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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

TLR Chapter 27

Mutt had had to wait until Jeff got home for them to address his discussion with Jaxon, and the wait was driving him crazy.  That is, until Jeff arrived home, and then Mutt wished he was still at work.

Jeff walked in, put his briefcase aside and saw Mutt standing there in the kitchen, waiting, and looking as though the world were about to come to an end.  He saw his husband take a breath to speak, but he put up his finger to forestall any words.

"Yes, hon, I did say you could say hello to Jax if you saw him, and I understand that you were trying to help him and that's why your hello turned into a twenty minute conversation.  I know you're sorry, but the fact is that you broke the rules.


"But nothing, Matthew.  Jaxon spoke to me for a little while after you left and explained the situation.  I'm glad that you're such a good friend to him, and that you took the time to put his mind at ease, however those were questions he could just as easily have asked James or Heath."

"But he couldn't, Jeff!  At least he didn't feel as though he could, that's why it was so important that I help him to understand better.  He was worried that he would end up being placed in the role of a child, and that he'd have no say in the matter."

"I understand that, sweetheart." Jeff said more gently, "But the next time you're grounded and Jaxon has questions, remind him that he has not only James and Heath to speak to, but me as well, not to mention Adam who could probably tell him even more.  It would have taken you a minute to contact Adam and have him meet Jax down by the pool. Understand?"

Mutt looked down at the floor and crossed his arms, hugging himself more than in a defensive manner.  "Yes sir.  Jax doesn’t really know Adam but I guess I could have called him.  I wasn't thinking that far ahead. "

"I know, love," Jeff said, pulling Mutt into a hug and kissing his flushed cheek, “And that's why we have to address this.  Understand?"

"Yes sir."  Mutt replied quietly, his chest feeling heavy with guilt.

"Then come here," Jeff said kindly, leading Mutt toward the living room before sitting on the couch.  He pulled his young husband over his lap and proceeded to deliver a hard and effective spanking to the jean clad rear.  Normally he would have spanked Mutt on the bare but he considered Mutt's reasoning and while he'd broken a rule, it had been to help his friend, and Jeff felt that this way was fair.

He watched Mutt's reactions closely.  Mutt had bent his arms beneath himself and placed his forehead on the couch cushion. Jeff could feel the tension in Mutt's body and moved his left hand from Mutt's waist to his back. He felt the tension lessen and continued with the lesson.

Mutt was crying and sobbing softly as Jeff pulled him up onto the couch and rested his husband's head on his lap.  He rubbed Mutt's shoulders with his right hand while he carded his hair with his right.

Mutt turned his face into Jeff's pant leg, crying with a little more force, grateful not only for the fact that the spanking was over but also for what he knew was Jeff's unconditional love and forgiveness.  His butt stung something fierce, but the knot of guilt that had been curled in his chest was gone.  He stayed that way until the sobbing abated.  He hugged Jeff's leg, really the only part of him that he could reach at the moment, and pressed his face harder onto Jeff's thigh.

"Feel better now?"  Jeff asked softly, looking down at the now peaceful face surrounded by Mutt's unruly black hair which stuck to his forehead and cheek in places.  He gently pushed the hair away and stroked his husband's cheek.  He felt Mutt's nod.  Jeff noticed that Mutt was beginning to fall asleep.  He tried to get up to start dinner but Mutt held onto Jeff's leg for dear life.

"Not yet, please?"  Mutt asked plaintively, his eyes still closed.  His eyes felt grainy and hot and he couldn't bear to open them just yet.

Jeff smiled down at his husband, a tender expression on his face, and repositioned himself with Mutt's head cushioned on his lap until Mutt finally fell asleep.  He got up slowly so as not to wake Mutt and placed a pillow beneath the younger man's head.  He shook out the numbness that had settled in his leg and went into the kitchen to make dinner.

When the food was ready, Jeff gently woke his husband.  "Come on, sleepyhead, your dinner awaits."

Mutt woke slowly and breathed in appreciatively.  "Smells good," he said groggily.

"It is good, so get up and eat before I keep it all for myself." Jeff joked.

The next morning Billy couldn’t sleep. He’d spent most of the night trying to keep still in the bed he shared with his husband so he wouldn’t wake him. Stephen’s migraine the night before had taken a lot out of him and by the time the pain eased and allowed him to sleep it was well past midnight. Billy worried most of the night lying as still as he could next to his husband and finally gave up about five a.m. He knew Stephen would be sleeping another couple of hour so he left him a note and headed to the cliffs to watch the sunrise and think. 
Stephen slowly opened his eyes an hour later wondering why he didn't hear the familiar soft rumble of Billy’s snoring. He could just barely feel the left over effects from the migraine that forced him to bed the night before. Carefully moving his head to the right he found the reason he didn’t hear the snoring. Billy wasn’t in the bed. Stephen took a deep breath then sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed. He reached for his crutch, stood up and headed to the bathroom.

Noticing the light in the living room Stephen walked into the room expecting to see his husband lying on the sofa and was surprised not to see him there. Instead he saw a note on the coffee table. Reaching down to pick it up, his heart sank as he read the words left by Billy. ‘Gone to the cliffs to watch the sunrise. Be back soon’.

Stephen hobbled back into the bedroom and got dressed as fast as he could after putting on his prosthetic leg. He grabbed his Goat-Inspired Prosthetic Climbing Leg just in case.
Harry had come on his shift at five in the morning promptly. He didn't question Ryan not being on his shift again when James briefed him on the happenings of the night shift. He got into his usual golf cart and began his usual rounds an hour later. He was passing by the cottages and smiled as he saw all was quiet. Not too many got up at this hour of the morning.

He was surprised when he saw the door of Stephen's bungalow open and the man step outside and flag him down. Harry stopped the cart. "Good mornin' Stephen, how are you? Is there somethin' you needed from me?"

"I need a ride to the cliffs if you have the time. That husband of mine is there and I need to stop him before he does something foolish."

Harry raised an eyebrow and said, "No problem Stephen, hop in."

“Thanks, Harry.” He said as he carefully climbed into the cart. He frowned as he had a bit of trouble getting his prosthetic leg in as well.

Harry climbed out and assisted Stephen. "All right now?" He asked with concern.

"Yeah, thanks," Stephen answered. "Someday I'll get the hang of this thing." He rested the Goat leg across his lap. Patting it he added, “This leg is easier to control."

Harry smiled. "No thanks necessary. It takes a while I should imagine."

“Yeah, but you’d think ten years should be enough time to figure it out.”

Harry got back into the cart and headed for the cliffs. They were magnificent in the early morning light. Harry pulled to a stop at the base and helped Stephen out of the cart. "There you go Stephen. Looks like that's your husband up there?" He pointed to a place about halfway up the cliff face.

Stephen peered up the face of the cliff and spotted Billy.  They watched him glide up the face then lose his footing and slip. Stephen was across the parking area in a flash. Before Harry could stop him he started up the face after his husband.

Harry called, "Stephen! Wait! I'll help!"

Concentrating on Billy, Stephen didn't hear Harry and continued climbing.

Up the face Billy looked down and saw his husband coming after him.

He knew Stephen shouldn't be climbing after the migraine he had last night so Billy started back down. He also knew he was in trouble for climbing without his husband.

Harry watched the man anxiously as he began to climb. He was no world class climber like Stephen, but he was able to climb fairly well when necessary.

Keeping his eyes on Billy so far up the face Stephen continued to climb. He was about 20 feet up the face when he too lost his footing because he was using his walking leg and not the Goat leg and fell among the boulders below, hitting the ground hard.

Billy saw his husband fall but he couldn't see where he landed. His heart stopped not knowing if Stephen was ok or hurt or...

He saw another man, Harry, run in the direction Stephen fell. 

Harry watched in horror as Stephen fell. It had happened so quickly he hadn't time to react and try to save him from crashing onto the boulders. He ran over to Stephen and checked him over carefully. "Stephen?" He called softly, a bit of anxiety in his voice.

"NO!!!" Billy screamed.

Harry looked up as he heard Billy's shout. "Billy, be careful! I don't want both of you hurt." He yelled to the younger man.

Billy had begun a fast descent but stopped when he heard Harry. "Is he OK?" he yelled back to Harry.

“He got the breath knocked out of him but he’s breathing fine now.”

Hearing those words Billy began the descent again. Only now he was carefully picking the route. Harry was right he wasn't going to do Stephen any good if he got hurt too.

Harry keyed his walkie talkie. "Harry to Heath. Over."

"Heath here, go ahead, Harry. Over"

"I'm here at the Cliffs. Stephen has had a fall. Over."

“How bad? Over"

"He’s still on the ground. He's breathin', but he's not talkin' and I don't know the extent of his injuries. I can’t tell if anythin’s broken. Over"

"Don't let him get up. I'll get James and be there ASAP. Over."

Harry said "I won't and I'll await you and James. Over and out."

Heath looked over at the sofa and saw James already up and starting to get dressed.

"We need to get to the cliffs. Harry just called in that Stephen has fallen.”

James answered, “Yeah,” his voice steady, although he was worried about his friend. "Is Billy with him?”

"Don't know, Harry didn't say.” Heath answered.

James said, "You go ahead and get what you need from the infirmary. Jax is still sleeping and I'll leave him a note. I’ll meet you over there and we'll go out together. I'll be there in less than three minutes.”

"OK, I'll be ready.” Heath said grabbing his bag to add to the other emergency equipment that he always carried in his cart.

James wrote Jax a note then propped it up where they usually left notes for him. He walked outside and got into his golf cart and made it to the infirmary in the three minutes he had told Heath.
True to his word James was there when he said he would be. No words were said as both men climbed into Heath’s cart and headed towards the cliffs with James driving.

In the meantime, Billy had slowly made his way down the face of the cliff and raced to his husband.

Harry had watched Billy descend and when he came running over Harry stopped him, blocking him with his arm. "Easy now, Heath's on his way."

Billy jolted to a stop then he saw Stephen laying on the ground twisted around a boulder.

"How is he?"

Stephen moaned.

Harry called gently, "Stephen? Can you hear me?"

Billy dropped down to his knees, afraid to touch Stephen. "Damn, this is all my fault." he growled in pain and fear.

Harry put an arm around Billy. "It's not your fault Billy, it was an accident." He told the younger man softly.

"NO! It is my fault. I wasn't supposed to climb alone."

Stephen groaned again. "Billy." he whispered.

Harry said, "He's right here Stephen." He looked at the younger man. "Talk to him."

"I'm here Stephen. Don't move. Help's coming." Billy said trying to control his fear for Stephen’s sake.

Harry put a hand on Billy's shoulder and squeezed. "Good Billy, keep him talkin'."

"Are you hurting anywhere, Babe?" Billy asked. "I love you. Don't leave me."

“I hurt everywhere,” Stephen smiled. "I'm not going anywhere, little boy."

Harry said quietly, "He's conscious and Heath's on his way. I doubt he'll be leavin' any one.” Harry smiled. "Welcome back." He told Stephen.

"Where are they? What's taking them so long?" Billy asked nervously.

Harry keyed the radio again, "Harry to Heath, what's your ETA? Over."

“We're here. Where are you? Over.” Heath asked.

Harry said, "We're on the boulders at the base of the cliff. Over."

“There they are,” James said pointing to the boulders. He shouldered one of the emergency packs and followed Heath as the doctor had grabbed his supplies and headed toward the boulders. .

Harry, hearing that the doctor and James had seen them hung his radio back on his belt.

Once the two men arrived on the scene, Harry said, "He was knocked out for a couple of minutes but is conscious now and talkin'. I haven't moved him."

James nodded. "That was good Harry. Heath's here now and he'll be able to examine him and assess the extent of the damage."

"How you doing Billy?" Heath asked as he bent down to examine Stephen.

"I'm ok, but Stephen isn't." Billy answered.

"I know, Bill. Why don't you go stay with James so I can look at Stephen?"

“No, I want to stay with him.”

"Go on, Hon. Let the doc do his work." Stephen whispered.

James put an arm around Billy and led him away from Stephen so Heath could assess the damage. "He's going to be all right Bill." He said confidently and gently.

Harry stayed near Heath in case he needed anything.

"It's my fault he fell, James," Billy cried into James's shirt.

James hugged Billy tight. "Now listen to me Billy, I'm sure this wasn't your fault. Things happen. Tell me what makes you believe it's your fault?"

“Stephen had a headache last night so I didn't want to wake him this morning." Billy sniffed out.  "So I came out here alone this morning. I just wanted to see the sunrise at first but then I decided to climb a little."

James tightened his hold on Billy. "I understand and I know you are aware you're not to climb alone. I'm sure Stephen will be dealing with you on that matter. What else is bothering you?"

"He fell because he was climbing up after me," the younger man said. "If he didn't come after me, if I didn't come out here, he wouldn't have fallen."

James shook his head. "He came because he loves you. He's a grown man and he makes his own decisions, just as you do Billy. But I can see he didn't put his climbing leg on, because it's over there lying on the ground."

Billy looked at the leg not understanding why Stephen didn't use it. He looked at Harry for answers.

Harry said, "Stephen saw you slip and before I could do anythin' he was climbin' up after you."

"See, it is my fault." the young man cried out again.

Harry watched Heath examine Stephen. "How's he doin' Doc?"

Heath stood. "We need to move him and get him back to the infirmary." He said. "I don't think anything is broken but I want to make sure."

“James can you call Jeff and ask him to bring the padded backboard out to us in one of the pickups?" Heath asked his partner.

James nodded. "Sure thing Heath." He got on his walkie talkie and called Jeff and made Heath's request. "He'll be here as soon as he can." James told Heath, "He said, no more than about ten minutes."

"Good. Billy, come on over here and talk to your husband," the young doctor said.

While Billy talked to Stephen, Heath talked to Harry and James.

"Like I said I don't think anything is broken but we need to be careful getting him on the back board."

Harry and James looked at Heath. "Heath, I'm worried about Billy and his guilt over this." James told the doctor.

"We'll need to watch him, James, but Stephen is probably the only one who can relieve his guilt."

James nodded, "I'd guess you're right and we'll keep an eye on him."

Harry nodded too. "He's feelin' pretty bad."

In about ten minutes Jeff arrived in the TLR pick up with the backboard.

"Heath? James?" Jeff called.

"Down here, Jeff." Heath called.

Jeff grabbed the backboard and the cervical collar he'd thought to pick up and followed the sound of his friend's voice.

James and Harry helped bring the items down to where Stephen and Billy were.

"Billy stay with Stephen while we get the backboard ready." Heath instructed as he gently placed the collar around Stephen's neck.

"Why do you need the backboard?" Billy demanded. "Is his back broken?"

Harry and James, practiced at this got the backboard set. Harry said, "We're ready Heath."

“Billy,” Heath sternly said, “Billy, listen to me. Stephen’s back is not broken. I just want to be careful and keep him from jarring around on the trip back to the infirmary. You know how we have to handle things remember your training.”

Stephen reached out and grabbed Billy's hand squeezing it. "I'll be ok, Hon. Just do what the guys tell you."

James put an arm around Billy, speaking gently. "Look Billy, everyone here is working at helping Stephen, now we need you to do your part and help him stay calm and not worry while we get him onto the backboard. We need to stabilize him, get him up the hill as gently as we can, into the bed of the pickup and to the infirmary. Do you think you can do that for yourself, for Stephen?"

Billy looked up at James, determination in his words. "Yes sir, I can do that."

James smiled at his young friend. "Good man."

Heath gently rolled his patient over so the other men could get the board under him. Stephen tried not to groan as they moved him with little success.

James let go of Billy and he, Jeff, Harry and James helped Heath get Stephen on the board.

With James at his head and Harry and Jeff on either side the three men carefully walked Stephen to the pickup.

Not having anything else to do, Billy picked up his husband’s climbing leg and Heath's bag and followed the four men to the truck.

Harry, James and Jeff gently slid Stephen into the bed of the truck. James said, "Why don't you hop in here Billy and keep Stephen company on the way to the infirmary. Jeff, Heath and I’ll meet you there in the golf cart."

Billy scrambled into the bed of the truck. He sat beside his man gently holding his hand. He smiled when Stephen squeezed it. His husband’s eyes were closed but Billy knew Stephen knew he was there with him.

Harry took the things Billy had been carrying and placed the climbing leg carefully in the pick up next to Stephen and handed Heath his bag and helped him to stow the emergency equipment that had been brought out.
Heath smiled at the security guard. “Thank you Harry.”

Harry nodded. “No problem Heath, I was glad to help.”

James turned and asked Heath, "Do you want to ride back with Jeff or in the golf cart with me?"

"I'll ride with Stephen and Bill,” Heath answered kissing James cheek. "Thanks for the help."

James returned Heath's kiss, kissing his new partner's cheek as well and saying, "No problem, I'm here for you anytime. I’ll meet you back at the infirmary and help you move Stephen around.”

Harry got into his golf cart. "I'm back on patrol unless I'm needed?" He glanced at Heath.

"I think we got this now, Harry." Heath said. "We'll call you if we need you."

Billy looked at Harry. "Thanks for being here, Harry."

Harry smiled at the young man. "You're welcome Billy, I was glad I was here to help."

James rolled up to the infirmary in his golf cart and got out to assist Jeff and Heath with Stephen, getting him out of the pickup and into the infirmary.

The three men carefully removed the back board and Heath began a more thorough examination of his patient.

Billy stayed as close to his husband as he could.

James and Jeff stood back to give Heath room to work, but were nearby if needed.

After Heath checked Stephen over he announced that he wanted to take a couple of X-rays. He retrieved the portable x-ray machine and asked the others to step outside the room.

"I want to stay here," Billy argued.

James put an arm around Billy and said firmly, "It's not safe for us, Come on. We'll come right back as soon as Heath lets us know it's safe to come back in."


James said sternly, "Let's go." He steered Billy out of the room with Jeff following.

"Your boy can be a handful," Heath chuckled at Stephen as he covered his patient’s important parts with the lead apron.

"Yup, he can be."

James kept an arm around Billy waiting for Heath to let them know when it was safe to go back into the exam room.

A few minutes later Heath opened the door and let the other's back in the room. "Billy, your guy is one lucky man. He's bruised and he's sprained his back and hip but otherwise he's in good shape."

James gave Billy a squeeze. "That's good news." He let the boy go so he could go to his husband.

"When can I take him back to the bungalow?"

"I see no reason he can't recover in his own bed, Bill." Heath answered. "But you are going to have to watch him for me and let me know if he is in any more pain."

"I can do that," Billy assured the doctor. "I'll be the best nurse you ever had, Doc."

James smiled at Billy. "Good to hear Billy." He glanced at Heath. "How do you suggest we get him back to his place Heath?"

"Hmm, good question." Heath gave it some thought then said, "Stephen do you think you can sit in a wheelchair for the trip back or should we use a cart?"

"It isn't far, Doc. I think I can use the wheelchair." Stephen answered not really wanting to do either.

James said, "Jeff and I can help you into it and we can go with you and Billy and get you settled in your bed."

"Let me get you some pain meds and some muscle relaxers before you leave then."

The other men waited for Heath to give Stephen a shot for the pain and one to help him relax.

"Ok, he's all set, James." Heath said after a few minutes. "Bill, remember what I said. I'll bring you two some lunch in a couple of hours. I recommend that you both get some sleep."

"Yes sir, Doc, I'll take good care of him."

James and Jeff got Stephen into the wheelchair carefully. James gave Heath a kiss on the cheek and grinned. "I'll catch up to you later Doc, once Jeff and I get Stephen settled into his bed."

"Looking forward to it, James, but could you check up on Jax first?" Heath grinned.

James nodded. "Sure see what kind of mischief he's been up to." He teased.

"Not much I hope," Heath teased back.

"I have no doubt the mouse has been playing while the cats have gone away." Jeff grinned.

"What, our Jaxon? Never." Heath said in mock disbelief.

"Well, he has been hanging around with Mutt a lot lately. No telling what that imp has taught our poor, unsuspecting boy." James replied solemnly, getting into the game.

"We'd better go check up on him," Heath said with a sparkle in his eyes.

"I'll check on him, and then I'll wait for you." James replied with a suggestive smile."We can, um, have lunch."

"Hey you two quit with the flirting and let's get going," Billy laughed.

Jeff, Billy and Stephen all got a good laugh as Heath and James both blushed and grinned sheepishly, but it had the effect they'd been aiming for. Billy was at ease, Stephen was bruised but on the mend if he could laugh after that fall, and the idea of lunch looked a lot more attractive all of a sudden.


Two days after he started his essay the floor was still littered with balls of paper. Jenson set his pencil down and picked up the god awful essay that Sawyer given him and went to search for Sawyer.

“Ahh , there you are Sawyer,” Jenson sighed in relief that this essay is over.  

“I've been here all the while you were writing, Jenson. Where is your essay?”  

“It's right here.” Jenson snapped.

“May I have it please, Jenson.”  Sawyer demanded.

“Really Sawyer, it's not necessary.  it's good.”


“Sawyer really…''

“Now Jenson,” Sawyer said as he kept calm, but firm. 

Sawyer glared at Jenson and said, “This is your last warning and the only one I'm giving you.  I'll remove you from where you’re standing and march you over to the corner so your eye level to lines you wrote so you can look them over and think about them. Understood?”

Jenson thought about it and decided to stay put. He was fed up with this nonsense and writing.   There was no reason for Sawyer to look at them or go over.  The message had sunk in.  Then all of sudden Jenson’s eyes went big and his pants were pulled down in the process and he was marched over to the corner with half a dozen swats to his bare backside.

“Owwww,” Jenson grunted as his hands flew back to protect his butt if more decided to come his way.

“Jenson, I think now is the time to put your thinking skills to work and study them.”  Sawyer said then squeezed his shoulders to reassure him that they’d get through this and the slate would be clean and forgiven and forgot. Then Sawyer set his watch for twenty minutes.

Twenty minutes later Sawyer's watch went off and he called Jenson with the essay still in his hand over by the couch.

Jenson was nervous when he handed over the essay for Sawyer to look at.

“Mmm,” Sawyer hummed as he check each page, until he got to the last page where he had added on the extra R and was pleased with it as well as the others we had looked over.

“You ok babe?”  Sawyer asked as he went up to Jenson kissing him as he took his thumb to brush away his tears.

“Yes sir. I'm good,” he answered as he was rubbing the sting from Sawyer's big strong hand that just moments before made contact with his butt.

And they both walked together hand and hand to their next class.


"Mutt, where's the remote?"

"How am I supposed to know?"

"What was that?"

"Sorry, Chief. I don't know." Mutt replied, changing his tone of voice.  He didn't want another spanking for being disrespectful.

"That's why we have a holder for the thing, Mutt." Jeff replied, trying to keep the frustration out of his voice.

"Why do you think I'm the one who misplaced it?" Mutt grumbled as he helped Jeff search the furniture for the errant remote.

"Because you're the one who keeps it with you instead of putting it on the holder." Jeff replied. "You did the same thing with the phone. How many times did I find the handset with the battery completely dead, stuffed into the couch or under the bed, because you didn't put it back on the charger?"

"I don't do that anymore." Mutt defended himself.

"Because I bought that old rotary phone replica that's attached to the wall. Am I going to have to buy a leash for the remote now?"

"That's actually not a bad idea." Mutt said, going into the kitchen to find the ball of twine. "We'll tie one end to the remote and the other end to one of the..."

"You're missing the point, little boy. And what, pray tell are you going to tie the string to when we still don't know where the remote is?"

Mutt stopped cold. "Oh, yeah. But it's still a good idea... once we find the remote." He said sheepishly.

"While you're out there, why don't you bring in a couple of beers?" Jeff replied, voice muffled as he knelt down to check under the couch.

"I'll make some popcorn too, shall I? Oh!"

"Oh? What's 'Oh!' "

"Ah... the remote is, uh... in the freezer."

Jeff closed his eyes. He wouldn't ask. He just couldn't ask.

"I must have put it in there when I was getting some of the leftover pizza."

"Which you left in the oven and burned to a crisp because you forgot about it. Then you made toast and forgot it was there and we ended up having to throw it out because it was too hard to feed to the birds. You made percolated coffee and left the pot sitting over the flame for so long that it was undrinkable sludge."

"What do you mean? You like percolated coffee! Besides, it's not like I did any of that deliberately!"

"No, I know you didn't do them on purpose. You've been distracted for days, hon.
What's going on in that head of yours?" Jeff asked, walking into the kitchen and wrapping his arms around his husband.

Mutt petulantly resisted for all of ten seconds and then let out a sigh of frustration before turning around and hugging him back.

"I keep thinking about Jax. He has so many questions and I can't answer most of them. He was going to talk to James and Heath but considering that neither of them has had experience with being a trio, let alone in a long term, committed relationship before now... I mean... I want to help him, but that would be like me telling you how to do your job. I know the mechanics of it, but I don't know the full reality."

Jeff smiled and shook his head in mild disbelief. "They may not have ever been in what we would call long term relationships, or a trio, but I'm sure they can figure it out."

"But Jax said he was worried. He seemed a lot happier after we talked, but he still has questions and a few concerns. I, ah, I was thinking about your idea of asking Adam to sit down with him so that he could answer Jax's questions and put him at ease. Mike is in a relationship with two Tops, but I'm not close to him and I don't know how he'd feel if I asked him to discuss his private life with a stranger. Besides, even though he is trying to change he's still a little stuck up. He used to refer to relationships like ours as 'singletons', and his tone of voice was just... insulting. Like it's some kind of badge of honor to have two Tops."

"Do you think Adam would be willing to talk about it?"

Mutt grinned, “He loves talking about it. He's crazy mad in love with Eric and Torren, and some of the stories he tells me are hilarious."

Jeff kissed the top of Mutt's head and smiled, “Torren and Adam come in a close second to you for getting into trouble." He laughed. "It makes sense, though, to introduce Adam and Jaxon.  It couldn't hurt to have his perspective on the matter."

"Can I call him now? Or should I wait until I run into him at work?"

"Considering how personal this is, you should call him now. I know that Eric, Torren and Adam go to bed relatively early."

Mutt snickered, "They go to bed, but they don't actually get to sleep until around eleven or twelve. At least if I believe anything Adam says."

"Brat." Jeff grinned, leaning down to plant a kiss on Mutt's lips. He checked his watch. "OK, it's just seven now, they should be done with dinner. Give Adam a call, be sure to ask Eric if it's all right with him. You might want to ask Torren as well, so that he feels included in the decision making."

"Alright. Thanks Chief!" Mutt said happily as he headed toward the phone at the end of the hallway. He dialed Adam's number, still a little confused by the counter clockwise and circular positioning of the buttons.

"Good evening." Came Eric's deep tone from the receiver.

"Hi, sir. It's Mutt."

"Hello, Matthew." Eric replied. "Did you want to speak to Adam?"

"Actually, I have a question for all of you first, then I'd love to talk to Ad, if it's ok."

"Ask away." Came the curious voice.

"See, there's this new guy here, and he's been invited to become part of a threesome. He's still a little uncertain about how it works, and I can't answer his questions. I was wondering if it's all right for Adam to talk to this guy, but I wanted to clear it with all of you before I broach the subject."

"Why don't you introduce Adam to your friend, depending on if it's all right with Jeff, perhaps have them over for a guy’s night. Let them get to know each other a little, see if they click, and then you can make plans from there." Eric suggested.

"Hold on, please Eric? Let me ask Jeff."

At Eric's sound of consent Mutt covered the mouthpiece and called to Jeff. "Eric says to invite Adam and Jax over to let them get to know each other first. Is that alright with you? I thought maybe this weekend?"

"You'll have to get the OK from Heath and James, but as long as it's all right with them it's fine with me. Don't forget to invite Torren, you know he'll feel badly if he's left out."

Mutt pulled a face, glad that Jeff wasn't nearby to see it. Torren was all right enough, but he tended to speak before he thought his words through and ended up offending just about everyone he spoke to.

With a barely audible sigh, Mutt asked, "Can Torren come too? I was thinking this weekend, if it's all right with his soon to be partners." He added quickly before Eric could remind him to do what he was already going to do. "Jeff said it's OK with him."

"I'm afraid Torren is grounded for the next two weeks. Barring any infractions between now and then on Adam's part, he should be able to make it."

"Thank you, sir. If it's alright, may I speak to Adam now?"

"One moment, Matthew, he's standing nearby." He heard the phone changing hands, and Eric's voice in the background telling Adam not to be on the phone all night.



They greeted each other as though they hadn't seen each other just that afternoon.

"So to what do I owe the honor?" Adam inquired, his Irish accent becoming more pronounced as it did whenever he was home or relaxing with friends.

"I have to ask you a favor."

"I'd say 'anything fer you', bucko, but the last time I said that I ended up over Eric's knees for two hours."

"Did not." Mutt laughed.

"Hush ye. It felt like two hours." Adam retorted with a smile in his voice. "All right then, Mack, what's this favor then?"

"There's this friend of mine. He's been asked to join a threesome and he's got some questions I can't answer."

"Are you talkin' about that new guy I've seen near the pool in the mornins? The one who moved in with James and Heath?"

"Yeah." Mutt replied. The less he spoke the longer he got to listen to Adam's charming accent.

"Well, from what I know he's goin' ta have two Tops and I've only got the one. Did ya think ta call...Ah, never ye mind what I was goin' ta say." He laughed.

"Mike, right?" Mutt replied, not the least surprised that Adam would know what was going on.

"Yeah, knowin' Michael though, he'd probably charge ya for the time."

Both men laughed.

"No doubt. So, back on topic?" Mutt suggested.

"Aye, this favor..."

"I have to call James and Heath, but if it's all right with them I'm going to ask Jaxon over this weekend for a guy’s night. More or less so that he can meet you and get used to you, and I thought maybe you could tell him some of your funnier stories about what it's like, being part of a trio."

"An' it's all right with Jeff?"

"He said it was alright as long as it was OK with Eric, which it is, and Heath and James. I'm going to call them next. Now it's just a matter of getting them to let the poor fella out of the house for a few hours."

"Have Jeff call."

Mutt raised his eyebrows in thought. "That's a good idea. Let me go take care of that now. Talk to you later, kiddo."

"Kiddo!? I'm near as old as you are!" Adam replied, playing their old game.

"I'm still three months older than you, so I get to call you kiddo, Kiddo. Oh, and I need another favor."

"Yer gonna owe me big, Muttinski."

"This isn't as big as the other one, believe me."

"Fine, what is it this time?"

"Could you please ask Eric not to call me Matthew? Please? The only time anyone calls me that is when I'm in trouble and I constantly feel like I'm in trouble when he talks to me."

Adam laughed, “I'll see what I can do, Mutt. Just remember.  As long as he doesn't call ya by yer whole name, you're in good wi' him."

Mutt sighed. "Fine, just see what you can do, please?"

"Aye, I'll ask him. Again." Adam laughed.

"Right then, kiddo, talk to you tomorrow."

"T'morrow. G'night."

Mutt hung up the phone and went back to the living room where Jeff sat, sipping one of the beers and watching a movie. Mutt blushed, remembering that he'd forgotten to bring the beers in to him before he'd rushed to the phone.



"Well, I just got off the phone with Eric and Adam, and they're both in favor of the get together this weekend."

"I know, I just got off the phone with Eric."

"You called him?!"

"He called me on my cell phone to make sure I actually knew about this get together."

"Why didn't he just ask to talk to you when I was on the phone with him?" Mutt demanded. "Besides, I haven't had an unapproved, unchaperoned event since last year. And you dealt with it. Is he going to hold that over my head for the rest of my life?"

"No hon, but considering your track record for having unapproved parties in one place or another, he just wanted to make sure."

Mutt scowled.

Jeff stood up and gathered Mutt up into a hug, and kissed the top of his head.

"So, it's obviously all right with Eric. Would you like me to call James and Heath for you?"

"That's what Adam suggested,” Mutt grumbled. "I admit it makes sense but I still don't like that Eric didn't just take me at my word. I even told him... oh yeah," he trailed off, remembering.

Jeff smiled wryly. "Yes, you told him last time that you checked with me and you hadn't. Don't worry, Mutt. He'll get over it eventually. Just give him time."

"Is that why he always calls me Matthew instead of Mutt? I always feel like I've been sent to the principal when I talk to him."

"No, he's always called you Matthew, you only notice it a lot more ever since that debacle last year. He calls me Jeffrey, and I can completely understand how you feel. He's just a very formal person." Jeff explained quietly. Personally he wouldn't have minded if Eric would just get that stick out of his backside and loosen up a little, but he wasn't going to say that aloud to Mutt.

Mutt sighed. "I guess. Well, would you please call James and Heath?"

"I will be happy to. Now go make that popcorn and we'll put another movie in until it's time for bed."

Mutt smiled happily. "Thanks Chief!" He ran out into the kitchen to make the popcorn with a lighter heart.

Jeff called James, and after a brief conversation, James and Heath both agreed to let Jaxon go to the get together.

"I'd appreciate it if you two would come as well," Jeff said.  "Chances are that once Adam has some of Jaxon’s questions answered, he'll feel a little freer to ask you any questions that have gone unanswered.”

He could hear James asking Heath, and Heath's affirmative reply.

"Great, we'll see you all on Saturday."  He smiled, even though the men couldn't see it, and hung up the phone.  Mutt was going to be so pleased, and that pleased him.

They sat together on the couch, eating popcorn and watching the first part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy until Mutt began to fall asleep.  Jeff resisted the urge to let Mutt sleep on the couch and roused his husband long enough to get him to bed where the young man promptly fell back into a deep sleep.

Jeff planted a soft kiss on Mutt's lips, changed into sleep pants and a tee shirt, and climbed into bed, spooning up to Mutt and wrapping an arm around him.

Mutt sighed and snuggled closer toward Jeff, who closed his eyes and fell asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow.

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