[[Open to simply_ellie only.]] Warning: Language and suggestive content.
Dr. Michael Anders has a blindfold tucked in his pocket as he pulls up to Elise's apartment. His PINpoint is in the other pocket. As he parks and climbs the stairs to the lobby, he grins broadly. This is going to be the best surprise ever.
2006-07-08 06:21 pm (local)
|Ellie can't imagine what the "Nexus surprise" that Michael had mentioned could be. I certainly hope it's not some sort of Nexus LOL, but that doesn't seem to be his style, either. Whatever it is, he's got me stumped.|
He hadn't told her how to dress, and since the Nexus was often a rather casual place, she'd put on some cargo pants and tiny t-shirt, much the same outfit she'd worn to go gardening with his mom.
I can't imagine what it'd be?
2006-07-08 06:23 pm (local)
|Michael presses the buzzer for her apartment, trying and failing to suppress the enormous grin on his face. You are going to love this, Kitten. Better than the country club, and almost as good as moving your parents' farm to Chicago!|
2006-07-08 06:25 pm (local)
|She practically races to the intercom, hearing that buzz. "Michael?" He's warned her enough times to not automatically buzz him in that she always verifies it's him first.|
2006-07-08 06:27 pm (local)
|"It's me." His voice is very excited. "May I come in, m'lady?"|
2006-07-08 06:30 pm (local)
|"Yes sir, you may!" Pressing the buzzer, she lets him in. It'll be a few moments until he's at her door after that. I can't wait to find out! And he sounds pretty excited too.|
2006-07-08 06:33 pm (local)
|Michael has too much energy to take the elevator, so he just heads up the steps. This is going to be the best surprise anyone's ever had, he just knows it! Reaching her floor, he takes a few deep breaths before heading over to her door and knocking.|
I am ready for this!
2006-07-08 06:38 pm (local)
|Grinning, she unlocks and opens the door to greet him. "Would you like to come in first?" She's not sure if they're driving somewhere else first or not.|
Very determinedly, she tries not to think of the magazine Sharon showed her last night. But he sure is pretty excited!
2006-07-08 06:40 pm (local)
|He enters her apartment, and gives her a hug. "Sure... we have to PINpoint to our destination anyway, so I parked in the lot. No driving necessary tonight."|
He looks her over; what she's wearing is up to the challenge.
"You need anything before we go?"
Excited? Him? Hell yeah.
2006-07-08 06:46 pm (local)
|"Gosh, I'm not sure. Do I?" She has to giggle at that, since she really has no way of knowing. "And do you need anything for yourself, from here?"|
His excitement is infectious, and it's making her even more bouncier than usual. "Are you going to at least give me a hint?"
2006-07-08 06:47 pm (local)
|He shakes his head to both of her question, and takes out the blindfold. "I just need you to put this on, and we'll be ready. You're not allowed to peek at the surprise before I tell you."|
He smiles and winks. After all, he knows she trusts him, and this is definitely something she can trust him about.
2006-07-08 06:50 pm (local)
|Ellie's eyebrows go up at the blindfold. This is rather unexpected, and she's never put one on herself. Should I mention that there's a heavier-duty one around her, or leave it be?|
"That secret, huh?" Holding the blindfold, she starts to blush. "Um... I've never put these on myself, Simon usually does it for me. Help please?"
2006-07-08 06:53 pm (local)
|He chuckles. "I can do that..."|
Moving behind her, he takes the blindfold and then drapes it gently over her eyes, slowly drawing it taut and tying it behind her head.
"Is this comfortable?"
The moment, he finds, is rather intimate, in a sort of comfortable way. Because part of me thinks that blindfolding her should be an everyday aspect of our relationship... I'm a strange man.
2006-07-08 06:59 pm (local)
|"Thank you." Grinning, she hope that it doesn't mess up the way the blindfold fits her.|
This almost feels like it could be Simon tying the blindfold, but it obviously can't be him. And it's time to stop thinking about these things, okay?
"Yes, very. And I can't see any light from the bottom or anything." Reaching out a hand, she's a little disoriented at first. It's often this way for her and nothing unusual.
2006-07-08 07:01 pm (local)
|He takes her hand, and puts her arm around his waist. Then he puts his arm around her shoulder, and takes his PINpoint out. "Okay, I'll tell you when to step forward. Are you ready?"|
He makes sure she's absolutely steady as he calls up the portal right in front of them.
2006-07-08 07:04 pm (local)
|Her arm tightens around him in preparation. She's never even played games like this with Simon, and she's only able to do it because she trusts Michael just as much as she does her Master. "Ready as I can be!" Yes, she's a little nervous too.|
2006-07-08 07:05 pm (local)
|Michael steps forward, leading Elise through the portal with him. Suddenly, they're surrounded by the sounds and smells of a barn, very much like the barn they visited only a few days earlier in Indiana.|
"So now... ready for your surprise?"
2006-07-08 07:10 pm (local)
|Ellie frowns a little, taking in those sounds and smells. It's like Indiana, but not... nah, couldn't be. Petting zoo? But this smells sweeter and fresher than a zoo would be.|
"Yes please!" Grinning, she bites her lip in anticipation!
2006-07-08 07:14 pm (local)
|Pulling the knot on her blindfold, which he deliberately hadn't doubled, he whips the fabric away.|
They're in the Stables' barn. Stalls stretch to either side, and the sounds of the horses already stabled here are very audible. A marmelade barn cat saunters over and winds around Ellie's feet. Through the open door at one end, they can see the paddock and, beyond it, rolling hills.
It's even more beautiful this time.
2006-07-08 07:28 pm (local)
|Ellie blinks as he undoes the blindfold, and her eye slowly adjust to the light again. At least wherever they are -- Oh. MY. We're going to meet horses?!|
"Oh my gosh!" She's already bouncing, careful to not disturb the cat. Her mouth is open in shock, incredulous that he'd found a way for them to meet horses or go riding so soon after their trip.
2006-07-08 07:31 pm (local)
|He grins. She doesn't know the full significance of it yet, but she will soon, and that excites him greatly.|
"What do you think? Want a tour?"
2006-07-08 07:35 pm (local)
|"Yes please! Is this your parents' club?" She can't help herself and bends down to pet the marmalade cat. He -- or she -- reminds her a bit of Tiger, one of the barn cats from home, and that widens her smile even more!|
2006-07-08 07:38 pm (local)
|"No, actually, we're in part of the Nexus. But I might introduce my parents to the Nexus by showing them this place. My mom will probably want to ride here, too."|
He's dying to tell her he owns it, but wants to find a way to make her guess it, so that he can see the look in her eyes as she does.
2006-07-08 07:42 pm (local)
|"Wow, that's right. You did say that, didn't you? How did you find this place?"|
Catching sight of the paddock and the pasture beyond, she's enrapt. This is... like a dream. Like what I used to envision, playing with my plastic Breyer horses on my bedroom floor. But real. Even getting to just see this place is a phenomenal treat for her.
The snuffling of a horse pulls her from her daydream. "I'm sorry, did you say something?"
2006-07-08 07:44 pm (local)
|"No, I think Eagle did... that's him in this stall... I found it because there was a for-sale ad about it in the Nexus internet system." He has the smuggest grin imaginable on his face.|
2006-07-08 07:47 pm (local)
|"Oh, that's so clever of you!" Ellie gives him a huge hug before turning to see Eagle, the owner of the snuffling.|
"It must be a lot easier to come in and visit, with a place that's up for sale." She thinks that Michael is very resourceful that way, and is glad of it.
2006-07-08 07:48 pm (local)
|"Well..." His grin gets even bigger! "It's not actually up for sale anymore."|
2006-07-08 07:49 pm (local)
|"Oh gosh! So we came here just in time?" Obviously, someone's not getting the punchline, is she?|
2006-07-08 07:50 pm (local)
|"Well, see, we can come here whenever we want... that's the beauty of it." He wonders if he's going to have to spell it out... but he's hoping not!|
2006-07-08 07:55 pm (local)
|"Wait... what?" Blinking several times, she wonder if she heard what he said correctly. I think I need my hearing tested. Or something. Because what he just said... Oh. MY. GOD.|
"You did say 'anytime,' right?" She has to reach out to hold onto him, because what's been implied so far is rather overwhelming.
2006-07-08 07:56 pm (local)
|His hand moves to her waist to steady her, and his grin is almost splitting his face open. "I should probably have made sure you were sitting down for this, shouldn't I?"|
2006-07-08 07:59 pm (local)
|Blinking, she has to lean into him. Having a friend own something like this is beyond her wildest dreams, and she hopes he'll let her come over frequently.|
"Yes, wow. I... I had no idea. When did you buy the stable?" This -- the stable -- has to be it, right?
2006-07-08 08:04 pm (local)
|"Thursday... once I saw the place, things moved pretty fast." There's still paperwork in progress, but the money has changed hands and everything's in order. "We have plenty of space, some really great horses, a lot of countryside, and if you want, next time your parents have a fillie to sell, she could come here."|
Yes, he's used we, without even consciously noticing it. In his mind, the Stables aren't his as much as theirs.
2006-07-08 08:11 pm (local)
|Ellie is still quite agog. "So when you went out to do errand during lunch Thursday, this is what you were doing?"|
That 'we' makes her blink. He has to be talking about his girlfriend, right? Or maybe he went in on this as an investment with his parents? I'm not sure, but I don't think he and Dad had discussed Muscut, and how the stud service pays for a lot of things on the farm.
"This is is just wonderful! I'm sure your girlfriend is going to love it too!"
2006-07-08 08:14 pm (local)
|"This is what I was doing, yes." Crap, the imaginary other woman again... he hates lying, so how to finesse it... "Oh, definitely. I really caught the riding bug from you. Want to see everything? You can tell me if there's anything I need to get."|
2006-07-08 08:18 pm (local)
|"Yes please! I want to see everything!" She's still overwhelmed at the moment, thinking that she's probably still missing thing right in front of her. Both literally and figuratively, really.|
"Have you brought your girlfriend here yet?" Ellie's certain that she'd love it too; otherwise, the woman would be crazy!
2006-07-08 08:20 pm (local)
|Oh God. "You're the first person I showed this to... you're the one who'll appreciate it most."|
There, not actually a yes or a no, so not a lie in any posible sense, right?
2006-07-08 08:25 pm (local)
|"You have no idea what an honor this is!" Impulsively, she hugs him tightly and kisses his cheek. "Thank you so much!"|
"I'm sure she'll love it when she sees it though. How could she not?"
2006-07-08 08:27 pm (local)
|He hugs her tightly in return. "You're welcome."|
He kisses her cheek, and then cringes at her next question.
"Who wouldn't? This place is amazing."
Duck, duck, duck, duck... crow. He's going to be eating crow.
2006-07-08 08:31 pm (local)
|"I'm sorry to bring this up now, but it's been bothering me since last night. Does she happen to read the Chicago society magazines? Because if she does, I owe her a huge apology."|
Biting her lip, she's felt so guilty since Sharon had showed her those magazines last night. I should've been better behaved, and I hadn't been. I am so sorry, Michael.
2006-07-08 09:04 pm (local)
|"Well, uh..." Crap. "I didn't think she read the society magazines... I guess she might, though. But... I guess maybe I should see whatever this is?"|
I am so fucked. I am completely fucked.
2006-07-08 09:10 pm (local)
|The marmalade cat keeps winding around her legs, begging to be picked up. She obliges it, and gives it a kiss on the top of its head. Yes, she'd like something to snuggle while discussing this.|
"There were pictures of us on your boat. Once, with your parents; the other was the weekend before we went to Indiana, and um..." She doesn't want to embarass them both there.
"I had dinner with Sharon last night, and she was curious about where I was working. And well, she remembered your name..." Biting her lip, she hopes he's not angry with her. Way to ruin a great night, Ellie!
2006-07-08 09:14 pm (local)
|"Oh. God. Elise, I..." He swallows. All of the pictures he bought -- and he thinks he bought the entire series -- were purchased using his real name. Including the ones he told her he owned as Master Simon. "I didn't realize they were you until you told me you posed for Alex. I really didn't."|
In his shock, he's completely forgotten about the paparazzi pictures she mentioned.
2006-07-08 09:23 pm (local)
|"I know, it's okay. Really and truly." Giving him a reassuring smile, she's being completely honest. "It is nice to know that they were sold to people who like and understand the lifestyle. But if you'd rather return them, so your girlfriend won't wonder who the woman in the photographs is, I think Sharon would be willing to take them back."|
But Alex's prints aren't the ones that would likely cause the most stir, especially since his girlfriend would more than likely be a sub. "The thing is... the paparazzi captured quite the moment, one that I didn't even realize we had. And I really hope she hasn't seen it. I am so sorry, Michael."
2006-07-08 09:27 pm (local)
|"I... if it's okay with you, I'd really like to keep them? And... I think if she'd seen it before now, I'd, uh... I'd have heard about it."|
He's completely lost as to how to discuss this with her. There is no other woman, and he doesn't want to tell her any really elaborate lie. He wants to be totally honest with her.
Oh God, Kitten, this is so complicated. I didn't mean to invade so many parts of your life the way I did... did I?
2006-07-08 09:36 pm (local)
|"Sure, that's fine with me, as long as she's comfortable with it too." Trying to put this delicately isn't working, and she'd really hate for his girlfriend to see the one of him massaging lotion into the backs of her knees. Working up the nerve, she kisses the cat again.|
"If she has any of the magazine's issues in her house, you um, might want to have them disappear. You were..." Blushing a deep red, she has to force herself to keep going. "Very excited. Your clothes fit differently." Hopefully, that will make sense to him.
I am so sorry about all of this! I really don't want to hurt her feelings, and it's all my fault that happened!
2006-07-08 09:43 pm (local)
|Oh... shit. Of all possible moments for a photographer to catch, it had to be the one where he was seriously considering breaking the masquerade and simply taking her.|
"I get you... I'll um... look around and make sure any issues like that disappear..."
Dear God, has my mother seen that picture? He groans in horror at the thought. While on one hand it'd only confirm her accurate suspicions that her son is madly in love with a beautiful woman... he doesn't want his mother seeing him with a hard-on!
2006-07-08 09:55 pm (local)
|Concerned, she quietly watches him for a moment, still holding the cat. It's purring loudly now, and it's such a contrast to how he must feel. There's no way to ever say how sorry I am for having to tell you about all of this.|
"Sharon said the gossip columns all seem to think some 'blonde mystery woman' is your girlfriend, and all the pictures of them... well, they're me." God, have I ruined his life?! "And I know that if I were her, seeing that would really hurt."
2006-07-08 09:59 pm (local)
|Now he's the one who needs to sit down, and he does, on the nearest bale of hay. It's one that Dobson must have dragged into the stalls area to use as fresh covering, but hadn't actually unbaled yet.|
"I..." He closes his eyes and pinches the bridge of his nose. "She's... not going to be hurt..."
Just say it, you goddamn coward.
2006-07-08 10:07 pm (local)
|Biting her lip, she's worried that she's pushed too far and gone into territory that isn't hers to discuss. Judging by his reaction, she thinks there are two possible explanations: either he's poly, as is his sub; or, this girlfriend simply doesn't exist.|
She hopes he won't mind that she takes a seat next to him on the bale of hay. At least the cat seems pleased, now having two warm laps to plunder. "I'm so sorry, Michael. You're so nice and generous and wonderful..." Shouldn't she be saying these things to Simon? "She has to be just as good a person, and..."
She sounds like a better person than I could be, to overlook those kinds of things.
2006-07-08 10:12 pm (local)
|Seeing her start in on the self-recriminations -- sometimes he feels like he can read her mind and spot it when she starts berating herself -- is what breaks it open. He can't tell her a lie that's going to make her hate herself. He absolutely can't.|
"There's no one else." He closes his eyes and swallows, because the words came out so hoarse they were only just audible. "There never was anyone else."
2006-07-08 10:37 pm (local)
|Watching him makes her heart twist, feeling utterly horrible for the way she's treated him at various times. This is one of them. Easing the cat from her lap, she leans over to hug him tightly. Her eyes start to well up with tears, for the both of them. I am a horrible and selfish person for making him feel so uncomfortable, and for wanting to be his. But things didn't work out this way, and he deserves someone so much better than I could ever be.|
"I'm so sorry..." Instead of letting him go like she knows she should, she only hugs him tighter.
2006-07-08 10:41 pm (local)
|He pulls her closer, and the cat grumbles and jumps down out of the way.|
"It's okay. It's not your fault... I just... didn't want you trying to find someone else for me. I had to say something to stop you... it was the only thing that came to mind."
He still doesn't have the right to tell her the real reason why... not completely. He wants to unmask for her, end all of her confusion...
...But he doesn't have the right to.
2006-07-08 10:48 pm (local)
|Her thoughts and emotions in total riot, she's not sure how to make things better or even if she can. What she had tried to do -- find him someone of his own -- had been meddling of the worst kind and she won't forgive herself for doing that, even if he does.|
"I'm so sorry I made you so uncomfortable, I should never have done that. It's just..." Biting her lip, she has a confession of her own. "You're one of the best friends I've ever had and I only wanted you to be happy."
You're my best friend, Michael. God, possibly even more than Anne or Simon or anyone else.
2006-07-08 10:52 pm (local)
|"I know..." He takes a deep breath, inhaling her scent. The truth is, he's happier than he's ever been in his life, with her close to him. "I just don't want anyone else..."|
Saying that as Simon would be one thing; saying it as Michael... big mistake.
2006-07-08 11:12 pm (local)
|Ellie swallows hard, overwhelmed by what he's just said. Oh, God. Why do people like us have to hide the way we do? What if we'd been able to tell each other what we are that first day? Would things have been different? I would've wanted you as my Dom too.|
Blinking, the tears begin to roll down her cheeks. This is wrong, Ellie, and you need to stop it. What would Simon think? He's been so incredibly kind to you, and this is how you'd repay him for that?
"I..." I don't want anyone else either. God help me, but I do.
2006-07-08 11:17 pm (local)
|"Oh God, I'm sorry, Elise. Please don't cry." His heart somehow simultaneously twists and lodges in his throat. He strokes her cheeks, trying to wipe the tears away and erase them.|
I never meant to make you cry. I promised myself I wouldn't do that to you. I promised I wouldn't hurt you. Oh, Kitten.
"I didn't mean to force this on you. I..."
Won't mention it again? He knows that's an even bigger lie than ever. It will come up again, sooner or later.
What the hell am I going to do?
2006-07-08 11:23 pm (local)
|She can't even look him in the eye, feeling so incredibly ashamed of herself. Doing her best to swallow the tears down, her throat feels tight too. There are so many forbidden things that she wants: to have the initial on her collar be an "M"; to ask him if there's a hayloft here where they could lie down together; and to be able to tell him about how much she thinks about him, even when she's with Simon.|
Finally, she's able to whisper back to him. "You've never forced anything on me." Looking up at him with teary eyes, it's as much a confession as she can muster right now.
2006-07-08 11:29 pm (local)
|He strokes her cheeks again, still holding her closer than he really should in his current guise, with no mask on. I wish I'd had the sense to realize, the night you flubbed "shiitake" for "shibari," what you really were, what we could be... I wish I'd made a move then.|
He knows it probably would have been a bad time; she'd been hit on earlier that day by another prospective employer and he was trying to be on his best behavior and the most non-threatening boss possible... but in retrospect...
If I'd taken you home and tied you up that very night, you wouldn't be crying now.
It's not that simple; it never is. But he feels like he's overcomplicated her life so badly.
"I have. Repeatedly. I'm taking liberties I'm not supposed to."
2006-07-08 11:42 pm (local)
|"I... I wish we could go back to the day we met, and..." Unable to finish the sentence, more tears begin to roll down her cheeks. Slowly shaking her head, she can't speak the rest. But he has to know. I love them both, so much.|
But Michael, she knows in her heart and mind, is who she wants to spend the rest of her life with. As a friend or otherwise, I can't ever give him up.
2006-07-08 11:46 pm (local)
|Oh God. He misses what she really means, so caught up in self-recrimination.|
This is why the Tower generally forbids its masked Doms from insinuating themselves into the mundane lives of their subs. He went around it, because he hungered after her so much... but they knew what they were doing. He has been stalking her.
"...And not have met?" He forces the words out.
2006-07-08 11:53 pm (local)
|Shaking her head, she can't keep a sob from escaping. "I wouldn't have traded that day for anything." The tears continue, unabated. "If the only way to have met you was to have survived Matt, I'd do it again."|
Her throat tightens again, not letting her speak as she begins to sob. The way he's touched her life has only been for the better, and if it weren't for him, and how kind and comfortable he'd made her feel that day, she probably wouldn't have taken a chance and submitted her application to the Tower.
2006-07-09 12:04 am (local)
|He pulls her back into his arms, hugging her tightly. "Oh God, Ellie, I'm sorry... I..."|
...still don't have the right to tell her who I really am. When I see her tonight, as Simon, I'll have to ask, because it's only when she gives me permission in that guise that I can. Damn it... she needs to know!
He realizes that he's been rubbing his cheek against hers, and that his lips are seeking hers out, only a second before they'd meet. He freezes.
2006-07-09 12:14 am (local)
|Ellie freezes too. I don't want him to stop, but he has to. You are a horrible person, Ellie. Karma is going to find you. Shaking now, she's so upset with herself for wanting him to continue.|
When she finally speaks, her voice is soft and tremulous. "Can we..." Swallowing hard, it's difficult to finish her sentence. "Can you show me around the stables now, please?"
There's no way she's going to be able to meet Simon later. Not after this. I'll need to text or call him, but I can't. Not tonight. He'd be so disappointed in you, if he were watching you right now.
2006-07-09 12:21 am (local)
|He swallows, and then gently lifts her to her feet, off of his lap. It takes more strength than it should and it feels like he's amputating a part of himself to do it. But he succeeds and, once he's sure she's steady on her feet, he makes himself stand, too.|
"Okay." His voice is still very husky, and rather pained, but he manages. "I... I promise, Elise... I won't impose on you. I won't do, or say, anything in the office to make you feel uncomfortable. And no matter what, you are always welcome here."
Until he gets permission to reveal his real face to her, as Simon... this is what he has to do. What he was supposed to do from the start. Step back and not seduce her in their mundane lives.
Did you think courting her in both lives, being your own rival, was going to end any way but badly? You idiot.
"Lets... start over here..." He leads them away from the hayloft. In fact, he doesn't think he'll dare take her near that tonight.
2006-07-09 12:30 am (local)
|Even though it had been at her request, having him ease her off his lap feels like the worst separation she's ever had to bear. It's hard to meet his gaze again, wondering what he must really think of her now and the shame still burning brighly red on her cheeks.|
"I... I know. And thank you, so much." Feeling sick to her stomach, she's so upset with herself that she could throw up. And that should be the least of your punishment for what you've done.
The marmalade cat is back, plaintively meowing. Picking it up again, it's much safer to hold the cat than reach for Michael's hand.
2006-07-09 12:32 am (local)
|Tonight. When I meet her tonight in the Tower... I'll ask her to let me take the mask off. She needs to know. Maybe if I drop the accent, she'll know enough to give me permission to show her the rest...|
As he leads her over to meet the first of the horses, he makes that promise to himself.
2006-07-09 12:39 am (local)
|Following Michael's lead, she's loathe to release the cat just yet. It keeps her from hugging him or holding his hand, things that she shouldn't do again tonight. Maybe ever again, she thinks. But the urge simply won't go away.|
As soon as I have a free moment, here or back in my apartment, I'm going to be the coward I've shown myself to be and text Simon. I can't see him tonight, maybe even tomorrow. Not until I get my thoughts in order and am ready to be honest with him.
What if I'm not able to do it?
Is this what living a lie is like?