings wink in the light. The piercings Teodor’s hands put through my skin. He tweaks one silver ball, and I shudder with delight.
Someone bangs on the door. “Side-stage in ten.”
I don’t move. I can’t. I’m paralyzed by the relentless circles he’s swirling around my areola.
Teodor looks at the clock and says, “Why don’t we make it eleven?”
Before I laugh at his lame Spinal Tap joke, he pinches my nipple between fierce fingers, holding it fast as the minutes begin to tick down.
Nine. The finger at my core moves fast.
Eight. Then slow.
Seven. Presses in tight.
Six. Then soft.
Five. Plays over the tip of my tiny mound.
Four. Then around it.
He stops. I open my eyes, but not in protest. Baby girl knows Daddy’s game, and she loves it. The pain of my denial will be rewarded a thousand fold after the show. This scene is nothing more than Teodor’s version of fabulous foreplay.
Teodor has the devil in his eyes as he raises his hand to his nose and sniffs the leather glove. “Meet me side-stage, baby girl. I need a kiss before we go on.”
I could come with the words alone, but I don’t. Not yet.
Alone now, I turn off the frame of light, adjust my wet thong, and picture my rock star sitting in the empty chair in front of the mirror. Sex in shades of black. Leather pants, shirt open to display the ink, heavy eyeliner surrounding onyx eyes. Throw in the crazy-sexy fingerless gloves and the long, black waves of sinful hair, and Teodor is a twenty-five on a scale of ten.
But there is another Teodor too. Shirtless in jeans, ponytail, classical guitar tucked across his lap while his talented fingers make her sing her classical songs. They are the same person yet totally different.
Both are mine.
I slide my Judas T-shirt over my head with a secretive smile, walk down the hallway, flash my security tag, and slip through the stage door. The DJ’s music blares through the stadium while the guys wait for their cue. Teo swallows me in a bear hug.
“One minute,” someone calls out.
It’s dark—I can barely see the hand in front of my face—and loud. The buzz of thousands of people behind the screen in front of the stage zings through my body.
“You okay?” I ask in Teodor’s ear.
“Yeah, just a little preshow jitters. Nothing a kiss won’t fix.”
Teodor kisses me, quick but smooth as silk, as if he isn’t nervous at all. If I were about to step in front of that hidden monster, I would puke.
“Time to move,” the anonymous voice shouts.
The stadium lights go off, and a dim blue light illuminates the floorboards on the stage. Teodor squeezes my hand and lets go.
Alone at side-stage, I watch three shadows move into position through the blue glow. The screen at the front of the stage rises, and the rumble of the crowd becomes deafening.
When the stage lights come up, a sea of bodies surges forward. The heavy thud of Nati’s bass drum vibrates through the arena, Teodor’s rhythm guitar joins the onslaught, and Shea’s lead guitar rips over the melody. The crowd goes wild, responding to the opening of Judas’s first song.
I watch this show almost every night. I’ve heard this song hundreds of times, and still get caught up in it. Nati and Shea are onstage too, but Teodor holds me spellbound. He stalks the stage, playing his guitar as if it is an extension of him. As if he is making love to it. Shea steps beside Teodor at center stage. Back to back, they weave their musical magic. There is something highly erotic about watching them play together while Nati’s drum pounds out its decadent rhythm.
When the song finishes, I’m sweating, clapping, and jumping up and down. The excitement of the huge crowd is electrifying. The music brings every nerve to life.
Teodor jumps onto a platform and yells, “Surrender to me, London. I want your soul.”
He holds his microphone out to the audience.
The crowd roars.
He puts a hand to his ear.
They roar louder.
The sound of Teodor’s voice over the loudspeaker makes my knees wobbly. The same voice brings me to screams every night. Now tens of thousands of people are responding to it with deafening shouts.
Teodor spreads his legs wide, arches back to thrust his pelvis at the audience, and howls the first notes of the next song into the microphone. The entire place erupts with echoing howls. Fists thrust in the air. Bodies undulate against one another in a sea of flesh and sweat that seems to become a single, voracious, worshipping beast.
I stand in awe, my mouth agape, and stare at the man silhouetted in the spotlight. His long hair falls over his back, his buns clench tight beneath his leather pants, and one gloved hand rises in the air as if he is straining to touch the people in the last row of seats high above him. Sexual energy radiates off him in waves.
There are no words to describe Teodor Rey on a stage in front of thousands of adoring fans. He is a beautiful man. Tall, lean, not overly muscular, but sculpted and dark. Everything about Teodor’s appearance is dark. The devil in his eyes, the hair, the tattoo, the clothes. His manner is pure seduction. His posture says, Come closer if you dare. Music seems to control the way Teodor moves as if he is in a perpetual dance. He captivates with a simple flit of hand or turn of head, but on stage, he commands.
I know the private side of Teodor, who he is when he’s with me or the guys. This is almost another entity. A stranger. My lover takes a backseat to the performer. The rock star. It’s actually a little daunting, but in these moments, Teodor makes perfect sense to me.
Touched by God.
Teodor’s talent is a divine gift, his music exciting in a primitive way I can’t really describe, but there is something more about him when he performs. Something powerful and raw. He lords over the people at his feet. Controls every reaction. Masters the audience.
You see, Teodor isn’t simply a rock star; he is exactly who he was born to be.
A rock god.
Thirty minutes after the show ends, my Teodor appears in the limousine where I’m waiting. The rock star is gone. His hair is still wet from his shower, and pulled into a low ponytail. He’s wearing jeans and a plain white T-shirt under his leather jacket. The corner of his mouth quirks up as he moves into the roof light to kiss me. He knows what I’m thinking. I’ve been his since I was seventeen. Even when we were apart, I was his. He hasn’t washed away all of the eyeliner.
I love that.
I smile at him and say, “Hi, rock star.”
He nuzzles my neck and answers, “Hi, baby girl.” His voice is gruff from singing.
I love that too.
As the car pulls away from Wembley, I know Teodor has something planned. He left me on the edge in the dressing room and knows I’ve watched his every move for the entire show. My man may be a sadist; he’s not that much of one. I squeeze my thighs together in anticipation of my reward.
I manage a difficult silence throughout the ride. As soon as the driver opens the car door, I recognize where we are. I haven’t been here for eight years, and I know in an instant why we’re here.
Teodor smiles without saying anything and takes me by the hand.
Oliver meets us at the door and holds it open as we enter his tattoo shop. He hasn’t changed. A few more tattoos, bigger gauges in his earlobes, and a bit more girth around the middle, but otherwise he’s the same as I remember.
“Teo, man. It’s been too long.”
Teodor lets go of me to embrace Oliver. “It’s great to see you. The years have treated you well.”
“Not as well as you,” Oliver jokes and turns to me with open arms. “Look at you, Eva. More beautiful than I remembered. My offer still stands if you want to dump this street rat.” He tilts his chin to Teodor.
“As wonderful as that sounds, he’s kinda grown on me,” I tease as if Teodor is mold.
Teodor swats my backside, and Oliver laughs. Yeah, Oliver is a freak – the good kind – just like Teodor and I.
Oliver locks the shop door, flips the open sigh to closed, and escorts us down the hallway to his private studio. I want to ask. I really want to ask. I know better. I bite my bottom lip and sit in the tattoo chair while Oliver and Teodor look at a drawing on a lighted screen.
Teodor nods. “Perfect, man. Absolutely perfect.”
Oliver nods back.
“Does she have to be naked?” Teodor asks, and I hear the hesitation in his voice. My man hates it when other men get too close to me, and frankly, I hate it too. Teodor and I were apart for four years, and some horrible things happened to me then. He is still toting around a ton of invisible guilt for that, but it’s a story for another day. For today, I know he trusts Oliver so I trust Oliver.
“The bra and boots won’t get in the way,” Oliver replies without looking at either of us. “I’ve done this hundreds of times, Teo. Her skin is a canvas to me. Nothing more. It’s an honor that you’re letting me put my art on your lady.”
Where on his lady? I wonder.
Teodor picks up the film from the lighted screen and brings it to me. I gasp when I see the image.
An exact replica of the scorpion I chose for Teodor all those years ago. My eyes fill with tears of emotion. Of all the things Teodor does for and to me, one of the most cherished is the marks he gives me. Some are more lasting, like the piercings in my nipples, but even those can be removed. This mark is permanent. It can never be removed. It means forever.
I am his forever.
Teodor shares my emotion. He isn’t much of a talker, but I see it in his teary eyes.
Then Oliver’s voice cuts through the moment “I’ll step out while you get ready, Eva.”
“Thank you, Oliver,” I choke out. When he’s gone, I ask, “Where?”
Teodor’s fingertips touch my mound.
My jaw drops, simply falls open as if I have no control. Who am I kidding? With Teodor, I don’t want control. I want him to have it all. I think of one of the many poems I’ve written for him.
any way You want.
Hold me, hit me, hurt me.
any way You want.
Bite me, burn me, bind me.
any way You want.
Your arms are my safety,
Your lips, my savior,
Your music, my soul.
I am Yours.
any way You want.
I wrote that years ago and it is truer today. I will give Teodor anything. I want nothing more and nothing less.
Teodor grins knowingly and closes in on me, one predatory step at a time. I mewl. No one moves the way Teodor does. His sexual prowess fills the small space between us. My man is sex personified. His voice doesn’t speak; it sings. His eyes don’t look; they absorb. His hips don’t walk; they flow. Pure seduction. Pure danger. Pure dominance.
I am limp with unbridled need while he removes my shirt, thong, and tube skirt. He lays me back across the reclining chair and smothers my open mouth with his. His bruising lips crash into mine as if Teodor wants to replace any lingering doubt with only faith in him. He doesn’t have to try. He does it effortlessly.
The kiss is full of sloppy tongues and clacking teeth. Noses get in the way. Hair gets pulled. We bite and lick. Sometimes hitting the mark, other times not. It doesn’t matter where a mouth lands or what part it is tasting. Neck, chin, cheeks, forehead. All fair game. There isn’t much thought going into it. Just the drive to get as close as physically possible.
Everything that is not said in words is communicated in Teodor’s kiss. I feel his love. His regret for the time we were apart. His hope for our future. The strength he offers to me and the strength in me that he relies on. We are together now, and we are forever. The mark he will have Oliver ink into my skin symbolizes that.
Oliver reentering the studio shatters our make-out session. He clears his throat and chuckles. “Uh, yeah. Let’s get this party started.”
I feel the tension singing through Teodor’s hand as he lays my T-shirt over my hips.
“Um, Teo. I’ll have to move that,” Oliver says.
“Yeah,” Teodor replies, pulls a stool next to the recliner, sits, and turns his back to Oliver. “I can’t watch, but I’m cool.”
He’s clearly not.
“I’ll take good care of you,” Oliver winks at me and tilts his head to Teodor.
I don’t dare smile.
I reach for Teodor’s hand and hold it in a tight squeeze. I’m not sure if I’m any more cool than Teodor right now. I have some ink, but on my coochie-coo? This is going to hurt, and I’m scared.
The buzz of the needle echoes loud, and I flinch. Teodor holds my wide-eyed stare. His face is calm, almost serene. He reaches out and strokes my forehead. The needle touches my skin. I remember this pain, the searing sting of ink. Tiny dots pressing into flesh. Oliver pushes one of my legs farther to the side. I’m exposed and vulnerable and in pain, but my heart is set alight by the love I see in Teodor’s eyes.
As Oliver works my skin, the pain heightens. He stops now and then to allow me to breathe. I’m grateful. I want this to be over, but I need the breaks. I’m sweating. It is getting harder to keep my body still. I never once break eye contact with Teodor.
“This is the last bit, Eva. It’s going to sting the most because it’s…yeah…on a particularly sensitive spot. I can put a strap across your thigh if you think it will help you keep still.”
My eyes are already filled with tears. I think the strap is a good idea. I nod my head. My head bounces like a rubber ball.
Teodor lets go of my hand and swivels the stool to face Oliver. “I’ll do it.”
Oliver hands him a short, wide leather strap with a buckle. Like a tiny belt. When Teodor looks at my mound, he freezes. I nearly yelp.
Does the tattoo look bad? Has Oliver messed up?
I stare at Teodor, frozen at the end of the reclining chair. He’s standing perfectly still, not uttering a word. His heated gaze is heavy with lust and fixed on my pussy. His head is bent as if in adoration.
His eyes flash, dark and wicked, as he peels off his T-shirt and puts his hand over the tattoo on his chest. “We are one, baby girl.”
I’ve never felt more love for him, because my love is reflected back a thousandfold by his awe. Teodor is exposed. Raw. His true essence bared. His passion liberated by the mark on my skin.
His night eyes capture mine. “Our spirits were joined before we were born—“
“And will be forever,” I finish the sentence. This is our vow to each other. One that Teodor made to me on the first night we met, and proves to me every day.
He wraps the leather around my thigh and takes his seat next to me. Before Oliver begins again, Teodor leans over and slips his palms over my jawline to guide my lips to his. A soft press, once and again, so gentle and loving. I melt into his reverence as the little kisses gently roll into something more demanding. I am aware that I’m kissing Teodor in front of Oliver, but this doesn’t feel dirty or kinky. It feels like love. This moment was a long time in coming, and I offer myself to Teodor wholly and completely. He sinks deeper. His tongue parts my willing lips and presses inside with long, slow, wet sweeps to fill me with his taste. His scent surrounds me. His fingertips skim my torso. Slow, silky movements on my sweat-soaked skin. The pain begins again, but now I’m barely aware that Oliver is in the room with us. There is nothing but Teodor and me.
There will never be anything but Teodor and me.
Soon, the pain of receiving Teodor’s mark recedes, and a warm rush of pleasure follows in its wake. Teodor’s hand keeps moving across my ribs. It is a heavy pressure now. He is holding me, controlling me, protecting me with the press of a firm hand. Our kiss deepens.
I’m not sure how much time has passed. I’m high on Teodor’s kiss and the eroticism of what is happening. I vaguely hear Oliver say, “It’s finished.” The door to the studio clicks as it closes.
Without breaking the kiss, Teodor moves his hand lower. His fingertips part my drenched, aching lips. The pain of the tattoo is very intense. It pulses in my hypersensitive flesh. It is similar to the pain Teodor has given me, and my body responds.
I am aroused. Wildly aroused.
Teodor begins to move his finger in tight circles against my smooth, willing flesh. Tighter…faster…around and around until…
“Come for me.”
…I crash over the peak and come against his hand.
As I float on the ripples of my orgasm, he whispers against my parted lips, “Our spirits were joined before we were born and will be forever.”
Harmony is on sale from July 18th through July 24th for 50% off, only at Loose Id. It is available wherever fine e-books are sold.