Aunt Tittie was wrong, however: Danny was neither a top nor a bottom. He didn't even comprehend the distinction, had never quite understood the point of becoming exclusively devoted to any one position or sex-act. For Danny, so long as it didn't hurt too much and didn't leave a mark, he was game for just about anything. He had preferences, certainly — he preferred traditional sex acts to kink, was not excited by humiliation, and had little taste for role-playing or elaborate fantasy; but barring excessive pain or marking, he would generally indulge his partners in whatever acts they wished, feeding off their excitement and taking pleasure in giving pleasure.
Danny had certain boundaries, of course — he wouldn't allow anyone to restrain him until a bond of personal trust and a few material safeguards were in place, and he was constantly vigilant against exposing himself to any of the many diseases carried via bodily fluids and unexamined skin — but he was curiously devoid of sexual inhibitions or fetishes. Anything that might give him physical pleasure, especially if it resulted in orgasm, was enthusiastically entered into.
This enthusiasm for pleasure informed all aspects of his life, in fact. Danny was a guiltless hedonist, believing that all forms of pleasure were good, and no pleasure was too small to be lavishly appreciated. However, he was also aware of the consequences of too much of a good thing, and so was very careful to moderate his pleasures, particularly those that dull the senses or dissipate the body: though he ate lavishly, he always worked it off afterward at the gym and never snacked on junk-food when he was alone; he used alcohol sparingly, and though he liked to get drunk on occasion, he always stringently detoxified afterward; he drank coffee addictively, frequently even to excess, but was careful to drink double the amount in water after, keeping himself hydrated and to prevent the acids from damaging his digestive linings; he shied away from all but the mildest of recreational drugs, and never took anything if he didn't know exactly where it came from; and though he had a lot of sex, he enforced short periods of abstinence on himself whenever things started feeling dull, and never pushed himself to limits of endurance or sensation from which it is difficult to return.
As a result, he was blessed not only with an admirable constitution and unfailing good health, but also with such refined senses that he was able to find sensual pleasure in the simplest things. He took inordinate enjoyment, for example, in his daily bowel movements... which were as regular as clockwork, occurring promptly at six p.m. (give or take a few minutes). His regularity was so reliable that his daily movement served as a dressing-bell: when Nature called, it was time to get up and change for the evening.
Danny had returned from The Parrot at five-thirty, stripped off his warmups and put them back in the closet, and shoved his discarded gym-clothes down the laundry chute; after turning on the stereo to play something rich and soothing (starting with the Adagietto from Mahler's Fifth Symphony), he sprawled face-down on the living-room sofa for a brief power-nap.
He'd been too full of coffee and excitement to actually sleep, but he nevertheless made himself very comfortable, concentrated on modulating his breathing, and carefully stretched and relaxed each and every muscle in his body, starting at the space between his eyes, over the top of his head, and travelling down to his toes. Lulled by his own heartbeat and soothed by the music and a light breeze playing across his bare back, he slipped into a sort of meditative semiconsciousness where only the music and the colors it produced in his imagination intruded into his mind.
And almost at the stroke of six, his body informed him that it was time to evacuate... and so began the daily ritual that Danny called Second Morning, when he executed the elaborate preparations for an evening out; and if he wasn't leaving the house that evening, he would still take that time to bathe and see to any personal maintenance that might be required.
After completing a quite pleasurable session on the toilet, he shifted over for a quite pleasurable session on the neighboring bidet — if Danny had a fetish, it was for hygiene; his anal cavity was at all times clean enough to eat off of, because (he reasoned) one never knew when somebody would. Besides which, his prostate received a great deal of stimulation from so much nearby activity, and a stimulated prostate is always a good thing.
Danny drew a bath in the big, deep Jacuzzi tub, pouring a generous measure of bergamot oil and sandalwood bubble-bath into the rushing hot water; while waiting for it to fill, he went into the kitchen to assemble a casual sort of meal, since he intended to go straight to The Brat without stopping first at a restaurant. Though Danny knew how to cook, he seldom ever did, and so his refrigerator was stocked mostly with restaurant leftovers, deli meats and salads, and fresh fruit and vegetables that could be eaten without preparation. He loaded a bronze lacquer tray with a half-pound paper package of sliced ham, a white carton of Mandarin beef with string-beans, a plastic tub of chicken Waldorf, a basket of the strawberries he'd bought on the way home, and a large cobalt bottle of Italian sparkling water, then returned to the bathroom just as the water had reached the fill-line.
Immersed in a sensory overload of hot water, wonderful smells, delicious (if simple) food, and beautiful music (the CD-changer had progressed from Mahler's Fifth through some opulent Bach organ cantatae and into the bittersweet gorgeousness of Mirella Freni singing Butterfly), Danny was once again blissfully happy; in the act of giving himself over to physical pleasure, he was able to blot out, for substantial periods of time, the little nagging dissatisfactions and worries that plagued him at other times of the day.
But he understood, on a mostly subconscious level, that pleasure could not be prolonged indefinitely... and that if it could, one would become accustomed to it and immune to its therapeutic effects. It was why he always tempered his pleasures with prudence, instinctively maintaining the happy benefits of physical pleasure by avoiding a dissipating surfeit of it.
Since he had over three hours in which to get ready, Danny let himself float for a little while after he finished eating, almost falling asleep as he enjoyed the sensations and the music (the stereo had moved on to a selection of somnolent Chopin concerti), completely losing track of the time... until he caught himself stroking his cock a little too intently, nearly wasting the orgasm that he'd been saving up all day (though he pretty much needed at least five orgasms a day, and could count on eight or nine when properly inspired, he liked the boiling randy feeling in his groin that came from a day of self-denial, as well as the impressive stored-up power of the ensuing ejaculation).
Trying to think unsexy thoughts to regain control, he picked up a large sea-sponge and started scrubbing himself thoroughly all over, soaping and sloughing until every square inch of his skin had been gone over twice. Turning off the jets and opening the drain, he stepped from the tub into the adjacent shower-stall to rinse off, then washed and conditioned his hair.
Danny stepped out of the shower and crossed over to the sink, letting himself drip-dry in the forced-air heat that came out of the bathroom floor-vents; he spritzed himself again thoroughly with the after-shower moisturizing spray and slathered his face and neck with a deep-cleaning moisturizing mud-pack filled with avocado and Sonoma clay. And as he waited for the mud-pack to set, he went into a thorough brushing and flossing of his teeth, as well as scraping his tongue and rinsing with an antibacterial wash, studiously ignoring the erection that continued to beg for attention like a whining puppy.
As he stood there, performing all these rather excessive rituals of personal maintenance and gazing into his own eyes in the oversized mirror, he was visited by a familiar pair of nagging worries: nasty little bugaboos called How long will I have this, and What will I do when it's gone.
Danny knew that the fanatical moisturizing and prudent avoidance of damage would sustain his amazing beauty for longer than Nature intended, and his remarkable bone-structure would retain handsomeness even after the exquisite blush of youth was gone; but he was all-too-painfully aware that he would never be more beautiful than he was at that moment, that the only way left to go was downhill... he also knew that he had come to rely so heavily on this peak of beauty for his pleasure and self-esteem that the inevitability that he would someday lose part or all of it filled him with a sinking, shrivelling sensation almost like terror.
Although this tiny pang of fear managed to finally quell the erection that was becoming painful with neglect, Danny refused to let the tiny terror get out of control; like an unwanted relative or importunate missionary, whenever such terrible knowledge might come to visit, Danny simply refused to entertain it... acknowledge it, certainly, but don't let it in. When he'd finished with his mouth and rinsed the hardened green goo from his face with cool water and a splash of astringent toner, he'd shown those disturbing worries to the door of his consciousness and forced himself back to his preferred state of sunny optimism.
He was still a little wet when he left the bathroom for the dressing room, so he took a towel with him to protect the velvet dressing-table bench from his damp skin; settling himself comfortably before the brightly-lit mirror, he considered what to do with his hair and face. He wanted to look a little slutty, perhaps even a little trashy, but not outrageously so. After some consideration, he decided to fix his hair into a carefully untidy version of the usual cherubic halo, rather than a more stylized arrangement of curls, or slicking it down into a formal poll curling behind his ears, or pick-combing it out into a luxuriant lion's mane.
After carefully working a leave-in conditioner and a gold-tinted styling gloss into his hair, he separated his wet curls with a pick and wound them around his index finger, one lock after another, starting at the top of his head and working his way around in circles to the nape of his neck, until he had a cap of floppy brown corkscrews. Then he separated the locks on top for an asymmetrical zig-zag parting to the right of center, and left them to dry in place.
He then decided that, since the hair was going to be a little conservative, the face should run towards decadence. Though his eyelashes were enviably thick and almost an inch long, he applied a deep sable mascara that made them even thicker and longer, almost inhuman in volume; he also added a little smoky mink-brown shadow around the upper and lower lids, giving himself a smouldering gaze and making the deep brown irises glitter unnaturally. A faint dusting of pearlescent gold around his cheekbones and jaw highlighted the delicate curves, and a matte pigment that was exactly two tones darker than his natural lip-color was applied under a light film of wet-look gloss to make his mouth look as if he'd just been passionately kissed. It wasn't enough makeup to look like makeup, but it gave his face a startling perfection that would appear perfectly natural and exceedingly alluring in the inevitable dim light of a bar.
Appraising and finally approving of his face in both direct and indirect lights, Danny got up and crossed over to the closet devoted to the clothes he wore to clubs and other casual evening activities. He had already more-or-less decided on what shirt he wanted to wear, something he'd been saving for a special "adventure": a custom-made black silk funnel-neck jersey that was as sheer and smoothly form-fitting as hosiery, featuring elaborate Celtic designs embroidered in soutache over the left pec and shoulder; the neck went halfway up his throat, the sleeves came down past his wrists, and the hem came over his hips, but every part of his covered torso was revealed and delineated by the thin layer of gleaming black silk. The shirt, which had been made especially for him by a couturier friend, came complete with a pair of low-cut sheer black silk boxer-briefs with the same Celtic soutache embroidery over the jock, so that they could be worn as underwear or as dance-shorts, and unnecessarily enhanced his big basket.
After sliding into these basics, he was left with a quandary about pants... jeans, of course, but what kind? Leather, denim, or velvet? Black or brown or indigo? Skin-tight or slightly loose or downright baggy? There were a lot of choices, all of which would go fine with the shirt. After ruffling through the stacks and slowly considering each of his numerous options, he finally decided on a pair of antiqued black denim hip-huggers, the beltline razored-off and frayed to reveal the top of the underwear and the beautiful etching of the pelvic girdle, close-fitting but loose enough to stand away from the body, with a big curly Blackletter initial "D" studded on the right thigh in faintly glittering black metal studs (there had been a matching "G" on the left, but Danny had picked off its studs after wearing the jeans once)... the studding was a bit much, but it balanced the embroidery on the shirt and gave him a rather "downtown" air.
The pants' boot-cut legs dictated that boots should be worn, so after pulling on a pair of fluffy charcoal-grey boot-socks, Danny wriggled his feet into a pair of Italian black suede shit-kickers with pointed toes and stacked heels, the titanium embroidery just one degree short of "flashy"; and with those boots and that pair of jeans, only one jacket could be worn, a motorcycle jacket of slightly distressed black leather, constructed with Regency flair and lined in raw silk, fitting tight around the waist and opening in rather foppish flaps of lapel around the neck.
Danny punched the numbers into an electronic keypad hidden behind a fake light-switch, which opened the tall concealed compartment behind the trifold mirror, then hovered thoughtfully over the little leather drawers inside that held his considerable collection of jewelry. After some thought, he decided that a watch was too prosaic an item to be worn with this sort of an outfit, and any necklaces or bracelets might ladder the fine knit of the silk shirt; nevertheless, he chose a couple of heavily carved platinum rings, one for his left thumb and the other for his right ring-finger, and then a small and simple platinum hoop for his left ear and a quarter-carat brilliant diamond stud for the right; thus arrayed, he closed the mirror on his stash and took in the completed effect.
After finger-combing his now-dry hair and mussing the curls artfully around his face, Danny decided, with a good deal of satisfaction, that he looked like Trouble With a Capital T... exactly the mien he wanted for an adventure such as this. He looked like he could be bought, but not cheaply, and that he was well worth the most extravagant price.
Leaving the dressing room and heading down the hall, enjoying the staccato clunk of his wood heels against the wood floor, Danny tried to decide whether or not to drive his Jaguar to Polk Street... it wasn't a safe neighborhood, especially for an easily-breached convertible; and though he preferred having his car on hand in case he needed to leave in a hurry, he finally decided that it would be best to take the MUNI Metro down there, and then take a cab home (if indeed he ended up coming home, which he very much doubted).
Though it was the middle of spring, the night had turned cold and damp, so Danny armed himself with a pair of microfleece-lined black ostrich gloves and a simple black cashmere scarf to keep warm, slipped five hundred-dollar bills into the sole of each boot for emergencies, and grabbed a fistful of change for the train turnstile and any panhandlers who caught his attention. Then his PDA and wallet went into separate zipped pockets of his jacket, his keys clipped onto a metal ring inside another pocket, and he was ready to go.