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 Hurts So Good, February 19, 2167 | Reese Marshall
Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Feb 13 2018, 05:12 PM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
Citizen
Tier 3
760 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


Despite its poor start, Monday had ended on a high note.

Lupercalia had been a smashing success, with no media interference, plenty of smiles and lash marks, and no sprained ankles. The feast had gone without a hitch, the wine flowed, and couples and throuples retreated to guest accommodations while staff cleaned up and Bruce hopped in the shower. When he emerged, nobody could tell what had transpired or that he had been the mastermind behind it and the lead instigator.

Equally important to him as a person, although irrelevant to Shangri-La’s reputation or bottom line, the clock struck 6:00p.m. and Reese stood out on the doorstep. The other man’s shell had cracked, and Reese-Bruce’s Reese – had emerged, apologizing with every step to Bruce’s office. No alcohol on his breath, easygoing but earnest about the paperwork (which Bruce had tailored specifically to what they might do together as platonic friends and nothing more). They’d topped it off with burgers and buying the other man a working cell phone.

From Tuesday through Friday afternoon, Bruce turned over ideas during his free moments. Speeches. Equipment. Decorations. What persona he should adopt. Squirreling away items for aftercare. Reese’s form included the detail that he enjoyed having clothing chosen for him – unsurprising given his admission about his wife’s preferences for shirts, and his remark on Christmas Eve about paying Bruce to dress him. And so Thursday night, Bruce sent what might be the least erotic text message ever composed on the topic, asking Reese to catalogue his tee shirts and his pants. They settled on a pair of black jeans, a shirt with his family construction logo, and another shirt with the Nocht name and logo across it, to give them options. An ominous description but by then, Bruce had already worked out a common thread for their scene. He’d also reminded Reese to pack an overnight bag, in case he wanted to stay over – again to provide them the option.

Friday afternoon, Reese had called to ask about takeout preferences. After a bit of back and forth, they’d decided on pizza for simplicity’s sake. When his friend arrived at the apartment, Bruce had already closed up at Shangri-La, showered, and changed into a pair of jeans and a sweater. Dressed down for dinner, because he didn’t want to eat and relax in the outfit that he would wear for play. He’d set the dining room table already, and over water and iced tea, pizza and wings, they discussed their respective days, with some teasing about Bruce’s attire, since this was as casual as he had ever been in Reese’s presence outside of costume.

A relaxing way to ease themselves into their post-dinner entertainment.

@Reese Marshall
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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Feb 13 2018, 09:31 PM
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39 YEARS
Citizen
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560 Posts
There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
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Reese couldn't explain how embarrassed he was that he'd left in such a state. His parents had even noticed how closed off he was compared to how he'd been early in the month, and after his departure agreed that they wouldn't ask him to watch Wendy again--even if it meant spending time apart from one another. They called every day to make sure that he was alright until Friday evening when he admitted that he couldn't talk because he was going out with a friend.

The question left his mother silent, and the line of inquiry died then and there -- conscious of the fact that her son even saying the word 'friend' after all this time was a big deal.

So on his way to the SkyRail, he discussed what he should pick up, ordered it from his seat as he rode towards Jacks. He gathered the requested items and put them in a bag. He showered and changed to make sure he didn't smell like he worked construction--kink or not, most people didn't actually like the smell of musk and dirt in the evening. He ran his fingers through his hair, then ran a comb through it.

Without thinking he picked up a bottle of cologne that he hadn't touched since he'd moved into this apartment -- something his wife had bought for him because she thought it smelled good. He caught himself before he put it on, set it to the side, put on deodorant, brushed his teeth, took the bag in his hand and headed to the pizza place.

When he arrived at Bruce's door, he raised a brow and said a grand total of: "Oh, if I knew we were going to dress up, I would have worn a suit." about seeing his friend in jeans and a t-shirt. They sat down and ate. He didn't seem upset about drinking water, and just like he had on Sunday evening, he had reached out to try Bruce's tea, found it abhorrent, and handed it back. (Perhaps he deserved marks for always giving things another shot.)

Reese leaned back when he was full and gave himself a pat on his own stomach. "Jesus. That hit the spot." He'd already let Bruce know that his ribs were still bruised -- though the injury was on his front, which meant it could be easily enough avoided. His leg had gotten enough better in four days that there wasn't even a limp in his step anymore and the bruise on his face and hands were only remnant yellows.

His fingers were laced though Bruce's though neither of them had pointed out how this might have looked to an outside eye. There were no outside eyes and so it wasn't important. His thumb ran gently over his friend's, feeling the soft skin that came from professional work with the rough pads of his fingers that came from working with his hands every week day for eight or more hours.

Slowly, his eyes moved to meet Bruce's and the smallest smile ran onto his face and rested there as he looked at his friend and then they wandered away to look around the dining room as he gave the other man's hand the gentlest of squeezes.

@Bruce Vaughan
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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Feb 13 2018, 09:50 PM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
Citizen
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760 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


Bruce nudged his own plate to the side after eating more pizza than would qualify as healthy choices.. His friend was right; it hit the spot, and it wasn’t as though he had to run a marathon now. Nothing he had planned was so strenuous that he ran the risk of a stitch in his side or his stomach flipping over across the floor.

The squeeze drew his attention to Reese’s face, to the soft smile that rested there for a few precious seconds. Bruce returned it; his lingered as it often did, with no reason to fear settling permanently on his features.

Through the meal, he’d asked a couple of questions about how the other man felt, and he’d carefully made note of Reese’s responses. His leg was better (although Bruce was always careful about risking mobility injuries), but there remained pain in his ribs on the front of his body, not the back. They could work with that; the back would present more problems that thankfully didn’t require accommodation tonight.

“We should go over the house rules, and then I’ll clear up and get changed,” Bruce announced, while touching two fingers from his free hand to the collar of his sweater. “It wouldn’t do for me to show up half-dressed for something this important.”

Not with the amount of work and forethought he had applied their first play session together. No, he had to wash his face, pick the cheese from between his teeth, run a comb through his hair again, and then don the suit he’d set aside. One that he had picked out especially for Reese. What he wore now was to relax and to provide as much a contrast between his relaxed self and his scene persona as humanly possible. Until Reese was more comfortable, he would draw these distinctions with the same care, formality, and symbolism as he did at Shangri-La.

@Reese Marshall
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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Feb 13 2018, 10:49 PM
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39 YEARS
Citizen
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560 Posts
There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
Thyme is Offline



He'd apologized again about getting into the fight and had reiterated that if he had known that he was going to see Bruce (or Wendy) he wouldn't have done it. He had even implied that if he knew that they were going to meet up for this activity he would have tried to avoid having been beaten by a stool (despite that not having been the intended outcome of his fight).

Reese raised a brow. "Yeah, alright." he agreed. Part of him was sure this was where it was going to fall apart. He was going to somehow ruin this night that was supposed to be special and cathartic.

House rules.

He took in a breath and then let it out. His thumb stopped moving, but his hand stayed where it was, interlocked with Bruce's. His touch settled him, and Reese knew that even the rougher touch that would occur during the scene was likely to cause the same reaction mixed with the silently-admitted craving that he had for physical punishment that his form had revealed, if the fight that had happened in the wee hours of Sunday morning had not.

He reached over and tugged on Bruce's sleeve. "You're not going to beat me in a fucking cardigan?" He asked, brow raising. "You have to know everyone's dream is to get a little roughed up by his history teacher." His tone of voice was the one it often was when he delivered a joke -- entirely unclear if it was indeed a joke or not.

And then he added. "What shirt do you want me to put on?" he'd worn one of his button downs for dinner, but the clothing that Bruce had requested was in his overnight bag, tucked next to a change of underwear and the sweatpants he'd brought to sleep in -- just in case.

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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Feb 13 2018, 11:16 PM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
Citizen
Tier 3
760 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


As far as Bruce was concerned, they had addressed the issue and didn’t need to rehash it. Reese had apologized multiple times, he had agreed to this alternative form of controlled masochism, he’d iced his leg, he had answered the questions honestly, had admitted he didn’t want to die, had agreed to continue to tell him about the fights, and had replaced his cell phone to ensure that they could communicate when Reese was out and about. That was more than enough to set Bruce’s mind at ease.

When Reese’s hand went still, the mental manipulator gave it a gentle squeeze for reassurance. Going over the rules together before the scene began was necessary, to establish trust and set parameters outside of their roles, when they could approach this as equals and address any concerns before they became issues. Gazing into his friend’s eyes, he began his pitch while counting off on the fingers of his other hand. “We’ll use your typical safe word, with the precaution I explained to you on Monday, just in case. I give periodic check-ins anyway, but using the safe word puts everything on halt. Either we’ll adjust or we end, depending on how you feel. All of that is standard. I’ll give you the scene-specific rules when we begin, but we stay in my bedroom or the living room for playing.”

He leaned forward to emphasize the importance of what he was about to say next. “I’m going to say some terrible things to you. I won’t mean any of them, and we’ll never mention them outside of the scene. But while we’re in there, if you turn them around on me, the scene ends.”

That was a non-negotiable boundary, one he spoke of outside rather than in there, because this wasn’t a soft limit that Reese could push against to earn a punishment.

With those out of the way, he leaned back and scoffed playfully at his friend’s remark. “Trust me, I know. Dentists, history teachers, English professors. We run the gamut.” He touched Reese’s hand on his sleeve and added, “I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with my costume change.”

Then Reese asked the question about his own attire, and Bruce pursed his lips together thoughtfully. For a first scene, it was best to err on the side of caution, and he knew that his friend hadn’t attended Nocht for…reasons. That might skate too close to an uncomfortable situation, while his family fortune was a bit safer. “Let’s go with the Marshall shirt.”

@Reese Marshall
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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Feb 14 2018, 12:00 AM
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39 YEARS
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560 Posts
There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
Thyme is Offline



Reese licked his lips, bit his tongue and then swallowed. Things were getting very real very fast and his hand tightened on Bruce's again. He hadn't done this in years. It made it scary in some way, but exhilarating in another. He wanted to -- maybe that was what mattered the most.

He listened to the rules and slowly nodded. He'd of course sat down with his wife and discussed things, but it had been much less detailed -- they hadn't needed it to this extent. The most obvious reason was of course that they were familiar with one another in the bedroom and many intimate and romantic situations. They knew what set the other off to avoid it -- they knew what revved each other's engines.

But Reese had also been a different man in innumerable ways.

He took in a breath and let it out. He lifted Bruce's hand and set his forehead against the back of Bruce's hand, still holding it like a life line. His eyes closed as if the touch that he was pressed against himself settled him.

"Alright." He said, but the clarification was what was important. He wasn't willing to go into this blind; that would be the best way to really fuck up this arrangement before it got out of the gate. "These are the real rules. Your limits." he said. "And when we get in there, and you're wearing whatever fucking outfit you think is so great... those I can push?"

He took in a breath and let it out. The bridge of his nose was against the back of Bruce's wrist and so the exhaled breath ran down his skin. Then he opened his eyes again and let out a little chuckle as a smile dared to cross his face. "Alright. Marshall shirt it is." he verified. Even though the nerves and his subdued existence, there was a twinkle of excitement.

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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Feb 14 2018, 12:16 AM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
Citizen
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760 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


Bruce didn’t resist when Reese moved his hand, rather he spread his fingers just slightly to elongate the surface area as his friend pressed his forehead against the back. While not slipping loose of the other man’s grip. Reese was proving he didn’t have a fever, perhaps. Or a pet bucking for attention from its owner.

“These are the real rules,” he confirmed with a nod that Reese couldn’t see through closed eyes. His thoughts drifted back to their conversation at the beginning of the week, about how Bruce lacked the luxury of a safe word. These parameters were his equivalent. These were the rules and they would be abided or their adventure would end on the spot. “What I tell you in there, you can push. You’ll get punished, but you can push to your heart’s content.”

That was the point of it all. Reese could provoke a reaction by pushing a boundary, and they could both luxuriate in what he earned through his transgression.

The warmth of his friend’s breath caressed Bruce’s flesh, and he, too, took comfort in the closeness. This was exhilarating, and that part of himself, so carefully regulated, thrilled at the opportunity to explore this with Reese of all people. Only two and a half months ago, he’d set his sights on finding someone for the other man. That was out of the question in light of his revelation, and it didn’t matter, but he, Bruce Vaughan, would have some of this opportunity to share with his friend.

“When we’re in there, call me ‘Mr. Vaughan.’ If you forget yourself, I’ll correct you, but don’t make a habit of it.” Bruce considered the title issue separate from his limits. Yes, this was a rule of decorum, but in the heat of the moment, it wasn’t unusual for someone to breathe his given name, so swept up in the exchange and the sensations. The last thing he wanted to do was end a successful scene because of that. So there were reminders, some gentle delivered with a caress and some firm delivered with a slap.

“Good,” he remarked for Reese’s compliance about his clothing, and approval filled his voice as it had in the kitchen at the beginning of the week. Before his friend had retreated behind his walls. “Let me know when you’re ready, and we can meet up in about ten minutes.”

@Reese Marshall
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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Feb 14 2018, 12:50 AM
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39 YEARS
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560 Posts
There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
Thyme is Offline



For a moment, he hesitated. after Bruce said that he could say when they were ready to start. Nerves flooded him again. Then he felt Bruce's hand in his; he smelled the sweet waft of his friend's fragrance; he found the blue of his friend's eyes.

He trusted Bruce, and Bruce thought this would help.

Slowly he nodded. "Yeah. Let's get this show on the road." he offered with a nod. Affirming what perhaps in some ways had been destined since they'd been Christmas shopping to some extent.

He trusted Bruce, and he wanted to feel a sting and ache on his skin and in his muscles that didn't come from hatred but from affection, channeled in a way that some people couldn't fully grasp.

Finally, he drew his hand away from Bruce's, letting his fingers run over Bruce's skin as long as they could before they touched the table and he got up. "I'll put this away. You get ready. You want to come get me or I can get you in ten." He asked as he started to pick up after their meal.

This was distinctly different from when he had cleaned up after they had finished eating on Christmas Eve. He didn't seem in any way distressed now; he didn't do this in a panic to try to keep control of something in his life. This was merely a means to an end -- Reese had to tug on a t-shirt; god only knew what Bruce had to do to get ready, but Lord knew he wasn't going to wear jeans. It made more sense for Bruce to get ready and Reese to tuck everything away into the dishwasher and fridge.

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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Feb 14 2018, 01:16 AM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
Citizen
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760 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


Bruce held his friend’s gaze the same way he held is hand, disengaged neither until Reese was ready to let them go. His confirmation that they could get ready earned another smile of approval, another nod of agreement, but still he waited for Reese to let slip from his grip. Then he placed his hands on the edge of the table and pushed himself to his feet.

The offer to clean up didn’t surprise him, not exactly. Typically Reese cleaned up after they ate, but the other man had also hosted all of their takeout meals up to this point. This was Bruce’s home, his responsibility. He didn’t want to put his friend to work or make him feel obligated, but he also wouldn’t turn down the help. (In truth, it wasn’t uncommon for someone to pick up after him in these situations, but that as less practical and more an extension of role play.)

“Are you sure?” He asked, waiting for confirmation before he stepped back. “Come to my bedroom in ten. If the door isn’t open, knock. If it is, come right in.”

Stepping around the table, he paused long enough to pat Reese on the shoulder, as he had multiple times on Valentine’s Day when they were about to separate for a bit. Then he retreated down the hall to his bedroom and shut the door behind him. He made short work of stripping down to his underwear, retreating back to the bathroom attached to the master bedroom to brush his teeth and swish with mouthwash to rid his breath of the lingering odors of garlic, tomato sauce, and cheese. Washed his face and his hands for the umpteenth time today.

Then he returned to the bedroom proper, hung the jeans and sweater in their appropriate closet, and pulled down the suit and shirt he had set aside for this occasion. A three-piece solid black silk suit, and an Evolute blue shirt chosen both to complement his eyes and for the symbolism. Enough color that he didn’t quite look like an undertaker but instead a consummate professional. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he first pulled on, and then laced up, a pair of black dress boots that went up to his calves. He ran a lint brush over his trousers, adjusted the length, checked himself in the mirror to past first inspection.

Disappeared into the bathroom second time, now to spray his hair and run a comb through it yet again (the downside of thick locks was how easily mussed they became). Applied lotion to his hands before pulling on a pair of fingerless leather gloves. No rings because those would cut the skin. Took a deep breath to counter his quickened heartbeat, the anticipation that filled him from head to toe.

He made short work of setting the hangers back in his closet, clearing aside everything that belonged to him and not to the scene. In a corner of the room, he’d set up the items they’d need for aftercare, easily within reach but not so apparent that they captured the eye and overshadowed the main event. Dessert should never eclipse the entrée.

His carrying case was already down, unlocked, and open on his desk. The restraints he’d picked out were in the center of the bed, waiting to be put to use. Finally, as an additional detail, he tossed a throw pillow onto the floor. With a lover, it would spare the knees; here, it was for effect. With all in place, he crossed to the door and pulled it open to signal to his friend that he was ready.

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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Feb 14 2018, 02:02 AM
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39 YEARS
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560 Posts
There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
Thyme is Offline



Reese was sure that he could clean up while Bruce got everything ready and assured his friend that he was serious and it wasn't a big deal. He put away the pizza. Cleared the table of the dishes and napkins. Threw out what needed to be thrown out and stored what needed to be stored. Then he wiped the table free of crumbs.

With that done, he went to his bag and tugged out the outfit that Bruce had told him to bring. He moved into the bathroom, tugged the pants on and then the shirt. He'd forgotten how tight it was. Reese was a lean but athletic man. The mixture of cotton and polyester left nothing to the imagination. He ran his hand over his chest and then down onto his stomach. It was tight enough to see the outlines of his pecs.

The t-shirt wasn't long sleeved. He stood, staring at himself in the mirror. The long scars that started at his wrists and stopped just below the elbow were not the most noticeable when he wore a short-sleeved shirt. His arms had been the only reason that his face hadn't been irreparably burned when he'd been in the accident, and their heroic feat had left them disfigured. The doctors had told him a thousand times he was lucky that the injuries had been mostly surface damage, but the winding remnants were like smokey tendrils of that day attached to his skin.

There were dozens of other marks on his arms. Old tracks marks that were long expired. Remnants from less serious attempts than the one that had almost taken his life at Shangri-La. There were a few scabs from what looked like scrapes.

Bruce had already seen all of these. There was nothing that he had to hide.

He swished his mouth clean with water and ran his fingers through his hair again. It wasn't cooperating, but he could only imagine the disappointment of any play session where his hair came out looking any good.

Ten minutes passed and he walked up to the open door, took in a breath, let it out, and stepped in, looking at Bruce, the smallest smile running over his face as his eyes wandered around the room. Restraints. A pillow on the floor. And then he looked back at his friend as his mind switched gears, waiting for what he was going to say.

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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Feb 14 2018, 02:26 AM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
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760 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


The sound of footsteps approaching informed Bruce that he had only a few seconds in which to compose himself. He took another deep breath, held it, closed his eyes, counted slowly to five, and then exhaled. He coupled that with a visualization exercise, letting go of his interest and his huggable, approachable, nurturing side to leave behind detachment to come out to play. Locking up the lessons he’d learned in childhood so he could play this role as seamlessly as if he’d been born into it.

Eye opened, he spun around just as Reese stepped through the door. Briefly, he held Reese’s gaze, saw the ghost of a smile, cherished it, but didn’t smile in return as he might otherwise. Instead, he gestured at the door and instructed, “Shut that. I don’t want you running away the first chance you get.”

That shirt. Bruce hadn’t realized when coordinating the outfits how tight it would be. He knew his friend was put together nicely beyond his face, but that had been a vague sort of awareness he could tuck away into the back of his mind and never reckon with. Here, now, with the cotton stretched tight across his chest, muscles outlined for him, because he’d chosen this outfit and Reese wore it for no other reason than to please him…

His outsized sense of responsibility slammed his hand down on that thought before he could finish it and chucked it into the black box with the others. Platonic. Reese trusted him not to take advantage, and if his thoughts lingered too long where they could mix with the endorphins…

Bruce wouldn’t entertain that possibility. He tore his attention from the other man's torso to his face, at the faint five-o-clock shadow.

Once the door was shut, he pointed at the pillow on the floor. His voice was devoid of his usual affection, replaced not with contempt but with mild disinterest. Reese would have to earn signs of approval from Mr. Vaughan, rather than receive them freely from his dear friend Bruce. “On your knees. Back straight. Hands behind your back. Face me.”

He had to take Reese through the paces this first time. How could the other man know the proper postures or Bruce’s expectations without being told first?

He could be demanding and particular, but he was fair and reasonable.

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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Feb 14 2018, 02:49 AM
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39 YEARS
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560 Posts
There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
Thyme is Offline



Reese could have written a book about how appealing it was to have someone give a clear, direct order. There was nothing to argue about; nothing to fight over. He could do something and please someone. He craved it.

He turned back around. Perhaps they were in some ways lucky. Reese hadn't noticed the way that Bruce's eyes had lingered on his chest. He was pretty good at reading facial expression, and his eyes had been elsewhere while he'd been noticed by his friend in a way different than strictly friendly.

He hadn't owned this shirt when his wife had been alive, and so while he knew it was something-near skin tight, he hadn't really thought about it making him look attractive. If anything, he wouldn't have worn it in public because his body and general thoughts about his appearance did not manage to dodge the self-loathing that contaminated every aspect of his life.

He didn't wear it in public for exactly the reason that two hundred pound women didn't usually wear bikinis -- because it would draw the eye for all the wrong reasons. Perhaps at some point they'd cover body image but it was certainly not a topic that Reese had ever brought up other than mentioning that he thought Bruce dressed better than he did. (A statement which was objectively true.)

As the door closed, the next order came and he followed it silently. Getting onto his knees on the pillow, straightening his back, putting his hands behind him. Without thinking his eyes raked all the way from Bruce's boots to his face as he assumed a position that in his experience often ended in a less than platonic next event, but Bruce was calling the shots right now.

And he trusted Bruce.

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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Feb 14 2018, 11:28 AM
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Evolute
45 YEARS
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760 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
Bright is Offline


Bruce dressed better than most of the population of Ark, a combination of personal preferences cemented long ago and the shift that came from his career change. When his ability to pay his bills no longer relied on his degree or his ability to teach the waltz without stepping on toes and instead hinged on his ability to sell himself as a successful front man. It wouldn’t do for him to have holes in his jeans or to have garish shades of orange and purple clash, blinding anyone with the misfortune of staring directly into the fashion faux pas.

Before launching into a lecture, he tended to the most important safety matter, the one to which Reese had already given consent. Bruce pressed the instruction deeply into the other man’s mind, where it would take root and blossom. A reminder of his safe word, to keep it close, and that no matter how intense the scene, he would use it if he needed to pause without fear of disappointing Bruce or the intensity of his self-loathing and belief that he deserved whatever came to him. The same precaution used at Shangri-La for clients otherwise too buried in their roles to practice self-care.

Satisfied that this suggestion would bear fruit, if necessary, Bruce crossed the room with heavy steps, reaching his desk and his equipment. Without considering what he might use first, he withdrew the riding crop from its place in the box, caressed its compact length from handle to tip. His fingers then settled, and, with a flick of his wrist, its telescoping base extended fully, appearing no different from a typical riding crop now. His thumb twisted the device into position, to ensure it wouldn’t slip while elongated. He did this while facing Reese, giving his friend a show while careful not to smack him in the process.

That would set them off to a bad start.

“Listen to how this works, because I will only tell you once.” Spoken not with the tone of a loving parental authority but an instructor who would grant praise when impressed but had a high threshold for another person to vault. Stepping closer to Reese until he loomed over the kneeling man. “When I give you an instruction, your response is, ‘Yes, Mr. Vaughan.’ If you have a question and you haven’t been forbidden to speak, it’s ‘May I, Mr. Vaughan?’ When I strike you, it becomes, ‘Thank you, Mr. Vaughan.’ I expect due deference and proper respect at all times. Don’t look me in the eye unless I grant permission. Don’t touch me unless I grant permission. Don’t argue because I’m not interested in your opinions. Finally, if you don’t mind that filthy mouth of yours, you’ll come to regret it. Do I make myself clear?”

@Reese Marshall
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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Feb 14 2018, 12:32 PM
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560 Posts
There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
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Reese remembered this riding crop. He remembered the box that it was in, stored with a dozen other things that a decade ago would have piqued his interest instead of shut him down the way they had less than a week ago. Maybe in another world, Reese would have picked it up that day and tested it against the bare skin of his hand.

Still, as Bruce extended it with the flick of his wrist, Reese couldn't imagine how he had walked away from this for so long. (Perhaps, even for a moment, his self-loathing and obsession with self-punishment waned just enough that he recognized that he enjoyed activities of this type.)

Reese listened. This expression that rested on his face was a new one. Alert and focused; processing and understanding; engaged in the world around him. There wasn't a smirk on his lips, nor was there a frown. For once, he didn't look detached and the walls were down without him looking like he'd shattered into a thousand pieces.

He made mental notes. Things that would get him on the good side of Mr. Vaughan; things that would get him in trouble. For the first time in a long, long time, he didn't analyze every word for what double or triple meaning it could have. He didn't break the boundary set down in the kitchen when their fingers were intertwined and he could look the other man in his eyes to make sure they were on the same page.

His eyes lowered as requested, but otherwise his position stayed the same. "Yes. Mr. Vaughan." he affirmed. For less than a second he weighed whether he should say anything else. Then he caved, needing to test the waters, "Crystal fucking clear." The words were not accompanied by a smirk or eye contact. He stayed perfectly to form in every other way.

@Bruce Vaughan
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Bruce Vaughan
 Posted: Feb 14 2018, 01:10 PM
Quote
Evolute
45 YEARS
Citizen
Tier 3
760 Posts
Mental Manipulation - able to manipulate other people's minds through mind control, illusion projection, and memory manipulation, primarily.
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While Bruce said his piece, he gazed down into the other man’s face, his shadow engulfing the other man as surely as their roles had each of them. Despite his vaguely disinterested demeanor, nothing escaped his notice. Not the way Reese held himself straight, as he’d been told. Not the signs of rapt attention (Bruce was proud; the other man looked so engaged in this moment he could have sat for a job interview if one ignored the clothing and the position). There were echoes of the interested stranger here, perhaps not so strange after all; merely someone who knew his place and appreciated someone who could keep him there.

Bruce had every intention to do so.

They were off to a good start, as Reese lowered his gaze submissively. His shoulders didn’t slouch, he took no argumentative tone, and the first words out of his lips were music to Bruce’s ears.

Despite misconceptions in the broader community, it was Reese, not Bruce, who would set the tone for their evening. The Dom provided options, but the submissive took it, and then the Dom reacted accordingly. Did he want to prove that he was a good boy to earn some sign of approval from a strict, authoritative figure? Or would he push for punishment?

Reese made his decision, and were Bruce not wedded to the role, he might smile. The other man hadn’t disappointed. And neither would he.

The riding crop came down lightning quick, slapped Reese on the chest at the juncture between his pectoral and his left shoulder. The most satisfying sound hung in the air.

Bruce would never raise a hand to his friend in the middle of an argument, but Mr. Vaughan had no such compunctions about having his instructions discarded. “Do you think I’m joking, boy? Or has your father’s money made you cocky?” The tip of the crop trailed a few inches lower to rest atop the Marshall Construction logo above Reese’s heart. “Your name means nothing here.”

@Reese Marshall
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