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Tobias tilted Adrian’s head to the side to reveal his neck and throat. “As you can see, it’s more pink under here. His skin is so pale that any blood movement under his skin gives him color.”

Li flipped through Pantone swatches in his hands. “Hm.” He held one up, then another. “I think one of these cards is the closest”

“Let’s go with the second, the first looks a little purple.”

Li held up the second one to Adrian’s neck again. “Hm. Well, the skin is a multitude of hues. In any light, either could match.”

Li walked over to a bookshelf and took out a sample book. He set it on a table next to the samples. “I think I just have just the right hue of leather to compliment this…”

Tobias gave Adrian a pat on his cheek. “Stay in first position, love.”

“Yes Sir.”

Tobias turned his attention to Li. He walked over next to him and glanced at the open pages. “Brown?”

Yes,” Li held the Pantone shades against the leather samples.

“That’s…not the standard,” Tobias said with care. He did not want to offend Li or his business.

“No. I am aware black is standard. I make black collars all year long. But black is a high contrast color. It makes whites look more white.”


“And although black matches most gear, iike harnesses or cuffs or things like that, it doesn’t match natural tones very well. I looked at the photos you sent me of Adrian, and most of what he wears at work is navy, tan, cream. Black and navy do not compliment and do not argue me about that.”

Tobias blinked. “My intention is not to argue…”

Li held up a gentle hand to request a moment of interruption. “You must remember Tobias, that the collar is worn not just in the dungeon. It has to match most of what your boy wears. If you want a black one to match your gear, we can arrange that, but for daily wear it must look natural.

“I …hadn’t thought about that.” Tobias looks over at Adrian. “His hair isn’t dark either. A black collar would stand out though. Make that statement.”

“Indeed.” Li opened the ringed hinges of the book and took the sample page out. “I don’t want to assume anything about your relationship, or what your boy’s comfort level is, but sometimes making a statement all day every day can make a boy uncomfortable. Being stared at can make them feel self conscious and ashamed. Not everyone understands this lifestyle. In my opinon, a proper collar shouldn’t be noticed that much. A boy should forget about it. It should be a fashion statement that’s both intriguing and sexy and mysterious to others. Black makes a statement of BDSM. True leather makes a statement of sophistication.”

Li strode over and held a page up of cinnamon-hued leather samples to Adrian’s neck. “See how warm it looks?”

Tobias stared. The boy’s skin seemed to glow around the natural samples.

When he didn’t say anything, Li strode back over to his desk and took a sample collar from a drawer. He then held that up to Adrian’s neck as well.

The result was astonishing. The black just made Adrian’s skin look pale and splotchy. In the dim lights of the dungeon, black was gorgeous, but in sun light or fluorescent lights, it was too strong. Tobias did not like being wrong, and it was unusual to feel humbled and put in his place by another man. He had to admit he had under-estimated Li because of his slim body and polite disposition.

Tobias ran his fingers through his hair. “I have to acquiesce to the advice of a professional.”

Li smiled.

Tobias also noticed Adrian’s shoulders relax and his face soften. He wore a slight smile. Tobias reminded himself that the happiness of his boy always came before his own. Awarding him with a collar that made him uncomfortable would cause massive faults in their symbiosis. “Let’s move ahead with the brown one. I think that second to top sample is really quite pretty…”

“It comes from a leather maker in Morocco, it’s really quite exceptional…”

Adrian stood there properly in first position as the men chatted, but It was hard to keep his excitement from showing. He really just wanted to hug his Master right now.


Captions are fictional.


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