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I think you know me

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Credence does not know how the catalogues came to be in the house, but here they are. A quick glance through them shows him shocking illustrations. They’re as risqué as jazz club posters, as bad as the dancers in above-knee flapper dresses. In fact, they’re delightfully worse. They are lingerie catalogues.

He can just picture Gellert winking at him, smiling crookedly around a cigarette, and saying, “Well, isn’t that fit to scandalize high society?” And because the illustrations are so delightfully scandalous, Credence looks through them.

Credence has never imagined so many varieties of knickers and stockings and garters. The men and women illustrated wearing them are coy and willowy, adorned with glittering jewelry and slips and silk robes, or practically nude in artful repose, sheer stockings and underclothes barely in place. The prices are equally scandalous. Silk and satin, lace and velvet ribbons come in various colors and styles, with a sizing chart at the back. Credence has begun to appreciate the benefits of an artistic state of undress. He has worn dresses a few times in public so far, and make-up quite often. These would be an entirely different sort of proposition. Tucked away in his corner with a pot of steaming tea, Credence flips carefully through the catalogues and imagines each illustration has himself in it.

Gellert must have left these catalogues for him to find. They were on the window seat where Credence always sits to read. Gellert has developed an endearing habit of buying clothing Credence admires but hesitates to request. He has so many unfortunate habits to work through—another thing Gellert sometimes says, usually while stroking Credence’s hair.

Credence appreciates the gentleness, though he is rather more appreciative of Gellert’s momentary murderous expressions when the spectre of Mary Lou enters their private conversations. The things one learns from married life! Not all notions of propriety are the same, not all husbands subjugate their counterparts, and not all people believe pleasure conflicts with virtue. Credence smiles to himself. Certainly his mother would rage against the institution of marriage itself if she knew the pleasure his marriage provides him.

After perusing the catalogues at great leisure, he lingers over a set in black lace and silk, the very latest fashion. The pastel underthings are lovely, but the crisp lines of black remind him of a midnight blue beaded dress and evenings on a terrace at a party, of the understated predatory glint in Gellert’s eyes when he called Credence devastating.

Absolutely devastating, my dear, like a force of nature. I love to see that attitude on your face.
I had not meant to make a face. Do I have an attitude?
Just a little, darling. Don’t stop though, you’re wonderful.
I would hate to be thought disrespectful.
Would you? We should work on that. A little disrespect does one good now and again.

Credence leaves the catalogue on Gellert’s desk, with the corner folded down on one page.

And on an evening after dinner on the town, they return home to a box on Credence’s side of the bed. Gellert has a flare for the dramatic. Doubtless he planned to have the housekeepers make the bed with a dark comforter and leave a strategic lamp on, so one’s eye is drawn to the white box immediately upon entering the spacious bedroom. Neither of them is quite drunk, but Credence feels like champagne bubbles have settled bright and sparkling in his chest, not the least because of Gellert’s warm hand at his low back.

Credence steps within reach of their bed. He recognizes the company logo monogrammed on the box’s lid. Seeing it brings back the scandalous enjoyment of flipping through the lingerie catalogues, and a rush of his usual nervousness. Dare he try something new?

“Do I know what this is?” Credence asks, his fingers ghosting over the lid of the box.
“I think you do.”

Gellert steps after him, to keep his hand at Credence’s back. Gellert always enjoys touching him, now he’s been granted regular permission. Credence is happy enough to allow it for his own comfort, and it makes Gellert happy besides. Gellert’s firm way of handling him earned them faint raised eyebrows in the past. Acquaintances probably think Credence is a damsel being controlled by a possessive husband. Well, if they won’t ask, Credence won’t bother to correct them. He lets Gellert steer him around parties by the waist, and saves his own possessiveness for their bedroom.

Credence gently pulls off the lid of the box. Yes, it’s the black silk and lace lingerie set. He touches the silk chemise, admiring how the expensive fabric feels as smooth as water. He hesitates to lift it out of the box, like it’s made of such delicate glass it might break.

“What do you think?”
“It’s beautiful,” Credence says, but his mind is on other things. Namely, now that Gellert has bought these for him, he must try them on.

He feels unaccountably nervous. He’s afraid of who knows what: looking stupid, looking unmasculine, looking ugly? Credence occasionally falls back into the habit of thinking about himself as someone his mother would beat rather than someone Gellert would kiss. He thinks about his knees and elbows and large feet and hands, scars and angles and knobbly joints. It’s not true, he knows it’s not, and yet. He asks very tentatively, “What if. Could you perhaps…could I see you wear it first?”

He has only a moment to regret the request before Gellert replies warmly, a reassuring presence at his back. “Credence, darling, I would, but I won’t fit in these, they’re made for you.” He does not criticize the idea itself, and Credence feels greatly relieved, though his nervousness remains.

“Am I that much smaller?” Credence says, a touch petulantly, before hearing what he’s said. Gellert smirks at him and Credence’s face heats.

“I wouldn’t say smaller, exactly,” Gellert says lightly.

Credence ought to have expected such an inappropriate remark, and makes a cheerfully disapproving sound. It took him so long to become comfortable with his husband, but now he gets to enjoy the benefits of having married an incorrigible flirt. It really is diverting. Sometimes Gellert gives him a certain sly look, which never fails to instantly transport Credence back to his first time with Gellert riding him. Gellert, flushed and slightly breathless, had said in a similarly sly voice: Ooh, you're a tight fit.

“You’re more slender in the hips and thighs, love,” Gellert is saying now, talking about the lingerie. “I don’t want to tear them…but would you rather see mine?”

Credence’s thoughts take a moment to catch up to his ears. “Yours?” he asks. Gellert rubs small circles with his thumb between Credence’s shoulders. Gellert pauses, then says, “I have my own which would fit me properly, if not look quite the same. Will that do?” He speaks with unusual delicacy. Perhaps he is conscious of Credence’s nerves.

“You have your own,” Credence repeats. “That is, recently?”
“They are not recent purchases, no.”

Credence, meanwhile, continues attempting to process the information that Gellert owns lingerie. Further, Gellert not only owns lingerie, but has for some unknown extended period of time owned and presumably worn lingerie. Credence was not aware. Of all the details to have missed in their many early months without intimacy, this was not the sort of detail he would have expected to discover. He is speechless.

“Would you like to see?” Gellert asks carefully. Still mystified, Credence nods eagerly, and Gellert gives him a tiny smile.

Credence almost expected Gellert to make a show of it. He might have stepped into their ridiculously large walk-in closet to change, and thus reveal the complete effect all at once. That is not what he does. Gellert opens a drawer in the bureau, pulls out a folded stack of underclothes, and strips meticulously out of his evening wear. Lavender, Credence thinks. Gellert owns and wears lavender lingerie.

Credence has learned to enjoy watching Gellert undress. In the first months of their marriage, he had been entirely unwilling to consider Gellert romantically, and had remained shy long after they became intimate. Consequently, out of respect for Credence’s reticence, Gellert had not routinely undressed in his presence until rather recently. Credence watches closely now, as though to make up for lost time. Gellert takes out his tie pins and bar, loosens his tie, unfastens his bracers, and takes out his cufflinks. Credence likes watching Gellert’s hands follow practiced motions, untucking and unbuttoning. Credence’s own nervousness smooths out somewhat with the distraction of admiring Gellert’s broad shoulders through his undershirt.

Halfway to undressed, Gellert looks at Credence with faintly arched brows. Credence is rapt, holding himself very still and silent, a habit from much harsher times where voicing his pain or pleasure would be equally punished. It was beaten into him to wait patiently. He forgets and falls back into that habit sometimes. Gellert reaches for Credence’s hand.

“Are you certain about this, darling?” Gellert asks. From the quirk of his eyebrows, it occurs to Credence that Gellert, might be uncertain about his appearance, or of Credence’s opinion of him. Will wonders never cease. Credence smiles and nods yes, briefly lacing their fingers together. Gellert squeezes his hand gently and lets go, continuing to undress.

Credence is truthfully astonished at every aspect of this situation. Gellert’s lingerie is a fashionable shade of purple, one of the pastel colors Credence remembers from the catalogues. Gellert pulls on the garter belt and sits on the edge of their bed to roll on his stockings, clearly used to handling the delicate fabric. These are the most feminine set of clothes Credence has ever seen within a ten foot radius of Gellert, and Credence drinks in the sight of him wearing them. He has high stockings, even, almost shimmery from being so sheer. They attach to the garter belt with little white ribbons. There’s a casual vulnerability to watching this, like watching Gellert shave or re-fold a pocket square when he doesn’t know Credence is watching.

Fortunately for them both, Gellert enjoys being looked at. He at first sits just a little stooped, off balance, but straightens and relaxes to his usual confidence under Credence’s gaze. Putting on his own new lingerie seems far less daunting to Credence now that he is the one wearing the most clothing.

Gellert is half hard from Credence’s gaze alone, but Gellert does nothing about it, merely tucking his cock neatly under the loose chiffon. Credence can see the shape of him quite clearly through the fabric, which proves to offer more ornamentation than modesty. Credence has found he enjoys being asked for what he wants to give Gellert anyway. Considering the expression developing on Gellert’s face, Gellert would very much like Credence to pin him to their bed and use him until he cannot sit straight.

Credence’s tongue sticks to the roof of his mouth. He swallows. His nervousness is rapidly fading. Most of his attention is stuck yet again on Gellert’s hands, his fingers pulling pale purple silk over his knee, straightening the lie of the fabric before tying white ribbons to the matching strap on the garter belt. He glances up at Credence halfway through pulling the other stocking past his ankle. His hands hesitate a fraction of a second.

“Can I feel?” Credence asks. He perches on the bed and reaches for Gellert’s silk-covered knee. Gellert nods, and Credence strokes the soft fabric, cool but warming from Gellert’s body heat.

Credence asks, “When do you wear these? Do you wear this under your clothes?”
“I wear them whenever I want. I enjoy the feeling.”

Gellert tucks a curl of Credence’s hair back behind his ear. Credence leans into the touch, and Gellert cups his jaw gently in one palm. They stay there a moment, suspended, and then by some subtle agreement, Credence sits upright once more and Gellert continues pulling on his stockings.

Credence feels an overwhelming rush of affection for Gellert, watching the meticulous way he re-ties the second pair of ribbons on one garter so they sit even with the ones on his other leg. Credence feels like he could break his heart for this man. Nobody else gets to know about this time. Nobody else gets to see this. Credence kisses Gellert on the cheek.

“What do you think?” Gellert asks quietly.
“It’s so pretty. You are. I like how these look on you.”
“I haven't been called pretty in a while,” Gellert says, and his light comment sounds like it has a catch to it, a footnote explaining that ‘a while’ means ‘at least a decade.’
“Haven't you?” Credence says, a touch indignantly. Gellert laughs warmly at him. Credence has not stopped touching the silk on Gellert’s thigh, tracing his fingertips back and forth on the luxuriously smooth fabric.

“Would you like to try yours?” Gellert says.
“Yes. I think. I might need help with the garters.”
“I can help if you like,” Gellert says with a little smirk, in case Credence forgot that this is still his devilish husband. Gellert very much does look like he would enjoy putting his fingers on Credence’s upper thighs, at minimum.

That thought makes Credence realize he has been effectively teasing Gellert by touching the upper edge of stockings for the last three or four minutes. Credence retreats, a mix of shy and coy. The delicate lavender knickers are so loose they barely restrain Gellert’s erect cock. Credence gets to his feet and finally lifts Gellert’s gift out of its box. Gellert remains seated and watches with restrained but attentive interest.

Credence’s lingerie is black, mostly sheer, and includes a sleeveless chemise with a lace hem that matches the stockings. He undresses with his eyes down, feeling the usual twist of nervous anticipation he still hasn't quite lost when deliberately letting Gellert see him naked. His cock is not completely uninterested, but he has no trouble fitting into the knickers. They fit like loose shorts, not entirely unfamiliar, but like Gellert’s, the black knickers have effectively no legs. They are only barely long enough to cover his behind.

Credence picks up the garter belt and turns it over in his hands, trying to decide how it works. Gellert stands up and waits, reassuringly warm at his back, and Credence gets a brief surge of arousal. Gellert kisses Credence’s shoulder, on the edge of one of Credence’s oldest and most faded scars. Gellert has memorized all of them, mapped them out with his mouth many times.

The garter belt is a little difficult to get on. Credence has to step into it and pull it up over the knickers and then tighten a short line of laces on each side. Gellert helps keep him balanced with a hand at his side. The garter belt sits high on his waist, and he has to straighten out the looser fabric of the knickers underneath. Gellert watches him, his hand always a grounding comfort while Credence fiddles with the laces and turn to inspect himself. The fabric looks like thin curls of smoke, and feels decadent against his skin. He feels graceful in them, like how long evening dresses transform him into a vision, shimmering and androgynous.

Credence turns impulsively to kiss Gellert again. Gellert holds him gently but firmly with some space between them, and Credence leans heavily against his hands.

“Are you going to put the rest on?” Gellert asks against Credence’s mouth.
“I was thinking about taking yours off.”
“I have no objections to that,” Gellert hums. Credence considers this. Gellert hasn’t asked him for anything yet, and it would be a shame not to see the full affect.
“…I will finish trying them on first,” Credence says.

Credence sits to pull on the chemise and stockings. Gellert sits beside him to help with the garters. He has to lean across Credence’s lap to do both legs. The movement makes the silk top whisper against Credence’s chest and the curve of his back. His nipples peak and he shivers. Gellert finishes hooking on the garters and strokes the edge of one silk stocking where it meets Credence’s skin. Credence can’t see much of the lingerie with Gellert practically laying across his lap, but he can feel its softness, and the unfamiliar cling of the belt and stockings. He is covered everywhere but a narrow strip of thigh and yet feels quite exposed. The silk feels like a tease against his rising arousal.

Gellert turns over, nuzzles Credence’s silk-covered stomach, and sits up. His hair is starting to come loose from its styling. Credence reaches up to comb it further out of shape, so Gellert’s hair hangs down around his temples. Gellert smiles softly at him. “What do you think?” Gellert says.

They both look down at Credence’s body. His legs look perfected, softened by the black stockings into slim graceful shapes, without stray freckles or unevenly scarred shins or bony knees. It’s all black on black, translucent, striking next to hints of his fair skin. Credence can’t quite think of words to describe how it makes him feel, but he likes it. He likes it a lot.

“I think you look lovely,” Gellert says, his breath warm at Credence’s ear.

Credence touches his silk-covered thighs with both hands, and then Gellert’s thighs, comparing the feel of the fabric. Gellert sits close by him on the bed, upper body leaning towards him. Credence touches the neat little white ribbons holding up Gellert’s stockings. He looks between the two of them, comparing, drawing his tongue between his teeth. He can feel Gellert’s eyes on him like basking before a fireplace in winter. He shivers at the trapped heat where their sides press together and keeps his eyes lowered, feeling a blush creeping up his neck. The silence between them feels electric with promise.

He decides his own lingerie does fit correctly, and that his black looks somehow more dangerous than Gellert’s lavender. They look glamorous, the pair of them, intimately un-masculine, yet undeniably male. Gellert’s cock strains against his underwear and Credence himself is approaching a similar state. How tantalizing it is to be looked at so thoroughly, to be allowed to look.

“May I,” Credence says, already reaching to touch, by now used to Gellert’s eager murmur of encouragement. He traces his fingertips over Gellert, along the borders of the garter belt and the ribbons. Gellert leans back and spreads his legs encouragingly. Credence shapes his hand around him, feeling the warm flesh twitch under his hand. He rubs and strokes through the silk, pauses to touch the growing damp spot over the tip of Gellert’s cock. The silk sticks to it a little and Gellert makes a small pleased sound. When Credence hesitates, Gellert leans up to kiss his jaw, body arched like a dancer.

“I don’t want to ruin them,” Credence says, half a question.
“They’ll wash, I can rinse them,” Gellert says, lips at Credence's neck.

Credence turns and climbs all the way on the bed, beckoning Gellert after him, flushing but pleased when Gellert blatantly admires the curve of his behind. “Did you want something, my husband?” Credence asks impulsively, and is rewarded with a broad grin. “Only you, darling,” Gellert purrs, crawling after him.

They kiss languidly, with Credence continuing to tease Gellert through the silk. Gellert runs his hands up and down Credence's sides so the thin chemise wrinkles and smooths over and over. Credence hisses when Gellert brushes his nipples, already teased by the continuous whisper of silk. “Sensitive?” Gellert chuckles and Credence arches his back demandingly in answer.

Gellert goes back to kissing Credence’s neck and thumbs slowly back and forth over his nipples. Credence whines high in his throat. He squirms, trying to untangle their legs. He can’t decide whether to pull Gellert into his lap or grind his hips into the bed, and so accomplishes neither. Frustrated, Credence surges forward and rolls them so Gellert is flat on his back with Credence straddling him. Credence kisses him harshly, catching Gellert’s lower lip in his teeth, keeping him pinned.

Gellert rolls his hips and they slide against each other. The silk between them is an unfamiliar barrier, maddening and erotic. Gellert reaches down and rubs him through the frictionless fabric. Credence grinds down and then recoils halfway, trembling with the effort of stopping.

“I don’t want to ruin them,” he pants into Gellert’s mouth. Gellert hums agreement. He works his hand up inside the loose hem of Credence’s knickers. He wraps his hand around Credence and pulls him out and strokes.

“Oh God,” Credence moans. The roughness of Gellert’s palm feels indescribable after being pressed so long against smooth fabric. Credence feels hot tingling gathering in his lower belly. He is dripping wet, and in only a few firm strokes he slides easily in Gellert’s fist.

“Are you going to finish for me, beautiful?” Gellert purrs.
“Oh,” Credence gasps. His heart pounds, and he feels like his blood has turned to showers of sparks. He finishes all over Gellert’s hand, trembling, barely able to keep from collapsing. “There we are, sweetheart,” Gellert murmurs in his ear. Credence rolls onto his side, panting, his nerves buzzing. Gellert wipes most of the mess on the sheets but sucks his fingertips clean as well. He tucks Credence back inside his underwear, and Credence shivers at the smoothness of silk over his sensitive skin.

“Do you want me to finish you?” Credence asks breathlessly, pushing himself up part way to look at his husband. Gellert’s obvious arousal has rubbed a sizable damp spot on the lavender silk underwear, making the fabric even more see-through. Still, Gellert shakes his head.
“I would like your mouth, if you’re asking me what I want, but I am always open to suggestions,” Gellert purrs.

“You want my mouth?” Credence murmurs, leaning bonelessly against Gellert, senses buzzing pleasantly. “It’s a lovely mouth,” Gellert replies. “Thank you,” Credence says. He turns his head and drags his lips down Gellert’s neck. Gellert makes a low sound and Credence smiles. “But where did you want my mouth? You’ll have to be more specific,” Credence says, and licks salty sweat off Gellert’s skin.

Gellert laughs softly, wickedly delighted that Credence is willing to tease. “You can do whatever you want,” Gellert says. The pitch of his voice sends pleasant shivers down Credence’s back. Credence shapes his hand around Gellert’s cock through the silk. “You look so pretty. I think I want this,” Credence says, trying to match Gellert’s darkly promising tone of voice.

“You’re a gift, sweetheart,” Gellert chuckles. “I wonder how many times you could come for me?”
“Oh,” Credence breathes, startled. He can’t get hard again yet, but his body wants to, and he shudders.

“You like that idea, gorgeous? Maybe I should put my mouth on you too, let me taste you. Shall we find out how much pleasure you can take?”

They end up with Credence on his hands and knees on top of Gellert, caging him in, his mouth on Gellert and his knees splayed out on either side of Gellert’s head. It’s a new experience for Credence trying to navigate around the lace, but again the leg holes on the knickers are so loose they hardly provide an obstacle. Credence can’t get his face all the way back but he can lick the skin just above Gellert’s entrance. Having Gellert’s mouth on him is more of an obstacle than the lingerie they are both still wearing. Credence keeps having to stop and gasp when Gellert pauses in sucking marks on the insides of his thighs to lick the tip of Credence’s cock.

Gellert must be impatient after this long, but not impatient enough to let Credence focus. And Credence can’t focus when crouched over Gellert’s face. The wet heat of his mouth is unrelenting, more than enough to bring Credence back to full hardness. Taking so much of Credence in his mouth must be making Gellert’s jaw hurt, but he acts like he is eating his favorite sherbet in slow slurps. Credence spends equal time panting at the base and mouthing the tip of Gellert’s cock. Gellert hasn’t come once yet while Credence skates along the edge of his second orgasm.

Credence feels like he’s trying to arch his back two directions at once because Gellert is being too gentle and teasing. Credence refuses to force himself down Gellert’s throat but it’s a struggle not to try. Gellert hums like he’s laughing, like he knows. Gellert keeps rubbing Credence’s nipples through the silk chemise, rolling them between his fingers. The sting feels good rather than painful and sends bolts of heat down his spine.

Credence remains less experienced than his husband, but knows Gellert’s body well enough. When he can string thoughts together, Credence licking him from perineum to base to tip, up and back down. He revels in the expressive sounds he can draw out of Gellert, sighs and low groans and breathy gasps, muffled against Credence’s own skin. There is nothing but damp heat and Gellert’s voice, sweat and skin.

Credence is almost surprised when he finally peaks. He comes a second time in Gellert’s mouth, and makes a strangled sound with his tongue flat on Gellert’s perineum. That finally pushes Gellert over the edge too, hips shaking. Credence rolls onto his back, barely able to hold himself up and feeling like he’s floating. Gellert murmurs something that sounds like I love you, and turns his head to kiss Credence’s knee.

Gellert gets them both out of their damp underthings with little help from Credence, and based on the sounds from the bathroom, he must rinse them out in the sink. He leaves Credence in the smoke-colored stockings and chemise, the latter of which is a bit rumpled. When Gellert climbs back into bed, Credence burrows into Gellert’s side and tangles their silk-stockinged legs together. “Thank you for the gift,” Credence mumbles, half asleep. “My pleasure, darling.” Credence falls asleep with Gellert stroking his back, the silk like a whisper under his fingers.