With the strange goal of filling my day doing things Dane wouldn’t enjoy, I am wildly productive. I stock our little kitchenette with berries and decaffeinated teas, water bottles and more of the lasagna he enjoyed so much. I walk a wide grid around the neighborhood, reacquainting myself with nearby restaurants and shops. I map out museums and exhibits like a champion tourist, determined to show him everything in our limited time together. I work my ass off in the hotel gym and treat myself to a steam when I’m through abusing my muscles.
I pretend not to look at my watch every ten minutes; not to wonder what he is doing between rehearsal and performance time; not to hope he is thinking of me, too.
Ducking into a coffee shop, I finally focus my mental energy directly on the anxious thoughts I’ve been pushing away again and again: Am I falling for Dane? Am I good for him? Am I a foolish old man to think he might return my feelings? Am I setting us both up for disappointment? And last but not least disturbing: Am I losing my edge?
A young, latched-together couple knocks into my little table as they bang indelicately through the tight maze of lightweight bistro furniture toward the corner booth. He pulls her onto his lap, consuming her along with his biscotti. She adores him—anyone can see it—but only a few would notice the way he controls her with just his eyes.
The mental leap is instantaneous and as powerful as a wrecking ball slamming into my head. I’ve answered all these questions for Bella, and by extension, for her dom and for myself. Edward and his new wife are living proof that emotional bonds only serve to strengthen the Master-submissive relationship. I wouldn’t begin to compare what Dane and I have to their undefinable mishmash of collaring and marriage or all the different variations of kinky and vanilla they choose to explore. Their bond is a living, breathing organism as original as each of them individually.
What I do know is that Dane is a different animal entirely, and ours is a growing, deepening connection that will never be vanilla. I can’t imagine Dane in any other role than my submissive. Though my heart is reluctant to believe it, my rational, analytical side has been busy pressing the truth into my consciousness in tiny, digestible portions since the Cullens’ wedding.
The fact is, Dane is better with me than he’s ever been—so emotionally liberated, in fact, he still can’t believe that most of what he thinks and feels is acceptable. I want nothing more than to continue to nurture him, heal him, and fuck, I’ll admit it, love him.
My heart is a miserably poor submissive—it feels what it needs to feel regardless of what is safe or smart. And the bastard has gotten me into some sticky situations in the past, that’s for goddamn sure. That I care about Dane is not contingent on whether he returns my affection. I couldn’t stop if I tried.
And should I?
Downing the frothy remains of my decaf cappuccino, I look to the bottom of the cup for my answer. I love being Dane’s Master. I’m happier when I’m with him than I’ve ever been. It’s only my doubts that threaten my peace of mind. Do I need to hold on to who I’ve always been, or is it okay to be this new version of myself? Will I miss that part of me if I let go? Does Dane need me to be the Marcus I was?
It doesn’t take a genius to predict how Edward would respond to my dilemma, but oh, the ribbing I’d have to endure to hear it! I pick my phone up from the table, briefly entertaining the idea of having a little chat with my trusted friend, when the thing startles me by buzzing in my hand. Alone at my little table, I’m grinning like a loon at the message.
i feel guilty. i’ve decided You can turn on a light. –d
So, Dane has been thinking of me. And even in text-speak, he manages respect.
You’re too good to me. How was rehearsal?
Excellent. Took Your advice. Have some new strategies to try.
Happy to hear it, I type back, truly thrilled for his progress.
Hope You had a good day, Master.
Don’t worry, Dane. You didn’t miss anything good.
How could that be when i have been away from You all day?
Jesus, the boy knows how to turn my head. Truly Dane, I’m saving it all up for you.
Can’t wait! Time for make-up…Don’t worry, i haven’t forgotten Your request. *wink*
My “request”? Ah, this boy takes such liberties! Yeah, and I’m pretending to mind why? The more carefree he is, the more successful I’ve been. Maybe it’s time to sit back and enjoy and leave all the agonizing behind. What’s the worst thing that can happen?
Go make yourself pretty for me, boy!
i do it all for You, Master, with my best effort.
And it shows. Dance well, Dane.
i’ll be first at the stage door tonight, Master. See You then.
I’ll be there.
“Fuck you!” he returns.
To be fair, he’s not to blame. No, that would have to be Dane himself, barreling through the nondescript steel door, hurtling his gorgeous lined eyes down the row of admirers until they land on me, and striding his long, lean legs over the thirty or so feet that separate us.
Fuck and me. “Not my type” has officially become “exactly my type.” Another solid line shifted like so many sand particles in the tide.
He’s rushed over; our toes meet on the pavement; there’s a bright spark as our lips crash together—or is it just me? If it were anyone else behaving like giddy lovers, I’d call them ridiculous. Hell, it’s us, and I know we’re ridiculous. I pull back from our kiss/mash and enjoy my close-up. My smile spreads; Dane’s lips curl up in mirror image.
“You like?” he murmurs.
“You could say that. How was your performance tonight?”
Dane continues to grin at me. “Inspired.”
“Mmm, I’m feeling a bit inspired myself.” So inspired, in fact, I decide in that flash of an instant to completely chuck my plan for tonight and go with something more in keeping with my urgent response.
Those heavily outlined lids that hold my complete attention descend halfway. Dane leans forward, places his lips dangerously close to my ear, and says, “I’m pleased you’re pleased, Master.” The dam bursts; the blood rushing to my groin is a roaring river.
“We’re out of here.” Grabbing his elbow, I guide him away from the gathering crowd. My heart is pounding even as I warn my systems to ease up. We’re far from our private room; he’s not nearly ready for all I want to do to him; Dane needs to eat.
Wordlessly, we dart toward the hotel shoulder to shoulder. One block shy of our goal, I divert him into the doorway of Smiler’s with a subtle pivot of my hip. “Choose your dinner, then let those be the last words spoken between us until I give you permission to speak.”
“Yes, Master,” he responds, one hundred percent my respectful submissive.
With conversation muted, nothing escapes either of us. Ours is not a comfortable silence, not right now when too many thoughts scream to be shared. There’s nothing easy about sitting with him and not drawing out the day’s experiences or telling him about mine. It’s exactly the enormity of the effort to withhold that builds the tension between us with each forkful of grilled chicken and leafy greens that disappear from his plate.
A curl of satisfaction rises from my belly, acknowledging the dom in me is alive and well. If I’d gone soft, I reason, I would’ve encouraged him to talk or at least asked whether he needed to. We’ll get to talking later, and thanks to our sleeping arrangements, we’ll have plenty of time for it. Right now, we’re on Master’s time, and I won’t allow anything to diminish this powerful high.
Finally, Dane clears the last of the food from his dish and follows me out the door. The accidental bumping is inevitable—arms and hips in sync and unified in their mission. The sidewalk is still crowded, even at this late hour, and the hotel elevator is a flimsy box that can barely contain our excitement.
The door unlocks with a loud click that reverberates down the hallway. I push open the door, indicating with a sweep of my arm for Dane to enter first. The heavy spring of the door pulls closed behind us.
In one swift move, I shrug my overcoat to the floor behind me as I relieve Dane of both his duffel and jacket. I spin him toward the wall and impose my knee between his legs. He lets out a surprised hiss when I grab his hands in mine and press his palms to the wall over his head. He knows this command—stay.
Dane is pinned to the wall by my hips while I undo the few shirt buttons he bothered to fasten. I tug his shirt and tank out of his pants, and the low whimper he releases has me hard and wanting. There will be no reassurance for him this time, no gentle words to soften my demands. It’s time to believe in us.
With a simple flick of a snap, Dane’s pants are my bitch. A swift series of two-handed yanks has them—and his black bikinis—down around his knees. I pulse my hips against his ass, thrusting my cloth-covered erection into the bare ass cheeks grasped roughly in my hand.
Dane is barely holding on. His heavy arousal is trapped against the wall as I set a steady, demanding rhythm. Thrust, release. Thrust, release.
So many words don’t have authorization to come out: I missed you today. You are driving me wild. I’m going to take such good care of you.
It’s raw and rough and dirty. My body keeps him trapped where he has no choice but to feel me all over—my teeth nipping at his ear, my erection jabbing into his leg, a palm encircling his shaft, a finger introduced between his cheeks.
Dane’s body is a quivering need, begging for release. I give him more of everything—pressure, invasion, friction—everything but choice in the matter. His head drops back, and a desperate moan issues from the depths of his throat as he leaves all inhibition behind and gives over every last scrap of control in the most powerful surrender he’s shown yet.
If orgasms are like snowflakes—no two alike—this is the purest expression of Dane’s animal side. Restricted by his Master’s unyielding body, the wild beast inside him roars to the surface and explodes in a glorious hot stream of cum. I pump his cock hard through the last shudders of his orgasm and hold his quaking body against mine while his legs regain function.
Kissing the day and night’s sweat from his neck, I break the spell gently, quietly allowing, “You have permission to speak now, Dane.”
Fighting for breath, Dane turns astonished eyes to mine. “Holy shit!”
Chuckling at his response, I loosen my grip and allow him some room to breathe. “Agreed.”
Blushing madly, he drops his gaze and shakes his head. “Sorry, Master. That was wildly inappropriate.”
I give him a love tap with my open palm on his ass, which does a fantastic job of getting his attention. “Dane, you are absolutely perfect.”
He spins in my hands, in the limited room between my hard body and the wall. Half undressed, completely disheveled, trapped, sexy as all hell. Those eyes, those damn eyes, drop to my belt buckle. “Master, may I please?”
“Yes, Dane, and do us both a favor and make it quick.”
He knows exactly what he’s doing to me as he steps out of his pants and boxers, drops to his knees, opens his sexy mouth over my zipper, and blows a circle of wet heat over my bulge. I push the shirt off his shoulders, leaving only his clingy white tank, as I bridge his thighs with my stance. Grasping a handful of his shaggy brown hair, I direct his eyes upward. “Look at me while you do that.”
Locked and loaded, I’m thinking, as our eyes meet in the thin sliver of space I’ve allowed. There’s tongue and throat and the slightest hint of teeth as those beautiful lips draw me in, but it’s the eyes—always his eyes—that keep me riveted.
It’s going to be a damn shame to blindfold him is my last coherent thought before instinct grips my thighs and wrenches the pleasure from my groin.
Dane stays faithful to my command, keeping his eyes lifted toward mine even as he nuzzles my waning erection with tender kisses. Before my brain has a chance to weigh in, my voice has already released the broken, emotionally charged word.
His answer is not a question, not a request for clarification—though it would be well within reason to ask for one. The response that comes back to me is nothing more and nothing less than affirmation.
There’s no longer a question in my mind that this is right and true.
I ruffle his hair and clear the last of the uncertainty from my tone. “Go wash off your make-up. It’s time for us to talk.”