Friday, March 28, 2014

Twenty-two


The second show is enlightening. While ninety percent of my attention is still on Dane, the remainder allows me to absorb important details I completely missed the first time—there’s a plot, for example. I find more than slight irony in the fact that the show is a spoof of disaster movies of the seventies, and all the musical numbers are hits from that era—my era. A bridge spanning the generation gap, perhaps? Or is that idea a farce as well?

With the fresh Playbill tucked safely in my overcoat pocket, I follow along in my crumpled copy, studying this artifact of Dane’s life to glean as much as I can. The leads are phenomenally talented, yet when Dane takes the stage, he’s all I can see.

Sitting closer affords me the ability to appreciate more than Dane’s chorus-line precision; from here, his non-verbal language surpasses even his agility. Cloaked in costumes and make-believe characters, Dane’s true self seems to shine brightest. I’ve glimpsed this Dane in my dungeon, this post-release, red-cheeked, endorphin-rushed spirit. To say he soars onstage is not an exaggeration, and like any great performer, Dane carries the audience on his back for the beautiful ride.

My impossible self-imposed task: memorize Dane’s every movement, as if I can bottle his joy, discover the secret recipe, and provide him with an infinite supply. While those around me seem content to appreciate the finale for its musical brilliance and the gratifying tying-up of loose ends, I’m physically straining toward the stage. The pressure inside me has been mounting since our awkward email exchanges this morning, so it’s no wonder I pop like a champagne cork when Dane skips forward for his curtain call. Should I or should I not reveal myself is no longer a choice. Dane’s done dancing for the dayfinished until Tuesday night, in factso my heart is not in conflict with Dane’s best interests as I leap from my chair with passionate applause.

The house lights are up; I’m a tall guy, and it’s too soon for most of the show goers to be on their feet. I’m out there, and the thrill of his discovery thrums through my body. I’m the quivering mess of a kid hiding under my bed, holding my breath as the sneakers shuffle into view. A knee drops; a hand swipes back the dust ruffle . . . “You’re it!”

Dane’s line raise their joined hands and bow in unison . . . tick, tick, tick . . . they roll up . . . eyes survey the room . . . a polite gesture of gratitude, not a search for a familiar face. I’m jumpy and overheated; my mouth is parched—no wonder with the gallons of perspiration sprouting from my forehead. Up close, it’s apparent that Dane is far less active in seeking out eye contact with the audience. He’s Dane again, not the role that freed him temporarily from his shyness. His eyes seem fixed and unfocused toward the balcony.

My hands are raw from clapping, and it’s all for him. Can he not feel my pride? I have to be beaming like the brightest spotlight right now; my eyes are wet with tears. See me, Dane. Understand why I’m here.

Whatever that force that first drew Dane’s gaze to me at the wedding, it swoops in once more and pulls Dane’s head down, landing his gaze squarely on my face. After the fraction of a second it takes him to process that it’s me, Dane’s mouth falls open in disbelief. His dance line breaks in two, and Dane is basically dragged to one side by his fellow performers, making way for the bigger stars. My instinct not to reveal myself earlier was a good one; if Dane had faltered that way during the show, I’d never have forgiven myself.

My next several heartbeats are terrified stutter steps, sick with worry that he’s upset or angry at my secretiveness. Not knowing is causing my dinner to flop around in my stomach like a freshly caught fish jumping at the end of the line. Losing Dane’s trust now—over this—would be a hideous outcome for my impulsive behavior.

The space is filling in between us—both on stage and in the audience. The whole crowd is on their feet, cheering for the leads, and each new curtain call pushes Dane and his clapping castmates back toward the dark corner of the stage. I’m semi-frantic, poking my face through too-tight spaces between thick arrangements of hair until I find him again.

And fucking hell, when I do . . . what he does . . . is exquisite.

He waits until he’s absolutely certain I see him clearly, smiles at me, and lowers his eyes to the stage.

I fall back into my seat, exhausted, stunned, and humbled by Dane—as usual. The crowd thins out around me; my fellow row sitters are not too happy that I won’t rise from my seat to let them out. Frankly, I’m not sure I could, not on these shaky legs. The jostling and hostile mutterings barely register, my mind is in such a whirl.

In those few moments of terrifying not knowing, I realized exactly how much I have to lose.

“Master?”

My head snaps up. “Dane, you should call me Marcus when we’re out in public.” My protective instincts kick in, scoping out the area and finding us totally alone.

“What are you doing here?” Dane drops his bag and coat in the aisle and scoots into the row in front of me, kneeling on the chair and resting his chin on folded arms.  He’s got to be exhausted after back-to-back shows, but aside from a little sweat in his hair and the remnants of eyeliner and lipstick that didn’t wash off, he looks perfect—completely edible, in fact, in his white v-neck tee and sweat pants.

“I was in the neighborhood.”

His grin widens. “You were in the neighborhood.”

This is new; we’re flirting. I stretch out my legs and cross my ankles under his chair. My arms close over my chest as I ponder my bullshit excuse. What the hell. “Mmhmm, after the matinee.”

The surprise rocks him back in his chair, and he has to grip the top to avoid falling backwards. “You saw the matinee, too?”

God, he is so fucking beautiful right now. “Yes, I did.”

“Why didn’t you say anything after the show?”

“Oddly enough, I worried it might freak you out a little bit.”

“Okay, touché or whatever.” He brings his right thumbnail to his left bicep, giving it an entirely unproductive scratch. Body armor, same as me. “It was really nice of you to come. You didn’t have to do that.”

“Sure I did. How was I going to see you dance otherwise?”

Dane blushes and looks down at my knees. As if I need reminding, he leans in and whispers, “You can make me dance anytime you want.”

I am that easy.  The mere mention of my power over him and the thought of a private dance have me sporting wood.  I shift forward in my seat, placing my mouth near his ear.  “Oh, I know that, sweetheart, but it’s not the same.”

I didn’t mean to let the endearment slip, but there it is. I can barely resist the urge to run my hand through his hair or rest my cheek against his, but I also don’t move away, and neither does he.

“So what did you think?” His voice is tense and tight. I won’t pretend my answer doesn’t mean everything to him. That doesn’t mean I know where to begin.

I think you’re perfect. 
You’re grace and power and freedom. 
I cannot believe how lucky I am to have you.

“You stirred something deep inside me, Dane. Watching you move on stage . . . you made me feel twenty years younger.” I feel a little silly speaking to his ear, but this seems to be the only way he can bear the compliments. “Do you have any idea how proud I am of you?”

Without moving a muscle, he whispers, “Master?”

If he’s used the title, he has his reasons. Unable to abide the distance any longer, I allow my lips to brush his neck with my answer. “What is it, Dane?”

“Will you kiss me, please?”

He turns just enough that our foreheads are joined. His eyes are squeezed shut, as though the request –or maybe the waiting—is difficult. It could not possibly be uncertainty; he has to know I won’t turn him down.

“Of course I will, my beautiful boy.”

I reach for him with both hands, cupping his head and caressing him with my thumbs. He needs this. I need this. This kiss is different, and we both know it. My lips close the gap and cover his. Once I’ve started this kiss, Dane is not afraid to meet me. In this moment, we’re as close as we have yet come to being equals—not dominant and submissive, not even older man and younger boy; we’re two people who know we need each other, maybe in different ways, but not in unequal proportions.

We’re both lost in this delicious, intense moment when the theater lights go dark. Dane’s lips curl into a smile against mine, and into the black abyss, he mumbles, “I think we better get out of here.”




". . . TWO PEOPLE WHO KNOW WE NEED EACH OTHER"! Just sayin'.

Have I told you lately you're the best readers around? 
Thank you for your enthusiastic responses to the previous couple chapters. I love that I can explore the "what ifs" of this relationship without rushing them back to the playroom.  MWAH!

36 comments:

  1. Oh Born, so much wonderful stuff in this chapter!

    Starting off by making me LOL is always nice (As Marcus works to "absorb important details I completely missed the first time—there’s a plot, for example.") The anticipation of Dane spotting him and then Dane's perfect response. Then a bit of cute Marcus admitting he was in the neighborhood ... after the matinee. Always looking to unearth more of the real Dane and aim to provide exactly what he needs. The flirting...the kissing...soo wonderful. I want to lick them both!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so happy you enjoyed those bits. I love writing Marcus vulnerable and Dane taking charge of a powerful moment, and it means a lot to me that you can pick up on those elements. MWAH!
      x

      Delete
  2. Reading this chapter made my heart swell with emotion and my eyes begin to tear up. Smitten is no longer applicable to how Marcus feels about Dane. It's so much more and wonderful to read. Marcus' inner dialogue reveals his growing affection for his beautiful boy. That 2nd to last paragraph just slayed me. Done. I'm overwhelmed by the beauty displayed here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a beautiful review. I love that you termed it "affection," because there's some deeper element at play than simply smitten, right? A true warmth that goes beyond a passing crush...well, I think we all know this ain't passing! I've given a lot of thought to "equality" and "power" over the years of writing this type of story, and it's delightful to be able to try to sift through the characters' feelings. Thank you for your lovely insights and reactions. xo

      Delete
  3. **sigh** who knew a perv like me could get so many feels from the chapters that take place OUT of the playroom?!? lol

    Once again, I loved Marcus's tension and joy as he watched Dane dance (and realize that the show had a plot after all!!! lol), and i held my breath with him while he was nervous about Dane's reaction to him being there (though, i think i was a little more confident that the gesture would be well received!).

    I really loved their interaction when Dane came out to see M. Interesting little moment that D chose to kneel in the seat in front of Marcus, but besides that their interaction was decidedly casual, flirty, and they seemed to be on an even playing field. Though D had to fall back on using Marcus's title, I LOVE that he asked for a kiss. it was just so sweet and tender. *sigh*

    And the terms of endearment that Marcus let slip: "sweetheart", and "my beautiful boy". GAH soo good. They really do need each other. !!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh sweet Digi, you underestimate yourself! The playroom scenes and smutty stuff certainly have their place, but I would heartily agree that it's scenes like this that are way more interesting to write, partly because I get to sit back and just watch my characters interact, furiously scribbling notes while they do.

      AH! You picked up on the kneeling! ;) And yes to the "level" playing field, or at least, let's agree one where the ball can be passed back and forth. Maybe power is all an illusion, anyway. Maybe power can only be yielded, never taken? Hmmm, heavy thoughts for a Friday afternoon!

      That "sweetheart" came right out, didn't it? WHOOPS!
      xoxo
      b

      Delete
  4. Thank you Born,

    Best chapter yet, I love the first blooms of love.....ahhhhh

    Jarvis

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so pleased you named this your favorite, Jarvis! I'm pretty sure it's my favorite too (so far)! Thank you!
      xo

      Delete
  5. Very nice. I enjoyed feeling like Dane wasn't a victim - that he was simply a guy swept away in the process of falling in love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahhh yessss. I guess we're all victims where love is concerned!
      x

      Delete
  6. OMG! How amazingly sweet (although I'm not sure that's the word).

    ReplyDelete
  7. I read all the chapters in one go, and I can honestly say that I'm enjoying this story even more y¡than KEA. There such sweetness in every decision Marcus makes and yet he carries them out with such control and elegance. There is playfulness and kinkiness in every chapter. It is a delight to see him reveal himself with such unapologetic candor and to see the character unfold so seductively. Dane just has my heart it is a beautiful thing to see him mend his heart, mind, and spirit under the tutelage of his Master. So delicious that in his submission to Marcus he can find freedom and peace. I can wait to see Dane become his true self through the story. And dare I say that somewhere in that theater in the last part of the chapter a balance was found and that while I'm being daring I will add that something was brewing, to me it kind of smelt like Love.
    Thank you for sharing your writing and many blessings to you.
    Gigi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I LOVE your description of Marcus: control + elegance. YES!

      I just loved your beautiful tribute to the characters here, and I'm so pleased you're enjoying the story, Gigi!
      Thanks for your lovely review.

      Delete
  8. "Sweetheart" and "Will you kiss me, please?" in one chapter? Your spoil us rotten.

    Beautifully written, as always.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do. But then, I love you guys (whoever you are)

      Delete
  9. It's official...you have broken me. This entire chapter is chock full of delicious visuals, fluttery feelings, and interactions between two of my favorite boys. Mind you, I'm not complaining because there are very few ways to enjoy being broken.

    This is just more and more and more of what I've come to expect from Marcus, B. It's everything he is plus the vulnerability that proves he's falling for Dane as a man and not just a sub. The part that I was holding my breath for...when Dane realizes that Marcus is there...so perfectly written. Great moogly boogly, woman.

    Favorite line... He waits until he’s absolutely certain I see him clearly, smiles at me, and lowers his eyes to the stage. ...Such an amazing visual!

    xoxo
    V

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah...yeah, those damn eyes of Dane's. And his humility. SHIVERS!
      So pleased you enjoyed it.
      x

      Delete
  10. *squeeeaaalll!*
    That was so perfect. I couldn't have imagined it any better. Such beautiful visuals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So happy you enjoyed that!
      It was a true pleasure to write and imagine Marcus watching Dane!
      xx

      Delete
  11. *singing* "Can you feel the love tonight........" Awwwwww....these boys. They really do love/like each other a bunch don't they? So sweet to see. Now they need to elevate Marcus' concern that he really doesn't know the boy all that well. They need to find out a little bit more about each other outside of the sex thing. I think that this is a great beginning in doing that. Yay!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, I guess the Broadway experience is getting to ya, Keye! ;)
      Now I'm singing, "Getting to Know You..."
      There's a lot of love/like there!
      xx

      Delete
  12. Sigh...I wrote the best review ever and hit the sign out button instead of publish! grrrrr. LOL, will say this I had my hand on my heart and a watery smile at the end of this chapter. They are so close to falling in love, and we see it, we feel it, we root for it, we long for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I"m sure it was epic, Vicki! LOL HAND ON HEART AND WATERY SMILE???
      Sweet. Thank you!
      x

      Delete
  13. The sentiment from Marcus and the needfulness from each of them. You deserve your own curtain call! I think maybe this has been my favorite chapter so far.

    flutterfli

    ReplyDelete
  14. *jumpy claps* oh im so happy Marcus revealed himself, and whatta moment between these two afterward. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. There is a plot...Ha They are so connected. Marcus worried he has over stepped. As if ST wouldn't want to see him. And Dane "asked" for something! go Dane

    I want them to go to a show together. What would they choose?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent question. I have an idea or two!
      xx

      Delete
  16. It's quite amazing how much their roles reverse without even realizing it. How Dane sweeps in and takes control in this vulnerable moments when Marcus isn't quite sure what would be the best course of action. Of course Dane would be horrified to think he was being so forward (even though he is not), but it is the ebb and flow of their dynamic that makes "this" work so beautifully. Marcus is so in tune to Dane that he picks up on his little cues. Maybe Marcus can smell his pheromones. OMG is Marcus a vampire?.;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, there's a story line I honestly had not considered. Please god, no. What a beautiful way to describe their delicious do-si-do of "power and control"- the ebb and flow. I quite agree that Dane seems to know just how to do it without assuming anything or making Marcus feel usurped. Isn't that sweet?
      xoxo

      Delete
  17. Oh phew... for a sec I thought Dane wouldn't have approved ofor him coming to the show like that. But maybe I should've known better. Dane is... wow, unrecognizable now. Totally grown into himself. And I can imagine that before he met Marcus, the only thing that gave him life was dancing on that stage. So god to see him in that element. And when Marcus told him how proud he was of him, I believed every word.

    When Dane called him Master (after being told he doesn't have to in public) and asked to be kissed, I was a goner. I think in that moment he was so overwhelmed. The surprise of seeing Marcus, the feelings of pride at hearing his Master express his satisfaction with him, the adrenaline high after a performance. Its totes normal that he's all hyped up and craving that contact. That touch that can only be felt coming from his Master. Guh. .. honestly had no idea he'd ask yo be kisued in public. Again shoed what a long way he's come. And I'm not naive to assume that he's all fixed but he's seriously made some stunning progress within himself. Finding Marcus has done him well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love how you added up all the elements there- coming off the high of the show and knowing Marcus has just seen him in his element, then just the rush of feelings he had bottled up because he thought he wouldn't see him...and we don't get the sense Dane hides who he is- I mean, I don't see him on leash walking down 42nd Street, but he's never mentioned being closeted or anything, and he was certainly "OUT" at the wedding on the dance floor. Yeah, still have some hurdles to get past, but he is doing so well!
      xxx

      Delete
  18. gah!! my tummy's all fluttery! how exciting! they're flirting with each other and it's just so sweet! yes, exactly, two people who need each other! and they're at that best part when it's all new and exciting - extremely intoxicating!

    aww, my heart flipped a bit when dane noticed marcus and he smiled then lowered his eyes. loved that! i'm so excited for marcus, who's experiencing falling in love for the first time. his whole world is changing! *sighs* i really loved this chapter. :) xx

    ReplyDelete