Title: Rule #2
Challenge: Hug Challenge
After putting the last plate in the cabinet, Ken took aim and threw the dish towel. He gave a silent cheer when the towel landed inside the opened washing machine. He turned the lights out as he walked into the living room.
Jess was sitting on the couch with his feet propped up on the coffee table. The TV was on, but Ken could tell his husband wasn’t watching it. Jess had a far-off look in his eyes. He’d been quiet and distant all through dinner.
Jess was so lost in his own thoughts, that Ken could observe him unnoticed. Leaning against the door frame, he took note of the other man’s clenched teeth; the muscle tightening along Jess’s jawline. Narrowed eyes formed creases between his eyes. The lines around his tight lips. Something was bothering his boy.
Even Tippy could feel the tension radiating from Jess. She would insistently nudge Jess’s hand with her nose until he’d pet her. He’d pet her for a few moments and then stop as he became lost in whatever thoughts were bothering him. The little Yorkie would gently paw at Jess’s arm and then resort back to aggressively nudging him with her nose until he’d start petting her again. The little grey pup was trying her hardest to comfort him.
Ken felt the blood course through his veins at his own need to comfort the stubborn man. Jess was showing all the signs of a sub in need. Ken just needed to push through the barriers Jess built to discover what that need was. Jess was a complicated man and Ken reveled in that complication.
Jess’s tense quietness and stillness made Ken think that the other man didn’t need the type of dominance that they often engaged in. The kind of dominance where they explored Jess’s submissiveness with pain and restraints. Something they typically did only on weekends. That gave Jess a couple days to come down from his sub-space. And if Ken was honest, a chance for him to come down from his own dom-space. No, this was a different need. A need that although embarrassed Jess, was one he craved.
“You ever hear from that duplex?” Ken asked softly, not wanting to startle Jess. A new subdivision was going up with duplex housing. Jess had bid on it several weeks back.
“Hm? Oh. Yeah, I got the bid. I’ll send you the specs for the cabinets,” Jess replied absently.
Ok, whatever bothering Jess wasn’t work-related, Ken thought to himself. “You went to the dentist today, didn’t you?”
“What? Oh, yeah, I went.”
“Everything good? Any cavities?” When Jess shook his head no, Ken gritted his teeth. There was obviously something going on. He steeled himself to ask the next question. “Your dad doing ok?”
“Yeah. The home is really good with him.”
“Dammit, Jess, what the hell is wrong?” Ken finally snapped. He wasn’t a particularly patient man, and when it came to his boy, his patience was completely gone.
Jess jumped at Ken’s abrupt question. Then quickly said, “Nothing. Nothing’s wrong.”
“Cut the crap now, Jess,” Ken growled. “You think I don’t know when something is bothering you? I’ve spent the last five years studying you. I know every mood you have. Every. Mood. But I can’t read your fucking mind. Now talk.”
Two red spots grew on Jess’s cheeks. He looked at Ken and then looked down. “At the dentist today. He was running late. So, I was reading a magazine. You know just passing time. They had stupid soap operas on the TV. I fucking hate soap operas.”
“Yeah. Ok. Me too,” Ken said when Jess had stopped speaking. “So you were reading a magazine. And?”
“And well there was this article.”
Tippy’s ears lowered in submission when Ken growled deep in his throat. “Jess, don’t make me pull it out of you. You will not like it. I promise you.”
“It said a hug a day was good. It released hormones and shit.” The words rushed out of Jess’s mouth.
Knowing the way Jess’s mind worked, Ken bit the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing. He didn’t want to hurt his sub’s feelings. If Jess wanted a hug each day to release ‘hormones and shit’, Ken would be more than happy to oblige. “A hug a day, huh?”
“Fuck. Forget it. It was a stupid article.”
“Doesn’t sound stupid to me if it releases hormones and shit. What else did the article say?”
Ken waited as Jess looked at him. He knew that his boy was looking to see if he was serious. And Ken was very serious. Anything that would give his Jess a bit of happiness.
“Well. It said that the hug should be at least twenty seconds long. And that skin to skin was best. Not necessarily sex. But I’m not saying no to sex.” Jess ran his hand through his hair. ‘I’m making a mess of this.”
Ken thought a moment. The idea of a hug a day sounded good to him. Neither one of them had gotten many hugs growing up. Giving each other a hug every day would be good for both of them.
Thinking out loud, Ken said, “We really only have one rule. That for every time you cut yourself down, you go get the paddle. So, I’m making another rule. Every night before we go to bed. No matter what. We will hug for twenty seconds. Whether we have sex or not. Whether we go to the playroom or not. We will hug.”
He watched the stress drain out of Jess. His boy’s shoulder’s relaxed and dropped. The furrow between his eyes smoothed out. The lines of tension around his mouth disappeared. If just talking about hugging brought about this change, Ken couldn’t wait to see what happened in a week or so after they’d hugged every night.
“Alright, my boy, come here. It’s time to start.” As soon as Jess stood up and stepped close enough, Ken reached out and pulled Jess’s shirt over his head. He tossed it aside and took off his own shirt.
The minute his arms wrapped around Jess, he felt the other man’s muscles tense. That was Jess’s defenses going up. It could take weeks, hell, maybe even months before this came naturally. But Ken held on. Silently he counted to twenty. It was the longest twenty seconds in history and yet, it seemed to end too soon. By the time, he let his arms drop, Jess’s body had relaxed again. Yes, here was the proof. Hugging did release hormones and shit.
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