“Rule two: Choose a safe word, and understand when to use it.”
We find ourselves standing face-to-face in the submissive’s room just off the dungeon, a space I normally view via closed-circuit TV. I’ve decided to transition Dane here, in this intimate chamber set aside for private pre-scene acts—undressing, showering, grooming, emotional and spiritual preparation, and sleeping. He’s shoeless and shirtless, but I like the tattered jeans, so they can stay—for now.
“Do you have a safe word you normally use?”
A familiar grimace returns. “I was not encouraged to use my voice, Sir. Not for any purpose.”
I pull my left hand behind my back and channel all my loathing for Dane’s previous partner into a tight fist. Fighting to keep the biting hatred from my voice, I ask, “How did you indicate when you were feeling unsafe or approaching a hard limit?”
Dane’s face tilts to the ceiling. Fuck. I’m sure I’d find the beginning of tears if I pressed him. “Master gave me a puppy squeak toy.”
Fingernails bite into the flesh of my palm so I might take on a fraction of his pain. Dane’s humiliation trumps my anger toward his abuser, draining the bitterness and leaving only gentle words for the boy in front of me. “Dane, there is no shame in using your safe word.”
His head shakes and he pulls his lower lip between his teeth. I step closer so he can take strength from my presence.
“We could use the standard stoplight system, but I’d much rather you choose your own word, something you’d remember in the heat of the moment, something that makes you feel safe. I do not recommend picking something silly, because you are not going to be feeling playful if you need to safe word.”
I pause when he whimpers at what must be a terrible memory, and a lump forms in my throat. I will erase every shadow of this man from your memories.
“Is there a word that comes to mind, Dane?”
With a mighty effort, he returns his gaze to me. Fighting tears and a quivering chin, he presses his lips together and forces out his word. “Mercy.”
“Mercy,” I repeat. “That’s a good word. Say it again, Dane.”
“Louder. Like you mean it.”
I smile because I’m way too close for him to yell so loud, but I asked for it. I’m way too close period. We both need a little space here, and I take a couple steps back.
“That’s good, Dane. Now that you have your word, let’s go over the concept. Invoking your safe word simply means exercising your right to say no.”
He gawps at me. I’ve just told him the moon is made of cheese.
“That’s right; I give you permission to say no. I don’t look down on you; I’m not disappointed in you; I don’t think you’re weak; I don’t like you any less. You should feel comfortable using your safe word without fear of emotional or physical retaliation.”
The boy looks at me with a mixture of disbelief and awe. I’ve already discovered my shortcut to the mind of Dane, and I use it now. “You need to know my safe word, too.”
I thought as much.
“There may come a time—there probably will come a time—when I need to quickly stop the action. I may feel as though you’re taking on too much, or it may be a situation where I’m not able to give you what you need in the heat of the moment . . . I can’t say exactly. It’s rare, but it happens. I will not hesitate to safe word if need be.”
The ops manager of Downstairs turned out to be a pussycat of a guy who walked me through the house rules and gave me the nickel tour of the place, ending outside a heavy wooden door with no windows. Downstairs was the hottest club in the city, and after the parade of creeps I’d met on the internet, I was eager to work with a stable of serious, pre-screened submissives. If I had to audition for management like a poodle at Westminster for the privilege, by golly, I’d sit, stay, and roll over. “Well, kid,” Jenks began, “all that stands between you and a whole lotta kink is Master Aro. You ready?”
I’d practiced thrashing my whips until my shoulder was sore and donned the most impressive all-black uniform I owned, purchased with my overtime earnings from five long-ass tax seasons. I was ready to impress the hell out of this guy. I nodded so enthusiastically, I nearly snapped my neck right off my shoulders. Jenks chuckled and gave the door three hard raps with his fist. “Good luck, buddy,” he said before leaving me there alone.
The door creaked open, haunted house style, and inside was a tall, lanky man dressed in classic leathers. Pale as a ghost, he looked as though he hadn’t seen the light of day in months, and a shudder ran through me when he bared his teeth. “Welcome to Downstairs, Marcus. Please, come in,” said the spider to the fly.
In the middle of the room knelt two submissive boys, one collared and trussed in an intricate metal cock cage. A familiar warm tingle started in the depths of my belly as I gave my eyes a Sunday-afternoon ride down their naked bodies. Don’t fuck this up, Marcus, I told myself, as if more pressure would help.
“Over here,” Aro called, leading me to the whip wall. “You have a favorite?” He spoke almost to the whips, considering each with a loving caress.
Confident in my skill with the cat-o’-nine-tails, I figured I’d impress him with the choice. “I like the way the cat feels in my hand.”
“Mmm,” he hummed with an eerie half-smile. “One of my personal favorites. Let’s see what you’ve got, shall we?”
“Absolutely, Sir,” I responded. Before reaching for the whip, I peeled off my leather coat and set it neatly on the floor by the wall. He appraised my body with greedy eyes, and I puffed out my chest as much as I could without appearing obvious. With an approving nod, Aro signaled for me to stand in front of the kneeling subs while he took his place behind.
“This one is mine,” he announced, grasping a handful of hair from the head of the collared boy and yanking it rather unkindly to one side. The boy grimaced slightly but didn’t respond. “Tell Sir Marcus why you’re being punished today, pet.”
The boy’s frown grew deeper, and his voice dripped with regret. “I put this cock belonging to Master where it didn’t belong.”
Aro scowled and looked over at the other boy. “Indeed, and this little slut was more than eager to take it into his mouth, wasn’t he?”
The other sub maintained his stoic stare straight ahead, but I caught the trickle of sweat rolling down his neck while Aro’s boy responded, “Yes, Master.”
“Tell Sir Marcus your punishment, pet.”
“One week in Master’s cock cage and fifteen lashes.”
Aro nodded behind him. “Administered by Sir Marcus, whom you will thank vigorously for each. Understood?”
The question seemed as much for me as for his sub. I nodded to the man while his pet answered with the appropriate formalities. Aro let go of his boy’s hair with a sneer and moved around in front of the other boy though it was his pet he was addressing when he added, “Your horny little friend here will have his lips where yours belong so I can experience for myself this temptation that caused you to disobey me.” Both boys knew better than to show emotion. “Up you go, pet. Sir Marcus will bind you to the frame while I watch and grow hard for your cock-sucking slut.”
The boy rose and stepped into place, spreading both arms and legs for the bindings. I set the whip down and clipped him into place, painstakingly adjusting the bindings so he could receive the full impact of the whip. While I was careful not to touch the other man’s submissive more than necessary, I did note the smoothness of the boy’s skin and the absence of other markings. This type of punishment was rare for them, which gave me a good indication exactly how much the boy’s behavior had upset his Master.
I drew in and released a deep breath as Aro opened his leathers, stepped close to the other boy’s mouth, and began to stroke himself—his eyes locked on his pet’s the entire time.
“Look, pet. Your friend’s cock is heavy with excitement. Do you think that’s because he’s about to have your Master in his mouth, or is he keen to see you take the whip?”
The bound boy answered, “I don’t know, Master.”
Aro continued, still stroking himself, “As for you, pet, I wouldn’t recommend raising an erection in that contraption. Do try not to get too excited.” Aro turned and gave me the nod to begin just as he pulled the kneeling boy’s mouth to his cock.
A familiar thrum of excitement buzzed through me as I coiled the whip in my left hand and lined up for the first strike. Eager to impress Aro, I released the appropriate length of leather and snapped the whip onto the boy’s lower back. He jerked forward and let out a grunt. Perfect strike! Out of the corner of my eye, I caught Aro sliding into the boy’s mouth. I was sure his pet saw it too.
“Please, Sir Marcus, may I have a second?”
I drew my shoulders up and rained the second blow on the opposite side. The second bite of the cat is worse than the first, the awful anticipation of the next strike spun with the reality of the first. The boy’s grunt turned into a groan, and a pair of symmetrical red stripes marred his perfect skin. I peeked around the trussed body to see if Aro was concerned, only to find his gaze unfocused and his jaw dropped open with pleasure as he settled into a slow rhythm with the boy’s face.
With all the whipping and sucking and grunting, my own arousal was growing harder to ignore, but I stayed focused on striping the boy’s back, drawing a fresh thrill at each anticipatory swish of the whip. Red welts mapped a trail up the boy’s back; after the sixth blow, he whimpered.
Aro taunted, “Ahh, pet, this boy’s warm, wet mouth is heaven, and the way he uses his tongue . . . I can almost see why you’d risk my wrath. Oh dear, you’ve gone and gotten excited, haven’t you?”
The boy moaned, lifted his head to the scene before him, and gutted out some incomprehensible answer.
Feeling for him, I moved my blows to his thighs. At impact, his knees buckled, but the bindings held him upright while he recovered and asked for more. I thrashed him swiftly on the opposite leg and waited for him to settle. The remainder of the blows belonged on the boy’s ass, but he was fading. Aro’s rhythm picked up, and he shot me a what-are-you-waiting-for glare until I lifted the whip to strike once more.
The boy clenched every muscle in his body and wailed upon impact. As he struggled to recover from the lash, the background grunts of the boy sucking his Master’s cock and Aro’s own maniacal thrusting were simply too much for him to ignore. He moaned anew at the sharp pinch of the cage, and for the second time, I reconsidered the wisdom of continuing to strike the boy.
Aro seemed far less worried, streaming out a constant flow of dirty talk and porn star moans designed to keep his pet painfully hard. I landed the cat twice more while Aro fucked the other boy’s face with renewed vigor, reaching his orgasm at the tenth blow. The boy quivered in his bonds as his Master growled and sent long sprays of thick spunk into the other boy’s hair. Aro’s gaze lifted expectantly to my arm, looking to my blows to usher him through the afterglow.
Dejected, torn up, and humiliated, Aro’s sub was maxed out. I had no stomach to deliver the remaining blows.
If he’d been my own sub, I would’ve switched to a gentler implement or provided some kind of emotional reassurance, but this wasn’t my rodeo. Aro was there, running the scene; I was simply the arm delivering the blows.
“The boy has requested his eleventh stroke,” Aro challenged me.
“Does he have a safe word?” I asked, risking everything.
“We don’t use safe words for punishments here,” he said, shaking off his dick and tucking it back inside his leathers. “If my pet needs to stop the punishment, he’ll ask to be released from my collar. Is that what you want, pet?”
From behind, all I could see was the bound boy lifting his head and the two making eye contact.
Aro nodded and turned his beady eyes in my direction. “Strike him again, Marcus, or leave my dungeon and my club. You won’t get a second chance.”
I’d waited months for this audience, and I was not about to be derailed, but I knew I couldn’t hit him again.
“Enough!” I cried. Reaching around the boy, I offered the whip handle to Aro, tore off my shirt, and tossed it to the side. Stepping into the bondage frame behind the bloody, sweaty body, I gripped the leather wrist restraints in fisted hands.
Turning my head to Aro, I said, “If it pleases you, Sir Aro, I’ll take the remainder of the strokes at your hand.”
Time stood still for several long moments while Aro fingered the thick braided handle and considered his options—most of which ended quite badly for me. Despite the painful whipping I’d just requested, my cock swelled in response to the heated flesh of Aro’s pet against my bare chest and the raw, rank remains of sex in the air. I could only imagine the unbearable pain the cock cage was inflicting.
When Aro finally delivered his decision, it was accompanied by a respectful nod. “You’ve made an honorable choice, Marcus. Eight out of ten men would’ve continued on with the whipping, and the ninth might have handed me the whip and left, but your decision was extraordinary. Prepare for your lashing.”
As I thanked him and braced both of us for the impact of the cat, I recognized myself for the first time in a moment of perfect clarity: I am a dom.
You have my amazing pre-readers to thank for this delve into Marcus's past. I hope you enjoyed the window into his early days as a dom-in-training. And what do you think about Dane's safe word? Will he need to use it, and will he be able to? Stay tuned! XOXO