Delayed Surrender

By: Megan Bright

Chapter One





Mallory was determined to enjoy a night on the town with her girlfriends. She put a touch up on her lipstick and headed out of her apartment. On her way out, she readjusted the candles on her mantle and her coffee table, making sure they were all straight and centered and ordered from the shortest to tallest. Not that they needed any moving about. She always kept everything perfect in her own little domain, but she also had a compulsion to check constantly. As she did a final turn and perusal of her small downstairs living area, she took in a deep breath. It all looked perfect; everything was right where she wanted it and the symmetry soothed her.

Going out was tough for her, not that she didn’t do it on a regular basis, but she definitely needed some social lubrication to help with the stress of being around other people, and out in public, and especially the loudness and chaos of the clubs she regularly went to. Trish, her best friend, had asked her once why she went out at all, why she wasn’t more of a shut-in with all her issues, what Trish called her OCD and her Social Anxiety—issues, which she guessed they were, although to her they were just parts of her personality that needed a bit extra managing, and to answer Trish, she did it all just because it was so difficult.

Now her mode of operations, or her MOO, as she liked to call it—envisioning the most docile, cud chewing cow—was to go after, and face it all head on, turn towards the issues and conquer them, or at least make sure none of it disabled her, so if something scared her or came up again and again in her therapy sessions, she would then start doing those exact things, until they no longer held power over her psyche. If she could make sense of it, or correct a lack in symmetry, she would do that first and be okay with it, be okay with all her little needs for control. If she couldn’t really change something, such as the people around her, then she would try and saturate herself with them until their power over her was diffused.

Going out, and especially the abandon of going to a club, used to be one of the most stressful things imaginable to Mallory. There had been a point in her life where she’d needed Trish to almost carry her out of a club the first few times they’d gone. And each subsequent time, Trish had questioned them ever going out again, but each time, Mallory had recovered. And each time after, the severity of her panic attacks had lessened, and now, if she was really honest about it, she enjoyed the slight adrenaline rush she got as she was leaving her apartment and heading out into the world to conquer another dragon. Her MOO was working. She was getting better, much better at interacting with others, the tiniest bit more reckless, and a couple times she’d even gone home with cute guys.

She didn’t have touch issues, which her therapist found a total contradiction to her numerous other social anxiety issues. Mallory was indeed a miasma of contradictions, which didn’t bother her in the slightest. She thought herself complicated and intricate. She liked sex—apart from being in other people’s messy homes. She liked a good night of fucking around without any commitment required of her after the fact. She could get up and leave and never even have to talk to them again, which worked out better for her than any sort of real obligation to another person.

She didn’t have time for that anyway. Her job was a commitment and a half. She spent all her time serving the all mighty Arrick Sanderson Senior as his personal assistant extraordinaire. She pretty much lived his life for him and dealt with almost everything the man needed. She often wondered when he would start requesting she also wipe his ass. But, she liked him, even though he was a solid twenty years her senior, she often felt a true chemical attraction to him, which was rare for her, and to her, he was the most stable father figure she’d ever know.

She found most men boring and not worth the effort of her speaking to them, but Arrick was another story. She genuinely liked the guy, as helpless as he was for normal life. He was a brilliant leader and entrepreneur, and he was passionate, something she could appreciate when she saw it in another person. She always thought herself a very passionate sort, perhaps overly so in regards to some things. Nevertheless, Arrick Sanderson was a man of worth, and she enjoyed being his right hand.

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