Chapter One

Bryce looked up from the project he'd been working on for Cheviot as the door to his studio slowly opened.

To his surprise, Simon Peller walked in. Bryce wasn't sure what he thought of the man. Peller had a smooth way of talking to people, but he usually rubbed them the wrong way. On the other hand, he was a politician. So maybe everyone just didn't trust him for that one reason.

"Can I help you?" Bryce asked.

"I just came to thank you for helping Network 23 win the last election," Peller said in that smooth voice.

Bryce nodded and returned to his work.

"I see you're still at work. And here it is almost nine in the evening. Wouldn't you rather relax?" Peller offered. "I'm sure there's something on TV we could watch."

"I do research and development for every show. I see them all piece by piece. I don't need to watch them in real time." Bryce remarked.

Peller began to massage Bryce's shoulders, not too hard. Bryce would've protested, except that he had been rather tense lately and it did help.

"Okay," he finally said after allowing it for several minutes He turned to look at Peller, "That helped. Now I've got to get…"

That was when Peller kissed him, pulling him out of the chair and into a tight embrace.

Bryce's mind reeled, shouting at him to push the man away, to slap him or better yet punch him in the gut. This was wrong. So wrong. This shouldn't be happening! But damn, Peller was a great kisser.

Peller left with a smile on his face an hour later, while Bryce slept soundly, unaware of the older man's departure.

When Bryce woke a few hours later, he reached over to where Peller had been. He was only barely surprised to find himself alone. Peller was a public figure, after all. And he wouldn't want to be caught in any wrongdoing.

Bryce wondered why he had let Peller do what he had done. Bryce wasn't sure how he felt about it. On a logical level, it had been anything but. And physically it had been mildly painful at first, but over time it had changed, becoming very pleasant. And those pleasant sensations had brought with them a sense of emotional contentment. That was pleasant, but Bryce didn't fully trust it.

Peller returned a few days later and gave Bryce a single rose.

"What am I supposed to do with this?" Bryce inquired, coldly.

"Accept it as an apology for leaving so hastily," Peller said.

"Mr. Peller…" Bryce began.

"Bryce," Peller said, suavely. He kissed Bryce swiftly, then went on. "my name is Simon. You can hardly be expected to address me so formally after we've been as intimate as we have been."

"Mr. Peller," Bryce continued. "I don't understand any of this. But I don't think it's right for you to…"

Peller cut him off with another kiss. "Does that feel wrong?"

"I feels nice," Bryce admitted. "But that doesn't mean…"

Another kiss. Another embrace.

"I can't stay," Peller said, finally releasing Bryce after a few minutes. "I really just came to apologize for rushing off. Perhaps you'd like to have dinner with me this Friday night?"

"I've got a lot of work to do," Bryce told him. "I can't…"

"Nonsense," Peller scoffed. "You're allowed to take a few hours off. I'll pick you up at six on Friday."

Bryce watched the older man leave, shrugged, and returned to his current task.

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