“I’m up to it now.”
“Dane,” I start, but I swallow my instinct to counsel that he can’t possibly be ready for this now. Some conversations are best held in the moment. “Okay, but we’re not doing this here.” Not with two safe words still ringing in the air and the bastard’s ghost drifting in our midst.
I’m more than comfortable with my nudity, but I’m not a man who generally goes traipsing through the upper floors of my house without a stitch of clothing on—especially in January. As I lead Dane back up the stairs, I imagine he’s having a good, long look at my ass, but I also believe he sees the rest of what I want him to see: I am here for him, naked and unashamed. It doesn’t get more real between two people than a heart-to-heart in the buff. If our world leaders conducted their meetings this way, wars would become a long-forgotten memory.
Okay, old man, we don’t need to achieve world peace here today. Let’s stay focused on this one relationship and try to do it right this time.
Off the far end of the kitchen, there’s a room I’ve always considered my private sanctuary—a cozy den with a deep brown, ultrasuede sectional that offers a plush perch for TV viewing, reading, or thinking out my problems. I share my bed more readily than I do this space, but I lead Dane straight there without a moment’s hesitation.
I drop into my customary corner spot, jostling the throw pillows lining the cushion. My left leg stretches along the length of the sofa while my right thigh and arms hitch open to welcome his body. “C’mere.” He climbs between my legs with all the faith of a child boarding a roller coaster, and I wrap him securely in my arms and pull his hips into mine. My dick knows better than to take the intimate contact for anything other than a purely nurturing embrace.
“Get comfortable, Dane. This might take a while.”
He burrows his shoulders into my chest and settles his hands over mine where they’re folded in his lap. With an audible sigh, he drops his head back into the security of my shoulder. “I’m good, Master.”
You are. Such a good boy.
“I don’t know how much you really know about me, Dane, so let me fill in any gaps you might have, and then you’re free to ask me whatever you like. I have nothing to hide from you.”
His head dips minutely, acknowledging the framework I’ve laid out, but once I launch into my explanation, Dane hardly moves a muscle. Whether it’s his training on the stage or imposed immobility at the hands of a dom, Dane’s a champion at being still. He listens without comment while I take him through the nuts and bolts of how I built my reputation in the BDSM clubs of New York City, earning the trust and confidence of the most powerful doms in the lifestyle. Dane’s eyes widen with excitement as I relate my frequent demonstrations with crop and whip, and for a moment I drift, picturing Dane suspended and trussed while I work him over for the crowd.
My trapped cock doesn’t much appreciate the detour, especially since Dane is miles away from gaining pleasure from anything remotely painful. For Dane’s sake, it’s a limit I hope to explore, to open another world for him once we have the proper grounding of trust between us.
When I get to explaining the shift from mentoring other doms to hiring myself out as a “consultant,” Dane twists his upper body so we’re more or less facing each other.
“Pardon, Master. So, it’s the doms who hire you, not the subs?”
“In large part, yes. What began as a handful of personal friends expanded over the years through referrals. It’s really quite a small world, even in the big city.”
Which inflames my curiosity over this guy who hurt Dane. Someone knows someone who knows this bastard . . . Not now, Marcus.
“There have also been several submissives in between arrangements who have sought me out for whatever reason. Of course, no sub under another master would ever contact me directly.”
A shiver rolls through Dane’s body. “That would be imprudent,” he agrees. I wait for him to process what I’ve related, and after a bit, he asks, “Are the other doms never jealous of what you and their subs share in the dungeon . . . or in here?”
“Dane, I don’t ever bring my clients to this part of my house. It’s business. There’s a straight path from my front door down to the dungeon.”
“Your commute,” he adds, his lips curling into the beginning of a smile.
“It’s rough, but somebody’s got to do it.” We both chuckle, but his question remains unanswered. “A good dom always cares more for his submissive than for himself. If a master brings his sub to me, he’s already come to the understanding there’s something he cannot provide himself. I’m sensitive to the fact that the situation is awkward at best, but I’ve had very few problems over the years.”
The way his next question tumbles out, I don’t think Dane meant to release it. “You never develop feelings?”
“It would be false for me to claim I don’t have an emotional connection with every sub who comes in here—on some level. I would be a pretty terrible dom if I were that detached. The cornerstone of the entire dynamic is the submissive’s desire to achieve his dominant’s adulation. I would never withhold that from a deserving submissive.”
Dane squirms in my arms, attempting to sink further inside the cradle of my body. I hug him tighter and drop a kiss on his forehead. “I would never withhold that from you, Dane,” I add, just in case he has a shadow of a fear that needs dispelling.
“I know you wouldn’t, Master.”
“Thank you, Dane; that means a lot to me.”
He relaxes back into my chest, but his gaze is restless.
“Dane, I meant what I said downstairs. I’m through with all that now.”
His eyes find mine, and I see him struggling with his thoughts. “Are you sure you want to give all that up, Master? It’s your whole reputation you’ve spent your life building. It’s who you are. What about the money?”
I cup his cheek and only resist kissing him because the words are so crucial. “I’m committed to you, Dane. Who I am right now is your Master. I don’t have a single need you cannot fulfill. As for the money—I hate to point this out for fear of reminding you of my advanced age—but I’m okay taking an early retirement.”
His dark, lush eyelashes flutter over his cheeks as he takes in my words.
“More than anything, Dane, I hope you can grow to believe what I’m telling you and allow me to expand your horizons from a place of trust, not desperation. I don’t ever want you to offer yourself out of fear again.”
His Adam’s apple bobs as he swallows heavily. “I do trust you, Master.”
“Dane.” I pull his face close enough to rest my forehead against his. “Take your time with this. I am not going anywhere; I promise.”
He nods and parts his lips as I close my mouth over his. We deepen the kiss together, an unhurried exchange of promises: honesty, concern, trust, and commitment. When we both need to draw breath, I observe his remarkable transformation though it shouldn’t continue to amaze me how fluidly he shifts from guarded, insecure Dane to this eager, happy man in my arms. Beneath the scars of the abused and abandoned boy, there beats the heart of a trusting, open soul. Some people are simply wired with unconditional faith in others, and Dane is such a creature—a trait that cost him dearly in the hands of a monster, but one that just might allow me to rectify all the previous wrongs—and I will not rest until the job is done. Grounded in the foundation of my unwavering support, Dane will soar to the highest peaks.
“I can still bring you healthy meals, right?”
“If the mood strikes you. I hate to think of you spending your free time chained to the stove.” When I’d much rather have you bound to my cross.
Dane smiles openly now. “By any chance, are you hungry, Master?”
What a brilliant boy to make it about me. I chuckle heartily and release him from my arms. “Go on, boy, fetch us some snacks.”
Sure, we could’ve put our clothes back on—or even just our underwear—but huddling together under the blanket would not have been nearly as much fun without all the delicious skin-on-skin contact.
“Can I get you another brownie, Master?”
My free hand finds my warm, full belly, and I smile at the beautiful boy tucked under my arm. “Zucchini or not, Dane, chocolate is chocolate, and this Master has had enough.”
“Mind if I . . .?” He tips his chin toward the kitchen and gives me the grin he’s already learned will win him whatever he wants. I suppose as his Master, I should do something about that blatant manipulation . . . but not now, not when we’re finally moving past all the bullshit and getting to the start of something real. Not when we’re both so goddamn happy.
“Go!” We both chuckle as he throws the blanket off his legs and takes off toward the kitchen. If I hadn’t given him permission to go, I would’ve missed out on the perfect jiggle of his ass as he left and the highly entertaining thwap, thwap, thwap! of his dick upon his return. Even better, as he burrows under the blanket toward my warm body and draws the brownie to his tongue, Dane’s eyes crinkle with delight. I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t do for that smile.
The thought should scare me, but instead, I’m filled with serenity.
Over the course of the last hour—an hour spent talking and kissing and eating and talking and snuggling and talking some more—I’ve decided it’s Dane’s utter lack of defensiveness that makes him not only the ideal submissive, but also someone I can be with for hours without tiring of his company. Now that he understands what I do—what I did—more clearly, I’m confident Dane believes that he truly is different from the long line of clients who have served me in my dungeon.
We still have so much more to explore together; it’s impossible to foresee where we’ll end up at the end of thirty days, let alone farther down the road—a road I hope we’ll travel together for a long, happy time. Without the need to make space in my dungeon and my head for other subs, Dane and I are limited only by his rehearsal and performance schedule. I’ve already jumped ahead in my mind to overnights and lazy mornings together when Dane brings me back to the present.
Swallowing the last bite of his brownie, he eyes me with those soulful chestnut eyes and slides down my body until his head rests squarely in my lap. He lets out a contented sigh while I draw lazy triangles along the corner of exposed skin around his shoulder where the blanket slipped away.
Watching me closely, knowing I’ll appreciate the act on every level, he lifts both arms and folds them behind his head. Perfectly relaxed, entirely passive, and completely trusting. Goose bumps pepper his skin as my fingertips flutter through his bangs, along his regal cheekbones, over the erotic passage from his neck to his erect nipples. There’s a freedom in this no-agenda space. We’re taking a break from pushing limits and exorcising demons and yet, we’re uniquely us.
“May I ask you something, Master?”
“You know you can.”
“I’m afraid I might ruin the moment, but there’s something I really want to know.”
My hands keep moving; it’s only my heart that stutters at his warning. “If you have something on your mind, the moment has already shifted.”
“Okay. Have you ever had a relationship with someone who wasn’t your sub?”
“No.” Easy question, and one with an answer that suits Dane’s needs. “I know who I am, and I know what I need.”
“You’ve always known?”
Dane’s stillness and curiosity move me. Most of the men who show up in my dungeon are focused on their own needs—ironic, I realize. Even to those who truly get off on serving a Master, I’m often nothing more than the prop they need to act out their own fantasies. They don’t care about my diet or how I slept or what’s in my heart. Dane may have gone overboard in his misguided attempt to ingratiate himself, but I know he cares about me beyond what it means directly for him. So, I tell him things I haven’t told anyone for a very long time.
“You know those old comic strips where the bully kicks sand into the weakling’s face?”
“No way that weakling was going to be me.”
Dane smiles at me in a my-dom-can-beat-the-shit-outta-your-dom way. My palms brush along his body as if I’m tending my own personal, human Zen garden. He absorbs my need instinctively and offers himself with nothing less than gratitude for the ability to provide the service.
“I told my parents I wanted to take karate. They were thrilled—great exercise, a safe place to stow me after school while other kids in my neighborhood were getting into all kinds of trouble. What they didn’t know was the effect the instructor would have on me. You ever take a martial arts class, Dane?”
“No. I was too busy taking ballet and tap.” He rolls his eyes, and I nod in solidarity. It couldn’t have been easy growing up a gay, dancing boy with submissive tendencies.
“Martial arts are all about ritual and discipline—self-discipline mostly—but also figuring out what’s in the other guy’s head so you can stay one step ahead. Does any of that sound familiar?”
He smiles as my fingers play in his hair. “I’m getting a certain picture in my mind.”
I’ve already superimposed Dane’s face on my dojo-mates’, dressed him in the white karate gi, watched him bow his head in respect. “Ahh, Dane, we should spar some time. It would be fun.”
His eyes widen with fear, and I have to laugh. “Don’t worry, Grasshoppah. I would never hurt you.”
“Ugh, kid, you’re breaking my heart!” I scrub my knuckles against his scalp. “I was eight when I started self-defense. I knew by ten that I liked being on top a lot better, and the boys in my classes knew they’d never get me on my back. A dom was born.”
Dane has another question in his eyes, but he can’t seem to get his mouth to cooperate.
“Ask or I’ll have to kiss it out of you.”
He rolls his lips into a tight line and calls my bluff. I bend to kiss him, and he lifts to meet me halfway, wrapping one hand behind my neck. We loud, sloppy kiss for several delirious minutes before I pull back. “Ready to ask that question now?”
He grins and shakes his head no. I give him more of the same, pulling away only when I remember I really do want to know what is on his mind. “I’m afraid if you don’t ask your question, I’ll have to tickle you.”
“Uncle!” he says good-naturedly, arranging himself so that he’s now sitting on my lap with both arms around my neck. “I was going to ask if you always knew you liked boys.”
Another easy one. “Yes.”
“May I press you once more, Master?”
“Yes, Dane. I love your questions. Press away.”
“Okay. Here goes.”
I can’t think of another time I was so engaged in a conversation or absolutely on the edge of my seat for what another person had to contribute.
“Have you ever been like this with another sub?”
“I’m sorry, Master. I don’t mean any disrespect by my question.”
I cup his cheek. “Come on, Dane. We both know that. What are you asking me?”
His smile fades. “I’ve never had a relationship with another dom where I could just be myself and actually have fun. I didn’t really know it was allowed.”
The only way to begin to answer him is with another kiss, and when I’m through with that, I stay close enough that he can feel my breath on his lips. “It’s not just allowed, Dane; it’s required. I want to help you find yourself again. If that happens inside my dungeon, that’s fine, but it might happen right here or in the kitchen or walking down the streets of Manhattan. How does that sound to you?”
He stalls, licking his lips, blinking, clearing his throat. “It sounds good, Master, but . . .”
I feel like I spend half my time with Dane waiting for the other damn shoe to drop, and I wonder if that will ever subside. It’s a cross I’ll bear if it means getting to the heart of things, but I might have to buy stock in Tums pretty soon. “Come on, Dane,” I murmur, “say it.”
He steels himself with a deep breath. “You didn’t answer my question. Has there been anyone else for you?”
Oh. That. Ahh, we've come a long way from the freaked-out boy who safe-worded just a little while ago. Is he ready for Marcus's answer? Are you?
Traveling to NYC today to see our show, but will try my best to respond before posting tomorrow's chapter. Have a wonderful day, all. MWAH!
Traveling to NYC today to see our show, but will try my best to respond before posting tomorrow's chapter. Have a wonderful day, all. MWAH!