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I woke up right on time. Opened my eyes right as the alarm started ringing. Only five days here, and apparently my body was already syncing itself with the schedule.

I waited, lounging in bed, while the other guys made use of the two bathrooms that were accessible from our communal bedroom. The room itself was huge, it felt like there was space for eight beds, instead of four, but still there were only two bathrooms. It was part of the paradox of the house in general. There were so many bedrooms here, and yet the four of us shared one. There were many bathrooms outside, but our bedroom only had access to two.

Not that I had any reason to complain. Being here was good. I'd wanted to get in for months. Years, if you count the time it took between friends first telling me about this place and me deciding I wanted to come here.

The four of us had breakfast together, which didn't always happen. In the five days I'd been here we’d only had breakfast together twice.

Ben came to pick up me and Jordan when we were done eating. He'd also peeked in while we were getting ready in the bedroom, to say good morning and make sure we were OK. He and Chris took turns doing it every day. Although, after breakfast Ben always comes for us and Chris comes for the other two guys, regardless of who we saw that morning.

The first thing Ben had us do that day was run laps through the garden. Well, it wasn't really a garden, more like a huge outdoor area that surrounded the massive mansion I now lived in, with paved paths and trees and bushes and occasional flower patches. Ben started off slow, walking briskly and occasionally breaking into a run, expecting us to keep up, and then switching to walking again. I already knew the morning was for checking in with us. How did we sleep? Were we feeling OK? Any injuries? How was breakfast? How was sharing a room with the other guys? He always asked and we gave brief, business-like answers, and then it was time to run again.

After a while went up to the hill, a spot that was pretty remote from the house and had a whole area on top with benches and a thatched roof, a beautiful spot to look at the view of the house and the grounds.

Ben had us sit down and do some stretches, stuff that was vaguely like yoga or pilates or whatever. I'd never been hugely into sports, and was currently the most out of shape I'd ever been in my adult life. I was panting by the time we got to the hill, while Jordan was a lot less worked up. He'd been here two weeks longer than me and was more used to the routine, among other things. Ben, of course, looked like he was relaxing in bed, not running around outside.

Ben demonstrated the stretching routine, which was a little different every day. Some stretches he did with us, with some he waited for us to do it and then walked around and corrected us or pushed us a little further. When I was sitting up, legs spread wide, trying to touch the toes of my sneakers, he leaned on my back a little, forcing me to stretch a little farther. When I was lying flat on my back, grabbing each thigh in turn and bringing it as close to my stomach as it would go, Ben pushed my knee towards me to make the stretch go a little deeper.

The stretches always took a while. Ben didn't hurry us, there were no clocks here, no set schedule. We took breathers in between stretching, drank water from bottles Ben had brought with him.

After that was done we headed out for another run. This one was more intense, starting out slow and speeding up, occasionally going slower when I was clearly out of breath, but never stopping or dropping the pace to a walk. It wasn't always like this. The first day I joined Jordan - after the initial 24 hour period when I slept in a guest house, when Ben was giving me the space to decide whether I really wanted any of this - there was barely any running. Ben made everything fit my pace. I was out of breath the whole time, sore the next day, but he never forced me to keep going when I felt like I had to stop. If you'd asked me, I would have said getting to our current pace would have taken me weeks. But apparently Ben was a pro at this, and here I was, running in the morning just five days later.

The run took us back to the house. Ben took us to the kitchen, not the dining room where we had breakfasts, and the cooks had a plate of bread, cheeses and fruits waiting for all three of us. The staff at this house was still something I couldn't get used to. Most of the people who were here every day were gardeners, cooks, cleaners. I'd never seen anything like it. Mostly they kept to themselves, I saw them chatting and laughing occasionally, especially in the kitchen, and they were always courteous to us. But they weren't curious about me or Jordan, and they mostly talked to Ben. How many men have they seen pass through this house already, I wondered. It had to be dozens, at least. I'd first heard of this place three years ago, and none of the four guys I shared a bedroom with had been here longer than six weeks.

After the food break and more water, Ben took us to the weight room. The other guys - Brandon and Rob - were in there with Chris, but they were finishing up just as we came in. Not that it was necessary for only one group to have the space - the weight room was massive, like every other part of this house, and had enough equipment for ten people.

Ben gave us each our initial tasks. Mine was to work on my arms, sitting on a chair and pulling down weighted handles, and Jordan's was to do sit-ups on a special bench. I'd been to the gym a few times - there were plenty of them in San Francisco - but never had a personal trainer. I imagined this had to be a similar experience, even if Jordan and I were sharing. Ben had us working close to each other, doing slow, precise reps, and had us switch exercises every once in a while.

Again, there were no clocks anywhere, and no sense of having to hurry. In the real world, I suppose I would have been antsy by now, bored, waiting to finish the dumb workout and do something else.

But there was nothing else waiting for me here. Ben decided what I did all day, and I was fine with that. There was a finite amount of things it was possible to do at the house, and I would get to do all of them eventually. If not today, then tomorrow. I had no job waiting to hear from me, no responsibilities. I'd told everyone back home I'd be unreachable for a while, and they all understood, even if they had no idea where I was really going.

Whatever Ben wanted us to do was fine by me. If anything started hurting, or if I felt bad, I knew I could tell him, and we'd stop and he'd figure out some other way to keep us busy.

After the weight room, it was lunch.

We didn't eat with the two other guys, but Ben joined us, which didn't always happen. We ate in the dining room, with the food already waiting for us on a side table, buffet style. There were a few kinds of salad, pasta, chicken and shrimp. The food was always good, hearty and filling, not fancy but satisfying.

After eating I felt drowsy. I was still not used to the constant workouts, my body was sore and food made me slow and lethargic. It was late afternoon, the sun starting to dip, shining through the giant windows of the dining room, filtered by the tall plants surrounding the house.

"You want a nap?" Ben asked with a smile, looking at me.

I nodded. Jordan laughed.

"Fine," Ben said, "you have thirty minutes. But you're not going into the bedroom. Go on, find a nice spot in the sitting room. I'll come get you in half an hour."

Jordan and I hauled ourselves up from our seats and proceeded through a giant family room adjacent to the dining room, to a smaller sitting room with smaller, cozier couches right by the windows. I laid down on the loveseat, which was too small for me to stretch out on, but I didn't really think I'd be able to sleep. Something in me enjoyed the feeling of a smaller space, of feeling constricted, of filling up the entire soft surface, with my legs hanging over the edge.

Jordan dragged the pillows from one of the couches and settled them on the carpet on the floor, next to a coffee table. He curled up like that, on his side, hand under the side of his head, like he was really going to sleep.

I closed my eyes and drifted. My belly was full, the air was pleasant and warm, my skin felt sticky from the sweat and heat outside, my legs were a little sore, every muscle in my body felt exhausted, but my mind was quiet. I didn't care that my sweaty shirt was probably leaving some kind of mark, if only a scented one, on this beautiful, pristine loveseat. It wasn't my responsibility to care. Ben had told me what to do, and I was doing it. Someone else was in charge of making sure the loveseat stayed in the right condition.

By the time Ben came in I was halfway asleep. "Time to get up, boys," he said, and I sat up too quickly, startled, and for the first time that day felt metal digging uncomfortably into my groin. The running shorts were comfortable and loose, and I hadn't felt anything weird underneath them all day. I hadn't even missed wearing underwear, something I'd done every day of my life until I met Ben.

I sat up properly and adjusted myself, and everything seemed fine. No pain, no discomfort. No odd feelings, beyond what I knew to expect. Ben eyed me while I took stock, but I nodded to him that everything was fine, and he didn't prod further.

"All right boys," he said, as Jordan climbed groggily up to his feet. "Go change for the pool."

I loved the pool. It was the best choice for an afternoon workout, the perfect way to cool down after the day. We went back to the bedroom, where Jordan and I each had a small, one-door closet next to our bed. All the clothes there had been provided by the house, all the clothes I'd brought with me had been put into storage somewhere, to wait for my departure. I picked out a blue pair of swimming trunks, and Jordan picked black. We changed quickly, without looking at each other. The shorts were again, loose and comfortable. I put my shirt back on, feeling a little strange about walking through the house half naked.

Ben met us outside and took us to the pool. Or, well, one of the pools. The largest one, used for swimming.

At first we just did exercises in the water. Stretches again, pulling and pushing each other based on his instructions, diving down in the deep end and holding our breath, using our stomach and back muscles in ways I never thought possible but that the water facilitated.

Then he had us doing laps. It was slow at first, and Ben kept correcting my technique. My breast stroke was getting pretty decent, though my backstroke was still terrible. Jordan slowly made his way across the pool while I floundered and choked, sinking in the water each time. Ben worked with us, encouraging Jordan to go faster, helping me do my laps. Again, there were no clocks, but the sun was still in the sky when we came outside, and had sunk completely beyond the horizon by the time Ben told us we were done for the day. The pool lights had come on, illuminating the sitting area outside as well as the inside of the pool.

There was a hot tub area, right next to the pool, and Ben had all three of us climb inside. The hot tub was always the best part of swimming. I felt like every muscle in my body had been wrung out, like I was sore everywhere, in the best way, a way I didn't even know could feel good, and the gushing hot water was making it all better.

"Good workout, guys," Ben told us, looking more relaxed himself. He dipped his head in the hot water for a moment, coming up with a sigh and rubbing at his face, like he was massaging it. "Jordan, I like your progress. We can start upping the amount of laps soon. I want you to learn the butterfly stroke, if you're here long enough."

"Thanks," Jordan said, leaning back against the side of the hot tub and practically melting into the water. "That sounds like fun."

"Alex," Ben said, addressing me, "You've done really well. You don't have a lot of swimming experience right?"

I shook my head. "Always hated the beach. Pool never seemed worth the money."

Ben nodded. "The backstroke is tricky, but you'll get there. You're making amazing progress, just so you know."

I nodded. The truth was, I'd noticed it myself. As much as it sucked to see Jordan be so much better than me, I was miles ahead of where I'd been on my first day at the pool.

"Alright, boys, let's go," Ben said eventually, and we climbed out of the hot tub into air that now felt chilly. He wiped us down with towels that were always hidden in a cabinet by the pool, and we went back inside the house.

We went back to the bedroom, where Jordan and I changed back into regular shorts and shirts, putting our wet trunks in the laundry bin that stood in each of our closets and got emptied out each day while we were gone. Ben took us back to the kitchen, where there was more cheese, bread, sliced vegetables and a warm shepperd's pie. There was also the ever present basket of fruits, with apples, peaches, grapes, and other offerings.

"Jordan," Ben said, while we ate, "we're done for the day. I'd suggest spending the rest of the night in the library. Please remember to be in bed by the time the lights go out."

Ben's words made my stomach flutter, not from the food, but from what they implied. If Jordan was released to make his own entertainment, that meant there was a good chance that I--

"Alex," Ben said, "you're with me tonight. After you're done eating, I'll take you to get ready."

Part of me was elated, excited, grateful and relieved. Part of me was apprehensive. I nodded at Ben and looked at Jordan. His expression was the same, like being picked or not didn't matter to him. I aspired to that attitude.

In reality, being alone with Ben was still something I wasn't sure entirely how to handle. It was the heart of being in this house, the entire point, and mostly I loved it, but part of me was also freaking out, wondering how the night would go.

Jordan left before I was finished eating, saying his goodbyes and heading for... wherever. Probably the library.

"Can I have a coffee?" I asked Ben. I didn't know why, I didn't need his permission when it came to food, that had been well established.

"Sure," Ben answered easily. "Do you feel like you need one?"

"Just... don't want to fall asleep I guess," I said.

Ben called over one of the kitchen staff and asked them to make me a coffee, but by the time he was done talking I'd changed my mind. I was already jittery. I used to drink coffee at all hours of the day, but here I'd restricted myself to one in the morning, and neither Ben, Chris, or any of the other guys even had that. A coffee for comfort was probably a bad idea at this hour, if I wanted to sleep well later.

Ben canceled my coffee request, without reprimanding me or giving me any weird looks.

"You ready to go up?" Ben asked, when it was clear I was done eating. I nodded.

Ben took me to the third floor of the house, to a door with a keypad. It opened to a whole section of the house that was essentially restricted for everyone except Ben and Chris. It looked like a large, luxurious apartment. Several bedrooms and bathrooms, an office, a gym. These were all things I'd glimpsed here and there, from the two times I'd been up here before.

Ben took me to a bathroom, done in white marble, with two sinks and a bath as well as a shower that could fit four or five people.

"Let's just rinse off the chlorine, eh?" Ben said, taking off his own shirt, waiting for me to take off mine. I did, and then I pushed down my shorts and folded them, putting all my clothes in a neat pile on the marble near one of the sinks.

Ben kept his running shorts on, as he always did.

I stood in front of him completely naked, except for metal ring wrapped around my balls and the metal cage around my cock.

Ben wore a long metal chain around his neck, with two tiny metal keys hanging from it. "You want me to take it off, or would you rather do it yourself?" he asked.

When I shook my head and didn't make any other movements Ben gracefully knelt down in front of me, and used one of the keys to unlock the cage and pull it away, letting my cock and balls be completely exposed to the air for the first time in 48 hours.

He looked over my cock, like it was an artifact, like he'd done before, making sure it looked all right, I suppose.

"Anything feel weird?" he said, looking up at me, holding my balls in his hand.

"This, still," I confessed, feeling myself flush even as I smiled at him.

He smiled back. "Too weird?" he asked.

"No," I said. "Just weird enough."

"Great," he said, getting up from his knees. "Then let's keep going."

The shower was next. Ben put the cage away, near the sink next to my clothes, and watched me get inside the glass shower and wash myself. He wasn't really watching my every move, it wasn't an inspection, but I knew it was his way of looking over my body, making sure nothing was too sore, that there weren't any scary bruises. It was also, I suspected, his way or making sure I didn't get so high on having my cock back that I'd jerk off right there and then.

After the shower he toweled me off, taking care to go slowly and gently, wiping down my wet hair, my shoulders, my belly, my toes, and finally using a smaller towel to reach between my legs, to cup my balls and wipe off my cock.

Finally he wrapped a dry towel around my waist and we left the bathroom to go to the office. It was the same room he'd taken me to before.

Inside sat a man, a little younger than Ben but older than me, wearing a gray suit with the collar undone. He sat behind a desk, papers strewed around him, but he didn't look like we were interrupting him. He looked like he'd been waiting for us, the same way he always looked.

There was a... if it had cost less money, it would be called a beanbag, but since it looked extremely expensive it was probably some kind of experimental cloud couch seat, amorphous and soft on the floor. Ben sank into it, pulling me with him. We settled so my back was to his chest. His arms came up around me, hugging me briefly. The man behind the desk was looking over me, not saying anything. He just looked me up and down, not hungry, but reserved, appraising.

One of Ben's hands was on the towel, under my stomach, where the fabric was folded together.

"Can I open this?" he said, quietly, his nose touching my hair.

I nodded, and Ben slowly unwrapped the towel from my waist, discarding one side of it and then the other, until I was completely exposed.

My pubic hair was waxed. It was one of the rules of the house, to allow the cage to go on smoothly. From this angle, half lying down, it was extremely obvious to me, that there was nothing between my stomach and my cock, to patch of hair. Ben's hand wrapped around my cock and I could see it clearly, see every finger hugging the base of the shaft. I gasped and closed my eyes. The feeling of someone touching me there, of my skin being unnaturally smooth, of a man I didn't know watching the whole thing. It was so much.

Ben's hand was slick with something, he stroked me up and down and the slide was smooth and easy. I gasped and made other sounds, and Ben's other hand held me steady, anchoring my body to his.

"Doing so well," he said in my ear, an echo of his praise while he was making us run or swim laps. "Feels so good, right?"

"Mmhmm," I said. "Feels so good." The words were like a wave of something rising up in me, a heat that burned brighter the more Ben stroked my cock. I felt my cheeks grow hot, the soles of my feet. Everywhere there was this slowly rising fever.

"Are you close, Alex?" Ben whispered, his hand not pausing.

"Yes," I said, feeling wetness sting against my closed eyes. I hadn't come in five days, not since the first day I arrived and Ben sat with me in the guest house and asked me to jerk off in front of him. He told me then it would be the last orgasm I'd ever have in this house, told me that I had a day to think about that, to explore, to decide whether I'm ready. I thought I was, but every time when I was in this room it felt unbearable.

"How close?" Ben said.

I didn't want to answer. I bit my lip and felt his hand speed up, his thumb pressing against my slit on every upstroke, I was panting now, moaning, so desperate, so close...

His hand stopped, fell away, disappeared from my cock.

I let out a grunt and opened my eyes, and there I was, my cock hard and dark red, and Ben was holding me with both arms and pressing his lips against my hair.

I tried not to cry. Ben was rocking with me on the stupid beanbag, back and forth in tiny motions, and I felt one tear slide down my cheek, but that was it.

Getting up again took forever. My limbs wouldn't obey, I didn't want to let Ben go even for a second, losing contact with him felt like it would undo me. The man behind the desk was still there, motionless as ever, but I didn't have the brain space to care about him or even take in his facial expression.

When Ben finally got me up I clung to him, wrapped my arms around him, rested my head on his shoulder. Every part of my skin still felt like it was on fire.

"Shh," Ben said, gently caressing my hair, "I know, baby. I know."

Slowly we walked out of the room, and back to the bathroom. Ben sat me down on the closed toilet lid and grabbed one of the towels, wetting it under the spray from one of the sinks.

He knelt in front of me again, rubbing one the hand not holding the towel all over me, as if we was trying to rub the circulation back into my thighs, my chest, my arms.

Slowly the rubbing motion over my skin helped me focus.

"Alright," he said, voice barely above a whisper. "Ready for this?" He held up the wet towel.

I nodded, because I wanted, needed, to have it over with.

He wrapped the cold towel around my erection, making me gasp and grab his shoulders, my fingers digging in.

"That's right, baby," he said, not moving. "You hold on as tight as you like. It's all good, you're doing so well."

After a few seconds that felt like an eternity he pulled away the towel and went to wet it in the sink again.

My erection was smaller. My cock wasn't as hard, though it was still red. I leaned back against the wall the toilet was attached to. A few more times and my cock would be flaccid again.

Ben was back with the towel, cold and wet again. He waited until I seemed ready and focused, and then wrapped it around my cock again. I grit my teeth but didn't make any sounds this time. I didn't grab him, but Ben's other hand found mine, intertwining our fingers and squeezing briefly, until he got up again.

After the fourth time my cock was soft. Ben looked it over again, wiped it down with some kind of watery solution, then wiped it dry again.

"I've got a surprise for you," he said with a half smile, while I was still slowly coming back to myself.

The cock cage he retrieved was different from the one I'd been wearing. The structure was the same, the thick metal bars, the cut off tip to let me urinate freely, but something about the metal was different.

"This is your custom one," Ben said. "We had a few made based on your measurements. No more guesstimates and using what we already had available. This one was made specifically for you."

Shit. The proportions were a little different, yeah. Although the previous one was fine too. I tried to tell Ben that, but he didn't even let me finish.

"This one should fit like a dream," he said. "No discomfort, even when I wake you up from your nap," he said.

I smiled in spite of myself. The smile made me realize somewhere underneath all of this I wanted to cry. I didn't know it that was still about not being allowed to come or about the other stuff, the original reason I wanted to come here. Could be both.

Ben helped me get up from the toilet seat. I was still feeling shaky.

Once we were both standing, him still wearing his running short, me completely naked, he held me again, hugging me close. I held on, lying my head on his shoulder again, though I was more conscious and put together this time.

"It feels more intense every time," I said. "Does it stop at some point?"

"It stops when you want it to stop," Ben said. "But as long as you keep going... in my experience it only goes up. I don't know that there's ever a plateau."

I pulled away from him trying to stand on my own two feet. "How long have you been doing this?" I said. Ben looked about a decade older than me.

"Long enough," he said. Then he smiled. "I'm glad you're feeling less shaky. Let's put you back where you need to be."

He knelt again, and put the new cage on me. It felt a little different, but yes, more comfortable and snug. Tighter in some places, looser in others. I never thought I'd be used to the weight of a cock cage, but it really did start to feel like home.

God, I'd been here less than a week.

"Get dressed, and let's go back downstairs," Ben said, getting up. I pulled on my shirt, and my shorts, feeling more settled once everything was back on.

Before we went back through the keypad door Ben gave me one last, quick hug. We went back to the first floor, and Ben took me to the kitchen.

"I'd like you to have something to eat," he said. "Milk and cookies OK?"

There was no one else in the kitchen, the staff probably gone home for the night.

"I'm not really hungry," I said. "But yeah. Sure."

He opened the the fridge and some cabinets and came up with a glass of milk and a few small chocolate chip cookies. I dipped one in the milk and popped the whole thing into my mouth. It was delicious, definitely home made.

"It's kind of weird," I said, chewing, "you make us run around all day and eat salads, and then it's empty carbs before bed." Ben looked like he'd been working out his whole life. He didn't have that moviestar physique, where every muscle is chiseled, but he was strong all over, and agile, and all his movements looked easy and practiced. Like he'd pushed himself to every possible limit and he knew how every part of him worked.

Ben laughed. "I'm not training you for a marathon, so I wouldn't worry about it."

"What are you training us for?" I asked, before I could think better of it.

"Right now?" Ben asked. "Hopefully for a good night's sleep."

I had another sip of the cold milk.

"I'm done," I said. Like a kid waiting to be taken to bed.

"Alright, champ," Ben said, smirking, like he was picking up on the vibe himself. "Let's go."

We walked back to the bedroom. The lights were already out in most of the house, leaving only faint strips of light along corridors.

"Brush your teeth, use the bathroom, go to sleep," Ben said, hand cupping my chin for a moment. We were the same height, so he wasn't raising my face up to his, but the gesture carried the same weight.

"Alright," I said. "Goodnight, Ben."

"Goodnight, Alex," Ben said. "You did great today. I'll see you tomorrow."

He waited until I went inside the bedroom and closed the door.