Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thirty-five

It’s hard to say which of us is more anxious as Dane emerges from the bathroom. Naked and scrubbed clean, he walks with purpose—but not enthusiasm—to meet me at the small couch. I’ve pulled on a grey t-shirt and a pair of loose boxers, the “Good Cop” version of myself. More like “Slumber Party Dom,” my inner sarcastic bastard chimes in.

“Have a seat and relax,” I tell him, though I’m not surprised his back and neck are stiff enough to accommodate a steel rod. Dane doesn’t quite know what to do with his hands, and after several failed attempts to place them elsewhere, he ends up folding them schoolboy-style in his lap.

“Dane, you’re doing great. I hope you know how pleased I am with your progress.”

He swallows, nods, and waits for the worst to follow. I’d kill to take away his worries, but the truth is, this isn’t going to be the easiest thing for him to hear.

“You’ve come so far in such a short time. I know I can take you so much further—but it’s going to mean bumping up against many of your limits.”

Thoughtful as ever, Dane takes his time considering my statement, which must sound more like a threat right now. His folded hands tighten, and he attempts a calming breath. “Master, am I meant to know which limits you are referring to?”

“That’s a fair question, Dane. Yes, I can tell you that, but I need you to understand something first. I’m not asking your permission. I’m your Master, and I will do what I believe is best for you. You need to trust that I have your best interests at heart and that I know what I’m doing. You always have your safe word, and you know you can yellow at any point as well—even when I command silence.”

Shit, did I tell him that before? “You know that, right, Dane?”

His nod is more of an uncertain “okay.” Master Marcus chalks up another demerit. Do better.

“Thanks to your honesty, both in completing your checklist and in your physical responses, I know exactly where and why you’re squeamish. We’ve already pushed through some of your barriers, but there are others holding you back.”

His upper lip disappears between his teeth, and I place my hand on his knee. “Dane, that’s not a criticism of you; it’s just ground we haven’t covered yet. Understand?”

Again, he nods, but there’s a wistfulness to it that breaks my heart. My thumb slides back and forth a few times across his knee until he looks up again. “This is how I work. Initial evaluation: Can I picture us working well together? That part was a cinch. I think I knew before they cut the wedding cake.”

Dane’s spirits lift at my message and my smile; hope seeps back into his eyes.

“Next, there’s the chemistry phase: Do we have a good rapport? Does it feel good? Is this fun?”

His mouth twists into a comical scowl. “Right now?”

I bump his shoulder with mine. “No. This part doesn’t count, but before I started torturing you with painful conversation, you seemed to be enjoying yourself. Do I need to remind you?”

“No, Master,” he answers with a bashful grin. “I remember.”

“Good. So, check, check, and off we go to the next, the ‘Are-we-good-for-each-other?’ phase: Can you and I challenge each other in a meaningful way without our bond crumbling under the pressure?”

“I don’t understand; I challenge you?”

Oh, the challenges. All the things I can’t do to him. All the things I can’t say to him. How I let him tease me. How I question everything. How, lately, my heart and my head don’t feel like two parts of the same person.

How he truly has no idea, and that is quite possibly my biggest challenge of all.

“Yes, Dane, every day, but it’s all good. This has to be a two-way street; besides, no great relationship is ever without its challenges.”

“Great relationship” hovers in the small space between us, offering a whole new set of issues. Dane’s questions aren’t exactly answered, but his preoccupation with the original proposition wins out over other concerns.

“How bad is this pressure going to get, Master?”

“That’s just it, Dane. It’s not going to be bad at all. If it doesn’t suit you and bring us closer together, we don’t do it. Soft limit becomes hard limit. End of story.”

He searches my expression for reassurance and must find something there he can trust. After a deep breath, he puts forth a shaky, “And the limits you’ll be bumping against?”

The best thing for Dane right now is to hear this from his Master, to remember that by turning this over to me, he serves both of us best. Good Cop slips away into the night, and Dane’s Master crowds him on the couch, throwing a leg over his lap, roping an arm around his back, tightening the grip on his hands.

“I will demand more of you in every way. You’ll become that much more mine. I’ll deprive you of your senses and make you more reliant on mine. I will train your body to experience pleasure from delayed gratification and even from pain.”

A ripple of worry creases his forehead, but at the same time, a promising presence meets my leg. I’m not exactly sure which part arouses him, but I plan to have an excellent time finding out. He’s ready for the rest.

“Soon, Dane, very, very soon, I will demand all of your body. You will oblige because you don’t have a choice, but you will love it because it’s what you need.”

He’s far too exposed to hide the whimper that escapes him.

Give him some time, Master Marcus cautions Good Cop. We sit in silence for several minutes while Dane digests and processes, his face an ever-changing palette of emotions. A parched, pink tongue swipes over even drier lips; his gaze lifts and lowers; he pulls and releases breath as if hefting a slab of granite up a steep mountain path.

My own nerves are a wild jangle for the eternity it takes him to meet my eyes once again.

“Master,” he begins, so tentative I need to lean in even closer to hear.

I’m ready with support and affirmation though I’m not sure I could conceal my devastation if Dane surrenders to his fears over his Master. Refraining from everything my heart aches to do and say, I press my lips to his temple, pinch my eyes together as I send up a brief but mighty prayer—Stay—and respond as steadily as possible with the only word I can manage.

“Dane.”

The faintest trace of liner shades the corners of both eyes, but it’s his warm chocolate orbs I search for Dane’s verdict. He understands fully what he’s signing up for by staying.

I trust you.”

And I breathe.
 
We keep each other up for a long time, talking about the minutiae of his day and to a lesser extent, mine. Dane regales me with what his colleague has termed “helpful hints for the hopelessly homosexual,” seemingly eager to try some out in practice the next day. He asks detailed questions about how I’ve spent our time apart and listens with interest to all my answers. We skirt around anything too intimate by mutual, unspoken agreement. When the conversation naturally peters out, I take off my clothes and climb into bed.

“How would you like me, Master?” Dane asks, waiting on what seems to be developing into “his side.”

“That’s a loaded question.” I chuckle; he grins. “Lucky for you, you wore me out earlier. Here, climb in. We’ll figure it out.”

He lifts the corner of the sheet and glides in beside me. I give him a reasonably chaste kiss and stretch for the light switch.

Settled onto my side, I reach for his warm body, and he scoots on his back until his shoulder meets my chest. “G’night, Dane.”

“’Night, Master.”

Damn, I could sure get used to hearing those words just before falling asleep. My hand wanders to Dane’s chest, greeted by a million tiny goose bumps and the tight buds of his nipples. His body tenses under my touch as he waits for direction.

“Relax,” I whisper. “Sleep.”

Given a small measure of freedom, he sinks into his pillow, exhales, and wriggles his butt into the mattress. My fingers play at the thin trail of hair leading down his abdomen, his taut dancer’s core. The tip of his cock knocks lazily against my knuckles as it swells and sways. Mine answers with a sympathetic hard-on I won’t be satisfying right now either.

His internal clock is as well-disciplined as the man himself, and I admire him all the more for it. His body is his instrument and his livelihood, and he respects himself enough to get adequate sleep and take care what he puts inside.

And that won’t be you, old man.

True, not tonight. But soon.

The heater clicks on and a warm stream of air blows across the bed. It’s not home, but it’s more than comfortable, and we’re together. If things work out between us the way I hope they will, our geographic challenges will require a more permanent solution. I want Dane in my dungeon and in my home, but he needs to be close to the theatre and the life he knows. I am more than willing to make sacrifices so we can be together like this—relaxed, intimate, and . . . apparently asleep!

A soft snore issues from the gently undulating body beside me. My fingertips trace random designs along the playground of his belly and chest, pulling him further and further into sleep, if the deepening snores are any indication. I can perfectly envision the bright red blush that would color his face if he knew he’d been discovered. There’s something so totally unguarded about this sleeping Dane, I am overcome by a rush of emotion for my sweet, innocent boy.

“Yes, Master,” Dane mumbles in his sleep, returning to his snores with the next breath.

Fucking hell, the boy is dreaming about me. His body jerks and he mumbles something unintelligible before settling back in.

I hope it’s a good dream, Dane, I muse to myself, sliding my hand down his happy trail to check out exactly how much fun he’s having.

The boy’s gone completely soft. Interesting. I pull back my hand, reluctant to intervene.

Dane twitches again. His breath is clipped, and his easy rest is long gone. A tiny pit forms in my belly. Something isn’t right.

“YES, Master!” This time, there’s an urgency to his tone that makes my blood run cold. He’s not aroused; he’s not even okay.

“No, no, please, no!” His arm suddenly thrashes out and he catches my arm with his fist.

“Wake up, Dane. You’re here with me. You’re safe.”

He startles awake, shooting up in bed, heart pounding, breath shallow and quick. I click on the bedside lamp. Dane’s eyes are wide with fear, and he seems to have no awareness of his surroundings.

“Catch your breath, now. You’re okay.”

He blinks at me several times, rubs his hand vigorously over his hair, and offers a tentative, “Master?”

It’s him again. First, he invades my dungeon and now, my bed. Hell, no, he is not confusing me for that bastard.

“Say my name, Dane.”

He doesn’t respond. It’s not like him to defy me, but fear will do crazy, awful things to a man.

“Dane, did you hear me? I need to hear that you know who I am.”

Remorse clouds his face, but still, he’s silent. My heart twists, and I wonder—not for the first time—just exactly how bad is this thing I’m fighting?  And on the heels of that terrifying question—how the hell was I so cocky to think I could heal him by myself?

“Dane?”

I can’t tell if he’s disappointed in himself or worried about my reaction, but clearly the next word pains him—nearly as much as it pains me.

“Mercy.”

Fuck.

The urge to scream in frustration nearly overpowers me. Has Dane lumped me in with the other one now? Possibly all the less-than-stellar doms he’s suffered under? Am I now just the next generic “master,” predetermined to hurt him and leave new scars on his body and his heart?

For now, I have no choice but to accept his response.

“I respect your safe word, Dane.”

But fuck it all, I absolutely hate that he’s shut me down. That has to be the end of it, or I’m no better than the last guy.

We’re at a standstill. The silence stretching between our two sides of the bed might as well be the Grand Canyon. I think back on our conversation about the challenges and all I can’t say. It’s Dane’s soft, still voice that bridges the abyss.

“I know exactly who you are. You’re my Master,” he says.  “The one I’ve been waiting for.”

As I have been waiting for you. Relief pulses through my veins in rolling, crashing waves. “Dane, I promise you, I will never hurt you.”

“I know,” he whispers back, his voice quaking along with my nerves.

I’m feeling rather speechless, but Dane has more to say. “I’m sorry to disappoint you, Master. I’ve tried, but I don’t know if I can ever say . . . your other name. I’m afraid that’s always going to be a hard limit for me.”

Of all the things for him to choose, this one . . . I can learn to live with. I fight to keep my voice even. “I want you to know, Dane, I will always respect your limits.”

“Thank you, Master,” he says quietly, gratitude oozing from his pores. “I know that, too.”

Well, that’s something anyway.

“Do you want to talk about your nightmare?”

“I think I’d rather go back to sleep right now, if it’s okay with you?”

“Of course.” Shutting off the lamp again, I roll onto my side facing him.  “C’mere.” Dane shimmies down into the sheets, nestles back between my open arms, and I pull his back firmly against to my chest. He sighs as he settles in against me, the plump, warm mounds of flesh pressing into my groin. Feels like home.

Careful with your fantasies, Marcus. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Per usual, my thoughts return to Dane, what’s best for him. “I think you sleep better on your side, no?”

He stiffens in my arms, his head lifts slightly, and over his shoulder, he groans. “Oh shit. Was I snoring before? That’s embarrassing!” Just beautiful.

I chuckle into his back before dropping a kiss into the sweet junction of his neck and shoulder. “How many times do I need to tell you you’re perfect before you believe me, Dane?”

The tension releases from his neck, accompanied by another audible sigh. My body inches forward while his inches back—two spoons aligning in the cutlery drawer. Dane covers my right hand with his and pulls our joined hands tight around his chest. “Oh, I don’t know, Master,” he says, and I can hear the smile on his lips. “Maybe a few thousand more?”

“You’ve got yourself a deal, boy.”



How long will it take Marcus to say that a few thousand more times? *smiles* But sheesh, a nightmare? :( Poor Dane. (But can't you just see him snoring? I couldn't resist!)

I'm traveling this weekend- getting some face-to-face editing time with Chayasara (and maybe rolling a matzah ball or two) - but I will do my best to keep up with my posting and your wonderful comments. Thank you all for putting a big smile on my face every day.

Speaking of that editor, I haven't thanked my amazing team in a while (somebody needs a spanking!) so let me do it here and now. Jayme, Jean, Meredith and Sue, I love you guys so much. Every single chapter is better for your eyes and hearts in it. MWAH! xoxox

22 comments:

  1. Good morning Mistress! The chapter for me was:
    "Slumber Party Dom" ROFLMAO
    "Great relationship" hovers in the small space between us, offering a whole new set of issues. Yes, yes, it does indeed Marcus, are YOU ready?
    "Can I picture us working [...] I think I knew before they cut the wedding cake." I told you sooo *sing songs* hook, line and sinker.
    "I trust you." And Muse faints.
    "[...] and he respects himself [...]and take care what he puts inside. And that won’t be you, old man." LOL LOL
    "Mercy". And pieces of Muse's heart scatter on the floor like autumn leaves.
    “The silence [...] might as well be the Grand Canyon. [...] It’s Dane’s soft, still voice that bridges the abyss "I know exactly who you are. You’re my Master,” he says. “The one I’ve been waiting for.” And those scattered pieces rush back to one another like mercury drops.
    There is hope. There will always be. What an emotional roller coaster! Yes, they will forge a relationship beyond their M/s bond but it's going to take sometime.
    *sighs* BOH, forgive me if I use parts of yr words in my comment, sometimes the words trample in my mind and paraphrasing you 'there's a Grand Canyon' b/w my mind and my hand lol, I don't know how to express myself properly.
    But since you're the Mistress of Words, I take you understand the feeling behind mine.

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    1. I love knowing which lines moved you, Muse. Thank you for sharing that with me. Glad your leaves got gathered again- love your mercury analogy. We will all be whole when this thing is over...except maybe you-know-who!
      xx

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  2. That was a difficult chapter to read, I'm not sure what I expected their talk to consist of but it wasn't that.

    I wonder if Marcus' bad cop appearance was a bit premature, I hope it wasn't their conversation that brought back bad memories for Dane and brought on his nightmare. I know they need to move forward, Marcus has been so patient but was it too soon? Dane trusts Marcus so I will try to too, I am just such a wuss.

    I don't understand Dane's hard limit on saying Master's name, nor why he safe worded at that point. Do they need to find a word they can use instead, like when they are at the museum etc? I'm sure Dane's reasons will become clear as we move on.

    I'm sure I will have other thoughts as I process this chapter, thank you for writing it and leaving the reader trying to figure out the nuances.

    Jarvis
    xx

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    1. I know, Jarvis, and I appreciate your sticking with it even though it did get rough.

      Always the push-pull Marcus will feel throughout his time with Dane- when to leave him in a comfort zone, when to push through. Remember, he's also working in that 30-day time zone where he wants to break through as much as he safely can so Dane can see where they might end up...or at least have a taste.

      For Dane, saying his Master's name is just too hard (at least right now). It's a respect thing for him, as is his writing i and You, a habit he's not ready to break. If you think about how this is even harder for him than being cuffed, you can feel how deeply he experiences this.

      Thank YOU for grappling with the story. I truly do appreciate that.
      xo

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  3. How much do I love that the boys are talking more? *wink* Can't wait to find out more about this previous despicable master. No I am not even going to capitalize that M. That guy is a complete dick and has, obviously been very cruel to Dane. I can only imagine how livid that Marcus is that he is invading his personal space with Dane making progress one step forward and two steps back. However, I think Marcus will win in the end and in that, so will Dane.

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    1. :)
      Pretty good prediction!
      LOVE it, Keye, and thanks, as always for sharing your thoughts.
      xx

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  4. "Slumber Party Dom" LOVE

    The "I'm not asking your permission" seemed like 'bad cop' but in the same breath he reminded Dane that he is always free to use 'yellow' or 'mercy' if it comes to that. And then M gives himself a demerit for neglecting to remind Dane that those words can be said even when silence is commanded. Poor Marcus, as I have no real experience with this kind of stuff, I can't tell if he's had some real slip- ups just because he's so intoxicated by Dane already, or if his objectivity is really in jeopardy when it comes to Dane. It's funny, because seeing M question his abilities with D has made it easier for me to understand how so many people have come to Marcus, the 'sub whisperer', before.

    I really enjoyed Master Marcus imposing himself in Dane's personal space during the more difficult part of the conversation- a tangible reminder that Dane enjoys this stuff, he enjoys the guy he's currently doing it with, and that he will enjoy having his limits pushed because it will please his Master. :)

    Dane's nightmare broke my heart a little bit, and I liked how Marcus was trying to deal with it, so I was surprised to see that Dane safe-worded.. especially since he said Marcus's name the first time outside the theatre (didn't he?). Maybe D was just more vulnerable after the hard conversation they had...? But Dane is a mysterious boy with a past and I can leave it at that. for now ;)

    I love their spooning at the end! Soo cute and cozy! :)

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    1. I love what you wrote about Marcus's fallibility making him approachable (at least that's how I read your comment). I think it's also because he holds himself to such a high standard of care that we love him so much and can't help but respect him.
      ...and it will please his Master because ultimately, it will free Dane.
      Dane's just having a really rough time even conceptualizing himself on an equal footing with Marcus, so the name thing remains an issue for them. And also for me, because I just can't see the word coming out of his mouth.
      SPOONS FOR THE WIN every damn time.
      xoxox

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  5. I know I pretty much begin each review the same way, but I loved the chapter.
    Don't get me wrong I love a good sexy scene, but I enjoy a good conversation just as much.
    I like the fact that Marcus can be honest and caring as the good cop, but still as a Dom he always does what is good for Dane and will not stop moving forward. He keeps me guessing, every time I think I know what he is going to do he reminds me that he is not just any Dom but the one that other Doms would go to for help and guidance, and he surprises me with something I was not expecting or at least not so soon. I guess that he has to test the waters to know where to go and how far he should push. Did I miss read him or is he considering bringing in external help for Dane?
    Dane is captivating, even when he is scared he manages to be strong, It touches me how trusting he can be and how willing to belong to Marcus he is. There is such fierce softness in his actions and it breaks my heart to see him suffer even though I know it is part of his healing. It is so sad that he can't call Marcus by his name, but maybe once he finds his true voice he will also find what and who Marcus is to him.
    I love your story and thank you so much for sharing it :)
    Gigi

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    1. I love that you love the talking. Frankly, those scenes are way more satisfying for me in the writing, but the steamy stuff is important too, because it all weaves together to tell their story. I LOVE hearing that I (or my characters) surprise you! You read that correctly. As much as Marcus wants to be everything Dane needs, he realizes that might not be best for the boy, and he is all about what's best for Dane.

      I love the gorgeous phrases you used- "how willing to belong to Marcus he is" and "such fierce softness." You really capture the ACTIVE behavior of submitting with both of those, and I am enjoying the taste of those words on my tongue.

      Thank you for sharing your insights with all of us.
      xx

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  6. Its nice to see Marcus in Dom mode. Dane needs that so much and he is slowly but surely seeing it for himself. Still got some work to do, but its getting better. Even think that those "Mercy" moments are healing, even it makes Marcus want to rip out his hair.

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    1. LOL yeah, Marcus isn't really having an easy time of keeping still when Dane safe words, but he's good about doing what he needs to do.
      xo

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  7. I read this early this morning but had no time to comment then. I read it again just now. This is a VERY emotional chapter! I can feel dane wanting to trust Marcus but he still physically reacts like he has PTSD. Is it a good thing that Marcus is questioning his very core beliefs and inner self now that he can't just provide dane with an easy fix? That seems quite humbling for Marcus but I can't help but feel it will make him a better man, if not a better Dom.

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    1. I agree with your diagnosis of PTSD. I believe Marcus is being humbled- brought to his knees, in fact- by Dane. In fact, if you'd ask me for my one word description of the "remastering" of Marcus that is taking place, I would definitely choose humbling. Thank you for your beautiful insights.

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  8. Awwww, Dane! I hate that he had that nightmare. :(
    Their talk was good. I'm glad Marcus told him he will be pushing forward and explained the whys. Not to scare or hurt him, but to help him trust Marcus and move forward within themselves and each other. Dane does trust him, you can see that. But, he has to trust in himself too.
    I adore the care and respect Marcus shows Dane every time they are together.
    Xoxo❤️

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    1. Yeah, the nightmare was rough, but I think it's realistic to believe that getting back into bondage play and more demanding submission for the first time since Wayne (blech) is bound to do that. And I do agree that Marcus is on the right path continuing to press forward, but in ways that he can be sure he's not harming Dane.Thank you for your lovely comments, here and always.
      xo

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  9. I'm pretty sure little d never had these discussions with Dane. Dane needs to remember why M is talking to him. It's because he wants everything on the table. It's not that M wants permission to take Dane too far, it's that he wants Dane to know the destination. Safe words and yellow's will help Marcus get everyone there safely and happily.

    You have written Danes previous Dom in such a way, it does feel like he is specter in the room. Every time D brings him up consciously or not you leave the reader feeling like they are now dealing with another person. Well done.

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    1. Unfortunately, yeah, he's in it. Thank you for your lovely compliments.
      xo

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  10. Can you and I challenge each other in a meaningful way without our bond crumbling under the pressure?” <--- THIS GAH! And that nightmare... He is still such a tortured soul. Dane might always have brief snippets of flashbacks to that douche, but my hope for him is that the previous dom's power over him will be erradicated. I have great faith Marcus will help him get there.

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    1. I think we can wipe the Pain right out of Dane's nightmares!
      xx

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  11. Mercy indeed. Poor boy. I know from the time he talked in his sleep and Marcus discovered that he was soft... it would be a rough one. Nightmares are a hard limit for me bc I have them so frequently in real life also they're tough to deal with, especially when you wake up in such a panicked daze like Dane did.

    I'm intrigued as to why Dane couldn't call Marcus by his name. Did it happen before now? Dane calling him Marcus, I mean. There were a few phone convos where he stuttered, but I believe if I remember correctly he did the first time Marcus showed up at his show, no? Correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway, could it be that Dane had a horrible experience calling his ex masshat by name and was punished for it? I'm also beginning to wonder what got him thrown out. Ugh the more I think of the damage this fucker has inflicted on Dane the more I get heart broken and angry. I also feel for Marcus bc the fool has now invaded both his dungeon and now the bed he shares with his submissive. What next? He's already bruised Dane's heart, body, mind and conscious seemingly, for now, beyond repair. Sigh... what a dynamic pair these two create for themselves. Expecting Dane to be fully healed in such a short time is crazy but I'm still holding out that he can get to a place of trust and security in this relationship. Marcus is the best person at providing that safe place for him.

    Also so glad that Dane used his safe word without reminder or prompt to do so. He's slowly getting comfortable expressing hims elf without fear or eviction or downright disappointment. Again very remarkable of Marcus to congratulate him on doing so. Being safe worded always hurts a bit, especially baring the blunt of the pain where someone seriously damaged the person you love. It especially hurt when talked about being lumped in with all the other masters who hurt him before. Sigggh that has got to be a hard hit. But Marcus is strong and this is in no way shape or form about him. Its about the abused boy he's chosen to take care of. And I know that he'll put away any selfish means and be everything for his boy. Its heartbreaking but there can be no growth or strength without a little pain.

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    1. Sorry to hear about your nightmares. :(
      The name issue- I'll table that for now so I don't spoil things for you.
      I agree Dane is making great progress but there will be the occasional step back for every two forward. Marcus will get him through...
      xxx

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