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Tender Heart

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Dean pulled into the parking lot of the club, his car engine rumbling, windows down and Robert Plant crooning softly from the stereo. It was late and ‘Quips and Chains’ was busier than he had expected of a Wednesday night. He parked in the last spot, as far from the neon lit door as possible and watched people come and go with rising trepidation.
Dean leaned his head back and sighed. It had been ten years since he frequented a kink club, since Dean had done anything kink related with another person.

The accident had changed his whole damn life. Instead of working on classic, model cars, fixing them up for discerning clients, Dean was teaching at the local community college, watching barely legal kids clang around busted up engines. Hell, lately those same kids taught him more about fancy car tech than he taught them about engine repair. But it was a steady job, one that allowed him to ease off from being too physical, what with his teaching assistants and teacher’s pets desperate to get an ‘A’. He was good at delegating the heavy lifting and his Uncle Bobby ran the program, so....

Dean knew he was lucky, he had the job that paid decent. He had Sammy, his wife, Eileen, and Bobby for support. They stuck by him after that pickup t-boned him, late one Saturday night, ten fucking years ago. The driver hadn’t even been drunk, just couldn’t take his damn eyes away from his phone long enough to see the intersection light had turned red. His family had held his hand, had his back even when he screamed and cursed at them, angry at the world and angry at himself for feeling so low, so sad, so hurt.

It could have been worse, he could have died but that was a cold comfort through his stint in the hospital, floating on morphine and enduring more than one spinal surgery. And the months of physical therapy had thrown him into a deep depression, drowning under the hopeless feeling of ‘what if the pain never got better?’. But the worst part had been losing his on and off boyfriend, his Dom, Arthur.

Their relationship had never been smooth, they had been barely thirty, together for most of the four years they had known each other and Arthur had a real fear of commitment. But Arthur was a good Dom, always made Dean feel comfortable and safe when they scened. Dean always got what he wanted and he thought Arthur did too. After the accident, well, Arthur made it clear that he never planned on staying with Dean forever, so why not just leave now. You know, before he had to get his hands dirty and deal with Dean’s messy ‘feelings’. Dickhead.

It took six long years before Dean clawed his way out of the black miasma that filled his waking life, until he felt anything close to emotionally stable. Six years of getting accustomed to constant, fluctuating, debilitating at times neck and shoulder pain, horrible migraines and sleepless nights. He always, even now, walked on the precipice of pain med addiction, balancing his meds just right and fighting the desire to abuse those numbing white pills.

Most days, Dean got by on over the counter meds and muscle relaxers. He did yoga, stayed up on his physical therapy exercises and didn’t lift more than ten pounds on his left side. Even being careful with his body, Dean still faced problems, excruciating migraines and insomnia. Some days were good and some days were bad but he had his family. So, lucky.

The only area of his old life that Dean had never recovered was his love life. Over the years he had tried, albeit half heartedly, to get back in the kink scene. He’d been on a few dates, had a few nights of perfectly lovely, non kinky sex but the spark hadn’t been there. He couldn’t help but think about what he really wanted, what he really craved. So those dates were one night only and he had turned to going to clubs again.

The clubs offered their own problems for Dean. A forty year old Sub wasn’t much in demand from his experience. Most nights, the clubs were crawling with young men and women that Dean couldn’t compete with or felt uncomfortable submitting to. All the Doms his own age were looking for a sweet young thing and Dean was so far from that it was laughable. He was jaded, stubborn and worst of all to some, tall and muscular. So he hadn’t gotten very far at clubs.

Online was different. So many different people, a myriad of ages and kinks could easily connect and Dean’s luck had been much improved. With age, he hadn’t lost his good looks, even if his body was a bit rounder, too hurt to do much cardio, too much beer and too many bacon cheeseburgers. His profile pulled a lot of Doms and when they got to talking, being honest with his physical limitations had dwindled his options greatly. Dean loved bondage, loved being tied up and held down but he had to be careful with his body and he had to trust his Dom to be careful too. So far, no one had earned his trust but he was willing to wait. The thought of having a Dom again kept him going, patient in this like he was in nothing else.

Which brought him here, to ‘Quips and Chains’, to meet a potential lover, Garth. In the three days he and Dean had been talking, they had never broached anything sexual past their hard limits and preferences and Garth had been extremely understanding about Dean’s chronic pain. He asked questions and Dean suspected from those questions that Garth had done a bit of research. Mostly, they talked on the phone to each other about mundane shit, how their day went and what they were eating for dinner. The guy seemed a little goofy, a lot dorky but sometimes when they spoke on the phone, he pulled out his Dom voice and it never failed to give Dean goosebumps. Dean was hopeful that their meeting tonight would go well and he’d wake up with the lanky nerd in his bed, sore in all the right places.

Dean glanced at his watch. Damn, no more time to sit in his car and be nervous. He stepped out of his car, closing the door gently and nervously straightened his grey henley under his faded leather jacket. He glanced down, making sure the rolled up cuffs of his jeans weren’t wonky and ran a hand through his hair. He looked good, he knew he looked but damn, all Dean wanted was to turn around, go back home. Back home to his empty house, his bare cupboards and lonely bed...Fuck, nevermind. At worst, the night promised an hour at the club watching beautiful people mingle, sipping a beer and at best, a night not tossing and turning alone in his bed, staring at his ceiling in quiet despair.

***

An hour later and two beers down, Dean wasn’t feeling so optimistic. Garth was a no call, no show and Dean hoped the squirrely little fucker showed up late so he could wring his damn neck. He sighed, slammed his empty beer down on the bar and unlocked his phone for the hundredth time, reloading the app to check for a message from Garth. The last one still said how excited the punk was to meet him and that he’d be wearing his best flannel shirt. Dean wanted to be more upset but at this point, being stood up seemed about right.

Sam was always on his ass about breathing exercises and impulse control, do more yoga, eat more salad, yada, yada so instead of sending a long line of curse words to Garth, Dean texted a simple, ‘you ok?’.

Another five minutes of staring at the phone and Dean clicked it off, closing his eyes and rubbing his neck gently, his color coded wristband that declared him a ‘sub open to play’ scraped harshly against his skin. He could feel a migraine coming and sitting here, working himself up was not going to help things. The uncomfortable stool wasn’t helping his posture any, his neck was damn stiff under his probing fingers. The bartender offered another beer but Dean waved her off, requesting a water instead, which he sipped while looking around the club again.

It was a nice place, cleaner than what he was used to. The guy who ran it, Gabriel something or other, definitely had money and spared no expense to make his patrons comfortable. The decor was tasteful too, high ceiling, lots of dark green and brown. Homey, made a person want to relax, enjoy themselves. There was a stage for demonstrations to Dean’s left but it was empty and most of the other patrons were keeping their activities a soft ‘R’ at the moment. Dean had never been to a kink club that was so laid back. He just wished he could enjoy it more.

The migraine wasn’t getting any better. In fact, Dean could feel the turning of his stomach that warned of impending upset and he lurched to his feet, steadying his trembling body on the edge of the bar, trying desperately to shove down a sudden dizzy spell. He cursed under his breath and stumbled forward, following the signs to the bathroom that wavered in his vision.

At the end of a dim corridor, the sign to the bathroom beckoned Dean forward like a siren and he kept his hand on the wall in case the dizziness returned. He reached for the door, putting all his weight into the action to swing the large slab of wood inward but it opened before he could make contact. A figure filled the doorway and Dean’s hands met the guy’s chest and the momentum carried Dean forward, pushing him over. The guy went down like a bag of bricks, letting out an undignified yelp and Dean froze above him, horrified and embarrassed, nausea temporarily forgotten.

The man let out a deep growl, sitting up from his sprawl, looking like an offended puppy and glared at Dean so hard that he was surprised he didn’t burst into flames. The guy looked pissed and Dean stumbled over his words, reaching a shaking hand down to offer to help him up.

“Fuck, man. I’m so sorry. I swear that wasn’t on purpose.”

The guy opened his mouth, looking ready to verbally flay Dean but he paused when he caught sight of the wristband on Dean’s outstretched arm. His expression changed instantly, looking a little shocked then apologetic and then his blue eyes surveyed Dean head to toe with a blatant calculation. He stood up on his own, brushing dust off his rumpled button down shirt and pulling the legs of his suit pants down. Dean felt like an idiot, standing there blocking the guy’s way, hand still out, ogling his ass as he turned and bent over to pick up his phone from the tiled floor.

Just as he started to lower his arm, the guy turned around and slid his hand, soft, long fingered, hot palm, into Dean’s, squeezing gently and running a finger along Dean’s wrist, under the band. He couldn’t help but stare at the ‘dom ready to play’ wristband the guy had, shivering and feeling the finger on his wrist like a hot brand.

“Don’t worry, I believe it was an honest accident. No harm done, Mr…”

The guy smiled, a little crooked, bright blue eyes crinkling at the edges and Dean was struck silent at how beautiful the man was, letting his deep, gravelly voice melt into his ears and light up his damn brain. Fuck, fuck. How deep could that voice go? What would the man say if Dean sank to his knees right here, right now? Dean shook his head, opening his mouth to respond when his stomach turned again. He snapped his mouth closed and tightened his grip, pulling the guy forward and out of the door before rushing in.

He collapsed onto the floor in front of the nearest toilet before throwing up, thankful when he heard the door bang shut. He did not need Hot Dom seeing this. What felt like hours later and two dry heaves, Dean sat back and reached into his pocket, pulling out a tiny pill case. He opened it and shook out a couple, looking at the sink that seemed miles away, feeling too weak to move.

Of course, the door opened and Hot Dom came in and Dean slumped forward in defeat, pressing his head against the stall wall, trying hard not to think about how gross it was to sit on a public bathroom floor. He came over to crouch in front of Dean, looking concerned before eyeing the pills in his hand with slight distrust. He spoke, reaching a hand out as if to touch Dean’s back but he hesitated, hovering. Dean still felt the phantom heat and pressure, shivering at the thought of this gorgeous man touching him.

“Are you here with someone? My brother owns this place, I can call him and he'll page them. They can come help you...Or I can help you?”

Dean’s throat felt scratchy and his mouth was bitter, the taste of bile making him want to heave more.

“Water…”

Hot Dom lifted his other hand, holding out a water bottle for Dean to take. Dean lifted an eyebrow as he took it, twisting it open and taking the pills in his hands, then pressing the cold bottle against his forehead. The guy still looked suspicious of the pills he was taking.

“Don’t worry, man. I have a prescription for migraines. It’s got my name on the label and everything.”

Hot Dom looked a little guilty and a lot relieved. Dean looked at the guy from under his lashes, lengthening his neck to press more of the condensation from the bottle over his skin. They guy’s eyes darkened as he followed the path Dean made, droplets of water dropping down and under his shirt collar.

“Where’d you pull this from?”

The guy blinked, focusing on Dean’s eyes.

“I heard you expel your stomach contents through the door and obtained the water for you at the bar.”

Dean paused.

“Oh, uh thank you, really. That’s real nice of you…?”

Hot Dom smiled warmly at him, extending his hand again.

“Castiel, nice to meet you.”

Dean took his hand, biting his lip, feeling suddenly shy. Castiel’s unwavering attention was a little overwhelming while he sat there, sweaty and shaking, tasting bile, neck hurting even worse after the effort it took to puke.

“Again, is there anyone you want me to contact?”

Dean dropped Castiel’s hand and leaned his head forward to rest on the wall again, letting out a sigh that was half pained sob. He reached up to massage his neck, feeling pathetic for tearing up. Tonight sucked.

“No...I was supposed to meet someone here, he...didn't want me, I guess.”

Dean brought his hand up to cover his face, shoulders shaking from suppressed sobs. Jesus fuck. Why was he falling apart in front of a stranger? This guy didn’t want to deal with his crap. Dean felt so vulnerable, in pain, fucking pathetic. His voice was strangled and weak but he forced out a soft,

“I’m sorry.”

Castiel made a soft shushing noise, adjusting from a crouch to sitting on his knees and leaned closer to Dean.

“It’s okay, sweetheart. You’re okay.”

Dean’s breath hitched and he couldn’t suppress the shudder that went through him at hearing the pet name fall from Castiel’s lips. Castiel-he couldn’t help but shorten it to Cas in his mind- hummed, sounding delighted.

“You like it when I call you that?”

Dean nodded, still hiding his face in his hands, battling with the desire to sink into the floor and disappear or run away.

“Look at me.”

It was a command, Cas’ voice low and firm and Dean obeyed eagerly. He couldn’t remember the last time someone used that tone of voice with him and his muscles were already loosening, slightly easing the knots in his neck that radiated a throbbing pain. His nausea was easing, the handful of pills he took starting to kick in. Cas rewarded his obedience with a lovely smile.

“Good, that’s so good, sweetheart.”

Dean whined, eyes tearing up again at the warmth that spread through his chest to hear Cas praise him. That was all he wanted, really, was to be good for someone.

“What is your name?”

“I-It’s Dean, Sir.”

His own voice broke the spell Cas had cast over him and Dean looked down, feeling insecure. Why was Cas doing this? Pity? That had to be the reason.

“Dean, look at me.”

He was helpless to resist, didn’t want to fucking resist anymore. Wasn’t that why he was here, to let go? This beautiful dom would never want a broken sub like Dean but maybe for a few minutes, Dean could feel what it was like to belong to Cas.

“Good boy, Dean. I know you don’t feel well and I’m proud of you for listening. It's okay for you to nod or shake your head when I’m speaking to you but always respond. Can you do that?”

Dean nodded, watching Cas’ lips move as he spoke, watching them tilt into that soft smile that accompanied the words, ‘good boy’. He wished he didn’t feel like shit warmed over so that he could enjoy this more. He hadn’t felt like this in years, maybe never. Cas was being so gentle with him, unlike any dom he had ever met.

“So we have established you are not here with anyone-”

Dean whined, closing his eyes tight. It was his fault that nobody wanted him-

“Dean.”

Cas’ voice was like a whip, snapping Dean out of his spiral. He opened his eyes again.

“ It's okay, sweetheart. You have been so good for me. I can only assume whatever asshole dom that didn't show up tonight is an idiot. You are being perfect, Dean.”

Cas sounded so soothing yet firm that, in that moment, Dean believed him. Dean responded, voice a hoarse whisper.

“Thank you, Sir.”

Cas nodded and hovered his hand again over Dean’s back.

“Can I touch you, Dean? I want to comfort you with soft caresses, nothing sexual. Do you want that?”

Dean wanted that desperately.

“Yes, please, Sir. Please, touch me.”

Cas shushed him again, lowering his hand to run his fingers through Dean’s hair, dragging his nails gently across his scalp. Dean moaned at the sensation, slumping forward to rest his head on Cas’ shoulder. The scent of laundry detergent, day old cologne and skin made Dean press closer, chasing the scent. He imagined reaching up and moving Cas’ collar to the side, pressing open mouthed kisses against the skin underneath, running his tongue over every inch he could reach. But he stayed still, he didn’t know if Cas would even want that and he wanted to be good.

Cas dropped his hand to Dean’s nape, softly squeezing and massaging the tight muscles there. Dean gasped, pressing closer, practically climbing into Cas’ lap. It felt so good and Dean moaned again, louder and more freely as Cas slowly increased the pressure of his hand until Dean flinched. He eased off the force of the massage but didn’t stop and Dean melted again.

“Does that feel good, sweetheart?”

“Y-yes, thank you, Sir.”

He felt Cas draw in a shaky breath and Cas kept his free hand on the small of Dean’s back as he shifted, stretching his long legs in front of him and leaning against the wall. He guided Dean to sit in his lap, legs straddling Cas’ hips. Dean let out a sob and curled around Cas, making his body as small as possible, tucking his head under Cas’ chin, chasing the other man’s warmth. He was taller than Cas, more muscular but he felt protected, safe. Cas accepted the new position easily, making low, soothing noises, running his hand up and down Dean’s back.

Dean let his mind drift in a pleasant haze for a few moments, not sure if he imagined the brief press of Cas’ lips to his hair. He felt better, neck muscles much more relaxed and his pills were definitely kicking in, easing the pounding pain in his head. He felt warm, floaty, breathing deeply of Cas’ addictive scent. He only blinked back to awareness at the feeling of Cas shifting. He leaned back, pressing into the hand still on the back of his neck, in time to catch a wince on Cas’ face. Dean made an inquiring noise and Cas gave him a wry smile.

“I’m fine, Dean. It’s just tough for an old man to sit on the floor this long.”

Dean huffed and rolled his eyes then sat up further, wincing at the pull of muscles in his back.

“Okay, yeah. I feel you.”

He shifted his hips as he stretched his back and froze, realizing with dawning horror that he was rock hard, sitting in Cas’ lap, pressing his erection into Cas’ stomach. He flushed and rose to his knees, still bracketing in Cas’ hips. He was ready to leap up, run out the goddamn door but Cas’ hands flew to his hips, keeping him still. Dean could feel his fingers digging into his flesh through the jeans.

“It’s okay, Dean. I think you went down while I was massaging your neck.”

Dean bit his hip, feeling even worse. He was sure that Cas was regretting this encounter more and more. He wrapped his own fingers around Cas’ wrists, trying in vain to pry his hold open.

“Oh, fuck. I’m sorry, I-”

“Dean, stop.”

Dean froze, staring at Cas’ chin, wide eyed, fingers going slack. Cas raised his hand, curling his forefinger and thumb around Dean’s chin, tilting his face up until Dean met his gaze.

“You are safe, Dean. You are doing so well for me and...you are not the only one affected by our current intimacy, I assure you.”

Dean’s eyes darted down without thought to Cas’ lap and he could see the large outline of a half hardened cock under his slacks, pushing against the zipper. Dean’s mouth flooded with saliva and the only real thing keeping him from begging Cas to let him get his mouth on that cock was the acidic tang that still lingered. Not sexy.
He glanced back up to Cas to see that wry smile and ducked his head, grinning a bit. Cas dropped the hand on Dean’s chin back down to his hip and tugged. Dean followed willingly, sitting back down flush on his lap, settling his hands on Cas’ shoulders.

“Do you feel a bit better?”

Dean nodded, mesmerized by the flash of white teeth behind Cas’ full lips as he spoke. His arousal was a low, soft buzz through his body, comforting as opposed to urgent. He had never felt like this before.

“Did you have a migraine? You get those often?”

Dean nodded again, tongue feeling glued to the roof of his mouth. It felt good to be nonverbal, to just exist and not have to interact past the basic body movements. No one had let him just exist before.

“That is what I thought. Your muscles were really tight. I’m glad I could help you, Dean.”

“Me too, Sir.”

Cas hummed and pulled Dean down a bit to kiss his forehead. The warm press of his lips on Dean’s skin startled him and he took a sharp breath. Cas leaned back to look at him, his eyes dark and possessive.

“I love the way you call me ‘Sir’, baby.”

Dean blinked for a moment, looking at Cas, feeling like he'd been punched in the gut, shocked and delighted at his words. Cas looked so earnest, so happy and pleased that Dean believed him. He bit his lip and placed his hands flat on Cas’ chest, ducking his head to give Cas his best sultry look from under his long lashes. He tilted his head to show off the long line of his neck, trying his fucking best to impress this sweet as sugar, hot as hell dom.

“I’m glad...Sir. I really like calling you that.”

Cas makes a sound more akin to a growl, a softer one than he made when Dean knocked him down earlier. It rumbled through his chest and up Dean’s arms, settling into his bones. He wanted this man so much that Dean felt like he was on fire, hot and panting under Cas’ gaze, writhing in his lap. Cas’ hands were still on his hips, keeping Dean from pressing their hard cocks together and Dean whined. Cas cleared his throat, getting Dean’s attention.

“I’m going to ask you something, Dean and I want you to be honest with me. Do not just say what you think I want to hear. What you want is the most important thing in the world to me, do you understand?”

Those words made him shiver, made him feel so fucking special.

“Yes, Sir.”

Cas smiled and ran his hands up and down Dean’s arms, slow and comforting, making Dean relax before he could even contemplate getting nervous.

“Good boy. I want to make sure you get home safe, you have had a tough night. I would like to be the one to take you home, Dean. Especially because you dropped a little for me. Do you want that? I would never, ever be mad if you said ‘no’ to me. I can call anyone you want to come get you but you are not leaving here alone.”

Dean didn’t even need to think about it. He’d kill to get Cas to come home with him and fuck Garth for not showing. Cas was here, taking care of him, looking at him like he was something precious. There was no debating what he wanted but there was still a little voice of doubt in the back of his head.

“What’s wrong, sweetheart?”

Fuck, he would never tire of hearing that.

“Why are you doing this, being so nice to me, taking care of me? You don’t even know me.”

Cas tilted his head, squinting at Dean. Dean wanted to kiss the furrow between his eyes. His voice when he answered was matter of fact with no hint of embarrassment.

“I wanted you as soon as I saw you, Dean.”

Dean snorted.

“When I pushed you down and puked everywhere?”

Cas shook his head, smirking.

“No, at the bar. I saw you sitting there, looking nervous, sipping a cheap beer. You looked ready to run and I couldn’t keep my eyes off of you.”

“Why didn’t you come talk to me?”

Cas gave a self deprecating wince.

“I didn’t think, I mean, I thought you were looking for-”

Dean felt a flash of disappointment.

“You thought I was a dom?”

Cas frowned, squinting again, looking like a confused puppy.

“No, Dean. Why would you say that? Anyone who looks at you and can’t see how wonderful you are and how good you could be for the right person is an idiot.”

Dean blushed, clutching at Cas’ shirt, wrinkling it.

“Then why didn’t you come over? I wouldn’t have turned you away. In fact, it would have done my ego some good after getting stood up.”

Cas drew in a deep breath and took Dean’s hands in his.

“I was going to but I was nervous.”

Cas paused to gather his thoughts and Dean made an encouraging noise, closing his hands tighter around Cas'.

“Most subs I try to be with grow bored with me. I’ve been told I’m too...soft, not rough enough for them. I feel uncomfortable being too rough. It hurts me.”

Dean let out a hum, brushing a soft kiss on Cas’ knuckles.

“You’re what? A gentle dom?”

Cas’ smile was self conscious.

“I suppose you could call it that. I prefer to take care of my subs, spoil them but discipline them when necessary. I can be flexible for the right person, with the right scene but I’ve had subs try to push me too far. It took one too many dom drops to get me to seek someone more compatible.”

He gave Dean an intense look and Dean smiled, feeling warm and special.

“Well, let me tell you, Cas, I’m not into pain or too many bruises. I just want to be good for someone, be praised for...anything, really. This is the safest I’ve ever felt with anyone. It’s so...nice. Real nice, Cas.”

Cas raised an eyebrow, looking amused.

“Cas?”

Dean ducked his head, not realizing he had said that out loud. He started to apologize but Cas cut him off.

“I like it. No one ever calls me that. That can be just for us.”

Dean pressed his face into Cas’ shoulder again, smiling against his neck, feeling warm and happy. Cas wrapped his arms around Dean, enveloping him, setting his head on top of Dean’s.

“This is crazy, Cas. I feel like I’ve known you forever.”

“I know what you mean. As soon as I saw you, I felt drawn to you and I was determined to speak to you. I was in here to practice what I was going to say.”

That startled a laugh from Dean and he leaned back, feeling endeared to see Cas blushing and pouting.

“Why are you laughing at me?”

“Nothing, I just didn’t expect a dom to be…”

Dean trailed off, realizing that any way he finished that sentence would seem disrespectful. Cas raised an eyebrow, looking unimpressed and stern.

“What? Insecure, flawed, human?”

Dean stuttered before looking down, ashamed.

“I’m sorry, Cas. I didn’t mean it like that.”

Cas smiled again and ran his hands through Dean’s hair, making Dean practically purr and push into his hands like a cat. The touch seemed to settle them both.

“I know and I forgive you. It’s hard to undo societal conditioning, especially when it comes to stereotypes but we must learn and change. I may derive pleasure from your submission but I am as insecure as the next person, as insecure as you can be.”

Dean nodded, grinning.

“Anyone ever tell you that you talk like a professor?”

Cas’ eyes sparkled with mirth.

“I am a professor, Dean. I have a PhD in Environmental Science and I’m tenured at the university.”

Dean shivered, eyes falling to half mast, imagining Cas working late in his office, grading papers with Dean between his knees, keeping his cock warm, feeling safe and taken care of, making his dom feel good. Dean was half hard again and he watched in fascination as Cas’ pupils blew wide as if he could read Dean’s thoughts.

“You like that, baby? Do you have some fantasies you want to tell me about? I would love to hear them, Dean. I want to make them all come true.”

Dean was panting, cock twitching at the promising growl in Cas’ tone and he wanted nothing more than to lean forward and kiss him. But the hard tile floor biting into his shins and the stiffness of his neck returning reminded him of where they were.

“I’d love to continue this conversation, Sir but more than that, I want you to take me home, please.”