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“Mr. Winchester, I’m going to leave now. Do you need anything else before I leave?”

Dean Winchester looked up from the massive pile of papers on his desk, blinking slightly to clear the numbers dancing in front of his eyes, to see his personal assistant standing at his office door, a hand on the door jamb.

Was it really that late already? He could have sworn that he’d just eaten lunch an hour or two ago but it was obvious that he was mistaken. It was completely dark outside his office windows and then there suddenly obvious silence emanating from the room behind his assistant, an area usually teeming with people. His brain shuffled through the memories of the day, trying to figure out how so much time had passed without his noticing.

Oh wait, that was it; he’d had a very late lunch due to a meeting with the sales department that day. That’s why it didn’t really feel as late as it was despite the fact that it was obviously past five in the evening.

“Oh. No, I’m fine Sarah,” Dean replied quickly, noticing his assistant’s expectant expression and remembering she had asked him a question. He smiled at her, “You have a nice evening, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Monday,” Sarah said, causing Dean to look up from his papers again. “You’ll see me Monday,” she continued slowly, most likely in response to her boss’ noise of befuddlement.

He wrinkled his brow in confusion. “Are you taking vacation? I thought you said you wouldn’t be taking any vacation for another month or so.”

This response caused Sarah to sigh as she visibly restrained herself from rolling her eyes. She walked briskly over towards Dean’s desk and leaned over, grabbing the computer mouse; the pretty brunette, neck craned to look at the computer monitor, maneuvered the cursor over to the corner of the monitor to bring up the desktop calendar.

Dean’s calendar was color coded and scheduled within an inch of its life, as per usual, so at first he had not a clue what his assistant was trying indicate to him with her raised eyebrow and pointed stare that looked first at him then the computer again. He looked at the calendar more closely and then it hit him.

“Oh, is it Friday already?” he asked, genuinely surprised.

Sarah leveled a look at him that somehow mixed disbelief with resignation. All this apparently being too much, she did roll her eyes at him this time before replying tiredly, “Yes, Mr. Winchester. It is indeed Friday.”

The director of marketing for Sandover Industries leaned back in his plush office chair and looked up at the ceiling. How in the hell did he lose track of the day of the week? Sure his week had been extremely busy, well the last four weeks have been busy really, but he could have sworn it was Wednesday.

Carefully not mentioning this fact to Sarah, who would probably try to commit him if she knew he was actually off by two days, Dean amended his ‘see you tomorrow’ to a ‘have a nice weekend’ and shooed her out the door. His assistant didn’t need much encouragement but she did make him promise that he wouldn’t stay much later which he agreed to, mainly to get out of this embarrassing situation, and soon she was gathering her bag and coat and walking out of the office.

From the sounds of things, Dean was finally alone; the only sounds in the office were his computer whirring slightly and his own breathing. Instead of returning to the spreadsheet that was currently open on his monitor like he’d been planning to, he leaned back in his chair while staring at his day planner; there were brightly colored tabs stuck all over the pages, each one practically screaming that there were things that needed to be done right now.

Normally his busy schedule wouldn’t bother him, it was his job to get these matters taken care of; it was what the company paid him for after all. But something about the fact that he was so preoccupied by his work that he essentially lost two days of the week was a bit frightening to him.

Maybe he needed a vacation.

He could go home and visit his family, the last time he’d been back was for Thanksgiving and not even the latest one. There had been a big meeting that had needed to be taken care of that Wednesday so Dean hadn’t been able to drive back to South Dakota and hell would freeze over before he would get on a plane, let alone get on a plane during a busy holiday season. Since then work had been so chaotic he’d had to skip out on the various holidays and events that would have led him home so a trip to Sioux Falls was definitely in order.

Smiling at the idea of getting out of the office and seeing his family, Dean began typing up an email to his boss with a request to dip into his almost untouched vacation and personal time. His mind whirred as he planned; he could take a couple weeks to unwind, drive home and surprise his parents with a visit. After an eternity of quick phone calls to check in they would be---

Ring! Ring! Ring!

Startled out of his thoughts by his desk phone ringing, Dean looked at the device and read ‘Z. Adler’ on the caller ID.

His boss was calling.

He scrambled to pick up the receiver before it stopped ringing and held it tentatively to his ear.

“Yes, sir,” Dean answered perfunctorily, his back automatically straightening as though his boss were in the room to see his sub-par posture. Usually he would be dreading a call this late in the evening but this would be the perfect opportunity to discuss his overdue vacation and save himself and Mr. Adler the trouble of an email. “I was actually just about to send---”

“Winchester!” Mr. Adler, interrupted, completely ignoring the fact that his subordinate was speaking. “How would you feel about taking on the Stevenson account?”

Well that was unexpected.

“The Stevenson account, sir?” Dean asked hesitantly, making sure he’d heard right.

The Stevenson account was one of the biggest accounts in the company, so big that his boss had always insisted on being the one to handle it despite the large amount of work that was involved. Having this account under his belt would make Dean a very important asset to the company. If he’d been offered the account a year ago he wouldn’t have hesitated to take it, now however…

Dean looked tiredly at the piles of paper on his desk and the unfinished report on his computer, his shoulders slumped.

“That is a very generous offer, sir but with my other accounts--” he attempted to explain delicately only to be cut off again.

“Oh your other accounts are peanuts compared to this. Surely an industrious young man such as yourself can handle one more account,” Mr. Adler said, his voice practically oozing out of the receiver before his tone changed to indicate forced nonchalance, “You know, I would think that someone who was interested in advancing in the company would want to make sure he was part of the integral accounts.”

Dean ran a hand over his face tiredly. Damn it to hell.

“Of course, sir. I would love the opportunity to handle such an important account,” Dean said hurriedly, “But I’m just worried I won’t be able to give it the time that’s required.” He took a mental breath to prepare himself; this wasn’t how he wanted to broach the topic of his vacation but he figured it was now or never. “Especially since I was hoping to take some of my vacation---”

Dean winced as Mr. Adler laughed loudly, loud enough that he had to bring the phone away from his ear or suffer some sort of short term ear damage. “Oh Winchester, that’s a good one,” he chuckled, the slight mocking tone of his laugh caused a pit to form in Dean’s stomach as he realized what was going to come out of this boss’ mouth before the man began to speak again. “This is the busiest time of the year, we can’t afford to have an important guy like you out for any amount of time. Such a joker. I’ve always told upper management that you’re a funny guy.”

The confirmation of his fear was accompanied by a devastating wave of exhaustion; Dean slumped back into his chair, his chin resting on his chest.

So much for his newly born desire to take a break.

“Well, I’ll forward the account information to you tomorrow, Winchester,” Mr. Adler continued once he’d gotten himself under control. “I’d do it tonight but my wife is about to put dinner on the table.” Dean’s stomach growled at the reminder of food. “Oh and don’t forget that those projections are due Monday, I expect them on my desk bright and early. Have a pleasant evening.”

“Have a pl---” was all Dean was able to get out before the line went dead; he sighed tiredly as he hung up the phone. He rubbed at his face again before turning back to his spreadsheet; rolling his shoulders to hopefully shake the knots out of his back.

A few more hours wouldn’t hurt.

It was well past ten before Dean stumbled into his apartment, almost knocking over the small vase on the table in his entryway in during his tired shuffling.

By some miracle he had been able to get the projections report done though it had ended up taking much longer than expected, mainly due to the fact his mind kept getting distracted by recent revelation.

His work had completely taken over his life.

He wasn’t sure when it happened but somehow he had let his preoccupation with being the perfect worker and obsession for having things exactly right force him into overdrive, a state of being that was slowly and surely draining him. His job had become some sort of energy vampire.

His thoughts ran around in ceaseless circles as he scrounged together some leftover takeout from his fridge and, after changing into a pair of sweats and a t-shirt, settled on the couch. There wasn’t much on TV so he ended up stopping on a meaningless action movie but didn’t really pay attention; the only reason he had the TV on was to chase away the emptiness his apartment.

When had this become his life?

Working himself to death at a job that was, as he found himself finally admitting, boring only to come home and watch TV alone. His tendency to work hours upon hours of overtime and his inability to leave work unfinished was obviously the problem but how to fix it? Dean knew from experience that he was incapable of letting go of his work, especially when left to his own devices. How was he supposed to force himself to relax?

He finished his meager dinner and grabbed his laptop. There were a few work email in his inbox and, of course, he couldn’t resist looking at and responding to them. Even after the revelation that he was a workaholic, Dean couldn’t fight the impulse though he was able to make himself close his work email and go to his personal email.

There was an email from his mother, asking if he was going to make it to Christmas since he missed Thanksgiving again, which really twisted the newly discovered knife in his side. Dean sighed as he purposely didn’t answer that one. He sorted through the few online bill notifications and ads from Amazon for things he’d ‘might like’, resigning himself to another boring evening and wondering if he should just go to bed when he remembered something.

He hadn’t checked out his favorite blog in awhile.

Opening a private browser, Dean eagerly navigated his way to the familiar site; the dark but tasteful color scheme immediately calmed his nerves while sending a shiver of excitement down his spine.

Down Time with my Dom.

And there was a ton of new content.

This blog was Dean’s dirty little secret; he’d stumbled on it one day when he’d been surfing for porn, trying to find some of the homemade videos that he prefered since he found the professional videos were too ridiculous sometimes, and had been instantly transfixed by the posts he found.

Dean had always know that he was drawn to slightly kinky things in the bedroom; he liked being held down and told what to do and this wasn’t really something that bothered him. He’d had enough time to accept that there wasn’t anything weird about his tendencies when it came to sex. No, what really surprised him was how appealing the idea of submission outside the bedroom was to him.

The posted links to stories and other things that always seemed to catch his eye were ones where the sub was essentially the Dom’s pet; not the ones with the extra gear though, Dean had tried looking at that but the ear and paw accessory type things just didn’t appeal to him.

That was why this particular blog was his favorite. It wasn’t all about someone being forced to walk around on their hands and knees while eating off the floor. One thing Dean knew for certain was that the humiliation factor that was present in a large portion of the blogs he’d found was not his thing; more power to anyone else who was into that particular aspect but he got his fill of that at work and he didn’t find anything alluring about it. Most of the content on this site, which was made up of a mix of carefully and tastefully done photos, usually accompanied by short description, and small journal type posts, was focused on the calm and peace that the sub felt when in that mind set.

This is what drew him in and got him hooked.

What did appeal to him was the idea that he could possibly let go of everything: his busy work schedule, his demanding boss and most importantly, his mental exhaustion, and just exist for awhile. His only job would be to lay around, be affectionate and follow a few simple orders; he wouldn’t have to talk to anyone and be Dean Winchester: Director of Marketing, he could just be Dean. The slight structure to it was one of the selling points in his mind. Dean knew from experience that if he were told to ‘just relax’ without having a set plan on how to go about it, he would spend his time trying to come up with the perfect way to relax only to worry whether he picked the right one. Just imagining what that would feel like to have someone tell him not only to let go for a while but that they would like him to do so made his shoulders loosen automatically.

Scrolling through the new posts on the website, Dean could feel a strange secondhand calm settling over him. The subject of the photos, a woman called Gilda, was lounging comfortably on a sofa while a pair of hands softly ran over the bare skin of her back; Dean imagined a pair of more masculine hands performing the same actions on his own skin and felt the muscles in his back, tight from sitting at his desk and being stressed, relax marginally.

The next post was one of the rare casual ones where Gilda answered some questions posed to her from her followers. Most of these posts were how to’s and basics on being in a D/s relationship though there were some personal questions about how exactly Gilda’s relationship with her Domme worked.

Anonymous: Hi Gilda! I absolutely looove your blog. :) I really find the idea of being a pet appealing but I’m afraid to ask my boyfriend about it since he might think it’s weird. How do you suggest talking about it with him?

DownTimewithMyDom: Thank you, it’s nice to know you’re enjoying yourself. As for your problem, I suggest you broach the topic gently, explain why this appeals to you and, as always, be honest with him. My girlfriend wasn’t really into this type of D/s dynamic when we first got together but she was willing to give it a try when I asked and look at where we are now. Let me know how things turn out and good luck! :)

Dean really liked reading these; learning about how to engage in this type of lifestyle allowed that small part of him that wanted this type of relationship with someone a chance to fantasize about how it would play out. It got him to thinking about what it would be like to not only have someone to come home to but someone who would help him unwind from the stresses of work but he knew that this wasn’t possible. Considering the way he worked and the nonexistent status of his social life, Dean knew he had to just learn to live with the way things were for now.

He scrolled through the rest of the blog’s new content, getting more and more drowsy; a state that did not do his already half depressed mind any favors. His chest got a bit tight as he looked at photos of the blogger being relaxed and content as she was showered with affection, at journal posts detailing the blogger and her Domme going to the zoo or going out to dinner and with each post he felt worse. Dean felt the emptiness of his darkened apartment sharply as he stared at the glowing screen of his laptop.

Why couldn’t he have that?

Maybe it was the feeling of being crushed by loneliness, maybe it was his borderline disgust at the sorry state of his life or maybe it was the side effects of several months’ worth of too much work and not enough sleep that caused Dean to do what he did next but whatever force it was, Dean would later conclude only madness would have compelled him to click on the ‘ask a question’ link and begin typing.