The waiter placed their drinks in front of them, giving Nikolas a saucy come hither wink before leaving the table. He picked it up and took a healthy swallow, reveling in the burn. It was the most expensive Scotch money could buy. When it came to his club, Dominique spared no expenses.
“My guess is as good as yours, old friend.”
“Lighten up, Nikolas. Maybe it’s a date. Someone has taken a great interest in you and I’d say it’s about time.” Master D waved a hand around the room. “Many submissive men in this room, this club specifically, are willing to be mastered by you, to kneel for you, take the whip you wield to bring them to the height of pleasure with its sting upon their tender skin, hear your voice as it commands them to come or not to come, to beg for you to put them through their paces.” Dominique sat back and sipped his Merlot, scrutinizing Nikolas’s reaction. “You know where I’m going with this?”
“Yeah, and all the thoughts you originate are further from the truth. Don’t you have work to do?” Looking into his glass, Nikolas put it aside with disgust. Maybe coming here had been a mistake.
“In a minute. I’m not trying to make you mad. I’m just pointing out that you’ve been edgy the last half year ever since… Throw caution to the wind and meet this man. Frankly, my boy, you have nothing to lose.” Master D observed the shadows under Nikolas's eyes and the stress lines around his mouth. His friend looked tired.
“Why?” Nikolas’s voice went on, quiet and intense. “You know I come from time to time, do a scene and always leave here alone.” His voice dropped a pitch. “I don’t do long term and I have nothing to offer. My job sucks up most of my time leaving room for no one. Hell, D, I don’t even own a pet because if I had one it would starve to death from lack of nourishment and neglect. I couldn’t add the guilt of that to what already lays heavily on my shoulders.” There. He’d said it. No taking the words back now.
“I’ll get to that in a minute, but there’s something I need you to see first.
Nikolas looked down as Master D slid a paper under his nose. Glancing at the letter, he suddenly felt his gut twist. He wasn’t smiling, let alone laughing. “Who gave you this?”
“I found it under my office door.”
“Why would someone give this to you.” Nikolas asked.
“I am not here to judge. What has happened is in the past and so it will remain in the past. By this someone’s holding a grudge against you and this is not a threat to be taken lightly.” Dominique’s eyes strayed around the room, as he expected to find strangers listening.
That wasn’t exactly news to Nikolas, but he was too close to finding out who had it in for him to be backing out now. Ever since the burial of one of his men, someone had it in for him, so he’d been doing some investigating of his own. Whoever was behind it had covered his or her tracks well. He’d come up with nil for his efforts. With the confirmation of this being placed under the other master’s door, without doubt it had to be a man. If he didn’t know better, he’d believe it to be someone with high ranking or intelligence enough to pull the hood over his eyes.
“I tried to save him. I did everything in my power to protect him. It wasn’t enough. I failed him, Dom.”
“You didn’t fail him! I believe that when it’s your time, it’s your time. Your date of death is set in stone, pardon the pun, and set in motion from the moment you’re born into this world. It was his time, that’s all. You can’t hold yourself accountable for that. It’s going to eat you from the inside out. But there’s the chance that this person and their idle threats will slip and make a mistake if he suspects you’re on to him.”
“I saw and heard things… I should have known. I was their leader! I was their eyes, their ears. They relied on me!” Nikolas looked away. “I’m at the point where I don’t know who I am. Where the real me begins or that other Nikolas ends. These missions are more dangerous than you think. Before they kill you, they’ll expose you to how empty your life is that leaves you empty inside, without hope. I know this first hand, Dom. As much as I hate to be the one to say this, there’s no room in my life to take on another Sub or have anyone in my life, so I ask myself again: why am I even here.”
His friend smiled. “I once believed and said those very same words.”
With a tight smile, Nikolas changed the subject. “How is it with you and Angelo, anyway?”
“A bossy little bottom, and mischievous as ever. Most days I believe he acts up just to enjoy the punishments.” Dominique chuckled lightheartedly “Just when you think things can’t get any worse… but I do love my boy.”
“Look, if anyone’s asking for me? Give my apologies and tell this man something came up. I’ll take your advice under advisement, but I don’t think I can bring myself to go through with it.” It was shit on his part; yet he knew he was doing the right thing by bailing out of this so called date.
Master D shook his head. “I’ll make sure to pass on the message and have Stevie offer the room to another Dom.” Master D rose and patted him on the shoulder. “In the meantime, mind what I say about watching your back, and I expect you not to stay away so long this time.”
Without further word, finishing the rest of his drink Nikolas got to his feet. Gathering the paper, he folded it length wise and slid it into the upper pocket of his coat, turning to leave. What happened next was either the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning. Nikolas didn’t know then how these next turn of events would change the course of his life.