Christopher, Craig & Co.
Part 69: Possibilities.
Scott managed to take longer to close his notebook, pocket his pen, and shrug into his coat than any other student in the room.
Wade shuffled papers around momentarily, but after a subtle look between Scott and me he tossed his stuff in his messenger back, threw it over his shoulder, and strode out of the room.
Once we were alone in the classroom Scott flashed a grin. “You looked flustered today, Chris. I didn’t mean to throw you off.”
I leaned against the podium. “You chose NOW to have this discussion?” I sounded as incredulous as I felt.
He was smiling at me. “It seemed safe enough. I’ve tried to find a way to bring it up more than once. I’ve tried to find a way to bring up a where-is-this-relationship-heading kind of talk up. Chris, I know you’re dealing with a lot and I don’t want to put any pressure on you. But if whatever this is between us is just a right now kind of thing for you, I really want to know that before I get any more invested.”
I felt as if the wind had just been knocked out of me. “Is that what you think?”
“No. I don’t know.” He shook his head. “There are times when I’m with you that you make me feel like I’m the only guy in the entire world and that you’d be happy with me if I were.”
I began to agree, but he continued talking.
“And then there are times when it’s just so obvious to me that you’re pulling away from me and withdrawing into whatever it is that you’re wrestling with. And that scares me a little, Chris. I want to help you. I want to protect you from whatever the problem is. But you don’t talk to me about the big stuff. And we don’t talk about us.”
I expected more, but Scott stopped speaking then. I expected him to bring up all the lies of omission and commission that I had told since we’d met. I think a part of me even expected him to turn and walk away from me at that moment. I had been waiting for the other some to drop since I had confessed everything to him about my extracurricular activities. I hadn’t expected it to happen in my classroom.
The silence stretched on a few more seconds than comfortable. I was unprepared for this conversation and my mind was racing in so many directions that I was having trouble focusing on a response.
“I do love you, Scott. Please believe that.” Suddenly it seemed more important than anything else that I make that clear to him. “You have to believe that. What we have—What we are—”
No, dammit! Keep talking. Tell him what you mean. I felt my fingers tightening around the wood of the podium. Why was it always so hard for me to express what I felt? Why couldn’t I just say it? I had told him I loved him before. I had said it quite a bit, I thought. It was now obvious I hadn’t told him what he needed to hear.
I began again. “What we have is not like any relationship I’ve ever had.”
Scott looked at me curiously.
I didn’t know how to put into words exactly what I meant. I’m usually pretty good at talking things out. I just rarely include my own feelings in discussions. But I had been trying with Scott.
“Every man I’ve ever been with there’s been some kind of power struggle going on,” I said quietly. “It’s not like that with you. You’ve never tried to take more from me than you’ve been willing to give. You’ve never demanded anything from me. I just…” I shut my eyes. “I just don’t know how to do this with you. I love you, Scott, and it’s always in the back of my mind that I could screw this up and lose you.”
Scott strode across the room and pulled me into an embrace. “You won’t lose me. You couldn’t lose me.”
“I don’t know how you can stay with me,” I said into his neck.
He pulled back from me. “What?”
I repeated myself. “You know everything. How could you want to be a part of my life?”
He held me tightly for a moment longer and then pulled away. “How could I not?” he asked.
I shook my head. “I’m damaged goods, Scott. And I don’t mean because of the Dominant/submissive stuff.”
“That’s nonsense and you know it.”
“No it’s not.”
“Chris, with all you’ve been through you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t have some baggage. At our age nobody comes to a relationship a blank slate.”
“That’s just it, Scott. I don’t know if I even realized it before I knew you. I’ve never had an actual adult relationship that wasn’t based purely on sex. I couldn’t even understand why you were so kind to me when we weren’t having sex. I wanted to. I wanted to so badly it hurt because I wanted you to know how I felt about you. But you didn’t rush it. You were just there with me. And I’ve been trying to learn how to be with you, Scott. I really have.”
Scott chuckled. Then the chuckle grew into a full laugh. Seeing my expression he hurriedly said, “I’m not laughing at you, Chris. I just can’t believe it. I’ve been trying to figure out how to be a slave for you because I thought that if that was what you really needed for this to work that I could find a way to be that for you.”
I wondered absently if my jaw actually dropped. I couldn’t believe the offer he’d just made. I couldn’t believe he’d even be willing to consider such a thing. “Scott, you’re hardly submissive.”
“Oh?” he asked.
“You’re the freakin’ F.B.I. for Christ’s sake. You spend your days kicking ass and taking charge.”
He seemed to smile even more. “And sometimes I don’t want to have to make any decisions.”
“Yeah. It’s not like I want to be a live-in slave like…” He stopped.
I had no way of knowing who he had been about to mention, but my gut told me it was my past with Richard. I shifted my gaze uncomfortably from him to the wall.
I wasn’t the boy I had been when Richard took advantage of me. I had to remind myself of that now and then. I was an adult with a good job, friends, and an amazing man who I was ready to fight to keep. The fact of the matter was that I had never opened up about my past to anyone before Scott and I was afraid to my very core that the knowledge of what I had done and who I had been would be too much for him to handle. Despite my very real feelings for Craig I had never mentioned the exact nature of my relationship with Richard. It wasn’t that I was concerned that it made me appear weak—it was a fear of appearing somehow inadequate to be his Master. With Scott I didn’t have the luxury of playing the totally in control Master. He had seen me after I had been physically beaten, and he had seen me in the throes of a panic attack. If anything I needed to prove myself to him and to myself.
Scott reached for my hand, pulling me from my thoughts. “I was thinking maybe we could explore a few possibilities.”
“What did you have in mind?” I asked tentatively.
He shrugged. “I thought maybe I could serve you tonight. Would you like that”—he paused to lick his lips languorously—“Sir?”
I reached forward and grabbed him by the shirt, covering his mouth with mine. He wrapped his arms around me and I walked him backward to the door, never stopping kissing him.
His back bumped the door and it slammed shut; as he rested against it I began unbuttoning his shirt.
Scott pulled his head back. “Here?”
I tore open the rest of his shirt, exposing his incredible chest and abs, then pushed his jacket and shirt off his shoulders. They dropped to the floor with a muffled thud.
We resumed our kissing and I led the way to the lecture table. With one sweeping motion I knocked everything off of it.
Soon Scott was on his back on it and I was lying on him, our mouths together, my hand fumbling with his belt.
Scott rolled me over onto my back, pinning me as his mouth traced a line down my jaw to my neck.
I jerked my gaze from the lecture table to Scott.
“You look a little flushed.”
“Huh? Oh. Yeah.”
“Where’d you go?” he asked.
“I guess I was just mentally exploring the possibilities.”
He grinned naughtily, pulling me toward him. “Tonight we’ll make those ideas a reality.”
I glanced over his shoulder at the lecture table.
On the way home I decided to swing by Leatherman’s Club. I hadn’t heard from him in a couple of weeks and while that was usually a cause for celebration, I was curious as to why he’d been out of touch. It was a bit unlike him—I couldn’t imagine that he hadn’t met some new boy who would make a perfect slave for somebody…
I parked behind the building and knocked at the private entrance.
That was strange. It was before noon and Leatherman was not known to be an early riser. And even if he had risen early and set out to face a new day, where was Bootboy?
Actually, I shuddered to think where Bootboy might be. I only hoped wherever he was he wasn’t too uncomfortable.
I walked down the alley and around to the main club entrance. The door was locked but I could see movement inside.
The shadowy figure inside ignored me.
I knocked harder and louder.
A guy I didn’t recognize stepped near enough to the door that I could see him shake his head. Even though his voice was muffled through the glass I could hear him say: “Closed.”
Like I couldn’t figure that out. Open the damn door! I knocked again, and kept knocking until the young man stepped up to the door. Apparently he didn’t plan to open it.
I raised my voice. “I’m looking for Leatherman.”
“Leatherman?” he repeated.
He turned the lock and opened the door two inches. “Leatherman’s gone.”
“When do you expect him back?”
“He’s gone, man. There’s a new owner.”
“What?” My mind exploded with questions. “Where? Who? When?” I sputtered.
The young man shrugged. “Nobody knows. The new owner announced that he’s keeping us all on in our jobs unless he sees that changes need to be made.”
“New owner,” I repeated. This didn’t make any sense. Leatherman would never give up his club. What was going on here? When was the last time I had actually talked to Leatherman? I couldn’t really pin it down.
“Yeah. Seems like a cool boss so far. He’s not here all the time like Leatherman was. I guess Mr. King has—”
He kept talking but I could no longer seem to focus on his words. When I found my voice I asked quietly, “What did you say his name was?”
“Uh, thank you,” I said absently.
“No problem, man.” The door shut, he turned the lock and I was staring at his back as he returned to what he had been doing before I interrupted him.
I flipped my cell phone open and pressed Scott’s speed dial. It went directly to voice mail. Of course, he was still in class.
“Scott, call me as soon as you get this. We have a major problem. Richard’s made his next move.”