Tag Archive | character: shel

Beauty-Beast 23: Shopping

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Ctirad had been sure he’d be okay with shopping.

He was doing it for Timaios, after all, and he actually liked his current  owner – so far.  He had to keep repeating so far to himself.  If he forgot it could all go bad, it would hurt so much more when it did.

He was doing it for “the boss,” the way Shel kept saying.  But still, he walked into the first place and he wanted to turn around and flee.

“I.”  he coughed.  “This…” He picked up a handkerchief.  “It costs more than my first year of college.”

“You went to college?”

“ROTC.  Yeah.”  One of those things he didn’t think about much.  “But seriously.  This is-”

“Think about it this way.  It pleases the boss to have you dress like this.  And you’re gonna look like a million dollars when we’re done.”

“I’m going to be wearing a million dollars!  Maybe twice that.”  He was whispering.  Still, they drew the attention of the sales maven.

“Can I help you gentle- ah, Mr. Brown.  Does Mr. Kaprinsky need some more shirts?”

“Not at the moment, no, Tammy.  No, this is Ctirad.  He’s a new… employee of Mr. Kaprinsky, and we need to outfit him properly.”

He managed to make significant pause “employee” sound less like whore and more like we don’t talk about the real relationship, but it’s important.  Ctirad took his cue from that and shifted into a rest position, raising his eyebrows at “Tammy” as she looked him up and down.

“Well, there’s plenty to work with.  He has a perfect body.  Come on then, Ctirad,” like Shel, she managed to pronounce the name correctly on the first try, “let’s get you measured and fitted out.  I have some ideas already. Plenty of room to move, I assume?  Oh, don’t look at me like that.  I can see it from your stance and the way you cased the room.  It’s important your clothes fit you as much as it’s important that you look the way Mister Kaprinsky likes.  And lucky for you, I can handle body.  Now, we’re tailoring around the… choker… right?  Lucky for you, the suitcoat with a t-shirt is in currently, and I have some lovely silk t-shirts.  This way, this way.”

He was fussed into a room more than he was led.  He moved along with it, feeling strangely like he was being sized up for clothing by his second-grade teacher.

And he hadn’t thought about her in ages, either, hadn’t thought about childhood.  He shook himself a little bit.

“Easy, easy.  I’m not going to do anything too weird.  See, no weapons.”  She held up her arms.

Ctirad looked her up and down as she was inviting him to.  “No weapons,” he agreed.  “You work with a lot of… ex-military?”

“I do.  Not just in this little city, oh, no.  Here and there and everywhere, but I keep my office here for Mr. Kaprinsky.  He goes through those shirts…” She winked cheerfully at him.

“You should have a weapon, then.” What?  He didn’t tell people should, that wasn’t his job.  That was very distinctly not his job.  The opposite of job.  It had been explained… oh.  “Shel?” he asked weakly.

“Go ahead and have bodyguard opinions.  Tammy isn’t going to mind and neither is the boss.”

So Shel, although out of line of sight, was definitely staying in earshot.  Good to know.  Ctirad wondered if that was for his comfort or for Tammy’s.

“I’m not exactly helpless, it’s just that everything I have is defensive.”  She winked at him.  “And yes, son, you can have all the bodyguard opinions you want.  It makes me feel safer, let me tell you.  Now let’s see, I’m going to have to measure all of you.  Any places you want to hold the tape instead of me holding it?”

That was, Ctirad was pretty certain, a little unusual.  On the other hand, he’d never been fitted for a suit that cost this much money before  “No, but I wouldn’t mind, uh, a warning?”

“I can definitely give you a warning.  All right, here we go, here we go.”  True to her word, she warned him before each measurement, doing it as a steady prattle of “and now I’m going to -” interspersed with gossip about a niece of hers that, for all Ctirad knew, might be entirely fictional.

It didn’t matter.  She was talking to him – like a person, or at the very least like a customer, which might be a subset of person but still meant she thought he needed to be catered to.  Ctirad smiled at the appropriate points, put in a nice chuckle a time or two, and answered her are-you-paying-attention questions with just enough of his mind to not be rude.  The rest of him was casing the place and the woman.

She might be fae; he couldn’t tell.  Knowing those things might be something else his education had been lacking.  She moved with a great deal of extraneous gestures that covered over very nicely how smooth and efficient her core body movement was.  She smiled a lot but rarely showed her teeth, and she touched him in such a way that she would know immediately if his shoulders tensed.

He thought about trying it, but she was being so nice, he didn’t want to ruin the moment.  Instead he waited patiently until she patted him on the shoulder.

“And there you go.  I’ll get you some off-the-rack things for today; I imagine you have some more shopping to do, mmm?  Can’t wander around like that all the time.  And then I’ll have the rest to you in a week.  Two weeks for the tux, three for white tie.”  That last bit was to Shel, who, it seemed, was assumed to be Ctirad’s handler.  “He’ll need to come in for one more fitting.”

Shel saluted.  “As you say, ma’am.  Come on, Ctirad, get off your feet for a few.  There’s coffee and tea, and even Tammy will take at least two or three minutes to get you some clothes.”


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Beauty-Beast 22: New Information

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Fuck. Did everyone know Ctirad was the boss’s idiot leashed pet?

“Easy, easy. Come on, man.” Shel ran a hand in front of his face; when he dropped his hand, his skin was nut-brown and his ears were pointed. He looked a bit spindly around the joints and he was about half a foot shorter. “Easy. We’re all fae here. That means we all know what a collar means, okay?”

Ctirad touched the collar with both hands and tried to ignore the feeling in the pit of his stomach. “It means I’m his bitch.” That’s what Ermenrich had told him. “But that was… That was Ermenrich.”

“No, Ermenrich is just an asshole.” Shel sat down a few feet away from Ctirad. “Look. Belonging isn’t something Ermenrich made up for you, okay? It’s not something that he did because he’s clever or because he knows how to use people. You didn’t know?”

Ctirad shook his head, not trusting himself to words.

“Damnit, and I bet you act so… Well, self-confident isn’t the word, but you act like you know everything that’s going on. So the boss wouldn’t know, just think you were, uh. Abused. Which you were – sorry, but it’s true.” Shel leaned back. “Damn. Okay. You had a Mentor, you were trained?”

Ctirad swallowed. “I was working for one of Ermenrich‘s associates. I almost died. I Changed. Ermenrich found me a teacher and taught me the basics.”

“Okay, so he found someone that would leave out the things he didn’t want you to know. What an asshole. And then- uh, what came next, if you don’t mind me asking?”

He minded. But he wanted information. “I stayed working for his associate for another couple years. I had a name, I was making a name for myself. And then Ermenrich decided I should come work as his man. Be his. And that was fine… I guess. That was what it was. But then…”

“But then you were his, and you were under his thumb, because he’d tricked you into a Belonging. What an asshole,” Shel repeated. “What a ridiculous fucking asshole.”

Ctirad ducked his head and tried to get control of himself. “So… Uh.” He didn’t even know where to start.

“So he tricked you into something because he knew you didn’t know. It’s not your fault. And it’s not… uh.” Shel looked over at him. “So. The collar means – what the collar means is that you agreed to Belong to someone – the boss in this case – and what THAT means is that you agreed to be under their Name, to do as their will dictates, and to be protected by them. Pretty much, he hired all of you instead of just some daytime work. Now, you and I know – or I’m getting, at least – that you didn’t actually agree to shit, and I’m pretty sure the boss knows that, too. But just seeing the collar, nah. That just tells people you’re all in, that the boss and you are like this,” he crossed his fingers tightly. “So, none of this ‘you’re his bitch’ stuff, okay? It only means that when your Keeper is an asshole.”

Ctirad swallows. “So. I am wearing a collar.” He touched it. He was still definitely wearing a collar. “And I have no idea what it means. That is – that is not more reassuring than wearing a collar and knowing what it means, even knowing it meant I was someone’s bitch.”

Shel snorted. “No. Well, let’s see. You know that it means that you do what he says, that you want to please him, and that displeasing him makes you unhappy – don’t look at me like that, I’ve spent some time in a collar, too. Actually, the boss bought me in a situation… not too different from yours, although I was more of an adult when I went into it, at least. I knew what I was getting into, or thought I did. Not saying my situation is yours, but I know what it’s like to be Kept, to Belong – those are the words they use, although there’s fancier words, there’s longer words, and there’s formal words. Anyway. What it means, under fae law, is that he’s responsible for you. What it means, practically, is that we know not to mess with you, because you belong to the boss. Practically, though, we all do what he says.” Shel shrugged. “If your education was that slim, I’ll talk to the boss about taking some time out to teach you the things your Mentor missed.”

“I’m not a kid,” Ctirad offered weakly. “I was a full-grown adult and everything-”

“There’s adult and there’s adult, I’m afraid.” Shel’s smile was apologetic. “And you were an adult, sure, but you were mis-educated. At least in fae things. I’m not saying anything about your human-life stuff. So…?”

Ctirad looked up at him. “So everything Ermenrich told me was a lie?”

“Well, I don’t know about everything. But it’s a good bet. I mean… It’s a good starting point? And if you want to ask me about things, I won’t tell anyone anything you ask. Cross my heart.” Shel made the gesture across his rather attractive chest. “Now. Are you okay to go shopping, or should I tell the boss something came up and we ended up sitting around eating ice cream all day and bitching about our employers?”

Ctirad stared at him. “You’re joking, right? I mean, he said I should go shopping.”

“Ah, but did he make it an order?”

“…No? No, but he. He told me to go shopping.”

“Then I guess we’ll go shopping, and then I’ll buy you some ice cream, and yes, you can punch me if I get too irritating, but try to avoid the face, please, I make money with this face.” Shel held out a hand to Ctirad. “Let’s do that, before I change my mind and we really do sit around all day eating ice cream, all right?”

“Tempting,” Ctirad admitted. He took the hand. “But I don’t think I could manage to do that.”

“Hey, that’s the thing about Belonging to someone. Even a good owner like the boss, it messes with your head. And from your accounts, your previous owner was anything but a good one. So that’s fine. It’s like, uh, PTSD. You’ve been in a traumatic situation. It’ll take you a while to get your brain back on straight. Let’s see.” He looked Ctirad up and down. “Jeans, shirt. Shoes downstairs.”


“That’ll do. All right. Watch out shopping world, here we come.”


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Beauty-Beast 21: Change of Pace

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As if understanding how overwhelmed Ctirad was feeling, Timaios gave him simple, direct orders for breakfast. “Sit here by me on the bed, we’ll eat off the lap tables, and eat as much as you want to eat but no more.” Ctirad, freshly scrubbed but still feeling like his brain was foggy and strange, managed a quiet “yes, sir” and nothing more.

Timaios left him sitting like that on the bed while he dressed and cleaned up for the day. Ctirad had fallen into a pleasant trance of time-to-my-self-in-comfort by the time he felt his master’s hand on his chin.

“You would tell me if something was wrong, correct?”

Not normally. This was not normal. Ctirad reviewed the day and found himself blushing. “Sir, I. That was wonderful. I liked it. I wanted it. I just… you’re so uh. I.” He couldn’t look away but he focused on Timaios’ lips and not his eyes.

“May I guess?”

“You’re in charge, sir. I mean – yes, of course?” What was he supposed to say when Timaios asked him permission?

“The attention is more than you’re used to and you’re overwhelmed. You need some time to re-center yourself?”

“…Oh. Ah.” To the list of new things with this Owner Ctirad added understands me. “Yes, sir.”

“I’ll tell Shel to give you an hour to yourself before the shopping trip. That should be long enough?”

“…Yes. Yes, sir?” An hour. “What should I do, sir?”

Timaios chuckled and tousled Ctirad’s hair. “Stay up here, in my rooms, until Shel comes to get you – this time, after this, you can use the gym when you’re left alone. But you can do whatever you want up here. It’s time to yourself, the idea is to do things for yourself.”

He really was different. Ctirad half-bowed, because he had no idea what to say. “Thank you, sir.” Well, that seemed like a good start. “I mean – I mean it? Thank you very much.”

“You’ve been lovely and patient, Ctirad. You deserve a little peaceful time to relax.”

“Thank you,” he repeated. “I’ll do that.” He knelt and waited for Timaios to leave, because… because he didn’t know anything else to do. He wasn’t scolded or laughed at or told to move, so he supposed it was not the worst idea.

Once he was sure Timaios was gone, Citrad stood and rolled his shoulders and his head. He did jumping jacks, checking to make sure the floor made little-to-no-noise, and push-ups and sit-ups. Then he did it all again, squats and lunges and running in place, until he actually wore himself out.

He showered again and toweled off, put on the one pair of sweat pants he had been given to wear, and paced around Timaios’ rooms, exploring every nook and cranny.

There were a lot of those – nooks, crannies, hidey-holes, everything tucked away in its own concealed place. He found a drawer of sex toys and handled every one of them, making sure he wouldn’t be freaked out when the time came for Timaios to use them on him.

When his hour was up, the knock on the door almost surprised him. Ctirad was in a full split, head down on his knee, trying to gauge exactly how much flexibility he’d lost. “I’m here,” he called.

“I’m Shel.” The man that walked in was an irish-looking man with islands-brown skin. He was taller than Ctirad but not a giant like most people here, and he was dressed casually in jeans and a T-shirt and carrying what looked like the same over his arm. “My stuff won’t fit you well, but it’ll fit well enough for you to get into the stores. Ah, I’m supposed to take you shopping, that is. I mean, looking like you do, they’d let you into the stores in your altogether, just to get a chance to look at you, but I’m imagining that’s not what you want.”

Want again. Ctirad considered the question, as much as it wasn’t really a question. “I think,” he said carefully, “It wouldn’t do for Tim Kaprinsky’s new … boyfriend? or whatever to be wandering around town naked. Wrong sort of gossip, right?”

“Mmm, you’re probably right. Besides, at least with you clothed, I won’t be upstaged quite so – shit, I’m sorry.” Shel sat down in front of Ctirad. “You’ve got a really, really good poker face, dude, but you’ve got some tells. I was teasing, I promise. I’m not into guys, that’s not what I do for the boss, and I don’t really mind that you’re prettier than I am. That’s, uh, in your job description. My job description is to look sleek in a suit and buy everything, find everything, clean everything, and making things disappear. Today, my job is to get you clothes.” He handed Ctirad the pile of clothes he’d come in carrying. Ctirad took them, feeling a little numb. “If you don’t mind – and I mean that, if you mind, tell me to butt out – can you tell me where I put my foot in it?”

Ctirad flipped through the pile of clothing and pulled on the shirt, suddenly feeling shy. “I- uh.” He minded. On the other hand, he was trying to be friendly and polite here. No need to start off on a bad foot with the staff. “I’m self-conscious about my appearance,” he managed, sounding as bland and clinical as he could.

“Hunh. Right, I can see that. So, is clothes shopping going to be stressful for you?”

Ctirad peeled off his sweats and pulled on the jeans. They were too long for him, but cut so that looked purposeful. “That’s a face I’m doing for the boss,” he explained, trying to still sound clinical and mostly succeeding. “That’s not about me, it’s about what the boss wants me to look like.”

“Okay.” When Ctirad looked up, Shel was nodding slowly. “So you can do it, as long as we make it a job. Right. That’s going to make casual clothes hard – no, it won’t,” he corrected himself, “we’ll do it the same way. All right, did you eat something?”

“Yes, sir, I mean,” Ctirad coughed. “Yeah. I ate.”

Shel snorted. “I’m a wage sla – I’m an employee, just like you. Well, a little different, I suppose. I volunteered.”

Ctirad’s head snapped up and he stared at Shel wordlessly. Fuck, he knew?


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