“Stasia.” Mike was apprehensive as the silence stretched out. He knew how smoothly his household ran now, despite the complications brought on by a gaggle of teenage girls. Even though he didn’t think that anything would come of Katrina’s desire - or demand - be become the Kildaran, he was still reluctant to give up the peace and serenity that the harem, under Anastasia’s careful stewardship, had brought to his life. He didn’t want to give her up, either, if he was being honest with himself.
“You wished to see me?” You can do better than this! he thought. Not for the first time, he touched on the fact that it was truly the sub that had the upper hand in a dominance relationship. “This is about Katrina?” he prompted.
“Yes,” she replied seriously.
“I don’t really know -” he began, then stopped.
She suddenly smiled, a full, joyous smile, and the tension in the room vanished. “Mike,” she laughed, “Of course you don’t!” She shook her head.
“I know what you are thinking. I know what happened today, when Katrina came to see you. And I know, too, how to manage this.” She laughed again. “That is why you have a manager, and not do it yourself, yes? I have been through this before in Otryad’s household. It is not difficult if you can accept your role.”
Mike wondered at the sudden shift in the conversation. “My role?” he sputtered. “How do you mean?”
She turned serious. “The Master always has a wife, even with his hareem present. I was Otryad’s wife, until I was replaced. Whether for show, or for politics, or power, or even for love, the hareem remained. And the relationship to the hareem remained the same.”
Settling fully into lecture mode, Anastasia continued. “Let us say that you take Katrina as the Kildaran -”
“Not a sure thing,” he interrupted.
“Let us say.” He nodded. “Then she will be first in the household, the Mistress, and after the Master, her words are law. She is young, though, and inexperienced. You will still need me, to help manage the hareem. She will need me, to help teach her more of how to care for you. She is smart, though, and is aware of this, that you will need your time and your space too. Think now. There are times when you need Tinata, or Martya, or one of the others. It changes with your mood, and the situation, and the problems of life outside the hareem, does it not?” He nodded again. “So how should it be different after?”
“In America -”
Her head shook vigorously. “But you are not IN America. In truth, I doubt you will ever return there to live. You are the Kildar, now, and have adopted these people, this culture, as your own. You may try to change some aspects of it - no girls have been sent to town since you came, have they?” Before his arrival, it was common for the locals to sell their extra daughters to slavers. It was a cultural holdover from an their agricultural past. Children were the economic life-blood of any farm, but boys were more valuable than girls, partially because boys were generally more physically capable, but also because girls would eventually marry. Marriage, especially the first year, was difficult in such cultures, so a dowry would be provided by the woman’s family as a financial cushion for that first year. That dowry, though, was a huge drain on the family providing it. So another custom had evolved, where post-pubescent girls who were not yet betrothed, usually around twelve or thirteen, would be sold off. Not only did it relieve the family of the burden of a dowry, but it could provide up to six months‘ income. Mike hadn’t allowed that to continue. “But the culture as a whole, you accept. You never sought a hareem, yet you ended up with one because the girls had already been sold and the families wouldn’t take them back when you stopped the slavers. So you adapted, and changed. You didn’t know how to handle a hareem, so you found Otryad, and me.” She dimpled. “And you have given me wonderful years, when I thought that my future was bleak. I know that you are different, and won’t get rid of me when you think me too old, like Otryad would have - did. And so because you are who you are, the Kildar, and a SEAL, and everything else - you will keep the hareem, and you will keep me, even when you take a wife.” She looked positively smug as she finished speaking.
“You still amaze me. I thought you would be upset, jealous. I guess I didn’t realize that, just because this is new to me, it wasn’t new to you.”
She shrugged. “I won’t say I won’t be jealous. Katrina will take more of your time than any other woman you have had. But you will still need me, from time to time,” she twinkled, “And the other girls. You will need to have your own place and time away from her, so that the time you spend with her is as joyous and pleasant as it should be.”
“I really hadn’t considered that. I wonder if Katrina has?”
Stasia nodded. “It is one of the topics we discussed. She accepts that even if she is first in your heart, your bed will not be hers alone. Although,” she added, “I think she has her own ideas how to keep you in her bed more frequently than not.”
“I’m sure she does. You have been teaching her, after all.” He leaned back. “I do have one question, though.”
“Only one, Master?” she teased.
“For now,” Mike admitted. “How is it you are so sure this will happen? I really have some problems with all this, and I still have to-”
Stasia’s laugh echoed around the room. “You doubt Katrina’s will?”
No, he had to admit as his laugh joined hers, he didn’t doubt that at all.