You are beautiful, today. Your eyes are deep-set and dark brown, with a patina of warmth that I am discovering hides a turbulent ocean of intelligence and cunning and cruelty. You are young, today. Not even twenty-five, I believe. Your youth shows in your inability to sit still on my pristine white leather couch, the way you cross your long, lean, slate-gray Armani-sheathed legs ankle-on-knee, and then stretch them out ankle-on-ankle in front of you, and the way you reach with a Rolex-braceleted wrist and delicately pick at an invisible loose thread on your black V-neck T-shirt, the way you brush at your knee with strong but fragile-seeming fingers, and then touch your jaw and then dig in your hip pocket for your sleek smartphone—which isn’t there, because unshackling you from that device is an integral part of the training program. And you definitely need training.

Your name is Jonathan, today. Not Jon, or John, or Johnny, but Jonathan. You very subtly accentuate the first syllable, Jonathan. It is cute, that little accent on the first syllable of your oh-so-generic name. Jonathan. As if to make sure I am listening before you say the rest, as if to say “pay attention to who I am.” You are so young, Jonathan. You are only a few years younger than I am, but age is so much more than how many times one has spun around the sun. Your age shows through in more than your incapacity for stillness; it is in your eyes, those layered brown eyes, how you look at me with lust and calculation and wonder and not a little fear.

You are like all the rest of you—oh, how I hate the lack of a you-plural conjugation in the English language; other languages are so much more precise and effective and elegant. Let me try this again: You (singular, Jonathan) are very much like all the rest of you (plural, the multitude of men-boys that have come and gone before you-singular, Jonathan).

You, Jonathan, look at me with that needy greedy hungry lusty fear, wondering how you can possess me, how you can circumnavigate the rules binding us to this contract, how you can get me to leave with you and be yours and how you can get me to loosen my top or bend over for you a little so you can catch a better glimpse down my blouse, how you can have me in any way at all. But like all the others, you cannot. Not any of that.

I am not for you.

I belong to one man and one man alone, and he does not share. Not what you desire of me, at least.

Madame X (Madame X Series #1)