“Furniture? He wants a small business policy for custom furniture?”
He couldn’t picture the bouncy guy being focused enough to have a business, much less one that made custom furniture. Maybe that was just his perception of him, but it wasn’t completely baseless. From what Garrett had seen, Wyatt was polite and perpetually cheerful but forgetful and constantly in motion. The two opposing pictures didn’t mesh.
“You’re sure?” He should have known better than to ask.
“How often am I wrong?” Calen gave him a look that spoke volumes. Bossy Dom. He should have known better than to have hired another Dom as an office manager. But when his closest friends were all in the scene he didn’t have much of a choice.
“You’re right. I’m sorry. Send him in, thanks.” Garrett tried to remember anything else he knew about him as Wyatt came in. Usually before he met with an insured, he reviewed their policies and had everything organized. This was very last-minute which was not his preferred method.
Wyatt Matthews had been with them since he moved to Richmond about a year ago. Garrett thought he’d moved from somewhere up north but he wasn’t positive. Most of the time, Wyatt dealt with Calen or Melissa, the front office assistant. He came in more than just about any other insured.
Some of those visits made sense.
He came in about once a month to pay his auto insurance, sometimes more if another policy was due. Then a week or two later, he’d come in with a question on one of his policies. Garrett had only gotten the questions a couple of times. It was like Wyatt did nothing but read the fine print in his policies.
If he hadn’t been so damned earnest…and sweet, Garrett would have thought the guy was up to something. Nobody wanted to talk to their insurance company that often. Hell, he was an agent, and he didn’t even look at his own policies that often. The guy was too nice to be up to something.
Garrett looked up from where he’d been making notes when someone cleared their throat at his door. Damn the kid was cute. No, not kid or boy or anything else like it. Wyatt was a customer and Garrett didn’t want him to think he didn’t respect him.
It wouldn’t matter that Garrett didn’t mean any offense. The sexy bo—insured, was young but not too young. He looked so innocent and he was almost ten years younger than Garrett. Something about the combination brought out the Dom in him.
He looked so adorable. The way he’d peek at Garrett, when he thought no one was watching, called to Garrett. However, not enough to take the risk of alienating or offending an insured. It was getting close, though. Heaven help them both if he came in many more times this month.
Garrett always needed time to talk himself out of saying anything inappropriate and Wyatt had already been in there on Monday. It was only Friday, of the same week, it was too soon to test his control. No Dom was perfect, especially when a body like that was wrapped around such a delightful personality.
“Hello, Mr. Matthews, come on in. Calen said you need a business policy.”
“Hi. Call me Wyatt, please.”
Garrett stood and gestured to the chair in front of his desk before walking around to shake Wyatt’s hand. He usually preferred it when he kept the desk between them, but it would probably seem rude if he didn’t greet him appropriately. Especially since he was coming to talk to Garrett specifically. Hopefully, the sexy man wouldn’t notice the constant interest Garrett’s body tried to take when they were in the same room.
“Wyatt. So tell me about your business.” With most people, Garrett would have spent more time on pleasantries and catching up on all that had happened since the customer was last in. But in this case, with how often he actually came in, it would be ridiculous. Garrett also couldn’t take the risk of dragging out their conversation. It was too much temptation.
“Well, it’s just gotten out of the hobby stage really. I mean, before I was working another job and now I’m doing this full-time.” Wyatt was trying to sit still but his leg kept bouncing up and down. It looked like he was dying to pace around the office.
“That’s great. It sounds like things are taking off. I couldn’t remember you ever saying anything about the furniture before.” Garrett was sure he wouldn’t have forgotten something like that. His memory when it came to the cute little—customer, when it came to the customer was pretty good.
“I probably didn’t mention it. I’m only working at my day job a few hours a week now because the business has started to take off into a real…well, real business.” Wyatt blushed as he stumbled through the explanation. “I was going to come in and talk to you guys eventually because, well, I know there’s probably other insurance I need but this just came up and well…”
His leg was bouncing all over the place. The longer he stammered his way through his little speech, the worse it got. Garrett wanted to reach over and grab him up—just to help him calm down of course. That wasn’t an option. No matter how incredible the fantasy.
Nice, well-mannered insurance agents did not cuddle their clients or do anything else he could see doing to the cute little—to the gentleman. He had to keep reminding himself that, or he was going to end up calling the customer something that would seem insane.
He wasn’t going to survive this.
Wyatt was starting to look like he wanted to sink into the floor. The sheepish expression and blush that still tinted his cheeks looked so damned…Garrett had to get himself back on topic or he would look like a moron. He had to act like the Dom he was. His control was better than this.
He cleared his throat. “So you need something specific today? Then you want to come back and go over more options for the business?” That sounded like what he’d been trying to say. Then it clicked.
Dear God, he was going to have to meet with him again next week.
Wyatt nodded, looking grateful that Garrett had deciphered his rambling. “Yes. I need…they said…Well…” He took a deep breath and tried again, this time with more success getting the words out in complete sentences. Just confusing ones. “I’m working on some furniture for a…restaurant up in Washington, D.C. and even though I know the owner, I’m still being listed as a subcontractor. At first, they thought I wouldn’t be required to have it. I need to have a bond so that all the insurance stuff is in order. He said just to talk to whoever does my other insurance and they should be able to help. So here I am.”
“I’d be happy to help. This won’t take very long to get together.” Garrett could write this policy in his sleep but what captured his attention was the little hesitation right before Wyatt had said “restaurant.” Had he been going to say something different or was it just his overactive imagination when it came to this…client. This client.
Maybe if he said it enough times, he’d remember what to call Wyatt.
They talked for a few minutes about how much coverage the client had requested. As he filled out the information on the policy, Garrett was making small talk about other business insurance Wyatt might find useful. Things were going well until Garrett turned to him to get the business name and address.
That’s when things went strangely pear shaped, as his mother liked to say.
“Um, oh…Um, I guess I forgot the address. Let me just…Yes, let me just email that to you later.” Wyatt grabbed a business card of the desk and waved it around. “I’ll call…or email…or something in just a little while about the address. Um, thank you. I’ll call…Um, yes…” Then he was gone.
Garrett sat there for a long time looking at the door. “What the hell?”
“Everything okay?” Calen asked, poking his head around the door, clearly not working. Hell, it was Friday afternoon. He was lucky anyone was still in the office. “He left in a hurry.”
“I don’t know.” Garrett wasn’t sure what happened.
“Did you finish the policy?” Calen came in and sat down, propping his feet up on the desk. “You scare him off?” It was a running joke around the office that one day Garrett was going to frighten the poor…customer…that Garrett would frighten Wyatt away.
“Almost and I don’t think so.”
Now Calen perked up. To Garrett, he looked like a shark smelling blood. “You don’t think you scared him off or you don’t think you got the policy done?”
Nosey gossip. “The policy is almost done. We got to the part about the business name and he went all rabbit and panicked. He dashed out making all kinds of excuses about calling back with the address later this afternoon. I didn’t even get the chance to tell him that I needed his business address or take a payment, damn it.”
“Man, I know you said he wasn’t—”
“He’s not shady. He’s just…skittish. I must have done something to make him nervous.” Garrett just couldn’t think what.
“This is the third time he’s been in this week. Come on, no one visits their insurance company this much unless they’re shady or they like the view.” Now Calen smirked, giving him a nod. “You know what Brent said.”
“Brent’s crazy. There’s no way…he’s just wrong. Besides, all we need is a sexual harassment lawsuit because I came on to someone.” There was a good chance Wyatt was gay. However, gay and a sub, or at least, open-minded enough to consider it, probably not. “Three times?”
“Yup. He paid the auto policy on Monday then came back on Wednesday to pay the life insurance. And don’t distract me, nobody blinks at you guys anymore. You’re paranoid.”
He preferred the term cautious. When he and his three brothers had all come out in college, things had been fine at home. However, when they’d taken over his dad’s insurance company after he passed, they’d ruffled a few feathers in the local business community. If word got out he was not only gay but a Dom as well, things might get interesting again.
“All agreed that we would be discreet in town. That’s why when we want to play we go elsewhere. If I start making waves, then it would affect not only myself but the business as well.” That was the deal when they’d taken over. They wouldn’t go back in the closet, or anything absurd, but with all of them interested in kink in one way or another, they’d agreed that discretion was a must.
That meant being very careful when dating in town.
“Your dad would have told them all to go take a flying fuck and then told you to do whatever the hell you wanted.” Calen shook his head.
He was right about Dad. “It was a different time when my dad started building the business. People minded their own business back then.” His dad had been unique in more ways than one. Not only in his acceptance of his boys but in his own personal life. Martin Ryder would have understood the need for privacy but not hiding.
“I’m not willing to risk everything we’ve built up on a maybe he’s gay and maybe me being a Dom won’t make him freak.” Garrett needed to get up to the club and find someone to play with. He’d been thinking about going up this weekend, but suddenly, the idea didn’t sound as good as it usually did. He probably just needed some time off.
Calen shook his head. “You’re making a mistake.”
“Takes one to know one,” he said in a sing-song voice as he waltzed out of the office.
“Go get some work done!”
“It’s four o’clock on Friday, you should be grateful I’m here at all,” he hollered as he went down the hall. Garrett hoped Calen was heading back to his office to get work done, but it sounded more like he was heading for the kitchen to get a beer.
“Too many damn Doms in one place.”
Shaking his head, Garrett tried to clear his mind. He still had a few more things to wrap up before he could quit for the day. Hopefully, Wyatt would call him back shortly with the information and maybe even finish the policy so he could get it sent off today.
“Back to work! No more mooning over the client. You have a lot to do before the meeting at six. Get your ass in gear.” Garrett didn’t think the reminder would help.
“Talking to yourself is a sign of senility!” Calen yelled from the back of the building. Yup, he was in the kitchen.
“Go back to work!”
It was going to be a long afternoon.
“You’re sure this is the information he gave you?” Garrett looked at it then had to read it again.
“Are you kidding? I just forwarded you the email!” It sounded like Calen was well into his “It’s five o’clock somewhere” Friday afternoon ritual. Well, it was after five here so Garrett thought he probably shouldn’t complain. At least Calen was getting a little work done. Maybe.
“This doesn’t make sense.” Garrett thought he was talking to himself so he jumped when Calen huffed.
“What doesn’t? I should have read the damned email. So much for respecting your privacy.” Calen had this look like he wasn’t going to be the last to know next time. Nosey Dom.
“You’re right, you should have looked. You wouldn’t have believed it either.” Even on his third time reading through the email, he still couldn’t believe it.
“What did it say!” Calen demanded impatiently.
“He’s asking for the paperwork to be sent to B & C Corporate Holdings in Washington, D.C.” Garrett watched Calen to see if he could make the connection.
“B & C, why does that sound familiar?” Calen flopped down in one of the chairs then propped his feet up in the other. Garrett mentally shrugged, at least it wasn’t his desk this time.
“Because you’ve seen it on a sign several times a month for the past couple of years. Maybe longer.” Garrett watched as the lightbulb started to go off over Calen’s head. He could see the slightly tipsy office manager almost had it.
“He’s doing customer furniture for Bound & Controlled?”
“That’s what it looks like.”
“What kind of custom…Ohhh.” Then Garrett could tell that Calen had finally caught up with the rest of the class. “Ha, and you were worried he’d be shocked.”
“Hell, now I’m the one who’s shocked.” That sexy little thing…and Bound?
Bound & Controlled, or B & C, was a BDSM club in D.C. that primarily catered to the LGBTQ crowd. If Wyatt was designing anything for that club, it was going to be interesting. Garrett had been going there since it opened about five years ago. The only thing he could picture in the club that might fit Wyatt’s vague description was the BDSM furniture the club was famous for.
“Oh, man, he makes the spanking benches and stuff! Those are damn steady. Last time I was up there, I had this sub—”
“Calen! Not the time.”
“Oh, right.” Calen tried to get serious but he couldn’t do it. “You were so worried he’d like sue or something if you flirted with him. That’s why he was so nuts this afternoon.”
That brought to mind other questions.
“I shouldn’t know what this means. No vanilla guy, even a gay one, would know B & C Corporate Holdings was the business name for a gay BDSM club. I probably wouldn’t even know except we’ve got some of the owners’ personal insurance here. Why would he even assume I’d know what this meant?”
Calen looked at him questioningly, clearly not following the logic. It had Garrett a little concerned. “How many beers have you had?”
He snorted. “Not enough. I’m keeping up. It seems crazy. Like one of Melissa’s romance novels or maybe a spy thriller if we’re lucky.” Calen looked like he found that idea entirely too appealing.
“He’s not a spy.”
“You don’t know what he is.”
Evidently. “Well, I know he’s not a spy. How could he know this would ring any bells for me at all?”
“Have you thought about calling?” Calen said in this deadpan voice like it was obvious. The delivery was ruined by his shit-eating grin.
“Call who?” He couldn’t call Wyatt until he knew what to say.
“Ben and Conner. Duh!”
“What are you, twelve?” It should have been obvious. At this point, calling the owners of the club might be the only way to get more answers. Hadn’t Wyatt said something about the company telling him to call his insurance agent? Maybe there had been more to that conversation than Wyatt had confessed because the boy…client seemed to have a hard time telling Garrett everything.