Home at Last (MM)
by Tymber Dalton
Ben didn’t know his Master and boyfriend would leave him homeless and in the lurch. Throw in identity theft just to add insult to injury, too. When his best friend and co-worker, Jake, invites him to move into his spare bedroom, it’s the answer to a prayer. Ben knows Jake’s straight, but it doesn’t stop him from fantasizing about the handsome Dom.
The last thing Jake wants is to take advantage of Ben and come off looking like a douche. That’s why, for now, he keeps his carefully guarded secret—that he’s bi, not straight. Toss in a pair of homophobic parents and keeping that fact quiet has made his life easier.
But as he realizes Ben is perfect for him, Jake’s forced to confront the realities of life. The choice to be with Ben means facing down his parents and confronting darker, more dangerous realities that he never encountered before as a “straight” man.
But can he admit his feelings before someone else steals Ben’s heart?
Jake meant it, too. Ben hadn’t been living under his roof for twelve hours yet, and already Jake was wishing he’d moved the man in days earlier when he’d first heard the start of Ben’s tale.
Hell, when was the last time Allison had fixed him a sandwich, much less a whole meal?
I’m an idiot.
Jake knew it was just a matter of time before he needed to have “that” conversation with Allison.
The one where he told her it’d been real, and it’d been fun, but it wasn’t real fun any longer.
Not for a while. A long while.
He wasn’t in love with her any longer. On the contrary, he felt increasing resentment toward her for everything she wasn’t doing lately.
Including holding up her end of their relationship, and not even in the D/s ways, but the “normal” ways.
He and Ben chatted while eating, and it didn’t escape Jake’s notice that Ben waited until Jake was done to get up and return to the house, taking Jake’s plate with him.
After Jake finished his swim, he headed into his bedroom and showered, opting not to shave today. Fuck it, he wanted to chill out.
He knew he should be doing the yard work he’d planned to do, but he could put it off until tomorrow morning, when it would be cooler. It meant instead of having most of Sunday to laze around, he’d spend half of it doing chores before they went to the munch.
After his shower, he headed out to the kitchen, rinsed his empty beer bottle, grabbed his third from the fridge, then went to the living room to chill in front of the TV and catch up on a Netflix series he’d been meaning to watch. He knew Ben was still unpacking and arranging stuff in his room, but he’d leave him alone unless Ben asked for help.
It was too tempting to stare into Ben’s blue eyes.
He replayed the brief encounter in Ben’s bedroom doorway as the guy moved past him.
Even his cock tried to stiffen.
Yep, definitely attraction he felt for Ben.
He’d just settled in on the couch when his phone rang over on the kitchen counter.
Allison’s custom tone.
While tempted to let it go to voice mail that would only delay the inevitable. He got up and managed to answer it before it cut to voice mail. “Hey.”
“Hey. I’m on break right now. I was wondering if I could come over after work tonight? Maybe we could go out to dinner. Or do you have more ‘chores’ to do?”
He’d thought about taking her out to dinner to break the news to her, meeting her somewhere so he could pay the tab and walk away if she went nuts, but the snippiness in her tone slammed into him.
How many times in the past had she taken exactly that kind of tone with him and he’d let her get away with it?
Too many times.
“You can come over if you want, but Ben’s already offered to cook me dinner, so I’m not going out. And frankly, I’m not in the mood for company. I doubt he is, either.”
He could almost see the calculating expression on her face when she didn’t reply at first, processing that new and unusual—and totally unexpected—information.
“Why’s he cooking you dinner?”
Jake could deny he was enjoying dragging this out, but that’d make him a liar. Especially since he’d really started putting things together in his mind and saw her pattern of negative behavior. How she’d tried to isolate him. How she’d promised a shit-ton of things and yet never followed through once it was obvious she had what she needed from Jake.
How she’d been increasingly mooching off him financially as of late. “Because I helped him move today.”
“Oh. You didn’t tell me you were going to do that.”
Jake dropped fully into Dom-mode. “I didn’t need to. Besides, you didn’t ask.”
Another pregnant pause from her. “Where’d he move to?”
Yes, the evil smile felt good. So did the struggle not to laugh. “Into my back bedroom.”
“What?” All innocence. His smile turned into a grin. Maybe it was a little mean, but worth it. Especially after the last several months of growing friction and frustration between them, and after his countless attempts to address it with her had repeatedly fallen on her willfully deaf ears.
She’d had no interest in changing.
She’d wanted him to do all the changing.
So now, he was done. When they’d first met, she’d claimed to love this Dom side of him.
If she didn’t like it now, because she couldn’t manipulate him any longer, that was her problem and not his.
“You let him move into the back bedroom? But that’s our playroom!”
“No, it’s my playroom, because it’s my house.”
“You didn’t think to ask me first?”
“Why? It’s my house. And he’s my friend. He’s paying me rent and helping with chores.”
“I—” Another pause. “Well, it would have been nice if you’d asked me if I minded first.”
“Considering you don’t pay rent or do chores around here, it’s not really an issue, is it?”
Yes, that was a cheap shot, but he didn’t freaking care. Time for Allison to move on along.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“It means exactly what it means. You don’t live here. You don’t pay bills or contribute to my household, monetarily or physically. Therefore, you don’t get a say.”
“But I’m your girlfriend!”
“Do you honestly think I should have a say in who your roommate is?”
“I—” Yet another pause. She knew damn well he hated her roommate, Ann, but the women were best friends, had been since high school.
Jake hated Ann, and the feeling was mutual. Jake had always found the woman to be petty and conniving, a constant source of friction between him and Allison.
“You know how I feel about him,” Allison eventually said. “I don’t like him. I never have.”
Jake suspected it was because Allison couldn’t manipulate Ben with her feminine charms. “Doesn’t really matter how you feel about him. You know how I feel about Ann, yet I’ve never done anything to interfere with your friendship with her.”
She sidestepped that comment. “So what are we supposed to do for a playroom?”
“We’re not. It’s been months since we’ve scened, so not like it’ll be missed.”
“Are you saying you don’t want to play with me anymore?”
From her tone, he could tell she was winding up into passive-aggressive threat mode.
Something else that made him sad, that he could predict her negative patterns of behavior.
He’d save her the trouble. “To be honest, I’ve been doing some thinking. I don’t think I’m the right Dominant for you. I need a heavy masochist who’s very submissive, and you’re more a brat who enjoys sensual play on your own terms. You were the one who mentioned it a while ago, that you wanted to play with others. That’s not a bad idea.”
She didn’t respond at first.
“Then why don’t we just break up, if you feel that way?”
Bingo. “Well, I was going to suggest we play with others, but now that you mention it, it probably would be for the best to break up now, while we’re still friends. I don’t want there to be any resentment later, and breaking up would be fairest to you.”
She didn’t reply.
When he looked at the phone, he realized she’d hung up on him.
Shrugging, he carried the phone over to the couch, anticipating she’d probably call him back in a few minutes when she realized he wasn’t trying to call her. If she was on break, though, she wouldn’t be able to talk to him for much longer.
Five minutes later, she called back.
He answered on the first ring as he hit pause on the remote so he wouldn’t miss any of his show. “Yes?”
“Why didn’t you call me back?” she demanded.
Called that one right. “I figured you hung up on me.”
“I di—I mean, you should have called me back.”
He’d really rattled her if she was slipping that badly. “When did you want to come by and get your stuff?” He didn’t have anything at her place that he could recall. She’d left assorted odds and ends at his house, mostly bathroom stuff and a couple of changes of clothes. Usually, they spent time at his place, so they could be alone and he didn’t have to put up with Ann’s antagonistic bullshit.
“This is really shitty of you, to break up with me over the phone.”
“You mentioned breaking up first. I only suggested playing with others.”
She didn’t have an argument to counter that fact. “Why did you move Ben in without asking me first?”
“I told you, because I didn’t need to ask you.”
“As your girlfriend, it’s common courtesy.”
“No, common courtesy would have been mentioning if I moved another woman in here.”
“You know what I mean, Jake. I deserved to know.”
“We already covered that. I’ll get your stuff gathered up. Let me know when you want to come get it. If I won’t be home, I’ll leave it on the front porch for you.”
This time when the connection went quiet, she didn’t hang up.
He didn’t break the silence, either.
Finally…“I didn’t mean we had to break up,” she said, her voice sounding more subdued. “I don’t really want to break up.”
Fuck. Here he’d thought this would go easily. “Allison, let’s be honest with each other. You aren’t happy with me as a Dom. Otherwise, you’d be sticking to our agreement and working toward me collaring you. And I’m not happy with you as a submissive. I’ve tried talking with you about this in the past, multiple times, and every single time you got defensive. You tried to manipulate me a couple of months back—”
“I thought you loved me!”
“I do love you, but I’m not going to marry you. Period. There are too many differences between us. To be blunt, I think breaking up is a good idea. You’re obviously not happy, and neither am I. I want you to be happy. If breaking up hadn’t been crossing your mind, you wouldn’t have said it. You need to find someone compatible with you.”
There. It was out.
That time she did hang up on him.
Jake set his phone on the table and hit play on the remote. Chances were she wouldn’t call him back soon. He might get a series of snarky and snippy texts from her, snuck in while her manager wasn’t looking, but probably no phone calls until she got off work at nine.
He expected she might have calmed down enough by then to try a tearful, pleading approach to get him to not break up with her. Negotiating, offering whatever he wanted in exchange for giving her another chance.
He was done playing her games. They’d been here before and he was tired of it.
To be bluntly honest with himself, after his earlier reaction to Ben, he wanted to ponder on that some more. It wasn’t common knowledge that he was bi. He’d never mentioned it to Allison. Since he was dating her, he didn’t consider it a salient point because he was monogamous and it wouldn’t be an issue. He didn’t have it on his FetLife profile, either.
There was also the fact that Ben likely wasn’t looking for a new relationship any time soon.
Although the thought of having the guy not only as a play partner, but perhaps as his collared submissive—or maybe even more at some future point—definitely intrigued Jake.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When you find your other half it is truly coming home. The love between friends can blossom and become more. Jake is Bi but lets the world believe he is straight because it was easier and to be honest was less drama. But when he falls for his friend all that has to end and it was time to face reality.