Some nights, American secret agent Ben Smith just wants to come home to his husband. He misses that English accent and smile and, of course, Simon on his knees. He wants his perfect submissive at his feet, so the world and his mission can fall away.
Some nights, romance writer Simon Ashley misses his dashing American other half. Tea is nice, but it can’t pin him down in bed and make him beg, reminding him he’s loved and belongs to someone. He wants to forget everything and everyone he’s left behind, and just belong to Ben.
Tonight they both get what they want when Ben comes home early. tea is very nice ... but so is leather.
In their living room, under the soft amber glow of the lamps, surrounded by the drifting scents of tea and sugar, he used a fingertip to nudge that pointed chin upward, getting frosted-ocean eyes to meet his. “I’m here. And I can do this for you. For us. Tell me if there’s anything you need, or if it’s not enough, all right?”
He got a nod, a lip-lick, and a movement of an obviously unthinking leg in quest of a better position on the carpet. Ben, who’d been expecting exactly this, already had one foot braced to support their long-suffering table.
His husband sighed. “Creative people are more prone to clumsiness, you know. Our brains get easily distracted. Thinking about other things. I read that somewhere. Academic study.”
“I one hundred percent believe you.”
“Oh thanks very much.”
“I love you.” Ben coiled a hand over the right wrist cuff, adding weight to the leather. “Have you been wearing these all week?”
“Love you. And yes ... you told me to ... and it helped, after yesterday. I mean, I took them off to shower and so on, but otherwise yes.” Simon contemplated the hand as well. “Thank you.”
“No. Yesterday, you said.” He couldn’t quite keep the flare of alarm out of his voice, knew it’d register as displeasure. Well, fair enough; he wasn’t pleased about it. “You could’ve called. You have all the codes to get through.”
True, as he ensured it was true, every time. Made his other half memorize them backward and forward. Technically this was a breach of national security, but Ben had long ago decided he didn’t give a damn.
“I know. But I didn’t want to -- it wasn’t an emergency, and I knew you’d be back soon. Speaking of, weren’t you supposed to need another day? Not that I’m objecting.”
“I missed you,” Ben told him, echoing those words from earlier, and saw the answering tentative smile. “I know you didn’t want to worry me. But I want you to tell me if you’re not okay, understand? I’m not happy you didn’t.”
That gaze dropped to the floor, conceding the point. Mostly, anyway. “I would’ve if it had been any longer. I’m sorry, sir.”
“I don’t know ... yes ... that helps as well. More real.”
“Then say it if you need to.” He’d never asked for that one. Had been surprised the first time Simon had said it, lying between his legs in a luxurious Parisian hotel room, Ben’s hand in his hair. He’d absolutely liked the sound of that -- the acknowledgement, that word in that elegant voice, saying yes sir, yours, always -- but he’d never wanted to be that strict, even if his other half wouldn’t mind.
“You said you wanted this --” A lift of the collar, slender and black and simple. “On. Why didn’t you?”
“You didn’t say I could,” Simon told the floor. Ben’s heart ached. He wanted to reach out and offer a hug, to put his arms around those shoulders and say everything would be fine. But that wasn’t what Simon needed at this moment.
“Look at me,” he said, and when those forlorn eyes met his, went on, “you can if you need to. I’m giving you permission. Next time. Whenever. I’ll never be angry with you for wearing it when I come home. Come on, you think I ever would be?”