“How’d rehearsal go?”
“Step on anyone’s toes today?”
Dane chuckles. “No, Master, but thank you for asking.”
I bump his shoulder with mine; we walk along, grinning together. Today’s joining is easier than last night’s in every way. If we’re quiet, it’s a contented, relaxed silence not requiring the effort of words—no withheld secrets or stifled responses hanging in the air between us.
“Not yet, but if you are, I’m happy to—”
“I already know that, Dane.” He looks over at me, catches my smile, and shrugs. We walk on.
At the end of the second block, I steer Dane with no more than a subtle turn of my shoulders. He would never question where I’m taking him, but he must have a guess or two spinning through his mind. He couldn’t have missed the gym bag I’m carrying over my right shoulder. I’d wager Dane’s recalling our little visit to the Toolshed and getting himself a little hot under the collar—so to speak.
He’s noticeably more observant as we walk this unfamiliar path, taking in the awnings of restaurants and psychics and tailors with more interest than usual, knowing any one might well be our destination. Dane’s anticipation fuels my own. I know where I’m taking him, but I’m nearly as clueless as he is about where it might lead.
My hand slips around his as we get closer. My heart rate skips a little bit faster; I’m about to give myself away. I give Dane’s hand a little squeeze and guide him off the sidewalk. This way.
His focus shifts to the limestone façade, and a huge grin spreads across his face as he understands our destination. It’s possible my palms are a little sweaty when I ring the bell inside the entrance.
Oh great! Fran’s gonna bust my chops now. “Very funny, Master.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Dane’s jaw drop. I turn to him and grin as the loud buzzer reverberates throughout the tiny chamber. “Ready, grasshoppah?”
“If you say so, Master,” he mumbles, trudging behind me up the worn granite treads.
I turn to face Dane as he steps up beside me on the third floor landing, just outside the door to the dojo. “Listen, Dane, this guy can be a little tough.”
“Thanks for the warning,” he answers with a wary scrub of his hand along the back of his head.
“Just . . . be your usual respectful self, and you’ll get on just fine.”
I take his hand again and draw him into my body, edging him in just behind my shoulder. Now that we’re here, I’m starting to question the wisdom of bringing Dane here and subjecting him to my sensei. Great timing on that gut instinct, fella.
We’re greeted by perfect rows of bright white gi, belted with bands of yellow, filling the large mirrored studio. The instructor catches my eye, and I dip my head in apology. Fran would have told him to expect the interruption, and he doesn’t waste any of his attention on us as we slink around the edge of the room into the back hallway. I only drop Dane’s hand when we reach Fran’s office.
Pressing my palms together, I bow my head. “Sensei.”
He answers back with a matching gesture. “Sempei.”
“Allow me to introduce my friend, Dane.”
I give Dane the nod and he mimics my bow. Fran responds in like fashion, then pops out of his chair and walks around to lean on the front of his desk. “You’ve prepped your student?”
“No, Master,” I respond. “He knew nothing of this visit. He just happens to be very quick on the uptake.” I feel a sudden burst of pride in Dane—not my first one, by any means.
Fran gives poor Dane an eye-raking that raises all my hackles. Dane withstands the inspection admirably.
“Come,” Fran says, finally peeling his eyes off my boy with what appears to be a great effort, “my private dojo awaits.”
I sneak a quick peek at Dane as Fran leads us down the hall. He has that beginning-of-a-scene quality about him, that fluidity that allows me to mold him however I wish, the eagerness to step with me into the unknown, and the keen sense of concentration and giving his all—mind, body, and spirit. I’ve seen Dane’s brilliance on stage and the depths of his soul in scene, but clearly, Dane’s potential has barely been tapped.
My head is buzzing with the infinity of possibilities I see ahead of us, all the “what ifs” I could fantasize. A quick, curious mind, an unshakeable desire to please, a deep, loyal essence, and a physical package whose splendor could bring me to my knees—everything I could ever hope for in a submissive, a friend, or a compelling long-term partner.
Fran unlocks the door to the room at the end of the hall, and Dane and I drop our bags in the corner. “Been a long time, hasn’t it, Marcus?” Fran asks.
“Just like riding a bike.”
Fran gives Dane a guarded look. “Mmhmm, but do you remember back to the time you needed training wheels?”
“Yes, of course, sensei. Those early days are well ingrained.”
Drawing his full attention back to me, Fran smirks. “Yes, I suppose they are. You have everything you need, then?”
“Yes, Master, thank you.”
“Any time, my friend.” Fran comes in for a hug. Pressing his lips to my ear, he warns, “Go easy on the boy. He’s shaking like a leaf.”
“Thank you, Master.”
“Very nice to meet you, Dane. You’re in good hands here.”
Dane bows again, palms together in front of his chest. “Thank you, sir.”
Dane doesn’t quite know what to do with himself once we’re alone. He shuffles as if to take his pose, and I squeeze his shoulder. “Not today, Dane. Let’s get dressed.”
He follows my gaze to the duffel I dropped in the corner. “Right here, Master?”
“Yep.” I lead the way, pulling off my coat and kicking off my low boots, and Dane follows suit. “You can take off your briefs. There’s a cup in there for you.”
He gives me one of his “oh goody” smiles but is wise enough to hold back.
“Not taking any chances, Dane. Suck it up. I’m wearing one, too.”
His grin is too big to hide. The two of us undress like two shy boys in the locker room trying way too hard not to peek.
It’s impossible for me to feel this way. He’s my damn sub! I’ve had the boy strapped to my bed, splayed across my lap, and skewered on my cock!
Hell, I feel this way.
“Is there a special way to knot this?”
The pants fit him perfectly in the length, but they’re a bit baggy. There’s a vertical stripe of olive skin showing between the two open sides of the jacket. “Of course,” I answer. “Everything in karate has its proper form. Let me show you in the mirror.”
We walk to the front of the room and stand side by side. Dane watches my movements in the mirror and copies perfectly, pulling his white sash across his stomach and around the back and looping and guiding the ends around each other exactly as I do with my black belt.
“Got it?” I ask, completely confident he could do it with his eyes closed.
I chuckle. “Do you know how many times Francis had to show me that?”
“Francis?” He tugs his belt tighter.
“That scary dude who just left. Taught me everything I know.”
“Everything, Master?” His reflection turns to mine, wide grin spilling over the sides of his cheeks.
I turn to face him, feet together, right fist balled into left palm, and I bow my head, waiting while he does the same.
“Let’s start with a few punches.”
Dane and I are lying on our backs on the mats, tangled and laughing, when Fran knocks on the door. “Ready for your dressing down, Marcus?”
“Come, sensei! We’re finished.”
Dane is utterly amused. “What’s this, Master?”
I pop up off the mat and turn to face the door while straightening up my gi. Old habits do die hard.
“Oh, my Master likes to show me he’s still Master every once in a while. Would you care to watch?”
“Hell, yes, Master,” he grins, sitting up and leaning back on his hands. Enjoy it while you can, boy.
Fran struts in, all pomp and puff, and we both bow low toward the mats and come up ready to spar. He’s more than formidable as an opponent though I have at least six inches on him and he’s not the spring chicken who walked me through my early days in the dojo. He’s wiry and quick and flexible as hell.
His roundhouse kick nearly catches my ear, but I spin away just in time to escape contact. Fran laughs and moves around me, circling like a hungry lion whetting its appetite for the kill. With a quick series of punches, he lands two solid blows to my middle. The third strike is too predictable, and I surprise him with a knife hand block.
Dane shifts in my peripheral vision, circling his knees with his arms and rocking forward for a better view. Just knowing he’s there makes me lighter on my feet and maybe a little eager to show off. Pivoting a quick one-eighty, I catch Fran with a back kick to the gut he clearly wasn’t expecting. Retaliation is a bitch, as two seconds later, I’m flat on my back with his heel at my throat.
Dane leaps up, planning god-only-knows-what, but luckily stays put. Fran steps back, offers me a hand up, and we exchange the same bow that started this dance.
“Your cub is eager to jump into the arena,” Fran says, putting a hand around my shoulders and turning me to face Dane, who is practically vibrating with tension.
I shoot Dane an appreciative nod. “I think we’ll keep him on the sidelines for now, thank you, Master.”
“Oh, come now, you’re really not going to show me what he’s learned in his first lesson?”
Dane stands a little taller, tightens off the knot in his belt again, lets me know he’s ready to do whatever I ask of him.
“Sure, sensei. My protégé would be delighted to show you the forms he’s just learned.”
“Forms? As in plural?”
“Yes.” I balloon with pride and gesture for Dane to step out into the middle of the room while Fran and I make space. “Dane?”
He turns and bows first to Fran and then to me. With a deep breath, Dane crosses his hands low in front and begins the first form. Walk, turn, punch, block—so fluid they’re one motion. Punch again, as flawless as the first. Fran sucks in a gasp beside me. Dane sinks into the squat with a low block, the sleeves of his gi making a soft swoosh.
Kick, step, elbow, back fist, block, and a loud, “Kiai!” with the punch.
I am one kick away from bursting. Dane is brilliant, and Fran is completely awed at his performance. As Dane completes the rest of the steps in the form to utter perfection and bows once again to both of us, tears of pride well in my eyes.
My teacher is speechless at first—a rare state of being for the man who never failed to have an order to bark at the group of rowdy boys in my class. When he finally does gather himself, words of deep praise blanket my skin like soft droplets of warm summer rain.
“I don’t know whether to praise student or teacher first.”
Dane’s eyes dance with delight at having drawn such high praise for his Master. I know he sees the pride burning in mine. “Thank you, Master,” I answer for us both. Dane drops his eyes and bows once more to my sensei.
Clasping both of my forearms in a warm embrace, Fran says, “I hope you’ll both be back soon,” before leaving us alone in the room.
I step over to Dane and clasp his shoulders in my hands. “You honored me here today, Dane.”
“You honor me, Master, with your wisdom and patience.”
His humility knows no bounds. “Tell you what, why don’t we just call it a draw for now, huh? I’m sure you’re getting hungry.”
The smile breaks across his face. “I could eat.” He’s irresistible—and I cave.
“Hmm, I’ve never done this to any of my students, but . . .” I cup his cheek with my hand and lean forward to cover his mouth with mine.
When I finally pull back from the tender kiss, Dane says, “So I shouldn’t assume that’s part of the ritual?”
I shake my finger at him. “You kiss Fran like that, and I’ll take your ass down so fast you won’t know what hit you.”
We ‘re still chuckling when we reach our clothes on the other side of the room. “I thought I’d take you for sushi tonight. How does that sound?”
“Very thematic of you,” he teases.
“Seriously, it’s nice to be able to have dinner with you again for a couple nights.” All this talk of food has me throwing together buttons and stomping sloppily into my boots. Dane seems equally motivated, judging by how fast he’s scurried back in those pants, or maybe he just wanted out of the jock.
“It is nice, Master. This was a really great night. Thank you for bringing me here. I enjoyed the release.”
“Oh, Dane, if you think this release was good, wait ‘til you see what I have planned for you tonight.”
What can I say? I just can't stop seeing these two doing things together. My poor head: what if Marcus and Dane [fill in the blank] together. Wouldn't that be fun to watch? Mmhmm. #theneverendingstory