Friday, November 6, 2015
TLR Chapter 35
Brody mentally checked his list for the tenth time; food, transportation, fishing poles. He looked forward to making today as relaxing for Harry as he could. Everything they needed was already stowed in one of the canoes at the lake. Eric had promised everything they needed would be packed and waiting for them. Walking into the bedroom he smiled as he watched the man he loved sleeping peacefully. He almost hated to wake him but he knew he needed to if they were going to get back before dark.
“Hey, Babe, time to get up,” Brody said kissing Harry on the cheek. “Time to get our adventure started.”
Harry's eyes opened at the kiss and he smiled. "Yes, I've been waiting to go since you told me about it." He stretched and sat up and reached out for Brody.
Brody hugged his guy then said, "Then hurry up. Breakfast is on the table."
Harry kissed Brody on the lips and then began to get ready for the day and slipped into his seat at the table for his breakfast.
Brody smiled when he didn't see Harry flinch as he sat. Glad that the effects of his first spanking seemed to have worn off. "If we hurry we should get to the lake just as the sun rises."
Harry smiled. "Yes, and I'm not hardly sore at all anymore."
"I'm glad, Babe." the younger man smiled.
Harry smiled in return. "I am too. You spank hard."
"Only as hard as is needed, Babe, and hopefully not very often," Brody smiled back.
"Finish up and let's get going. Eric promised to have the canoe all ready for us. He said he would even pick up our lunch."
Harry smiled. "Good. I'm ready and I’m sure the lesson won’t have to be repeated often...if ever again." He told Brody.
Brody laughed, "Maybe not, Babe, maybe not, but you know what to expect if the need arises Now let's get going."
Harry grinned and walked out to the cart with Brody.
Once at the lake Harry watched as Brody checked the arrangements with Eric for the canoe. He'd never gone canoeing and had little experience fishing, but he was willing to try something new with his lover. He trusted Brody to keep him safe. They had the lodge make them up a picnic lunch too which was a treat. Brody knew how to make good food, but they wanted to do things a bit different this time and had Gary's infamous ribs and chicken wings ensconced in the cooler. He had on sun block at Brody's suggestion and had brought a hat to shade him on the water. "Brody...how long will the fish wait for us?" He questioned.
The younger man laughed. “Don’t worry, Babe, they aren’t going anywhere.”
Harry looked at Brody. "You're sure? They won't decide to go somewhere else were the pickings are better?"
"James keeps the lake stocked for the guests, Harry." Brody explained. "He told me that there are bass, pike, crappie, perch, trout, and bullhead. So I think you will catch something."
Harry smiled. "Sounds like there are all kind of fish to catch. Sure one of them or a bunch of them won't catch me instead?" He teased.
"OH, I would never let a fish catch you, Babe."
Harry moved close to Brody and leaned against him. "Good, I wouldn't want to be like Jonah and be swallowed by a whale."
"Me either," Brody assured his brat.
"Ok, guys, "Eric called from the dock, "everything’s all set."
Harry bit his lip for a moment, then squared his shoulders and scolded himself inside about being nervous. It was only a fishing trip and he was a strong, tough security guard.
Brody helped Harry into his life jacket and then helped him settle in the front of the canoe noticing that the older man was nervous. "Just relax, Babe, I'll guide you through the basics."
Harry nodded. "I know you will. I'm okay.” He tried to give the impression he wasn't nervous, but strong and tough instead.
After shouldering into his life jacket Brody gracefully entered the canoe and Eric gave them a push off. "When should I expect you two back, Brody?" Eric asked.
"Around 6 this evening, Eric." Brody answered. "I have my cell phone and Harry's radio if there's a problem."
Harry nodded. "If you need one of us don't hesitate to call."
Eric laughed, "Harry don't worry about us just enjoy yourselves today."
"We will, Eric, and thanks again." Brody said over his shoulder as he paddled away.
Harry smiled. "Yeah...we'll have a good time."
"OK, Harry, lesson number one, take shallow smooth strokes with the paddle." Brody instructed. "You paddle on the left side and I'll paddle on the right side until you get the hang of it."
Harry grinned and watched Brody over his shoulder and tried to imitate him and splashed himself. He laughed. "Guess that was too shallow.
Wiping the water from his face Brody said, "Just a little, Babe. Try again."
Harry tried again and the canoe moved. "There...it went a little!"
"That's good, Babe, do it again." Brody held still while Harry paddled them in a circle.
Harry laughed as he made them go around in a circle. "Well this won't get us anywhere."
Brody dipped his paddle in the clear lake and straighten the canoe out in one stroke.
Harry laughed again. "Well would you look at that...you got it going straight...how did you do that?"
"I just paddled on the other side from you, Babe." Brody answered. "It's easier to keep the canoe going straight with two people." Brody hadn’t been in a canoe in a few years but it was all coming back to him. "Haven't you ever been canoeing in all the years you worked here, Harry?"
Harry shook his head. "No, I was always workin’ and when my shift was over I slept or hung out in the lodge."
"Well now that we are living here we can do more."
Harry nodded. "Yes, it will be fun explorin' new things together."
"Yes it will," the younger man agreed.
"Harry, do you see that tall peak in front of you?"
Harry nodded as he looked up. "Yes, I do."
"That's where we are heading," Brody said.
Harry smiled. "So we just need to keep paddling toward it."
"Yes we do. Are you comfortable enough to try alternating sides with the paddle?" Brody asked.
Harry nodded. "I can try."
"Ok, just try to smoothly change sides. And remember smooth and shallow."
Harry grinned. "I'll remember so we don't get wet. I'm rather enjoyin' this. It's relaxin'."
As the canoe cut through the water Harry gained more confidence and was enjoying paddling with Brody.
The lake was smooth as glass and the sunrise had been spectacular. Brody almost couldn't believe that less than a year ago he and Harry were only friends.
"I love you Harry," he whispered.
Harry looked over his shoulder at Brody. "I love you too Brody and am very glad we have gotten to know each other better. Who would have guessed we could have come this far?"
"It is hard to believe, but I'm really happy we found each other," Brody agreed. Brody blinked a few times to get his control back. "You're doing great, Babe."
Harry smiled back at Brody and said, "Thank you, not bad for a beginner?"
"Nope, not bad at all," the younger man confirmed. "Let me know if you get tired and we can rest. There's no current so we won't drift. As a matter of fact if you want to try fishing here you can."
Harry looked at Brody. "We can?"
"Sure, the only rule is you need to move smoothly, no jerking around." Brody chuckled.
"We don't want to tip over."
Harry looked at Brody, "Movin' around? I'm sittin' right here."
"Yes, you will be sitting there but when you catch a fish you could get excited so just remember to try and stay calm." Brody instructed.
Brody reached down and located the fishing pole. He carefully put the two pieces together and strung the line for Harry. Trying the weight and hook on the line he baited the hook then handed the pole to Harry.
"Here you go Harry."
Harry took the fishing pole dropped the line over the side and waited.
Brody watched his man knowing that if he needed any help he would ask.
Harry watched the line for a while and turned to Brody. "Nothin' is happenin'."
"Patience, Babe. It's a big lake." Brody chuckled. "Have you ever been fishing before?"
Harry said, "A few times with my Papa when I was a kid, but we fished off the dock.”
"Give me your hook and let me change your bait, Babe," Brody said.
Harry nodded and brought up the hook which was now empty of all bait. He looked at it puzzled. "What happened to it? Did it fall off?
"Well, no wonder you aren't catching anything, your hook’s bare." Brody rummaged around in the bottom of the canoe and brought up a big fat worm. “I would have to say you had a bite." Brody answered.
Harry asked "Will that worm fall off too?"
Brody laughed, "No, I don't think so but if you feel anything at all tugging on the line give it a gentle pull."
Harry smiled. "'Kay, Brody, I'll do that."
"OK, let the line go down about 20 feet."
Harry smiled and followed Brody's directions.
Brody pulled his cell phone out and snapped a couple of pictures of Harry concentrating on his line. "Jig it up and down a little, Babe."
Harry grinned for the camera and then did as Brody instructed and felt a strong tug after giving it a jiggle. "I think I got one!" Harry cried.
"Great, now don't jerk on the line but keep it tight." Brody guided his man. "Steady tension and reel the line in."
Harry began to reel in the fish he caught, but it began tugging. "Brody....it's not wantin' to stay still!"
"Just stay calm, Babe, it'll tire out soon and then you can reel it in." Brody tried not to laugh.
The fish still tugged and swam around. Harry watched it and as it went under the canoe Harry instinctively leaned forward to see where it had gone.
"Harry, no fast moves," Brody scolded as he leaned to the left to compensate for Harry's movements.
Harry jerked upright. "Sorry." The canoe rocked dangerously. Harry nearly lost his hold on his rod where the fish was still pulling.
"Easy, Babe." the young man said. "Just take your time."
Harry tried to balance as the fish swam around still tugging at the line. Harry reeled in and finally the fish jumped out of the water flapping and wriggling. "He's wigglin' around!"
Brody couldn't help laughing. "See if you can pull it into the canoe, Babe."
Harry tried and it kept splashing around.
Brody had seen the fish and knew that Harry had a lake trout on his hook.
"Reel the line in some more." He told his lover.
Harry did as Brody said and reeled as the fish flipped around.
"He's tiring out, Harry, just be patient.
Harry nodded as he watched the fish wiggle and flap around less and less.
"Ok, swing it back to me and I'll take it off the hook," Brody said.
Harry carefully swung his pole toward Brody, carefully watching the wiggling fish.
Brody reached out and grabbed wiggling mass. "Nice trout, Harry." He pulled out a stringer ready to run the cord through the trout's mouth. He held it up for Harry to see.
Harry grinned. "He looks nice. We gonna let him go?"
"Up to you, Babe, you caught him and we do have all day to catch more." Brody answered.
Harry considered. "We gonna eat them?"
"Do you want too?" the younger man asked. "We do have ribs and wings but I can cook him up if you want me too."
Harry bit his lip. "I don't know.” He was torn between eating him and letting him go.
"Have you ever eaten fresh caught trout cooked over an open fire before?" his lover asked.
Harry shook his head. "No, Papa always cleaned them and we ate them at home."
"Well, let's eat this one then and if you catch anymore we can decide what to do with them then." Brody decided for his man.
Harry smiled. "All right." After Brody baited him up again he put his hook back into the water.
The younger man ran the cord through the trout’s mouth and gill then tied it off the side of the canoe into the water. "Trail your hook in the water and I'll paddle for a while, Harry." Brody chuckled. "Poor man's trolling."
Harry smiled as they made their way through the water with the hook trailing behind them, and then there was a sudden jerk. "Brody! Stop! We're stuck on somethin'!" Harry cried, and then the top of his pole began to bend.
Brody stopped the canoe but as he watched the line he knew they weren't stuck. "Harry, you have another fish on your line." He laughed. "Stay calm and keep the tension of the line."
Harry did as Brody told him. "It's pullin' hard." He told Brody.
"Stop reeling but keep the line tight and let him tire himself out like you did with the trout."
Harry nodded and did as Brody instructed. "I think he's bigger and stronger this time."
"Just hang on to him and I'll keep paddling toward shore." Brody said.
Harry grinned. "Okay...I’ll hang onto him as best I can."
Brody loved that Harry was having fun and hopefully not worrying about his mother.
"Watch the tip and you can see which way he is going."
Harry glanced at Brody. "Really?"
"Sure, Babe, can you see the line and which way it's pulling from the tip?"
Harry looked and grinned. "Yeah, I can!"
"Well, the fish is at the end of the line." Brody chuckled.
Brody loved hearing Harry laugh. He didn't say anything just kept paddling.
Harry kept hanging onto the fish as Brody continued to paddle toward the shoreline.
The shore was within 20 feet when Brody stopped paddling. "Try reeling him in now, Harry. He should be pretty tired." He told him.
Harry grinned and began to reel the fish in just as Brody had asked him to until he got to the surface. "Should I reel him out of the water? He's pretty big...lots bigger than the other one." He reported to Brody.
"Let me beach the canoe Harry and then you can pull him up on shore." the younger man answered. "But don't get out of the canoe until I tell you."
Harry nodded. "All right Brody."
Brody beached the canoe and stepped out. He took the rod from Harry and helped him out of the canoe then handed the rod back to his lover. "Just walk up the beach until he’s out of the water, Babe."
Harry laughed heartily. "Okay, poor thing"
Brody laughed too. As the fish flopped around on the sand, now out of the water Brody got him and took the poor fish off the hook and put him with the other fish Harry had caught. "Now we have a very nice lake trout and this good sized Bass, why don't you go and collect some firewood while I clean the fish." he said. "But don't go too far."
Harry nodded. "All right." He began to pick up driftwood that had washed up along the shore, careful to keep Brody in sight and returned with an armful. "Will this be enough or will we need more?"
Brody made short work of cleaning the fish. He also had the cooler and blankets out of the canoe. He was just spreading one of the blankets out when Harry came back. "I think that you have enough for a small fire, Babe. Come and rest for a bit."
Harry smiled and dumped the wood on the sand and came to Brody.
The younger man pulled his lover down on the blanket, kissing him as he gently laid him back. "You know I love you, Harry?"
Harry nodded as he tentatively returned the kiss. "Yeah, but I'm sure I don't have a clue why."
"Mostly I love you because you are you." Brody whispered as he kissed Harry's neck. "I love the wonder in your eyes when I show you something new and I love how you trust me."
Harry snuggled into Brody. "You make me feel safe and cared for in a way I haven't felt for a long time. I love you too Brody."
Brody with his hand on Harry's belly said, "I love making you feel safe and caring for you." He let his hand slowly travel down to Harry’s fly.
Harry stiffened at the touch and where it was going. He tried to relax. Making love to Brody in their home was one thing but it was a bit frightening to do this on the beach. He knew he trusted Brody but what if someone saw them?
Feeling the tension in Harry Brody only rubbed his hand over his lover’s crotch as he continued kissing him.
Harry's body began to respond and the sensations began to take over and Harry allowed Brody to continue, feeling things he hadn't felt before. It was a bit confusing, but Harry let it happen. The confusion however was reflected in his eyes.
"It's ok, Babe," Brody whispered, "we don't have to do anything more than cuddle out here."
Harry let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. He smiled at Brody.
"Kay." He said and relaxed a bit more.
Brody pulled his hand back up to hold Harry, gently guiding his head to his own shoulder.
Harry quickly cuddled with Brody, relaxing further into the other man.
It wasn't long before Harry was asleep. Brody slipped out from under him covering him with the other blanket. He moved a little closer to the shore and began building a fire.
Harry gently snored and gradually opened his eyes when he smelled cooking fish.
Looking up Brody saw his lover looking at him. "Hey sleepy head, you ready for some of this fish you caught for us?" He asked.
Harry sat up and grinned. "Sure, and it's not my fault if you put me to sleep." He grinned.
Brody laughed, "No, I guess it wasn't your fault."
Harry sniffed appreciatively. "The fish smells good and only a dead man would sleep through that." He joked as he rose to his feet and approached Brody. "Will they be ready soon? I'm hungry."
“It should only be a few more minutes, Babe." Brody answered. "Why don't you open the cooler and see what else we have for lunch."
Brody smiled. "All right." He went over to the cooler and pulled out ribs, chicken wings, potato salad, macaroni salad, pickles, oatmeal raisin cookies, Harry's favorites and a container of cold iced tea. "Looks like a feast." There were also cherries, apple slices and peaches as well.
"Wow, Greg did us up good. I only asked for some ribs and wings and the tea." Brody said in amazement. "We'll have to remember to thank him when we get back."
Harry smiled. "He takes real good care of us security officers." He teased.
Brody laughed, "Then maybe I should be thanking you for being my own personal security officer."
Harry grinned. "At least you have your own personal body guard."
"And that's another thing I love.” Brody laughed. "The way you guard my body."
Brody passed one of the sticks with the bass on it to Harry. "Try this Babe."
Harry grinned. "And a great body it is too."
Brody smiled. "Thanks babe, but not a great as yours." He said with a twinkle in his eyes.
“Let's finish eating and go for a walk along the beach," the younger man said.
Harry blushed at the complement and then smiled at the suggestion. "I'd like that. Maybe we can find sand dollars unless they're not at a lake? I've heard about them, but not sure where one finds them."
"Usually they are found closer to the ocean but I bet we can find something else that will strike your fancy."
Harry smiled. "All right. Let’s walk."
"OK," Brody said standing up. "But first let's put all the food back in the cooler and put it in the canoe so no critters get to it." He knew there were bears in the woods but hoped none were this close to them."
Harry nodded. "Sounds like a good idea. Will we turn the canoe upside down so critters can't get to the food or should we hang it high in a tree?"
Brody grinned. He should have known Harry would know about the bears. "I'm sure there’s a rope in the canoe and hanging it in the tree is a better idea."
Harry nodded. "You pack up the food and I'll hang it up high where critters can't get to it."
"OK," Brody agreed. When the cooler was full he handed it to his lover. "Just be careful, Babe."
Harry rolled his eyes. "I'm always careful Brody, don't be a mother hen." He climbed up the tree and secured the cooler high enough that anything on the ground wouldn't be able to get into it. He checked that it was securely closed so that birds and squirrels couldn't get into it either, and then dropped down from the tree.
"There...finished." He grinned at Brody.
Brody grabbed Harry as soon as he was close enough. "I know you are always careful, Harry, but it's my right as your lover and top to be your mother hen." He said pressing his lips to his brat's in a possessive kiss.
Harry returned the kiss, relaxing into Brody. "Well at least I know I'm loved."
"That you are, little boy, that you are." Brody assured Harry. "Now grab a towel and let's go for that walk."
Harry smiled and grabbed up a towel, draping it across the top of his broad shoulders and began to walk with Brody.
As they walked along the beach the two men held hands when there was room. Harry was like a little kid when there wasn't the room stay together. He almost skipped ahead of his lover then played in the water as he waited for Brody to catch up. Brody loved watching that side of Harry, a side he hardly ever got to see. He made a mental note to have more adventures with this man. "Hey, wait for me," He yelled when Harry was lost behind a boulder.
Harry heard Brody's call and waited and as he rounded the boulder jumped out at him.
Brody laughed at Harry's attempt to scare him. Then grabbed Harry and pulled him down the beach to a small cove. "Let's swim for a bit before we head back to the canoe, Babe."
Harry laughed as Brody dragged him down the beach.
Stripping off his clothes, Brody dove into the cool water. When he surfaced he called out, "Come on in, Babe. The water's great."
Harry also stripped down to his skin and joined Brody, laughing and splashing the slightly younger man.
Brody was mindful of the position of the sun as they played, enjoying the freedom of the day. Soon, the two men quietly came together in the water. Brody held Harry from behind, his strong arms around his lover. They stood together in the chest deep water, Brody's chin resting on Harry's shoulder. Slowly, the younger man turned them both toward the shore. "Look, Babe," Brody whispered. "On the beach." There in front of them were two river otters playing at the water's edge.
Harry stayed very still while he watched the otters playing. "They're amazin'." He said in a whisper.
"Yes, they are," The other man whispered back. As he said it, one of the otters looked up and froze. They heard a chirp and both otters scampered across the beach out of sight.
Harry gave Brody a disappointed look. "We scared 'em away." He said mournfully.
Brody was about to agree with Harry when a doe and fawn walked out of the woods beyond the beach. "Look," he said, "I'll bet they heard them not us."
Harry smiled. "Look at that. You may be right." he told Brody softly.
They watched the deer for a few more minutes. The air temperature was cooling as the afternoon was slipping away. "We need to get back to the canoe, Babe. I told Eric we’d be back by six.”
The doe looked up at Brody's voice and bounded back into the woods her fawn close behind her. The two men waded back onto the small beach. Brody grabbed a towel and began to dry Harry off.
Harry snuggled close to Brody and smiled. "It's so nice to see the wildlife come down and join us."
"Yeah, it's special when they visit." Brody agreed. "I'm happy you got to share them with me."
Harry smiled up at Brody and said, "Thank you for makin' the day special for me too Brody. I liked it. The fishin' was fun and I've been relaxin' in a way I haven't before." He kissed the other man soundly.
Brody returned the kiss then helped Harry back into his clothes. He quickly dried off then pulled his own clothes on. One quick peck on Harry's cheek and Brody led his man back to the canoe.
Harry went willingly with Brody and as they arrived back at the canoe said, "I wish we could stay longer, but I know we have to get back"
"I do too, Babe." Brody said. "Maybe next time we can spend the night but for now let's get the cooler and head back across the lake before they wonder what happened to us."
Harry smiled. "All right." He shinnied up the tree and retrieved their cooler.
By the time Harry joined Brody at the beach the younger man had the canoe turned around and ready to go. He helped his lover into the canoe and held it still as he slowly inched his way to his seat at the bow. As Brody pushed the canoe off, he carefully entered the canoe and stowed the cooler before claiming his seat. Picking up his paddle he began the long trip back to the dock at the resort.
Harry helped paddle across the lake enjoying the activity. He smiled at Brody. "When can we do this again? You mentioned stayin' overnight...I'm not too sure about that, can we do this in the twilight or maybe when I have my days off so I can visit mom before we go?"
"I'm pretty sure we can do anything we want, Babe," Brody laughed. "I'll talk to James and see if he has any ideas for us." Brody paddled a few strokes quietly then said, "I love you Harry."
Harry smiled at Brody's words and then said, "I love you too Brody...lots." He smiled at Brody, having had the most fun in a long time and feeling a whole lot more relaxed as a result of it.
The canoe with the two men slipped across the surface of the lake toward the resort. Neither man talked, both lost in the wonder of their surroundings and of the amazing day they had shared.
"So Ryan, what would you like? I love root beer floats but you can get any kind of soda you like, and any kind of ice cream to go in it." Coral said once they were seated at the Ice-cream parlor.
Ryan had winced a little as he sat at the ice cream parlor and said, "Hmm...I think I'll take a root beer float too. I think they’re the best, although one made with Coke is good too."
"How about if we get one root beer with vanilla and one Coke with say... chocolate chip ice cream? And of course whipped cream and a cherry on top of each." He smiled.
Ryan smiled back. "Okay, that sounds good."
Coral got the attention of the server and ordered the floats. After he'd placed the order he looked at Ryan as though he wanted to say something but stopped himself.
Ryan looked at Coral. "What?" He asked seeing the look.
"Well hon, there are some things I've been wanting to talk to you about, but I'm not sure if this is the right place. Perhaps it should wait til we get home." Coral said quietly.
Ryan bit his lip and nodded. "All right." He said softly, wondering what he had done to get Coral in this mood.
Coral smiled encouragingly. "Don't worry about anything, Sunshine. I just think we need to have a serious talk about some things. But it's nothing for you to fret yourself over. Let's just have our treat and head home, unless there's somewhere else you'd like to go after we leave here?"
Ryan shook his head. "No, I don't think so." He said and bit his lip and shifted in his seat a bit. "I just want to go home."
Coral's response was cut off by the waitress returning with their orders. The floats were served in tall glasses with both a straw and a long spoon in each. Ryan, with a mischievous grin on his face, took the straw which still had the paper on the end, and blew it at Coral. It hit the surprised man square between the eyes.
Coral frowned at Ryan, and slowly picked up the paper.
Ryan chewed on his lip, worried that he'd done something inappropriate and was in trouble.
Coral rolled the paper up, concentrating on rolling it into a tiny ball before he surprised Ryan by throwing the balled up paper at the young man and hitting him on the tip of his nose.
Coral couldn't help but to chuckle at the look of surprise on Ryan's face. He reached out and tapped the tip of the younger man's nose. "I'm just playing with you, Ry. I may be a big, scary security guy but I love to play as much as the next person."
Ryan sighed in relief. He wasn't sure at first that he appreciated the humor, but then he saw the glimmer of the smile in Coral's dark eyes and couldn't help but to smile shyly back, just before he flicked the little paper ball back at Coral with his fingers.
Coral took the paper off of his own straw, crumpled it up and then launched both of them back at Ryan. The two of them played that way for a little while before Coral noticed the ice-cream melting a little.
"We'd better eat these," He said with a smile. "Before they melt all over the place."
Ryan agreed and picked up his spoon to begin eating the treat. He was surprised when Coral leaned forward to snatch the cherry off the top of his own float and offer it to Ryan with a grin.
Ryan's face grew pink. "Umm...don't you want your cherry?" He asked quietly.
Coral grinned, a glint in his eyes. "You take mine, and I'll take yours." He said.
Coral held the cherry up by its stem and waited until Ryan opened his mouth to put the fruit in. He loved the way Ryan blushed. The fair skin was nearly as red as the cherry by this time.
Ryan opened his mouth and waited for Coral to put the cherry in it.
Pleased that Ryan was willing, he placed the fruit into Ryan's mouth. Ryan bit down and Coral popped the stem off. He watched, smiling, while Ryan chewed, turning gradually back to his own normal skin color.
Ryan picked the cherry off of his float by the stem and held it for Coral to take.
Coral took the cherry, stem and all, and put it into his mouth. At first Ryan couldn't figure out what Coral was doing with the stem, but then the bigger man took it out of his mouth and showed it to Ryan. It had been twisted into the shape of a pretzel.
Ryan's green eyes widened. "How did you do that?" He asked in wonder.
"Practice, my boy. Practice." Coral grinned.
Ryan shook his head. "You'll have to teach me how you did that."
They finished their treats and then ordered sodas to go. Once back in Coral's pickup, he leaned forward and gently kissed Ryan on the lips, licking his own at the taste of soda on the boy's.
Ryan smiled at Coral's kiss and returned it tentatively.
Coral grinned again and started up the truck. He put on some music to keep them entertained while they drove back to the resort.
As they drove along Ryan began to fret about what he had done that Coral needed for them to have a serious talk. "Coral?" He asked tentatively.
"What's up, Ry?" Coral asked, giving Ryan a crooked smile as he tried to look at Ryan and still keep his eyes on the road.
"What did I do wrong that you need to have a serious conversation with me? I didn't drink anythin' stronger than the root beer we had at the ice-cream parlor."
Coral sighed, "I'm sorry if I made you nervous, hon, that's not what I meant to do. And I'm very proud of you for telling me you were having a craving, and I'm proud of you for coming with me and having a float instead of a beer. That showed maturity and growth on your part." Coral praised.
Ryan took a deep breath and relaxed at Coral's words. "Really?” He asked, "You're proud of me?" As though the concept was alien to the boy.
"Yes, very proud. You could have kept it from me and snuck off again but you didn't. That took a lot of courage and self-control." Coral said as he reached out to caress Ryan's cheek with the backs of his fingers.
Ryan blushed and said, "Thanks. It was a hard thing to do...I mean to tell you I had a bad cravin'."
"But you did it, Love, and that took courage and willpower. That's sort of what I wanted to talk to you about, actually." Coral admitted.
Ryan asked, "Did I do it wrong?"
"You didn't do anything wrong, hon." Coral smiled. "What I'm thinking about is going over ground rules for the house. Feel up to discussing them now?"
The silence was so thick Coral could feel it like a wall of snow between them. He pulled the pickup over to the side of the road, turned off the radio and looked at Ryan. "Are you alright, hon?"
Ryan said, "I'm not sure about all this. Are you goin' to spank me all the time for breakin' the rules?" He shifted on his pillow, the ache still reminding him of how he had crossed the line.
Coral gave Ryan an understanding glance. "No, I don't intend to spank you for everything, that wouldn't be fair to you."
Ryan asked, "Then what will you do and what kind of house rules are we talkin' about other than me not drinkin'?"
"Well, drinking is a big thing, and that is one thing that would warrant a spanking, if the one you got last night didn't sink in." He began.
Ryan squirmed. "It's still remindin' me." He pouted.
"I'm sorry about that Ry, but I did warn you. I mean what I say, hon. Can you live with that?"
Ryan sighed and then nodded. "Yeah...I can live with you tellin' me stuff and meanin' it."
"The rules I'm thinking about are the ones about keeping your room clean, keeping your clothes clean, helping around the house without being asked when you see something that needs to be done..."
"I'll teach you what you need to know, so that you'll be able to do anything that needs doing. I've already showed you how to do the laundry and how to hang clothes on the line. You know how to use the vacuum and how to dust. You know how to load the dishwasher. You've learned quite a lot in the time you've been with me. You should be proud of your achievements."
Ryan wrinkled his nose. "Yeah, but I don't like doin' some of those things...like hangin' the clothes when it's easier to put 'em in the dryer."
"I'll let you in on a secret Ry. I don't like doing them either, but they have to be done."
"You don't? How come you do 'em anyway?"
"Think of it as a necessary evil." Coral grinned. "Clean clothes, clean bedding, and no smelly dishes in the sink or on the counters. No mice, no ants or other insects attracted to the dirt and stink. I could tell you a story about when I first started to live alone and kept letting the dishes go without washing them immediately, but I think it would make you sick, so let's just say; we're not going to let stuff pile up. Got it?"
Ryan thought about his trailer and sighed. "You keep sayin' with two of us there would be more to do...I don't wanna make more work."
"If you keep up with the cleaning without being asked, then you'll be making less work, does that make sense?"
Ryan shook his head. "I don't see how it can. With two people there's twice the mess and twice the work. Maybe I should just get another trailer and live at the shootin' range."
Coral gave Ryan a stern look and turned his full attention on the boy. "That's another thing I wanted to talk to you about Ry. Every time you hear something you don't like you say you're going to go back and live at the range. That's not a viable option for you at this point, and frankly I want you with me for a good long time. Understand?"
Ryan bit his lip and ducked his head. "Yeah...although I don't know why you want to put up with me."
Coral's gaze softened. "That's another thing you need to stop doing. Stop putting yourself down. If I thought you weren't worth the effort I'd have left you at the trailer, unemployed and probably drunk. I see a lot more in you than you seem to see in yourself. I don't know what causes you to think so badly of yourself but I'm willing to listen if you're willing to talk to me."
Ryan bit his lip and got very quiet for a moment, then said, "I never seemed to fit in with the other boys at school, even at the academy."
"Why did you feel that you didn't fit in, hon? Was it because you're gay or was there some other reason? I know that the instructors at the academy were very impressed with you, as was I. We all saw great potential in you."
Ryan shrugged. "I think it was because I'm gay. My parents weren't very nurturing and when they discovered I was gay, they didn't get angry or anythin', but they just sort of ignored me."
Coral put an arm around the young man. "I was lucky I guess. My family knew before I did." He laughed. "But you're among friends now, and among people who love you unconditionally," He said pointedly. "It's time to let go of the past, if you can. It's going to be a rough go, but I know you can do it..."
"And something else just occurred to me." He continued. "The one thing you never had in your life was security. The job you chose was one in which you keep other people safe. It may have been a rough childhood but it has formed the man you are now. And it's a good, hard working man, from what I can see now that your head is clear."
Ryan gave Coral a wry smile. "Guess I figured I could find it this way, by providin' it to others."
"And I'll provide it for you. All of the things you didn't get as a kid, all of the things you didn't feel as an adult. I'm here for you."
Ryan bit his lip hard and blinked back tears. "Thank you." He said softly.
After giving Ryan one last hug, Coral sat straight again, replaced his seatbelt and started the engine. The two men drove back to the resort in comfortable silence. Once they'd arrived back at their bungalow, Coral took two sodas from the refrigerator and invited Ryan to sit down on the couch with him.
Ryan sat on the comfortable couch. His bottom was still a bit sore, but not as much as it had that morning. He took one of the sodas and nodded at Coral. "Okay, what do you want to know?"
"Just talk. Tell me about what it was like for you, growing up. Family. Friends. Things like that, just let it all out and I'll listen. The more I know about you the better I'll be at helping you. I don't want to make another mistake like I did at the grocery store."
Ryan bit his lip and nodded. "'Kay...” Ryan said, "Well I was born and raised in Bangor and I'm an only child. I came out to my parents when I was sixteen. They were upset at first, but then just ignored me, like I told you before. I've always had a bit of a hot temper and my parents had a hard time reining me in consistently. I was pretty wild, especially after I came out until I began to study law. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice. It's when I went to the Police Academy and I took over the shooting range because I really didn't want to join the Bangor police force." He told Coral.
Ryan added, "I began drinking when I was sixteen and started hanging out at the gay bars with older gay friends...or at least I thought they were friends. They were heavy drinkers and got me a fake ID and everything." Ryan shared.
Coral suppressed a grin at the memory of his own teen years and nodded for Ryan to continue.
"When I turned twenty-one my dad let me have the shootin' range. That's when I moved into the office trailer and then you recommended me to work part time at TLR. I didn’t really have much, but what I had was mine. I like the shootin' range and keep things legal and organized." He blushed. "My parents weren't real big on discipline. Whenever my dad would spank me it was about a half dozen swats across the seat of my pants. I'd get real angry when he did that so he eventually stopped, thinking it didn't do much for me."
"Whenever they tried to make me do chores I'd put up such a fuss they stopped trying to make me do them. He blushed. "Um...when you put me over your lap last night that was the first time I ever had that happen like that. I'm pretty literal as you found out and sometimes I feel stupid because I don't understand some things." He bit his lip.
"Well, I can understand a lot more now." Coral admitted. "But understand me hon, I'm not going to be your parents. If you deserve a spanking you're going to get one, they're not meant for you to be happy with, but to learn from. Understand?" Coral asked gently.
Ryan bit his lip and nodded. "It hurt." He said.
"I know honey, but look at how much you learned just in the last few days. With a little bit of love and discipline, you can go far. The more you learn from your mistakes, the less often I'd have to correct you. Does that make sense to you?"
Ryan said, "The more I behave the way you want me to the less you'll have to spank me?"
"The more you behave the way you should, the less I'll have to spank you. See the difference?"
"Isn't the way I should behave the way you want me to?"
Coral smiled and pulled Ryan into a hug. "Yes, I guess you got me there. You may be a very literal person, but you've got a quick mind, and you learn fast."
Ryan leaned into the hug and smiled. "I guess I do."
Jenson couldn’t sleep. His mind kept going back to the conversation he had with Sawyer outside the infirmary two days before. They had arrived at the infirmary and just as they got to the door Jenson had dropped his hand from Sawyer’s and froze at the door.
“Sawyer please lets go.”
“No, Jenson we need to find out what's going on.” Sawyer said.
“Please Sawyer can we do this when we get home. I promise I'll keep the appointment.”
The younger man had begged.
“Jenson, this is not up for debate we are here now so come here.” He demanded.
Jenson had walked up with Sawyer all nervous and clammy about seeing the good doctor and finding the solution to his behavior.
Sawyer grabbed Jenson's hands and looked into his eyes and said, “It will be ok. I'm here and we'll get to the bottom of what's going on. Now come on let’s go and see the good doctor, Jenson.” Sawyer firmly stated, then he took Jenson by the hand pulling him against his muscled chest with his other hand on his behind just in case it was needed, then they walked in the door.
Heath had asked Jenson more about his medical history. Then asked Sawyer to describe some of his lover’s symptoms. He performed as complete an exam as he could at the resort. He drew blood to be tested.
“I’ll send these off to the lab, Jenson.” The doctor said. “I want you two relax and enjoy yourselves and I’ll see you again on Friday. Hopefully I’ll have something to share with you then, but if not at least you will have something to take back to your doctor at home.”
Jenson felt Sawyer’s arms wrap around him. “Come on let’s get some sleep.” The older man said. “You don’t want to sleep through your appointment with Heath tomorrow.”