The stories on this page are between gay couples and include loving discipline. This is a group effort by some of the members of Dizzy’s Discipline Den. We started the series December 2014. All TLR characters are original creations. Any similarity to other stories/characters or people living or deceased is coincidental. No money is made from this blog. All Stories on this Blog are Copyright - 2012-2018
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Sunday, October 4, 2015
TLR Chapter 12
Saturday night, after Brody and Harry had eaten dinner and were
relaxing and watching a movie, Harry's phone rang.
"Harry, it's James. How are you?" Came the
jovial voice from the other end of the phone.
"I'm fine, James, thank you." Harry replied,
somewhat surprised as James would usually just drop by if he wanted to talk.
"I'd have dropped by but with your new guy being there...
well, I didn't want to just walk in."
Harry could hear the teasing tone in James's voice and blushed.
"What's up, James?" He asked quickly, trying to
change the subject.
"Well, we're having a barbecue at the house tomorrow afternoon
to celebrate Jaxon and Heath moving in. Jeff and Mutt are coming and I'd
like it very much if you would come. And bring your man with you.
I'm eager to meet him before you leave. Will you be able to make
Harry chewed on his lower lip thoughtfully. He'd been to more
than one barbecue at James' house but he'd always gone solo. He wanted to
show Brody off but wasn't sure if he wanted to share him with other people just
yet. Making a decision, he said, “Hold on a moment, James, please?
I'll ask Brody if he's up for a barbecue, all right?"
"Sure." Harry could hear the smile in the other
Harry covered the mouthpiece and looked at his man with affection.
"It's James. He wants to know if we want to go to a barbecue
tomorrow afternoon, before we leave for the week. Do you feel like
Brody could hear the
slight tone of reluctance in Harry's voice but was eager to meet the rest of
Harry's friends. "If you don't mind, Harry, I would like to meet them, but
it's up to you. If you don't want to go that's fine with me too." He
Harry shot Brody a
grateful look and smiled. He uncovered the mouthpiece and surprised
himself and Brody by saying "Yes, James. We'd like to attend."
wonderful, thank you." James replied happily. "It'll be
around lunch time. That will give you two plenty of time to pack before
you have to leave."
"Thank you for
the invitation, James. We'll see you around twelve then."
"Great, see you
After Harry hung up
Brody cocked his head to one side and smiled warmly. "I know you
really didn't want to go, so I appreciate your thoughtfulness."
Harry smiled back, a
warm flush running up his neck to his cheeks. "I want you all to
myself, but we have tonight, and all week. I figured a couple of hours
with James and the others wouldn't be so bad." He said as he sat
back down on the couch beside Brody.
Brody put an arm out
and gathered Harry into a hug. Without thinking he pulled back and
planted a chaste kiss on Harry's lips.
Harry blushed deeply
and smiled shyly, looking at Brody from beneath his eyelashes. "I
liked that. Want to do it again?" He asked.
sleep. He was both excited and nervous that James and Heath wanted him to
live with them. Excited because he really liked both guys and wanted to
be close to them. Nervous, well nervous because he really liked both guys
and wanted to be close to them. Nervous because he didn’t want to get in
the way of their time together. Both guys tried to assure him that they
wanted him with them. In their home. But they were just starting
out. Yeah, they had known each other a long time but this was living
together. They needed time to adjust to living in the same house, their
home. They didn’t need Jaxon hanging around. Not that he could do a
lot about it. Not with his leg banged up.
He was restless and
his thoughts wouldn’t stop. Every time he drifted off to sleep the
thoughts would worry him awake again. Finally Jax gave up. He threw
the covers back as he ground out, “shit” in a huff. He thought about
trying to get out of bed but knew he wouldn’t get far.
Heath was standing just
outside Jaxon’s bedroom door watching his boy, yes his and James’s boy, fight
an internal battle. They weren’t going to ask him to join them yet but he
was theirs. It had only been three days and the young man needed time to
adjust to being safe. When Jax threw the blankets off Heath stepped
through the doorway before the young man could attempt to get out of bed.
Jax looked up
startled when Heath came in the bedroom. “Sor…sorry, I woke you, Doc,” he
“Waking me isn’t a
problem, Jax,” Heath countered the words. “I learned to be a light
sleeper when I did my residency so you have nothing to be sorry about.”
Pulling on his doctors shroud Heath sat down next to Jax on the bed. One
leg still on the floor and facing the younger man he asked, “What seems to be
the problem, Jax? Does your leg hurt?”
“No, it’s ok, Doc,”
Jax answered. “I’m just having trouble sleeping.”
“How can I help you
relax and get back to sleep?” Heath asked.
Jaxon sighed, “I’m
not sure you can help, Doc. I just can’t get my head to turn off.”
“Maybe it’ll help if
we talk it out. That way it’s not trapped in your head.”
Jaxon blushed, “Um,
it’s nothing,” he mumbled. He didn’t really want Heath or James to know
what was bothering him.
Heath nodded. He
stood and pulled the blankets back up over Jaxon then walked around the
bed. There was enough room for him to sit on the bed and lean back
against the headboard. “Sometimes just knowing you aren’t alone will
help. So I’ll stay here a bit till you doze off. How about that?”
“Um, don’t you need
to get back to James?” Jax asked.
sleeping. Which is something you should be doing. You need the rest
to help you heal. So as a doctor my place is here with you,” Heath
“Well, if you put it
that way I guess there isn’t much I can do about it,” Jax grinned. “Nite,
“I’m here Jax so
relax, clear your mind and sleep,” Heath said. He took Jax’s good hand in
his and slowly rubbed his thumb over the back of his hand. A few minutes
later the young man was softly snoring next to him. He waited a few more
minutes and slipped off the bed. He softly placed a kiss on Jaxon’s
forehead and left him sleeping in peace.
Heath crawled back
into the sofa bed and was pulled into James’s arms.
“How is he?” James
whispered, “finally sleeping.”
“Did he tell you
what was wrong?”
“No, he didn’t but I
think he is nervous about moving in with us and getting in the way,” Heath
“Yeah, he was
worried about that this afternoon,” James revealed. “We’ll just have to
keep reassuring him that we want him with us.” James kissed Heath’s
neck. “And now good doctor you need to get some sleep too.”
“Yes, sir,” Heath
The next morning
Heath got breakfast ready while James helped Jax with his morning
routine. Once breakfast was over and the dishes done up, Jaxon napped in
the recliner while the two tops went about collecting everything that didn’t
belong to this bungalow. James made a trip to his, their, home with their
belongings. Then went back to help Heath move Jaxon to the house.
James picked the
young man up to carry him to the golf cart.
"You don't have
to carry me,” Jaxon protested fruitlessly.
"I'd rather we
be safe. You're not supposed to be walking anywhere just yet," James
reminded him with an arched eyebrow. "Believe me, when you're well
enough you'll be doing plenty of walking. Right now just relax and enjoy
yourself." He smiled.
Jaxon sighed but
allowed himself to be carried and placed into the passenger seat of the golf
cart. James drove carefully to avoid any bumps that would jar Jaxon's
leg, and they arrived at the house in record time. There James lifted
Jaxon out of the cart and to the house. Heath jogged ahead of them and
opened the door.
The first thing
Jaxon noticed was the fresh scent of Murphy's Oil Soap. He breathed in
appreciatively. Then he took in his surroundings. The main room was
large. The walls were made of fitted pine, as was the floor which gleamed
after it's recent scrubbing. The furniture was rustic looking, but
comfortable and attractive. To the far left was a large fireplace with a
couch and two arm chairs around it. Not far from that was a staircase
leading to the second floor. To the right of the fireplace he saw a door
that opened onto a bedroom. To the far right was a long pine table
surrounded by eight chairs, and a door that led into the kitchen. Jaxon could
just see the stove. From what he could see it looked quite old.
Straight ahead and
about eight feet from the entryway was another couch and two chairs stationed
around an old Victor-Victrola.
James gently placed
Jaxon on a slate blue recliner and carefully raised the leg rest. Beside
him was a beautiful, round topped table made of maple and inlaid with different
woods, stained in gold, cream, brown and blue which nearly matched the blue of
the recliner. The sofa was six feet long with a maple wood frame and very
comfortable looking cushions along the seat and back. Accent pillows were
thrown casually at each end. A zig zag patterned, crocheted afghan in
brown, rust, and cream hombre was draped over the back of the couch.
On one side of the
couch sat a cream colored rocker recliner, and across from that was an antique
looking rocker and ottoman that looked as though they had been made in the
1900s. He couldn't help but to wonder if they were as old as they looked.
The area rug took up
most of the floor, it's oriental pattern picking up all of the colors of the
furniture, soothing and masculine.
"That will be
your bedroom until you feel better and can be moved to one of the upstairs
rooms." James said, noticing Jaxon's gaze. "Behind us,
next to the kitchen, is the downstairs bathroom. Heath and I will be
sharing the pull out couch here so that one or both of us will be able to hear
you should you need anything during the night. Even though it's close,
you are not to try to walk to the bathroom on your own. Not until Heath
gives you the all clear. Understood?"
sir." Jaxon replied with a shy smile.
Heath mock whispered with a grin on his face.
what?" Jaxon asked, intrigued.
James went to the
old, mahogany Victor-Victrola and opened the lid. Inside was a flat
screen TV. He laughed when Jaxon let out a gasp of surprise.
was a lost cause, it had been left in the cellar for so many years that the
works rusted and the spring that used to wind it up crumbled, but the case was
still in good shape and with a little hard work, I restored that and installed
the television." He opened the front doors where the horn would have
been and revealed several shelves full of DVDs beneath a built in DVD player.
He pressed a button and out popped a tray that would easily hold five disks.
"I like to use
this when I'm watching Lord of the Rings. This way I don't have to keep
getting up to changing DVDs." He grinned. "What can I say, I'm
Jaxon shook his head
in amazement. "This place is beautiful! I can't believe what
you did with that old Victrola." He laughed. "That's
"Stop it or
he'll get an even bigger head than he already has." Heath joked.
James laughed and poked Heath in the ribs, causing the younger man to
laugh as well.
"Now, I have
something for you but you have to promise only to use it if it's necessary and
neither one of us is here."
James said once
they'd done laughing.
Jaxon cocked his
head, curious and puzzled.
James walked into
the bedroom and came back out with an antique wheel chair. The woven
wicker of the seat and back had been painted a fresh white, and the wood trim a
bright red. The old metal wheels had been replaced with new, shiny
bicycle tires. Jaxon could see the new wheel locks that had been attached
to keep the chair from rolling while its owner got in and out. James
turned the chair around so that Jaxon could see the back. On the back of
the chair, Mutt had painted the words Wild Man across the top of the
Jaxon let out a
laugh. "It looks old but new at the same time."
"It's from the
1930s. Mutt repaired it. I'd completely forgotten about it out in
the shed, but he rewove the back and seat and painted it and it's good as new.
He's the one who put the new wheel locks on as well. I don't think
it had them originally, or if it did they'd broken off at some point.
amazing." Jaxon said, admiringly.
"This is only
for use if Heath and I are not here or available and you need to use the
bathroom or to get to the kitchen. Despite its looks, it is not a race
car." Heath said sternly.
Jaxon grinned. He didn't plan to be using it for long but he knew
he was going to have a lot of fun in it while it lasted. "Can I have
a ride in it now?"
plan, young man." James smiled back as Heath gently picked Jaxon up
and placed him in the wheel chair. Jaxon expected the chair to be hard
and unyielding but it was actually quite comfortable.
James took the
handles and began the tour. He turned the chair toward the kitchen door.
of course." He said proudly. It was a smallish kitchen
compared to the rest of the house but Jax could see that if needed, three or
four people could work in it without stepping on each other. The white
porcelain, six burner Wedgewood gas stove took pride of place. Top and
center was a small clock, just beneath was a towel bar. The six burners
beneath were spotless, and the stove looked as new as the day it had been made.
Double oven doors above double broilers suggested that this house had held a
To the left was a
large, double porcelain sink, and to the right was a marble topped preparation
table that looked relatively new. Hooks on the wall to either side of the oven
held gleaming pots and pans as well as cooking utensils. To the left was
the largest refrigerator Jaxon had ever seen. It stood six feet high and
seven feet wide, White porcelain with brass fittings on the six smaller doors
and the one large door on the right.
amazing! I've never seen a fridge like that before."
James smiled proudly
and Heath grinned.
"The stove and
refrigerator are from the 1930s. This,” James said, pointing to the
refrigerator, "came from a restaurant in Connecticut. When it went out of
business, my uncle bought it because the family was so large. You'll
be getting a chance to use all of this once you're better."
Jaxon loved to cook
and was determined to recover as quickly as possible so that he could not only
show these men what he could do, but repay them for all of their kindness by
cooking up amazing meals.
James turned the
chair and led the way back into the living room, toward the bedroom.
Jaxon noticed a door to the left that he hadn't seen before and asked
Heath walked ahead
and opened the door, revealing a porcelain, claw foot tub, a commode with a
porcelain tank with a chain pull, and a single, small porcelain sink. An
antique medicine cabinet mirror hung on the wall above the sink, and a shelf
held antique shaving items, a cup and brush, a bottle of shaving powder, and a
"Those were my
grandfather's. I just couldn't bear to box them up."
cylinder there?" Jaxon asked.
styptic powder." James explained. "Whenever he would nick
himself, he'd dab a little of the powder on the cut and it would help seal it
"I remember that my grandfather used to stick bits of toilet paper
on his face."
The men had a good
laugh as they remembered uncles, grandfathers and fathers who used to do the
same thing, as James wheeled Jaxon into the bedroom.
Jaxon shook his head
slowly in awe as he looked at the room. It was about a quarter of the
size of the living room, which made it still quite large.
The bed was
full sized and covered in a blue, grey and white plaid comforter on a sturdy
oak frame. On either side of the bed stood a bedside table with a tasteful
lamp with wrought iron bases. Two dressers, one on either side of the
room, and the tallboy beside the closet were quite old looking but clean and
well built. On the floor was a large rug which, like the living room,
picked up and accentuated the colors in the room.
"We took the
liberty of filling the dressers and tallboy with clothing for you, since the
clothes you had were ruined." Heath said, smiling as he opened the
drawers to reveal all new clothing. He opened the door to the tallboy to reveal
dress pants and shirts. In the closet were more casual dress clothes, as
well as three suits, dress shirts, ties, and a selection of belts. Lined
up on the floor were two pairs of sneakers, work and hiking boots, and two pair
of dress shoes.
Jaxon felt tears
running down his face. "You... you did all this for me? You...
I mean... thank you. I don't know how I'll ever repay you."
"You don't need
to repay us, hon. We were glad to do it." Heath said, smiling
fondly at the misty eyed young man.
Jaxon had been
doing, what he thought was, a great job holding back the tears, until James
said the three words that broke the dam.
Jax watched James
from his lawn chaise lounge. He had the grill fired up just waiting for the
others to show up. Before he knew it, Mutt and Jeff walked into the back
yard, grinning and carrying bowls of potato and macaroni salad. "We
didn't want to come empty handed." Jeff said with a smile.
Heath smiled back,
"That wasn't necessary but thanks. There's room on the table for
"We spoke to
Harry earlier and he said he and Brody would bring some drinks."
Mutt added. "Heya, Jax! Look at the king on his throne
there!" He said, giving Jaxon a quick, gentle hug.
Jax hugged Mutt and laughed at the look on Mutt's face when Jeff
spoke to him.
"Time to talk
in a minute, Mutt, put that salad down before you drop it." Jeff
“Yes sir," Mutt
laughed, putting the bowl on the table next to the large tossed salad and
dressings that had been put out.
anything we can do to help?"
you bring the drinks out, Jeff?" Health asked.
"Sure, come on
Brat. Are they in the cooler or in the fridge?" Jeff asked.
answered as he placed the first burger on the grill.
Jeff and Mutt went
into the house and returned soon carrying the cooler between them. Mutt
had a scowl on his face.
Jax picked up on the
changed in Mutt's mood but didn't say anything.
"Did Harry say
when he'd be coming?" Heath asked, also choosing to ignore the look
on Mutt's face.
"He said they
would be here at noon when I invited them," James answered.
"They were just
going to the store." Jeff replied. "Harry thought some of those
wine coolers would be a good addition to the party."
"So I don't
doubt they'll be here soon."
"I'd love to
try a wine cooler," Jax whispered to his friend.
They put the cooler
down and Mutt plunked himself down on a chair next to Jaxon. "Me
too!" He said, frowning at Jeff before turning with a smile toward
Jaxon. "So how do you like your wheels? Have you had a chance
to put them to the test yet?"
"I love them,
Mutt. Thanks for fixing the chair for me," Jax said. Then
lowered his voice, "I can't wait to try it out when I'm alone."
Mutt chuckled, a
mischievous glint in his eyes as he whispered back, “I plan to take you on a
roller coaster ride as soon as I have another day off. We'll have a
"James said I
can only use it if it’s necessary when they aren't home."
"Yeah, but if
you're with me, and we want to go out then it’s necessary. I'm pushing the
chair, then you're not alone, right? Don't worry buddy, we'll find a loop
hole." He laughed quietly.
"That makes sense to me."
"I'm not going
to let you get stuck in that house all day long with nothing to do but watch
TV. Though, I have to admit, I love James's contraption. Maybe...
James looked over at
Mutt wondering what he was up too. "Yes, Mutt?"
"Well, I was
just wondering, I'm only on three days this week. Is it all right if I
take Jax out and give his wheels a work out? I can show him around the
resort. Or I could even just hang out with him and keep him
Heath looked at
James and James looked at Jeff. "Maybe we should discuss this later
and set down some ground rules."
completely agree. With the mood he's in and the way they've been
whispering, I think that would be best." Jeff replied, giving Mutt a
side long look.
Mutt rolled his eyes
but turned toward Jax and winked before looking back at Jeff. He stuck
his tongue out and grinned.
"Do that again,
Brat, and I'll put a little Tabasco sauce on that tongue. Understood?"
“Yes, sir,” Mutt
Leaning over Jax
whispered, "What's going on, Mutt?"
Just then Brody and
Harry drove up in one of the golf carts, another cooler on the back seat.
later,” Mutt whispered back. Once again he plastered a smile on his face and
waved hello to the two men.
Heath walked out to
help Brody and Harry bring in the cooler. “Glad you two could make
it. Nice seeing you again, Brody."
Heath. Same here." The man replied, holding out a hand to
"Come on and
meet James and Jaxon."
Heath's hand and followed Harry toward a tall, very handsome man with smoky
blue eyes and another, younger man, propped up on pillows.
Harry said, a shy, sweet smile on his face, "This is Brody. Brody,
James Harrington, the owner of the resort.
forward, "Brody, it's pleasure to finally meet you."
James. Harry speaks very highly of you. It's a pleasure to meet you
"I'm sorry I
didn't get a chance to talk to you yesterday at the infirmary."
"You had a lot
of other things to worry about, I understand completely. Thank you so
much for inviting us to your house. It's beautiful! And this back
yard is amazing. Did you build this grill yourself?"
"I'm glad you like the place. As far as the grill goes,
well, I had a little help from Mutt." James answered.
"I'm going to
have to buy some land and build something like it back home." Brody
James led both Brody
and Harry over to Jax. “This young man is our new family member, Jaxon
“Welcome to the
family, Jaxon,” Harry said shaking Jax hand.
Brody shook his hand
next. “Nice to meet you Jaxon.”
“Nice meeting both
"Mutt, have you
met Brody yet," Heath asked.
"No sir, not
yet." Mutt replied with a smile. He didn't bother to mention
that he'd certainly seen Brody before today. He stood up and extended a
hand. "Mutt Tailor, at your service." He smiled.
Brody thought. He was unaware that he'd said the word out loud.
Jax snickered at Brody's reaction to Mutt's name. Mutt
smiled. People hearing his nickname for the first time often had that
"Mutt and Jeff
are married," James revealed. "And Mutt just might be the best
maintenance man alive."
"If he built
this grill, I don't doubt it. Harry speaks very highly of you too,
James loaded the
burgers and buns on a platter and handed it to Heath. "Chow’s on,
men," he announced.
Before Brody could
ask, Mutt explained, “I'm called Mutt because I'm what my father calls, a
typical American." He said, taking a plate and bringing it to the
grill for a burger. "I'm a little bit of everything mixed into one
sturdy package." He joked. "Hispanic, African American,
Italian, Native American, Irish... in other words, a mutt. My father can trace his ancestry back 300
years, and he's very proud of the mixed heritage. Mom used to joke that
if she hadn't insisted on the name Matthew, he really would have named me
All the men laughed
at Mutt's explanation.
"Did you know
that Mutt has a degree in engineering?" Jax added, proud of his new
friend and his ability to make friends so easily.
Mutt blushed but
smiled. "It's not that big a deal."
"But why do you
work as maintenance when you have a degree in engineering? If you don't
mind my asking." Brody asked apologetically.
"Because I like
to be outside. I like to build things. I like to create and fix things. I
don't like to work in an office. I like being in the sunshine and in the
snow. There's plenty of time for me to be office bound when I'm
older. No offense to those of you who work in offices, by the
way." He smiled charmingly.
Jax chuckled at the
ease Mutt handled people and their questions. He wished he was more like
burger is fantastic," Jeff said just before taking another bite.
”Jax, what do you
want on your burger?” Heath asked his young man.
except onions, please?”
"I'm with you
there, Jax. I like cooked onions just fine but raw ones on most foods
just tends to overwhelm me." Mutt agreed. “Wait till I make you
a Mutt special.”
The doctor fixed his
plate and brought it to him. "Here you go. Let me know if you
need anything else."
Heath, thank you. A drink would be great though. You can make me
that special after I finish this one, ok, Mutt? In the meantime, can I
have one of those wine coolers?"
Mutt stood and went
to the cooler that Brody and Harry had brought. "Do you want
Strawberry, or another flavor? They bought a little of
everything." He announced, looking back over his shoulder at Jaxon.
is. Can I get anyone else one while I'm here?" Mutt asked.
Heath took the
drink from Mutt and put it back in the cooler, choosing a juice instead.
He handed it to Mutt
to give to Jax.
Mutt tried to hide
his surprise, but Jaxon wasn't happy with the change.
deal?" He asked, a little sharply. "I'm nearly 21."
"You are also
on pain meds," Heath answered.
James heard Jax's
response and raised his eyebrow. "And as you said, you're nearly
21. When you are 21 you can have a wine cooler. Until then you can drink
juice" James said sternly, giving Mutt a disapproving look.
abashed. "I'm sorry, I didn't think of that," he apologized.
Mutt. No harm this time," James said, his tone softening.
Mutt put his own
wine cooler down and took another juice before going to sit back down beside
Jax said taking the juice, "but you didn't have to do that."
let you drink alone, man." Mutt laughed. He raised his bottle
to Jaxon's and said "Cheers." before chugging the drink.
"Ah! Brain freeze!" He grimaced as the cold of the iced juice
went straight to his head. As intended, it did make Jaxon laugh.
Wanting to change
the subject Brody asked, "How did you injure your leg, Jaxon?"
“Um, I slipped and
dislocated my knee,” Jax answered softly.
“Ouch, that’s not
fun,” the older man said.
under wet leaves. Took quite a spill." Mutt said, trying to shield
Jaxon from further questions.
Mutt looked up when
he heard a knock coming from the front of the house.
that is?" James said and he put down his burger and stood to go
into the house.
it's Duke! He said he was going to stop by." Mutt said.
"I'll tell him to come 'round back." He offered.
thing," James said turning back to sit at the table.
Mutt jogged around
the side of the house only to stop dead in his tracks when he saw Mike and his
tops. Mutt cleared his throat and tried to wipe the surprised expression
off of his face. "Um, hello. Uh... we... weren't... I mean...
we're around back if you'd like to follow me?"
Matthew," Charles said.
Mike cleared his
throat looking at Charles. "Hi Mutt,” Mike said, shyly as he and his
Tops followed the young maintenance man around the house.
Mutt looked back at
Mike, a little confused "Um, hi Mike," He replied.
referred to him as Matthew, or used his nickname as a slur, so the sound of his
nickname flowing naturally from Mike's mouth threw him off balance.
He couldn't help but
notice the look between Mike and Charles but he didn't say anything.
turned a little wooden as the men at the picnic table turned and saw the
threesome rather than the tall security man. Shaking off his surprise,
James stepped forward. "Hello Charles, Gary. Hello Michael."
Jaxon looked a
question at Mutt, who only shrugged back before going back to sit beside his
please," the young man requested. "Hello, sir. Hello
Jeff, Heath." He nodded toward the two men.
With a more genuine
smile, James corrected himself. "Mike. Hello. I'd like
you all to meet Brody and Jaxon."
The three men said in unison. Charles and Gary shook their hands.
Mike gave a welcoming smile.
"We can come
back another time," Gary said. "We didn't realize you had
right,” James replied, "The more the merrier. Please, join us, won't
"Sure, come on
in," Heath joined in. "We have plenty. Duke hasn't gotten
here yet," he laughed.
surprised at the friendly greeting and jokes and wasn't able to keep the
surprise from his face. Gary nearly laughed but managed to maintain a
mostly straight face. Mike did snicker watching his two Tops.
He glanced over at
Jaxon and Mutt, who were whispering and looking at the goings on, and wished,
with a pang, that he were there with them, sharing whatever joke or secret they
you're sure," Gary agreed.
Jeff saw the look on
Mike's face. "Mutt, why don't you show Mike where the drinks
Mutt was about to
gesture toward the coolers but saw the look in Jeff's eyes. With a sigh,
Mutt stood up and walked toward the coolers. "This one has beer,
soda, and wine, this one has wine coolers, water, and juices."
said, looking at Jeff who nodded his approval. "Can I get you
coolers please," Mike said.
Mutt wasn't sure he
liked the tone of Mike's voice, but then, Mike wasn't acting or talking like
the Mike he knew. He chose three wine coolers and served the newcomers.
Mat, er, Mutt," Gary said.
"Is... is it
all right if I join you?" Mike asked, aware that his voice had
sounded a little brusque before and tried to make up for it.
on... Mike. And you're welcome, sir." He said to Gary, giving
Charles an uncertain look when he handed the tall man the bottle.
you," Charles said taking the bottle. "Mutt." The
name sounded very strange coming from Charles.
Mutt looked at Jeff,
an unspoken question hung in the air. There was something different about
Charles but he couldn't put his finger on exactly what it was.
He pulled a lawn
chair up for Mike and sat down again to finish his lunch.
Mike had barely sat down when Duke stepped around the corner of the
house, “Hi everyone, sorry I’m late but that yearling bull moose was up on the
trail. He wouldn’t budge so I had to wait him out.”
“Come on in, Duke, we just got started.” Heath answered.
introduce everyone," James said. "You already know Charles,
Gary, Mike, Jaxon and Harry, and this is Brody. Harry's
gentlemen,” Brody said with a smile, aware of the tension but trying to put a
good face on it. His heart beat a little faster and he couldn't contain a
smile at being introduced as Harry's partner and not as a boyfriend. The
difference made him happier than he could describe, especially when Harry
didn't correct James. He looked at Harry, his partner, and saw yet
another of Harry's endearing, shy, happy smiles. ‘Oh, how I love this
man.’ Brody thought as he reached under the table to take Harry's hand in his
own for a moment.
“Hi,” Jax said.
"Hello Brody, so you're Harry's new partner. I'm happy for
both of you." He smiled at Jaxon. "Good to see you again Jax and now
you get to live here. James has a great place."
Duke nodded and said, "Hello Gary, Charles. Good to see you. I
see Mike has joined us as well. Good to see everyone enjoying'
All of the men
smiled as Duke shook their hands before taking a plate and making a bee line to
the picnic table where he promptly served himself three burgers. He piled
a bit of everything on the burgers and helped himself to large helpings of the
potato and macaroni salads before sitting down with the others.
He bit in, making
appreciative sounds as he chewed.
brings you here today Charles?" James asked congenially.
Charles cleared his
throat, his cheeks turning pink. This wasn't a conversation he'd planned
to have in front of other people. "I, ah... I wanted to apologize
for my actions and attitude over the years."
James, Heath, Jeff
and Mutt all tried to conceal their surprise, all with differing levels of
success. Duke choked a little on a bite of burger, but rallied by taking
a swig of the beer that Heath had put beside his plate.
Mutt knew his mouth
was hanging open a little and closed it, schooling his face into one of polite
interest, but Mike and Jax had both seen it and suppressed smiles, taking their
cue from Mutt and also looking at the Tops, silently but with great interest.
Jaxon only had Mutt's description of Charles's character to go by.
"That goes for
me as well." Gary said. "I can only say that we were
carried away, being one of the only threesomes at the resort for so long, and
the only one with two Tops." They planned to apologize to the other
Tops and Brats they'd offended over the years, but first things first.
"It's not an
excuse by any means." Charles continued, the pink flush still on his
cheeks. "It wasn't until after Michael... Mike... climbed those
rocks, and we had a serious talk, that we came to realize how..."
we've been." Gary finished.
"And how unhappy
that made Mike. We weren't aware of his feelings. Our own
shortcoming as his Tops. We can't lay blame anywhere else."
Charles added, his ears and neck also turning pink, embarrassed by his
"So we've come
to apologize, try to put the past behind us, and see if we can start over
again." Said Gary sincerely.
James looked a
question at Heath who gave a slight shrug. Duke arched an eyebrow in
surprise at the apology as he continued to chew his food thoughtfully.
"That's a lot
of time to forget, Charles." James replied quietly. "Six
years of the two of you behaving as though the rest of us were somehow beneath
you. Your treatment of Mutt and the other singletons as you called
them was... I won't say unforgivable but it was..." The words
contemptible, deplorable and disgraceful came to mind but he was unwilling to
use such harsh words when the men were so obviously trying to make things
"Wrong, to say
the least." Gary voiced, although the same words were running
through his head.
Duke nodded. "Yes, although wrong might not be the word I'd
use." he remarked with a hard edge to his voice.
"Then there is
all that time you spent going behind my back to the department managers, trying
to convince them to turn them against me when I made a decision.
Especially about the falls." James said, trying to keep the
hardness out of his tone and face.
Duke added, "Besides, I warned Mike several times to stay off
the rocks and away from the falls."
Harry nodded. "I had caught him there a couple of times too
and chased him off."
Charles took a deep
breath and let it out in a sigh. "I am very sorry for doing that,
James." He said, his tone unusually humble. "I... we...
suspected that Mike had been climbing the rocks for some time now but..."
"But I lied to
them." Mike said, finishing the truth that Charles so desperately
wanted not to admit. "It was my own fault. If I'd spoken up
earlier... but I was afraid. I would like to apologize as well. To
all of you, and...Well, I hope you'll accept my apology, but... if you don't...
I'll understand." He said, looking down at the ground, afraid of what the
men would say. Wondering if they'd turn down the apologies flat out, and if
they'd be asked to leave the property. He often wondered why, with the
way the three of them spoke and acted, they'd been allowed to stay and work at
the resort at all.
"If you really
mean what you say," James said thoughtfully, “then I'm more than willing
to accept your apology, and try to start fresh. Heath? Jeff?"
"I'm willing to
forgive and forget." Heath said tentatively.
Charles wasn't a Top
for nothing. He recognized the reticence in the other man's manner.
"I realize it's
going to be a process." He said. "It will take more than
one apology and an hour to let things go. It will be a process for us as
well, to let go of the behaviors of many years. We may still relapse into
our old ways out of habit, but we're going to do our best to change, if you'll
give us the chance."
"I believe that
people can change,” Jeff said, “and I believe that everyone deserves a second
chance. I'm willing to let the past go."
Duke agreed with James. "The attitude that was given to James
and the rest of us was makin' things harder and harder around here. I'm glad to
hear that that's goin' to stop."
you," Gary replied, smiling gratefully.
you, from all of us." Charles added, the unusual humility in his
voice throwing the other men off kilter a little bit. It was unlike his
usual condescending tone.
James wondered if it
how would you like your burgers?" James asked, resisting the urge to ask
if they wanted some crow to go with it.
After lunch everyone
sat around talking and laughing. Mutt and Jax talked at length with Mike
who was surprisingly good company. He had a wicked sense of humor and knew all
sorts of jokes. Mutt was pleasantly surprised to find that Mike was good
company, and the three men quickly became friends, sharing their stories and
Charles laughed at
the jokes and offered a few of his own. They were a little flat but the
other men laughed appreciatively, and little by little Charles relaxed and was
content to listen.
They played Trivial
Pursuit and Gary turned out to be a wellspring of information.
After the game, the
other men were surprised when Charles cleared his throat, that slight flush on
his face again as he looked uncertainly at James. "There was one
other thing we came here for. I'd nearly forgotten it, but if you have time
I'd like to address it now."
"What's on your
the incident at the falls, Mi... Mike, Gary and I had a long talk. It
appears that Mike is not feeling fulfilled as an accountant, and would like to
try his hand at another profession. We wanted to talk to you about that
because if he does what he'd like to, you would be short an accountant."
All of the men
looked enquiringly at Mike who blushed deeply at being the center of attention.
James, aware of the
young man's discomfort, asked gently, “What is it you would like to do, Mike.
Don't be afraid to tell us."
James's tone, Mike haltingly began.
I... as Charles said, I don't want to be an accountant." He murmured
apologetically. "What I'd like to do is be out among other people
more often and not holed up in the office."
"So what would
you like to do?" Jeff asked with an encouraging smile.
I'd like to be... a waiter at the lodge." Mike finally blurted out.
"I mean... if that would leave you shorthanded... I'll stay but...
I'd really like to do something different."
James and Jeff
looked at each other. "I don't see why you can't try your hand at
something new." James replied.
"It's going to
be much harder than sitting at a desk,” Heath added.
doing a lot of running back and forth, carrying heavy trays and drinks, dealing
with the public.”
”At times some people may be out of sorts and snap at you or treat
you rude. You need to be aware of that too and how you might handle such
situations without losing your own temper or actin' disrespectful to
them." Duke added to the conversation, "You'll need to deal
with men at times here to learn about the discipline life style.”
“Are you sure this
is something you really want to do?" James asked.
I'm sure." Mike said.
thoughtful, then glanced up to look at Jeff. "That would leave you
to do the bulk of the work,” he said. "But I think that if you and I
split Mike's duties we can cover for him until we can find another
"It's going to
be difficult at first, I admit. Mike pretty much runs the office when I'm
not there, but I'm sure between us we can manage." Jeff replied with
"Then I don't
see why you can't train to be a waiter then, if that's really what you
want." James said.
"I'd like to
try." Mike replied, his own smile hopeful.
Charles and Gary are on the same page, so I have no objections. Very
well, Mike. I hope the job is all you hope it will be. If you
decide for any reason that it's not for you, we'll try to find another position
for you. Will that suffice?" James asked.
sir! Thank you!" Mike replied, resisting the urge to jump out
of his chair and hug everyone.
"I know you'll
be great at it." Mutt smiled, clapping Mike on the shoulder.
rock." Jaxon agreed.
all." Mike replied, grinning ear to ear.
Jaxon said happily, “This will give me the opportunity to wear one of those
suits you bought for me. We could go to the lodge for dinner and sit at
Mike laughed, “I'm going to need to start the job first. I'll need some black
pants and white shirts, and an apron. And then someone to show me how to
hold those big trays, and..." he began excitedly.
Charles laughed and
shook his head affectionately. It made him happy to see his young husband
so happy. "One step at a time sweetheart. One step at a time.
We'll take a ride to the store tomorrow to get you the things you'll
"You'll need to
study the menu and go through training before you can start serving solo."
Gary reminded him.
Mike stood up and
ran to his husbands, enfolding them both in a huge hug that left the two of
them gasping for air.
"All right now,”
Gary said, patting Mike on the back and kissing him on the cheek, “You may
regret wanting to work under me, darling."
"I do a lot of
things under you and I don't regret any of them." Mike whispered,
laughing when Gary blushed.
uncharacteristically, showing even, white teeth. "All right then,
young man, let's thank our hosts and get started, shall we?"
Charles said, releasing Mike and standing. "I'd like to thank you,
for your hospitality and your kindness. If you have the time tomorrow
morning we'll stop by to fill out the appropriate paperwork for the job change,
and Mike can begin his training tomorrow afternoon." He said to
Monday and usually slow, so any time is good. I know Gary has to be there
to take care of the breakfast rush, so perhaps we can meet up at the lodge for
breakfast and do the paperwork then." Jeff replied amiably.
again, Gentlemen. We'll be on our way now."
The three men left
in a much lighter mood than they'd been in when they'd arrived. It looked
as though things would be all right after all.
Before they knew it,
it was time for Brody and Harry to leave. They helped clean up and then
sat down to a cup of coffee for the road. They took a thermos of coffee
and some donuts and said their goodbyes.
James walked them to
their truck, chatting the whole time. There always seemed to be so much
more to say.
James?" Harry began hesitantly.
What's on your mind?"
there's a couple I'd like to invite to the resort. One is the bank
manager, Owen, and the other is his boyfriend, Freddie. I think they'd be
a good couple to invite. They're really nice guys and they're just
starting out as a couple.
"Well, give me
their names and addresses and I'll have Jeff start the background check.
After that we'll see how it goes. All right?"
gratefully. "Thank you." He said as he got into his
truck. “See you next weekend, James.”
“Drive safe,” James
really nice of you." Brody smiled.
good people, and Owen especially needs a vacation. This is the perfect
Brody kissed Harry
on the mouth and gave him a hug. "You're a very thoughtful person.
I'm lucky to have found you."
Harry blushed and
gently disengaged himself from Brody. "It's time for us to get
going," He said, "And I'd like to see my mother before visiting hours
are over. She may not remember that I wasn't there this weekend, but I
still like to see her."
understand," Brody replied.
They drove several
miles in easy silence, until Brody looked over at Harry to see him frowning in
"I know you're
thinking something. Want to talk?"
"Well, I was
just thinking that James and Jeff will be looking for a new accountant."
always wanted to live full time at the resort. And there's a rest home
just a half hours ride in the other direction from the resort in Masonville."
"You want to be
the new accountant?" Brody asked, surprised and worried that he
might be looking at a long distance relationship.
"No, I was
thinking that you could be the new accountant. I mean, you're good with
numbers and all."
"I don't have a
degree in accounting." Brody replied.
"No, but you
could take classes, and I don't think that the job would be a challenge for
you. Do... do you think... that you'd like to move to the resort full
time? I could move mom to the home nearby and...We’d be together."
"Are you asking
me to move in with you?" Brody asked with a pleased smile.
Harry smiled shyly
back for a moment then turned his attention back to the road. "Yes.
Yes, I guess I am."
"Well, that was a surprise." Duke said as he
finished his last burger. "I wonder what brought that on?"
"Charles did say that Mike was unhappy," said James,
"I know that they're... they were... prigs about being a Top
heavy trio. I guess we'll have to wait and see."
"I'm not surprised." Duke added. "I know
how Charles and Gary feel about Mike. I know they'd do anythin' to make
him happy. Even if it involved them havin' to apologize."
"Yes,” Heath agreed, “it had to be hard for them to come to us
and do that, especially with other people present."
"D'ya think it'll last?" Duke asked.
"We'll have to wait and see, as James said." Heath
"They seemed sincere, and I've never known them to apologize
for anything." Jeff added thoughtfully. "And Mike was a completely
different person today. He seemed more at ease. I could see that he
was much happier."
"He's a blast." Mutt said. "I'd never
have thought he was that laid back, and he knows a lot of great jokes. If
he stops calling me and Jeff singletons and keeps his nose out of the air, I
can see us being friends."
The older men nodded in agreement, then turned the conversation to
Charles. "I wonder if he'll start lettin' people call him Charlie."
"Let's not get too carried away. We have to see if this
change of attitude sticks." James replied with a smile.
While Duke and the tops talked about the change in the trio, Mutt
and Jaxon carried on their own quiet conversation.
"So what happened?" Jaxon asked.
Jaxon was surprised that Mutt didn't remember, but continued.
"What happened in the house when you and Jeff went in for the
cooler? You were happy and smiling when you went in but when you came out
you seemed in a bad mood."
"Oh, that,” Mutt replied dismissively. "Jeff told
me to behave myself, or else. It just bothered me that he'd say something
like that. Like I was a kid and I was going to start a food fight or
"I wonder why he felt the need to say that to you?"
"Because the last barbecue we attended, I was involved a food
fight." Mutt laughed. "It wasn't my fault." He
insisted. "One of the other guys flung mashed potatoes at me and I
tossed a hand full of peas back. The guy got mad and got me in the face with
some cold chili. Well, I couldn't just sit there with chili all over my face
so... well, you get the idea. Before I knew it almost all of the brats
were involved in it. We made a pretty good mess of it too. Our Tops made
us clean up every speck and when we got home... well... let's say that none of
us were sitting comfortably the next day."
Jaxon laughed. "I'd have loved to have seen the fight.
I have pretty good aim. I'd have helped you nail that guy.
Who was he, by the way? If that's all right to ask."
"His name was Percy. He and his top were seasonal help
but decided to look for permanent employment, so they moved shortly
Jaxon grinned, "Percy?"
"Yeah," Mutt chuckled. "Poor guy took a lot of
ribbing because of his name, and because of how he acted."
"Was he like Mike? I mean, was he snooty?"
"No, he was... flamboyant. His gestures were always big,
and he always wore bright colors. We used to refer to him as the
screaming queen. He didn't like that one bit, of course, but he was so
easy to tease that we kind of got carried away sometimes."
"Me, Adam, Torren... nearly all of the brats and even some of
the tops, in private anyway, used to make comments about him. I sometimes
wonder what happened to him. Where he and his top ended up. If
they're all right and happy wherever they are."
"Can you search for them? I mean, the same way you found
information about me?"
"I tried that but apparently there are seven men with that
name, and I never knew his middle name so it was hard to pinpoint which one was
him. See, because the resort is private, we have PO boxes in Masonville the
next town over, where they used to live."
"They didn't live at the resort?" Jaxon asked
before he smacked himself on the forehead with his good hand. "Duh,
obviously they didn't, sorry."
Mutt laughed good naturedly. "No. Percy insisted
that he didn't want to live in one of the bungalows only to have someone else
use it off season, so they had a little house the next town over. I'll
bring you there, to the town I mean, once you're healed. You'll like it.
As a matter of fact, you, me, Adam and Tor can go on a road trip once you're
better. There are a lot of beautiful places in Maine that I'd love for
you to see."
"Provided my guard dogs let me go, I'd love that."
Jaxon replied happily.