Limits and Stakes
Jacqueline Grey © 2020
All Rights Reserved
It was spring break, and Daniel Stone was enjoying a full week of student-free days. Dressed head-to-toe in tight black leather and itching to play, Daniel entered the Lock & Key. The club wasn’t as big as the one he’d been a member of before moving to Georgia, and membership wasn’t as exclusive, but it was well-recommended, and the staff kept an eye out for the patrons. Most of the members seemed to be well-versed in the lifestyle as well, enough to give him the confidence that, if he were to play with someone, they would at least know what they were doing or say something if they didn’t.
The club was a sufficient distance from where he worked, so he didn’t have to worry about being spotted as a familiar face outside of the scene. A BDSM club in a college town was not where a professor wanted to be found, no matter how liberal the residents claimed to be. A five-hour drive and the expense of a hotel room for the week was a worthy price for freedom.
He ordered a bottle of water and scanned the crowd for potential company. A small group of men caught his eye. Two of the three he disregarded immediately, but the third, a lean blond in the skimpiest pair of leather shorts he’d ever seen, held his attention. He was unable to tear his gaze from all that pale skin or the way the leather hugged his perfectly round bottom.
The boy was obviously new to the scene. There was uncertainty in his movements, but he was doing his best to keep up the conversation. Daniel had full confidence the young man would succeed. Anyone brave enough to go out in public in shorts like those could hold a simple conversation.
When the group moved toward the bar, Daniel finally saw the young man’s face. He froze in surprise. Of the students crowding Georgia State University campus, he now faced the one he’d wanted to avoid the most, the one he wanted to forget. Against his better judgment, he intercepted the group.
“Chris,” he said.
Chris Owen looked up at him, startled. His eyes widened in recognition, and his mouth fell open.
“Pr—” He stopped himself just in time. “Mr. Stone.”
Relief flooded through Daniel. He preferred to keep his daily life separate from the club and was glad it would remain that way.
“You know this kid?” asked one of the men. He stood too close to Chris for Daniel’s liking.
“Yes.” Daniel resisted the impulse to claim anything more. He had no right to claim anything, but his instincts wouldn’t let him back down completely. “My apologies for the interruption. I wasn’t aware Chris planned to be here today.”
The stranger scrutinized the young man, paying particular attention to his neck. “He’s not marked.”
“I’m instructing him,” Daniel said. Well, he had been. For half a semester, he’d tutored Chris in advanced calc, but that had changed after winter break. Either way, the details didn’t apply here. He clutched at straws with half-truths, but he couldn’t help himself. He wanted to know why Chris was there and what he had in mind. He wanted to keep the boy safe.
He wanted to keep him.
No. He’s a student. You promised him two months ago nothing would happen between the two of you, and now you’re trying to put a collar on him? Get a grip, Stone!
“Of course, he’s free to choose who he goes with,” Daniel added, attempting to pull himself out of the hole he’d been digging.
The other man looked at Chris expectantly. Chris flickered his eyes back and forth between them, seemingly lost on how to answer. Daniel put a hand on his shoulder.
“You can continue to the bar as you were, or you can take a tour of the club with me. Which do you want to do? There is no wrong choice.”
“I…” Chris’s gaze locked on Daniel’s. “I…” He swallowed. “I want to go with you.”
There was a tsk from behind Chris, but Daniel ignored it. He also did his best to ignore the sense of triumph running through him.
“Follow me,” he said and headed toward the bar.
“I thought we were going for a tour.”
“One step at a time, boy.” Daniel ordered another water, then scanned the room for somewhere to sit. When the bartender put the drink on the counter, Daniel left it for Chris to pick up and led the way toward the table he’d found. He was glad to hear the crinkle of plastic as Chris followed. The seating he’d chosen had a semblance of privacy. Daniel took the chair against the wall and gestured for Chris to take the other.
“Now, I take it this is what you meant about trying new things over spring break?” he asked.
The boy flushed red. “I… Yes. I’ve always wanted to come here and finally worked up the courage to do it.”
“You did more than that.” Daniel dropped a pointed glance in the direction of Chris’s shorts.
The color in Chris’s face deepened. “You’re not gonna tell anyone, are you?”
“I believe a person’s private life is their own business.”
Daniel took a sip of his water. After a moment, Chris did the same. Daniel caught himself staring when Chris licked his lips. He’d kissed that mouth.
The small details of that moment were forever embedded in his mind. One evening during winter break, they’d come across each other outside the math building on campus. He couldn’t recall why they’d lingered. All he remembered was huddling in his coat against the winter chill and then not caring about the weather as he became entranced by the puffs of air dancing between them as they spoke, the rosy color on Chris’s cheeks, and the sparkle in his clear blue eyes. There had been silence all around them when the conversation had hit a lull and a pull, an irresistible urge that had driven him to kiss a student. Granted, Chris was a grad student and not in any of Daniel’s classes, but Daniel had been his tutor at the time. Even if he hadn’t, Chris was still a student at the college where Daniel worked, and that wasn’t something Daniel was comfortable with. Recklessness led to trouble, and so he’d pulled away. Yet here was that face again, looking at him so openly as if the kiss had never happened and Daniel hadn’t ruined an innocent student-teacher relationship.
He mentally shook himself from his reverie. “Did you have anything in mind when you came here tonight, or was getting through the door the main goal?”
Chris’s blush deepened. “That seemed to be a big enough goal to start with.”
“Now that you’ve accomplished it, what do you plan to do next?”