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This couple is going a totally different path than I originally planned. Please let me know what you all think. This one has been beta'd (thank you, beta) but any mistakes are mine.


Title: Clues
Characters: Ken/Jess

Ken glanced at the man sitting next to him. They hadn't ridden to work together, but with the mood Jess had been in all day had Ken concerned for Jess's safety and the safety of other drivers on the road. Ken had watched Jess continually lose his temper all day to anyone unlucky enough to cross his path, responding to questions with biting sarcasm. Jess had been especially vicious when Ken had commented on a backordered countertop. At the end of the day, Ken had told Jess to get in the truck that he was going home with Ken.

Jess got in the truck without comment and hadn't spoken a word since. Ken continued to watch him out of the corner of his eye. Ken could feel the anger radiating off Jess as Jess sat stiffly, staring straight ahead. Ken racked his brain, trying to figure out what had Jess so upset. It had been several weeks since Ken had seen him at the club and many more months since they had first started st sleeping together. Neither one had been blushing virgins when it came to sex, and Jess had been a willing participant in the spanking game they had played.

Ken thought that Jess had been lost in thought, but as soon as the truck pulled into the driveway, Jess had the door open and was out of the truck before slamming the door. Ken had no idea what was wrong with Jess, but he was determined that this mood wouldn't last any longer. Letting the truck come to a full stop, putting it in park, Ken kept the keys in his hand to quickly open the door. Once inside, Ken followed Jess into the living room.

"The filthy mood stays outside," Ken told Jess.

"Fine," Jess spit out.

"What the hell's wrong with you? For the past week, each day your mood has gotten worse. You snapped at that poor kid, Wes. You've shouted so much your employees won't even go to you when there's a problem."

"Then do something about it! You said that you should give me more, that you would save it for another day! Well, it's another day," Jess said sarcastically.

"What are you talking about?"

"That night. That night we met at the club, afterwards. You said you should give me more."

"Is that what you want? A spanking? If you want something from me, open your mouth and tell me," Ken said.

"You know! You know what I want!" Jess yelled.

"I don't know unless you tell me. Don't throw out some obscure hints and expect me to know what you want. Tell me," Ken insisted.

"I have, I did. The night we met at the club."

"Jess, that was one night, weeks ago. We had one night of spanky games. So, again I say if you want more open your mouth and tell me."

"It's not a fucking game!" Jess yelled.

"Do not raise your voice to me, boy," Ken clipped out. "What's not a game?"

"Spanking, discipline; it's not a game to me," Jess mumbled.

"So what is it? You want me to be your dom full time?" Ken questioned.

"Not at work, but here when we are together. When things get to be too much for me, when I start losing control of myself, I want, need, someone to take that control away from me."

"You need to tell me. Tell me when to take that control away from you," Ken said, relieved they were getting somewhere with this conversation.

"No! It's embarrassing. You can tell by the way I act."

"And the first time I read the clues wrong, I'm slapped with an assault charge. No, Jess, this has to be spelled out clearly. We have to know exactly what each of us wants."

"I would never charge you with assault. It's what I want," Ken could tell that Jess was horrified by the tone of his voice.

"I've played in the scene a long time, Jess. I've always played safe. I will not put you at risk. One of the responsibilities of being a dom is keeping the sub safe."

"I am safe with you. I know you; I know you will keep me safe. That's what I want, for you to take control and keep me safe."

"Yet, you resist me the first time I try to keep you safe," Ken countered.

"I've never resisted you!"

"You are right now. I've told you that you have to open your mouth and ask for what you want."

"I'm telling you what I want!"

"OK. We are going around in circles. Let's take a break; have some dinner, and give us both a chance to gather our thoughts," Ken could tell that Jess was getting frustrated, and Ken himself needed some time to think through what Jess was saying.

As Ken was getting the grill ready, he decided to take some of that control that Jess wanted him to take. Giving Jess orders, he watched Jess slowly loosen up.

"Wash the corn on the cob, please." Ken was polite, but wasn't asking. He was telling Jess. "Thank you. You can cut up the vegetables for a salad now." Another order, polite, but an order, was given as Ken prepared the steaks.

By the time they sat down for dinner, Ken could see in Jess's posture that he had calmed down. They didn't talk as they ate, but the silence was easy. After dinner as they cleaned Ken thought of what Jess wanted. There were things that Ken wouldn't compromise on, but he thought there might be a way that Jess could ask without asking.

"Come on, I want to show you something," Ken said to Jess when the kitchen was clean. He led Jess up to his bedroom and opened the closet.

"This is my toy box," Ken said. After opening the box, he pulled out a wooden paddle. "I made this paddle right after I first wandered into a club. I didn't know what the club was, but as soon as I got my first taste, I knew that I wanted to go back. I came home, went into my workshop, and made this paddle."

Ken handed the paddle to Jess. He watched Jess run his hands over the smooth wood, a look of want on his face.

"You told me you were embarrassed to ask. I can't act without your explicit consent. I've thought of a compromise. When you want something, a spanking from me, you get this paddle and lay it on the coffee table."

"Yeah, I could do that," Jess said.

"But turnabout is fair play. If I think you need it or I want to indulge myself, I will tell you to go get the paddle. That way we are clear about what each of us want." Ken knew they were stepping into something other than the dom/sub play with which he had experience, but he also knew that they would learn together what this was all about. Ken reached out to take the paddle.

"No," Jess said.

Ken watched as Jess took the paddle and left the room. Ken knew what he would find laying on the coffee table.


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