[identity profile] pushkin666.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] unmarked_place
Title: New Horizons 3/3
Author: [livejournal.com profile] pushkin666
Pairing/Characters: Spencer/Tom (brief, mostly offscreen), Gerard/Lindsey, allusions to Brendon/Ryan, Bob & Patrick
Rating: PG13
Word count: ~2880
Disclaimer: See Community Introduction Post
Warnings/Enticements References to bdsm play (off screen)
Summary: He wants something new; something different. In short, Spencer is Bored, with a capital B. He runs his hands through his hair in exasperation. Being back after college is killing him. This falls at the very beginning of the verse and details how Spencer comes to work at Unmarked Place. The three parts are written and the remaining two will be posted Saturday and Sunday.

Author notes: Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] dreamersdare for an excellent beta, and to my erstwhile co-author/cheer leader [livejournal.com profile] kat_lair as always.





Spencer bats Ryan’s hand away from his hair. “Seriously,” he growls. “You need to stop now.”

Spencer glances at himself in the mirror. The suit he’s wearing is one Ryan had had made for Spencer’s 21st birthday. It’s dark blue with a pale silver thread running through it and the trousers hug his ass in a flattering way. He’s wearing yet another white shirt, this time with a burgundy tie. He knows he looks good.

Despite that, Spencer feels nervous about tonight. The final stage of the interview process is a dinner at the club with Patrick and Bob, their backers, the other interviewees and the club reps. He hopes he's sat near Tom; he likes the other guy and feels at ease with him now that they've scened together.

There are going to be ten of them sitting down for dinner. He knows some people might have issues with that, but Spencer doesn't. Hell, that's pretty much the normal amount of people sitting around the table every mealtime whenever he and Ryan are at home. Half the time he never knows who's going to be there; it could be slaves, subs, tops, people that his parents are mentoring or any combination of the above. Spencer isn’t bothered by either the mix or the number; he knows he can hold his own.

When he gets to the club Patrick takes him down into the Family restaurant, where the others are already gathered. Bob and Tom are chatting to a tall red-haired woman and Spencer presumes she's one of the other candidates.

Patrick gets him a drink and then introduces him to the group nearest to them, which includes the other two reps and the second candidate. Spencer recognises Miss Victoria, the Top Rep, from the demonstration. Ryland, the Switch Rep apologises for not being able to attend, but says that he’d been at a rehearsal. Ryland is tall and thin, smartly dressed other than the fact that he's wearing a red and purple striped woolly hat. Spencer stares for a moment, but says nothing. Hell, if nobody else is commenting he’s certainly not going to mention it. Ryland notices though and smiles.

"Cool isn't it," he says touching the hat. "I collect hats. It's one of my weirder habits, or at least that's what my other half tells me. It suits me though."

Spencer smiles, not really sure what he's supposed to say to that and takes a mouthful of his coke. Patrick had offered him alcohol, but he wants to keep his wits about him tonight. Spencer doesn't mind having a glass or two of wine at dinner but that's pretty much going to be his limit. He and alcohol have an interesting relationship and he's certainly not going to mess up his chances tonight by drinking too much.

Vicky, who had told Spencer he could drop the formalities, snorts at Ryland's comment. "You keep telling yourself that,” she says, "Hey, at least you didn't wear the one with the puppies on it tonight." Her smile takes the sting out of the comment.

"Uh-huh," Ryland drawls. "Well, we all know who likes puppy dogs around here Vicky, and it's not me."

Spencer watches as Vicky glares at Ryland. He could tell that she was a Domme as soon as he met her, even before Patrick introduced them. Her presence and the way she's holding herself speak volumes. He feels comfortable with her and even though he doesn't find women attractive, he thinks she's hot. Brendon would just love her, although Spencer thinks she'd have Brendon on his knees with just one look.

****

Bob and his group join them for another drink, and then Gerard and Lindsey arrive. Spencer does a double-take. He's used to being in the company of very toppy people. Hell, he knows he can be daunting and scary himself, but these two... They have an aura about them that draws the eye, but also warns away. Like tigers, Spencer thinks - beautiful and majestic, but dangerous and scary as hell. Spencer knows that if he had a submissive bone in his make-up he'd be dropping to his knees right now. He just wouldn’t be able to help himself.

He pulls his gaze away from them and turns back to the group He takes the time to introduce himself to the other two candidates, using the conversation as an opportunity to get a read on them. Karin, the red-haired woman, looks to be about forty, although Spencer’s not great at guessing ages. She tells Spencer that she's a Switch and has worked as an Assistant Manager at a Family club in Arizona. She reminds Spencer of some of his mother's friends and he instinctively likes her. She seems to be normal and doesn't appear to have any airs about her.

Stuart, the other candidate is quite clearly a Top. Spencer doesn't like him though he’s not quite sure why. Stuart is being polite, although he refuses to drop his gaze from Spencer once he starts talking to him, almost as though he's trying to intimidate Spencer. Not that it will work; thanks to his parents’ influence Spencer isn't easily cowed. Stuart tells Spencer very little about himself, other than to say he's been living overseas for the last ten years, managing a Family club in Spain. They chat a little longer and then Bob leads them into the restaurant.

Having now met Karin and Stuart, Spencer feels less confident about his chances of getting the job. He shrugs mentally and lets himself physically relax. He may not feel as though he’s the best candidate but that doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy the meal. The starters come and Spencer takes his time whilst eating them to look around. Tom is fidgeting a little bit and Spencer wonders if it's because he's uncomfortable sat next to Stuart. The man hasn't shut up from the moment they've sat down, but he's really only talking to Bob, Lindsey and Vicky. He’s completely ignoring Tom who is sat to his left.

Gerard is sat opposite Spencer, deep in conversation with Karin who is sat next to him. Spencer is too far away from either Patrick or Bob to engage them in conversation, and besides he's been taught by his parents that it's rude to speak over people. He's more than happy to speak with Ryland, Tom and Vicky though. He likes Vicky and makes a mental note to himself to get her contact details as he’d like to keep in touch with her after this. Ryland beams when Spencer tells him how much he's enjoying the food and Tom starts to laugh. At first Spencer wonders what the hell Tom is finding so amusing, but then Ryland blushes and tells him that his boyfriend, Alex, is the chef here and was responsible for cooking the meal.

From what Spencer can hear Stuart keeps trying to bring the conversation back to himself and to the subject of discipline and Spencer finds it more than a little irritating. Spencer likes nothing more than taking a cane or a whip to a sub's backside, but he doesn't particularly want to talk about it at dinner. Something about Stuart makes Spencer’s skin crawl. He suspects that Stuart is the type who cares more about his own pleasure and desires than for his subs or slaves, and, if that's the case, Spencer wonders how he ended up managing a club for ten years.

Spencer ignores him and goes back to talking to Tom. Tom’s good company and attractive to boot and Spencer feels he would very much like to play with him again in a non interview setting. Ryland is busily chatting to Karin, Gerard and Patrick but after a while Vicky joins in Spencer’s conversation as well and both she and Tom start grilling Spencer about what he's done in the past, trying to work out if they know any of the same people. It's pretty obvious they're doing their own type of interviewing but Spencer doesn’t mind. It makes sense that they would want to know more about him if they’re going to have to work with him. They ask him what he'd like to do with the club if he was given the position of Manager. That's something that Spencer's been thinking about for a while and he tells them some of his suggestions. He knows he's talking a little bit too much, but he's passionate about it and would love to see some of his ideas used, even if he doesn’t get the job.

It's a late night, but Spencer is enjoying himself. He's kept to his self-imposed limit of two glasses of wine, sticking to iced water instead as too much coke makes him jittery. They’re all finishing off their coffees and liquor while Patrick asks them to join them tomorrow at 4.00pm when they will be told who has the job.

It's clear to Spencer that Tom has had a little bit too much wine; he's leaning back in his seat, hair mussed where he's run his hands through it with his voice slurring slightly. It's only now that Stuart has started to pay closer attention to him and there is a cold and calculating look in his eyes as he stares intently at Tom. Tom hasn't touched his coffee and Spencer's not even sure if he's noticed it’s there. Tom’s head is back, his eyes closed and his posture loose. Spencer doesn’t like the way Stuart is looking at Tom, and he catches Vicky’s gaze, nodding slightly at her.

Bob stands up from the table and the rest of them follow suit except for Tom. Spencer can see that Stuart is about to pull Tom up, but then Vicky’s there, at Tom's side. She helps him up and Stuart has no option but to back away.

"Come on, Tom,” she tells him. "Let's get you upstairs. We need to have a chat and then you can stay at mine tonight. You haven't seen Nate in a while in any event." She guides Tom out of the restaurant and Stuart turns and glares at Spencer.

Spencer doesn't care though. In that moment Stuart has shown his true colours and they aren’t pretty. Spencer only hopes that Patrick and Bob caught it as well. There’s nothing wrong with being predatory, but Stuart is just the wrong type of predatory as far as Spencer is concerned.

****

Spencer runs his hand along the inside of his shirt collar. Even though he figures he hasn't got the job he's still nervous standing and waiting to be called in by Bob and Patrick for the final verdict. He's also getting a little tired of wearing shirts and ties. He's worn them more often in the last few days than he has in about the last six months, although Ryan has enjoyed playing ’dress up with Spencer’, as he's been calling it.

Spencer smiles at Karin who, he's glad to see, doesn't look anywhere near as confident as she did the previous evening. Stuart is ignoring him and has been doing since Spencer arrived, but he doesn’t care. If he never sees Stuart again it will be too soon. He loathes the type of Top that Stuart clearly is and he wonders how the hell Stuart even managed to get this far in the interview process. The only explanation Spencer can come up with is that he must have had good references. Spencer glances at his watch; five minutes to go. The door to Bob's office opens and the three reps come out.

"They’re ready for you now," Ryland tells them.

Spencer stands and follows Karin and Stuart into the office. Bob is sat at the desk, Patrick leaning up against the wall behind him arms folded. The atmosphere is more subdued than it's been so far and Spencer sits in the remaining empty seat facing them. He tries to hide his nervousness, surreptitiously wiping his hands on his trousers before letting them rest on his thighs.

"It's been a long couple of days," Bob says. "We've been very impressed by all of you; you've all shown different traits and strengths during the interview process. This is a new club and a new Chapter and, as far as Patrick and I are concerned, we want to be one of the best Family clubs in the US. We think we have a really good team here with the reps and the other staff, and we need someone who can work with all of them. We wanted somebody who treats everybody equally; irrespective of whether they're a top, sub or a switch. We also want somebody who's passionate about the job and passionate about the club and where it's going. The three of you did well during the interviews and, to be honest with you, we were still unsure yesterday morning as to who to employ. The drinks reception and dinner last night were the deciding factor. After that Patrick and I sat down and discussed everybody’s strengths again, but we knew at that point who we wanted to work with."

He stops and nods at Patrick. Patrick's gazes rakes over the three of them and Spencer shifts in his chair. Up until this point Patrick has been the quiet one, but under the weight of his stare Spencer realises that the last thing he would want to do is get onto Patrick's wrong side.

"We’ve discussed the decision with Lindsey and Gerard earlier this morning, and also spoken to all of the reps asking for their input, because at the end of the day they're part of the committee and will be working closely with the Manager.”

Patrick pauses and then his serious expression breaks into a smile as he looks at Spencer. “The decision is unilateral: although Spencer is the youngest of you, and has the least experience, we would like to offer him the position of Manager. We liked his clear enthusiasm to move the club forward, the ideas he has and also felt that he would best fit the team."

Spencer stares at Patrick, not quite sure that he's heard him right. It's only when Stuart stands up and angrily pushes back his chair before storming out of the office that Spencer really starts to believe it.

Next to him Karin turns towards him, smiling. "Congratulations,” she says, holding out her hand to him. "I think you'll do well, Spencer." Spencer shakes her hand in a daze, not quite sure what the expected response is in this kind of situation.

Karin turns to say goodbye to Patrick and Bob. They shake her hand and then Bob passes her a business card. "Lindsey asked me to give this to you,” he says, “She said if you want to play at any time, you should give her a call." Karin pockets the card with a grin and leaves.

Then it’s only the three of them, Spencer still sitting in stunned silence.

"So, Spencer,” Bob drawls. “Do you want the job? You haven’t accepted yet."

Spencer clears his throat. "Yes," he says in a rush. "Yes, please."

Bob grins and stands up from his desk. "I think this calls for a bit of a celebration, don't you?" He fetches out a bottle of champagne from the fridge in the corner of the room and cracks it open. He starts pouring the champagne out into six glasses.

“You’d better get another bottle, Patrick, and tell the other three to stop skulking outside and get in here. They’ll want to share in this,” he says.

Patrick is back a minute later with another bottle, followed by Ryland, Vicky and Tom. Spencer is still sat in his chair, not really believing that this is happening, that he actually got the job.

“Well stand up man,” Bob says, laughing. “This is your celebration after all.”

Spencer does as he’s told for once in his life, taking the glass of champagne from Bob.

“To Spencer,” Bob raises his glass. “Welcome to the team.” The others follow suit.

Spencer takes a mouthful of the champagne, trying not to choke on it. “I’m not quite sure what to say,” he tells them. “But thank you.”

Tom slaps him on the back. “Don’t worry about it. We’ll give you the benefit of the doubt for now. I’m sure you’ll be saying plenty in the days to come.” Tom laughs. He’s looking remarkably well for somebody who got so drunk the previous night.

“How are you feeling?” Spencer asks him.

Tom winks. “Oh, I’m feeling just dandy thanks. It takes a lot more than I drank last night to get me drunk. Let’s just call it the final test.”

Spencer stares for a moment and then grins back. The sneaky son of a bitch... he can live with that. He knows he’s going to enjoy working with these people.

Spencer takes another mouthful of his drink and feels himself finally beginning to relax for the first time in days. He wanted a change in his life and now it seems that he’s got it. A new city and a new job - just what he needs. He can’t wait to tell his parents and Ryan – they’ll be so pleased for him.
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