The doorbell rang promptly at seven thirty, as expected, and Karl opened the door to find Chris. He was slouched on the jam, wearing his typical white tee shirt, black jeans, and converse combo. He straightened up quickly when the door opened.
“Hey, man, come on in,” Karl said. He’d been a little surprised when Chris had asked earlier in the day to come over and talk. They still weren’t friendly like things had been before the incident, but Chris had eventually loosened up and talked to him more. Frankly, Karl was more relieved than anything that Chris had wanted to talk. He couldn’t shake the feelings he had for Chris and the tension was really starting to wear on him.
Chris came inside, toed off his shoes then stood awkwardly by the door with his hands in his pockets, looking everywhere but at Karl. Karl laughed a little to himself; he’d never seen Chris look so nervous.
“Want a beer or anything? I bought PBR for you.”
Chris laughed a little, but it didn’t really sound that humorous. “Sure. Might be a good idea.”
He followed Karl to the kitchen, where he pulled a couple of beers out of the fridge and handed one over. “Table or couch?”
“Table,” Chris said, and they settled down on opposite sides. Chris took a giant swig then lent forward with his elbows on the table and looked directly at Karl. “I need to ask a favor.”
“Anything you need,” Karl said, with a little bit of a knot forming in the pit of his stomach. This didn’t sound like the casual reconciliation he’d been hoping for.
“I need you to top me.”
Karl sat back a little in his chair, his eyebrows coming up. That wasn’t what he had expected at all. He was pretty sure Chris had gotten mostly over being pissed at him, if he was ever pissed at all, because he’d started talking to Karl again, but he hadn’t really expected Chris to ever approach him with that request again based on his response the last time. “Why?”
"Work is…” He trailed off, his gaze dropping to his beer as he turned it round and round in his grasp. “Ultimately it's just me up there in front of the camera, telling a story with my body. I have to have control of my body to do that well, have to be able to express what I need to on demand. I don't have control right now, I feel like I'm about to come out of my skin all the time. I haven't played in weeks and I need to be taken down."
"I know that, Chris." Karl had been noticing for days that Chris was lacking the physical control needed to subtly bring the character to life. He’d wished he could have been able to support him more, like when they first started shooting, but hadn’t felt comfortable offering.
"Yes, I do. You’re restless on set and have trouble sometimes with keeping control of your portrayal of the character. Any decent top could see that you need to be taken in hand. I meant why me?"
"Because I trust you not to screw me over. I'm shooting the Gaila scene with Rachel in two days and I can't afford to have any marks that won't be covered by my underwear. Means I can't just pick someone up like I usually do."
Karl raised a skeptical eyebrow. “You trust me? You got pretty upset the last time we talked about this and it didn’t go the way you wanted.”
Chris looked away, expression turning guilty. “I’m sorry about that. You’re right, it was immature.”
“I didn’t mean it that way, just… I don’t know what you were thinking to make you respond that way.”
Chris shrugged in a way that was probably supposed to be casual, but Karl knew him well enough to see the tension anyway. “It’s pretty embarrassing getting shot down, you know.”
Embarrassment, then, not being upset about not being able to be with Karl. Karl nodded a little. It was good to know.
“Look, I know you understand how important it is that I not go in there looking like a submissive acting like a top, that I not have any marks on the skin showing at all. I can’t trust anyone else to get me down where I need to go and not fuck it up.”
“What makes you think I can do that?” It was a legitimate question. He knew Chris fairly well, but they had never played together at all and Karl had never directly seen him play with anyone else, either. Karl liked to start slow, get to know his submissive and how they responded before going heavy. He generally took ‘slower than slow, lighter than light’ to heart with new submissives. Chris needed heavy right now, but Karl still didn’t know how to properly gauge his needs and responses.
“Because I trust you.” At Karl’s gesture to continue he sighed and slouched back in his chair. “Because you aren’t a jerk, you care about your friends and try to make everyone happy and comfortable.”
“That doesn’t mean we have a compatible dynamic, though. I want to know why you think we do. Or are you just desperate? Have you not tried to find anyone you can be steady with?”
“I tried with a few that I liked in the past, but nothing worked out.”
“How is it possible that Chris Pine, handsome movie star, couldn’t find someone to top him on a regular basis?”
Chris shrugged in discomfort. “Scheduling conflicts, incompatibility, whatever. It just didn’t work out.”
Karl let it go; Chris clearly didn’t want to talk about. “Also, I’m not a jerk? That’s a pretty low standard there. Jesus, Chris. I mean, there are several tops we work with that could help you out. Bruce would be great. Or Janice in makeup if you wanted someone you didn’t have to act opposite. You get along with her really well. Why me?” He didn’t know quite why he was pushing the issue, except something in him wanted Chris to actually want him, not to be the default choice.
Chris picked at his fingernail, staring at it intently. “I think we have chemistry, that’s all. That will help get me where I need to go.” Chris sighed and ran his hands through his hair. "Look, I know you are cuffed," he broke off and waved at the tattoo on Karl's left hand that stood in for the typical wrist cuff of Tops who were in a committed relationship. "Or whatever. I know you don't sleep around but it doesn't have to be like that. No sex, just some pain and domination."
"You know, submission and pain can be just as intimate as sex."
"Doesn't have to be," Chris shrugged. "Nothing that would get you in trouble with Natalie."
As if Karl would ever lay hands on another submissive, sexual or otherwise, without Natalie's consent. "Look, you're the leading man in this film. It wouldn't be professional for us to be involved."
"This coming from the top who collared the submissive he met while filming?"
"That was different." At Chris' incredulous eyebrow he pushed on. "It was different. We didn't date until after filming wrapped."
"Date. Right. You’d require us to date, wouldn’t you."
Karl’s eyebrows furrowed. Would Chris really find that so distasteful? He wanted to ask, but held himself back. Chris was slumped miserably in front of him, his leg jumping and his eyes looking increasingly wild. Did it really matter why Chris had picked him? He was very obviously in need, Karl wanted to start something with him, and as Chris had already pointed out he didn’t leave his friends hanging.
“No, I wouldn’t require us to date for me to help you out. I’ll do it. Look at me, Chris.” Chris looked up quickly, his expression turning eager. “I’ll need you to be honest with me.”
“I’m serious. No games, no stroking my ego by saying what you think I want to hear. If I’m going to do what you need, then I need the truth.”
Chris nodded somberly.
“I don’t have any implements with me, I wasn’t expecting to do this while I was out here. You’ll have to bring your toy bag. I assume you didn’t bring anything tonight?”
“No. I didn’t really think you’d say yes.”
“Because I was a jerk before.”
Karl sighed. “Well, it might be better to have some time to prepare. We can negotiate tonight and you can come over tomorrow. Did you want to come over, or do it at your place?”
“Here is good. It’ll be good to get out of the house for a while.”
Karl nodded. “Fine. So, tell me what you want from tomorrow.”
“So, hard limits are total sensory deprivation or total immobility. I’ll do bondage of hands or feet but not both together, and I won’t do a blindfold with hand bondage. Also no humiliation, drawing blood, breath play, or upside down suspension. Nothing with a real threat of bodily harm.”
“Obviously no visible marks, but we discussed that. No permanent marks anywhere of any kind.”
Karl nodded. “Soft limits?”
“Caning. Service type things, like shining boots. I mean, if you really want that I can, it just doesn’t do anything for me and it’s not what I’m looking for tomorrow.” Chris narrowed his eyes a bit. “Kissing.”
Karl quirked an eyebrow and Chris looked at him a little belligerently, as if he was daring Karl to say something about it. Karl merely shrugged and said, “So what do you want, then?”
“I’m pretty masochistic, so anything in that department will get me down pretty reliably. I love impact, thud and sting both. I’ve got some floggers and things I can bring that work great for me.”
“That leaves an awful lot left. What about clamps, knife play, role play, electricity, consent play?”
“No consent play, but the rest are okay. I mean, if you use a violet wand, and don’t break the skin with the knife I’ll be fine. I’m good with common stuff.”
Karl snorted a bit; famous last words. Except, he thought he might understand Chris well enough to guess pretty accurately. Trust seemed to be a big issue with him, and as long as he had some control of the situation he was ok to try most things. Karl had a strong desire to see what he’d be like with total lack of control, if he’d trust Karl to take him there – God he’d be gorgeous strung out and begging and completely uncertain of what was coming next…
He wouldn’t, though. He wouldn’t violate Chris’ trust, and besides, it wouldn’t do anything to help Chris right now. He’d stick to what Chris was comfortable with.
“I can do all that. Anything else you want to add?”
Chris hesitated, then said, “Don’t worry about me getting attached or anything, I’m not going to bother you with developing feelings. I just need some help right now.”
Karl nodded. So that was that then. Karl was just a convenient body. It was fine, though. He’d never gotten involved with anyone without there being at least some sort of romantic attachment, but he could do it. Chris was his friend, and he was needed. “All right, so let’s discuss aftercare.”