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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

TLR Chapter 29

Freddie was beside himself they'd only been at the resort less than four hours and he had already screwed up.  The disappointed look he got from Owen made him sick to his stomach he felt like he was going to puke.

While Owen was in the bedroom doing something Freddie grabbed his jacket, headed out the back door and down a small path.  He needed to think.  He had to get his mind around this new thing Owen wanted to try. He still couldn’t grasp why one partner would want to spank the other one for things they had probably done most their lives. 

As he walked he kicked the small rocks off the path and mumbled to himself.  He just didn't understand how his lover spanking him for doing wrong was going to help him not do it again.  “It never worked for Dad,” he growled. Freddie walked over to a tree and looked around then reaching up he took two of the small branches and fixed them so he would know he was on the right path back to the hut when he headed back. It was something his grand-dad taught him to point the way without harming nature.

A half hour later Freddie saw the falls.  He'd seen lots of falls while hunting with his grand-dad, however this one was breath taking.  Most waterfalls spray a mist of water all over but this one only had mist close to the bottom.  One thing he always loved was the mist rainbows. He sat on a rock and watched the wild life drink from the pond that flowed from the falls.  A doe and her fawn munched on the soft green grass at the edge of the pond.  He heard a soft growl.   Looking toward the sound he saw a bobcat stalking the fawn then scamper over the rocks when he saw Freddie.   Rabbits hopped here and there while the loons and the swans swam lazily in the water.  A few ducks bobbed for food.  Two young bull moose butted their heads together. He wondered if Owen liked rabbit stew or fried rabbit or fried duck. He wondered if Owen would eat things like deer, moose or wild game, or if his man knew how to fish or hunt.

Freddie tried to enjoy what he was looking at but he wished Owen was with him. The thought of his lover brought back the look he got a while ago, the tightness in his stomach came back and he let out a frustrated cry, “DAMN IT, PAPA, HELP ME UNDERSTAND," he yelled.   Grabbing fistful of hair he pulled it tight and dropped to his knees, the wild life scatted like they heard a shot.  With his head in his hand he pushed his elbows into the soft grass and cried.

Not far away, another young man with his own worries silently ambled toward the waterfalls on the same path Freddie had followed.  Billy’s mind keep rerunning Stephen’s tumble from the cliff a few days before.  He couldn’t get it out of his head.  He remembered the fear that his lover, his heart, might have died but he remembered the relief when he finally got to him and knew he was alive.  Billy was lost in his thoughts when he heard a yell up the trail.  Without thinking he broke in to a run following the sound.  He didn’t know what lay ahead of him but he knew he had to help if he could.

Bill slowed to a walk when he reached the small meadow at the base of the falls.  He slowly scanned the area until he saw a man bent over in what looked like pain on the grass in front of him.  As he carefully approach the man he could hear muffled crying.  Billy softly cleared his throat keeping back so he didn’t startled the man.

Freddie hoped to shout that the noise he heard was not Owen.  He moved his head a little and peeked out from the side of his arm.  Seeing feet he quickly sat back on his heels, pulling his T-shirt neck up over his face he wiped his eyes.  

"Hi," Freddie said in a low voice.

“Hi,” Billy returned the somewhat cautious greeting the young man delivered.  “I’m Billy,” the young physical therapist introduced his self.  “Are you hurt,” he asked.

"Umm no, just thinking.  I'm Freddie by the way," Freddie said quickly getting to his feet.  He was not sure who this man was so he was a little cautious about him.

"This is a great place to think, Freddie," Bill said.  "I've been coming up here to think for a few years."

Freddie gave Bill a smile. "My first time here," he told him.  He went over to a flat rock and sat down.  He looked out over the pond.  "Have a seat, if you want," he said sliding over a little.

"Don't mind if I do," Billy said as he walked over to the rock and sat next to his new friend.  "It was a long walk up here.  I could use a bit of a rest."

Freddie didn't know what to do.  He scratched his head feeling like a fool for letting this man see him cry like a child.

Billy could see that this younger man was embarrassed and tried to put him at ease.  "When I'm having a hard time I love to come up here and just let my feelings out.  I like to think of it as my secret place even thought I know others come here too."

"I usually,” Freddie stopped,  he wondered what the guy would say if he told him he made blankets by weaving them on a loom or that he played the Pan flute, "work on cars to relax." Freddie told him.

"I, um, we, usually climb rocks to relax," Billy said and looked away hoping Freddie didn't hear the sadness in his voice.  "But I guess I won't be doing much of that for a while."

"Why?" Don't they allow it here?" Freddie asked. "I always wanted to try climbing by my dad said no, cause knowing me I'd break my fool neck." He gave a small laugh.

“Sure they allow it, but my husband took a tumble a few days ago and messed up his hip and back," Bill answered.  "I'm not allowed to climb without him.  So, like I said no climbing till he gets better."  Bill looked up the rock face next to the falls.  "Heck, I'm probably in trouble for coming out here without telling him where I was going."

Freddie gave Bill an odd look, ‘trouble there more than with us,’ he thought.  "Trouble?" Freddie asked not wanting to pry but hell, maybe this guy could help him understand all this stuff.

Billy didn't say anything for a couple of minutes.  When he did speak he asked Freddie, "Are you staying at Teardrop Lake Resort?"

Freddie thought that was an odd question. "Umm yeah," he answered.

"Then you know it's a special place?" the older man asked fishing to see what Freddie knew of the resort.

"All I was told was it was a resort for gay men in an odd type of relationship which I don't understand why they do it,” he said looking at the older man. "Did I make sense?" he asked.

"Yeah, you made sense," Billy assured Freddie.  "Sounds like you are having second thoughts about being here, or maybe about the lifestyle."

"Here?  No I love these type of things.  But I am not sure about, I just don't understand why one partner would want to punish the other for something, like cleaning car parts in the house, or running late,” Freddie stopped. He looked down at his hands.  "Disrespecting someone other than your partner," he said with a sigh.
"Maybe I can help you understand some of it, Freddie,” Billy said.  "It was hard for me to understand when Stephen, um, Stephen is my husband, brought up the discipline he thought would be good for us.  All I could think of was I was too old to be spanked and there was no way in hell that I was going to let him hit me."

"Owen’s my partner, we've only been together for a few months now.  I thought he was out of his tree when he suggested it, I still do." Freddie swatted at the fly that landed on is leg and then scratched his neck. "Can you explain to me, how is Owen spanking me for calling my... someone a bitch or a few other choice names going to stop me from doing it again?" He asked.

"Well, let me ask you this instead,” Bill said trying to form his words carefully so as not to piss Freddie off, "Do you think you need help with some of your, um, some of the things you say and do?"

Freddie looked down at his hands, "I want to say yeah, because I don't ever want to see the hurt in Owens eyes again, but then again I want to say no, cause I am a man and I should be able to do what I want,” Freddie told him.  “But most of all I don't want to lose Owen," he said and wiped his eyes off with his shirt again.

“Well, for me and Stephen, the DP works because we trust and love each other.  I trust him to never hurt me.  He was there to help correct some of my bad habits.  And now it’s a lot easier.”  Billy explained.  “Of course, I still step over the line from time to time and when I do I know he will be there to help me.  But it wasn't something that came easy to me."

"Yeah, I know what you mean, this is hard for me, to accept." Freddie said.
"Did Owen say you would lose him if you didn't try the DP or didn't come here?"  Billy asked.

"No, he keeps telling me he never leave me or Dakota," Freddie said, not realizing he mentioned his son.

"Do you believe him?"

Freddie was looking off into the distance.  “Yeah I do, I really do," he said with a bright smile.

"Good, because it won't work without the trust,” Billy grinned back at Freddie.  "This, the resort, is the best place in the world for you to learn about the lifestyle.  The owner build the place so guys like us could come here and explore everything we need to understand it."

"Yeah, Owen told me there's a class on how to stay out of trouble. “ Freddie told him. "Does your husband want to hold you after a punishment? Owen tried the first time he spanked me, and I didn't want him to touch me. I wanted to be left alone.” He looked sad again.
“There are several classes and not all of them are for the brats,"   Billy laughed, "Some think brat is a degrading term but I love when Stephen says I'm his brat."  He grinned like it was the best thing to be a brat. “But you’ll learn a lot by just talking to some of the resident brats and tops.  Anyway, yeah, he holds me.  If he didn't I wouldn't have that release I need.  When he holds and comforts me after it's like he is saying I'm forgiven.  That we can move, that the slate is clean.  That took a little while to understand too, but Stephen never gave up no matter how much I pushed him away."
Billy looked at Freddie and saw the confusion there.  “You are probably wondering why I love that my guy calls me his brat?”  He waited for his new friend to respond and when he saw the nod he continued.  “Well, for most people the term brat means negative things like trouble maker, whiner, weakling, attention getter, nothing good.  But for most of us who come to TLR it’s more about being someone who does better in life when they are held accountable for their actions.  I know if I didn’t have Stephen to hold me accountable my life wouldn’t be as happy as it is.”

Freddie laughed, when he got called a brat it usually meant he was spoiled. "So if Owen calls me a brat it's ok, cause it don't mean what it meant when my brother called me it?" Freddie asked this was getting more confusing than ever.

“Nope, it’s more a term of affection in a DP.”

"Question?" Freddie asked.

"Shoot, and I'll try to answer it," Billy chuckled. 

"Did you feel strange after your punishment was over, like a heavy blanket got pulled off?" he asked.

"Yeah, I do every time," the older man answered.  "Stephen says it's because the guilt I was feeling has been atoned for, um, it's like I paid the price for the crime and my heart is free again."

Freddie nodded his head, "Do you get a choice in what is done when you get in trouble?" He asked.

"Well, that's a hard question to answer.  We talked a long time about things that might happen when we first decided on a DP so I pretty much know what might happen but the real choice is Stephen's."

Again the younger man nodded his head. "Do you think it would be ok it I suggest to Owen that I don't like a certain thing to be used?" He asked with his eyes looking at the trees behind the older man.

"Well, if you do it before you are in trouble it should be ok," Bill said.  "Owen should respect your hard limits if he's any kind of top.  But I do know for a fact that trying to change what he wants to use after you are in trouble isn't going to work."

Freddie laughed at that, "Yeah I learned that also, with my dad.  If he was going to use the ruler you didn't want to try to negotiate cause you’d get something worse.
"Yeah, I guess things never change."

"I kind of took off the day after my first spanking. I went to my old pad cause I had to think.  I didn't understand then but I am understanding some know with your help. Do you think the class might help me understand more in this kind of lifestyle?”

“Yeah, the classes will help or at least give you some ideas,” Bill answered.  “If I was you I would go to a couple that are more about the lifestyle.  Ya, know, about why it works and why it is right for you.  I think you will learn more if you talk to some of the other brats there though.  Most of them have been doing this as long or longer than me.”

Freddie smiled. "When you first got here you said you were probably in trouble for not telling your husband where you went.  Why?" He asked.  "If it's not my business it’s ok to tell me to but out."

"Well, like I said before, my husband fell during a rock climb.  I was climbing alone and he was trying to get to me after he saw me slip.  Anyway, he got banged up pretty good.  He fell once before we met and lost his leg.  That's how we met. I was his physical therapist," Billy explained.  "When he fell this time it really scared me.  He's resting back at our bungalow but I just needed to get away for a while.  One of our main rules is that we always let the other know where we are going. I left in a hurry and didn't tell him where I was going, so I know I'm in trouble.”

Freddie thought for a few minutes, "Owen said something about rules.  As a "Brat" do we have a choice in the rules, or is that something the "Top" picks and chooses?" he asked.  He knew one rule already and that was not to disrespect Owen's wishes by calling Precious foul names. "Oh wow, I didn't tell Owen either.  He was in the bedroom putting stuff up, but I guess if I am in trouble I'll accept it cause I probably scared the bee's wax right out of him," he told Bill.

“Well, it works the same as the punishments.  You need to negotiate rules ahead of time.  But new rules can be made when the need arises.” Bill answered then said, “I think it would be a big step for you guys if you do accept whatever he dishes out.  But I hope he understands how confused you are.”

“Now can I ask you something?”  Billy asked quietly.

“Yes, of course it only fair since I've asked you a bunch," Freddie told him.
"Before you mentioned someone called Dakota.  Is Dakota another partner?  Are you in a threesome?" Bill asked.

"Um, no," Freddie kind of looked at his hands for a moment, "he's our son, well mine, but Owen accepted him in his life," Freddie told him.

"Oh," Bill sighed, "guess I stuck my foot in my mouth.  But, hey, that's neat that you two have a son."

"Naw, you’re ok, I'm not ashamed of him," Freddie laughed. "It’s just some of my friends didn't understand how I became a dad, since I'm gay," he told him. 
"Well, that is a neat trick but I wasn't wondering about it.  That's your business not mine."

Freddie chuckled. "Yeah it was a trick alright.  A dirty one, but no one was laughing," he said. "So besides climbing what else do you do, for fun?" he asked.

Billy laughed at Freddie’s attempt to change the subject.   "Swimming, hiking, outdoor stuff, “he answered but then got quiet for a minute.  "Well, if Stephen gets better without any permanent damage."

"If he is as good as you say he is, he'll be fine," Freddie said. He looked up and let out a small groan, "It's past five, and I left about two." Freddie told him.

“Yeah, I hope so and you're right we better be getting back."

Billy stood and offered Freddie his hand to help him stand too.  Both young men were brushing off their shorts when they heard a rustle of leaves.  Turning they saw a tall man leaning against one of the oak trees close to the trail.

"Ut oh," Billy groaned.

"Who's that" Freddie whispered.

"Heath," Billy whispered back, "Stephen probably sent him out to look for me."

"He don't look happy" Freddie whispered again, "You think he'll tell Owen?" he asked.
"He's a top so probably."

Heath stepped away from the tree and walked up the Billy.  "You're a long way from home Billy."

"Nice to meet you, Bill. I'm going to find my way back.  Catch you later." Freddie said as he turned to leave.

"Hold up young man," Heath said in a tone that froze Freddie.  "You must be Freddie.  There's a man back at the resort worried sick about you."

Freddie dropped his head to his chest. "Um, yeah, that why I was headed back to the hut," he said with a smile.

"I think you should walk back with us.  That way you won't get lost." Heath said.  "I'm Heath the doctor here," he said holding his hand out to the young man.

“Hi, I’m Freddie the lost little Indian boy," he said with a grin as he shook the large hand.

“Let’s get outta here before the sun sets and it gets cold and dark,” Heath instructed.

"Um, did that man look mad," he whispered as they started to head back.

"I think he is more relieved that he found us safe," Bill answered. 

"For now we're safe." Freddie whispered again.

"Ah, Doc, how is Stephen?" Billy asked.

"He's resting but worried about you,” Heath answered.  "I think you have some explaining to do when you get back."  The Doc pulled his walkie talkie free from his belt.  "James, come in please."

"Why are you calling James?" Billy whined.

"So he can tell Stephen and Owen that their brats are safe," Heath smiled, "for now."

"Who's James?" Freddie asked. Man he wished he paid more attention when they had that interview.

"He owns the resort, and has warned me more than once not to wander off."

"Oh yeah, I forgot." Freddie told him.

When James keyed in Heath let him know that he had the boys and they were on their way back.

"We're not ten for God sakes," Freddie snapped. 

Heath stopped and turned to look at Freddie.  His eyebrow raised.  Before the doc could say anything Bill stepped between them.  "Heath, Freddie is a bit confused about DP and what's expected.  They only just started as a couple.  That's what was taking us so long up here, we were talking about it.”  Billy said as fast as he could to prevent Heath from scolding his new friend.

Heath took a deep breath.  "I see," he said,” is there anything you would like to ask me Freddie?" he offered.

"Sorry dude" Freddie told him. "Um, no, Bill has answered what I was worried about," he told the Doctor. 

"Ok, good," Heath replied, "but if you ever need to talk there are a lot of us here that are more than willing to help out."

"Ok, there is one question, um, what makes a guy decide to roll this way?" Freddie asked.

Heath looked at Freddie and decided he really was serious and did want to know why. 

"Roll which way?  Be a Top or Brat or be in a DP?"

Freddie let out a breath. "To be in a DP, I mean what makes one decide to do this? I've read some stuff, but it didn't explain to where I could really understand it." Freddie told him feeling his cheeks burn.  He was glad it was getting dark so neither of the two men could see how embarrassed he was.

Heath turned back toward the resort and then with a young man on each side of him he slowly started walking.  "I'm not sure there is an easy answer, Freddie.  At least not one that most people accept.  It's just something that feels right."

"Yeah, Mutt says it's the way we are wired." Billy added.

"Yeah well I think we are going to need some electrical tape cause sparks are going to fly."  Freddie said then pulled back a little. Then he stopped and looked at the resort.
Heath laughed, "It'll be ok, Freddie.  I'll talk to Owen if you want.  I know you two are new to this and you need some time to understand.  It's not sounding to me like this was your idea.”

"Bill said some guys ask their partners to spank them!" Freddie asked he was shocked to hear this. "Man, they must have crossed wires." He told them, "No, that’s ok." 

Freddie scratched his head.  "Just stand as a referee for me ok?" He asked, letting out a breath he stepped up beside Heath. "Shall we go face the music?"

"Let me ask you something first.  Are you afraid of Owen?" Heath questioned Freddie.

"No, Hell no" Freddie told him. "I just don't like to see that look of disappointment on his face when I screw up, it makes me disappointed in myself for upsetting him." 

Freddie said. "It hurts to see that I hurt him, does that make sense." He asked.

"Yes, it makes perfect sense, Freddie," the doctor answered.  "But you know I think because you hate to disappoint Owen you just might be wired like the rest of us."

"And, yeah, some of us do ask for a spanking when we feel guilty or just want a release," Bill said.

"But you don't always get what you want do you, Bill?"

Heath said grinning at Stephen’s husband.

"No, it's up to Stephen to give me what I need."

Freddie thought for a moment, on how the authority in Owens voice make his stop in his tracks, the tingle he gets in the pit of his stomach. "Maybe…"

"Maybe what, Freddie?" Heath asked.

"That I am wired that way, sometimes it takes a few re-wires to get it the right way across.”

"Well right now I want a whopper with cheese, and large fries and a Dr. Pepper." 
Freddie said as his stomach growled.

Both Heath and Bill laughed, "Well, let's get you back to Owen and then maybe you can have that whopper."

Freddie laughed, "Not on your life, he’s death on fast foods.  If my dad don't buy it, I don't get to eat it," he said.

"Stephen is the same way," Bill said, "There are days I would kill for a cheeseburger."
Freddie nodded. "Or a Combination Pizza with extra cheese, and a cold beer’" he said. 

"Don't they have a restaurant here?" he asked looking around.

Heath laughed, "Come on you two, now you're making me hungry."

"Hey a condemned man or men should be able to eat what they want for their last meal before they get walloped," Freddie told them as he picked up his pace to catch up with the two older men. "Hey you two slow down, you both have longer strides then me."

The men slowed down waiting for Freddie to catch up with them.  Heath dropped his arm over Billy shoulder.  "I want you to head straight to Stephen, Bill.  If he's sleeping don't wake him.  I'll be along later and let him know what happened."

"Yes sir," Billy said.  "Nice meeting you Freddie.  See you later." he said then turned to go find his husband.

"See ya, Bill.  Maybe if Owen will let me you can teach me how to climb" Freddie told him.

"Ok, Freddie, let's go find Owen."

"Well the last time I saw him I left him at the hut," Freddie told him. "I think I'll head that way now." He said turning on his heels to see Owen standing there waiting for him.

"Ok," Heath agreed when he saw Owen with his arms open to welcome his lover back.  

"Good luck."

Freddie turned on his heels to see Owen standing there, he swallowed air, and looked at the ground.  He couldn’t read Owen’s face. He wanted to see his handsome lover’s face, but he didn’t want to see the disappointed look again, if it was there, so instead he kicked at the soft dirt.  His mind was going a mile a minute, his heart was racing.  Should he go to him or should he wait to see if Owen would come to him, or just turn around and go back to the bungalow.

"Come here," Owen's voice broke slightly. "You scared me so much I thought you’d been hurt or worse. I turned around and you weren't there anymore." Owen braced himself as Freddie barreled into his arms. They stayed like that for a few minutes and then reluctantly Owen gently released Freddie and hand in hand they walked into the bungalow they'd been allocated.

They sat on the sofa, Freddie in Owen's lap. "I had an interesting discussion with a Top while you were missing," Owen said. "He said if it were his Brat who disappeared like that the first thing he'd do was check he was okay, hug him and then paddle him so hard he wouldn't sit comfortably for a week." Owen smiled somewhat grimly as Freddie tensed. "Well I've done the first two but I don't think I'm happy using a paddle on you. I think a good, hard bare bottom spanking would drive the message home. I know we haven't discussed specific rules but the one non-negotiable rule is if you do something that could hurt you or another, there is only one punishment.  This one will also be a lesson about running away when things overwhelm you."

Freddie tensed at the word paddle however, he curled up into his lover instead of pulling away, “I took a walk, I didn’t run away, there’s a difference. I didn’t know we’re supposed to leave a note, but I understand what you mean,” Freddie told him.  He pushed his face into the curve of his lover’s neck. “What am I supposed to do when you give me that look?”

"Tell me Frederick," Owen's voice became slightly more dominant, "is it okay to walk away while I am not in the room especially if you don't know the area?

Freddie’s body stiffened a little when he heard his given name.  He let out a huff and tired not to shake.  He was about to get his tail roasted.  He could give a smart ass reply but that would probably get him in more trouble so he looked up at his lover.

“No sir,” He gave the only answer that he knew Owen wanted to hear. 

"Are you scared?' Owen asked, "Freddie if you really don't want to be in a DP I won't force you and I won't leave you. We both have to be OK about this."

"Yes, I’m scared,” Freddie shifted his body around so he could see his lover’s eyes. 
"But not of you." he bumped his forehead into Owen’s, “I said I would give this a try.  I'm stubborn so it takes more than a couple of times to understand something and I think this is one of them."  Freddie moved to his lover's side. “So as of right now both of us are ok with it,” he said, waiting for his lover’s next move.

Owen undid Freddie's trousers and slid them down and followed with his boxers, then placed Freddie over his knees. He rested his hand on the bottom, "This time I won’t ask any questions about how you ended up here," he said calmly, and the first spank landed. Owen wasn't a complete novice as a spanker, and he's been spanked often enough as a child that he knew the most effective method. He paid close attention to Freddie's sobs and controlled hands flying back to protect the vulnerable bottom. Owen didn't stop until the bottom was red and glowing.

‘Oh wow, what the hell did he just agree to?’ Freddie thought.  This pain was far worse than the first spanking Owen had given him. He didn't expect when he threw his hand back to protect his rear it would get used as an anchor to hold him tighter against Owen’s body.  He did his best to wiggle to get his rear away from the punishing hand.  He even tried to roll off his lover’s lap.  As the heat grew in his rear the cries got louder, he was near hoarse when he finally gave up and stopped the fight.  He knew he had scared his lover when he disappeared.  

"Chief, I'm Sorry," he managed to get out in a hoarse voice.

"I know you're sorry sweetheart," Owen replied, "We're all done and you're forgiven." Owen didn't try to hold Freddie he just soothed the young man by gentling rubbing his back. Then maneuvered so that Freddie was stretched out on the sofa with his head in Owen's lap.

Freddie hooked is one arm around Owen’s leg to keep him from going anyway, he curled the other one up under his chest. When he stretched out his legs and let out a sound that sounded like a cat in pain. He could feel his lover hand gently rubbing his back but he couldn't figure how the soft hand was so hard not so long ago.

"Kind of ironic our first day at a resort to teach a brat not to get in trouble and he gets in trouble," Freddie spoke, his voice still horse.  He really was not talking to anyone but he knew Owen would hear.

Owen just smiled, "We've not started any classes yet," he pointed out. "Maybe what you just got will help focus you. Anyway we can worry about that tomorrow. I had some dinner ready for when they found you and it's easily reheated. Let's eat."

Freddie gave a fake laugh, "Funny," he said as Owen helped him up on his feet.  One thing he did know was how to stand without letting hot flesh touch anything. He grabbed his boxers with his toes, and brought his leg up so he could pull up his boxers.  Going into the kitchen he looked around "What are these guys sadistic?" Freddie asked, looking at the old fashioned wooden kitchen chairs, letting out a small whimper, "Can we eat at the bar?" he asked shifting his weight,

They ate standing and spent the rest of the night going through some of the classes they wanted to attend, they also checked out the leisure activities and work and no play make Owen and Freddie dull boys.


Billy jogged down the path to the bungalow he and Stephen shared every time they came to TLR.  He loved spending time at this resort with his husband.  James, Heath and Jeff were like the uncles he never had.  He seemed to be closer to the doctor and maybe that was because they worked in the medical field. 

The closer he got to their bungalow the more he thought about the look on Heath’s face when he found Billy and his new friend, Freddie. Heath did look relieved that he found Billy but he also looked disappointed.  The young man was sure if Freddie hadn’t been there Heath would have swatted him for leaving Stephen alone and heading to the falls.  He knew the older man would never spank him but an attention getting smack wasn’t unusual.  And maybe if Heath had smacked him it would have relieved some of the guilt Billy was holding in his heart.

The young man quietly climbed the steps and carefully open the front door.  He stepped through the opening then silently walked across the living room to stand at their bedroom door.  Billy could see that Stephen was sleeping.  The pain meds Heath had given the man he loved were giving Stephen the rest he needed to heal.  He stood watching the older man sleep for a few minutes then turned and retraced his steps. 

Once back on the porch he leaned against one of the porch posts.  He couldn’t get the picture of Stephen falling at the cliffs out of his head.  He could have lost the man who was the world to him, the man who was his world.  It didn’t matter what anyone else said this young man knew it was his fault that his husband fell and came so close to dying.  Billy’s eyes blurred with tears and he slammed his fist into the post.  Then he did it again and again.  The pain in his hand seemed to dull the pain in his chest.

Suddenly, he was jerked around and received three stinging smacks to the seat of his walking shorts. “Stop it now, Billy!”  Before the swats fully registered Heath pulled him into a hug.  The doctor simply held his friend, one hand rubbing his neck the other holding the boy up. 

The floodgates opened and Billy cried his heart out against Heath’s chest.  His legs buckled so that Heath had to carry him to the porch swing.  The doctor placed the young man on the swing and sat beside him.   Billy leaned into Heath’s side trying to gain some control of his emotions.  Heath didn’t say anything he just kept his arm around his young friends shoulders.

Billy, embarrassed that he had lost control in front of the doctor voice broke as he whispered, “S…sorry, Doc.”

“Easy, Bill, it’s ok.” Heath softly replied.  “You’ve been through a lot worrying about Stephen.  And I bet you two haven’t been able to sort things out yet either?” 

Heath almost missed the shake of Billy’s head.

“Stephen is going to be good as new, Bill.  No lasting injuries,” the doc tried assure him.  “I’ll start weaning him off the pain pills tomorrow and all too soon you two will be back out there climbing those cliffs.”

Billy sniffed, sat up and wiped his hand across his eyes. “Oww,” he hissed. 

“Let me see your hand, Bill.” Heath ordered.

“It’s OK, Doc.” The younger man said putting his hand behind him.

“William, I’m not going to play this game with you.” Heath ordered is full top mode.  “Let me see your hand.”

Shaking his head Billy put his injured hand in the doctor’s hand.  “Looks like the post didn’t agree with you hitting it.”  His scraped and bloody knuckles were starting to swell from smashing his hand against the post.  Heath gently manipulated Billy’s hand being extra careful with the ring and pinky fingers.  “Let’s get you over to the infirmary so I can take a couple of pictures of your hand.”

Billy started to argue with the doctor but when that eyebrow rose he changed his mind.  “Will it take long, Doc?  I don’t want to leave Stephen alone.”

Heath snickered.  “That didn’t seem to be a problem when you left him alone to go to the falls.”  He looked around and saw one of the landscapers pruning some bushes close to them.  “Hey, Torren, I need a favor.” He called out.

“Sure thing, Doc, what da ya need?” the normally shy young man asked.

“I need to take Billy over to the infirmary so I need someone to stay here in case Stephen wakes up.”  Heath explained.

“Ok, Doc, I can do that, um, if you aren’t gone too long.”

“We should be gone about an hour, Tor.” Heath answered.  “If you need to leave call James and he’ll come over and relieve you, Ok?”

“Ok, Doc,” Tor said. 

“Come on Bill, let’s get you checked out.” 

Heath had left his cart at the infirmary earlier so the two men walked down the path. It didn’t take long for the doctor to find out that Billy only bruised his hand.  He cleaned and bandaged his bloody knuckles then splinted his patient’s hand. “The way things are going I’m going to need to order more splints,” Heath laughed.

“Yeah,” Billy agreed.  “I guess it was pretty stupid of me to hit that post.”

“Well, it wasn’t the smartest thing to do, Bill,” Heath chuckled as he pulled an ice pack from a small freezer.  “I want you to keep this on your hand,” he said handing the pack to Billy.  “Use it for 10 minutes at a time and keep it in the freezer when you aren’t using it.”

“Ok, can I go now?”

“Sure just be careful with that hand.  Watch for swelling. I’ll come by tomorrow and look at it.” Heath instructed.

Billy followed Heath to the porch.  “Thanks Heath, um, for everything.” He said then ran down the steps.  When he got back to the bungalow he thanked Torren for watching Stephen then went in to the bedroom and snuggled up next to his husband.  He was asleep before he felt Stephen’s arm wrap around him.

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