When we left Ty, he was ogling a service sub who seemed to him to be a lot more than a service sub. Of course, we know that he’s ogling Mase, but Ty doesn’t really know who Mase is…yet. What he does know is that someone hurt Mase badly.
I watched him serve drinks for nearly half an hour before he came close enough for me to see the color of his eyes. Long lashed, large and oval, slightly tilted at the outer corners, the irises were a curious sea-crystal shade of turquoise. And they held the expression of a caged man. Someone had hurt Mason deeply and who he was now resided behind a cage of his own making.
Self-defense. Self-preservation. I understood these things better than most people. I’d learned them the hard way as a Marine and an FBI agent. Mason had learned them the hard way too and it had been an extremely harsh learning environment.
I was just about to take myself off to the dance floor so I wouldn’t be so obvious about my interest in Mason when a man walked up to me. As tall as me, but more slender, Banning Dearborn had a pair of nearly black eyes that took me in, sized me up and made a judgment call.
“Come to my office so we can discuss your membership.”
I hadn’t decided I wanted to become a member but Banning apparently had made the decision for me. I followed him into an inner office with a wide oak desk and black leather chairs. There were tasteful prints of famous masterpieces on the walls, framed in oak to match the desk.
“A fan of Van Gogh?” I asked, casually glancing at the print of Starry Night as he waved me to a chair and took the one behind the desk.
A smile curved his lips. “My partner, Aaron, is. Left to my own devices I would have wallpapered the room with Tom of Finland drawings.”
“A man after my own heart,” I joked.
His smile turned enigmatic. “You may well be.”
I cut to the chase. “You’re going to offer me membership?”
He nodded. “I rather think I have to.”
I quirked a brow at him and didn’t speak. With a sigh, he leaned his elbows on the desk, clasping his hands together.
“You were staring at one of the service subs.”
I nodded. “The one who isn’t a twink.”
Banning chuckled. “Yes, Mason is very much not a twink.”
“Mason?” I had a name to go with the vision in my head now.
It was Banning’s turn to nod. “Mason Weldon III, Esquire to be exact.”
The wheels in my head spun quickly. “He’s no more a true service sub than I am.”
“Correct.” Banning stared intently at me. “He’s under my protection. No one has the right to touch him in this club without his say so…or mine.”
“Are you giving me permission?” I’d never been sized up quite in the way that Banning did it. I had the sense that the man was testing my words, but I didn’t know why. Nor did I know why a man like Mason would be under the protection of a man like Banning who already had a submissive, a life-partner, or so I’d been told.
Banning sat in silence for a minute, as still as any submissive. “I am,” he said finally.
So Ty’s being allowed to approach Mase. I wonder how that will work out…