Pain Slut(9)

By: J.A. Rock



We’d had a fifth member in our group—Hal. Reckless, fun-loving. An absolute cad, but as charismatic as they came. He’d died nearly two years ago during a bondage scene. It had been, to put it mildly, a blow to our group. Especially when Bill Henson, the dom who’d left Hal tied up alone with a cord around his neck, had been found innocent of second-degree murder.

I parked on the street in between a minivan and a stubby smart car. Headed to the front porch of the duplex, keeping my hand in front of my balls. Before I reached the door, my phone buzzed.

Cheryl Callahan was calling.

“Miles, hi!” Cheryl sounded cheerful, as usual. She’d probably sound exuberant even as she told me my dreams of adopting a child were dead. “I have some good news.”

I gripped the phone tighter. “Oh?”

“Yes. Your interviews and background check all went great. So how would you feel about us beginning your home study?”

Oh God. Oh God oh God oh God. Breathe.

“That’s wonderful,” I managed.

“So what I’d like to do now is set up a time in the next couple of weeks for us to meet at your house. The visit shouldn’t last more than three hours, and it’s just a chance for me to get to know you and your environment better. We’ll talk about your family, your routines, your neighborhood . . .”

My family. Oh God. “No problem.”

“It’s really not that scary, I promise. So if you’ll email me what your schedule looks like, we’ll set up a time and get rolling on this.”

I wanted to ask what I could do to make sure I aced this. Like it was a test—which, in a way, it was. And yet I didn’t want to give away that I was nervous. I wanted her to show up to my house and see that it was naturally a wonderful environment for a child. That everything I did and owned and enjoyed fell right in line with what the Beacon Center wanted to see.

“My schedule is fairly flexible,” I said. “I’m self-employed, so really, I can make almost any time work. The sooner the better.”

“Okay. How do you feel about next Monday, then? Three o’clock?”

“Perfect.” I was still gripping the phone so hard my fingers hurt. “Um, can I ask you something?”

“Of course.”

“Did you do interviews with my parents and my sister?”

“I did.”

“And they were . . . They went fine?”

“Absolutely.”

Interesting. Cheryl and I said good-bye and hung up.

I stood staring at the duplex door for a moment.

I’d been putting off telling my friends that I was trying to adopt. I wasn’t sure why exactly, other than the fact that I was afraid of screwing this up. Afraid the Beacon Center wouldn’t approve me, and that I’d then have to explain my failure to the group.

But now . . .

Why not? Why not tell them?

The door was unlocked. It was always unlocked, no matter how often I lectured Dave and Gould about locking it. I was too excited to care. I couldn’t determine how much of my excitement was actually blind terror, but for the first time in weeks, I felt . . .

Really fucking hopeful.

The others were at the kitchen table, as usual. Years ago, Dave’s father had built this giant, lacquered dining table, and Dave and Gould had found a fairly nice set of chairs at a garage sale, and we’d all started hanging out around the table. Dave and Gould’s kitchen was open and roomy, and they kept it well stocked with food and beer. Kamen even had a spare guitar here just so he could entertain us during hang-out sessions and Subs Club meetings.

I had a nice house—bigger but less homey than the duplex. My pantry contained a few sad-looking cans of beans and vegetables, and about twelve boxes of cracked-pepper thin crisps. This was something I intended to work on before my home study. I needed to make my place seem lived-in. Kid-friendly. A place where one could eat things besides thin crisps.

“Miles!” Kamen threw an M&M at me as I entered. “What kind of cake would Hal want?”

“Since we never really celebrated his birthday when he was alive, it’s hard to say.” I pulled out a chair and sat. Very carefully.

Kamen was staring at me. “Dude, do you have to poop or something?”

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