“If you want to keep doing this, we’ll need to discuss boundaries and expectations,” Alex had quite reasonably pointed once Michael surfaced. “Perhaps at The Bunker?”
“You want to discuss the details of fucking me in public?” Michael asked incredulously.
“I want to negotiate in a place where we won’t give in to temptation before the negotiations are over,” Alex corrects, and fuck, he has a point. Just looking at Alex sends his mind to sinful places. “I know the place. We can get a table in the back, where no one will hear us.”
Which is how Michael finds himself dressing for something that feels like a date. He wants Alex to want him – to keep wanting him – so he takes particular care as he chooses his outfit. He rarely overthinks it when going to photoshoots – he’ll be taking his own clothes off anyway – but now he goes with the cowboy aesthetic that’s been his go-to look since his late teens. He polishes his belt buckle and pulls on his favorite pair of dark-wash jeans, and throws a leather jacket over a shirt whose buttons he only bothers to do up halfway. Not that it’s anything Alex hasn’t seen before, and a thrill goes through Michael as he remembers just how much of him Alex has seen.
Cowboy boots and hat finish off the look, and he considers himself in the mirror. He looks good, though it’s weird trying to impress Alex with the clothes he’s wearing when Alex knows exactly what they’re hiding.
The Bunker is a quiet place tucked next to a queer bookstore, and Michael wonders if it’s intentional. Belying its name, copious plants span the tall windows, and soft music comes from a tinny speaker.
Michael spots Alex immediately at a table in the back, and another thrill goes through him. Alex looks good. He’s paired dark skinny jeans with a red sweater and leather jacket, while his hair is just on the right side of messy. And, fuck, he’s wearing an earring in his left lobe, while rings adorn his lithe fingers.
Michael exhales nervously. It’s definitely good they’re having this conversation somewhere public, even if he ends up needing to take a very embarrassing walk home and a very cold shower after.
“Hey,” he greets.
Alex raises an eyebrow at his getup. Michael shrugs. “Grew up working on a ranch,” he explains. “It stuck.”
“And here I thought it was just for me,” Alex quips.
“What, you’ve got a secret cowboy kink that you think I somehow found out about?”
“Well, yes,” Alex admits. “To the kink, at least.”
Michael settles in, sprawling in his chair, and doesn’t miss the way Alex’s eyes follow the lines of his body. “Happy to provide.”
“So,” Alex begins when they both have their coffees. “I admit, I usually do the negotiations before trying anything. You were an exception.”
“You saying I was a temptation you couldn’t resist?” Michael asks. It’s so easy to flirt with Alex, the words practically roll off his tongue on their own, absolutely ignoring the voice of reason that tells him he needs a clear head for this part.
And then Alex flirts back. “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it,” he offers, meeting Michael’s gaze head-on.
Michael clears his throat and shifts. He can’t be getting turned on yet; they haven’t even started.
He definitely is, though.
Alex, thankfully, seems to be much better at maintaining a clear head. He sobers, letting the flirtatious smile slip of his face. “In all seriousness, Michael, you should know that this is not how I normally approach kink. Yesterday, I felt we had a moment of something truly special, and I wanted to pursue it to see where it led. But moving forward, we should establish firm boundaries before engaging in any activities, so that both parties know exactly what to expect.”
“I kinda prefer it when I don’t know what to expect,” Michael admits. “Like, you know exactly what’s coming and I have no idea and it’s – “ a lot of words could go here. Really hot comes to mind, and he shifts in his chair as he remembers just how hot it had been when he had no idea what Alex would tell him to do next. Exhilarating. Mindblowing. Exactly what I need.
“Perhaps we might start with what you like, then,” Alex offers. “So we’re both on the same page about what I might do, but you don’t know exactly what it will be.”
Michael sighs. This part never seemed to get any easier.
“I’m pretty sure you know what I like,” he says flippantly. It’s a shitty thing to say. He knows it’s not fair to Alex, but the defensive instinct is almost impossible to resist.
Alex considers him silently. His gaze isn’t particularly piercing, but Michael still finds himself wanting to curl up into a ball.
“Sorry,” he says. “I’m not good at this part.”
“Let me begin, then,” Alex offers. “You enjoy submitting and doing what you’re told.” Michael snorts at the obviousness of the statement, but Alex continues, undeterred. “You want to be good for me, but you need clear rules to follow so you can accomplish that. You like being praised when you succeed. You like being touched, and you enjoy delayed gratification. Am I correct so far?”
Michael stares. He thinks Alex might be a freaking mind reader. Or maybe he’s some kind of demon, beautiful as sin and who can see into the very desires of his heart.
“Not necessarily the last one,” he corrects. “I mean, I don’t hate it, but I liked it because it was what you wanted. There’s pretty much nothing I haven’t tried, honestly, and I like most things, but it’s you wanting them that makes it really good.”
“You really are a buried treasure,” Alex says, his voice going soft and awed, and Michael feels the heat creeping up the back of his neck.
“If you say so,” he deflects.
“Yes. I’m really quite lucky. And I want to make this good for you. So, is there anything else you like, that you want to tell me about?”
Michael worries at his lip, hesitating. But Alex has been nothing but accepting so far, has given Michael exactly what he wanted without question, so he takes a leap.
“I like being used,” he admits to the sugar bowl on their table. “But, uh, I’m not really good with knowing what my boundaries are with that. I just want to give everything, even when I should probably say no.” He shrugs, still talking to the sugar bowl. “I guess that’s why other doms didn’t really know what to do with me. They didn’t know how far to push. Or it freaked them out, how far they could go.”
“So you like going into a scene with no idea what to expect, willing to give almost anything, but you struggle with where the boundaries of that lie,” Alex summarizes succinctly. “I can see why it might have been a challenge. Fortunately, I like challenges.”
Michael drags his eyes from the sugar bowl to Alex’s face. His eyes are glittering with excitement, like Michael has offered him a dare he knows he’ll win.
Michael lets out a breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding. “Good,” he manages.
Alex smiles warmly at him.
“Tell me about the limits you do know about.”
“I’m not fond of pain or humiliation,” he says, which is an understatement. He was all too familiar with it growing up to enjoy it. It didn’t help that it’s also thrown a wrench in the works anytime he tried to submit: it had conditioned him all too well to just take it, accept what was being done to him without protest. “I mean, maybe a bit of pain to add an edge, but that’s all,” he adds.
“I don’t particularly enjoy inflicting either,” Alex agrees. “What about being restrained?”
“Uh.” His mind flashes back to when he was thirteen, Latin chanting filling the room as a cross was burned into his forearm. “I like the idea, in theory. I’ve just never been able to,” he stresses, willing Alex to understand.
“Something we might explore in the future, then,” Alex says lightly.
“You don’t want to know why?” he asks.
“Your reasons are yours. I don’t have to know them. Just like I have my reasons for needing control, but you don’t need to know them to obey me. The only part I’d ask you to share are any triggers that might potentially affect our scenes.”
“None that I know of.”
They go over a few other minute and logistical details as they finish off their coffees. “Are you all right with the standard safewords,” Alex asks, “or do you have your own that you’d prefer to use?”
“The standard ones are fine.” They’ve always been yet another form of structure, a set of rules that had been around since before Michael had learned what being a sub even meant. Meddling with them had never felt right.
“That leaves one final thing,” Alex says, and Michael’s stomach does a small somersault, because it seems like they’ve covered everything. Exhaustively. It feels like the most titillating exam of his life.
“I wanted to talk about exclusivity. When I have an arrangement with someone, I prefer to be exclusive to them. I like being able to focus all of my attention on their needs, without the distraction of other potential commitments,” Alex says, and Michael tries and fails to imagine what it must be like to be on the receiving end of Alex’s entire attention. Butterflies somersault in his stomach at the thought. “I’m certainly not going to have the kind of scene we had yesterday with any of my models, and not just because that’s frowned upon in workplace environments. But,” and he pauses here for emphasis. “I certainly wouldn’t ask the same of you this early in our arrangement. You are under no obligation to be faithful to me, either sexually or kink-wise, and from where I stand, you are free to engage in any activities you see fit.”
Michael wants to interrupt and say that he’d be happy to give Alex anything he asked, including exclusivity . He longs desperately to give, and he wants even more so to be enough for the man who has vowed to be with no other than him. But Alex hasn’t asked, and nothing hurts more than being rejected in his entirety, so he nods and says nothing despite the overwhelming connection he can feel thrumming between them even now.
“That’s settled, then,” Alex says, with a satisfied sort of finality. “Give me a few days to come up with a scene. Then I’ll text you.”
“You asking for my number, Manes? Cause you can definitely have it.”
“Yes, Guerin, asking for your number is a huge step in our relationship. Right after having my dick in your mouth.”
Michael inhales coffee through his nose. They’d actually managed to have this entire conversation without getting too explicit, and clearly, Alex couldn’t let that stand. He only looks mildly contrite as he watches Michael sputter and try to blow the coffee out of his nose.
“Fuck, Alex, you’re going to be the death of me,” he says.
Alex’s face is impossibly smug. “Yes. But at least you’ll enjoy it.”
Michael is proud that he only very, very briefly considers dragging Alex out into an alleyway and sucking his dick then and there. Instead, he pulls out his phone and hands it wordlessly to Alex.
Over the next few days, Alex texts to check in. How are you feeling? And Any depression or anxiety? And If you’re feeling subdrop, you can always text or call.
But Michael feels great. He feels better than he’s felt in a long time.
Then the text comes.
Are you free this weekend?
He briefly debates telling Alex he’ll have to check before being able to pencil him in, but in the end, sends a simple Yes.
I have a scene in mind.
You going to give me a hint about what it involves, to tide me over?
It’ll be very similar to what we already did, but also entirely different ;) Alex writes back, which tells Michael absolutely nothing. Which, he realizes, is precisely what Alex intended, and his skin thrums with anticipation.
It’s going to be a long three days.