Sunday, October 23, 2016
TLR Chapter 90
After he left Duke’s, Dean found Mutt in the workshop going over the list of supplies they would need to take back out to the cabins with them in the morning. Not wanting to startle the younger man he pulled the shop door closed a little harder than necessary.
“Hey, Dean,” Mutt said looking up from the new saw blades he’d just put next to the box of nails on the workbench.
“Are we going to have everything? Or do I need to make a trip into town?” Dean asked.
"I got everything on your list but I’ll have to send one of the guys to Stonemill for more lumber and hardware for the next cabin,” Mutt answered.
“Jeff needs us to work on Cabin 2 now. Ezra and Gabe will be here next week and that’s the cabin they request every year.” the carpenter explained to Mutt.
“Yeah, far enough away not to be bothered but close enough to come in for dinner at least once which they are here,” The smaller man agreed. “They usually stay about a month.”
Dean grabbed one of the boxes, shouldered it and walked it out to the truck. After he dropped the box in the bed of the truck he turned around and ran right into Mutt.
“Um, sorry, Dean,” Mutt mumbled.
“Something on your mind, bud?”
“Well, yeah, I guess, I, um…are you really one of us?”
Dean’s eyebrow rose. “I guess that depends on what you mean by one of us? If you mean am I part of the resort, then yeah, I am. Well, at least till James gets tired of me being underfoot.”
“No, I mean, ya know… gay?” the younger man almost whispered.
“How did you hear that? I only just now told James and Jeff.”
“Um, I was outside Duke’s house checking a leaking hose bib under the living room window but I didn't mean to eavesdrop... I just happened to be there at the right time," Mutt said using humor to mask his concern that he'd been found out and hoping Dean bought his reason for being there.
"How many others have you told?"
"No one," Mutt said, eyes wide with innocence. "I didn't say a word, I swear. One of the good things about knowing stuff I shouldn't is keeping it to myself. I live a lot longer that way," he joked.
“You might live longer, but if I find out you’ve spread the word before I get a chance to tell some of the others you're not going to be very happy.”
"Oh great, just what this resort needs," Mutt joked, "another Top! God help us!"
Dean looked at Mutt. "What makes you think I'm a top, little boy?"
"See? Right there. Even at his best Duke never will have that 'look'. Only Tops have that look. I knew it!" Mutt crowed. "My Top tingle is never wrong!" he laughed. "Welcome to the club, Dean!"
"Thanks Mutt, it's great to be in the club."
"So, ya got a steady boyfriend, Dean? I know some guys who'd knock each other over trying to catch you.”
Dean laughed, “No, no boyfriend, Mutt. And I don't need you matchmaking either."
"Couldn't really help you there anyway, Dean. Most of the guys I know are taken... but... how would you like to have twin brats?" Mutt asked with a glint of humor in his eyes.
Dean laughed, "Little Jake maybe but not Jare so much. I think I’d need a mellower brat," he said then added, "When the time is right."
"Variety is the spice of life, as the saying goes," Mutt laughed, "but I can see what you mean about Jare." He looked at Dean from the corner of his eye, the wheels in his head turning a mile a minute as he thought about Dean and possible partners.
Dean smiled. "Jare is a handful and he isn't even Shorty's partner," he said. "That man has the patience of a saint."
"I'm a brat and he’s a handful for me," Mutt joked. "Jare is going to need a special guy, that's for sure."
Mutt was quiet for a few seconds then asked, "So I've been wondering, I'm a little jealous that I can't be out there with you guys fixing the cabins full time. How's work going? How are Jax and Griff working out?"
"The boys are great. They need very little instruction and are self-starters. Jax had a little problem spending the first night without his partners but Griff helped him through it," Dean revealed. "They're good for each other."
"Yep, they're like brothers already just in the short time that Griff's been here. He's like a brother to a lot of us here. I kind of hope he decides to stay on the resort after the job is done."
"I hope so too," Dean said softly. "Once we get caught up here I'm thinking about hiring Griff to work for me when we aren't needed on the resort. Maybe Jax too if James and Heath will let him."
Mutt’s ears prick up at the tone of Dean's voice. "I know Jax would be thrilled. He's been bored here on the resort with nothing to do, and I think Griff would be a great addition to your company. Ever since Shorty started to let him work around the stables he's been much happier. I told him myself he needs to keep working to help him get through his loss. You guys would make a great team," Mutt replied.
"It's something to think about, Mutt, but first we need to get those cabins fixed," Dean admitted. "And speaking of that we'll be here at 6 tomorrow morning to head out. Looks like we'll need to spend the night again."
"Well, let's get the supplies you'll need loaded up. If you need help hauling it I don't have anything to do tomorrow, we're basically caught up on the major stuff here."
“Thanks for the offer, an extra set of hands would be helpful,” Dean assured the smaller man.
Mutt nodded, happy that he would be able to go with them.
Mutt looked up at Dean, an inquiring expression on his features.
“Don't forget to keep my discussion with James and Jeff to yourself until I can tell my friends." Dean firmly said eyebrow raised. “And keep your idea that I’m a Top quiet too, until I get the chance to tell my brother. He needs time to digest that we are both gay before I hit him with me being a Top.”
Mutt grinned. "No problem there, Dean. Like I said before one of the things I like about knowing stuff I shouldn't is just knowing it, not necessarily sharing it, if you know what I mean."
"Good man," Dean said pulling the younger man into a hug.
Mutt laughed and hugged him back. He felt like Dean was every bit as much his brother as Duke's, and the fact that he was a top didn't bother him at all. He disengaged from the hug and patted the larger man on the back. "So... whadda ya say we get those supplies ready?"
“Let's do it," Dean agreed, “then I want to go down to the lake for a swim before I need to rustle up some dinner."
"Hey, a swim sounds great, but why don't you come have dinner with me, Jeff and Griff? We can catch up a bit more, and then you, me and Griff can talk about what we're going to do tomorrow at the cabins."
"Sounds good, but don't you need to check with Jeff first?"
"Spoken like a true Top." Mutt grinned. “We can stop by his office and I'll ask him. I'm sure it'll be ok."
Dean laughed, "Thanks little boy. Now let's get crackin', that lake’s calling us."
"Aye, aye sir!" Mutt saluted. "Last one in the lake has to wash the dishes tonight," he said.
Later that night after leaving Ry at the security office with Duke, Coral made his way to the bar. He made sure there wasn't any alcohol in their bungalow but that didn't mean he couldn't enjoy a cold beer with Jake before he headed to bed.
Jake was at the counter, wiping it down, when he saw Coral walk in. He smiled widely and gestured for the man to have a seat. "What can I get for you, Coral? Hungry?"
"Hey Jake," Coral returned the greeting. "Just a beer my friend. Ry and I ate before I dropped him off at the office."
"One beer, coming up," Jake said, filling a frosty mug from the tap and sliding it expertly down toward Coral. He followed it down and grinned. "So what's keeping you up this time of night?"
The younger man smiled as the mug stopped just as it reached his hand. He lifted it and took a generous sip, savoring the brew. "It's becoming a habit to walk Ry to work and keep him company till Duke gets back from his lunch," Cor explained. "Speaking of Duke, he didn't seem to be his ole happy self just now. Seemed unusually quiet."
"Duke has a lot on his mind right now, Cor. He just got some surprising news.”
"Good news, I hope," Cor said taking another sip of beer.
"Yes and no," the bartender joked. "It depends on your point of view. Some of us have suspected for a while now that Duke's brother, Dean, is gay. Today Dean finally came out to us. Duke is happy that his brother is happy, but..." he tried not to laugh, “it came as a surprise to the big guy.”
Coral couldn't help but the chuckle. "Yeah, that would explain why Duke was so quiet." Wiping the frost from his mug he added, "It also confirms what I've known for a while."
Jake's eyebrows rose and he couldn't help the look of curiosity that crossed his face. "What would that be?" he asked.
“I saw Dean a while back over in Portland at a local gay club call Styxx. He didn’t see me but he was with another man. They seemed to be having a good time. The next time I was there the other guy was with someone else.”
"Did you approach him?" Jake asked, trying to figure out if Dean and Coral had known each other back then. "How long ago was that?”
"I thought about it but then didn't want to put him on the spot," Cor explained. "Duke had never said his brother was gay." He raised his mug again and looking over the top of it at the bartender he said, "I just finished my drink and left before he saw me." Setting the mug back down Coral thought a minute then answered Jake's question, "I'd say it was about three years ago. I had only been working here a year or so."
"I guess it's a good thing you didn't bring up the subject back then," Jake said thoughtfully. "Duke is friends with everyone here, but he only just came to the realization about himself... he might not have taken the news about Dean very well." He looked at Coral and continued, "Right now he's on the line about how he feels about Dean being gay.” Jake thought for a minute then confided, “I’m pretty sure Dean is also a Top, but it’s not something he has confirmed yet. From the look on James and Heath’s faces when we told them about Dean’s preference they think so too.”
"I can see where Duke would be confused with him new to his role as a Brat. He's always taken care of Dean and probably thinks in our relationships that the Top is the care giver."
"Yeah, but that’s not necessarily true," Jake said, a thoughtful expression in his eyes. "I know that if I were sick or injured that Duke would take care of me the same as I take care of him. He just had to come to the understanding that it's a mutual relationship. While the Top may have the final say in most matters... well... all matters depending on the Top," he laughed, " you can be a brat and still be able to be a caregiver."
"You're right, Jake. Ry took care of me last month when I didn't feel well. Brats can function without a Top but let's not tell them that," Cor chuckled.
"I think it's us who can't function without them," Jake countered with a grin, "But we won't tell them that either."
Coral grinned. "No we won't," the younger man said picking up his mug and draining the last of the beer. "Well, my friend, I think I should be heading back home. I like to be awake when Ry gets off his shift."
"Coral, tell me something, how are you and Ry doing?"
"We're good. He can still be a little hot head but he's learning to think before he flies off the handle," Cor answered. "His cravings have dwindled and if he does get one he tells me or Jeff."
"I'm glad to hear that. I'm always worried when he comes in, but don't worry, he hasn't ordered anything stronger than a coke since that last time."
"And how about you?" the bartender asked.
Cor chuckled, "I'm great. Best I've been in my life. Ry keeps me on my toes and puts a spring in my step."
"How are you and Duke doing?" Cor asked the bartender. "Is the move working out?"
"So far it's been wonderful," Jake replied with a fond smile. "I feel as at home at Duke's as I did at my own place and Mutt has been making things for me to make my transition there easier."
"Yeah, well you know he's a genius right?" Jake laughed.
Cor joined in the laugh. "Yes, he can be a genius."
"And Duke... he's everything I ever dreamed of... and maybe a little bit more," he laughed again. "I think he could give Ry a run for his money in the brat department."
“So how is Mutt helping you?"
"He's built me stairs that collapse under the bed so that I don't have to jump up. It was kind of embarrassing," he grinned. "And he's given me a little insight into Duke that I never knew before... a Brat's guide to a Brat, so to speak."
"Mutt has great insight. He's helped Ry a few times, too," Cor said standing up. "I better get going. Thanks for the talk, Jake."
"Glad you stopped by, Cor. Tell Ry I said hello."
"I will, see you later." Cor said as he turned to leave.