“Okay, give it to him a bit harder. Let's see how he reacts.”
I nodded. “Yes Sir.”
I gave Sebastian a few of the gentler swats just to ease him into it. Then I started laying them on a little heavier and faster. I saw him tense up between blows, but he seemed to deal with the pain okay. When he started grunting and squirming, I hesitated, looking over at James for instruction. I really didn't want to hurt him too much. To me, it seemed like we were getting close to his limit, and I wanted to stop.
“Keep going,” James said. “He's doing fine.”
I hesitated. “But...”
James stared at me. “I beg your pardon?”
“Sorry, Sir.” I started flogging Sebastian again, but I could only force myself to give him a few more. I found I couldn't continue. I just couldn't.
“I think he... I think maybe that's enough,” I said firmly, surprised by my own bravery, and wondering how James would react to my impertinence. But I had to speak up.
I looked at him and he stared back at me for a very long moment. I didn't dare say anything more. My heart quailed and I wondered if he would punish me and take over Sebastian's lesson.
“Is something going on here, Tate?” he said very quietly. “Is there something going on between you and Sebastian?”
So much for not telling. Jesus, he had good instincts.
“Yes, Sir.” I admitted, casting my eyes down.
He stood and moved toward me. A frisson of fear ran down my spine but I stood my ground. He grabbed my chin in his gloved hand and made me look him in the eyes.
“Why didn’t either of you tell me?” he said angrily.
I cleared my throat. “We didn’t think... you needed to know.”
He stared at me in disbelief for several long moments, then he dropped his hand from my chin and in a very cold voice said, “Unfasten him. I want you both to shower, get dressed, and meet me downstairs in an hour.”
Hold on. I didn’t want to stop playing. I just wanted to stop flogging him.
“But...” I started to say. “Do it!” he said in a voice that left me no choice but to obey.
When we got upstairs we didn’t say anything to each other. I felt like I’d let both Sebastian and James down. What the hell had happened? I didn’t know how Sebastian felt about my little mutiny. Was he pleased that I’d stopped the play or disappointed because now it looked like our weekend might be over?
“Tate?” he said softly as I bent to start the shower.
“Yeah,” I mumbled, not looking at him.
I looked at him. “I fucked everything up.”
“By protecting me?”
“You would have been fine.”
“I was ready to stop. I was thinking about my hand signals.”
“Really?” I felt relief flood through me. My instincts had been correct.
He nodded. “Do you think he’s going to make us leave?”
“I don’t know. Probably.”
He stared at me. “Do you want to?”
“I don’t know. Not really.”
An hour later we descended the stairs to the kitchen/living room. James stood in the kitchen, holding a glass of water in one hand, and a bunch of papers in the other. He regarded us sternly.
“Have a seat on the couch.”
We did as we were told because his tone of voice and stance left no room for argument. The man definitely had a natural affinity for dominance.
He took a sip of water, placing his glass back on the counter. He filled up two more glasses and brought them to the coffee table.
“Have a drink please. We have a lot to talk about.”
We took our glasses and sipped. I don’t know about Sebastian, but I felt like I’d just gotten in trouble with the school principal—a situation both humiliating and arousing at once. James had replaced his old worn jeans with dark blue ones, and put on a black t-shirt. He looked at once dangerous, and incredibly fuckable.
“So,” James said. “What exactly is going on here?” He gestured between the two of us. “Have you been fucking each other on your own time?”
“Yes, Sir.” I looked at Sebastian.
“Yes, Sir.” Sebastian echoed.
“Just fucking?” he asked.
I looked at Sebastian again, wondering how much we should divulge.
“We're kind of dating,” Sebastian said quietly.
James didn't say anything for awhile. Several emotions crossed his face but I couldn't really decipher them. He shook his head slowly from side to side. “Well, isn't that adorable.” He didn't sound angry, just tired. And maybe disappointed?
He sat down in the chair across from the couch. “Why didn't you tell me?”
I looked at him. “We didn't think...it was necessary.”
He stared at both of us in disbelief. “You didn't think it was necessary?”
I shook my head. What is he getting at?
“And after what just happened upstairs, do you still think it
I thought for a moment, then blushed as understanding dawned on me. How could I have been so stupid?
“No, Sir,” I said, deeply ashamed all of a sudden. I wondered if I'd ever be able to live this down.
“Thank you. Do you even realize, Tate Mackenzie, how counterproductive it is for you to keep secrets from me in this kind of situation?”
“Yes, Sir.” Fuck fuck fuck.
“I don’t understand...” Sebastian spoke up suddenly. “It happened on our own time. So it’s not really any of your business, is it? Sir.”
I put my head in my hands.
“Of course you don’t understand, Sebastian, you’re very new to all this. But Tate should know better.”
I heard him get up and go into the kitchen. When I heard him come back I took my head from my hands. He sat back down in the chair, taking a long drink from the glass of water he had gotten. We stared at each other silently for a long while.
“I’m sorry,” I said finally. “I should have told you.”
“Can I ask you something? Both of you?” he said. “And please, for the love of God, tell me the truth.”
“In light of what happened upstairs, and in light of the relationship you two are beginning to develop, are you even still interested in continuing with our weekend? I won't be offended if you say no.”
Sebastian and I looked at each other. Sebastian nodded and I turned back to James. “We'd like to continue.”
“Okay.” He nodded, tossing the paperwork onto the table. “Then we have some work to do. We're going to have to go through the paperwork that you both filled out and redefine limits, expectations, taking into account this new development. This changes the dynamic here quite a bit.” He stared at us both sternly. “I need to have all the information in order to be your Dom. This relationship here,” he gestured between the three of us, “is one based entirely on mutual respect and trust. When you withhold important information from me, I can't do my job properly. I'm not just ordering you around on a whim, even though it may seem that way sometimes. I'm attempting to give you a wonderful experience within your boundaries, perhaps testing the edges at times, but within the parameters that you've given me to work with. Something like this changes everything.”
We nodded in understanding.
“I’m really sorry. I should have known better,” I said.
“Well, it's a good lesson to learn, Tate,” James said. “And I'm really glad you both want to continue. Because I think we can sort this out quite easily this evening. And that still leaves us two days.” He smiled at us.
We grinned back at him, relieved.