Cyrus walked into his lakefront cottage-style mansion in a remote area in Glencoe, Illinois, dropping his briefcase at the door. The massive space reeked of last night’s burnt popcorn and pizza take out. Things were strewn about in random disarray. A button-up shirt hung off the banister of the stairs leading up to the bedrooms, and an empty beer can was sitting on the living room coffee table. Not to mention the rest of the random items he had yet to put away. A fishing pole was laying in the entryway that he hadn’t picked up in weeks making the smell of the room even more repugnant.
Cyrus Evans, the former member of acclaimed wrestling duo, the Doom Brothers, had moved from his quant Tennessee home to the Chicago suburb area, not long after his divorce. He moved close to his niece Isis, not only to start his new job but also to have some family close by. In the two years since the Doom Brothers had parted ways in the ring. He missed that time on the road traveling with his older brother, but Cyrus struggled to admit it to his family, or International Wrestling Xtream’s owner, Davis Preston.
Cyrus stepped over the fishing pole, ignoring the fact it made the entryway room smell like fish guts. It wasn’t like anyone visited him often anyway, so he really hadn’t taken much time to arrange things. He still had yet to unpack all his belongings and it had been two years. Most often he would visit Isis and Gage or the Preston’s instead of having anyone over. It was just easier that way.
He wasn’t the same man he once was. He loved a big family and lots of people in and out of his home. His ex-wife ruined that for him. He used to love having guests and kept everything in order so people would feel at home. Here it was different. Cyrus was just a ghost in this lonely massive space. Sure it was a place that would have been welcoming, but it didn’t have that typical homey feel that laughter of family filling the halls would bring. It was cold. Lifeless.
“I don’t know why I don’t sell this place and just get an apartment in the city. It’s too much for a single guy. I guess I better pick up before Gage gets here though. Maybe I’ll even spray some air freshener to spruce it up a bit.”
His brother-in-law, Gage Stone, would give him hell for the place looking like a tornado had hit it. He was already on his ass about being so caught up in the office and not being part of the family as much anymore. Cyrus had become a recluse outside of the IWX offices.
“He’s so damn pushy. Gage is lucky he’s my best friend or I would have already broken his damn nose. He means well though. I know he is just trying to get me out of my funk. I just can’t see much point to anything anymore. I’m alone. This is my life now.” Cyrus kicked a tennis shoe out of his way with a sigh of frustration.
It was surprising to Cyrus that Gage took so easily to Evan’s family routine of big family gatherings and became an overly attentive moral support. It only made sense. Gage was a family man now. Two kids and one on the way. Isis was in her element of being the perfect Stepford wife and Gage’s submissive little princess. If Isis wasn’t Miss perfect before, she was even more so now that she had a growing family of their own.
The couple still had their kinks that Cryus was secretly curious about. He could see the draw to being in a dom/sub relationship. He had been wanting to ask Gage about it for years but it seemed creepy since they were family now.
“Why did I have to go and invite him over, anyway? Now I have to clean up this mess and pretend everything is fine. At least Ice Queen won’t be coming along. She would be harping on me again about dating. Like I need that drama in my life again. The one girl I dated since my divorce just was hoping for a job promotion. And why the hell am I talking to myself… again? I’m losing it.”
Cyrus trudged on starting to clean up the place. Gage would be here any minute. He wished he would have just had this meeting at the office. Both men got talking about barbecue and beer. They knew Isis would insist on her healthy food kick and they decided to meet at Cyrus’s place to have a cookout and relax instead. A knock came at the door and Cyrus looked at the mess around him.
“Damn it. He’s early. I need a maid.”
Opening the door, Gage was grinning at him holding up a case of beer. “I bring reinforcements.”
“I thought you didn’t drink.”
“Normally, I don’t. You know I like to let loose every once in a while. A beer or two doesn’t hurt on occasion.”
“You know Isis is going to be mad if you drink and drive.”
“I know. That’s why I called an Uber. She said if we get drunk for me to stay here just to be safe. Dude! Why does it smell like old fish bait and burnt popcorn in here?” Gage pushed past and went to the living room looking around trying to wave his hand to waft off the stench. “Did someone break in and trash your house?”
“Shut up, asshole. I’ve been busy with work. My bosses are jerks and won’t give me a minute to catch my breath.” Cryus picked a pair of underwear off the couch throwing it in a pile of dirty clothes in the corner.
“Davis maybe. I’m a delight to work for. You need a maid. This place looks like homeless people broke in and are squatting here.”
“Gage. Don’t make me kill you.”
“I’m not scared of your treats, remember? Leave those threats for your brother-in-law, Colt. Can we at least open a window?”
“Sure. Sorry, I just have not been home enough to keep the place up.”
Gage sighed, seeing the tired look in Cyrus’ eyes. “Or is it you just are giving up? This is not like you, Cy. You’re always really responsible and organized.”
“It’s not like my old laid back country life, Gage. My life is filled with corporate meetings and boardroom banter now. I haven’t even been hiking in almost six months and it is taking a toll on this old country boy.”
“I get that. Your time with nature was always how you regroup and relax. We haven’t even been out on the boat yet this spring. We should call Wraith and go on a fishing trip or something. I’m sure Colt would join us. Holly and Isis have been wanting to get together as a family.”
“Always pushing the family thing on me, aren’t you?”
“I remember you used to be the one who liked everyone together. Tammy moved on, Cy. Time to live life again. It has been two years since the divorce. I know she really messed you up for a while but what she did was not your fault.”
“Yeah. Two years since I’ve been in the ring with my brother and sister too. We were going to be a huge faction and be the most threatening force in IWX and now look. I haven’t been inside the ring since my divorce.”
“Because you let that woman destroy you. Who the hell cares what she thinks. Anyone who wants to be with you shouldn’t care about the money. They also should support you if you are on the road every day trying to make a living for your family. It’s a big sacrifice. I know. With Isis home now, it’s hard traveling without her and the kids.”
“It’s been two years since I took the position of IWX general manager. I don’t even think I could go back in the ring if I tried.”
Gage sat down on the couch opening a beer and handed it to Cyrus. “Never say never, brother. Why don’t we set up to come in the ring for a save or something? See how it feels. If you want to get back in the ring we can figure it out.”
Cyrus nodded. He looked over at Gage thinking about his secret life with Isis. Cyrus sat back in his recliner, rubbing his stubble that was just breaking back through the skin. His years of having a long shaggy beard was gone even though his scars were still there. He hated people looking at them but he finally took his sister’s advice and stopped hiding who he was. He missed a little beard though. Maybe he would keep it short and clean-cut. His house was in disarray but he kept his makeover look. He almost prided himself on his new style.
As far as his scars, if anyone wanted to be with him they would just have to accept him how he was. After all, it was Tammy’s idea to hide them all those years, to begin with. It took him a long time to realize that his insecurities stemmed from trying to impress a woman who really didn’t love him the way he thought.
Cyrus sat up, leaning over his knees and rubbing his hands together. “Gage. Can I ask you something?”
“Sure, bro. Shoot.”
“Are you and Isis still into the BDSM thing?”
Gage chuckled, throwing his head back to take a drink of his beer. “You do realize she still wears those collars, right? If I decided not to, I think she would think I was cheating or was losing interest. It’s sort of an important part of our relationship. I don’t know why but it’s comforting for her. It’s not like I beat her or force her to do things she doesn’t want. I’m not a sadist.”
“I get that. How did you know you were a dom?”
“I guess it was when I was in college that I started looking into it. I started experimenting. There was this girl who was into a few fetish things. She told me about kink fetishes and I started looking it up. I liked the idea of control. I don’t get into the pain stuff other than spanking and a few light kinks. Why?”
“I… I never did any of that hardcore stuff. Tammy made me feel dirty for even talking about anything I wanted to try. The hard stuff is a little much. I’ve been looking online and I… nevermind. It’s weird.”
Gage gave a studying look out the side of his eye. “You’re wondering if you’re a dom?”
“No. I just wanted to know what it’s like. Have you ever been to fetish clubs or anything like that?”Gage gave a slight chuckle, not believing he was having a conversion like this with Cyrus Evens. The straight-laced, Mr. Prefect of the family. “What type if kink are you into?”
Cyrus’ head whipped straight to Gage’s glance with his mouth gaped open. “Are there different types of dom’s? I just thought you all did that dungeon stuff.”
“Well, yes and no. There are a million different kinks. What type of kink are you curious about?”
“I guess the ones were you don’t know the people. I’ve always been curious about how they are okay with that and meet at those clubs. It seems creepy. But, I like the idea of meeting a girl I know and pretending I don’t. I sort of like the idea of meeting a stranger that wouldn’t know me as Cyrus the Crusher. Maybe they wouldn’t’ judge me if they didn’t see my face first. My scars scare people away.”
Gage shrugged off the comment. “That’s not true, Cy. Your scars are not that big of a deal. It’s more of a concern to you than other people. I hear girls talking about how handsome you are all the time.”
“I wish I could meet a girl that didn’t see my face until I talked to her for a while. Like online or something. Maybe she would love me and the scars wouldn’t matter. The girls who I try to date only care about my money. I don’t want that. I want someone who really loves me and that we have things in common.”
Gage looked at Cyrus thinking about it for a moment. “That’s not a bad idea. I don’t suggest a random hook up though. Maybe a dating site or something. Someone you can bond with on a personal level before you start to date.”
Cyrus thought about it for a moment. “I have been thinking about something I have always wanted to do that is similar to dating sites.”
“You will just laugh at me.”
“Spill it. I’ve never gotten you to talk about this stuff. If it’s bothering you I want to help you sort it out.”
“There is this girl I saw online. She’s really pretty but…”
“Okay, what is it?”
“I always liked bigger girls. Not huge, just average girls who don’t look like Barbie dolls.”
“Cy, are you a chubby chaser?”
“No, asshole. That’s messed up. I just like a girl with a few extra curves. I think a confident plus-size woman is sexy. Someone confident in their skin.”
“That’s actually really nice, Cy.”
“There is this girl I’ve been noticing who keeps talking about me on social media. She tags me sometimes. Gage. She’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. She’s got the most beautiful smile and sexy curves that remind me of those women in paintings of the Renaissance….”
“I knew it! That’s why you like those paintings in the museum. I knew it wasn’t about just the art. You spend more time looking at those paintings than anything in the whole museum. You think those girls are hot.”
Cyrus frowned. “It’s not like that.”
“Bull shit. You like those girls and I knew it.”
“Fine. I do. It’s just that all the girls at work are like fitness chicks and always worried about gaining a pound. That’s never been my thing. Tammy was a little thick too when we met. She was curvy but thought she was fat. I don’t like girls to think that. I like women who are confident. We are all different and shouldn’t have to live in a box society places on us.”
“Says the guy who has always been a gym rat, just like me.”
“I like to work out. It’s not a vanity thing. I like how being in the gym makes me feel.”
“Okay, so we have established you like curvy girls and you want to meet her without her knowing who you are.”
“Yes. Is that weird? Oh, and I think roleplay would be cool if she was into that sort of thing.”
“Cyrus, can I be honest?” Cyrus nodded. “You are just a normal guy who wants a girl to like him for who he is. I think you know how much it can hurt to not be accepted. Maybe you can find a girl that fills your needs. If you are worried about what people say about you, screw them. You know who you are.”
“You’re right. The hell with what everyone else thinks. Gage, I like this girl. I want to get to know her. So… what should I do?”
“Not sure but we will think of something. Maybe we can figure out a way to conceal who you are until you know more about her. I’m starving and those stakes you promised me are clouding my thought process. So I can’t figure out your life right now.”
“Figures. You are like feeding an army. Let’s fire up the grill before your precious self waste away to nothing.”
“See. You see it too. I’m vanishing as we speak.”