Idolatria Ch. 06


1 John 1:6

Even hours after I came home, I didn’t know why I had run.

I got home about the same time as my family, and had to convince them I’d been in church all along – of course I had, they just hadn’t seen me in the back row. It was probably the first time in years I’d skipped out on church, and that just made the whole thing feel so much worse. I politely declined going to lunch with them and opted to stay home, saying I didn’t feel good. It wasn’t really a lie.

Once I was alone, I really wanted a shower. I wanted to think, and I wanted to bathe, and I was able to separate my thoughts better in the shower anyway. I dumped my clothes on the bathroom floor and brushed my teeth first – I always wanted to brush my teeth before I showered for some reason. Plus, with my family gone, I could use the master bathroom and the hot water as long as I wanted. Rinsing foam out of my mouth, I was suddenly distracted by my reflection in the mirror.

Hesitating slightly, I leaned in over the sink, looking myself over with more discern. For the first time in a very, very long time, I wondered…

Was I attractive?

I mean… Levi certainly thought I was, right? He’d called me beautiful once. Before I told him not to. What exactly made a guy beautiful, though? What did guys find attractive about other guys? And whatever it was… Did I really have it?

I traced my fingers up my front, following their path in the mirror. My body was slender, but well-built enough… The lines of my abdominal muscles and and biceps were soft, but they were there. Freckles covered my cheeks and the bridge of my nose, and spread down over my shoulders, arms, and the peak of my chest. My brown eyes had always seemed too big, too round for my face, and my upper lip was too thick for the bottom. Even when I didn’t shave, my facial hair was thin, patchy, and uneven, not the slightest bit masculine… But neither did I find my features to have any femininity. I sighed and ran a hand through my tangled hair, another awkward note of my appearance, and pulled away from the mirror.

I twisted the shower to life and waited until the water was almost boiling before I got in. The initial flash of heat over my head and shoulders made me gasp and tense up, but within seconds it started working its magic, and I just stood there, leaning against the wall and letting it loosen all the muscles in my back before I could stand to turn it down. With my constant physical activity, I was almost always sore somewhere, and apparently kneeling and crawling on the floor hadn’t done me any favors that morning. And speaking of that morning…

As if I’d just remembered to check, I brought my hands up and inspected myself, turning my wrists slowly. Nothing. There were no marks on my wrists, no lines on my body from the rope… I touched my neck, but it didn’t feel raw or scratched at all. Levi hadn’t left a single mark on me. I was grateful for that… and yet it seemed to invalidate the memory of what had happened.

In the midst of rinsing shampoo out of my hair, my mind wandered back to the question at hand. What did men find attractive in other men? I didn’t think I was attractive, I’d determined that. I was absolutely positive of it… though I’d always been a little self-conscious, anyway.

But then… what about Levi?

I told him I wasn’t gay. I wasn’t into guys. But, putting that aside, could I see how a man would find him attractive?

I closed my eyes, bowing my head under the water, and tried to imagine Levi. He was definitely more masculine than me… That was for damn sure. His shoulders and chest were broad, his arms starkly muscled but not overlarge, torso slimming down to his hips without losing an ounce of its definition… the body of someone who worked with his hands, I guess. Men I’d seen at college with long hair usually had it dreadlocked or didn’t take care of it at all; but Levi’s was full, thick, almost straight until it waved off at the ends, and I could smell something earthy in it when it fell over his shoulders. The green in his eyes made a violent contrast with the deep violet shadows beneath them, like dark bruises pooling in the rims of his cheekbones…

Fuck, he was just… objectively handsome. I didn’t have to be gay to notice that.

Or… was I gay for noticing it at all?

No. Being gay, by definition, meant I liked guys. I didn’t like guys.

But I liked Levi.

I liked his voice and the way his lips caressed my name.

I liked the heaviness in his eyes.

I liked the comforting strength of his hands.

And despite all better judgment… I loved being commanded and bound by him.

I breathed in sharply through my teeth, suddenly aware of the tremor in my stomach and the throb of blood between my legs. Fuck…! I was hard again. I stared down affronted at my unruly sex, hoping it would just go away without need of my attention… And when it didn’t, I gave in.

“Are you ok?”

“Ash, ataşehir escort talk to me.”

Levi texted me on Sunday night. I chose not to respond, unsure of what I would say, and instead threw myself into classes, tennis practice, and bible study. The whole week, I’d look at his text messages and consider replying, chicken out, try to distract myself, and end up jerking off again. Then I’d just lie in bed wondering what the fuck was wrong with me.

That Thursday, I stayed up late writing a research paper for my Child Development class. Concluding papers was not my strong suit. I wrote six variations of “in conclusion” before I sighed and pushed away from my desk, spinning my chair lazily. I pulled out my phone and fidgeted with it to give my brain a break. No social media notifications.

But that text was still in my inbox.

For the hundredth time that week, I looked at Levi’s message. “Ash, talk to me.”

I thought about the little ‘read’ receipt that no doubt appeared under this on Levi’s end. He knew I was ignoring him. Did he know why? Did I even know? What could I tell him?

“Hey, Levi, sorry for not talking. You made my dick confused, so I think it’s best we don’t meet again. Thanks for dinner that one time.”

“Levi, what’s up? I’m really disturbed by how I feel about you. Don’t ever talk to me again. Love, Ash.”

“Hi, Levi. Thanks for showing me your shop. I loved you tying me up. I’ve decided I should never do that again, and maybe I should go ahead and become celibate so I don’t have to think about the possibility that I could be –

I couldn’t. I couldn’t do this. But I knew I had to say something.

So I texted “hi”.

Idiot! Fuck – delete it – I can’t delete texts – oh, fuck. Please don’t reply. Please –


My chest fluttered as Levi’s message appeared across from mine, followed by another.

“Are you okay?”

I chewed my lip as I considered my answer. “I don’t know.”

“I was worried about you, Ash.”

“I’m not hurt or anything.”

Levi’s next message was slow to come. “I wasn’t concerned about you physically. It seemed like I pushed you out of your comfort zone, and until you started yelling, I had no idea there was anything wrong. And by then, I think it was too late.”

My bottom lip caught in my teeth as I read over his text… and read it again. He was typing again before I could think of a response.

“I promised you it would be a nonsexual scene without intimacy. But the fact is, and I’m sure you felt it, submission is a highly intimate interaction in itself. I should have been more clear with you, and I should have had your complete trust before I allowed you to submit – even just for play.”

I got up and flopped on my bed, holding the phone to my chest. After a minute, I sighed and tried to pull a reply together. “I did trust you.”

“You don’t anymore?”

“No. I do. I don’t think I ever didn’t trust you.”

“Ash, you were screaming. You ran out without letting me give you aftercare.”

“I know. I got scared.”

“I could tell you were scared, but I don’t know exactly what part of it scared you. I need to know so I can help.”

“What’s aftercare?”

“Please answer me first. What happened?”

The thing I was avoiding all week was now demanding acknowledgment. I wasn’t sure how I could answer. Instead, I typed without thinking.

“You tied me up and I popped a boner. It freaked me out.”

As the words popped up on my side, a terror surged through me. Fuck! Why did I say that? Why did I tell him? Should I add a “lol jk”? But the long pause was broken, and Levi was replying. Oh, no.

“That’s honestly pretty normal.”

Normal!? I typed back furiously. “Did you know putting me in handcuffs was going to do that?”

“No.” he replied. “But I find it interesting how well inclined you are to restriction.”

“Are you making fun of me?”


I sighed and rolled over, staring at my phone. Levi messaged back before I could retort.

“I wish you hadn’t run. I could have helped you through your feelings.”

“Is that what aftercare is?”

“Sometimes. It’s whatever you need to recover and feel like yourself again. It could be treating injury or talking it out, or just curling up with ice cream and a movie.”

I suppressed the weak laugh that came up. “Doesn’t sound very kinky when you put it that way.”

“You think? I think being cared for after a hard scene can be very sensual.”

“So what kind of aftercare do I get for getting a hard-on?”

“What would make you feel better?”

My chest pounded. I knew exactly what would make it feel better… But there was no way I’d ask Levi for it. And beyond that, it seemed my pride needed nursing more than my dick. What I’d felt that day… The shame and disgust that boiled in me until the steam poured out… What could I do about that?

“When I figure it out, I’ll let you know.”

I didn’t avcılar escort cut Levi off again. I couldn’t. He confused the fuck out of me, but I knew that it felt worse to be without him around than confused by him… Which in itself was confusing.

I texted him every day after that. Only ever about mundane things, really. I talked about my classes and my practices until I was sure Levi would get bored, but if he did, he never showed it. At one point, he asked if he could come to one of my exhibitions in the spring. I told him I’d think about it. There were still parts of me that had reservations about him… And somehow, thinking of him being there at my very Christian school, even just a sporting event, was… not exactly uncomfortable, but nonetheless made me uneasy somehow.

And at the same time, I began doing research for myself. If I’d done the smart thing and actually put “Tannery Lewitt” into the search bar when I was looking it up, I would have known two weeks ago that Levi’s store had a pin on the local map results, and a website that came up with barely any digging – not just a site, but an entire online catalog. The description was right on the search result. “The Tannery – Custom Boutique and Exploration”. Intentionally vague… But the website was anything but.

Levi hadn’t set up anything super flashy; the site was pretty plain and easy to navigate, which might have been done so his products could speak for themselves, and they did. Over the top of the home page, there was a black-and-white photo of a curvy woman wearing a well-fitting corset, collar, and cuffs on her wrists and ankles. She was smiling broadly and sprawling seductively over the site’s banner, proudly proclaiming “The Tannery – Custom and Specialty Kinkware”. Guess he didn’t want the ‘kink’ part over the store… But the mannequin was fine, apparently.

Again, if I’d visited the website before I demanded to go into the store, I would have known that Levi offered quite a lot in stock besides his leather work, and there were a multitude of categories to explore on the sidebar: collars, restraints, rope, ‘accessories’, books, a page labeled ‘Safe Sex and Extras’, and one at the bottom for ‘Furniture and Installations’. Holy shit. I wasn’t sure if I was brave enough to poke through it all, but there was a ‘Best Sellers’ display on the homepage that I had the courage to peruse after a minute of deliberation, which seemed to be things of a milder nature – though no less foreign and interesting to me. Many of the sales pages were accompanied by more beautiful pictures of models – of all shapes, colors, and sizes, men and women and some so androgynous I couldn’t tell which – displaying the leather proudly. I wondered if he’d asked these people to pose for him. Were they people he knew? And the odd thought crept up in me – were they people he’d… done this kind of thing with? If so, it was impossible to tell what his preferences in a partner were… And the idea of Levi sleeping with this many people was hard to believe.

“Hey, Ash!”

It took Janina’s voice to remind me that I was revisiting Levi’s site in the common area at school. I slammed the lid of my laptop shut as casually as I could. Luckily she was approaching me from the front, and my chair had its back to the wall. She smiled, shrugging her backpack off and taking the seat next to me.

“You didn’t have to stop what you were doing,” she said. “Did you leave something to the last minute? You looked like you were concentrating pretty hard.”

“Nah – it’s nothing I can’t go do at home,” I said, brushing my hair back with my fingers and hoping my face wasn’t red. “Wait – yeah, it’s Monday. Don’t you have, uh…”

“Creative writing,” she finished. Right – English major. “I did, but we were there for half an hour before someone came in and said the professor called out. I just didn’t want to waste gas coming here for nothing…” As she spoke, she unzipped her bag and pulled out her own laptop. “If you want, we can just hang out and work on our stuff together?”

Oh boy. There was no way I was gonna be able to open my laptop back up and close the Tannery page without Janina seeing. I was struggling to come up with either a plan or an excuse when my phone buzzed in my pocket. I fished it out at once.

One new message… It was Levi. My chest squeezed. I’d actually texted him that morning before class… nothing more than a hello, though something had been weighing on my mind when I’d sent it.

“Hey. Sorry, I just saw this. What’s up?”

Saved from my laptop, I was now in another kind of Levi-related predicament.

Janina leaned over in her seat, smiling. “Ooh, who’s messaging you?”

I gave her a nervous grin. “It’s nothin’… Really, it’s just my friend.”


“…No, Levi.” I tapped out a reply quickly. Can I come see you?

“Who’s Levi? … Oh, wait, the guy from your church?”

Reply from Levi. When?

“Yeah, him.” Tonight?

I’ll be here.

There ataşehir escort bayan was no ‘yes’, but it was as much of a promise without one. Levi was promising he wouldn’t pursue me – that I could come to him at my leisure, when I was ready.

“What are you guys talking about?” Janina asked.

I shoved my phone back in my pocket and grabbed my bag to stow my laptop away. “Nothing really,” I said quickly. “Just… Gonna hang out later. I gotta go.”

“Oh,” she said, surprise in her voice. “Well – okay. See you, Ash.”

“See you!”

I pulled my jacket and bag over my shoulder and headed out… But I couldn’t help feeling like Janina had wanted to say something to me before I left.

Forgoing my homework, I got to Levi’s place around six. Levi met me down on the sidewalk to let me up into his apartment, the ‘closed’ sign hanging in his store’s window again. I didn’t say much when he spoke to me until we got upstairs and he took the coat I shrugged off – serving me this time, I thought.

“So what’s up?” he asked, slinging both of our coats on the hallway pegs.

I shoved my hands in my pockets. I still wasn’t sure what I had wanted to say first… I think I’d just been hoping that a conversation would happen without my input. “Can, uh… Can we sit somewhere?” I asked.

“Sure,” said Levi. Casually, he walked to the doorway of the living room and checked to see if I was coming.

Back in the room with the blue rug on which I’d knelt – the room in which I’d been bound. I avoided meeting Levi’s eyes until I noticed he had stopped and was standing by the couch. He gestured to the end nearest the door. “Go ahead and sit,” he said… Offering, not ordering. I obliged, settling down as Levi sat on the other end.

And there we sat in silence.

“D’you mind if I put music on?” Levi asked.

“N… No, yeah, you can.”

Levi pulled out his phone and grabbed a slim black remote from the end table beside him, and I had a sudden, mad fear that he was going to play some kind of smooth jazz and this would turn into a bad scene from a chick flick – but instead, the little speaker-looking thing by the TV was playing a deep, bassy rock band. I listened for a bit, not altogether turned off by the harsh rock and the melodic, male vocals accompanying it. My body, tight as a string, unwound slightly.

Levi gave me time before he re-approached conversation. “What’s on your mind?”

I wasn’t going to be able to avoid it any longer. After a week, I was now picking up exactly where Levi and I had left off in this room. I turned in my seat, confronting him. “I didn’t want that,” I said firmly.

“Want what?” he asked.

“You know what,” I said sharply. “The… What happened before. I didn’t want what you did to make me feel that way.”

Levi gazed at me, expression unreadable, then spread his arms out over the top of the couch. “All right. So tell me what I did,” he said. “Tell me what you think I did, Ash.”

His voice told me he wasn’t being accusatory. This was just a question… An invitation to answer how I liked. “You put me on the floor. You.. made me kiss your boots and let you tie me up.” As I spoke, I clasped my hands together and shoved them between my knees to suppress their sudden tremor.

Levi’s eyes flicked from my hands back to my face. “And what did you feel?” he asked coolly.

At this, my chest felt tight. I couldn’t meet his eyes, instead squeezing my hands and leaning my elbows on my lap with a hollow laugh. “I mean… Seriously? It scared the fuck out of me. It made me feel helpless – like my body wasn’t mine anymore. Like my actions, my thoughts were being taken from me. Do you have any idea how scary that is?” I snapped.

To my surprise, Levi allowed a wry smile to slip across his face. “Yes,” he said. “I know exactly how that can terrify you when you’ve never felt it before. How wrong the initial sensation of giving in can feel. But that’s why giving yourself to another person – why submitting to someone requires so much trust between you.”

I stared at him. “Wait… When you say you know… You mean, like…”

“What it’s like to submit to someone? Of course. I’ve been on both sides.”

My wandering mind conjured images of Levi – muscular bare, hair unruly and limbs bound. A muscle clenched in my stomach and forced a tremor downwards. I shook it away.

“The idea,” Levi went on, “is not that you are giving yourself up. Your mind, your body, is still entirely your own. Submission is choosing for yourself to serve and obey. For your own pleasure and for that of your Dominant. But… I mean, that’s probably something for another day.”

“It still scared me,” I said.

“I’m sure. But was that all you felt? Fear?” he asked.

I hesitated, chewing my lip. “I… no,” I said slowly.

“No. Because there was something else.”

“Yeah, and we talked about this,” I said, feeling heat build in my face. “You said what happened was normal. That didn’t, like… mean anything.”

Levi looked thoughtful for a moment. “Well, yes,” he said. “Being nervous, being overwhelmed by a new sensation, can make you get hard when you don’t want to… But do you believe that was why?”

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