Friday, January 1, 2016



“Before I give the floor back to Dane, there’s one last point about the committed BDSM relationship I want to make sure I hammer home, no pun intended.” Master pauses for appreciative laughter. “Every couple is unique. The only ‘right’ arrangement is the one that works for both of you. And by the way, that arrangement is never set in stone. We all need the freedom to change and grow and explore.  Maybe that happens over the course of years together, or maybe someone’s having an exceptionally bad day and needs a little leeway . . . or tighter bonds. The best relationships incorporate flexibility. Dane, what would you like to add before we take questions?”
All this talk about collars has driven my fingers to their happy place—the leather rectangles resting on top of my long-sleeved tee. “Shortly after I started working with Master, he told me I trusted too easily. That was probably true, but it wasn’t exactly the problem. I trusted the wrong people—my boss at the strip club, whose only motive was greed, my first boyfriend . . .”
Master tenses. Yeah, we’re probably going to have to talk about Gavin at some point.
“. . . and of course, my abuser, Wayne, or as Master likes to refer to him, Wayne, the wee-willied wannabe.”
This draws guffaws from most of the participants, but my withdrawn doppelganger gives off a shocked gasp. I risk a warm smile in his direction but quickly move my gaze away so as not to make him uncomfortable.
“When you trust the right person, there’s no such thing as too much. For me, the collaring was the most liberating moment of my life. By expressing his commitment to me, Master allowed me the freedom to give my whole heart, body, and soul over to him without hesitation or fear. All those doubts I shared with you earlier just slipped away. I might screw up occasionally, but I understand now that we’ll work through those mistakes together, and our relationship will be stronger for it.”
Master runs his fingertips over the horseshoe clasp of his bracelet. “Beautifully put, Dane, as usual. Might I add that even the most caring masters make mistakes as well? This bracelet reminds me that I’ll have the chance to make it right and be forgiven. Works both ways.”
He turns his misty eyes to me, and I’m wrecked. Master judges himself far more harshly than he’d ever judge me, and for this, I know he suffers deeply at times. Despite his tremendous patience in those early days, he pressed a sensitive button or two—Lord knows, I had enough of those—and I’m not sure he’ll ever fully forgive himself.
There’s so much less of that now that I’m better, now that all the feelings have been aired and shared and reciprocated.
Master reaches his fingers into my hair and tugs my forehead to his lips. He’s either forgotten we have an audience or couldn’t care less. Outside of our bubble, Eleazar asks for the first question, and one of the four dom-types leads off.
“Hi, first of all, I want to thank you both for being so open about everything. I wonder if you could share your views on a 24/7 total power exchange?” The large, bearded man sitting to his left shuffles back in his chair as if he’d love to disappear. I’d be hard pressed to guess what each man is hoping to hear.
Master is eloquent on this topic, but I think there may be some small part of him that still worries I feel deprived, which is why I dive in to answer. “We discussed it at length before the collaring. I thought the full-time arrangement was something I needed in order to feel secure.”
I glance at Master, who is patiently waiting for me to put him out of his misery.
“But I was wrong. I think Master’s closing words about committed relationships bear repeating here. I can only tell you my truth, or more accurately, my half of our truth. I would not deign to judge what works for anyone else. If I were asked to describe our dynamic outside of the dungeon, I’d say we’re still in some freestyle form of dom and sub roles at least three-quarters of the time—right now, for instance. Would you say that’s accurate, Master?”
He grins before answering. “If by ‘freestyle,’ you mean getting away with baiting and torturing me without consequences, then yes, I’d agree. We’re both more relaxed in our natural roles.”
“Exactly. And the rest of the time, we enjoy our freedom to explore as friends and lovers on a more equal footing.”
“And you don’t find that confusing?” the same man asks.
“Not for m—” I start.
“Yes, enormously,” Master responds with a chuckle. “But then, that’s the fun of it. Sometimes our equal footing is on quicksand, but so what? We’re in the soup together.”
“Kale and barley soup is our favorite,” I add.
Master cuts in after the man thanks us for our answers. “Before we move off the topic of TPE, I’d like to add something to Dane’s response, one of the reasons I felt it was so important to maintain the integrity of our separate relationship as Marcus and Dane. You’ve now heard Dane’s story, so you can appreciate how important his independence is to him. I’m not saying I could never see a situation where a Master would take over a sub’s finances or control his career, but it’s not for me . . . and it’s most definitely not what Dane needed.”
“Next question . . . yes, Cal?”
A serious-looking man wearing dark-rimmed glasses lifts one ankle over the opposite knee. His foot flexes up and down at random intervals while he speaks. “Have the two of you ever introduced a third party into your play?”
I’ve heard Master joke about this with our friends, but this time, he responds with a swift but polite, “No, we have not.”
The man follows up immediately. “Would you consider it?”
Eleazar straightens his back and fires a stiff warning. “Cal.”
Master raises his hand to Eleazar as he stares down Cal. I’ve been on the receiving end of that look before, and I wouldn’t call it comfortable. “Are you asking a hypothetical, or are you propositioning us?”
Cal smirks. “Whichever you would be more amenable to.”
“That would be the former,” he says, letting Cal wriggle off the hook.
The man looks disappointed, but he knows he’s just dodged a bullet for his audacity. He does not get my Master if he thinks that kind of attitude will win him over.
“The short answer to your question is I would always consider anything that Dane wants to try.” Master’s bottom line is always about what’s best for me, so I’m not exactly shocked by his answer, but it certainly reflects a much more open position than I would’ve expected.
Next question,” Eleazar says. A cautious silence follows his implied warning.
A hand slowly rises to my left, and Eleazar smiles encouragingly at the boy. He looks to be in his early twenties, messy dishwater blond hair falling over hungry eyes. There’s a lost look I’ve seen before, as if he hasn’t slept in days, that makes me wonder if this kid is still on the streets and what he’s using. “Yes, Jay?”
He seems startled to have been called upon. “Oh, uh . . . I”—he clears his throat and folds his arms across his chest— “this is hard for me, sorry.”
Master shifts in his seat, opening his shoulders to project an air of receptivity, and I mimic his move. I’ve been on the opposite end of this look, too, and I know firsthand the enormous healing power of experiencing someone capable of listening with his entire being. Master and I wait patiently while Eleazar helps this boy along.
“You’re doing great, Jay.”
His gaze shifts to Eleazar and back to us. “I came here today to say . . . thank you.” A deep breath rushes out of his chest, leaving him looking even more emaciated against the back of his chair. “I was the last . . . of Wayne’s . . .”
My heart feels like a cannonball just tore through it. I want to run across the circle and hug this boy, and I must have made some subconscious move to do just that because Master’s hand closes over my thigh, holding me back. I’m at a complete loss as to how to respond.
“You’re welcome.” Master’s confident, unapologetic voice grounds me once again—until, that is, I make the mistake of glancing at the boy to our right.
Transfixed on Jay, the boy is pumping out tears as if they’ll never stop. I can’t tell if the two young men know each other or if it’s just this strange bond the three of us now share. I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if Wayne was using them both at once and they knew, but I can’t do the what-ifs anymore; it hurts too much.
Master’s thank-you doesn’t fully speak for the flood of emotions crashing over me. I have to offer something of my own. “If you ever need to talk . . . about anything . . . our emails are in the handout on the table.”
Jay answers with a brief nod. Master picks up where I left off.
“Yes, that goes for anyone here, dom, sub, vanilla, straight, curious, whatever. We’re happy to help if we can.”
While he’s talking, I follow Eleazar’s gaze to the tear-soaked boy, who is now brazenly watching me. I trust Master’s instincts, but that hand on my leg is one of the toughest restraints Master has ever inflicted on me, and that’s saying quite a bit.
Fortunately, Master understands my conflict. He presses his lips to my ear. “Dane.”
“Master?” I whisper back.
“You need to wait for him. Trust me.”

My answer is something I feel in my bones. "Always."

Remember that moment in RM where Eleazar asks Marcus and Dane to run this workshop? Since then, this scene has percolated in my crazy head. How would the workshop look and feel? What might come of it...not just for the other participants, but for Marcus and Dane? And here we are, exploring. Please feel free to share where your visualization of this scene might take you/us. I've written most of this story already, but one never knows where an idea might lead...

Happy New Year to all of you fabulous readers, and thank you for all the love for the story continuation.


  1. I'm sure that dude wasn't the only one in the room feelin' inexorably drawn to Marcus and Dane! Hell'n he sure had balls to voice them to a Master like Marcus who could have eviscerated him without breakin' a sweat but politely put him firmly in back in his place instead LOL!
    As for the rest of the workshop, I'm hopeful some good has been done and that someone will be reachin' out for the help he/they need soon!

    1. OOH that was sexy, Rita! :) Yeah, this Master isn't the eviscerating type...even when he encounters the bad guy! He's a bit more subtle and classy. Like ME, you say? Hahahaha!

    2. Like them there fancy words like "inexorably"and "eviscerated," do ya? Danged if PAD ain't rubbin' off on me LMAO!

  2. I haven't been able to review the last chapter and all I can tell you right now is that both brought tears to my eyes. What Dane went through to be where he is and most of all, how amazing it is that he is there, in front of this audience speaking of it, it's a true testament of both Marcus' wonderful work and the love they share, which is certainly a ray of hope to all those who went through the same horror *sniffs*

    1. YES! How empowering must it be to see an after-picture?
      But at the same time, they all must know that what Marcus and Dane have is so rare and not necessarily what they'll find "out there" it might be a mixed bag.

  3. Dane has come so far since he met Marcus. That he is willing to open himself up about what he went through, with the hope/wish that his experiences may be able to help others, speaks volumes about that topic. I love how Marcus reminds him, with just a touch, to restrain his enthusiasm just a bit and allow the next hurt boy to ask for help without overwhelming him. Wonderful chapter. Happy New Year. Tomorrow I am going to attend a celebration service for Linda Mora, a sister in Twilight, who I came to know on FB but who ended up staying in my home for a time when a group of us went to the red carpet for Breaking Dawn 1. She was a lovely woman and will be missed.

    1. Right! Marcus is an expert in waiting for the right moment and then proceeding with great caution and care. Dane hasn't been on that side of the table yet to have that finesse, but he's a quick learner, our Dane!
      Aww, I didn't know Linda but it's sweet that you had that beautiful connection. Much love! XO

  4. I'm sat here with tears running down my face too. Those poor boys. This is how I imagined it would go.... Highly emotive, sharing and cleansing. I wish these types of group sessions existed for those who've been abused in their past but I've attended one previously and it was awful. It made me feel more alone than ever. I know I'm rambling and I've probably over-shared but hey... Thanks for the wonderful stories as always honey. Clair xx

    1. Aww, I'm sorry you didn't find what you needed in your group. I hope and pray there's one for everyone who needs the support. Thank you for sharing... XOXO

  5. There is always one asshole in any group of random people. Of course Marcus knew how to shut him down.

    Oh those poor young men. I'm glad they are looking help in the right places. It's great how their reactions mirror their differences. Dane, so open and wanting to go hug them and Marcus, more reserved and wanting to give them back their agency. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yeah, that guy pushed it a bit... but that's okay. Marcus has it handled.
      I love how you described Marcus's desire to give them back their agency. He does know a thing or two about dealing with the lost and broken. :) He'll teach Dane this too. In time.

  6. ooohhh that last bit was so powerful. Love the imagery of a hand on his leg holding him back being one of the toughest restraints Dane has experienced. Was wondering how much of Marcus holding Dane back was about protecting the boy and how much was about protecting Dane. Obviously Dane is much stronger now than he was, but as he was just mentioning he is quick to trust and his heart obviously bleeds for these other boys. I would imagine that Marcus wants Dane to be careful with his heart here, even if its just because of the emotions that might bubble up to the surface. love these men. :)

    1. :) Thank you, Digi. Love that you see Master as ALWAYS having Dane's needs front and center. I love what you wrote and how you're viewing this. You're going to see more proof that your insights are correct in the coming chapters. MWAH!

  7. Oh! I sure wanted to do what Dane did and hug that poor crying boy. It's so difficult to imagine what each of them has suffered under Wayne's hands, but their connection I feel will help them all. and Marcus - such a wise man, keeping Dane safe and on the path with just a touch of his hand. Riveting chapter :)

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comments, Lisa! Your instincts are right on usual. Stay tuned? XOX

  8. I am just happy that those young men can see what happens after. They can see that there is a second chance for a happy life, that the past does not define who they are or who they can be. I also love how empathic our Dane is. Some people can take the pain in their lives and make it all about them and not care that others feel the same way, but Dane does not and that says everything about his own path to healing.

    1. I really love the way you put that--the past might help explain why/how/who/what we believe or how we act, but it certainly does not have to be the only choice for the future. (I've always loved the comment that therapy gives us choices.) I completely agree with you about how Dane responds to the world. I'm pretty sure that's why he is never far from my thoughts. I find him a beautiful place to rest my mind. Thank you so much for sharing your insights, Vicki. XO

  9. Heeeeeeeeey there, beautiful B!

    So, tears...flooooooods of them. Marcus knows what he's doing, we know this but poor Dane just wants to lessen the hurt for these kids. I love that about him. I also love how easy it is to "see" his emotions. You've always done an amazing job with the dynamics between these two and the immersive feeling that gives the reader. Just like RR I feel like a part of the story rather than just a reader. Bravo.

    Ps...all the smooches and cuddles you can handle. 😘

    1. Thank you for your beautiful words, V. I agree, Dane is quite transparent. It's both his best and worst (most dangerous for him) quality. We'll have to trust Marcus, Dane, and Eleazar this time... *smooch*

  10. My only question is: will safe wording come up at some point in the story? I know when Dane was with Waynehole he didn't give or honor safe words. In RM, Dane was confused to learn that Marcus had one.

    1. Yes, ma'am. You're right, that was one of the key differentiators between Marcus and Wayne.

  11. I read this chapter a while back and couldnt review at the time, because of my emotions. Then I fell off the earth for a bit, but you know I will never ever be able to stay away. Also... opportunity to reread? HELLS YEAH!!!!

    Anyway... still a wretched mess after rereading this one. These poor boys, barely hanging on by a thread of a lifeline. I am so happy they had the courage to come forward and be a part of Marcus and Dane's workshop. I love what Dane said about his collaring being such a liberating experience for him. And it's important some of these people hear that, because based on their own past experiences, being collared or choosing to belong to someone again might not be the most appealing idea anymore. But knowing that you could find that one person to bring you that salvation from self will make all the difference. Even if they dont find so much of a partner in their dom as Dane found in Marcus. Trust between both parties is the number 1 thing.

    That restraining hand on Dane's knee had me fidgeting in my seat. I can imagine Dane's draw to these two boys, wanting to reach out and help shelter them through their hurt and pain, but Marcus is right, and they need to do it at their own speed. They've already been forced to do so much in their lives. It's time for them to take that step forward toward their healing.

    Got quite a bit of catching up to do, so moving on! :)

    1. PACKY PIE!! HIIII! I could not agree more about trust and the value of the right master. And the hand on Dane's knee- all loving and of course, with Dane's interests at the forefront. As you well know. Feareth not, my sweet friend. Enter here and find comfort.