Dare felt cranky as he walked down the steps from the club to the dungeon. His nipples had been throbbing all day, and he was getting tired of it. He'd been shirtless when Maddox woke up, and once his cousin saw what Dare had done, the teasing never ceased.
"Whoa, those are hot. For a queer. Can I put a leash on you and lead you around the apartment? Hey, I know! Let's pierce your ears and run chains from your lobes to your tits -- that'd be fun. I am so calling your mom. I am, really. I'm going to call her up and say, 'Hey, Mrs. Adair's-Rich- Mother, you'll never guess what your good little boy did. Maybe you shouldn't have dressed him in those cute little sailor suits when he was small.' Yeah, that's what I'm gonna do, as soon as you leave."
Maddox went on and on, cracking himself up, long after any of his stupid jokes were even remotely funny.
After a couple of hours, Dare almost felt like spilling that Roman had made him do it, just to get Doc to shut up already. But he suspected the teasing he'd get for that would be even worse. Grammar school rule number one -- never give additional ammunition to a bully. He'd put a shirt on, instead, and swallowed some ibuprofen. But Maddox managed to give him shit about that, too. "Aww, poor little richie boy's titties are ouchie. Oooh, the poor widdle baby."
He was definitely cranky, although when he'd looked in the mirror, he liked how his nipples looked with rings. They looked cool. And he felt like it was the bravest thing he'd ever done in his life.
How sad was that?
No, that wasn't right. The bravest thing he'd ever done was come down these dungeon steps on purpose, never quite sure what would happen. And meeting Roman this afternoon was just another part of the dungeon.
He pushed the door open. Red light this time, rather than orange. It made everything look more frightening, tables and crosses and leather all washed in a haze of red. Intimidating, that's what it was. He wondered what Roman had in store for the client tonight.
Dare didn't see Roman, but he knew what was expected. He went into the shower room, pulled a towel from the cabinet, and got undressed. The first drops made his nipples sting, but so long as he kept his back to the spray, it was tolerable. He turned the hot water up and the cold down until his whole body tingled, then did the opposite, and washed his hair and body under a tepid stream. He loved hot showers, but he wasn't an idiot -- if he raised his body temp now, he'd be freezing later in the dungeon.
Dare stepped out of the shower and was startled to see Roman leaning against the sink, wearing a leather vest, leather pants, and tall black boots. He looked incredibly powerful in full leathers. "Shit! You scared me," Dare said, hitching the towel around his waist.
"Watch your mouth, please," Roman said with a tight grin. "I just punished two slaves for profanity, and I rather enjoyed it."
"Um, okay," Dare said. "Slaves?"
"One lives with me, the other is visiting."
"What do you do with slaves?"
Roman chuckled. "Anything I want. They're slaves."
Dare just shook his head. "That's crazy. Who would want to be a slave?"
Roman shrugged. "My partner -- Jeff -- likes it. He's been my slave for many years. He likes to take care of me, to humble himself at my feet and offer himself to me -- as a gift. An amazing gift."
Dare still thought it was crazy. He tried to picture a modern day slave -- would he wear a maid costume, or a ball and chain? Would he be on his knees cleaning the bathroom floor with a toothbrush? "What do they do?"
"Jeff cooks, runs errands, makes me coffee or fixes me a drink. Sometimes he's my footstool. He gives me massages, and oral sex, of course. Any kind of sex, actually, any time I want it. Lays out my clothes at night. Whatever he can do to make my life less complicated and more pleasurable, he does. I am lucky to have him. I need to remember that."
"Had you forgotten?" Dare asked, intrigued that Roman was so talkative.
"No. I don't think so. But even something so rare as a slave can be taken for granted." He stared into space, as if he was looking at his own thoughts. "He saw us today." Roman looked straight at Dare. "I could have passed you off as just another client, but I abhor lies. And since you're not paying for my services, you're not exactly a client."
"What am I, then?"
Roman smiled. "I'd like to say a diversion or a plaything. But no, nothing that trivial. An anomaly. An interest. Who knows? I play at work, Dare, and I love at home. But this is more than play, more than a diversion. I left my lover at home to be with you here. And he was not happy about it."
Dare felt his eyes go wide. He had considered himself a diversion for Roman, and he figured, for himself, that he'd play along until things got too scary, and then he'd stop. And all of a sudden he didn't know if he wanted this conversation to continue. He wanted Roman to be Dungeon Master, and Dare to be the helpless observer, and he didn't want his head filled with all the other stuff, because all the other stuff made him feel there would have to either be an end, or a conscious decision to continue. He didn't know if he could make a conscious decision to continue, because then he would have to change his perception of himself from straight to gay. He wasn't ready to explore all that yet. He just wanted some rules to follow.
Dare asked, "Do you want me to go?"
Roman's head jerked up, startled. "No. Not at all. I was thinking out loud. Not to worry. I'll get you settled, because my client should be on his way." He took the towel from Dare's waist and tossed it into a laundry basket. He wrapped his hands around Dare's upper arms and pulled him forward a few steps. There was a subtle strength in his voice when he said, "Close your eyes."
Dare closed his eyes.
"Keep your eyes closed and open your mouth."
Dare started to tremble, but obeyed. He didn't like things in his mouth. He'd never been one to chew gum or suck on hard candy. He thought Roman was going to put those jaw locks between his teeth, and didn't know if he could stand it. But there he stood, eyes closed, mouth open.
He was startled to feel something smooth and cone-shaped slide into his mouth. He flinched back a little, but it stopped before it gagged him.
"Close your mouth around it. Hold it. Explore it with your tongue, your teeth. Feel its size and shape. Feel that it's not big or scary."
Dare felt silly, but he did as Roman commanded. And he relaxed, because it wasn't scary, not at all.
"Good," Roman said. "Keep it in your mouth and come into the dungeon. You may open your eyes."
Dare followed Roman into the dungeon, to the familiar corner where he would be strapped into a chair. He looked around and noted that the spanking bench was set up in place of the exam table. It was sideways so Dare would be able to see both sides of the client, at least to some degree.
When he turned toward his chair, what he saw there made him go still with shock and dread. It was a different chair. And attached to the center of the chair was an object that looked very much like the object in his mouth felt. It was flesh-colored. It wasn't big, but it was damn scary. It glistened in the soft red light.
He made a noise around the cone-shaped thing in his mouth.
Roman reached a hand to Dare's mouth and removed it, held it up for Dare to see. "It's a standard ass-plug, a small one. Nothing to be afraid of. The one on the chair is exactly like this one."
Dare's knees started to feel weak, and he shook his head. He tried to find words, but at first he couldn't articulate anything through his fear. He kept shaking his head. Finally, he managed to say, "I don't want that."
Roman slid one arm around Dare's back, stroking Dare's face with knuckles curled around the plug that had been in Dare's mouth. "I know," Roman said. Then he dropped his fist to Dare's chest and gently nudged first one nipple ring, and then the other. "I know. But you've been so good and obedient. I'm proud of you."
The arm around his back propelled Dare forward, toward the chair.
I'm proud of you. Was that all it took? The words pulled at something in his psyche, something that allowed Roman to walk him to the chair, turn him around. Dare's heart was in his throat, blocking any words of protest, and Roman's hands guided him.
"Gently," Roman said, in a quiet voice. "It's already lubricated, and it's not going to hurt you."
Dare didn't believe him, and yet he obeyed Roman's voice and hands.
He felt the rounded tip of the thing stab against his asshole. He held his breath and clenched as tight as he could to keep the thing out.
"Push against it," Roman said. "Like you want to push it out. And breathe."
Dare almost felt ashamed. It seemed like Roman could read his mind, knew that he'd clenched himself tight against intrusion. He let out the breath he was holding and sucked in air. And then he closed his eyes and obeyed.
The plug slid into him like nothing, and there he was, sitting on the chair, impaled. He felt stretched and invaded. A flash of heat went through him, bringing sweat to the surface of his skin.
Dare realized a few seconds too late that all choice was gone. While he was coping with the feel and stretch of the thing, Roman had buckled his wrists and ankles to the chair. Then Roman picked a strap up from the floor and threaded it under the base of the chair and over Dare's thighs, essentially preventing Dare from lifting himself off the plug.
"What happened to negotiation and limits?" Dare asked, staring at the floor. "Do we just skip all that?"
Roman dropped to a crouch in front of the chair, and kneaded his fingers into the muscles of Dare's thighs. "Dare. The usual rules don't apply here. Limits are for people who know what they're negotiating. Your fear makes everything a limit. Which really means you don't have any limits. Yet. I expect that if you hate something, or find something intolerable, you will let me know." He smoothed his hands down toward Dare's groin, fingers lifting and stroking Dare's half-hard prick. "Are you in pain?"
Dare thought about it. He couldn’t stop his ass from clenching and unclenching around the plug. He wanted to say he was in agony, but it would be a lie. He was uncomfortable, but he couldn't call it pain. "Not exactly," he said. He tried to look at Roman, but was so embarrassed that he couldn't make himself do it.
He didn't have to make himself. Roman took both sides of Dare's face in his hands and Dare found himself staring into Roman's eyes.
"You're blushing to the roots of your hair. And that is delicious. I was right -- you like to be afraid. If we negotiate every little thing, we'll spend all our time negotiating. Yesterday, if asked, you would have said nipple piercing was a limit. Today you got through that, and more. You're doing great."
Roman's phone chirped, and he swore, stood, and half-turned away from Dare to answer. "This is Roman." He listened, and made a face. "No, you can't cancel." He listened some more. "It's not allowed. I’m here waiting for you. If you want to work with me, you'll get your ass here. Otherwise, we're done, and I'll send you a partial refund. I don't like telephone calls that interrupt what I'm doing. If you show up when you're told, you never have any reason to call."
He put the phone back in a pocket, and flashed Dare an evil smile. "That bastard probably dialed my number fifty times before letting it go through to set up his initial appointment. And now he thinks he can cancel on me. He's going to think twice before he tries that again."
Dare had no idea if Roman wanted him to comment or not. He felt like this whole situation was suddenly out of control. He didn't know what to think, and certainly didn't know what to say.
"I need rules," Dare said, and heard the plea in is voice. "Please. I'm good at following rules."
Roman gave a short laugh. "And I'm good at making them. There are only two rules. Trust me and obey me. I promise to be very careful with you. Trust and obedience will set you free."
"I don't feel free." Not by a long shot.
"But you are. Free to feel and experience. Free to trust without fear. Free to let yourself love me, and free to know, beyond all doubt, that I will never betray you, because I never will."
"I bet your slave feels betrayed." Dare was shocked at himself. He was in no position at this moment to win any kind of argument with Roman.
"Ah. You know nothing of my relationship with Jeff. Jeff lives under a contract, and I am allowed by that contract to pursue other romantic interests. He is also allowed. There is no betrayal here. I said he was not happy about it. But that's his baggage, not mine. I have not, and will not, betray him. I conduct myself honorably. Forget taking it to the bank, you can take it to the dungeon.
Buy the book at Torquere Press