Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Forty-one


“What would you like me to wear today, Master?”

“Oh, I don’t know, you look pretty damn good in that towel.”

Cue Dane’s blush.

“No? Okay, fine. Do you have your dark jeans here?”

“Yes,” he smiles. You know how I like those on you, don’t you, boy?

“Pick a shirt. Just be comfortable. Surprise me.” 

Stepping around Dane to get to the shower door, I think better of it and pause to kiss him because really . . . why not? I can’t resist running my hand along his jaw. “Mm, that scruff is so sexy on you.”

As usual, he endures my compliments, answering only with a deeper blush. Clothes shopping is going to be highly entertaining, methinks.

“I’ll be ready in a few minutes, but if you want to grab a yogurt or something, feel free. Just save room for Ben Ash.”

“Who’s he?”

Can he be putting me on? “He’s the best deli in Manhattan.”

“Oh!”

“What’d you think, Dane? I was proposing a threesome?”

Before poor Dane tries to answer, I give his towel-covered ass a little thwack and take my own derrière into the shower. An hour later, a generous stack of eight-inch, blueberry pancakes sits in front of Dane, and I’m pretty sure he’ll remember Ben.

I hand my Amex to the waiter while Dane slides the last bite through a river of syrup, melted butter, and powdered sugar. He chews that last bite so thoughtfully, I have to believe there’s more on his mind than breakfast. I’ve learned it’s best to let Dane come to me in his own time, but damn, sometimes the waiting is excruciating.

“Thank you for breakfast,” he says.

“My pleasure.” And it is. What a joy it is to nourish his body—to the extent the carbfest he just ate might be considered nourishment. “Ready to hit the museum?”

He had to know I’d take him there today, but still, his smile is as bright as the glare off the snow-covered sidewalks as we pull on our coats and gloves and step outside. On our brief, nighttime walks from the theater back to the Fillmore, we’ve settled into a predictable rhythm—side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder—a pas de deux of my will and his compliance. Today, we’re not hurrying somewhere for a scene. It’s Dane’s one day off, and I want him relaxed and happy.

I reach for his hand, giving him a gentle nudge with my knuckles. “Are you okay with a little PDA, Dane?”

“Yes.” He doesn’t have a comfortable way of addressing me in public yet, and since I certainly don’t want him “Master-ing” me all around town, I accept his simple response. His hand opens and molds to mine. I don’t really mind the quiet between us, but I wish he’d say what’s on his mind.

I steer him into the subway entrance, and we gallop downstairs together toward the ticket machine. We both reach for our wallets, but Dane is faster, extracting his Metro Card along with three singles. “May I?”

And now, I get it. This old dog can certainly learn a new trick now and then. “Sure, thanks.”

His smile tells me he’s both surprised and delighted. It’s a microscopic concession on my part, but one that lets Dane know I care about his feelings even if he can’t express them. And maybe next time, he’ll be more comfortable in doing so.

The B train is about three-quarters full at this hour, and Dane and I find two spots together on the bench. His hands are stuffed deep inside his pockets. The train rattles through the tunnel, jiggling all of us like teammates on a foosball rod.

“So, what exhibits are you most excited to see?” I ask him.

“The T. rex, of course, but I’d love to see the planetarium.”

“We’ve got four hours to explore at your whim.”

Dane chuckles. “That ought to be enough time.”

“Hey, you never know. There’s an IMAX theater, a vivarium . . .”

“What’s that?”

“The butterfly room. Five hundred free-flying swallowtails.”

“That’s a lot of butterflies.”

“Yep.” Dane’s grinning at me, and I’m grinning back. “What?”

“You studied up on the museum for me.”

“Mmhmm.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re more than welcome, Dane.” My pleasure—again.

We emerge at 81st Street and step into the queue for the museum entrance. Dane’s itchy again, and I’m getting the very strong feeling that if I don’t take this bull by the horns, today is going to become a series of awkward dilemmas.

Lowering my voice so only he can hear, I put it to him point blank. “Dane, are you uncomfortable with me paying for things?”

He’s a prisoner with a sodium pentothal drip in his arm. “Sometimes.”

“Aren’t you used to this arrangement?”

“Yes, but my other . . .”—he nods; I nod back—“was taking my income at the time.”

“He what?”

“I stripped and turned over my tips; he took care of me.”

Aro, find that fucking freak before I totally lose my shit.

“I’m not taking your wages, Dane. That’s your money.”

“I guess I’m happy about that, but I feel a little weird about the other. You’ve paid for the hotel, all our meals, everything.”

“It’s my job to take care of you.”

We’re standing so close together, I can feel his breath on my cheek. “You quit your job for me. I don’t want you blowing your whole nest egg. It’s not fair.”

I have no shortage of reasonable objections to put forth: My tastes are more expensive than yours. I’m older. You’re my sub. I’ve earned more, saved plenty, and have no significant expenses. It’s my pleasure.

I want to take care of you.

Yet these are not the words I hear coming from my mouth when I finally answer him.

“I respect what you’re saying, Dane. Let’s revisit the topic in a couple days after we’ve both had a chance to think about it.”

He deflates like a balloon with a slow leak, dropping his head to my shoulder. “Thank you, Master,” he whispers.

“I can’t believe they tipped the stegosaurus forward! It’s their signature dino!”

“Dane, you have a little . . .” adorable piece of shredded lettuce hanging from the corner of your mouth. “Never mind,” I finish with a chuckle. It’s no wonder he’s wearing his lunch; he hasn’t stopped gushing since we left the museum.

“And the idea that there are stars you only see in one part of the world? I mean, if I don’t get to Australia, I’ll never see the Southern Cross with my own eyes.”

“So go to Australia!”

His eyes pop open wide. “Just like that? Have you ever been?”

“Yes, a long, long time ago.” And goddamn, would I love to go back with Dane, hold hands along the Sydney Harbor, and see all the constellations through his beautiful brown eyes.

“It’s a whole world away.”

“It’s your world to explore.”

“I’d never have enough—”

Money.

I cover his hand with mine and get back a pair of wounded puppy eyes.

“Hey, I didn’t say it; you did.”

“I know I will probably never have as much as you, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to contribute.”

“Okay, we’re having this conversation now.”

“I just got a raise, you know.”

“I know, Dane, and I’m really proud of you. Tell me, did those bloodsuckers take your savings, too?”

“What savings? I was a stripper doing my best to make ends meet.”

“Ba-da-bum. Ch! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.”

Dane rolls his eyes at my attempt to lighten things up.

“Why were you stripping anyway?”

“Mast—er, Wayne . . .” he stops and laughs, “didn’t approve of the rehearsal schedule of the show I was in and made me go back to the Piranha Club.”

“He was okay with you stripping for other men after he collared you?”

Fucker.

Dane shrugs. “He liked to watch. And I figured, at least that way, he was watching me and not some other guy.”

“I have to admit, Dane, I’m having some serious mixed feelings over here.”

“About what?”

“On the one hand, I am so furious that you were discouraged from your career by that selfish piece of shit, but on the other hand, I am so turned on right now picturing you with a stripper pole between your legs.”

Dane sits back in his chair, sets down the last couple bites of his gigantic Italian sub, and wipes his mouth with his napkin—an unsuccessful attempt to hide his wide grin. Yes, Dane, you win again.

“I have a few moves,” he teases.

“Yes, I believe I saw those at the wedding.”

Dane shakes his head and leans forward, so close he must feel the heat rising on my skin. “Oh, Master, you ain’t seen nothing yet!”

Things are getting crowded in my pants, and I’d quite prefer not to be toting a big fat sledge hammer when we meet up with Riley and Sean in a few minutes. “Speaking of watching you dance, Dane, I’ve been meaning to ask, are you sure it won’t make you nervous to have me at your debut?”

“Yes, I’m sure. I would feel a whole lot better knowing you were out there in the crowd. Just promise me you’ll close your eyes when I have to kiss Jeannie.”

“I’m not sure I can promise that. It might be kind of hot.” He truly seems unruffled about my being in the audience, and I’m not inclined to press him until he changes his mind. “Getting back to our issue, how about if I take care of the big things, and you chip in when there’s something you really want to pay for—as long as it’s something you can manage. I do want you to accumulate some savings, Dane.”

“All right. That sounds fair,” he agrees, and his slow head nod tells me the gears are cranking again. Click, click, click, click, click . . . “Soooo, when’s your birthday?”

I toss my napkin onto my plate in defeat. “Soon.”

He’s hit pay dirt, and his smile shows it. “How soon?”

“The twenty-first.”

“Of January?”

“Yes.”

“Your birthday is in one week, and you haven’t said a word?”

“Dane, at my age—” His grumpy face stops me cold. “I haven’t always been inclined to make a big deal about birthdays, okay?”

“Well, Master,” he says, getting close enough to call me what he wants to call me without being overheard, “that just happens to be my next day off.”

“I’m aware.”

“Might I have the liberty of surprising you with something?” If he weren’t so goddamn respectful about it, I’d have a much easier time shutting him down. Am I really handing over the reins to my sub just because it’s my damn birthday?

I cover my face with my hands and shake my head.  First, a blindfold. Now, a birthday hat? I’m gonna lose my M-card if I keep this shit up. What would Edward say?

I’m half ready to refuse him when I drop my hands and look into those pleading brown eyes and that hopeful smile. I could never deny him this pleasure. “Have at it, Dane,” I concede, turning his hope into a beam of happiness. “But please, be reasonable. Okay?”

“Yes, of course, Master. Thank you!”

“Dane, are you gonna eat the rest of your sandwich?”

“Nope. You want it?”

“Hell, no. Come on, we have somewhere to be.”


Oh, Dane. You are such a damn tease! 

Did someone say it's gonna be Marcus's birthday? IN ONE WEEK? (Central Born Time, which means in like four weeks!) :) Could be interesting, no?
xxx

24 comments:

  1. Dear Born

    Don't think for one moment your reply to me slipped past any of us!!!! "never ending sequel"???? If I get something legal drawn up would you sign it, you could do like Dane and report in every morning but it would be a whole chapter, not a few lines. What say you??

    Loved this chapter, both of them are perfect, Marcus for all that he does and allows Dane to do, "birthday hat" indeed and Dane for not wanting to allow M to pay for everything, my god, is Wayne going to get any worse or have we reached bottom yet?

    Fingers crossed for their meeting with Riley and Sean.

    Thank you for writing.

    Jarvis
    xx

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    1. I'd just have to say I love you for asking, Jarvis! I think we've pretty much reached rock bottom with wayne. :) I know. Nasty, but you have to remember the shape Dane was in when Marcus found him at that wedding. Could not SPEAK. Could not BEAR to be touched. And you see his beautiful soaring spirit...so he must have been seriously abused.

      Thanks for your love and support on this one.
      xo

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  2. OMG, I can't handle Dane's cuteness!

    Two phrases I loved today: "a pas de deux of my will and his compliance" & "jiggling all of us like teammates on a foosball rod." Such unique wording, and so vivid!

    I really enjoyed their honest conversation about money- I can understand Dane's concern about not contributing, but at the same time, it's plain to see that Marcus is doing ok- he's level-headed enough that he would never quit his job if he didn't think he'd be ok financially. I love that they got it out in the open though, it will make it that much easier for them to talk about it (or other things) next time.

    And speaking of financial arrangements, I am becoming more and more encouraged by the progress Dane has made with Marcus already, but hearing this news about how Wayne handled the money scares me even more. It wasn't just abuse, it's sounding like slavery... :(

    Things I'm looking forward to: M & D meeting with Riley and Sean, whatever D might plan for Master's birthday (!!!), D getting a chance to show off his acquired moves, and M watching D's new role in the show! lol. what can I say, I'm eager!

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    1. OH! I'm so happy you liked those, Digi. Thanks for saying so!
      I guess Dane doesn't really want to be a kept man or feel like a boy toy or however insignificant he feels by not contributing. I do know of 24/7 power exchanges where money works this way so it was not at all outside the realm of possibility, and it would be just like Wayne to try to keep Dane from fulfilling work. Lots of good stuff ahead for you, sweet Digi! MWAH!
      xx

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  3. OK now you're turning this story into a sappy love story. LOL. Just kidding.....I'm loving it all. dane's personality is rising to the top, no pun intended....ok maybe a little, as he gains confidence in Marcus. Interesting how Marcus' thoughts are about what Edward would think if he saw Marcus becoming a big mush pot. Well, maybe not quite a mush put, but certainly a man in love....

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    1. SO SAPPY! I know! Something happened to me when I turned 50 this year. I'm a sappy mess and I cry ALL THE TIME! What is UP with that? No hot flashes or anything, but this HAS to be hormonal. And it's bound to be reflected in my writing. Anywho...
      xo

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  4. Now now now Digi, really? Are you 'only' eager? I'm greeeeedy! LOL
    You picked 2 of the best lines though I'd say this one is brilliant too: "First, a blindfold. Now, a birthday hat? I’m gonna lose my M-card if I keep this shit up. What would Edward say?" LMAO !!!!!

    Ok, apart fr M&D meting R&S *quietly excited here*, D's plans for M's b-day *maybe a private pole dance?*, M watching D's debut, I wld add 1-the shopping *I bet it's gonna be hilarious* and 2-M finding 'that-who-shall-not-be-named' *ohhh drama ensues* And yes, that surely bordered slavery!

    I'm really really happy to see M allowing himself to live and enjoy it - and D 'dat teaser!' is certainly bringing lightness to M's life, I can see them heading to be the perfect counterbalance to each other. Yeah, yeah, I know not everything will be sunshine and rainbows but ... hey, that's life eh? And thx gawd for small mercies, you're not embellishing anything just for the sake of it - thank you.

    *whispering* will you allow us glancing on D's kissing scene? Pretty pls? *puppy dog eyes*

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    1. mebbe! ;)
      Thanks for your sweet comments, Muse. I love what you're looking forward to. Especially the counterbalancing. I really did try not to embellish just for the sake of it, even as horrible as Wayne-o was, we have to the dark hole Dane was in at the beginning of this story and how miraculous it is that Marcus is able to dig him out.

      Thank you.
      xo

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  5. I am thinking we should all get those rubber bracelets with WWED on them! Brings to mind though that Edward would really be a good mentor to Marcus when it comes to this love stuff. What a reversal lol. Marcus is doing a fine job on his own though.

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    1. BAHAHA!! Well, I think Marcus IS doing fine and Edward would probably tease the poor guy so bad it wouldn't be worth it!
      xo

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  6. Oh and just for the records: there should be a *thumbs up* sort of button - I felt like 'liking" most of the comments on the previous chapters *which of course I only read now, as usual LttP* And no hard feelings patchers pls but Judith and Jarvis excelled! *whistling and clapping*

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    1. I love that you guys have your own little community of commenters here.I should probably just let you guys write the story for me! ;)

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  7. I love how both character are finding balance in their lives and how it shows more and more in every passing chapter. It has gotten to that stage where they provide what the other needs by just being themselves and they both get so much pleasure out of looking after the other.
    Marcus is enjoying the act of letting go, maybe in a controlled way, but still hi is opening up to new experiences and shedding some of his insecurities or perceptions too. He is allowing Dane to do things for him, not only to make him happy, but maybe because he feels secure and hopeful about their relationship. I love how Edwards pops in his mind often enough, like a little devil sitting on his shoulder... I wonder who would become his little angel on the other shoulder?
    Dane was delightful as usual, so open and forthcoming. Daring to be himself and ask for the things he wants. He is a bit cheeky but so entitled to it. He was so light and happy, that I think if he sneezed, confetti might come out of him.
    Looking forward to their shopping with Riley and Sean.
    I hope that Wayne gets his comeuppance soon enough.
    As always I´d like to thank you for sharing your writing and replying to the reviews.
    Gigi

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    1. Heehee, I think Edward is probably both angel and devil for Marcus! LOL on the confetti snot! I really love your observation that just by being themselves, they are exactly what the other needs. That's the most beautiful definition of love I could imagine (though I'd never quite looked at it just that way). I've always felt that love and friendship makes you your very best self, where you can be real and true but strive for the best you can be. We'll see what we can do about Wayne-o. :P

      Thank you for your thoughtful review, as always, Gigi.
      xo

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  8. I cover my face with my hands and shake my head. First, a blindfold. Now, a birthday hat? I’m gonna lose my M-card if I keep this shit up. What would Edward say?
    LOOOL!! I love it! And what will he do for Marcus or his birthday?? Eeeeeeee!

    WTF! Wayne is a freaking jerk! Grrrrrrrr..... Stupid JERK! Find him Aro!!

    I adore that Dane wants to pay for some things. To me it shows that he feels like he is contributing to the relationship.

    Annnd I cannot wait to see what moves he is going to show Marcus!

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  9. Sweet that Marcus didn't say all these things to Dane:

    My tastes are more expensive than yours. I’m older. You’re my sub. I’ve earned more, saved plenty, and have no significant expenses. It’s my pleasure.

    Those are his feelings but he was respectful of Dane's feelings. What a nice change that is for him.

    Now why wouldn't Dane want to do something special for Marcus on his birthday? All birthdays should be treated special in my opinion. Mine always was right up until I got married. Then pfffft. So, I take care of my birthday plans/happiness myself. So, I think it awesome that Dane wants to make Marcus feel special on his birthday.

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    1. Yeah, Marcus is really good at putting himself in his submissive's head. So much so that he sometimes forgets to notice what is in his own head--and heart.

      I'm writing the birthday part now. :)
      xo

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  10. It's great how they are changing each other...or allowing the other to expand themselves. Dane is still shellshocked, but doing so much more and sometimes Marcus doesn't seem to recognize himself. Both of them getting more comfortable with these new versions of themselves.

    Wayne-showing more of his colors. He's much more comfortable the more he can take away from Dane. His profession, his money, his sense of value, voice, connection to others.... the list goes on. Marcus is the opposite. He's more comfortable the more he can provide for Dane.

    Looking forward to Sean and Reilly. Really looking forward to the birthday. Does Dane get to spank him?

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    1. You put that so beautifully. They are both becoming something new- the best version of themselves. And I LOVE how you reflected Marcus off Wayne. That was so perfect!

      O.o I don't think Marcus would consider a spanking "reasonable"! LOL
      xoxo

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    2. And a new layer unfolds... Wayne financially abused him too. Grrrr. I can't wait to see what is in store for him.

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  11. Wayne you asshole. Ugh. He took advantage of Dane in every way he possibly could have. He sabotaged his happiness, his confidence, esteem, manipulated and ridiculed his career choices, physically, emotionally and mentally abused him and now so, the financial dominance. Ugh I hope he hurts for what he did to Dane. Rot and burn in hell you piece of shit.

    Anyway... on to better things. Soooo icu sneaky Dane wanting to treat Master for his birthday. And I also didn't comment on Marc agreeing to the whole blindfold affair. It seems like our Dom is totally captivated by his sub. Love that Dane is getting him to move a bit outside his conform zone too. Let it NEVER be said that this relationship is one handed. They both find equal joy and pleasure in taking care and providing for the other. Marcus can't deny Dane that. Because as much as Marcus wants to show Dane how much he cares for him, Dane wants to show him the same.

    Can't wait for more of these two. They're like a damn drug. Sheesh. ...

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    1. YES!!! This is SO a 2-way streeet, and so glad you picked up on that. Aren't the best relationships that way? The sub can't have ALL the fun! ;) LOL on your new addiction. You know I love it!
      xxx

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