No response. I wasn’t really expecting Aro to be sitting around doing nothing on a Sunday morning. Speaking of getting a move on, I grab the complimentary pad of paper near the phone and jot down a list of items we’ll need for tonight.
I’ve made enough trips around the block at this point to mentally map out my route. Two hours and five stores later, I’ve rounded up my provisions and earned myself a break. Top Shelf Books calls out to me, and I answer the siren song with a rush of anticipation.
What am I in the mood for? Fiction, for sure, I decide as I meander up the narrow flight of squeaky wooden treads. The tiny bell alerts the shopkeeper to my arrival. I put her in her late forties, a big, sloppy mop of black curls corralled at the front of her face by a colorful headband and left free to bounce around behind her.
She looks up from her open paperback, over the rims of her black-rimmed reading glasses, and smiles at me. “You’ve been a busy one.”
The bags drop rather indelicately from my palms, which is when I realize exactly how burdensome they had become. I rub my hands together to coax out the indentations made by the thin handles. “I have.”
“Why don’t you take off your coat and stay a while?”
Frankly, nothing sounds better at this moment. “Thank you.” I toss my coat onto one of the plush armchairs in the center of the cozy space.
“Can I help you find anything in particular?”
“I guess I feel like something familiar.”
She buries a tasseled bookmark between the pages and steps out from around the counter. Without her stool, she’s decidedly shorter—five feet would be a generous guess.
“Classics then?” she prompts, leading me toward the back corner of the store. “You look like you could be a Dickens guy.”
I laugh. “I’m afraid to ask exactly what you mean by that, but let’s go a tad lighter, shall we?”
She looks me up and down, as if measuring me with some kind of internal book-o-meter. “Hmm, Steinbeck? Hemingway? Machiavelli—no, you said lighter. Hmm, oh wait, how about Fitzgerald?”
As her tiny hand passes over the rows of tomes, I see exactly what I’m in the mood for. “I’ll actually take this one.”
She gives me a curious look as I hand over my choice. “Interesting. Would you like to sit and read for a bit? Take a load off? I can ring it after.”
“Actually,” I respond, “I think I’d like to save this to read with a friend.”
Her hand freezes in mid-air, and she shoots me a look filled with such longing my heart actually twists for her. “How lovely,” she says.
“Yes,” I reply, “I’m very fortunate.”
I’m a little embarrassed to gather up all my things again so soon after arriving, especially since I’d kind of taken over the store, but the sudden urge to get back to the hotel and prepare everything for Dane overpowers everything. “Thanks for your help,” I say, just before jangling the little bell into action.
Halfway down the staircase, my phone buzzes in my pocket. Before I have a chance to check my watch or do the math, my heart has already taken the liberty of celebrating.
I’ve only had three days. Even I can’t work that quickly.
Aro. Pushing away my irrational disappointment, I gather myself to engage this formidable man.
I have the guy’s first name.
I’m afraid to ask what you did to cull that out of your boy. Cattle prod?
Just asked. Sitting down? The name is Wayne.
No, it is not!
Yeah. Classic, eh?
I can practically hear Aro’s disturbing cackle.
Can’t be too hard to find a dom named Wayne. Jesus- why didn’t he change it?
Guessing he’s not the brightest.
Great. My favorite kind of loose cannon. BTW, what did you have in mind once we find him?
Aro can be a very dangerous man when his sadistic streak is engaged.
I’m thinking about it.
Let me give it some thought as well.
Sure, why not? Let the kinky scenarios churn. Have fun with that, old friend.
You know my club is always at your disposal. I’m sure we can work out a creative solution. Two great minds...
I almost feel sorry for the bastard now. Except I really, really don’t. Whatever he gets is far too good for him.
Marcus, you flatter me.
Sick bastard, I have to love him.
Thanks, Aro. I appreciate it.
Happy to serve the community.
You always were a saint.
I’ll let you know when a body washes ashore.
I allow myself the time and space it takes to walk back to the Fillmore to engage in some really nasty revenge fantasies starring the evil Wayne. The only ideas I can conjure are illegal, or at the very least immoral, and I discard each one in turn. Spinning the revolving glass door of the hotel, I leave the scumbag outside in the cold and return my thoughts to Dane. What a goddamn relief that is.
If I could’ve put Dane on my back and carried him back to the hotel faster, I would’ve done it. As it is, we’re both a little winded by the time we reach the room together. I feel a little twinge of guilt for setting such a ridiculous pace; the whole point of this night was exactly the opposite.
Never mind; I’ll make it up to him.
The lights are dimmed, just the way I left them, and I left the turn-down music on the station that usually grates on my nerves—the insidious “spa music” just might come in handy tonight.
“Here. I’ll take your coat.” Dane looks at me quizzically, already sensing the shift in mood but wise enough not to question me. He waits patiently while I hang up both our coats and lead him over to the table, which I dragged back to the kitchenette earlier this evening. Yes, the lights of the city can be beautiful and romantic, but tonight, Dane won’t be seeing them.
After a full day spent preparing for this moment, my nerves are rattling around like a handful of pennies in an empty coffee tin. From the looks of things, Dane feels largely the same after seeing what’s waiting for him on the table.
“Yes, I bought this for you.” I pick up the royal blue scarf, run the long rectangle of smooth silk between my fingers, and give Dane a chance to prepare himself.
“Thank you, Master,” he says, absent any emotion. His response is rote, but it’s good enough. I don’t expect his enthusiasm, just his compliance.
“You’re welcome.” After all, it is a gift, and we should both regard it as such. “I know you’re hungry, Dane, and you are going to get your dinner soon. But first, we have some work to do together.”
He’s got to be tired and hungry and emotionally spent from the longest six days of work he’s probably ever had. I need him like this, need him raw and unguarded and honest. His eyes meet mine, and I recognize their message: I don’t know if I can do this for you.
I step in, pulling the silk across his cheek. “Dane, remember, I won’t ask anything of you unless I am very confident you can deliver.”
He pulls in a long, deep breath.
One more breath, a slight nod, then, “Ready, Master.”
“Good boy. Turn around, please.”
He spins around, facing the windows onto the city.
“Close your eyes.”
His shoulders lift with tension as the folds of the scarf cover his eyes. I tie off the ends in a tight knot at the back. “Can you see anything?”
“Just a blue haze. Maybe some shadows.”
Perfect. The blackout mask can wait. Placing my hand on his shoulders, I guide him back around. “That’s a good color on you.”
The color of your fantasy Speedo. Not a coincidence.
“How’s the fit? You’re going to be in this blindfold for a long time. I want you to be comfortable.”
He draws a shaky breath. “It’s fine, Master.”
“Drop your hands to your side.”
He’s uncomfortable pulled out of his pose, unsure where things belong. I unzip his red hoodie and glide it off his shoulders.
“Kick off your shoes for me.”
Dane complies immediately, and I kick his shoes to one side. My hands are in his waistband before he can catch his breath again, my knuckles taking great liberties as I untie his sweatpants and draw them down over the well-worked muscles of his thighs and calves.
“Step out,” I instruct, offering a hand on his hip, not that he needs it. I toss away his socks as well.
“Hands up.” Today’s white tank rides up his belly, and I have to fight off the urge to lean in and kiss him right there. Patience, Marcus. The shirt comes off easily without tugging on the blindfold, and Dane is left in his white bikinis.
Some things are better than nudity, and right now, this qualifies.
“Dane, how’s the blindfold feeling? Is there anything you need to tell me? Remember, you have your safe word, and you have ‘yellow.’”
His mouth looks like it’s speaking against the orders of the rest of his body. Nevertheless, he says the right words. “I’m fine.”
He’s better than fine to my eyes; he’s downright delicious. I stroke my palm down his chest, brushing my thumb through the narrow trail of hair that disappears into his Andrew Christians. “I’m right here,” I tell him, “and I’m going to keep one hand on you until you’re comfortable. If you need to hold me, too, I’m okay with that. Do what you need to do. This will all get so much easier. I promise.”
“Okay, Master. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, Dane. Now that I’ve dressed you for dinner, there’s only one more task for you to perform.”
With a gentle push on his shoulder, I signal Dane to his knees. Keeping one hand on his skin, as promised, I unfasten my pants with the other. “You better help me get my pants off, or we might be here a while,” I say with a chuckle.
He doesn’t have much trouble finding me with his hands or his mouth. Practice makes perfect, I guess. With my hands playing in his hair and his lips around my cock, Dane looks content and relaxed again.
“You sure know how to please your Master, boy.”
I have a picture to go along with this chapter. Meet me in the patch! XOXO