Monday, July 14, 2014


I did not see this coming.

Not when Dane and I checked into the Four Seasons, not when we headed out for a light bite, and not when we came back to the room to change into our clothes for Operation: De-dom the Dick. Not even when I hailed the taxi the two of us were about to exit.

I did not anticipate this nuclear bomb that just exploded in my belly, nor can I hide its effects from the man sitting next to me, already working some mad breathing techniques to hold his own shit together. Maybe if you’d stop wringing your hands like a lunatic mad scientist!

Dane reaches across the black vinyl seat and covers my hands with long, elegant fingers. “Master?” His voice is laced with concern and mental energy he cannot possibly have to spare.

Don’t be a drain, Marcus. Suck it up!

“How are you holding up, Dane?”

“Better than you?”

Something in his tone snags me like a life preserver tossed to a drowning man. As I turn and reveal myself to Dane, I recognize what I heard: strength. Despite all his misgivings, Dane is here because he trusts me, and he deserves the same from me. The words are on the tip of my tongue, but they won’t spill.

He needs his Master to be omnipotent right now. It wouldn’t be fair to show weakness. Defeated, I shake my head and look away.

Pull yourself together, dammit! I’m a pro. I can push this aside and do what needs to be done. I will be what Dane needs right now; I will not allow my doubts to come into play. Each affirmation is another brick in my wall of bravado. I know how to do this . . .


Dane’s quietly whispered word is a wrecking ball to my flimsy construction. My eyes are wet when they meet his. Despite everything, I’m smiling. “You just did that, Dane.”

Dane nods with a newfound confidence, but he’s not ready to let me off the hook. “What aren’t you telling me?”

That’s my boy, cutting to the chase. Damn Eleazar and his damn therapeutic methods! My tongue is glued to the roof of my mouth.

Dane presses me again. “You’re worried I can’t handle this?”

“No, Dane, that’s not it.”

He wants to believe me, but his eyes are holding a pain I cannot abide. I will not have Dane doubting my faith in him.

“You’re about to see some ugly things, Dane.”

“I can imagine. I have imagined.” He chuffs upon further reflection.

“Aro can be a bit . . . rough around the edges.”

Dane’s not buying it. “Okay.”

“You’ve never seen Edward with a whip in his hand. He can be—”

“With all—crap—okay, look, we’re almost there. Would you please be straight with me? I really need you to tell me what’s going on because I’m barely hanging on here.”

“You’re right, Dane. I’m sorry. Okay, here it is: you’re about to see a side of me you’ve never seen before, and I’m not sure how you’re going to feel about me after that. Not even the most cantankerous sub would get this treatment from me or Edward—or Aro, for that matter. I would never condone any dom behaving this way in scene. This isn’t going to be consensual; this is street justice, Dane, not BDSM. I hope you know I’ve never . . . and I will never again . . .”

“Master,” he interrupts, “I get it.” It’s uncanny how Dane recognizes when I need him to see me as Marcus and when as Master, but his intuition should not surprise me anymore. “I understand why you’re doing this, and I admire and respect your willingness to step outside yourself for me and for your values.”

“That’s just it, Dane. This thing is not ‘outside’ me; it’s a part of me, apparently.”

He squeezes his hand tighter around mine. “I can’t imagine there’s a part of you I wouldn’t love. We all have our darker thoughts; it’s what makes us who we are. It’s not as if you go around inflicting pain on unsuspecting people for sport.”

A dark laugh escapes me. “No, just the ones who ask for it,” I reply. My injection of sarcasm doesn’t even cause him to flinch.

“I love you, Master.” He lets those words sink in for a few seconds before tacking on, “And I plan to love you even more when we leave here tonight.”

That works for me, and I’m quite sure my massive sigh and face-breaking smile prove it. “I have no idea what I ever did to deserve you, Dane, but I will work to be worthy of that love every damn day for as long as you’ll let me.”

“Sounds like a solid plan.” As he leans over to kiss me, the taxi comes to a stop.

“Ready, Dane?”

Clasping my hand firmly in his, he answers, “I am.”

My badass boots hit the pavement with a satisfying thunk. With each step, the heavy treads grind and swallow the clear chunks of rock salt strewn along the icy sidewalk. Dane’s boots are capable of the same sounds, but his delicate gait won’t produce them. The door is swiftly answered by one of the house subs, who asks my name, nods knowingly, and leads us to the room where the demonstration will take place.

Dane and I both pause in the doorway. We reach for each other’s hands at the same time and step inside with the synchronicity of our walks from his theater to the Fillmore Hotel.

Downstairs is exactly as I remember it—a true dungeon master’s medieval dungeon, complete with concrete floors and high ceilings, coal-colored wrought iron fixtures set off by stark wood furniture with only the most meager cushioning. The room is neat and sanitary, but preserved in the air is a musky scent that disinfectant can never fully erase.

Dane and I walk to the middle of the room. On one side of us, several rows of chairs are assembled—the peanut gallery. By Aro’s estimation, twenty or so of the area’s most influential leaders of the BDSM community will be in attendance. Dane draws a deep breath beside me, and I give his hand what I hope is a comforting squeeze.

“I need to check the equipment. Would you like to sit down?”

“No, thank you. May I help?”

“Sure. C’mon over.”

I start with the pulley system suspended from a complicated configuration of beams on the ceiling, showing Dane how to check the ropes and carabiners for defects.  

“This reminds me of my stage crew days,” he says, running a length of rope between his fingers with astonishing dexterity.

Why on earth would I be surprised he’s proficient at this too?

The dungeon door opens with a loud creak, and both our necks crane toward the intrusion.

“You’re finding everything to your exacting standards, I assume?” Aro glides inside the room with the ease of a man utterly in his element, setting his beady eyes first on me—as convention would demand—but quickly shifting his focus to Dane.

I play the game, stepping toward Aro with outstretched hand and enduring his clammy, two-fisted shake. Was the man’s skin always the color of a full moon, or is this pasty complexion a recent development? Despite the unavoidable chill I always feel in the man’s presence, I can access his sincerity; there is a beating heart in there somewhere.

“Aro. Everything looks great. I can’t thank you enough.”

Aro slides one hand up my arm, exerting his superiority. “No thanks necessary, Marcus. You know this.”

Perfunctory greetings made and respect duly acknowledged, Aro is eager for the main attraction, Dane, and I oblige. “Let me introduce you.”

Aro’s face twists into an expression I can only assume he believes to be a charming smile as his attention shifts toward my submissive. “Yessss, I’d like that very much.”

My visceral, blood-curdling repulsion isn’t really fair. Though our methods sometimes diverge, I do trust Aro’s respect for protocol and know he would never disrespect me by making a play for my submissive under any circumstances—especially those that bring us here today. Still, my gut reaction is not something I can control.

Turning to Dane, I read much the same response in his tight expression. “Dane, come say hello to Sir Aro.” I telegraph as much love and protectiveness as I possibly can as I coax him forward. Without previous discussion or any kind of cue from me, my perfect boy knows exactly what to do.

Assuming his submissive stance and dropping his gaze to Aro’s feet, Dane gives him a reverent, “Sir, it’s an honor to meet you. Please accept my gratitude for all your kindness and generosity on my behalf.”

Aro’s jaw hinges open just before a wide, greedy grin cuts across his pale face. He takes his damn time soaking in every inch of Dane as if memorizing him for later, and I endure the examination along with my boy only because I have no choice. After gorging on Dane for far too long for my sanity, Aro turns to me and says, “I’m beginning to understand now why you gave up everything for this one.”

To the casual observer, the resulting shudder of Dane’s shoulders could be interpreted as a tic or insufficient balance—problems that might plague a lesser submissive working to hold a pose. Of course, I know better, and while I’d love to throttle Aro for his insensitivity, he’s not really the problem.

Moving swiftly to Dane’s side, I meet his hip with my own and burrow my fingers into the hair at the back of his neck. My thumb traces the leather knot of his necklace—you are mine—while I attempt to minimize Aro’s unfortunate accusation.

Everything feels like a pretty insignificant trade-off for all I’ve received in exchange.”

Dane leans into my body ever so slightly, seeking more of my strength and perhaps more of my simple truth: There is nothing more important to me than Dane, and I cannot imagine a sacrifice I would not willingly make. Miraculously, the boy is starting to believe that.

“So it seems,” Aro replies. “Lift your eyes, Dane. Allow me the privilege of seeing how you regard your Master.”

Dane answers Aro’s request by turning his head in my direction and fixing me with his glassy-eyed stare. I’m fairly certain Dane is gazing into the mirror image of his devotion.

Aro’s wistful sigh slices through the intensity of our moment. “As I suspected,” he says. “Marcus, you’re a lucky man.”

“As am I,” Dane answers, raising all three sets of eyebrows in the room.

There’s a beat of dead silence, broken by Aro’s chilling cackle. “Touché, boy!”

Nervous laughter bursts from Dane, and I joggle him out of his submissive pose and give him a kiss. “Relax, Dane, you’re doing great.”

“He’s right, boy.” Aro places his hand on Dane’s shoulder. “You have nothing to fear in me. Come. Let me show you the crash test dummy we made.”

Dane’s heard this part of the plan, but he still registers shock and dismay as Aro retrieves the submissive body double from the closet, and I can’t say my own response is any more positive. Our entire plan hinges on Wayne buying into the concept of using a mannequin instead of a live submissive for the demonstration. Though my doubts run deep, I proceed with as much confidence as I can muster for Dane’s sake.

“The workmanship is excellent, Aro,” I say, stepping in for a closer look. A cross between a blow-up sex doll and a boxing bag, the model has all the appendages and orifices to characterize it as anatomically correct, if not a bit grotesque.

“Yesss,” he hisses as he runs his hands a wee bit too lovingly along the light-colored rubber flesh-substitute.

Dane shoots me a look of concern but follows my lead, joining Aro under the ropes. “Should we go ahead and cuff him up?” I offer.

Aro’s lips curl into a terrifying grin. “I thought you’d never ask.”

The three of us collaborate in this bizarre operation, hog-tying the decoy’s wrists and ankles together behind its back and with the pulley in the center of the room, hoisting the joined limbs toward the ceiling. We’re just giving our stand-in submissive the final heave-ho when Edward bursts into the dungeon.

“What the hell are you people doing, and why is there a giant plastic penis pointed at me?”

Dane loses it first, breaking into a giggle that he soon cannot contain, but it’s Aro who addresses Edward. “Ahh, Edward Cullen, always a pleasure to host you at my club.”

A nice little reminder of who’s in charge—subtle, yet commanding.

As usual, Edward disregards the warning. Striding across the room in his black cargo pants and tight t-shirt, he stops under the monstrosity, looks up, and draws his hands to his hips. “Seriously, this is the chum you’re using to catch our shark?”

Aro levels a death glare at Edward that lowers the temperature in the room by ten degrees. “Perhaps you’d like to volunteer your services as a submissive tonight?”

Edward turns to me, exasperated. “Marcus, you know I’ll play it however you say, but you can’t possibly think fish face is going to get a hard-on over this . . . Gollum/Ken-doll love-child . . . I really think we’d have a better chance of getting him to volunteer for the demo if you string me up instead.”

Now, there’s an image for the ages: Edward Cullen, naked and bound tip-to-tail, suspended overhead with the juicy bits hanging out for the crowd’s amusement.

And yet . . . no.

“Absolutely not, Edward—”

“—Because I should be the one to do it.”

All eyes turned to the one voice in the room nobody expected to hear.




  1. WHAAAAAATTTTT??? *my meds, where are my meds?*
    My gosh this boy has THE balls!
    And his love for Marcus - more than his disgust for W - is revealing! Oh my my *shakes head*
    On a lighter note: plenty of references to the saga eh BOH? "Was the man’s skin always the color of a full moon ..." "I endure the examination along with my boy only because I have no choice"
    And when Dane calls him by his name? *faints*
    You've got me hooked MotW and biting my nails for part 2 of Operation: De-dom the Dick.

    What are you doing to me??? I have been on edge the whole chapter and you leave me with this!!!!!

    Oh my goodness. My heart is in my throat! And I'm freaking out just a bit! But, you are a clever one my dear!

    I freaking love Edward!! Loove him!

    Aro creeps me out!! LOL

    Until the next one. I'll be strumming my thumbs! Hahaha!!


    1. Heehee...I had a feeling that might get ya! *wink*
      Hey, don't blame me. The boys are running this show. Trust me!

      Thanks for being here! MWAH!

  3. Oh. Em. Gee.!!!!!
    Wtf was that?!?!? DANE!!!! NOOOOO

    *sighs* but he's right;(

    I love this connection between Marcus and Dane. It makes my heart smile.

    KM Tok

  4. You certainly know how to keep us on the edge of our seats!

    Love M's small moment of vulnerability on the way there, and even more D's reassurances. He called him Marcus! swoon. Of course, these men are so tuned in to each other, they both know what each other needs to hear most.

    I have to say, Aro does creep me out but i kinda *whispers* like him. lol. He seems trustworthy in the way that you're not really sure what he's going to do next, but you're pretty sure he's not going to doublecross you. you think... lol. And as you and Marcus pointed out, I like his subtle displays of power/ authority- the grabbing the bicep handshake, and reminding Edward whose club it is right away. Sounds like, Edward has met Aro before? but under what circumstances?? lol

    LOVE Edward's willingness to throw himself into the mix like that- especially since he knows whats in the plan for the night and he doesn't have any subby inclinations...

    But I'm still floored by Dane's volunteering. I'm a little speechless over that one as when I pictured the de-domming, my head had D in a kind of shadowy corner hanging out with Riley and Sean with Eleazar watching him like a hawk. But now, our boy is gonna be front and center?!?! EEK!

    1. I love your comments about Aro. I do think Marcus trusts him, though they may disagree on some of the finer points or methods of the lifestyle. It seemed to me that Edward would have skirted the scene but Aro's probably always wanted to meet him. Yeah, I think Edward really showed how much he loved Marcus by offering, and wait until you see what else he gets asked to do! Heeheehee...

      Yeah, who knew Dane would volunteer? Not I!

  5. Holee shit indeed! Oh my how daring a request is this?? I know i read that right just by the comments already given here, and I just gave them a cursory glance on my way down the like to enter my own.....are they going to let dane be the decoy?? the lure?? I'm almost speechless at this, yet I should have known just how far this lovely sub has come from where we started this story! This is another chapter where I didn't see this coming, like, AT ALL! Kudos to you, my dear, you leave me stunned and with my mouth agape eagerly awaiting the next chapter. I must also mention that I loved the earlier part where Marcus expressed his trepidation at dane seeing a side of him that has heretofore gone that dane called him Marcus to bring him back from that fear. Altogether stunning chapter!!

  6. Oh no, like Judith, I never saw that coming. Don't do it Dane, we are supposed to be holding hands at the back of the room, thinking of Born at the bar with a drink waiting for us, not in the spotlight. Marcus is not going to be happy but when the dust settles how proud he will be. Just for Dane to offer to do this shows how far he has come.

    The earlier part of the chapter when they were in the car was so touching, they are just so in tune with each other, that was heart warming. Aro on the other hand makes my heart go cold, he is horrible, if I were there I would be scared of him but I would love Edward, he lightens everything, gets to the point and hits the nail on the head.

    I'm humming with anticipation, thank you Born


    1. Hmm, Jarvis, looks like if you're going to hold hands with Dane, you might be in striking distance! O.o Still want that deal? I totally agree, Dane is showing here how far he has come and how strong he feels and also how committed he is to this particular cause.

      Oh dear, not a fan of Aro, I see! Can't blame you. I find him totally creepy!

  7. Oh it starts out safe enough. We knew these boys were going to have issues going into this. I didn't think it would be Marcus that would need the reassurance the most though. We are really seeing the man Dane is meant to be now that he has the right people around him instead of the abusers. Aro (creepy laugh and all) is a fun character. A strong Dom who has the respect of others (well, except Edward lol,) and who respects his community. He is strange but also a fantastic role model in a community of people who need strong leadership even though they are used to being the strong leader themselves.\
    Back to Dane again, him volunteering for the submissive part is incredibly brave on his part. I am torn on whether he should do it or not. On the one hand it could set him back or on the other hand it could give him the strength to realize he is stronger than his past. I don't know if Marcus will let him or not, as always Born, you never give a clue onto which way you are going to go and I know that no matter what, you will surprise me.
    Great chapter, Vicki xoxo.

    1. I love your characterization of Aro as "strange and a fantastic role model"- I believe he has pluses and minuses, and the fact that Marcus trusts him tells me a lot about his character. Cool observation about the community of doms. Being in charge of that group would certainly be a challenge!

      What makes you think I knew what was going to happen after Dane volunteered? The boys talk when they want to talk. They're a surprise a minute! Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments, Vicki!

  8. OMGOMGOMG!!! *flails* you didn't do that, did you Dane? *swallows heavily*. oh god, what will they say? Well Dane you have sure come far - but I wonder if Marcus will agree for Dane to be the bait dangled in front of that horrible man's face. This chapter showed yet again how far Dane has come, and how Marcus only wants him to see him in a certain light. It was going to be interesting to see how Dane would react to Marcus being the darkest version of himself in front of the one he loves, but to be in the mix when that happens? eeeeek! You sure did throw me for a loop there Born! Edward made me laugh when he walked in the door - he's as always his wonderful self. And Aro - boy you know how to write creepy. lol. But he's a good addition to this scene for operation de-dom. I'm now biting my nails for when the next chapter is posted!! eeeek!!! :)

    1. Interesting observation about Marcus "only wanting to see him in a certain light." I wonder if Marcus will be able to step aside and let Dane do what he wants to do here, or will Master overrule and put baby in the corner? O.o Good ol' Edward is always gonna be who he is, no matter what. And Aro...eep, Michael Sheen was so inspiring on the creepy front. Still have that cackle in my head. YUCK.
      Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful comments, Lisa.

  9. Ungh! Now I'm going to go crazy trying to remember how the scene was 'supposed' to go in the first place. (can you give me the chapter, please Mistress?) And when you post a new chapter, I keep thinking, "This is it!" And then we only get a little way further. Don't think I'm complaining, because I have loved everything that has happened, but you know how impatient I am. Too much for my own good. I make a terrible submissive; I think waaay too much.

    1. When did I write how it was supposed to go? How's it supposed to go?
      LOL, dude, you think it's frustrating for YOU to only get a little way further? Think how I feel! You can think but you gotta trust more. :)
      Love ya, Gumi!

  10. WHAT?!?!?! He's not serious, is he??? Oh my gosh, this makes me super nervous for Dane and for Marcus. I really interested to see what you have planned next.

    The shift between Dane and Marcus this chapter was incredible! I really didn't expect that either and it clearly surprised Marcus, so well done babe!


    1. Thank you, Cristina! Really appreciate your chiming in. Looking forward to your thoughts on the next one!

  11. OMG kill me now girl!!!!!! That was not expected. My heart is still thumping!!

  12. Well... De-Dom the dick. You know how I love alliteration! Awesome phrase. I had a feeling when I read they were using a dummy that Dane would volunteer. I hoped Edward would save him.

    The turn is so clever. What will the dick dom think of seeing Dane all trussed up? Does he know that Dane is with Marcus? Does he have any lingering possessiveness? Is it possible Marcus talks Dane out of it (doubtful).

    Gollum/Ken-doll love-child. Oh Edward!

    1. You now know SOME of these answers. Heeheehee. Thanks, Austen. Love that you comment on some of the writing mechanics. Always fun to get feedback on that too!

  13. My comment disappeared after I signed in to comment. Oh well. It was fabulous and would have made you laugh and cry. I totally should EGOT this year because of it (yes there was signing and dancing involved and a made for TV movie on Lifetime that will also premiere at Sundance). But alas, you'll just have to trust me that it was the bees knees since it is gone forever. Just like I'll have to trust Dane that he knows that the FUCK he is doing!!! <3

    1. Sorry I missed the fabulous comment! And really, I'd kind of love to be a Lifetime movie. Sigh... We'll just go with the idea of bee's knees! Does Dane know what he is doing? Well...hmmm....dunno.


    Okay so I love the reversal play of the way the chapter started. Last chapter left us with Dane being heavily burdened with anxirty and here we start up with Marcus being the one plagued by it. Shows how much impact they both have on the life of each other. As I said before this event would be a hit to both of them. Its good to see that they are both there to reassure, support and comfort each other in ways that cannot be reached by ppl outside of their union.

    And oh god when Dane calls Marcus by name. It was so delicate and appropriate especially in this situation. It shows just how much he knows when to bridge that gap between Master and Marcus. He's paying attention, and hes attuned to Marcus' needs. Marcus needed him to reach out to him, personally in that moment. And Dane did and brought him right back over the ledge he was about to walk right off of. *swoony dreamy sighhhhh*

    Oh god, the image I got for a second (literally a second) of Edward hanging up there *fans self*

    And then... oh my god, Dane FOR THE MOTHER FUCKN WIN!!!!!

    Wowzers, the boy continues to astound us all. And I think a part of me always knew that he couldn't just stand aside and just look on while the rest exact revenge on Waynehole. I think he'd probably find much more perspective and closure if he's involved. And if he does this... if he can really do it (which I believe he can bc Dane can be instrumental in any and every way he puts his mind to), he will be absolutely reverent!

    Marcus will fight him on this. I expect him to. But I think if this is what he wants to do, he should. I think also, aftercare tonight will be emotional and very necessary. Emotions are gonna run so high especially if Dane throws himself into the scene as the bait. Gah...

    Okok... I need to get that next chapter in mah eyeballs.

    1. YES! Love how you noted how Dane brings Marcus back from the edge of the cliff this time. Dane's growth and challenges are obvious and dramatic, yet the real story is about how Marcus is changed. Thank you for holding that in the palm of your hand while you read. "Reverent"---fantastic word. YES, the aftercare will be epic. And who will be caring for whom? MWAH!