Kel has seen his share of weird throughout his life, but when London asks him to sub for her and her boyfriend, that tops the list. He isn't gay. He isn't bi. He definitely isn't submissive. And with an underlying case of post traumatic stress disorder from years in the military, anything BDSM just sounds dangerous.
But he also doesn't want to see his friends hurt, and he's positive that will happen if they get together with strangers from the Internet. London plays things too close to the vest for him to get a good enough read on her, but he trusts Ty, even if he doesn't think he'll enjoy turning over control. It'll be a one-off, it'll be a little weird, and they'll all go back to normal.
He's not sure what to do when a little weird turns out to be something he wants.
"Sit," London said, plopping herself down on the edge of the couch.
Kel remained standing, shifting until his back was against the wall and he could see everything and everyone. He really liked standing. He tucked his hands in his back pockets. Maybe this was a bad idea. A threesome was one thing. A threesome with friends was another. A threesome with friends where he was supposed to be submissive seemed impossible.
And just who would you try anything new with, his mind murmured, if not with friends?
He hated his mind.
"Take your jacket off." Ty motioned to a hat stand filled with scarves, coats, and hats. "Stay awhile."
Right. He shrugged out of his jacket self consciously. "How does this work?" He sounded more gruff than he'd meant to. He couldn't help it. London kept watching him.
"It's pretty simple, really," Ty said, wandering toward the mini-bar. "I give the orders, and you follow them." He smiled at London. "Mostly, I'm probably going to repeat what London says, so you might as well save yourself some trouble and follow the lady's instructions."
He couldn't bring himself to believe she'd request anything really bizarre. Not that he had any idea what she might request -- reading online had made him more unsure in that regard than he'd been before. But the twinkle in her eye was more amused than anything. The urge to smile back at her surprised him. He worked to keep his face straight. "No harnesses," he told her, semi-serious.
She blinked at him with wide eyes, feigning innocence. "That wasn't on your piece of paper."
He thought she was feigning. He glanced at Ty -- Tyrone -- for confirmation, and Tyrone laughed. "See, man," Ty said, "This is why she doesn't get to be a dom."
There was that word. It brought a wave of uncertainty. "I don't think I'm gonna be very good at being a-- a--" He couldn't even say it.
Ty -- Tyrone -- cut in. "Don't think about being submissive. Think about following orders. Just..." He smiled slowly, teeth white against his dark skin. "Don't argue."
Kel suppressed the urge to fidget. "What if I don't like something?"
"Be willing to try new things," Ty said. Then he shrugged, crossing to the bar. "But if you really don't like something, then say so. And worst case scenario, you can always use your safe word or tap out. You remember your safe word?"
Kel gave Ty an unimpressed look. "Safe word." He'd figured he'd remember that, just like remembering to tap out when he was overwhelmed was automatic.
London grinned. "That was mine, too."
"Look," Ty said reasonably, "if you realize you really don't like following orders, we can always change things up." He poured a glass of water, sipping, watching Kel over the rim as if waiting for something.
"Okay," Kel said, despite his misgivings. "We gonna do this or what?"
"You sure you want to?" Ty asked. London had folded her hands together, as if it were the only thing keeping her from bouncing up. Ty ignored her. "We could just talk."
Kel scowled at Ty. "I'm here, aren't I? Yes. I want to." Besides which, if he left without doing something he wasn't sure he'd come back.
"All right," Ty said easily, setting down his glass. "Have a seat." He gestured to the couch.
A flutter bubbled in Kel's chest. "What, here? Aren't we--"
"Kel." The word slapped across him, low and flat. "Have a seat."
Kel glanced at Ty and received a steady, calm look in return. He narrowed his eyes, fighting the urge to turn it into a contest of wills. He shifted from one foot to the other. Silence stretched, like taffy. God damn it, he was supposed to be following orders. He nodded once, stiffly, and wandered to the couch slower than he knew politeness would dictate, the tempo of steps his unspoken protest. He sat when London patted a cushion, and as soon as his butt was on the leather she hopped up and spun toward him. Suddenly, he had a lap full of London, sideways across his thighs. His arm came up automatically to keep her from sliding back too far, and he glanced up at Ty. Tyrone. It wasn't Kel's girlfriend who'd just hopped into some other guy's lap, after all.
But Tyrone seemed unperturbed about it, wandering over with his glass of water in one hand and a beer in the other.
Kel's eyebrows rose. "I thought you didn't drink while you... played."
"I don't," Ty said with a half smile. "But my job is to make my people comfortable, and you said you wouldn't get drunk off of one." He held it out.
Kel didn't need alcohol to calm down, but he took it with a sense of relief, anyway. It was even a brand he liked, he realized as he sipped.
Tyrone settled sideways on the couch a few feet away, facing Kel and London and looking perfectly happy to stay there. That was kind of a relief, too.
"First rule," Tyrone said as London took Kel's beer away and drank from it herself, "is to not initiate contact unless otherwise directed."
Kel, halfway through taking his beer back, slid a look over to Ty.
Ty's mouth was gentle, amused, but he looked pointedly at Kel's hand and then back at Kel.
Well. That changed things. Cautiously, testing out how it felt, he pulled his hand away. London grinned at him and offered the bottle again, waggling it. He couldn't decide if it was a real offer or if he was being baited. Kel glanced at Ty, which didn't tell him much, and glanced at London.
"If she's offering it," Ty said, "you can have it."
Kel took it. "This seems like a tease."
"It is," Ty agreed easily. "That's one of the fun things about having-- having someone who takes orders." He was being careful not to say sub, Kel suspected. Kel appreciated it. "Taking them to the edge and holding them there until you tell them to fall. Good news is, contact is going to be encouraged most of the time."
That, he had to admit, sounded like a great way to spend an evening. Of course, it also just sounded like sex. Wasn't that the point? To get close to the edge and stay there until you fell? He kept his gaze on London, sipped his beer, and when she took it from him again he didn't object.
So far, so good. If this was what they were doing, he could manage it. No problem.
Then London leaned in and kissed him. He hesitated, overly-aware that Ty was watching. He kept his hands off her, even removing the one that had been steadying her where she was.
Ty spoke quietly, sounding like he was holding back a laugh. "You can kiss back."
So Kel did. His free hand -- the one not holding beer -- rose to thread through her hair, cradling the back of her skull. She was a little higher than he was, being on his lap, and he had to tilt his head to meet her.
Faintly, he realized he was surprised she was a good kisser. Somehow he'd always figured her awkwardness in conversation would translate to awkwardness in the bedroom, too. He changed the angle of his head, closed his hand gently in her hair to tug, and felt her breath catch. She pulled away and he followed, right until her hand slapped against his sternum and stopped him. Even if he hadn't been supposed to follow orders, he'd have stopped at that. He didn't make it a habit of pursuing women when they didn't want to be pursued.
At some point, he realized, Ty had taken his beer. With a slight smile, Ty took a sip, then handed it to London, who took another sip. She waggled it at him again, this time with a wicked tip to her mouth. When he reached for it she pulled it away.
Kel's eyes narrowed. It made her laugh
"Did you want some?" she asked with polite courtesy so innocent it was bordering on mockery.
He followed suit, just shy of sarcasm himself, with the ultra-polite manners his mama had drilled into him. "Yes please, ma'am." He hadn't meant it in any sort of following-orders way; it just came out, tinged with the accent he'd rid himself of when he'd joined the military.
London's mouth opened. Ty's eyes widened. Kel scowled at them both. Before he could say anything, though, London put the bottle to his mouth and tipped it. He swallowed so that beer didn't spill down his front, his hand coming up to catch her wrist and pull it away before he drowned. As soon as he could breathe, though, Tyrone's hand closed around Kel's wrist and tugged away from London. Not hard, but irrevocably.
Kel looked at dark fingers wrapped around the large bones of his wrist for a long, deciding moment. He could think of twelve ways to break that hold, and seven of them involved breaking bones. Instead, he let go of London and allowed Tyrone to pull his hand down and put it on the couch between them. Tyrone flattened his hand over Kel's, pinning it there gently.