It was a game Ace was good at, waiting, one he tried to play both often and well. Waiting, because he always had something to prove: that someone wanted him more than he wanted them.
And though he tried not to be prone to doubts, he couldn’t help but wonder, after he’d left the club that night, whether or not Will would follow through, If he would whine and beg under Ace’s touch under the cover of darkness and flashing neon lights only to disown the need that Ace had felt in him in the harsh light of day. If, maybe, Ace had misread him, should have pushed harder and faster to take him home that night, before he could get away.
He wouldn’t lower himself so to say that he was worried, per se. Curious maybe, preparing for some light disappointment that hopefully wouldn’t come to pass. He could have hunted the man down, could have tracked him down in the Archives and messaged him, but it would be breaking a rule that he had set, even if Will wasn’t completely aware of it: that Will had to be the one to reach out. Will had to come to him.
He’s been careful, since Gareth, to make sure that he was always playing by his own rules. To assume nothing, take nothing for granted, to not allow himself any delusions of permanence. He made sure, always, as often as he could, to never allow himself to be put into a position where someone’s done with him before he’s done with them.
With Will, he hasn’t even started. He’d had Will desperate for him in the club, panting and blushing all at once, nuzzling at his face and pleading to be allowed to touch him. And he had felt powerful, with all the possibilities in front of him: to give him what he wanted or to cruelly withhold, to make him beg and beg and beg again until Ace was satisfied. It was enough to go to his head, trip him up. In that moment, flush with his own power, godlike with how much he felt Will wanted him, he hadn’t even entertained the notion that the booking might not come.
And though he entertained it later, idly wondering and checking his phone more often than he might have otherwise.
Though he really shouldn’t have worried at all, didn’t have to wait long at all.
Of course Will was good, and of course Will was obedient, and he had a booking for Saturday night. And, oh, Ace had plans. When it was five minutes to six, he sent the text, tapping out replies until he was sure that Will would do as he instructed.
And then, he waited, because he knew that Will was waiting for him. Waiting that was on Ace’s terms, now, not Will’s as a resident with the title of master whether he cared for it or not, whether or not he called Ace by the title instead, Will who had the ability to dictate who he had and when. He had waited for Will to hire him, Will had waited to hire him. But now Will was waiting for Ace, and Ace wasn’t waiting for anything at all.
Now, he was just having fun.
He didn’t count the minutes, though he wondered if Will was, wondered if he was nervous, as his shyness in the club might suggest, or if he was only anticipatory, only wanting. When he deemed enough time passed, only a span of ten minutes or so, he left his apartment, wound his way through Southampton’s grounds to Quay, shivering in the winter cold without his coat on, for once he got to where he was going, it would only be in the way.
There was a bag at his side, bumping against his leg with every step, its contents jostling against each other promisingly with his movements. He didn’t know what, if anything, Will might have. And he wanted to be able to take him by surprise. Being prepared was being professional.
The doorknob turned easily under his hand, bringing a pleased smile to his face. He’d been in enough apartments here to know the basic layouts, though he’d never been in Will’s, and it took him less than a moment to orient himself, toe his shoes off next to the door, and turn in the direction of the bedroom where Will would be waiting.
He was gradually dropping himself into the right mindset. No room for doubts, now, he wouldn’t allow himself to expect anything other than perfect obedience, anything other than Will doing exactly as he said.
— and he was, knelt to his bed and perfectly subservient, the picture in Ace’s head come gloriously to life and all the better for being right in front of him, there for him to touch and taste and take. He let his bag drop from his shoulder to carpet, padded across the room on light, bare feet to insinuate himself between Will and the bed. Taking a seat on the edge of it, he reached out to take Will by the back of his head, tug him in to lay his cheek on Ace’s thigh, looking up at him.
"Before we get started," he said, low and relaxed, indulgently stroking a hand through Will’s wild curls, "We need to get a few things out of the way. Safeword, for start. And then I want to know if there’s anything you don’t like and then, conversely, if there’s anything you really do."