A/N: Okay, as forewarned - new story time. This story will feature heavily into BDSM. How it was visited in 'Chosen' will be milder in comparison to this one. It might not be for everyone. That is the only time I will place the warning. I see no reason to repetitively make you read the same announcements. :) I have been working on this for awhile, but didn't want to begin posting until 'A Kingdom Divided' was complete, and the others had been updated again. I hope you enjoy it.
"Hey, Ted. What's up?" Cynthia looked up from her desk, a frown piercing her brows together as she watched Ted's anxious approach.
"I'm slightly confused." Ted eyed her from all angles, amazed that everything seemed intact. "I haven't felt the building quivering on the foundation, nor have I heard any resounding bellows from the inner sanctum. So, all in all, I am a bit off balance."
Cynthia laughed. "Ohhhhh. You mean Brian's luncheon meeting." She lowered her voice. Sometimes she wondered if there were a large, invisible gaping hole in Brian's wall that only he could penetrate. Almost at a whisper, she continued on - "I don't think he's realized yet."
Ted groaned. "That's what I was afraid of. This is going to be torture. Remind me again why I have to be there?"
Rolling her eyes, Cynthia dutifully supplied, "Because you are Kinnetik's number cruncher. He needs you there to make certain his interests are being best served."
A grunt sounded. "I'm more worried about my own interests, and of survival when he's biting into me about being booked into the most heterosexual restaurant in all of Pittsburgh." He shook his head in disbelief. "What possessed you to agree to those terms?"
"It's not like I had a choice, Ted. The client insisted. Mr. Barnum stated it was near the airport, and that it was his favorite restaurant in Pittsburgh." Smiling in an almost patronizing manner, she said, "I wouldn't worry. I'm sure it will be fine. We know how versatile Brian is regarding pleasing the client. He can adapt to anything."
"I doubt he'll agree. That is the most condescending anti-gay establishment in Pittsburgh. He's going to fire us both..."
Cynthia sighed. Ted always over-dramatized. It was often endearing, but at this moment, all it did was alarm her. She knew his concerns were genuine in this case. She had been shrugging it off because that was just her way. Working for Brian all these years had taught her to be diplomatic in all areas. His lack of discretion needed to be made up for by her proficient running of his office. This time, Brian might not adapt to her decisions favorably. "He won't fire us, Ted. And... you are innocent in this. I made the reservations."
"Innocent?" Ted snorted. "I doubt he'll make me feel innocent when I'm sitting next to him in that restaurant, surrounded by pretentious assholes that only look down on us."
"Perhaps it won't be so bad." Cynthia smirked, before teasing, "Brian will probably pull a hot waiter into the men's room."
Ted gasped. "In that place - I hope not. That would be humiliating." He looked at Cynthia reproachfully. "Mr. Barnum does know that Brian is gay. Right?"
"I would assume so. It's not like Brian does anything to hide it." Her confidence suddenly faltered when Brian's voice came across the intercom - direct and infinitely chilling. "Showtime..." she murmured.
"Cynthia..." Brian's drawl was chilling, yet soft-spoken. A sure sign of the eruption that was about to be known by all. "Get your ass in here, NOW."
Ted groaned again. "This is it. We're fired, and possibly lobotomized." Taking in a deep breath, Ted decided to take the heat. He figured there was no sense in both of them facing the firing squad. If he could be exonerated from any possible fallout, he might not be so willing... but since he was to attend the same luncheon, there would be no way Brian would believe he had been unaware. He'd rather meet his doom now. "Go on to lunch, Cynthia. I'll face the lion."
Eyes widening, Cynthia shook her head. "No, Ted. You don't want to do this alone. I'll come in with you."
"I am just as much to blame. You may have made the appointment, but I knew about it. I should have told Brian. There's no point in us both getting the third degree. I'd prefer to get mine now - before lunch - than during and after." Ted smiled at her reassuringly, hoping she couldn't hear the mad racing of his heart pounding in his chest. He wasn't nearly as calm about going in there as he appeared... but, it was unavoidable. "Go on. I'll be fine. I've faced his wrath many times."
"Okay..." she answered hesitantly. Jumping when she heard Brian's voice bellowing again, Cynthia scrambled for her purse and keys and moved to the entrance door. Before stepping through it, Cynthia smiled at him weakly. "Good luck, Ted."
Ted was about to answer, when Brian strode angrily from his office; he watched as Brian's expression changed from irritable to incensed in one moment. "Uhhhh. Cynthia just went to lunch."
"Yeah. I'll bet she did." Brian turned an accusing gaze on his accountant. "Get in here. I have a feeling you'll do just as well."
"I was afraid of that..." Ted muttered beneath his breath. He followed Brian inside, thinking morosely to himself that the lion didn't need a fancy lunch - he would be feeding off of him - here and now.
Brian sat behind his desk, his eyes coldly drilling into Ted. "I don't have much time to fuck around with you, Theodore. So, I'll just ask instead of playing cat and mouse. Why the fuck am I dining in breeder central with a client... and more importantly - why hasn't anyone deigned to tell me?"
"I'm sorry, Brian. I had been under the impression you knew. I just realized when talking to Cynthia that you didn't." Ted took in a deep breath, barely able to hold the icy gaze that brutally assessed him. Damn. He knew he should had told Brian the moment he found out about the forced location. They would all suffer for it now - him especially being the one accompanying him. "It's my understanding that Mr. Barnum didn't give Cynthia a choice. He stated that the restaurant was a personal favorite of his, and it was located conveniently near the airport. He's anxious to return home."
"Fucking breeders..." Brian sneered. "He better be ready to fucking sign!"
"I had that impression." Ted looked at Brian uncertainly for a moment, Brian's tension seemed to be caused by much more than this unpleasant luncheon meeting. "How long has it been since you've been to Boundless?"
Brian shook his head as if waiting for the rest of the question in order to make sense of it. "Why? Is something wrong?"
Ted cleared his throat nervously. "No, well, not that I know of; you know I don't frequent the establishment."
"Of course not. We know that Teddy is too 'vanilla' for that..." Brian's tone was sardonic, but, his face was less angry now.
"That's not true, and you know it, Brian. I've tried it before... it's just not one of those things I like to explore on a regular basis." Ted realized as soon as he spoke the words that he'd uttered the wrong ones. Here comes a lecture of another kind, he thought.
Brian grunted. "That's exactly why you don't belong at Boundless. It is not a place to dabble on a whim. It is a way of life for these men. Those who just wish to explore in the world of BDSM should do it via online chat, or with a trusted partner - they should not come into my establishment that is a haven and meeting place for Doms and Subs."
"I'm sorry, Brian. You're right. Boundless isn't the place for those seeking a one-time thrill into the world of erotica. Your patrons view it as a place to come together where no one is either ridiculed or judged." Ted bravely went on to explain why he had brought the subject up now. "I mentioned it because I have been noticing your tension. You get like this when you go a long time in between subs. And... I don't mean getting laid. We both know you do that on a daily basis."
"At least daily..." Brian commented dryly. "I am fine, Theodore. If I want to use a man in that way, then, I do it."
Ted looked at Brian dubiously. "That's not the same... and we both know it. A man that allows you to dominate him - isn't the same as your own submissive."
"Theodore..." Brian drawled in amazement. "I'm astounded you recognize the difference."
Looking down at his watch, Ted grimaced as he saw the time. "We need to go, Brian. It's about a twenty-minute drive to the restaurant."
"Don't remind me." He stood to his feet, and slid the contracts, and proposal into his briefcase. "Let's do this." Brian exited his office with Ted by his side, unwilling to admit that Ted was right. That was never easy for him to do. He did need a true submissive. In fact, the dominant in him yearned for one so badly he could taste it. Over the years he had trained so many; only to watch them go to their own master's. That was his own choice. He enjoyed giving a sub the proper training; making certain they understood every aspect. Pleasure, pain, obedience, and most importantly - being safe with the master of their choice.
Perhaps he needed more. Instead of training them and freeing them, it just might be time for him to select one to keep. It hadn't been the first time that thought had occurred to him. Brian decided it might be time to make it a reality.
A/N: Okay, there is our beginning. No Justin quite yet... but he should be appearing very soon. I have a feeling it will be an unforgettable meeting for both men. :)