"Come closer,” B.G. Grantham said to his employee.
Though Eric Berne was dressed, his boss was not. The notoriously reclusive physicist lay face down on a black leather massage tablehis long, lean body gleaming with oil. Eric knew it didn’t bother B.G. to be naked. His employer’s reserve had never been physical. It didn’t need to be. From his broad, straight shoulders to his narrow feet, his every sinew was perfectly conformed. Had B.G. wished, his image could have been used to hawk men’s cologne.
He’s the Greek ideal, Eric thought, flashing back to his days at U.C. Berkeleymind and muscle both at their peak.
Because he was an avid swimmer, B.G. had taken to removing his body hair. As Sylvia, the pretty blonde masseuse, pushed her hands slowly down his spine, nothing spoiled his sleek, athletic lines.
Eric fought an urge to lick his lips.
“Yes?” he said, shaking himself from his fugue and stepping within arm’s reach. “You have an assignment for me?”
“Of a sort,” B.G. said, then groaned as Sylvia took his butt in her hands and squeezed.
The masseuse was his latest find, hired away from an exclusive spa in nearby Victoria. Though B.G.’s staff usually went through a longer vetting process than Sylvia had, Eric could understand why he’d made an exception for her. Her hands were magic, her gift for intuiting what sort of touch would spur the greatest pleasure formidable. It was as if she’d been born to please. Naturally, this fascinated B.G., whose lifelong study of pleasurewhat caused it, what heightened itneared obsession.
Now his legs shifted slightly, languorously, betraying his enjoyment as much as his groan. The change in position bared the lower bulge of his balls, full and sexually flushed. For the last three months, B.G. had withdrawn from everyone on his staff, devoting himself to mental labors until he had to be reminded to eat and sleep. Eric could tell that phase was over and that B.G.’s appetite for sensual indulgencealways considerablehad been heightened by abstinence.
Once again, B.G. was taking his place as the erotic fulcrum around which Mosswood revolved. Once again, he’d decide who would be pleasured and who would not. Sylvia seemed to sense the change, her body humming softly with interest. She stood at the head of the table, and her front brushed B.G.’s back as she reached down.
She was a lovely womannaked, of coursewith slight, high breasts and nipples as tight as pencil erasers. Her hair was so short it clung to her head like a feathered platinum cap. Eric had reason to know those locks were just as soft as they appeared. She was an odd creature in bed, more comfortable with giving pleasure than in taking it. The few times they’d had sexwhile B.G. was caught up in workshe’d given the impression that she wasn’t completely there, as if she were perpetually waiting for someone else to appear. The effect was disconcerting, and explained why her status had been so quickly changed from plaything to staff. Competence was what B.G. valued most in an employee. In a sexual partner, however, a desire for the rewards he meted out was all important. Ironically, Sylvia wasn’t greedy enough to suit B.G.a problem Eric suspected he’d never have to worry about.
He did wonder, though, if he’d ever get used to being able to desire a woman even as his mouth was watering for a man.
Eric had been attracted to both sexes since he was young, a quirk in his makeup he’d been lucky enough to accept almost as soon as he’d figured out what it was. His parents had been open-minded, his circle of friends liberal. Before taking this job as B.G.’s sexual major domo, he’d thought attraction ought to be a one-gender-at-a-time affair. Serial mono-sexuality, so he thought, would keep his feet on the ground.
He should have guessed his old friend would be beyond any rules at all. The world of the quantum, B.G.’s favorite playground, knew few limits. Consequently, B.G. saw no reason why he should invent limits for himself.
“You’ve been here, what, three years now?” B.G. asked, his voice altered by a combination of sensual enjoyment and the pressure of stroking hands.
“About that,” Eric agreed.
“And we’ve met in this chamber at least twice a year.”
Reflexively, Eric looked around. The room in which he stood was shaped like a pyramid, great blocks of softly polished graywacke narrowing rank by rank to a central point. Blue pinprick lights underlit each level, enhancing the impression that this place was both old and new, a juxtaposition B.G. loved.
The quantum realm, he liked to say, can’t tell the difference between all times and none at all.
Then again, since some of his employer’s beliefs verged on the crankish, he might have been trying to test the validity of “pyramid power.”
“Yes,” Eric said, fighting a smile, “we always start our adventures here.”
Despite the chamber’s familiarity, or perhaps because of it, merely opening its heavy door had the ability to disengage Eric from his normal self. His inhibitions fell away, along with his preconceived ideas of what sensible people did. Here, where each new round of play began, his desires spoke to him in the clearest possible tones.
Though it disturbed him sometimes, he was beginning to think the person he became within these walls was the real him. Regardless of whether that was true, his skin tightened in anticipation as his employer drew breath to speak.
“I want you to choose,” B.G. said, startling Eric enough to rock him back on his heels.
Abruptly, he was aware of what hung beneath the lining of his trousers: the thickening weight of his cock, the tensing power of his legs. Eric was bigger and stronger than B.G., not stupid, but more of an athlete than a brain. B.G.’s mental charisma was the force that kept him in check. On his own, Eric wouldn’t have had a fraction of the experiences B.G. made possible. Because of this, as well as his debt of loyalty, Eric chose to indulge the other man’s whims, to wait however long it took for permission to sate his desireswhich didn’t mean the reins never chafed.
That was the idea, of course: that no one around B.G. be able to predict when release would come, that the possibility it would be withheld would make them desperate. In that state of suspended frustration, the smallest erotic reward gained intensity.
Blinking sleepily, B.G. turned his head on his folded arms. His face was as attention-grabbing as the rest of himquirkier perhaps, narrow and olive-skinned, with a long, curving nose and a mobile mouth. His hair was straight and black, cut short except for a shock that hung over his dark-brown eyes. On anyone else, these features would have been expressive. On B.G., they gave away virtually nothing. His emotions were hidden, as was usual, behind a wall of lazy calm.
Only a long-time associate like Eric could tell how jazzed he was.
“Did you hear me?” B.G. asked patiently. “I said I want you to choose our next candidate.”
The candidates’ files sat open on the granite tiles beneath the table where B.G. lay. One candidate was male, the other female. These reports were part psychological profile, part personal history. Eric had not only directed their compilation, he had summarized them for his boss. It wasn’t standard procedure, but Eric himself had taken the long-lense photos for one. That being the case, he knew the files' contents intimately.
“I heard you,” he said to B.G. “I’m just not sure which option you’d enjoy more.”
This spurred a reaction. Like a leopard waking from a nap, B.G. rolled onto his back and pushed up on his elbows. His chest bore creases from the table's leather seams. Though the marks cut enticingly across his nipples, Eric’s eyes drifted farther down. B.G.’s cock was swollen and straight, flushed like his scrotum but not lifted yet. Because his hips were slender, his shaft seemed larger by comparison. With painful clarity, Eric recalled the silkiness of its skin.
As B.G. undoubtedly intended, remembering the pleasure they could share made the waiting worse.
B.G. and Eric had known each other since they were boys, thrown together by well-meaning parents who thought the odd-ball genius needed a friend his own age. Eric sometimes wondered if the Granthams and the Bernes had suspected what they’d begun. From the time he and B.G. were teens, it had been like this between them, a game of do-we-dare and Lord-I-can’t-resist. Losing touch for a while hadn’t changed their chemistry. B.G. was still the partner Eric couldn’t get out from under his skin.
Similarly drawn, if not for the same reasons, Sylvia reached for her client’s burgeoning erection. To see a need and not satisfy it went against her nature. B.G. held her off by spreading his hand across her diaphragm. Though his touch was gentle, it made her flinch. No more than that was needed to make her stop. Sylvia might believe in instant gratification, but like everyone at Mosswood, she knew who was boss.
“I want you to choose the candidate you would enjoy,” B.G. said, his gaze intent on Eric’s face. “I want you to consider no one’s desires but your own.”
“My desires?” Eric repeated. The hair at his nape prickled in a wave. He had to take a step to keep his footing, more off balance than he could account for by the surprise. Without exception, B.G. always set the rules. He bore the ultimate responsibility for the end result. Changing that seemed vaguely dangerous, as if the haven Eric had found here could be threatened by what he chose.
Why B.G. would want to do this was beyond him.
Watching him, B.G.’s fingers played idly across the shaven skin of his own abdomen. ...