Dane is a wreck, and I’m one jangled nerve away from slicing my finger instead of the zucchini I’ve been trying to julienne all morning. Despite our very low-key return to my house and a night consisting entirely of cuddling, talking, and poetry, my boy is anything but relaxed today.
Maybe making Dane sit right under my nose while he filled out his checklist wasn’t such a smart plan. His body language is beyond expressive—hair pulling, squirming, and head shaking; I can’t remember seeing him so fidgety and uncomfortable. He must notice the lack of chopping sounds in the background and looks up with a guilty frown.
“I’m sorry, Master. I didn’t mean to distract you.”
“Were you this miserable the first time around?”
He barks out a laugh. “I was way worse. All that anxiety over whether you would even want me piled on top of . . . all of this!” He thumbs the corner of the printout I saved, which he is now supposed to be going through and updating for changes with a green Sharpie. Permanent marker, something else he’s not pleased about. Dane can certainly change his mind, but the evidence will be there for me to follow.
“At least now you know I’ll want you no matter what.”
He looks so forlorn. “Honestly, that’s the only reason I’m still sitting here.” He sighs. “Crap, I’m sorry, Master. That sounded disrespectful. I’m sitting here because you told me to do this. Aaargh!” His forehead touches down on the walnut table top as he lets out a groan.
How can I help? The first idea that crosses my mind is amusing but probably not helpful: challenging Dane to a little one-sided game of “Strip Checklist,” wherein each of his squirms and sighs would earn me the right to choose an article of his clothing to discard. Entertaining enough for me, but I don’t really think making him sit still or be quiet will improve his underlying attitude, and Dane masking his feelings has never been my goal.
What always helps Dane when he’s struggling? The answer rings like a loud, ugly gong in my head because this one is going to cost me, and that’s how I know with certainty that I have to do it.
Setting down my knife, I dry off my hands on the dish towel. Dane looks up with a start as he hears my footsteps approaching. “You’re probably going to have to make dinner, now,” I tell him, making sure he sees my smile.
“Sold!” he answers, popping out of his chair with more energy than he’s shown in hours.
I put my arm around his shoulders and chuckle. “Not so fast, my twitchy little submissive. We have work to do first.”
His smile doesn’t quite fall as he watches me collect the papers and lead him over to the living room couch. I drop into the cushion right in the middle of the sofa, leaving Dane standing between my knees. Was it chance I just ended up in the exact spot I initially reviewed his checklist?
“I’m going to sit right here. You may sit on the couch, lie on the floor, stand on your head, curl up in my lap, turn somersaults, whatever suits your fancy. All I ask is that you try to get comfortable; your fidgeting is making me crazy.”
“No need to be.” I suck in a breath of courage. “Okay, Dane, I have to tell you, this is a first for me.”
His head tips to one side as he stands in front of me, attempting to decipher my mysterious behavior. “Are we going to do that interview thing?”
“No. I’m about to give you my checklist.”
“Really, but I’m doing it orally, and I’m only going to do it once, so you better switch on that superhuman memory of yours.”
“Wow.” Dane’s hand flies to his heart, and he sinks to his knees between my legs. “Thank you, Master.”
“Are you sure that’s where you want to be, Dane? This might take a while.”
“Absolutely, Master. This is pretty much where I always want to be.”
Oh, Dane. If he were a sports car, the manufacturer would advertise how quickly he goes from exasperated to sweet. Truth be told, the sweetness is always present; sometimes, Dane just lets it get buried under a shit ton of heavier emotions.
My hand, his hair—why would I even try to keep them apart? “At least settle in and get comfortable.”
He sits back on his heels, wraps his arms around my calves, and rests his cheek on top of my thigh, allowing me easy access to his hair and neck. I’m almost positive he did that for my comfort, not his, but I accept his supportive gesture. Revealing myself is not something that comes naturally.
I set the clipped papers down on my opposite leg so I can keep a close watch on Dane’s responses. “Let’s just be clear, this is a Master’s checklist, so if we’re talking about butt plugs, for example, that’s your butt we’re discussing, not mine.”
Sweet blush, Dane. “Understood,” he croaks out.
“Okay . . . ‘sex acts’ . . . here we go!”
I wonder if Dane sees through my bravado. Having just been on the other end of this checklist, I’m pretty sure he understands the excruciating soul-baring about to take place.
“Anal sex. Yes, I am a big fan.” Dane rolls his eyes at me, and I give him a little wink. “Anilingus . . .”
“Excuse me, Master, am I allowed to ask questions?”
Say WHAT now? He’s pulling his earnest face, and hell, he knows I can’t refuse him. “Same as always, Dane. Ask away, and I’ll answer if I can.”
He sideways nods against my jeans but he doesn’t ask me a question. Onward, then.
“Anilingus . . . big fan of that, also.”
“Excuse me, Master, sorry. I’m trying to work up my nerve here.”
“Take your time, Dane.” Fuck, this cannot be good.
“Going back to the first thing?”
“Mmhmm. Have you ever, or would you ever want to . . .”
My fingers freeze against his head. “Bottom?”
“Yes?” he whispers.
Dane blushes. I smile. “Not in scene, Dane.”
His blush deepens. Having exposed something about himself with the question, poor Dane doesn’t quite know where to go next.
“Something on your mind, sweetheart?” It’s not Master asking. This would be one of those times it would be helpful if he could see me as Marcus.
“I guess I should save this for another time.”
I’m trying to be nonchalant, but this is a huge deal, and we both know it. “That’s not a bad idea. We have a lot to cover here.”
Looking a bit relieved, he answers, “Yeah.”
I give his head a little scrub with my fingertips. “But just so you know, Dane, I am more than open to the discussion.” This wink almost makes me blush, too.
His expression changes to surprise and then delight. “May I continue, boy?”
“Yes, Master. Please.”
“Okay, then. Butt plugs, yes. Camming—hmm, performing in front of webcam, I don’t think I want to share you with anyone else, but we definitely need to get you in front of a video camera before long! Cock rings, hell yes, deep throating—sure, I’ll even take both sides of that one, dildo, fellatio, finger sex, sure, why not? Fisting, hmm.”
I pause to look down at a most curious Dane. Do I really want my fist up his ass? Not so much, though if he loved it, I’d make it happen. “I’m not real big on that one. Glory hole? Nah, I don’t want your mouth on anyone else or anyone else’s mouth on you. Hand job, nipple play, oral, check, check, check. Public sex, now, there’s an interesting one for my little exhibitionist!”
Dane actually looks more uncomfortable than turned on right now, but I remind myself that this is my checklist, not his. What turns me on? Would I expose Dane where he could be recognized? Would I degrade him in public? No, but there are ways of working things between the two of us that would safely allow Dane to explore this particular bend.
“I can get mighty creative there; I’m going to say yes to something in public.”
Dane gulps so hard I can feel his Adam’s apple bobbing through my jeans.
He answers with a stunned shake of his head; my fingers work their magic through his hair.
“Talking dirty? Who, moi?”
Dane actually guffaws into my leg. “Sorry,” he mumbles.
“Mmhmm, I’ll bet. Okay, that does it for the sex acts. Onto bondage! Yes, I will tie you up every which way, my sweet boy. You can count on that! Caging? Not a hard limit, but not my thing. I’m just too greedy to not be able to touch you all the time.” I’d cage another sub who would benefit from some alone time or get off on puppy play. Dane seems to be neither.
My fingers work his hair, reassuring when the checklist gets dicey for him.
“Gags. I’m not averse—in general.” I stop to run a finger down his cheek bone and across his lips. It would be an enormous loss for all my senses to plug up that beautiful mouth.
“Spreader bars and suspension—yes, we are going to have so much fun now that we’re back here! Whipping post? I do like a boy tied up nice and tight with some hard wood between his legs, so I’ll go with yes on that one. As for the whipping itself, I certainly don’t have a problem with it if that’s what my submissive needs.”
My palm glides to Dane’s shoulders and what I can reach of his back. “You know I would never leave a mark on you, right?”
“Yes,” he answers, his voice sounding a bit shell-shocked by the idea of being whipped.
The S&M section is next, and Dane’s not in the best head space. I lift his chin off my leg so I can kiss and reassure him.
“I’m not scaring you, am I?”
“Nope. I’m all right.”
I really stop to examine him, to evaluate where he is. “Yes, you are. You must have figured out my secret.”
“It doesn’t matter if I’m open to every damn thing on every damn checklist there is; we only do it if it works for you. I don’t have the power to overrule your limits. Bazinga!”
Dane chuckles. “Bazinga?”
“That was my urban dictionary word of the day. Thought I’d try it out.”
“Very modern of you, Master,” he says with a grin.
“Mmhmm. Back to what I know best, here we are at S&M acts. Are you with me, boy?”
“Okay, let’s go. Asphyxiation, no, thank you. Ball stretching, I don’t think so. Beatings of all shapes and sizes? No, Dane. I could never beat you. Biting, no way. Breath control, nope. Catheter, cattle prod, choking, no, no, no. Wow, I’m not much of a sadist, am I?”
“Seems not, Master.”
“Cock and ball torture, there’s something that can be entertaining.” He gives me the doe-eyed blink. Might be worth a scene to see if I could get Dane off on that—seriously dialed back from what I’ve done with my pain-sluttier subs, naturally.
“Oh, Dane, how could I slap your face or pull your beautiful hair? Kicking? Only if we’re free fighting. Now, nipple torture? Yeah, I think there’s some give in those clamps we’ve yet to explore. Pinching? Punching? Scratching? No, those are no fun at all. Sounds like a catfight in a soft porn prison movie!”
Dane turns his face into my laps and laughs.
“Finally . . . spanking!” I take a nice long pause to let Dane compose himself and look up again. I don’t want him to miss any of this. “Spanking on all fours, oh . . . yes. Spanking over the knee, obviously a fan favorite. Spanking hard and spanking soft. Spanking, spanking in a box; spanking, spanking wearing socks. Would you care to add any categories, boy?”
“I think you covered it, Master,” he says.
I chuff. “I’d cover your ass with my hand right now if I could reach it.”
He answers with a hoarse, “It’s the thought that counts.”
I settle for kissing him instead—not a terrible consolation prize. “You are delicious, Dane.”
“Thank you, Master.”
Really, what else could he say?
“You’re welcome. Next few pages just list all the toys that go along with all those things we just discussed. Let’s skip to fetishes, shall we?”
“Sure,” he answers with wary interest.
“Boot worship, sure, that can work. Branding, that would be a hell no. Corset, hmm.” Dane’s jaw has dropped, but he clamps it shut when he catches me looking. “Cross-dressing in general, I think we should leave that door open.”
Not that I’m excited about putting Dane in girly lingerie, but then again, I’d never met the golden uni-thong until my birthday, so who knows what other wonders are out there?
“Diapers, really not interested. Enemas . . . administering those is not my idea of a good time, though I do like it when you freshen up for me, sweet boy.” He gives me a rolly-eyed grin. “Erotic dancing, nah, I’m not much for that. Oh wait, I just lied. Exhibitionism, yes, and we’re going to have to get right on that one, aren’t we? Foot worship, sure. Golden showers, no, gun play, definitely not. Latex, well, hellllo. That would be a big, fat, kinky yes!”
Dane blushes right on cue.
“Piercing? Hmm, I wouldn’t rule it out. Spitting? Not sexy. Tattoo, I’m open to it. Tickling, oh hell, yes. Wait ‘til you meet my feather duster, Dane. You two are going to be such good friends! Voyeurism, watching your dom with others? No, no, no, no, never.”
For the first time since this whole recitation began, Dane shakes his head and offers his opinion on my answer. “Master, I couldn’t.”
“Never, Dane. I promise.” He seems to accept my response as truth. “Would you like me to finish?”
“Sure. Why not? You seem to be on quite the roll.” A small smile accompanies his answer.
“It is kind of hard to stop once you get started. On to power play, then. Oh, I do like this part. Bathroom use, maybe just a wee bit.”
“Oh my god.” He shakes his head.
“Chastity belt? Under the right circumstances, sure. Collars . . .” I just smile. “We’ll get to that later, won’t we? Crawling, sure. Food choices, more of a necessity than a turn-on. Give you away? Oh hell, no. Harem. Should we take on a harem, Dane? What do you think? If I could have ten of you, maybe. But somebody else? You’ve spoiled me, boy.”
And that’s my truth. Nobody will ever again measure up to Dane.
“You’ve spoiled me right back, Master.”
“That’s true, but don’t try to soften me up right before I get to humiliation. Not a hard limit, but probably not a great fit. Orgasm control, absolutely! That’s half the fun, right? Sleep deprivation? I could not imagine wanting to do that to you. Standing in corner? That can definitely work. Hey, look, Dane. Only one more section left. See? This wasn’t so hard.”
“For you. As you said, Master, the buck stops with the sub. I’m the one who has to decide what I am willing to let you do.”
As I cup his cheek, I make sure every ounce of playfulness is drained from my voice. This is the crux of it for Dane, and he needs to understand exactly where the lines of power are drawn.
“It’s true you set the boundaries, Dane, but I’m the one who decides what you can handle. I’m not going to tie you naked to a tree in Central Park just because you green lighted playing in public.”
He blinks up at me. “Thank you?”
“I’m about to run through the role play scenarios. Would you like to join me on the couch?” I can get a better read on him if I can see his whole body.
“Are you asking me or telling me?”
“Just asking, Dane.”
“Then, I’ll stay here, please.”
My mouth widens into a grin, so he knows there’s no bite in my words. “Here I thought you wanted to be on your knees for your Master; now I understand—you are trying to hide from me! Pretty sneaky, Dane.”
“That’s not how it started out,” he says, basically admitting I’m right.
“No worries, Dane. I promised you a glimpse into your Master’s psyche, and this role play section might be the most amusing part. I’ll warn you right now, you’re probably going to be called into service very soon.”
“My pleasure, Master.”
He doesn’t put his head back down in my lap, but rather, watches me quite eagerly from his perch between my thighs.
“We’ve already discussed age regression play. Frankly, I think the fact that you’re a good twenty-cough-cough years younger is quite enough of that!”
He cracks a smile he knows he probably shouldn’t.
“Butler, hmm, it was never a hard limit before you ran the zipper over my balls.”
He bursts out laughing. “You’re never going to let me live that down, are you?”
“When my balls forgive you, I’ll let you know.”
“I shall eagerly await their decision.”
With a smirk, I continue, “Cuckold, absolutely not, as discussed. I will never bring another man into our play.”
“Thank you, Master.”
“Mmm, here’s one we are definitely going to try: interrogations. Holy shit, I just realized something!”
“What’s that, Master?” He’s cautious but too curious not to ask.
“With your acting background, you’re probably a genius at improv. Am I right?”
“I wouldn’t say ‘genius,’ . . .”
“Wow, Dane. We are going to have so much fun with role play!”
He really doesn’t know whether to be scared or excited.
“Kidnapping? Definitely. Medical scenes, I don’t know. Depends how much you like playing doctor. Anything? Not giving it away, are you, Dane?”
“Trying not to.”
He bites his lip. Fucking adorable.
“Pony play . . . nah, I think I’d rather just go to the zoo and watch the penguins when I need my animal fix. Prison scene, oh I could see the rough warden taking over after the interrogation scene . . .”
I’m totally cheating. His face is an open book. What started out as my earnest sharing has basically become a free-for-all of kinky ideas swirling around the room.
“Hang in there, Dane, we are almost done. Religious scenes, I don’t think I need to tempt the gods anymore than I already do on a daily basis. Serving as an ashtray, hello, hard limit. Serving as furniture—I think we should table that discussion.”
“Oh, Master, no.” He slaps his forehead, and the tension is officially broken.
“The end! You did it, Dane. You lived through the experience once, and now you can surely do it again. This isn’t the bar exam; it’s sex. It’s supposed to feel good—well, maybe not right away, but eventually. Do you think you can manage your checklist now without making me chop off a finger?”
“Are you sure you don’t want me to cook dinner? I’m not really sure I trust you with the chef’s knife.”
“How lucky for you that knife play is a hard limit for me!” I stand and pull Dane to his feet. My hands glide down his back and rest on his ass. “Please don’t get all grumpy again, Dane. Look at it this way: if you fill out the checklist honestly, you’ll open up whole new worlds for us to play in. We have so much ahead of us we haven’t even considered yet. Do a good job on this. Give your Master the inside track to that kinky, wild side so I can drive you crazy with desire.”
“As if you don’t already?”