“Ctirad.” There was a hand on his chin, with a grip that he would have to fight to get out of. He held even stiller, if that was possible. “I did not buy you to use you. I bought you to have you, yes. To own you. But not to use you.”
“But…” Ctirad felt his brow furrow. “Why? And…” He considered his question before deciding he had already pushed all his limits and might as well keep pushing. “What’s the difference? And why have slaves if you’re not going to use them?”
“That – well, both of those, it’s going to take time to answer, because the answers need to be lived. But the short version is, if I’m using you, it has nothing to do with you, just a vessel for my wants.”
“…I Belong to you, sir.”
“Sir,” Sal said quietly from the front seat. “When you end Ermenrich, can I be there?”
Ctirad flinched back, although the hand on his chin kept him from moving far. “I’m fine,” he protested. “You make it sound like I’m sort of whipped dog and he was holding the whip.”
“I’m sorry, Ctirad.” The hand released his chin, only to appear a moment later on his shoulder. “You’re right. You have… beliefs that don’t mesh with how I handle Keeping, that’s all.”
The rush of misery that flooded over Ctirad was nothing new, yet somehow it was even worse than it had been with Ermenrich. He bowed his head and held his shoulders stiff and tight and straight. “I’m sorry, sir,” he muttered. “I’ll try-”
“Balls. Listen, please. Just try – not an order, a request – try to give it a couple weeks until you can see how things work in my household before assuming you’re going to be pimped out or put out on a leash to kill, all right? I want you to understand how I want to treat you, but I don’t think you can, yet.”
“I’m sorry, sir.” he didn’t know what to do with not an order. He clenched his fists in his lap and waited for punishment or explanation of his mistakes.
He didn’t expect the soft hand on his cheek. “I know it’s not going to be easy. But I think you can adjust, if you trust me a little bit and give me a little time to show you what I want of you – and what you can expect from me in return. All right?”
What was he supposed to say to that? “Yes, sir.” He tried not to lean into the touch, but it felt good, and he had not been touched so much in the last two months as he had since Timaios had taken possession of him.
“I think – I think it is time for you to see me.” Timaios still sounded reluctant. Ctirad was beginning to get concerned about what his new Owner must look like. “I think I have to start introducing you to me sooner rather than later. You can open your eyes.”
Ctirad opened his eyes slowly, letting himself adjust to the light. It was late in the day, the sun not too bright, but he’d had his eyes closed for a while.
He blinked a few times before his new Owner’s face came into view, and then he blinked a few more times. “You’re…” He worked his jaw and blinked again.
“Yes,” Timaios agreed. “That’s the first reaction.”
“…. You’re Tim Kaprinsky. You’re the mogul. The- uh. The mogul heir. You’re Tim Kaprinsky? And you wanted me. And Ermenrich crossed you. And – and you wanted me.”
“Yes.” His new owner nodded. His face, along with being famous, was perfect, chiseled cheekbones, firm chin, dark brown hair just long enough to look tousled, skin just a few shades lighter than his hair, eyes a sort of golden hazel. Ctirad worked his jaw a couple more times and thought about being the bedroom toy of Tim Kaprinsky.
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