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It lies coiled at the bottom of the drawer; its black and red colours signalling danger. He fights back the bitter choking fear, and - unable to look at it any longer - sinks, shell shocked, onto the edge of the bed.

 

He glances at the half-packed suitcase by the wardrobe. He knew it would be a challenge this – going away for the first time with work. It’s not as if he hasn’t had worries –it will be the first long absence since they started dating – yes, he’s had worries, but the levels of cruelty and deception is surreal, and he’s struggling to reconcile it with the Stuart he knows.

 

The house quakes and shudders, warning him that he’s no longer alone. It always seems amazing that, for Stu, walking through the front door and up the stairs mimics a herd of chatty elephants. The man is never quiet, although this is the first time the thought hasn’t made him smile.

 

“How come you’re up here? Thought you’d be all packed by now.”

 

He doesn’t look at him where he’s standing smiling in the doorway – can’t, and Stu moves into the bedroom, frowning in concern. “What you moping for?”

 

Tom unclenches his hand, and realises he’s still gripping the offending pair of knickers. Wordlessly, he thrusts them disgustedly at Stuart. He isn’t sure what he’s expecting in response – not until this moment, but what it definitely isn’t is a burst of laughter and a pretty pink blush. If he weren’t so upset he would probably marvel that this is the first time he’s ever coaxed a blush out of Stu, but at this moment it barely registers.

 

“Oh, you found them.”

 

“What the fuck, Stu?”

 

“Sorry, thought I’d hidden them. Oops” He shrugs and reaches out to take them.

 

“I know this –" He stumbles over terminology and settles for gesturing awkwardly between them with his free hand “- is unconventional, at least for you, but if there’s someone else… if you’re buying gifts for your… your fancy woman, I would have thought you’d have the common decency not to use my bedroom as a hiding spot!”

 

Stu laughs again.

 

“Fancy woman? You sound like my Nan. But seriously, this display of jealousy is really hot”

 

“You fucking creep!” He spits, sick of the games that are no fun.

 

“Wait, wait, stop.” Stu takes his arms loosely. “Calm down, you’ve got the wrong end of the stick. Actually, no, you’ve got the wrong bloody stick entirely. There’s no –" he bites back a smirk. “There’s no woman, fancy or otherwise”

 

“Right and I’m supposed to believe this is for your mum?”

 

Stu lets go of him. “Fuck off, they’re huge! She’d be horrified, she’s been doing weight watchers and all.”

 

“Don’t be facetious”

 

“I wanted to surprise you”

 

Calming a little against his will – and mentally cursing Stuart’s power over him, he sinks onto the bed, prepared to listen. “Congratulations, you’ve succeeded”

 

Rolling his eyes dramatically, Stu goes to the drawer. “You looked very thoroughly, I see.” He reaches right to the back and pulls out a short stack of polaroids and hands them over, before digging out another handful of lace.

 

“What?” Tom flicks through the photos, dumbfounded. They all show Stu standing against the same awful backdrop as the bedroom wallpaper behind him, sporting a different set of lingerie in each.

 

“If you’re going to snoop, at least snoop properly”

 

He would point out that it’s hardly snooping when it’s his own room and he’s just trying to put some clean socks away - only the photographs have hampered his ability to speak. His breath hitches as he flicks through the stack to an image of Stu in suspender belt and black stockings.

 

Stu cranes over his shoulder. “Like that one, do you?”

 

“What?” He asks again. It seems to cover it.

 

“Was going to send them to you when you go away … well, not these ones, they’re practice.”

 

“Practice?”

 

“I wanted to get the poses right, show it all off to best advantage”

 

“You mean you have all this stuff somewhere?”

 

Stu dangles the bit of lace in front of him. It takes him a minute to realise it’s a frilly – actually he’s not sure. A bra, possibly - he’s only seen one up close in real life before and that’s an experience he’d rather not revisit – it’s all triangles and straps. He takes it; it’s gossamer thin and shows his own skin, stark white beneath the pattern.

 

“Want to see it on? May as well, now the surprise is ruined.” He’s grinning, in spite of his rueful words. “Won’t be a minute” he gives a cheeky wink in answer to Tom’s breathless nod, and vanishes.

 

Tom exhales slowly and uses the respite to try and navigate the emotional whiplash. He’s just regained enough presence of mind to realise he ought to make some effort to show willing and begins unknotting his tie when Stu returns.

 

If for some reason called on to imagine it, Tom would have conjured up something instantly comical, but this is unexpectedly arousing.

 

The red satin of the bra is pulled out of shape by the muscles of Stuart’s chest; the top of each cup gaping open in the absence of breasts, a tantalising glimpse of nipple just visible above one black lace frill.

 

The puzzling collection of straps and triangles has taken the form of a suspender belt, which squeezes the soft flesh of Stu’s flanks; crisscrossing ribbons intersecting the tanned skin of his thighs. Framed between the straps of the suspenders, the dark red satin of the knickers strains over his cock.

 

Stu shimmies across the room towards him on stockinged feet – the stockings in question being black and lace topped.

 

Back in the distant days of Tom’s miserable youth, a fetish for stockings seemed to be a universal experience among the boys he knew, meaning it was just one more thing he had to fake if he wanted to fit in as ‘one of the lads’ despite being secretly puzzled at how something as mundane as a woman’s choice of leg-wear could inspire such unbridled lechery. He gets it now, though. Admittedly, these aren’t the legs of some poor unsuspecting woman, and he doesn’t have to pretend anything. Added to which, turning him on is Stuart’s forte.

 

He isn’t quite sure what’s currently going on in front of him, however, as Stu stands at the foot of the bed shifting his weight onto each leg in turn, angling his shoulders one way and then the other. Glancing behind him, comprehension dawns as Tom remembers the mirror there. He smiles, realising Stu is unlikely to stop of his own volition.

 

“Get over here, would you?”

 

Roused from contemplating his reflection, Stu obliges, clambering into his lap ungracefully as the suspenders pinch with each movement of his legs.

 

Surrendering to the urge to touch, Tom reaches for him, greedily taking in each new sensation. The lace is scratchy under his hands, Stu’s smooth skin forming soft bulges between each rough strap. He circles his hands around to the slippery back of the knickers where warmth soaks through the frictionless material. Stu takes hold of both ends of his tie and pulls him close enough to breathe the same air.

 

“Wow.” He swallows thickly. “You look incredible. Surprising, but incredible”

 

Stu stops millimetres from his lips. “Shut up”

 

“Yes, Sir”

 

“Hey, that’s my line.” He frowns. “I didn’t go to all this trouble just so I could do all the work”

 

“When do you ever do all the work?” Tom scoffs.

 

“You’re still talking”

 

“Sorry” He mutters, nipping at the sandpapery edge of Stu’s jaw and delivering a smack to the bare top of his thigh. “On the bed, then”

 

His grin is blinding as he shuffles off Tom’s legs and crawls to the head of the bed on his hands and knees, stopping every few seconds to glance back over his shoulder. Tom re-evaluates: It is funny; it’s just that his dick doesn’t care.

 

Once Stu is lounging against the pillows, stroking lazily at the erection tenting the silky knickers, he crawls up to join him, slipping the tie from around his neck. He stops to look at it in his hands - the red silk goes nicely with the lingerie set. Smiling, he takes Stu’s hand off his cock.

 

“You want me in charge, is it?”

 

“I thought it would be nice”

 

“What do you say?”

 

He licks his lips and shivers. “Yes, please. Sir”

 

Tom binds his wrists together and ties them to the headboard. “This ok?”

 

“Of course. Don’t spoil it by second guessing” He pouts.

 

Tom chuckles. “Ok well just say, you know if there’s anything - ”

 

“Thomas” He growls.

 

Tom cuts him off by bending his head to Stu’s chest to kiss and nip his way down his body, letting the fabrics of the underwear scratch and then soothe his nose and chin. He runs a hand up a stockinged leg, under the lace tops and suspender straps, his fingertips skirting under the gaping leg of the pants.

 

Stu whines in his throat and wriggles and he delivers another smack, eliciting a loud moan of delight.

 

“Stay still” He demands as sternly as he can manage, pausing to undo his uncomfortably tight trousers, before lowering his mouth once more. Dragging his lips across the straining material to join his hand in the damp crease between knicker seam and thigh, he stops to inhale the musky smell of sweat there before inching his hand over the pants to Stu’s cock and stroking him through the satin, his pace calculated to be maddeningly slow.

 

“Tom”

 

He grins at the sound of his name on Stu’s lips.

“Tom, please”

 

He sucks a mark into the top of Stu’s thigh and earns a shout of encouragement that can certainly be heard through the walls before tracing the outline of his cock with his tongue and sucking the head through the fabric of the knickers.

 

“Oh fuck. You’re amazing!”

 

He is embarrassingly loud – Tom still hasn’t lived down the time the neighbour banged on the paper-thin wall between the ancient terraces – he suspects that Stu is doing it on purpose because he wants to be told off. He pulls his mouth away and tries to look cross.

 

“I should have gagged you”

 

Stu’s eyes light up. “Ooh now there’s a thought”

 

He sits back and strips off his shirt. Stu runs a foot up over his shoulder and he kisses it, taking a toe into his mouth and lapping at the nylon, making him gasp and squirm away. Quickly shedding the rest of his clothes, he settles back between Stu’s legs,

 

“I’m all ready for you” His face dares Tom to ask more.

 

When he doesn’t oblige, Stu flicks his eyes downwards and wiggles his eyebrows. Taking the bait as Stu knew he would, Tom trails his hand down the back of Stu’s legs and into the crease between his buttocks, and is surprised by hard silicone.

 

“Surprise”

 

His breath stutters. Stu simply smirks up at him. Deciding his questions can wait he sits back on his heels and hooks his fingers into the now sodden knickers. “Can I take these off without undoing the rest?”

 

“Don’t think so”

 

“Fuck”

 

The belt is all fiddly clasps and catches and his fingers refuse to cooperate. Stu’s squirming hips make his fumblings even worse.

 

“Please, Sir”

 

“Shut up

 

“Make me”

 

Without his glasses the grin’s effect is diminished, but he can hear it clear as day.

 

The knickers at last dealt with, he gives up on trying to refasten the stockings to the suspenders and instead tucks the straps in under the stocking tops, reluctant to lose the effect.

 

“That won’t hold”

 

“For someone who wants to be controlled you don’t half chatter”

 

“I want your cock” He groans, loud enough to be heard not only by the immediate neighbour but half the terrace.

 

Tom stretches to reach the drawer and fetch lube and condoms, and finds his progress impeded by legs wrapped around his neck once more.

 

“You’re not helping.” He retaliates by dolloping the lube onto Stu’s bare stomach. He yelps at the sudden cold and wriggles, laughing that Tom’s a bastard – it’s a low trick but it keeps him busy while Tom tears open the condom and rolls it into place.

 

Swiping a hand through the gloopy puddle on Stu’s navel, he returns to his cock, leisurely lapping at it while he eases the plug out, hastily slicking himself up with the other hand.

 

Stu growls and whines, bucking his hips, trying to force his dick into Tom’s mouth.

 

Pulling away, he licks his lips and Stu whines again. “Tease!”

 

“Ready?” He grins.

 

“Looks like you are” Stu eyes up his erection. “Come on!” He uses his legs to pull Tom in closer and he slides home with his own moan of satisfaction.

 

When he opens his eyes, Stu is lying seemingly frozen beneath him, holding his breath, his eyes screwed shut.

 

“Hey” Tom touches a hand to his cheek. “You ok?”

 

Lust-glazed eyes blink up at him. “Fuck me, please” He grits out.

 

Satisfied that he’s alright, Tom gladly obliges, running his hands down Stu’s sweat-damp chest, under the tight band of the bra, slides it up to reveal a nipple and down again, alternates between pinching it through the silk and rubbing with the lace.

 

Stu’s gasps and groans flow unrestrained by any of Tom’s concerns about the neighbours, his head thrown back against the pillow, exposing the length of his throat.

The stockings have slipped and rumpled around his ankles, leaving his legs bare, but Tom has a new use for the suspender belt, using it to grip on to and pull Stu tighter into him with each thrust.

 

The clasp gives a ping as it breaks under the rough treatment and the belt flies open, breaking his rhythm. He quickly recovers, falling forwards and bracing himself on one hand, clutching for the discarded knickers with the other. He once more wraps the silky fabric around Stu’s dick and strokes him through it in time with his thrusts.

 

Stu comes with a shout, convulsing around him and Tom follows him gratefully.

 

Once he’s caught his breath he starts to untie Stu’s wrists when he remembers the photos that were supposed to be his present and stops.

 

“What’s up?”

 

“That’s a picture I’d like”

 

“The camera’s in my bag” Stu nods to where it lies, abandoned in the doorway.

 

He rises on unsteady legs to fetch it and takes a few snaps – one looking down onto Stu’s prone form, and the rest close ups.

 

“Those aren’t cheap, you know”

“I’ll get you some more film”

 

“It’s not mine” He sighs as Tom unties him. “It’s Akthar’s. What?”

 

“Does he know what you’re using it for?”

 

Stu rolls his eyes and sits up. “What do you think?”

 

“I think this might be ruined” He examines the misshapen fabric of his tie, unable to feel too sorry about it.

 

“Same as my suspenders and pants, so we’re even” He gestures to the ripped and stained lingerie beside them on the bed.

 

Tom grins. “Cup of tea?”

 

“In a minute. It’s my turn first” Stu pushes him onto his back and grabs the camera.

 

“Don’t”

 

“Why not?”

 

“I don’t know what to do - where do my arms go?”

 

“Relax would you?” Stu dips down and kisses his mouth. “You’re gorgeous, you know that?” He murmurs appraisingly, stroking his hand across a collarbone.

 

Tom smiles, his eyes darting away, uneasy in the face of the compliment. A flash blinds him.

 

“There” Stu grins as the camera whirs and clicks. “Something for me to reference when you’re away”

 

Wondering how to broach what he needs to say next, Tom turns his back while he cleans up, handily removing the necessity for eye contact. He clears his throat. “I’m sorry I doubted you, earlier.” Behind him he can hear Stu flapping the picture to dry it. “I didn’t know what to think”

 

“Don’t worry about it. I didn’t mean for you to find them, should’ve realised. Anyway, where’s this cuppa?”

 

 

 

He’s just fetching the milk from the fridge when Stu joins him downstairs, pink and fresh from the shower, and enveloped in a robe, the small bit of flesh on show bearing faint red marks from where each strap crisscrossed his body.

 

The sleeves of the dressing gown ride up as he reaches for his mug and Tom intercepts, taking his hands and kissing each wrist in turn.

 

“I didn’t hurt you did I?” He asks, examining them for marks.

 

“No, It didn’t even leave a mark.” He tuts. “I could have got out if I wanted to.” The grin that usually spells mischief steals across his features. “We need to practice you being in charge more”

 

“I’ve no problem being in charge.” He huffs, indignantly. “I just don’t want to hurt you – it’s a turn off.”

 

“You don’t mind smacking my arse.”

 

“That’s different, you deserve it.”

 

“If I don’t like something, I swear I’ll tell you. I had a great time.” The grin dims and he goes quiet, gnawing on his lip while he waits for his tea to cool. “You won’t forget me will you? While you’re away?”

 

“What?” Tom laughs, but Stu’s mouth is set in a firm line. He sets down his cup. “You’re not serious?”

 

“You might - I dunno, meet someone rich and famous and interesting out there” He shrugs, wiping at the spotless kitchen surface with his palm.

 

“Stu, I can promise you that won’t happen. Look at me, I swear. All this kinky stuff – is this what it’s about?”

 

“Not exactly”

 

“Because I don’t need stockings and polaroids and butt-plugs to remember you while I’m gone”

 

“You liked it though, right?”

 

“You know I did”

 

“And you wouldn’t object to more of the same – or similar?”

 

“Not at all”

 

“Good” He smiles widely and takes a sip of tea.

 

Tom wonders what other surprises will be sprung on him in the next few days. Not that he’s too concerned.