Exclusive Excerpt from Paid to be Shared
by Romilly King
“Married couples don’t do absolutely everything together,” Griffin had rationalized to Ivo when they got further than just hinting around the edges of the issue, “Nobody needs to witness anything, it will keep the mystique intact,”
And that sort of made sense to Ivo, although somehow he didn’t think that fucking a submissive fell into the same category of married life as toenail clipping and nasal hair trimming. But he couldn’t deny either Griffin or himself, because he could feel himself and his marriage fading to shades of grey for lack of it.
He swallowed at the fear that suddenly knotted his stomach. He wasn’t used to fear, as a surgeon, he was never fearful, but the thought of losing Griffin for lack of this scared the hell out of him.
Only this morning he had laid in bed, listening to Grif in the bath- room, hearing the sound of the shower, the turn of the taps, the buzz of his toothbrush, and he had thought, yeah, it will be just like this, routine maintenance, I don’t need to see it. That had made sense in the sunny domestic glow of their bedroom with its rumpled sheets, the scent of Griff ’s body wash, and the detritus of their life lying around casually.
Griffin had come back into the bedroom, happily naked. His pale, freckled skin glowed in the morning light, and his face had been eager and excited, making him look years younger. He had slid up the bed, crawled up Ivo’s body, pressing kisses to his naked skin as he went. He had nuzzled into Ivo’s neck, lipping at the sensitive skin under his ear, and Ivo had tilted his head back, letting his handsome, funny, desperate husband have full access to his skin.
Yeah, Ivo had thought, we can have this, us together is the crucial thing, the thing I always need to see.
He had wrapped his arms around Griffin and rolled him. Griffin went easily, trusting and relaxed and had smiled up at Ivo, all soft because he knew Ivo would never ask anything of him that he didn’t want to give, not again. Ivo had looked down at his husband, “I love you,” he had said.
Griffin had reached up, tangled his hand in Ivo’s short dark hair, and pulled him down for a kiss, “I love you too.” Their foreheads had pressed together, their breaths had mingled, and Griffin’s had been all minty when he said, “We got this.”
Ivo sighed, too heavily, and Dr. Gregory and Griffin both turned and looked at him. “Sorry,” he apologized, “Uh, yes, as medical professionals testing is high on our lists of priorities. We can arrange it through the hospital.”
“You can certainly arrange your own testing through your facility,” Dr. Gregory said equably, “But all our Venditores are tested here in house, so you don’t need to worry about that,”
He took his glasses off and rubbed his eyes, and Ivo was struck by how young he was to be Head of Organizational Psychology at Delph- ic. His professional rank was the same as Ivo’s own, but he was a good ten years younger. The agencies did tend to headhunt the prodigies, so chances were they had groomed this young man through scholarships from a young age.
Ivo was glad he hadn’t been a prodigy. He had enjoyed his career trajectory, a steady climb through his surgical residency, his fellowship, and then latterly, with Griffin at his side, rising like a bubble through the ranks to Head of Thoracic Surgery. He didn’t want to go any fur- ther, he left policy wrangling to Griffin, he liked his hands inside bodies too much, that was where he belonged.
“It’s clear you have put a lot of thought into this,” Dr. Gregory looked up at them both, “and that is essential with a complex contract like this,”
He studied them both across the desk, “I think I can speak freely with you, we all share a similar background. This is going to be a diffi- cult contract for Delphic to fill – and please, make no mistake, we want to fill it – but it isn’t straightforward, and I am duty-bound to oversee
it personally, primarily for the sake of our Venditor, because we will be asking a lot of him.”
Ivo felt the fear return, this time, it was fear that they would not get to have this, that their fundamental incompatibility with each other would deny them once again.
“Is there any possibility that you would consider two submissives on a less intensive schedule?” Dr. Gregory asked reasonably, “There are a limited number of Venditores that even get close to matching your joint profile. We have manually cross-referenced for compatibility, and additional training would be required even then.
“Of course, that isn’t your concern, but if you were willing to con- sider two Venditores for fewer weekly …”
“Do you have a compatible Venditor?” Griffin interrupted him, and Ivo was surprised by his aggressive tone, “Because there are other agencies if you cannot fulfill this request.”
Dr. Gregory looked at them neutrally, “There is no other agency that can even get close to giving you what you need,” There was the slightest emphasis on the last word and Ivo, despite his tendency to miss social cues, heard it loud and clear.
Griffin did too, and he reached for Ivo’s hand. Ivo took it and squeezed.
Dr. Gregory sighed, and Ivo realized that those moss-green eyes weren’t just kind; they were full of empathy, and Ivo felt naked before them.
“As I said, I will oversee this contract personally, and I will be work- ing with the Venditor we think may be able to accommodate your needs,”
Ivo heard Griffin let out the breath he had been holding, and his hand relaxed in Ivo’s grip.