The Institute:Daddy Issues(8)By: Evangeline Anderson
I looked at my watch. “Sounds good but it’s almost quitting time, Captain. Can we pick this back up tomorrow?”
“Actually, we were hoping to get you into the Institute sooner rather than later,” the Captain said.
“Okay.” I sighed. “Maybe the three of us can all go out to dinner together? Talk some more now?”
Stevens shifted uncomfortably. “We do need to talk but I think it’s better we do it in private.”
“Plus you’ll need to try on your costumes,” the Captain put in. “I don’t think you’ll want to be seen out in public wearing those. Sorry, Sugarbaker.”
I frowned. “Okay, and what is Salt going to wear?”
“Just wear a suit,” the Captain said to Salt. “The more expensive, the better. You’re going to be a wealthy Russian investor who’s new to the whole Daddy-Dom experience. You’re going to the institute with your Little, hoping to get tips to train her better.”
“Wait—why does Salt have to ‘train’ me?” I demanded.
“Everything is always a fight with you, isn’t it, Sugarbaker?” the Captain growled. “Dr. Stevens and I thought it would be better for the two of you to present yourselves as new to the Age Play scene to explain any mistakes you might make.”
“All right,” I said reluctantly. “I just don’t like the idea of fetching a stick or begging for treats.”
“No, no, my dear.” Stevens laughed. “That would be puppy play. The Institute isn’t about that at all.”
“I was just kidding about that,” I said. “But you’re serious—that’s a thing? Puppy play?”
“There are all kinds of kinks,” the professor said. “But as of now, you need only be concerned about one. So maybe the two of you would like to come to my house for supper and I can explain your roles in more detail?”
“No.” Salt spoke up, surprising me. “No, we will meet at my house,” he said, looking at Stevens. “Less trouble this way.”
“Well, okay, sure.” I shrugged. “Professor Stevens?”
“Just tell me the address,” he said nodding. “I’ll be there with bells on.”
Knowing that he was deep in the fetish community made me wonder if he meant that literally. I had a feeling Salt and I were going to find out.
I hummed as I moved around Salt’s kitchen, setting out a plate of sandwiches and stirring the soup on the stove. Living in Florida, I had never been much for soup before I met my partner. It’s almost never cold enough to crave winter comfort foods, which was how I always thought of it. But I had gradually learned that Salt didn’t see a meal as complete without it, so I had added a number of new soup recipes to my cooking repertoire. The kind we were having tonight was actually a nice vegetable soup I had made for him a few weeks before. He had frozen the rest so all I had to do was reheat it—convenient.
As I worked in the kitchen, Salt set the table. He was also humming to himself in a low, tuneful baritone. I stopped my own humming to listen to him. I hadn’t thought of it much before but it occurred to me how much I liked my partner’s voice. It’s very deep and masculine and commanding. It’s funny—he doesn’t talk much and when he does, he keeps his tone quiet for the most part. But still, when he talks, people listen and things get done. I liked that about him.
“What are you humming?” I asked, stirring the soup again. “It’s nice.”
“Is a song my grandmother used to sing to me at night sometimes.” For a moment, he stopped humming and sang instead, his deep voice washing over me as the rich, guttural Russian language filled his warm kitchen. It sent a shiver through me for some reason, though I didn’t know why.
“What does it mean?” I asked when he finished. “Translate for me.”
“It is what you call a lullaby I think. It goes…My little fox, my little kitten, sleep, oh sleep—the day is through. Heavy eyes and tired feet. Sleep my little mouse, sleep my little…” He paused for a moment. “I think the last would translate into ‘my little nugget of gold.’”