"What's your safe word?"|
"Are you going to give me a signal if you want to stop and you can't speak?"
"I'll do this," I say as I fan out the fingers of my left hand. Christ, why am I so nervous? It isn't like we never did this before; in fact, I've lost count of the number of times we've been here since the night he told me what he was into and he realised it didn't freak me out - the times we sat in that room and had tea and talked, until that afternoon when Lady Heather said, "I think we can show Mr. Sanders the pool house now, don't you, Nicholas?" She always calls him Nicholas, and I always have to bite my lip to stop myself smiling, because nobody else ever calls him that; he's Pancho to his dad, he's Nick to everyone at work, and to me he's...
"I asked you a question," he says, and his hand cups my chin; he raises my head so I'm looking him straight in the face, and I realise how far my mind was wandering. "Do you agree to let me fasten you to the cross and use whatever instruments I see fit to discipline you?"
"Yeah - uh - yes."
"Yes, what?" The hand squeezes my chin just hard enough to make me grit my teeth, and now he's got that look in his eyes - the one nobody but me ever sees, the look that appears when he stops being the Nick everyone else knows and becomes the Nick most of them wouldn't understand.
"That's better," he tells me, and his thumb rubs the side of my face for a second or two, but the expression on his face doesn't change. "I think you need a reminder about keeping focused, don't you?"
"Pick up the bag and follow me."
I know why I'm twitchy tonight - it's because we're not the only people here.
She said the party was going to be totally discreet, that there'd be people here who had a lot more to lose than Nick and I if anyone knew they were there, but that's not what's making my mind wander; it's the fact that for a long time now - since Lady Heather stopped staying in the room with us all the time and just puts her head round the door every so often - it's just been us and the things in the bag and the music on the CD player Nick always brings, and I'm not sure how I'm going to handle having other people around.
When we came through the front door one of the girls was standing there with a tray of drinks - I think they were mimosas - but I didn't even think about taking one, although I wanted to. Nick never drinks before he plays, which means I don't either - and when I think about this I realise he isn't the only one who's a different person here. I'm a smartass at work, I'm not afraid to say what I think, but it's different here; here it's all about what Nick wants, and even though I'd never have believed that would work for me, it does. We've been together for long enough now that I trust him totally, with everything else as well as this - and that means that even though I might be worried about tonight, I know he'll make sure everything's okay.
"Put the bag down and get the CD player out," he says once we're in the room where the St. Andrew's Cross takes up most of the space, and once I've plugged it into the socket and set it on the antique dresser near the door I turn back towards him. "Take your clothes off," he tells me, and I begin by sliding my feet out of my shoes; I undress and lay everything in a neat heap next to my shoes on the floor, and although I'm not looking at him I know the expression he'll have on his face. He'll be looking at me the way Grissom looks at one of the bugs he loves so much, like he's studying me; it won't be the way it is at home, when we race to undress each other so quickly I'm always amazed any of our shirts still have buttons left on them.
"Stand facing the cross."
I do as I'm told, staring at the wall through the upper half of the X, and then the music begins playing. I'm not sure where Nick managed to find it, because it's not the kind of thing he usually listens to - it's some sort of tribal drumming and chanting, and when I hear it anywhere else it always brings my mind straight back here. Almost without realising I'm doing it, I start taking slow, deep breaths as I hear footsteps coming nearer over the music; it's something Nick taught me when he and I first started coming here, and after all this time it's become second nature.
He takes my right hand first, fastening one of the leather cuffs to it and then raising it to secure it to the metal ring embedded in the upper beam; he does the same thing with my left hand, making me rise almost on tiptoe, and then he nudges my right ankle with the toe of his shoe. "Legs apart," he says, and when I obey he bends down to place a cuff round each ankle in turn before fastening them to the lower beams of the cross. I'm helpless now, open and exposed to him and to the eyes of whoever might walk past and look in; I take another deep breath and let it out slowly, and as I do this he speaks again.
"Do I use the blindfold tonight, Greg? What do you think?"
"That's your decision, Sir," I tell him, hoping this isn't one of those questions that don't have a right answer. He's asked me questions like that before, and when I was new enough at this to still try and backtalk there were nights when I'd have to do most of my lab work standing up during the following shift; mind you, he's said that one of the things he enjoys most about this is making me better afterwards, and I've got to agree with him there.
"I think I will," he says, and I hear the things in the bag clinking together as he searches for something. Eventually he stands up and moves behind me, and the blindfold's placed across my eyes; there's a circle of black foam around each eye beneath the fabric and the pliant metal shield, and once it's in place I really can't see a thing. As soon as he's fastened it securely behind my head, the music seems to get louder, and I keep taking those deep breaths; he's not saying anything, but I know he's still there right behind me, because I can smell his aftershave and I can feel his breath on the back of my neck.
It's warm enough in the room, so why am I shivering?
He places a hand on my shoulder without saying anything, and before I can draw in another breath he's got two fingers of his other hand inside me. They're warm and slick and they feel so damn good, he must have been keeping the lube in his pants pocket on the way here, and even though I know what's coming next I can't help responding now - or I try to, at least, because he's fastened me too securely to allow me to arch back and let his fingers reach the spot that always blots everything else out.
I haven't earned that, anyway. Not yet.
I focus on the music and Nick's touch, and then the fingers slip out again; the tip of the plug touches me seconds later, and that's when my eyes fly open beneath the blindfold. The thing's ice cold, he's had it in the freezer again, and without realising it I tense up when he tries to get it inside me - but I know I've done it soon enough when his grip on my shoulder tightens, and then he leans forward so that his lips are almost touching my ear.
"You know better than that, boy," he says, and his voice makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. He's almost crooning the words, the way he does when we're in bed and I can take what I want from him without having to beg for it - but there's an edge to the words too, reminding me that right now this is all about what hewants, and if I forget that...
"Open up," he tells me, and I curl my fingers round the upper beams of the cross and hold my breath as he slowly works the plug into me. We only bought it a few weeks ago, and I'm still not quite used to the feel of it yet; it stretches me to the point where it's in that grey area between hurting and not hurting, but the fact that it's cold takes the edge off that at least. "That's better," he says against my ear. "Isn't it?"
"Yes, Sir," I say, almost under my breath, and he tilts his head slightly to bite the nape of my neck - just a shade harder than he does when we're at home, and it's enough to make me rise on my toes again as I hear him step back. I tune my ears to the music when I hear him rummaging in the bag, but not before I've picked up the sound of high-heeled footsteps; they slow and then stop, but even though I turn my head towards the sound I can't see a thing because of the blindfold. Is it Lady Heather, or is it someone else watching us? I don't know, and the thought of being this exposed in front of a complete stranger sends a shiver up my spine - but before I can think about it any more, there's a hand on the back of my neck turning my head to face the wall again.
"Did I tell you to move?"
"No, Sir," I tell him, and there's no answer - and I can feel something knotting up inside me now, because I know it's when he doesn't speak that something's about to happen. I tune in to the music again, but I still hear him move away from me, and I count the footsteps silently in my head - one...two...three...
...then I'm pressing my lips together, and I'm letting breath puff out sharply through my nose as the strands of the flogger land between my shoulders - only the very ends, but he's using the horsehair one, and every one of those hairs seems to hit a separate nerve ending even if they hardly touch me.
I can just hear the strands swinging through the air behind me, and then they strike - ever so slightly harder than before, making my eyes come open beneath the blindfold. The first one's the hardest, that's what he told me a long time ago when we started doing this, and he's right; it's the shock, not knowing exactly when it's coming - and after that first blow you learn to ride the other ones out. You take deep breaths, the way I'm doing now, and you let them out slowly as another blow comes; sometimes you count the blows out loud if you've been told to, but he hasn't done that tonight, so I suck in breath and let it out again while I keep my ears tuned to the drumming and chanting.
It's a steady rhythm now, and I'm so far into it that I'm beginning to lose count of the strokes. My back and shoulders are hot, as though a blanket's been draped over them, and every thud as the flogger strikes me drives the heat further into my skin. The music's starting to sound further and further away, the warmth is making the pain distant as well, and I can hear a low moaning sound coming from somewhere - and I realise it's me, because this isn't enough any longer and I want more...
"Are you with me?" he says, his mouth against my ear. "You can answer." When I manage to say yes, Sir something touches my face, and I know what it is at once - it's that strip of rabbit fur he always puts in the bag - and when he rubs it gently under my left ear I can't help tilting my head to one side. I feel it move along my jaw, across the front of my throat, and I mm softly, because he knows how much I like being touched there; then he drags it down between my shoulders, and I squeeze my eyes shut under the blindfold. He's barely touching me with it, but as it runs over that heated skin all my nerve endings seem to come alive at once, and almost without realising I'm doing it I hold my breath - because I heard those footsteps, people are watching me and I can't do this...
"No," he whispers. "You know better than that." His breath warms my neck in a slow, steady rhythm, and I begin to follow it, breathing deeply as he drags the strip of fur back and forth across my skin; I let my head drop forward between the upper beams of the cross, and when I do that he brushes the fur over the nape of my neck. "Good boy," he says, and I can barely hear him over the music. "You're being very good," and the last thing he says before he steps back again is, "Keep breathing." So I do, keeping my eyes closed beneath the blindfold and tuning into my body again; my lungs inflate, filling with air and making my shoulders rise, and as the last of the breath leaves my lips again the strands thud against my back hard. I open my mouth but I can't cry out, because you can't make a sound when there's no breath inside you; and then it comes again, criss-crossing the stripe left by the last blow, and I arch forward against the beams of the cross and I start to ride. I know he's got me, I know I'm safe, and as the blows rain down in a steady stream I rise up on the balls of my feet to meet them.
He tells me to tense up, and when I pull myself taut he throws another blow at me; because I'm not relaxed it cuts through the haze, making me cry out, and when I do that his hand touches my face. "Let go again," he says, and he steps back and waits for me to let myself go limp before he swings the flogger again - it's warm this time, another layer of heat wrapping itself around me, and as I let breath out I hear his voice again.
The rhythm slows, comes to a stop, and there's a growl that doesn't sound like me at all; then I smell his aftershave again, but there's sweat mixed in with it now, because this is hard work for him too - and one of his hands comes to rest on my hip. The other one reaches in front of me, brushing down my stomach, and as his fingers encircle my cock there's a rush of heat that makes me press my lips together to try and hold back a moan; but he hears it, he knows me too well not to, and there's a soft chuckle against my neck.
"Someone's enjoying this, aren't they?" he says, and his voice is slightly hoarse as he speaks. "Look how hard you are." He lets his thumb rub the spot right beneath the head, a slow, lazy circling that still manages to cut through the heat, and I can't stop myself from groaning. "Who does this belong to?"
"You," I say. "Sir," and I want so badly to push my hips forward, I don't care what he'd do - but he reads me again, and his grip tightens enough to make me grit my teeth.
"When are you allowed to come?"
"W - when you tell me I can, Sir."
"Good boy," he tells me, and he relaxes his grip on me; I let out the breath I've been holding, and seconds later he's winding something around my balls and the base of my cock, cinching it tight, and I puff breath out through my nose again when he lets go of me and straightens up.
Something touches my hip, running slowly up and down my outer thigh, and I have to force myself to keep my breathing slow and even, because I know what he's holding now; it's the paddle, three layers of thick black leather stitched together, the one I've never been able to take more than five strokes of before I have to stop. He drags the side of it along my inner thigh, teasing the crease of skin between my leg and my groin, and I push myself up on my toes again; I know this is going to hurt, I know people are watching this, but there's that heat inside me making me want more. "Five," he tells me, stroking the flat of the paddle across my ass, and I don't know whether I say yes, Sir aloud, but I suppose I must have done, because he steps back again, and all I can do is keep telling myself to breathe.
One. It strikes as I'm letting a breath out, the sting burning itself into my flesh, and I'm hanging onto the upper beams so hard now that I couldn't peel my fingers loose if I tried.
Two. It's laid right over the first one, making me cry out, and as I pull in another breath my eyes are still closed beneath the blindfold; but in my mind I can picture the dark intensity on his face, and it sends another jolt up my spine.
Three. It lands on the other cheek, resonating through me - and as I jolt forward the plug shifts inside me, nudging that spot, and if I wasn't fastened upright my knees would give way.
Four. Laid over the third one, and I arch against the cross and just let it take me as the drumming and chanting get so far away they might as well be in another room.
Five. And the knowledge that this is the last one, that he told me five and that's it, pulls a growl from the back of my throat - because something's tugging at me, telling me this can't be the end of it, and when his hand cups my chin I growl even louder.
"Are you listening?"
"Greg, listen to me," he says, gently bringing my head back. "Are you with me?"
"Yeah - yes...Sir."
"Are you okay?"
"Do you want more?" he asks me, maintaining his grip on my chin, and the rough tenderness in his voice makes my throat tighten - and the little voice saying no, stop is vanquished by that other voice that growled when everything came to a halt. The back of the hand holding the paddle runs over my ass, knuckles rub over raised welts, and when he asks if I can take another five I answer him in a voice that doesn't sound like mine at all.
I'm not riding this out now, I'm flying through it.
I take the blows one after the other, and it's like I'm standing in the centre of a storm and letting it swirl around me. I'm giddy with sensation and emotion - pain, heat, love, desire - all of it making me rise above myself, making me laugh through the blows as I look down at the two of us and watch his arm swing back and forth...
"Greg. Pick a number."
"Pick a number," he repeats, his lips touching my ear, and have I really taken five more strokes already? Is it nearly done? He cups my chin again, and from somewhere I find a tiny voice that says three - then he moves back, tracing the paddle up my inner thigh before the flat of it runs over the marks he's made on me, and we begin again.
Then he's close enough to touch me, and while his fingers work the cuffs loose I suck in a huge breath, as though I'm surfacing from deep water. He leans closer, near enough for me to feel that he's hard, and as I try to picture his face the little voice inside me askswhy did you stop - and even though I'm still riding that wave of heat and sensation, I can feel my throat tightening. Hands touch my ankles, freeing them, and as I sway slightly he runs his hands swiftly up my legs; rising to his feet behind me, he places his hands on my hips and lets his head come forward to rest in the space where my shoulder meets my neck. "Shut your eyes," he tells me. "I'm taking this off," and then I feel his hands move to work the blindfold loose; I can make out light beneath my closed eyelids, and before I can do anything except pull in another deep breath he's turning me towards him and telling me to open my eyes - and when I do that, I feel something tickling my cheeks as his eyes lock with mine. Didn't want to come back, I tell him, and he tells me he knows I didn't as he guides me towards the chair a few feet away.
He lowers himself into the wingback chair, drawing me down into his lap, and I catch sight of people in the doorway. "Don't worry about them now," he says, keeping one arm round me as he reaches for something at the side of the chair; a second or two later, he's lifting a bottle of water to my lips and stroking my hair as I drink. "I'm so proud of you," he whispers, turning my face towards him and kissing my forehead, and I close my eyes and just let him hold me. "Open your mouth," he says a long while later, and when I do he puts a piece of chocolate between my lips; he tells me to turn and face him, and while I straddle his lap and let the chocolate dissolve in my mouth I feel his fingertips stroking something ice cold over each of the marks he's made on me tonight. I chatter away to him, forgetting the words as soon as they leave my lips, and he just smiles at me and lets me talk; when he's finished, he asks me if I can stand up, and when I tell him I think so he chuckles softly and helps me to my feet. He picks up my clothes and puts them on the chair, telling me to get dressed, and when I look at him questioningly a smile curves his lips. Leave those where they are, he says in a whisper, stroking fingertips over the things he's placed on me and inside me, and I force my hands to come to life again. I put my clothes back on slowly, watching him put the things back in the bag, and then he turns towards me and tucks his right arm through my left; we move towards the doorway, and as I begin walking it feels as though my feet are floating above the floor.
The people who were standing in the doorway step aside as we leave the room, and I look down at the floor when we walk past them; we make our way back to the hallway, and as we're nearing the front door I lift my head to see a familiar figure.
"Leaving us, Nicholas?"
"Yes, ma'am," he says, leaning forward to allow Lady Heather to kiss him on both cheeks. "Thank you for inviting us."
"You're more than welcome, Nicholas," she tells him with a solemn smile, and then she turns towards me. "You did well tonight, Mr. Sanders," she murmurs, and I manage to whisper a thank you before Nick escorts me outside to where he parked the truck.
He left it around the side of the Dominion, away from all the expensive cars parked at the front, and at the back of my mind I suppose I knew why all along. We get into the truck, and as soon as the doors are shut he reaches for me; one of his hands moves beneath my shirt, resting on my hip as he fastens his mouth to mine and his tongue parts my lips. Sensation takes over again and I lean back, not caring as the welts on my back and my ass come into contact with the seat, because I'm still riding that wave of heat and right now I don't want it to stop.
"Love you," he gasps when the kiss breaks, one of his hands tangling in my hair, and the other slips to work at the button fly of my jeans; the merest brush of his fingers against the front of my boxer shorts makes me grit my teeth again, because I'm so fucking close now I think I'll burst. He tells me to raise up, and when I lift myself off the seat his hand moves inside my shorts; the sound of that Velcro strap he put around the base of my cock coming undone is the loudest thing in the world, and I'm almost sobbing Nicky, Nicky, please as he lowers his head to my lap - and I close my eyes as his lips and tongue and gently scraping teeth become the only things that make any sense. One of his hands presses down on my thigh, holding me in place as his tongue laps and darts, and I want this to go on for ever but I was half way over the edge before we even got in the truck; then he lifts his head all the way off, and through the blood roaring in my ears I hear him whisper
come for me
I'm digging my nails into the back of his neck, gasping things that don't make sense as I buck up into his mouth, and then I come so hard that the world slips sideways for a second or two. Before I know what's happening he's straightened up again, his eyes still huge and dark as he looks at me in the split second before he kisses me; I lean into it, tasting myself on his lips and tongue, and when he lets go of me I suddenly feel so drained I can't move.
He leans to fasten my seatbelt, and when I look at him I want to say you didn't let me touch you - but he seems to know what I wanted to say, the way he has done for so long now, and the look he gives me says that there'll be time when we get home. He turns the key in the ignition, and moments later we're passing through wrought iron gates - back into the world where we're Nick and Greg again, back into the world where what we do here is a secret.
But there'll be other visits here, and we both know it.