How odd it feels to wait outside the back door like a groupie, starved for a smile or wave. A small group of us huddle near the wall for warmth; I can pick out proud mothers and fathers with impressive bouquets of long-stemmed flowers, exhilarated friends and lovers, and the strange combination of all of the above that comprises me.
Dane is the first cast member through the door, his eyes—outlined by the charcoal remnants of stage makeup—sweeping the line of us with great anticipation before landing on me. A wide smile spreads across his cheeks as he kicks out his long, lean legs and strides to a spot just in front of my place against the wall. His hands are thrust deep into the pockets of his down jacket, and even if they weren’t, he probably wouldn’t feel entitled to throw them around me—so I embrace him.
He steps into my spread arms. “Hello . . .” The name he can’t say is swallowed by our hug. He feels so good in my arms, warm and solid. “You’re cold,” he says. “Have you been waiting a long time?”
“Not too long.” Truth is, I have. All told, I’ve been waiting almost forty minutes, but that’s all right. Tardiness is unacceptable, and I show my submissives the same respect I demand from them. The thought of not being here when Dane showed up sends cold shivers down my spine. “Ready to go?”
He hears all the ancillary questions in my voice and answers every one. “Yes.”
He meets my stride with practiced perfection, neither rushing me nor lagging behind. As with every other aspect of his being, Dane molds himself to suit my specifications.
“How was the show tonight?”
“It was tight. Rob really poured his heart into it. You know, our cast has been together for four months running, so this change is going to be a huge deal. The chemistry he has with Jeannie is pretty damn convincing.” Dane pauses for a second, his lips forming a straight, thin line. “I think that’s going to be the hardest part for me.”
“I can certainly see where that would be challenging. Have you had much acting experience?”
He shrugs, and the black nylon bag bobbles on his back. “I guess. I mean I’ve been in dozens of shows. It’s just . . . kind of hard, I guess . . . creating a convincing illusion of romantic involvement with a girl.”
We’re pulled to a halt at a green light, so I have an excuse to turn and gauge his level of distress. Mild, from what I can tell. “You can always pretend she’s me.”
Dane bursts out laughing and covers it quickly with the back of his hand. “Sorry, but she is so not you.”
The light changes and we step into the intersection with the small crowd surrounding us. Feeling completely out of my element, I mumble, “And thus ends my sad, brief career as an acting coach.”
As we step up onto the sidewalk again, our hurried pace separates us from the others. Dane leans in close and says, “That’s okay, Master. You have other talents.”
Yes, I do, my boy. And you have only begun to discover them.
“Speaking of my career, Dane, in all seriousness,” I begin, “I want you to know I’ve cleared my calendar and sent out the word that I will no longer be taking on other subs.”
Dane’s pace slows, almost as if his feet can’t quite carry the weight of my news. He regards me with a reverence that immediately shifts our balance of power back to normal. “That was fast,” he says.
“I made you a promise. I don’t believe in wasting time.”
“Thank you, Master.”
“No need to thank me. It was the right thing to do. So . . . I guess that means I’m all yours now, Dane.”
A wide, happy grin breaks free. “Then I guess we’re even.”
“What time do you normally get to bed?” I ask.
“Eleven-thirty, twelve, depends what’s going on. Are you sure it’s okay if I eat all this?”
“Yes, Dane, I bought it for you.” I don’t tell him I bought the quarter sheet of veggie lasagna to last him through the weekend. I’ll get him more tomorrow. Sitting across from Dane at the table and watching him nourish his body is insanely gratifying; the more he eats, the happier I feel. It’s not simply the age difference that brings out my paternal instincts, but also the true joy of providing for my submissive’s every need.
Tonight’s session will have to be relatively brief, but I can accomplish a lot in an hour, and Dane will sleep like a baby afterward—as will I, happily curled around him.
Finally, his fork slows; he takes a deep breath and sits back in his chair. “Thank you again. That hit the spot.”
“You sure you’re finished?”
“Yes, Master. Perfectly contented.” He adds a little belly rub for extra credibility.
“In that case, I want you to take a quick shower, neaten up but don’t worry about perfection, brush your teeth, and meet me on your knees in the bedroom.”
“Yes, Master,” he says without hesitation. Rising, Dane reaches for his plate and glass.
“I’ve got that,” I say.
He shoots me a surprised look but recovers before I need to get stern. No doubt his previous master required twenty-four hour tending, but that’s not my gig. We take care of each other, when and how I define it. It will be an adjustment for Dane, but he nods his understanding before heading toward the bathroom.
Dane will take my command literally, so I don’t have much time. Giving the dishes a cursory swipe, I head into the bedroom, light a few strategically placed candles, and strip the bed down to the fitted sheet so Dane doesn’t get lost in a sea of covers. Lastly, I prepare myself—hanging my shirt in the closet, stowing my shoes, and pulling off my socks. Having tucked my supplies out of sight, I post myself just outside the bathroom door, which Dane opens, releasing a thick wall of steam.
If I had to choose my favorite way to be greeted, freshly showered and fully relaxed Dane would win every time. And naked—obviously. Goddamn! DaVinci himself could not improve on Dane’s physical form.
Not the least bit rattled that I’m standing right in front of him, Dane sinks to his knees on the carpeting at my feet, clasping his hands at his lower back. There’s no transition to make; Dane’s been every bit mine since we met at the stage door. We don’t exist in a space where he’s not my submissive, and I don’t suspect we ever will. The rules apply always—respect, safety, consent. Still, the air around us buzzes with a sexual energy that was waiting in the wings earlier. His deep brown eyes have the slightly shiny quality of arousal. His need thickens and grows, as does my own. The friction against my trousers makes me feel alive and vigorous.
I step forward; my thigh meets his cheek. With the soothing gesture that has already become our staple, I thread my fingers through Dane’s damp hair while I warm him to the scene.
“You’ve had a very long, exciting couple of days, my boy.”
No answer is required. His shoulders rise and fall in a decelerating rhythm while my words cloak him in a warm blanket. “I’m going to help you release the tension you’re holding and send you to a deep, restful sleep.”
As my fingers scratch along his scalp, Dane’s neck slackens and rolls—he’s achieved semi-stupor.
“I’m not going to bind both your hands and feet.”
His cheek brushes along my trousers as his pleading eyes find mine. “Yes,” you heard me right, “we are facing a new challenge tonight.”
Hear the “we,” Dane.
There’s a pinch of tension—or is it betrayal?—at the corner of his eyes, but he remains silent.
“Dane.” Cupping his cheek, I meet his eye. “I know exactly what you need, and I’m here to provide it for you.”
A pained swallow, a coarse swipe of his tongue, a series of blinks . . .
“Tell me your safe word.”
I nod once and hold his gaze. “Use it if you need to, Dane, but know this: I believe you’re ready.”
He seems unsure, but he nods back.
“Climb up on the bed for me; lie on your back, arms and legs spread-eagle.”
His movements are as graceful as ever, but because I am expertly attuned to his moods, I can read the deliberateness in his actions. Dane blows out a deep breath as he forces his ankles and wrists toward the four corners of the bed. None of this comes easily to him—not yet. I fully appreciate the terror of pushing one’s limits. If not for my conviction in the big picture, I might succumb to the inescapable imagery of the sacrificial lamb offering itself upon the altar.
Stepping around to the foot of the bed, I cover his shins with my hands, soothing and praising and reaching into my pocket for the ankle cuff. “Tonight, I’m binding one ankle and the opposite wrist. In an emergency, you could release yourself, but your job is to tell me you need out, and mine is to take care of you. Are you still with me?”
He nods slowly, using all his energy to remain calm. “You’re doing beautifully,” I coax, fully aware of his epic struggle. “You can see there’s plenty of slack in the bindings.” Dane’s eyes track to the leather strap around the post nearest his right foot while I demonstrate exactly how much room he has to thrash around. “Ready for the cuff?”
He swallows heavily and nods. With a shaky voice, he adds, “Yes, Master.”
“I’m so proud of you, Dane. Thank you for trusting me.”
He sucks in a desperate breath as I lift his foot and clasp the leather cuff around his ankle. The carabiner clanks into place, tethering the cuff to the bed, however liberally. Dane is bound, and he’ll do his best to stay that way for me.
“Wiggle around a little. How’s that feel?”
Dane slides his leg along the generous arc, pushing to the extremes on both ends, testing the boundaries, getting a feel for his constraint before settling again. “It’s okay, Master,” he says. He is clearly not a fan.
Caressing his bound right leg from shin to thigh and along the outside of his hip—staying well away from his waning erection—I cross his chest in a diagonal line and brush my fingertips across his nipple and continue up the length of his left arm. His head swivels as his attention follows me with razor-sharp focus.
I repeat the process with the leather strap tied to the post near his left hand, showing him, cuffing him, clipping him into place, and checking on him. Though he answers that he’s okay, his hands are balled into tight fists and his breathing is too shallow and too rapid.
“I need you to relax, Dane.”
He looks up at me like he might be ill. “Sorry, Master.”
“Nothing to be sorry about, Dane. This is exactly what we’re here to work on. Deep breath in . . . and release it. Feel the tension leave your hands . . . That’s it. Once more.”
He forces out a second shaky breath, and I run my hands across his shoulders to soothe him. There’s nothing left of his earlier erection, but I’m not too worried about resurrecting it. Just need to fit a couple more puzzle pieces in place so Dane understands what to do.
I sit next to him on the bed, his bare hip anchored against my trousers. “There’s only one way to earn your release from the bonds, Dane. I plan to keep you prisoner until you come. Do you understand?”
He nods solemnly. I may as well have told him he has three days to live. “Yes, Master.”
My fingertips graze lightly down his chest. His hips answer with a slight buck, just his body’s way of expressing its freedom.
“It’s a win-win, really. You orgasm, you go free.”
Dane’s eyes roll back in his head as he digests his fate. Clearly he is unsure he’s capable of doing what I’m asking.
“Have you ever used the word ‘yellow’ in scene?”
No need for that with a squeaky toy, I suppose.
“Here’s how it works,” I plow on. “If you feel you’re nearing your breaking point, call out ‘yellow’ at any point. I’ll slow things down and ease you through your discomfort. The idea is to spare you from the need to safe word.”
What I don’t tell Dane is that those tenuous moments in the yellow zone, where sub and Master are engaged together in the business of passing though the narrowest spaces, allow for the most powerful bonding and progress. Where done successfully, of course.
“I understand,” he replies.
“Excellent. One more thing: I’m going to be way more efficient getting you out of the cuffs, especially if you’re anxious.” The unwanted image of a wounded fox chewing off its own foot pops to mind. “So let me do the heavy lifting, okay?”
Dane nods, takes one final deep breath, and steels himself for the scene.