I wish to thank my partner, Sean, for his encouragement and my betas, Mike and Jodie, for all their welcomed suggestions and help.
Emerson put down his fork and sat back with a frown to watch his slave methodically pick apart the food in front of him.
Liam slowly rearranged the items on his plate as he futilely tried to figure out a problem in one of his college courses. His muses were interrupted by the snapping of fingers and he glanced up to see his Master pointing at the floor.
He blinked, momentarily unsure of what the other man wanted. The raised eyebrow had him quickly sliding out of his chair and dutifully kneeling next to his Master.
“We’ll be discussing your inattentiveness after dinner, slave,” Emerson informed the younger man, holding out a forkful of vegetables and waiting tolerantly for Liam’s mouth to open. He proceeded to feed him intermittently while eating his own meal.
With sudden clarity, Liam realized he had no way of solving this problem on his own and should have brought it to his Master’s attention much sooner. He accepted a mouthful of food and with a sad sigh, leaned his head against his Master’s thigh. He was unaware of the silent message he had sent.
Emerson let out a sigh of his own, but his was one of mild irritation as he gave into the temptation to gently comb his fingers through the other man’s hair.
A short while later found Emerson sitting on the sofa in his dimly-lit study and looking down at the young man kneeling in front of him. His slave was resting his butt on his heels, his legs were slightly parted, his hands were clasped behind his back and his head was bowed. The light from the lamps glittered off the only two articles he wore, his collar and a gold cock ring. It was indeed a beautiful sight.
Liam waited patiently even while wondering why he’d been told to leave the clean-up from their meal until later and follow his Master. He relaxed into his submission as he gazed at the cock ring, remembering the first time his Master had put it on him. Like his collar, it was engraved with ‘Property of E.J.’ and Liam had pouted at the realization that his favourite toy since early childhood, something he had always considered only his, now belong to someone else. He was to take care of it, keep it clean, but not allowed to play with it. He’d smiled when his Master had announced, ‘it’s now become my favourite toy, slave, and you can rest assured I’ll play with it often.’ It was then that Liam began to entertain the notion that his Master could possibly be honing his skills as a mind-reader.
He closed his eyes and felt a quiet peace settle over him as he resigned himself to the fact that even though he had no idea when it would happen, the next move was totally up to his Master.
Emerson thought over their present situation, fairly certain it related back to a conversation they’d had not too long ago. He mentally reviewed a similar occurrence as he sat contemplating the man he was thoroughly enchanted with.
Several weeks past they were seated together on the sofa in the living room when Emerson pulled out a small, black leather pouch and gently kneaded the contents.
“You start school tomorrow, pet. I hope you’re looking forward to it.”
“I think I am. A little nervous though,” Liam admitted.
Emerson nodded understandably. “We’re well aware of how unsuccessful your first attempts at massaging were.”
“They were pathetic,” Liam grumbled as he hung his head, still embarrassed by his failed efforts. He missed the smile spreading across his Master’s face.
“I know you were surprised by my taking you up on your muttering something about lessons possibly being a help. You never expected me to enroll you in a local college that had classes in esthetics.” Emerson chuckled at his slave’s grunt of agreement as he presented the little pouch to Liam. He watched as it was carefully opened and a variety of coins fell out. He smiled at the quizzical expression on the other man’s face.
“You’re going to need a bit of money, Liam. We can consider this your allowance if you wish, but there are conditions attached to it.”
“Like special chores?” Liam inquired, holding as many of the coins as it was possible to hold in one hand.
“No, I would be unable to come up with a single task as you keep everything running so smoothly around here.” Emerson shook his head, always amazed at just how structured his slave was in performing his duties. “It involves a special assignment of sorts. Although you’ll only be attending three afternoon classes a week, there will be a break midway. I’m pretty sure everyone will be going to the cafeteria at that time. I insist you treat my slave to his choice of items available in the vending machines there. When you registered, we were taken on a brief tour of the facilities and I seem to recall enough junk food being available to more than satisfy anyone who’s inclined to eat the stuff.” The older man leaned forward. “I want you to feel like you fit in, Liam. You do not necessarily have to have junk food, there are some healthier choices.”
Liam stared at the coins in his hand. He had never spent time in the cafeteria when in high school. He had always found it too crowded and far too noisy for his tastes. Besides, he never had any money and so found no point in going there.
“I don’t remember ever having a special assignment before,” he murmured with a shy smile. “But I know for sure that I’ve never had an allowance.”
“I suspected it might be something new to you,” Emerson commented.
“How come?” Liam may have frowned slightly, but he was unable to hide the happiness shining in his eyes as he wondered for the umpteenth time which one of them was taking care of the other.
“As I told you when we began our relationship, I had you investigated. And the man who checked you out is very, very good.”
Liam nodded his understanding. “So all I have to do is spend this in the cafeteria at school?”
“That’s right. However, there is one more stipulation. You are not to hoard any of the money. It is to be spent each week by Friday afternoon. Are you willing to meet these conditions?”
The following weekend gave cause for a new rule being established. By Sunday evening, Emerson knew he had to get to the bottom of whatever was bothering his slave. After questioning Liam, he learned that the young man had been fretting over forty cents he’d been unable to spend.
“I do not want you agonizing over matters you have no control over, slave. When something is bothering you, I expect to be told about it. The amount of leftover change is insignificant and certainly nothing to be losing sleep over. Had you talked to me about it, I would have immediately set your mind at ease. In the future, if you let my slave become this upset because he didn’t tell me what was troubling him, you’ll be punished. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes, Master,” Liam had responded somewhat wide-eyed.
‘And here we are again,’ Emerson thought with a touch of exasperation. He knew they were in for some unpleasantness before this evening was over. All the signs were there; the restlessness, lost appetite, inability to sleep.
Just last night…actually very early this morning, Emerson had awaken to find the space beside him where his slave slept, empty. He found the young man reading in the living room. After taking the magazine and tossing it on the sofa, Emerson had pulled Liam to his feet and up over his shoulder in one almost effortless motion. He had landed six hard swats on the unprotected backside as he’d walked down the hall. He’d heard the first gasp of surprise. The second gasp was when he’d tossed his slave onto the bed. The third was when he’d gotten back in beside him and flipped him over to spoon around him.
“Go to sleep,” he had growled in the younger man’s ear. Within in minutes, his command had been obeyed. He’d listened for several moments to the soft snoring interspersed with sniffles and hitches of breath. He’d felt the residue heat from the swats radiating from the bottom nestled against the top of his thighs.
Should he have talked to his slave then? Emerson didn’t think the timing was right in the wee hours of the morning. However, a more appropriate time had now arrived.
The silence continued as Emerson contemplated his slave for several more minutes before speaking.
The younger man’s thoughts were interrupted by his Master’s quietly spoken demand. “There appears to be something weighing on your mind, Liam. Talk to me.”
Liam’s cock spasmed; the ring was only able to provide so much restraint. It had little to no influence over his body’s reaction to his Master’s voice.
Pushing aside his growing physical need, Liam concentrated on obeying the command. “In our massage classes the last few weeks, we’ve been using dummies to learn on. They’re made of something that makes them very pliable, almost like a human but not quite. Starting Monday, we are to provide our own ‘live’ person to practice on. I have no idea who can be my dummy replacement. I don’t even want one because I like what I had.”
“What are your fellow students doing about it?”
Liam shrugged. “Some are asking family members. You know, like spouses or siblings and the like. Some are asking friends. For example, Frank is asking his girlfriend and Ralph says his neighbour is willing to be a victim. A couple of the others are just going to practice on each other. But I don’t want to touch anyone else but you,” he said in almost a whisper before adamantly adding, “and I certainly don’t want anyone touching me.”
“Then why didn’t you come to me right away to talk it over. I would have told you up front that I would take on that role.”
Liam looked up in surprise. “But Master, you....you are already so busy,” he stammered. “It will involve you coming to class with me every Tuesday and Friday afternoon for the next three weeks.”
“I am never too busy for you, my precious slave. As it is to serve me better that you are taking these classes in the first place, it seems practical that you learn what works best on my body. Don’t you think?”
Liam could only nod; his eyes and mouth opened in disbelief.
“Now, slave, how long have you known of this?”
“Since the first of the week,” was the murmured reply as Liam dropped his head in shame. “I know I should have come to you right away, but I was hoping to come up with a solution on my own. Only that didn’t happen.”
“There was no way for you to accomplish that, slave. Coming to me was your only option. In not doing so, you disobeyed a directive I gave you not too long ago about needlessly worrying my slave. Is that not so?”
“Yes, Master,” Liam sadly admitted in a low voice, knowing he had earned retribution. “I’m sorry, Master.” His stomach tightened and his shoulders slumped. He wanted nothing more than to please his Master and here he’d gone and broken the newest rule; one less than a month old.
Before he had time to ponder his dilemma, Liam felt a large hand encircling his arm and a second later, found himself face down over his Master’s lap.
No amount of squirming or kicking deterred Emerson from his mission to teach his young slave that communication was imperative to their relationship; it was not an option. He spanked steadily until the man over his thighs went limp with acceptance.
Within in seconds of the last blow, Liam was upright and enfolded in a firm hug. The hand that had just stopped walloping his backside was now soothingly stroking his back.
‘What the hell is wrong with me?’ Liam thought as he wrapped his arms around his Master’s neck. In the past a belt had been used on him numerous times and every time he had stubbornly clinched his teeth and endured the strapping without so much as a whimper. Yet here he was crying like a baby, even more than he had the first time his Master spanked him. His defenses at an all-time low, he clung to his chastiser.
“It’s okay, little slave. Let it out, my pet. This emotional release has been a long time coming. I’ve got you. Just let go,” Emerson droned words of comfort mingled with forgiveness as he gently rocked back and forth.
The tears finally subsided as Liam relaxed against the older man’s chest and temporarily zoned out.
Emerson used this quiet time to recall several incidents, that over the short period of time since they’d gotten together, had helped him learn more about the man who had so easily captured his heart.
He’d learned with a degree of sadness that his young slave, while willing to give his all, had few expectations. He seemed to consider himself unworthy of more than the very basic needs of life and had asked for nothing more than to not be physically harmed.
Emerson had found it a tough go convincing the younger man that he was entitled to a great deal more. Knowing Liam’s only wish was to please his Master, the older man quickly discovered it was easier just to simplify many of the issues that arose by keeping them within a master/slave context.
When he discovered that his slave believed he was not to sleep in his Master’s bed unless told to do so, Emerson had explained that on occasions when he was late coming home, it was his slave’s duty to warm his bed in his absence.
He’d also picked up on a habit the younger man was developing when restocking the larder of only purchasing the foods his Master favoured. Emerson quickly let it be known that he got pleasure from knowing his slave was enjoying choices of his own such as peanut butter, a couple of sugared cereals, chocolate milk and those horrible yellow slices passing as cheese.
His thought process was disturbed by his slave’s attempt to get off his lap.
“Just what do you think you’re doing?” he demanded to know.
“I’m too heavy to sit here so long,” came the murmured reply.
“I’ll be the one to decide that,” Emerson firmly stated, tightening his hold.
“But I need to clean up the kitchen, Master. Please….”
About to refuse, Emerson immediately changed his mind. He acknowledged that his slave would undoubtedly have trouble sleeping the night through if fretting over undone chores.
Setting the other man free, Emerson got to his feet and suggested, “We’ll do it together.” He was taken aback by the tears reappearing.
“But it’s my job,” Liam quietly pointed out, erroneously believing his Master may have reason to consider his work inadequate. “I can do it.”
Realizing the sensitive state the younger man was in had Emerson changing course once again. “Okay, I’ll just sit back and enjoy watching you work. I’m not going to leave you puttering around on your own.”
Liam nodded, remembering the other time he’d been physically punished and how they had spent the rest of the evening within touching distance. He correctly sensed it was something they both needed.
It was later, when snuggling in bed, that Liam softly asked, “How do I introduce you to my instructors, Master?”
“You simply say, ‘this is my partner, Emerson Jones’.” Emerson grinned in the dark. He’d felt the other man’s body tremor in surprise and jumped in before words of protest could be uttered. “Liam, although our lifestyle choice is known by a number of friends within the community, there is no need for anyone else to be aware of it. We’re partners and that’s all there is to it. I trust you’re good with that?”
“Yes, Master,” Liam respectfully replied, fully aware that he had little choice in the matter. Truth was, his Master’s proclamation made him feel warm all over.
Liam held his head high as he walked down the hall beside his Master. He was proud of having introduced this handsome man as his partner. He’d secretly enjoyed the looks of chagrin that passed over the faces of a few of his classmates when they realized the man they’d been ogling for weeks was spoken for.
“There is someone else I’d like you to meet before we leave, Master.” Liam smiled at the sight of the man walking towards them.
As was often the case, the hairdressing instructor was off in a world of his own. He barely managed to avoid crashing into them.
Before Liam could make the introduction, Fancy let out a squeal, threw his arms around Emerson’s neck and kissed his cheek. Liam’s jaw almost hit the ground and his eyes were in danger of popping out of his head. He stared back and forth between the two men who evidently knew each other.
“We haven’t seen you at the club in a while, Lawrence. You and Eugene have been missed,” Emerson informed the flamboyantly dressed man. “I didn’t realize you’d changed your name.
“Lawrence is the name my mother gave me, Em. Fancy is the one I gave myself a few years back but only use it as a career moniker. You have to admit it’s quite the attention getter.” Fancy winked at Liam as he laughed along with Emerson. “So, my friend, what brings you to our hallowed halls of learning?”
“I’m participating in Liam’s massage class.”
“Really?” Fancy’s eyebrow rose in speculation. He reached over and withdrew the gold chain hidden just below the neckline of Liam’s sweater. “Hmm, more than just a friend, I’d venture. His Dom maybe?”
“No.” Emerson leaned forward and whispered in his friend’s ear, “his life-partner, among other things.”
“Oh! Do tell!” Fancy’s eyes almost tripled in size. “It seems like Eugene and I have been missing out on some titillating goings-on during our absence. Wait until I tell my husband about this. I’m sure he’ll agree to us paying your establishment a visit before the week is out. Speaking of which, I must call Eugene and remind him to pick up the things I need for dinner. Ta-ta. Be seeing you soon, my darlings.”
With that, Fancy once again headed off down the hall. His hips were noticeably swaying, his fingers merrily tapping out numbers on a cell phone, his raised heels clicking on the highly polished wood floors and his colourful boa was flying out behind him.
“He’s kinda like a butterfly, isn’t he?” Liam lightly observed with a wide grin on his face.
“That’s one way of putting it, I guess.” Emerson couldn’t help but chuckle at the analogy.
“How often does he attend events at your club, Master?” Liam was unable to prevent the question from practically exploding out of his mouth. He’d be the first to admit that his curiosity had gotten the better of him.
“His and Eugene’s attendance was always erratic at best, but they have been members for years. We don’t know a great deal about their personal life except they’ve been married for a long time. I did know Lawrence taught, but I didn’t know what or where. I also know Eugene is a lab technician, but again, I do not know where.”
“Is Fancy a Dom?” Liam had trouble picturing his instructor as a Dom, but then he was having a hard time picturing him playing in the scene at all.
Emerson continued to chuckle at his slave’s courage, realizing it was the young man exceptional inquisitiveness that was causing him to be so daring.
“Not Likely. As much as Lawrence baggers the life out of his husband and as much as he appears to be the cock of the walk around here; once he enters the club, he immediately goes into mild-mannered sub mode. He and Eugene find a great deal of satisfaction in the roles they play there.”
“Does that mean he might be a ‘Brat’ at home?” Liam had been learning BDSM and DP terminology under the tutelage of the club’s bartender, Ned.
“They aren’t in a DP, Liam. As they once explained during a conversation with Flynn and I, Lawrence would never allow it and Eugene would find it exhausting. They didn’t go into a lot of detail.” Emerson steadily maneuvered the shorter man out of the building and across to the parking lot.
‘Hmm, bet Ned can share a tale or two.’ Liam mused to himself while wondering how much he could get away with when asking the bartender about them or more over, how much Ned could get away with when telling. Gossiping was definitely one of Flynn’s pet peeves.
Leaning close, Emerson growled for Liam’s ears only. “I think it would be best if we avoid using the name ‘Fancy’ at the club. I’m sure both Lawrence and Eugene would appreciate it. And don’t you dare think of asking Ned about them, slave, or there’ll be hell to pay.”
Liam blinked. He wondered if he’d ever get use to his Master’s apparent mind-reading ability.
Three week later Liam’s courses came to an end. All had gone well with his Master attending his classes. He felt a little at loose ends with not having any more to attend, but decided he didn’t want to spend the weekend fretting about it. He’d only get himself in hot water if he stewed over something he had no control over.
So on Friday evening, he sat down on the ottoman and patiently waited for his Master to finish reading the paper.
Emerson lowered his newspaper. “Is there something you’d like to talk about, slave?”
“These.” Liam shoved a couple of pamphlets into his Master’s hand.
Quickly glancing through the information, Emerson appeared to be giving them some thought. “These are about other courses being offer at the college you’ve just barely finished attending.”
Liam nodded. “Fancy gave them to me. He thought I might be interested in taking the gourmet cooking course.”
“I see. And are you?”
Liam nodded again, this time a little more vigorously. “Yes, Master. I am. I’d really like to be able to prepare more elaborate meals, especially when you have guests.” He chewed his lower lip. “But the course costs a lot of money and you’ve already put out enough for my additional training to serve you better.”
“And you’re worried about that, right?”
“Yes, Master. I am….sort of. But there’s nothing I can do about it, is there?”
“Absolutely nothing; but I can. Of course, in return to covering your tuition and other expenses, I’ll expect to be treated to many gastronomic delights,” he lightly teased. Turning serious, he smiled and gently ran the back of his fingers over his slave’s cheek. “Thank you for talking to me instead of letting the issue fester.”
“It’s a rule, Master.” Liam grinned. “Besides, it’s a lot better than being spanked.”
His cheekiness resulted in a roar of laughter from the man in front of him.
Emerson sat back and clapped his hands. “Secure the apartment, slave, and make it snappy,” he huskily ordered and watched as his command was promptly obeyed.
He remained seated for a few minutes before leisurely getting to his feet, pulling his shirt out of his pants and undoing the buttons as he walked down the hall to the master bedroom where he knew a beautiful naked slave would be waiting for him.