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Chapter 1

Under Contract: Chapter One

When the alarm starts buzzing, Sam reaches across Gavin to turn it off. He doesn't roll back to his side of the bed when he's done, though; he stays curled up behind Gavin, arm draped over Gavin's chest, face pressed against the back of Gavin's neck.

He's got morning wood, too, which catches Gavin's attention right away. Gavin shifts, rolls over underneath Sam's arm, and pushes Sam back into the pillows, all without bothering to open his eyes. He rolls on top of Sam, pushing Sam's thighs apart, and as Sam's arms settle around his back, Gavin nuzzles at Sam's face until his mouth finds Sam's, and he kisses him, humming softly as Sam opens his mouth and lets him in.

Sam feels so good under him; he keeps himself in terrific shape, and unlike Gavin, it's not required by his work contract. It's just because he wants to look good, because he wants to look good for Gavin–and, as Gavin finally blinks his eyes open, all he can think is that Sam looks amazing. Even half-asleep with his eyes still closed, he looks great–brown hair kept short, healthy tan, outstanding muscles. Sharp blue eyes that Gavin can't see just yet, but God, Sam's laugh lines get him every time–even if Sam thinks they're giving away his age. The hell with that; Gavin thinks Sam looks better at forty-seven than he did when they first met, and he's only getting better. Sam grins up at him, and damn, that's a great smile, too. Gavin's a lucky, lucky man.

Gavin pushes himself up on his hands, grinning as Sam slides his hands to Gavin's ass and rocks his hips up. Sam licks his lips and tries to blink his eyes open, but he doesn't quite make it. He murmurs, "You got time?"

"Always." Gavin bends down and kisses Sam's forehead, then reaches over to the nightstand for lube and a condom. Sam stretches, arms going up above his head, and Gavin chuckles at him. "Don't do that if you don't mean it."

"Hmm?" Sam looks up above his head, as if noticing where his hands are. He grins at Gavin and wraps his hands around the bars on the headboard, like he knows just how good that position makes him look, how it makes his shoulder muscles stand out nice and tight, all while giving that little illusion of submission. Gavin grins right back at him, and he's quick with the condom; morning sex is pretty common around here, but where Sam's hands are, the idea that Sam's just going to hold them there while Gavin takes him… that's not something he gets every day.

He lubes up two fingers and slides them into Sam; Sam hisses softly and squirms.

"Still a little sore?"

"Yeah–" Sam puts his teeth together and groans as Gavin twists his fingers from side to side. "Last night–a little bit, yeah."

"You need me to go easy?"

Sam frowns down the bed at him. "Who are you and what have you done with Gavin?"

Gavin laughs. "I'm not that bad," he says, pushing Sam's legs apart a little further and settling down between them again. He starts pressing in, and Sam takes a deep breath, forcing his body to relax. Gavin watches Sam's face as he sinks in deeper and deeper–Sam's taking it, but he's obviously more than a "little bit" sore, and he grits his teeth together as Gavin pushes in that last inch or two. Gavin groans himself, sliding his hands up Sam's sides, all the way up his arms to his wrists, and pins Sam's wrists flat against the mattress. "God, you're so hot," he murmurs. He pulls back just a couple inches and rocks forward again, hips pumping slowly against Sam's ass. Sam gasps out loud and squirms, wrists pressing against Gavin's grip. "So good…"

"Yeah," Sam murmurs. He licks his lower lip, and Gavin can't resist: he follows the swipe of Sam's tongue with one of his own, slower, his tongue licking into the corner of Sam's mouth. Sam parts his lips a little more, and Gavin kisses him, hands tightening on Sam's wrists.

"I want to fuck you so hard," Gavin murmurs.

Sam laughs. "Kind of got that impression."

"You sure you don't want me to take it easy?"

Pinned under him, legs spread and ass clenched tight around Gavin's cock, Sam still manages to smirk like he's got the upper hand here. The challenge in that smirk makes Gavin growl, eyes narrowing as he looks down at Sam. They're both grinning as Gavin draws his hips back and slams forward, but the grin on Sam's face immediately drops into a gritted-teeth expression, one that says he needs all his concentration to get through the pain this is about to cost him.

It's gorgeous.

But Sam can take it. They've been together long enough that Gavin knows he doesn't have to hold back. He slams in not just with the strength from his hips, but with his whole body, curling up and driving forward and forcing Sam to take it. Sam's not shouting yet, but his breathing's tight and fast and controlled, focused on the rhythm Gavin's got going, taking each thrust and nodding for another. Gavin doesn't stop, doesn't let up, not even when Sam's breaths turn into groans and then explode into those loud, almost-angry shouts of his. The shouts don't slow Gavin down any–Sam's one of the strongest men Gavin's ever fucked, and Gavin knows this isn't going to break him.

He bends his head down and licks up the side of Sam's neck; Sam turns his head to the side to give Gavin better access. Gavin sinks his teeth in, bites and sucks and then moves lower, biting at the curve where neck meets shoulder, and Sam moans, long and low. Gavin pulls back and takes a look at his handiwork: he's left a bruise near Sam's shoulder that'll show for the next couple days. He grins and licks across the bruise one more time, then gets his lips to Sam's ear and murmurs, "I fucking love this."

Sam's gone non-verbal; all Gavin gets out of him is a nod and a groan.

"You know how hot you are this way?"

Sam laughs and tugs his wrists against Gavin's grip again; Gavin pushes up, bracing himself, and starts pounding in hard, the last solid, deep thrusts giving Sam everything he's got. There's sweat dripping down his chest as he gets close, and Sam's struggling against him, nodding hard–yes coming from him clear as the words he can't get out–and finally it's too much, and Gavin's hips snap forward with a jerky, rough motion as he comes, groaning through it, thrusting until the need to be buried deep inside Sam outweighs the need for the incredible sensation of moving into him over and over.

He collapses on Sam's chest, hands still gripping Sam's wrists. Sam bends his head up and kisses the top of Gavin's head, nuzzling at him just a little.

Gavin grins; Sam laughs at him.

"Look who's all smug."

His voice is hoarse, and Gavin thinks, from the shouting. I did that to you. It doesn't make him any less smug.

"You gonna do something for me now?" Sam asks softly.

"Mmmm."

Sam nuzzles the top of Gavin's head again; it's the only part of him Sam can reach. "You wanna watch me?" he whispers.

Gavin tilts his head up and blinks at Sam; it's worth getting his vision clear for that, so he nods and rolls over, finally letting Sam's wrists go. They're marked, too, red handprints against Sam's tanned skin, but those marks will fade in an hour or so. It's too bad; coming home to Sam with Sam marked all over would be fantastic. Probably lead to him getting more marks, though…

Sam sits up, slowly, wincing as he does, and he gets onto his knees, turning to face Gavin. Gavin rolls on his side and watches as Sam spreads his legs apart and slides his hands up his thighs, left hand cupping his balls as his right hand starts stroking his dick.

"Yeah," Gavin murmurs. He doesn't take his eyes off Sam, but he does get the condom off, tossing it aside for the moment–he'll get it later or the service staff will, one or the other. Watching Sam's a lot more important right now.

And Sam knows how good he looks, knows what it does to Gavin to see Sam kneeling and jerking off for him with Gavin's marks still coloring his skin. He licks his lips as he watches, as Sam's hand turns into a blur of motion, and when Sam's hips start snapping forward, Gavin reaches down to his own cock, squeezing it lightly. Only half-hard, and he does have to go to work, but God, Sam looks good this way.

"Close," Sam warns, and Gavin comes forward, pushing Sam's hands out of the way and replacing them with his own–one hand cupping Sam's balls, the other one wrapped around the shaft, and he sucks the head into his mouth, sucking hard while he jerks Sam off nice and fast. Both of Sam's hands come down; he buries them in Gavin's hair, tugging and pulling as he thrusts forward, and Gavin puts up with it, puts up with it because it's only fair, because Sam looks so hot this morning, because he took a rough fuck after last night's rough fuck against the kitchen counter and he deserves to come down Gavin's throat after a morning like this.

When he's finished, Gavin licks up the last of Sam's come and draws away, and Sam collapses on his side. Gavin bends forward and kisses him, and Sam grimaces and pulls back.

"Come and morning breath," Sam says. "C'mon."

Gavin laughs at him. "Picky, picky, picky…"

"It's like orange juice and toothpaste."

"You didn't complain about the morning breath earlier." Gavin's still grinning as he swings himself out of bed, heading for the bathroom. "And I was kissing the hell out of you then."

"You were also fucking the hell out of me," Sam calls after him. He yawns, and as Gavin starts brushing his teeth, Sam climbs out of bed and pads into the bathroom. "I give you a little slack on the morning breath if you're fucking me."

"You give me all kinds of things if I'm fucking you," Gavin says, but mumbled as it is through a mouthful of toothpaste, Sam just raises an eyebrow at him and starts brushing his teeth, too. Gavin finishes, spits, repeats himself, and Sam laughs.

They have time for a quick breakfast after they shower, thanks largely to Sam's service staff–Gavin's usual espresso and Sam's herbal tea are waiting for them downstairs along with English muffins and some jam–and Gavin kisses Sam good-bye before slipping into his motorcycle jacket and heading out to the garage. He's grinning as he puts on the helmet, as he swings his leg over the bike and rolls it out of the garage; he grins all the way to work. You're a lucky bastard, he thinks to himself, and when he hands his helmet and his keys to the valet at Cascade, he's still thinking it. He walks inside whistling.


"Good morning, Mr. Archer." The staff secretary–a fortyish former slave named Joe–nods at him as he walks into the office suite; he takes Gavin's jacket and hangs it up in the coat closet. "You've got an assignment ready to go this afternoon; the file's on the table."

"One-on-one, or just an afternoon kind of thing?"

"One-on-one."

Gavin nods; that makes sense. It's been a while since he had anybody for one-on-one training; his name was due to come up in the staff rotation. He wonders whether this is someone he needs to train as a sub or train as a top; he's good with both, but there's a lot more demand for submissive slaves than dominant ones, so he's guessing it's going to be sub training. He sighs.

Joe's giving him a wry little grin. "You okay with that? I think Vanessa's free–"

"No, no, you don't have to get Vanessa," Gavin says immediately. He grimaces at himself; Joe may be unusually perceptive, thanks to knowing Gavin better than most of the staff secretaries have, but that sigh was a dead giveaway of Gavin's mixed feelings about one-on-ones. Be a little more subtle, why don't you. "Just hoping this one goes well."

"Don't most of them?"

The grin on Joe's face says he's trying to be lighthearted about it, but Gavin shakes his head anyway, unable to keep himself from taking it seriously. "Most of them, yeah, but there's that one guy in a dozen who just hates everything about being here, or there's the ones where you have no chemistry with them whatsoever. Those assignments just drag on and on…"

"Bet it won't be a problem with this one."

Gavin quirks an eyebrow at him. Joe knows Gavin's type–no, don't put it like that, you don't get to have a "type" here. These are your coworkers. Nothing more. Rather, Joe's familiar with the sort of people Gavin's gotten along with in the past few years. He's a pretty good judge of these things, anyway. "Let's hope."

"Can I get you anything while you're looking his file over?"

"Not just yet–thanks, Joe."

Joe disappears into his office, closing the door quietly behind him, and Gavin goes over to the seating area, sprawling across his favorite couch–the blue leather one that faces the windows. He leans over to the coffee table and picks up the file, flipping it open and propping it up on his chest.

The first thing in the file is the assignment's picture, or rather, pictures: there's a head shot and a full-body shot, with the assignment dressed in the usual beginning slave's uniform: tight white t-shirt, loose drawstring pants. The assignment's name is Alex, he's about forty-five–about Sam's age–and he's quite good-looking. Blond, longish hair, narrow green eyes, nice smile. He's in good shape, too: not as good as Sam, maybe, but good enough Gavin can already imagine the way Alex would look tied to a St. Andrew's cross. The only tricky thing might be his age; men in their forties aren't the easiest to place, as Joe would be the first to complain. Then again, there are always other factors; Gavin sets the photographs aside and looks at the fact sheet a bit more closely. Referred by Rhys Fenton–Brian Patrick's domestic companion. He could dig up a few more details on them, but he remembers double-teaming a few people with Brian before Brian bought Rhys, seeing them around Cascade from time to time; they're both rough players, as far as Gavin knows, which means this Alex is probably looking for something along those lines. Interesting that he's never shown up before. Gavin keeps reading; maybe there's a reason he hasn't.

And there's the red flag: one-month intensive training period, six-month contract pending training. "Thrill-seeker," Gavin mutters. "There are more like you every year." He tosses Alex's folder back onto the table and rubs at his face.

The door to Joe's office opens; Gavin looks up as Joe pokes his head up. "Did you say something, sir?"

Gavin sits up. "When am I meeting this guy?" He holds up the folder.

"Four o'clock. Is there a problem with the assignment?"

"I'm not sure. Do we have video on him?"

"Of course."

"Let's have it, then." Gavin sits up and touches the coffee table, and the video surface comes to life. He navigates through the menus until he finds Alex's introduction video, and he rests his chin on his hands while he watches.

It's the same interview everyone does when they first arrive at Cascade; Gavin remembers doing one himself, years ago. Alex is seated at a table, and the interviewer's off-camera. Alex is in uniform already, though Gavin can only see him from the waist up. He's filling out that t-shirt very nicely, though. He's also fidgeting.

"State your first name, please."

"Alex."

"Why are you here at Cascade, Alex?"

Alex licks his upper lip. Gavin grits his teeth. He's more attractive in video than he was in the photographs, and the tongue trick makes it that much worse.

"I'm looking for something I haven't been able to find outside."

"Explain that, please?"

"I'd like to be under someone else's control. Fully."

"But you're not here because of financial difficulties."

"No."

"You know you'll be under the same financial terms as the other domestic companions. You'll be paid for your work, and you can't opt out of your contract once it's been signed. This is a legally-binding contract, standard in the industry, and unlike general service positions, there's no provision for you to leave the contract until the term is up."

Alex nods through most of the boilerplate; it's probably nothing he hasn't heard a dozen times since signing up with Cascade. "I'm aware of that."

Gavin wonders what it's like for Alex, walking into a domestic companion contract. Alex would be old enough to remember back before the laws eroded, back to the days when "domestic companion" meant "live-in prostitute" and not "slave in everything but name". But maybe only barely–Sam's said he remembers being a kid and knowing there was a lot of controversy about the end of at-will clauses on domestic companion contracts, but he didn't really understand why at the time. Everyone calls it slavery now–it's slavery and ownership everywhere but the actual legal contracts–but not everyone walks into it when it's not their last resort. Gavin sighs and goes back to the video.

"Our standard contract for prospective domestic companions without financial need is one month's intensive training and six months subcontracted. If you don't finish the training, we won't place you, and we'll recommend against placement to our sister agencies as well. We're very serious about what we do, Alex. If you have even the least bit of doubt, this isn't something you should sign up for."

"I know. I understand." Alex glances down at the table, then back up at his interviewer. "I'm taking it seriously."

Gavin pauses the video. Something about the look in Alex's eyes is different from most thrill-seekers. Most of them go into it for fun, for the game, thinking they'll get to play the part of someone's whipping boy, get a spanking here and there, and mostly it'll be about rough sex and safewords. The vast majority of those people don't last a week in training; Gavin remembers a girl who asked him, "But this isn't what it's really like, is it?" after her first week was up.

"It's very much like this," he told her, "except sometimes you're bored for a lot longer, and sometimes your owner's going to be an unpredictable bastard in ways you don't like and can't say no to." She pulled out of the training; Gavin has no doubt she's better off for it.

Alex, though–Gavin recognizes that look of fierce determination, and it's got nothing to do with chasing an adrenaline rush. Gavin's seen it from other men and women he's trained, ones who needed the work but were clearly in it for more than that. Some of them have landed good placements; others have struggled to find the right owner. Cascade is a good agency, and their clients are usually decent people, but a mismatch can be devastating to people like that.

Like Alex, maybe.

Gavin wipes the table surface and sits back on the couch, sighing. It couldn't have been something easy, could it? A cocky little bastard who needs an attitude adjustment, someone who needs help with his oral technique.

He heads to Joe's office and knocks on the door.

"Come in!"

Gavin opens the door. "Hey, I'm heading downstairs to the coffee bar. If anyone comes looking for me, have them call my cell or track me down there, okay?"

"No problem. Know when you'll be coming back?"

"I'll be back by three-thirty."

"Okay. Are we still good to go with your assignment this afternoon?"

"I'll be ready for him."

"See you later, then."

"See you."