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Little Blue Pills (Book Five)

                               

Gideon had had a very early morning and was at the cafe almost as soon as Chloe flipped the sign. He had a group to take out for two days on the Moors. He didn't mind the Moors and he didn't mind the work. Truth be told he enjoyed what he did. A lot. He had met with this group three days before and the leader was a right tosser. Maybe that was too good a name for the pig of a man that he would have to try and work with almost on a one to one basis. There were five altogether but this man was the head of the company and he was sure he knew better than anyone. Including Jack. Gideon hadn’t mentioned it though and his hopes were that it wouldn't come back to bite him in the ass.

Ethan was just pulling into the village having been finally liberated from Essex. Maybe it had been a mistake to take an out of village job so soon after his last exam but he had and now he had to deal with the aftermath of it all. He would see Charlie later that morning to see if he could take an extra pill for a few days. Or something. Chloe, bless her had given him an herbal tea and a generous slice of cherry pie with cream so he was a happy man right now. He had seen Gideon come in but the young man looked vexed so Ethan just stayed put and let him get on with whatever it was causing it.

Ian checked his watch. Apparently Dylan’s new “you will get out of the damn house on time” campaign was working too effectively and he was far, far too early for work. He sighed and pushed open the door to the cafe, a smile lighting his face as he spotted Gideon. ‘Morning, campers,’ he said, winking at Chloe.

Chloe smiled back and handed Ian a tray. ‘Morning, pet. Go see if you can make the baby happy. He’s cranky this morning.’

Gideon looked up at that and snorted. ‘Who you callin’ cranky, ML?’

‘You, pet.’

Gideon gave her a fake smile and he looked a bit manic, ‘Id is be’er?’

Chloe laughed and shook her head. ‘Go, shoo, make him happy.’ She said to Ian.

Ian held out his hand. ‘I need ...’ He looked down at the mug Chloe slid across the counter. ‘That’ll do.’ He strode across the cafe and sat down opposite Gideon.  ‘So what’s with Mr Cranky? You look like shite. And I say that as your friend, obviously.’

‘Thanks. A couple of things really. First, Paul has been sick all week and driving me up the wall. Second, I’m gone for the next few days to the Moors with a group. The head groupee is a jackass to beat them all.  Good morning to you my friend.’

Ian sighed. ‘Pauly’s poorly? Sorry, that didn’t come out quite right. Is it something serious, or just Top flu?’ He sipped through the froth of his coffee and sighed happily.

‘Just? There is no such thing as just. He’s had me up and down the stairs so many times I think I need new boots. Then there’s cooking and cleaning. I’m exhausted and he naps here and there so he never is. I feel bad but I had to give him little blue pills for a few nights and he wants sex like twelve times a day.

Ian blinked. ‘Really? Little blue pills? Do they help? Well, obviously they do, but...’ He wasn’t sure how little blue pills helped with the ... oh. Well. He quirked his eyebrow. ‘That much, eh?’ He’d have to make sure Dylan never tried them.

Gideon nodded, ‘I had to get them off Ebay from America. Good job they come in jumbo sizes.’ He looked at the clock and gulped his coffee, ‘Gotta go. Have fun with the numbers.’

‘I always do.’ Ian saluted his friend. ‘Don’t get lost on the moors.’ He glanced at his watch again. He probably had time for another coffee.

Ethan had been going to the counter to pick up his bags and he hadn’t meant to overhear but after all it was a small place and they were the only ones in there. He thanked Chloe and smiled at Ian. ‘How’s life at the bank?’

Ian grinned back. ‘Pretty good. Money comes in, money goes out. Just the way I like it. Built anything interesting lately, or are you still on light duties?’

‘I just did a new bank in Essex actually. It looks like something from the future if you ask me. I was just following orders this time, make it safe, make it sound.’ Ethan said. ‘I would have done it different but these guys had their hearts set. Go figure bankers.’

‘I know, we’re a weird bunch. Did you hear, Paul is sick? I don’t think he ever so much as sneezed at Beechcroft, but I suppose old age is creeping up on him.’

Ethan quirked an eyebrow, ‘Ian you’re 30 next birthday aren’t you? I’d watch the old age comments but you’re right, I don’t remember him ever being sick. Damon was this past winter too. He landed in hospital and we were really worried for a while. He was there six weeks.  Hopefully Paul is over the worst of it now though.’ He thought a minute, ‘Must be or Gideon wouldn’t be working.’ He knew from friends and personal experience how brats can hover.

‘Well maybe, but he can’t be that great, or Gideon wouldn’t be feeding him little blue pills.’ He looked up as Chloe handed him a to go cup. ‘Am I going somewhere?’ He looked at his watch again. ‘Oh, I am. Bye, Ethan. Thanks, ML.’ He got up and kissed her on the forehead, grinning widely as he jogged across the street to the bank.

Ethan was leaving anyway and he stepped back just as Edward was coming in. ‘Talk to you later, I got food to deliver.’ Then he stopped and turned around, ‘No planes today?’

Edward shook his head. ‘Nope. I’m doing a long haul tomorrow, so today’s a rest day. Go, do your mercy run. Don’t mind me.’

Ethan saluted and went on down the road.

Edward winked at Chloe. ‘What’s wrong with you? You look like you’ve been kissed by a frog.’

‘It’s very sad Pet. Gideon’s boy is under the weather, you know,’ she looked around and made sure no one was near, ‘he can’t...perform. Gideon had to get those blue pills and now,’ she looked around again, ‘he wants it all the time.’

Edward’s jaw dropped. ‘No! You’re kidding me? That’s...’ He covered Chloe’s ears. Somewhat belatedly. ‘You shouldn’t be listening to things like that.’

Chloe shook her head and sighed. ‘I wasn’t trying to. They were just there, he was talking to the bank guy, Ian,’ she pointed at the nearest table.  ‘If there were more people I wouldn’t of heard anything but they were the only ones, except for Ethan and he was over there. Is it serious then? Will he be alright?’

Edward shrugged. ‘I don’t really know anything about it. I suppose it’s just a temporary thing if he’s been ill. He’ll probably be fine, so long as he doesn’t get hooked on the pills. Is that even possible?’

‘Anything is possible.’ Then Chloe giggled. ‘Poor Gideon though, twelve times a day? No wonder he wanted to get out to the Moors.’

‘I bet. He’ll be getting friction burns,’ Edward said with a grin. ‘They can ... I mean I hear they can hurt. Breakfast?’ He said, changing the subject abruptly.

Chloe looked at Edward with a hint of a smile. ‘Uh huh. Tray’s over there, pet.’ She pointed and giggled again.

Edward snorted and took his tray over to the corner table.
                 
Ethan turned the handle on the door and it didn’t move. He stepped back and looked at the house and then the drive. Jack’s truck was there, Chris’s car was gone, lights were on.  He tried again. It still didn’t move. ‘Huh. Oh, well, more for me I guess.’ He turned around and headed back down the path.

Jack unlocked the door and pulled it open. ‘Oi! Where are you off to in such a hurry?’

Ethan stopped and turned around. ‘Home? To eat?’ He held up the bags.

‘With MY breakfast?’ Jack scowled. ‘Why didn’t you knock?’

‘It’s only your breakfast if I get inside. Otherwise it’s my breakfast. You locked the door. I felt unloved.’

Jack raised his eyebrow. ‘Ah. Well, there’s a reason for that.’

Ethan looked at him.

‘I was getting a meter reading.’

Ethan looked at him.

‘The meter cupboard is right by the door, and I figured you’d walk in and brain me.’

‘Doesn’t make me feel loved, Jack. You can do better.’ Ethan crossed his arms and the bags swung and bacon buttie smell filled the air.

Jack’s scowl grew fiercer. ‘Now I know you’re taking the piss. Come on in, sugar plum, the door is open now.’ He made an effort to turn the scowl into a smile. It was less than successful.

Ethan laughed, ‘Don’t give up your day job.’ He walked up to Jack and stopped. ‘Where’s my sugar? I’ve been gone a while, you didn’t miss me?’

Jack kissed Ethan on the cheek. ‘Of course I did. Had to get my own breakfast.’ He grinned, this time it was genuine. ‘How did the job go?’

‘Okay. I don’t like the building but sometimes you just have to let the customer play. They may decide I was right or they may just deal, either way I’m not going back.  How was my baby for you?’ He set the bags on the counter and got plates out.  After popping the tops off the coffees he took it all over to the table and set it down.  ‘I even brought pie. My new fetish. Think Andy would let me cover him in sweet cherries?’ Ethan sat down.

‘He was as good as gold. I stayed away from walk in cupboards, just to be on the safe side.’ Jack paused with his buttie half way to his mouth. ‘Maybe, but I really don’t think I want to talk about your sexual practices. Wouldn’t they be sticky though?’ He added, completely ignoring his earlier statement.

‘Depends and speaking of sex, Paul’s on Viagra.’ Ethan took a bite of his sandwich. ‘I’m going to see Charlie later on and get his opinion on whether or not I can take an extra pill for a few days. Too much acid in this job and it’s playing havoc with me and before you ask I was good as gold.’

Jack chewed very, very slowly and managed not to choke. Finally he swallowed. ‘Paul’s on Viagra? And you know this how?’

‘Huh? Oh, Gideon said so.’

Jack’s eyebrow shot up. ‘That is wrong on so many levels. So, spill. Why can’t the old man get it up?’

‘I was having a first coffee while I waited ever so patiently for Adam to make your butties and Gideon was having breakfast when Ian walked in and sat with him. Normally I say hello but I’m tired and just wanted some me time so I didn’t bother. When the cafe is empty like that voices get picked up and carry around the place and he was saying Paul’s been ill and he was cranky, Gideon, not Paul. Apparently Paul needed the pills and now it’s like twelve times a day or something. Ouch. Remind me to not get sick. I’m gonna ask Day how he’s doing now. He must of had a hell of a time as sick as he was.’

Jack sighed. ‘Well, I’m sure Paul will be delighted it’s all round the village. Or it will be by lunchtime.’ Then he laughed. ‘If you’re going to ask Damon about his ability to get a stiffie, let me know and I’ll sell tickets.’

‘Get ‘em printed then. I could always ask Nicky. He’s a chatter box.’

‘He is, but he might be affronted that you’re casting nasturtiums on his Day-Day’s manhood.’ Jack concentrated on his breakfast for a few minutes.

‘I didn’t think of that. Nicky is a funny little boy. Did you know Damon proposed?’

‘He is that. I did hear. It’s the first trickle of what could probably become a flood.’

‘Apparently Kevin did too. Although you never know for sure with him, it could have been a fluke.’

Jack blinked. ‘I’m not sure I followed that sentence. What was a fluke? That Kevin proposed?’

‘Well think about it. Kevin proposing? After this long? I think it was a fluke and Alex caught him off guard. Librarians know these things. They read a lot.’ Ethan put the plates in the sink and turned the water on. ‘Want your pie?’

‘I’ll have it later, thanks. Maybe Alex blackmailed him into it. Threatened to set fire to something. Or something.’

Ethan did the washing up and dried the dishes, ‘Well it could happen but I think Kevin would fan the flames in places Alex wouldn’t like if he did something like that. Kevin takes fire fighting serious.’

‘I’ve noticed that. You should investigate. You’ve got some catching up to do.’ Jack held up three fingers. ‘One, ask Kevin why he proposed. Two, ask Damon about the performance of his todger. Three, Paul, ditto. Ring me when you’re done and I’ll take what’s left to the hospital.’

‘You can be a bastard when you put your mind to it Jack. Want another coffee? Oh and I think Gideon might be plotting murder.’

Jack raised his eyebrow. ‘Cheeky. Yes, please. Murder? Of whom?’

‘Some guy he’s going out on the Moors with. The guys an ass or so I hear.’ Ethan put the kettle on and turned on the coffee machine.

Jack sighed. ‘We do get ‘em. He’s supposed to let me know if there’s a problem, though.’

‘Yeah but with Paul’s little problem and Gideon’s lack of sleep, will he? My money says no.’ He set a mug in front of Jack and sat down with his own. ‘What are you doing next week?’

Jack mentally consulted his diary. ‘Nothing wildly important. Why do you ask?’

‘I am going to Ireland to have a look at a church and thought you might tag along.’

‘Planning a wedding? I can do that. Just let me know when, I can shuffle my meetings.’

Ethan looked at him and sighed. ‘It’s my parents’ church, Jack.’

Jack stared at Ethan for several moments. ‘Can I just ask... why?’

‘The priest that’s there rang a while back and he didn’t know. It’s falling apart, seems the old bastard didn’t take very good care of it and he would like it renovated. I don’t mind doing it but just in case I would like to have you there. If it really pisses you off, I could ask Day.’

Jack’s eyebrows both shot up. ‘Damon and your father in the same village? I think not. No, I’m fine, it was just caught me off-guard.’

‘Good, I really wasn’t looking forward to being spanked senseless by Damon.’ Ethan grinned. ‘Now I need to go and visit our lovely GP. See you tomorrow unless the door is locked again.  Once is fine but twice and I know when I’m not wanted.’ Ethan got up and rinsed out his mug.

Jack got up to get himself another coffee and he swatted Ethan on the way past. ‘Cheeky.’

Ethan blew him a kiss and went on his way.
                   
Chloe was drumming her fingers on the counter and feeling bored. She had polished and even taken apart one of the coffee machines and still no one was coming in to tell her news to. If this kept up she might have to sneak out for a minute and do it. She was bursting.

Andy walked the short distance from the surgery to the cafe, humming cheerfully as he strolled. He pushed open the door and grinned at Chloe. ‘Hello, darling. What’s up?’

‘Oh, my God!’ Chloe came around the counter and pulled Andy over to sit down. ‘It’s so juicy. Just listen.’ She looked around to be sure they were alone. ‘Ian and Gideon were in here earlier. It was dead and well you know how it is. Anyway, Paul, you do know who he is right? Well no matter, Paul got sick and now he’s impotent.’ She covered her mouth and nodded, her eyes big. ‘So,’ she pulled Andy close and whispered in his ear, ‘Gideon got him Viagra and he’s been going at it day and night.’

‘Yeah, I know who he is.’ Andy’s eyes widened. ‘Seriously? I saw Gideon this morning, and I thought he looked tired. That explains why. Who else knows?’

‘Just you and me and Ian, oh and Edward. It’s on the down low.’ Chloe nodded. ‘I feel so sorry for them. He’s not that old either.’ She thought about that and then smiled. ‘Well, he’s old enough to be my father, EUW! My father could be on Viagra!’

Andy snorted.' I need the lunches. Maybe it’s just a temporary ... lull,’ he said with a grin.

‘Maybe,’ Chloe got up and grabbed his bags with the lunches. ‘I put an extra drink in there for you guys this time. I don’t think Molls is drinking enough. You need to take better care of her.’

Andy nodded. ‘I do. Does she need vitamins too? I know she doesn’t eat much in the way of fruit and veg. We don’t want her getting sick, do we? She gets very grouchy when she’s sick.’

‘She does. Vitamins would be good. Maybe I can insist on fruit and veg. You could offer her a raise if she ate them too.’

Andy grinned. ‘Think I can get that into her performance review?’

‘You can try pet. Now go and feed my lady.’ Chloe said with a smile.

Caleb had spent the morning running around after his mother picking up various articles of clothing that she was grousing over. ‘Mum, I really need to get to work.’ He whined.

‘Then off with you boy. Caleb, ‘she stopped him as he was walking away. ‘If you leave clothes everywhere again, I will hurt you.’

Caleb nodded and sighed and couldn’t get out fast enough. He drove to the cafe for his to go coffee and got out. He met Andy at the door and smiled, ‘Afternoon, Andy. Getting the lunches again?’

‘Of course. Just call me Dr. Packhorse.’ Andy grinned. ‘Hey, you know who Paul is, don’t you? Guess what I heard.’

Caleb knew and took a step back.  Then moved closer. ‘Oh yes, I remember him. Really tall, dark and loud.
So what did you hear?’ Caleb was not above good gossip like any brat.

‘He’s taking Viagra. Apparently he couldn’t perform, and now Gideon can’t stop him. The poor boy is exhausted.’

Caleb’s eyes got wide and he blinked. ‘I don’t know who I feel sorrier for.’

Andy shrugged. ‘I know I wouldn’t want to be either of them. Got to go, Molly will be growling.’

Caleb watched him go and sighed. That was so awful. Chloe repeated what Andy had told him and they chatted while he drank his coffee. Then he headed on down to the garage to see what Tom was doing  later on.

‘Hey, Tom,’ he said as he hopped onto his stool. ‘Lunch time.’

Tom wiped his hands and tossed the rag into the waiting bin. ‘What are we having today? I though you were staying in the vicarage today?’

‘Your mother was horrible. She had me picking up all sorts of things. So I beat feet and left. Looks like pastrami.’ He handed Tom a wrapped packet. ‘Crisps. Pickle, oh potato salad. Yummy.’

‘Sounds good.’ Tom pulled up a stack of tyres. ‘Oh, she’s my mother now? She must have been driving you crazy.’ He grinned as he unwrapped the packet. ‘Yum.’

‘I got some news though. It’s harsh.’ Caleb took a bite of pickle.

Tom blinked. ‘Okay then. I’m braced.’

‘Remember Paul? Well he’s on Viagra and making Gideon cross eyed tired now.’ Caleb unwrapped his
sandwich.

‘Serious? Tell me everything.’
‘Sorry, that’s really all I know. Andy didn’t say much more than that but Chloe says Paul was sick and now he’s a sex maniac. Gideon’s exhausted and out on the Moors because he needs the rest.’

‘Poor bugger. At least I don’t need to worry about that with Shappa, but Adam’s getting on now...’ Tom tailed off and gave Caleb a cheeky grin.

Caleb stopped with his sandwich halfway to his mouth.  ‘He’s only...oh God, he is the same age. Well hmm. I suppose I could keep track for a while and see if he’s changing at all. Maybe it’s because Paul was sick?’ He looked at Tom and grinned. ‘Think Damon’s having problems?’

Tom was about to take a bite of his sandwich. He paused and looked at Caleb. ‘I ain’t asking him.’
‘Not me either. He can be a right scary man but that doesn’t mean that Nicky can’t be manipulated.’

Tom nodded, having finally managed to get a bite of his lunch. ‘Oo ‘ing ‘im,’ he said through his chewing.
‘Nope.  I figure eventually someone will tell him about Paul and it might just come out.’ Caleb said and took a bite of his own lunch.

Tom nodded again. ‘Eventually. Probably around tea time.’

‘Probably.’

Edward pushed open the front door and walked in, slipping off his shoes on the way to Declan’s office. ‘Hey, did you leave yet?’ he called.

‘Yes, I have.’ Declan said as he came out carrying his briefcase in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.  ‘Oh. I lied, I’m still here.’ He slurped and swallowed.

Edward grinned and then sighed heavily. ‘Well, I guess you’ll have to wait till tonight to hear the latest village gossip, then. Have a good day at the office.’ He closed his eyes and pursed his lips, waiting for Declan’s goodbye kiss.

Declan kissed the offered lips and went to the door where he turned around and looked at Edward, ‘I suppose I can wait until then to spank you for deliberately withholding vital information.  Have a good day, darling.’

Edward’s eyes narrowed. ‘Meanie. Paul’s taking Viagra. Have fun.’ He waved.

‘Ah.’ Declan said and went out the door. He stopped on the door and blinked, turned around and came back in. ‘He’s what?’ He asked as he set his case down.

Edward grinned. ‘Don’t you need to go to work?’
‘No, yes, I will call in sick, dead, what the hell happened? For how long? Will he be alright? How do you know this anyway? It’s rather personal.’

‘Chloe told me. Apparently he’s been sick, so Gideon had to get him the pills and now he wants it all the time.’ Edward sighed. ‘ALL the time.’

Declan grinned. ‘Nothing wrong with that.’

‘Like a dozen times a day, all the time.’

‘Oh,’ Declan headed to the kitchen and turned around, ‘now that could get painful.’

‘It could. I heard Gideon’s gone off to the moors for a rest.’

‘Hell of a place to run to.’ Declan turned the kettle on and leant against the counter. ‘Think we should get involved or just let it play out? He’s your...something.’

‘My nemesis? No, he was Jack’s nemesis. I’m not sure what we can do to help, and I do know he’s a very private man, so he won’t be thrilled to find out anyone knows. Gideon must have been exhausted to even discuss it with someone.’

‘He is close with anyone he can talk to about this? You know it could be a temporary thing. Paul isn’t really old enough to be needing something that potent for long.’ Declan made them coffees and set the mugs on the table.

Edward shrugged. ‘I don’t really know him that well. I vaguely remember he was close to Colonel Sloane, but he’s his father-in-law now, so I don’t know whether he’d be the best one. Maybe Dylan? I think they socialised a bit back in the day.’

‘I don’t think that would be something he would discuss with his heterosexual father in law no matter how open minded the man may be. Do you know Dylan well enough to go and talk with him? This would make a great paper but then I always say that don’t I?’

Edward grinned. ‘You do, it probably would, and I can talk to Dylan. He wasn’t my CO, but that might be a plus.’

‘Hmm, the workings of the hierarchy of the military.  Why do some soldiers stay in touch, others drift away. I may write it but sadly will never be able to publish it. I have to play poker with a few of them.’

‘And then we end up together in the same village. Maybe they fill us with magnetic iron fillings and it pulls some of us together, and sends the others off to far away places,’ Edward said, sipping his coffee.

‘The glue that holds you, Damon, Ethan and Jack together is even more different than most I think. Now, finish your coffee and go talk to Dylan.’

Edward nodded. ‘You better go. Or ring in. All those eager minds waiting for you to fill ‘em up.’

‘You have met Chris haven’t you?’ Declan said as he got up to leave again. ‘See you tonight love.’

Ethan stopped to talk to Aled who was on a bacon buttie run for the squad. Kevin had them on the field today and he had finished early. He listened and was a little shocked to hear the news. Paul was nearly as godlike in Aled’s eyes as his brother. He let Ethan go on his way and headed to the cafe.

Alex left Edna in charge of the library and strolled down to the cafe to collect their lunches. He was running late, as they’d had a new delivery and had spent the morning unpacking, labelling and cataloguing the new books.  He pushed open the door and grinned at Aled. ‘Taking the afternoon off? Does my darling watch commander know you’re skiving?’

‘Oh, hey, Alex. He sent me. I finished up first so I get buttie duty. Adam is slaving away as we speak. And speaking of speaking have you heard the latest?’ Aled said from his perch on one of the sofas.

‘I don’t think so. I’ve been knee-deep in books all morning, so I haven’t heard anything other than Edna’s dulcet tones.’ Alex sat down across from Aled. ‘Do tell.’

‘Gideon’s, do you even know Gideon?’ Aled began and looked at Alex.

Alex nodded. ‘One of one of the new couples? His hubby works at the school, doesn’t he?’

‘That’s him. Paul works at the school. Well Gideon is on the moors to get away from Paul for a while.  It seems the man got sick a while back and now he’s on the mend except for one little drawback. Although I’m sure he isn’t thinking that. He’s having to use Viagra now and he wants it all the time. I do mean ALL the time.’

Alex shuddered. ‘That’s terrible. Poor man. Well, poor men, it must be terrible for both of them. He’s not that old, is he?’

Aled closed his eyes for a minute and then opened them, ‘Thirty-six? Maybe it has to do with him being sick though. He was never ill the whole time I was at Beechcroft and it could be a lot harder for someone like that. I wonder if he gets it from Charlie? The Viagra.’

Alex pursed his lips. ‘I don’t know. I suppose so. Where else would you get it? The internet?’

Aled shrugged. ‘I just hope Charlie never needs it. I suppose we should be supportive; not sure how though.’

‘I’m sure we should, but I wouldn’t think he’d want everyone to know. It’s very personal.’ Alex shuddered.
‘If Kevin was ever in that position, I’m sure he’d want to keep it quiet.’

‘If Kevin was ever in that position he’d be hunting down the person who put the saltpetre in his drink and kicking them silly.’ Aled said with a grin.  ‘He’d have stern words with his little Kevin and the poor willy would stand proud.’

Alex laughed. ‘It wouldn’t dare let him down. So to speak.’

‘Not in this life. Oh, there’s my butties. Gotta get, have fun with the books.’ Aled got up and went to grab the bags of food.

‘Always.’ Alex got up and followed Aled to the counter to collect the library lunches. ‘You better put some cakes in there, Edna’s had a rough morning,’ he said with a grin.
               
Dylan was spending the day attached at the ear with his mobile. It went everywhere with him as he went about doing things in the house and he blessed the person who invented bluetooth. He hoovered while he was on hold and dusted while he talked to various law enforcement agencies. Michael had him doing a case that was based in Nottingham. It meant a drive but Dylan never minded.
He was just getting off the phone and going to get a cup of tea when the doorbell rang and he detoured to answer it. ‘Hello! Come in! Coffee?’ He asked Edward as he pulled the phone from his ear.

Edward nodded. ‘I come bearing cakes.’ He waved a box. ‘Adam’s finest.’

‘Oh yummy, what did you do?’ Dylan asked as he led the way through the house to the kitchen.

‘I walked to the cafe and bought them?’ Edward said, sounding a little confused. ‘Or did you mean what did I do to need to bribe you with cakes?’

‘It would be the second one, yes.’ Dylan flipped the kettle on and got out mugs to spoon coffee into.

‘Not a thing. I also come bearing news of the sensitive type.’

‘Oh?’ Dylan set plates and forks out and when he finished with the coffees set them on the table too. ‘And you’re bringing this to me? Why not Declan?’

‘I did. He suggested you. Well, sort of. It’s not sensitive to me.’ Edward sat down.

‘So it’s gossip then? Of a sensitive nature? That doesn’t concern you?’ Dylan raised an eyebrow.

Edward nodded energetically. ‘That’s exactly right. You qualified as the shoulder for the individual concerned to cry on. So to speak.’

Dylan wondered if this young man was thick and sighed. ‘Edward,’ he began and stopped. He looked into that cherub face with the day’s stubble and smiled as he shook his head, ‘Oh, go on then. Spit it out soldier.’

‘Jonesy’s on Viagra.’ Edward spat it out.

Dylan had taken a bite of his cake and he kept chewing even though it tasted more like sawdust right then. He wondered if he could get it down and then decided he really couldn’t without help and he took a large swallow of his coffee. ‘He’s what?’

‘On Viagra. Apparently he’s been sick, and he’s had to take Viagra, and now Gideon’s had to go off to the moors for a rest.’

Dylan closed his eyes and steepled his fingers. When he thought he might make some sense of this conversation he opened his eyes and looked at Edward. ‘Paul was sick? Oh, the flu. Gideon was over a week or so ago for a soup recipe. So the flu made him impotent? Is that possible? Well obviously it is but how do you know all of this? Why is Gideon on the moors for a rest?’

‘Chloe told me. She is the fount of all knowledge that passes through the cafe. I think she said she heard Gideon telling Ian. So, you might have heard about it tonight, but Ian might have forgotten by then.’ Edward grinned. ‘He’s so dizzy. Gideon needs a rest because the pills work really well and Paul can’t get enough. I think.’

‘Ouch.’ Dylan was remembering back when Gideon was sure he was broken and wouldn’t let Paul near him for two weeks after that.  ‘Seems like a strange place to go for a holiday. Okay then, so am I to presume that you want me to take this sensitive subject and go and see Paul? Or do you want me to hunt Gideon down and drag him home by the short and curlies?’

Edward blinked. ‘Well, Declan thought Paul might need someone to talk to. And you metaphorically drew the short straw. I don’t think Gideon needs hunting down, but maybe if he’s still missing in a couple of days, maybe.’

Dylan smiled and shook his head. ‘Alrighty then. I will go and visit the invalid and hunt down his darling in a few days if necessary. You’re welcome to stay but I really need to make a few more phone calls for work.’

Edward stood up and saluted. ‘Yes Sir.’ He grinned. ‘Let me know if you need more cakes.’

‘I can do that, now get out of here before I can come up with a reason to wallop you.’  Dylan smiled to soften the words and looked at the cakes left. ‘I really like that raspberry one.’ He winked.

Edward winked back. ‘Message understood, Sir.’ He strode down the path and into the village.

Dylan made his phone calls and then grabbed his boots. This was going to be so much fun. He wondered if he could make an appointment for a double root canal instead?
               
Gideon managed to get the five men to the Moors in one piece but now that they were there he wasn’t so sure about how they were going to come back. That silly fat fuck wouldn’t shut up and thought he knew best. Well, if he thought so Gideon was not going to correct him, not yet. He unpacked the SUV and then looked at the men who were milling around and muttering to themselves. ‘Okay, Mr. Williams, get them sorted. I need to make a few calls and then we’ll have lunch.’
He watched as Mr. Williams, as he insisted by being called, stumbled and grumbled trying to figure out how to get the tents up and shook his head. Some people.
             
Well, he couldn’t put it off any longer could he? Sighing Dylan grabbed his keys and strode purposefully down the road until he reached Paul and Gideon’s house. ‘Get a grip,’ he said to himself and went up to the door and knocked.

Paul opened the door and looked at Dylan. ‘Hmm. Hello. Would you like to come in?’

‘That’s why I’m here. To come in. I’ll even make the tea.’ Dylan said.

Paul raised his eyebrow. ‘Well, I wouldn’t say no. Come in then.’ He stepped back, holding the door wide.

‘How are you feeling anyway?’ Dylan asked as he took his boots off and padded to the kitchen.  ‘Gideon’s gone?’

Paul yawned. ‘Yeah, he left this morning. I’m better than I was, but I’m glad it’s half term.’ His gaze narrowed slightly. ‘What are you asking?’

Dylan chuckled and looked at Paul, ‘I’m asking how you are feeling, amigo y amigo. Is that a crime?’

‘No, I’m just naturally suspicious,’ Paul said with a grin. ‘Hungry?’

‘Not so much. Edward was over with cakes this morning. Come to think of it though, I could eat.’ Dylan said and set the tea mugs on the table. ‘You look a little more rested. Beechams Ultra?’

Paul cut bread and assembled sandwiches quickly and efficiently. ‘Sorry, no bacon. I’m banned from any kind of cooking that isn’t microwave at the moment. I fell asleep in the middle of scrambled eggs.’ He grinned. ‘Not literally. Yes, they’re great little pills.’

‘I could have done the bacon.’ Dylan said. ‘I would have thought Gideon would have found someone to take his place until you felt well enough to scramble an egg. He’s neglectful and should be dunked in honey and set out for the ants.’

Paul laughed. ‘Are you complaining about my pastrami sandwiches? I did forget the pickled gherkin. They’re in the fridge. I have dinner being brought over from the pub every evening, I’m not going to waste away.’

Dylan got up and grabbed the jar of pickles and opened a drawer for a fork. ‘Okay, so you’re well cared for and not being left to starve. I stand corrected. Your boy was in the cafe this morning before he left and apparently he has the village in an uproar.’ Dylan took a bite of his sandwich and sighed.

Paul blinked. ‘He did? What on earth did my little darling do? I’ve got to admit, I ran him ragged when I was sick, I guessed he needed a break from me as much as anything else.’

‘That was pretty much what he was telling Ian, that and the sex.’

Paul stopped with his sandwich almost to his lips and carefully replaced it on the plate. ‘What about the sex?’ he asked, very calmly.

‘Now you have to remember he didn’t realise that early in the morning with no one around, voices carry in the cafe. He mentioned little blue pills and a very active libido.’ Dylan was actually enjoying this to a degree. He took another bite of his sandwich and followed it with pickle.

‘Little blue pills? ‘ Paul scratched his head. ‘What about them?’

‘Okay my man Chloe was there and what do you think she interpreted little blue pills to be?’

Paul looked blank. ‘What could she possibly ...’ His eyes widened. ‘Viagra? VIAGRA?’

Dylan laughed. ‘That would be it. Now put that together with what Gideon was saying and bingo. I’ll just sit here for a minute while you process that.’

Paul processed. ‘I’m going to kill ... someone. I’m not sure who. The little blue pills are Tylenol PM, they’re a sleep aid. And they are bright blue, and I think Gideon got them on ebay. His dad suggested them. I must admit after two weeks in bed, once I caught up with my sleep, I was in the mood for a little ... catching up.’

Dylan was doing his best to be serious and not laugh but he was finding it more and more difficult. ‘And that is the real reason that Gideon is on the Moors isn’t it? You tried to break him again.’

Paul grinned. ‘I did not. He wasn’t walking funny when he left here.’

‘After a few days I don’t think you’d know if he was or not. Twelve times a day Paul? Little catching up?  That poor abused baby.’

‘TWELVE? Seriously? Now I know who I’m going to kill. Three, maybe. I’m not 16, Dylan, and I’m not sure I could have done it twelve times in a day even then.’

‘You can’t kill him, you love him and besides if you did you’d have to get reacquainted with your right hand and I hear it’s really hard to go back once the willie has sampled other wares.’ Dylan was enjoying himself with this. Quite a bit truth be told.

‘You’re enjoying this, aren’t you? I can make him suffer without killing him, you know,’ Paul said, stating the obvious.

‘Yes you can and yes I am but if you do will that make you feel better? I don’t believe that he would say anything if he thought anyone was able to hear other than Ian and they go back a long ways. What you need to ask yourself is how did the village find out?’

Paul sighed. ‘You know I won’t do a damn thing. He’s had a bad couple of weeks, after all.’ He thought for a moment. ‘I don’t know. Who told you?’

Dylan started to roll his eyes and then stopped and stared at Paul willing himself to not do it. ‘Edward.’

‘And do you know how he found out? I saw that, by the way.’

‘Yes. Sir, I was afraid of that, Chloe? Yeah, Chloe.’

‘Well, that’s a fairly direct route. Hopefully it isn’t quite all over the village. Probably a vain hope.’ Paul sighed and concentrated on his sandwich.

‘It is. I think it would depend on who came into the cafe. Not everyone would be interested or care for that matter. So you’re probably fairly safe.’

‘Hmm. Why did Edward come to you?’

‘I think that’s pretty obvious. He doesn’t know you very well. I suppose he could have gone to Jack and had him come but he figured we had history and I think his Top suggested it.’

Paul sighed. ‘His Top? Great, he’ll probably want to write a paper on it.’

‘Maybe. I hear he thinks everything is paper worthy. But if we consider the source we can pretty much include Jack’s boys.’

‘Oh. Marvellous.’ Paul sighed. ‘I suppose the only saving grace is I’m not actually impotent.’

‘Only Gideon would know that for sure and he’s not here to back you up.’ Dylan said with a smirk.

‘You do remember the desk, don’t you?’

‘Oh I do I really do, but this is so much fun. Cheer up darling, it could be worse the whole village could know by tea time if it doesn’t get stopped soon.’

‘And how to you suggest I stop it? It’s busy spreading like wildfire, I don’t doubt.’

‘Oh hell Paul, this is a village. You can’t stop it but I’ll go on over to the cafe and have a chat with Chloe and get it around that the little blue pills are Tylenol PM bought on ebay to help you sleep and get rid of aches.  She’ll get the word out.’

Paul grinned. ‘Well, apparently I owe you one. You’ll have to bring your brat over for steaks. When I’m safe to cook again, obviously. And assuming Gideon ever comes home.’

‘You’re on, old man. Thanks for lunch.  I’ll let you know what I do find out and get the ball rolling to safeguard your manhood.’ Dylan stood up and took the dishes to the sink and washed them. ‘Want another tea before I go?’ He asked.

Paul nodded, surprised at how tired he felt. Maybe he needed vitamins. He got up and rooted in a drawer, eventually finding a small bottle. He tipped out one of the pills and laughed. ‘Will you look at that?’ In his palm nestled a vitamin pill almost an inch long. It was bright blue.

‘Must be your colour.’ Dylan made him another tea and sent him off to bed. He resisted the urge to tuck the RSM in though not wanting to press his luck any further and made sure the door was locked when he left.
He decided the best place to start would be the cafe and so he set off, besides he could get dessert there.  He hadn’t gone very far down the high street when he ran into Ethan and stopped to chat.
‘You’re back then.’

‘Yep. Finally set free and where do I end up? Fucking Essex. I really don’t know why I bother going there. They all think they know so much more than anyone else and they are willing to resort to violence to prove it.’ Ethan said.

‘I could have told you that mate. Never let them see you sweat though. They will circle for the kill.’ Dylan laughed.

‘That was my problem then. I kept trying to do what they wanted. Next time, if there is a next time I will make sure to take you along.’

‘Not on your Nellie. Take Jack or better still take Damon. He can stand around and look menacing.’

Ethan snorted and then grinned, ‘He would too. Where you headed?’

‘Cafe. I’m off to speak to the mini lesbian about little blue pills.’ Dylan said.

‘Chloe? I doubt they’ll help her. Did you hear about Paul though?’

Dylan was going to answer that and then stopped. ‘Is this the whole Viagra thing?’

‘Yeah, Gideon was in the cafe and sound carries all over that place when there aren’t many people in. You can’t help but hear.’

Dylan mentally sighed and looked at Ethan. ‘Did you by chance tell anyone about that?’

‘Jack. Oh and Aled.’ Ethan said.

‘Ethan.’

‘That was all.’

‘And who do you think Chloe told?’

‘Anyone who goes into the cafe. She loves a good gossip you know.’

‘Right then. You go and have a chat with Paul, I’ll go and have one with Chloe.’

‘Dylan I am not going to Paul’s house. He’s...’ Ethan began.

‘Hold that thought.’ Dylan pulled his phone out and dialled Jack.

‘Yep,’ Jack said curtly into his headpiece, looking at his computer screen at the same time.

‘Hi, Jack, Dylan here I have a request to make of you. I can’t seem to get Ethan to do what I want so I’m calling out the big guns. Stop right there, soldier.’

Ethan stopped and slumped against the building.

Ah. And what is he supposed to be doing?’

‘Explaining his role in the whole Viagra Caper. It seems the little blue pills turned out to be Tylenol PM that Gideon ordered off ebay so Paul could sleep.’

‘Oh. OH. That makes a lot more sense. Did you see Paul already?’

‘I did. I got a visit from Edward who brought me cakes to bribe me to go over there. Paul is not a happy camper about this though, Ethan one more step and we go to Jack’s and he can deal with you. How the hell do you get him to stand still?’

‘I don’t suppose he is. Send him round here and I’ll sort it. You off to the cafe?’

‘I am, I have to speak to Chloe and I have a feeling it won’t go much better. She’s been informing the hordes.’

Jack sighed. ‘You may need to get Adam in on it, she can be feisty.’

‘What good does it do to be a Top if the brats won’t listen, hang on,’ Dylan set his phone down for a minute.  ‘Now go and if you don’t get there I will hunt you down.’ He picked the phone back up, ‘Ethan’s on his way, hopefully.  I can do that. He seems to be able to handle his brats anyway.’

‘I’m sure you can handle her, so long as she doesn’t go all quivery lip on you. Anyone else I need to deal with?’

‘Who does Edward know? Oh, fuck me, your brother. Ethan told him too.’ Dylan slapped his forehead.

Jack sighed. ‘Lovely. Leave him with me then. Have fun in the cafe.’ He ended the call and rang the fire station.

Max raised an eyebrow and picked up the phone. ‘Hello?’ It wasn’t often that the phone rang, well that wasn’t true it rang he just never got to answer it and he looked around to see if one of the boys were going to swoop down and grab it.

‘Hi. Is Kevin available?’ Jack wasn’t about to tread on the watch commander’s turf.

‘He’s off...oh, they should be back by now, it’s lunch time.’ Max held the phone to his chest and whistled.  ‘Jeff! Is Kevin back yet?’

‘Yeah, he’s laying down, want me to get him, Chief?’

‘Phone’s for him.’ He held the phone out and then put it to his ear. ‘He’s back. Be gentle, he’s been working with the boys on the field today and has a headache; apparently.’

‘I’ll be gentle,’ Jack agreed. ‘I can be gentle.’

Jeff went to fetch Kevin who nearly crowned him with a book. He snorted and got up when he was told that there was a phone call and he wondered what Alex had gotten himself into now. ‘Thanks.’ He took it from Max, ‘It’s your turn to cook, Chief. Yello?’

‘Hi, Kevin. It is about Aled, before you ask. Have you heard any interesting gossip since he got back from the cafe?’

‘Hmm, Damon and Nicky are getting married, Chris set off fireworks at the farm and scared the animals who broke through two fences, Jonathan is not happy by the way, Declan is playing hookey and I only know that because Aled said he saw him in the cafe, Callum and Travis are playing  Head and student again, and that guy, the new one that isn’t the other new one is taking Viagra and his partner can’t walk straight because he’s horny all the time. So, nope, nothing.’ Kevin said.

Jack snorted. ‘I can’t speak to the rest of it, but the Viagra was actually Tylenol PM to help him sleep. Tell my little brother to pop in on his way home.’

‘Ah, those work a treat too. Alex got me some a while back and I was out for the count. I’ll send him along then.’

‘Thanks, go back to your headache, dear.’ Jack narrowed his gaze as he considered his partner’s fate. Fireworks, indeed.’

‘I’ll do that. Night.’ Kevin had no idea what time it was really and didn’t much care. He hung up and glared at the men, ‘Anyone makes noise, anyone bothers me in any way at all unless it’s a fire, and we will make a trip to my office and I will introduce you to Brutus. Someone send Aled in when he shows his face again.’ With that he turned around and went to his bed.
               

Gideon finished his calls and crossed his arms as he watched the businessmen get it all wrong. He would have laughed but John had told him that Jack frowned on the employees laughing at the paying customers. ‘Would you like some advice or help?’

Mr. Williams turned around beet red in the face and glowered, ‘You think this is funny, do you? Think you know so bloody much better then?’

‘No, Sir. I do know how to put a tent up though.’

‘Are you taking the piss boy?’

‘Me? No, I actually do know how. I was in the army and they taught us all sorts of things. Putting up a tent was one of those things.’

Mr. Williams stalked over and stood glaring at Gideon.  ‘Then put them up. That is what you’re being paid for.’

Gideon looked back at the obnoxious man steadily. He counted to ten and then sighed, just a small one. ‘Of course.’ He walked over to the small group and began to show them how it was done and soon the tents were up and a fire was going.  ‘Come and eat.’ He called and four hungry, sweaty, dirty business men walked over and sat down. ‘It’s not the Hilton but it will fill you up. Tomorrow we’ll get started around six in the morning so don’t stay up too late, alright?’

Four of the five agreed and dug in. They were hungry enough to not care what they were eating and too tired to protest the early bedtime.  Gideon stayed up washing the dishes and having a last cup of coffee while he waited for them all to settle down.

Mr. Williams came over clad in his flannel night clothes, complete with slippers and dressing gown and plunked himself in a chair. ‘You think we’re just a bunch of idiots don’t you? I used to ride horses and go on hunts before they were banned. Now I spend my time pushing papers and riding herd over lesser men.’

‘Yes, Sir. I’m sure you’re good at your job but you need to let me do mine.’ Gideon said.

‘I will, boy. Until you fuck up.’ He got up and went to his tent.

Gideon cleaned up and went to his own. ‘Stupid fat fuck.’
               

Ethan did not want to go to Jack’s. He knew he should. Jack would be cross if he had to come looking.  Ethan decided to do as he had been told and trotted on down the road. As he turned a corner he ran into Aled and he grinned. ‘Where you off to or shouldn’t I ask? Does Charlie know?’

‘My brother’s; he wants to see me.’ Aled said. ‘Where you going?’

Same place.’ Ethan said.

Aled stopped and looked at Ethan. ‘Am I in trouble?’

‘Should you be?’

‘I dunno. I didn’t do anything. I was at work; Kevin didn’t even open an eye, just told me to go.’

‘Well then, I don’t think you are, unless you’re lying to me.’ Ethan said.

‘Not this time. I have kept my nose clean for weeks now. Truth be told, I’ve been too tired after three on to do much of anything. Kevin’s got us doing spring cleaning besides drills and then there are the real fires.’
They walked on and soon were at the front door. Ethan opened it and walked in with Aled on his heels. They both took off their shoes and Aled headed upstairs to use the toilet and Ethan headed to the kitchen to make drinks.

Jack was waiting at the bottom of the stairs for his brother.

‘Hey you! What did you want? Where’s Ethan?’ Aled babbled as he came down the stairs. He stopped halfway. ‘What do you think I did? Because I didn’t.’

‘I think Ethan’s the one making clanking noises in the kitchen. I want to talk to you both about the negative effects of gossiping.’

‘Gossiping? I don’t gossip.’ Aled said and took a step back up one step.

‘I think you did.’

Aled shook his head. ‘No I did not. Stop looking at me like I’m a snack.’

Ethan came out with three mugs and headed to the living room. ‘Jack, you’re scaring the baby.’

‘Don’t you start. How many people other than me did you tell?’

Ethan set the mugs down and looked at Jack. ‘Tell what?’

Aled sat down on his step. At least he was forgotten for the time being.

‘About Paul and the little blue pills.’ Jack gave his brother a look.

‘Sounds like the title to a movie. Aled I think. ‘

Jack raised his eyebrow. ‘Well, that’s better than I hoped. You?’ He asked Aled.

Aled shrugged. ‘Kevin? Alex?’

‘I’m sure you will appreciate the significance of the fact that the little blue pills are in fact a sleep aid.’

Ethan sat down. ‘And you know this how? If I recall you were just as interested this morning.’ He looked at Aled and then back at Jack.

Aled was wide eyed. No one in his life time had ever...with the exception of their father of course...ever ...he looked at Jack.

Jack raised his other eyebrow. ‘I listened. I didn’t go off and tell anyone else. Apparently your cohort in crime went off to Dylan who went round to Paul’s. I don’t think I really know why. Probably to offer moral support.’

‘Pfft, only because you’re stuck in the house. You need to get out more, no more bacon buttie runs for you, mister. I didn’t run off and tell anyone else. I only told Aled because he was there. Ask him why he told Dylan.’

‘Hey!’ Aled squawked.

‘Not that cohort, I’m talking about Edward. And now we three are going on a little visit. Maybe that will help with your pffting problem.’

‘I didn’t say anything to Edward.’ Ethan said.

‘Going to visit whom? Edward?’ Aled said.

‘RSM Paul Jones.’

Ethan dropped his mug and looked at Jack. ‘No, uh uh, no way, not going. You can’t make me.’

Aled put his head in his hands and closed his eyes.

‘I was right. It did help with the pffting.’ Jack said. ‘Now march.’

‘Jack, don’t do this to me. If you like me even a teeny tiny bit don’t make me go and see Jonesy, he’ll do horrible things to me.’ Ethan said.

‘I hear he’s been ill. He’s probably not up to his old vicious self,’ Jack said helpfully. ‘Now come on. In, apologise, hopefully out.’

‘I knew it. One mistake years ago and you’ve just been waiting to watch me die a horrible, slow death.  What, you want alimony? I can do that.’ Ethan bargained.

‘What are you rabbiting about? Come on, Aled, you can’t take the stair with you.’

‘I’m just waiting to see how this ends.’ Aled said.

Ethan got up and went to put his shoes back on.

‘Oh, he’s giving up? Drat.’ Aled said and came down the stairs to grab his trainers.

Jack smacked his brother. ‘Behave.’

‘Yes, Sir. ’Aled saluted.

Jack grabbed his keys. ‘Move out, soldiers.’ He waited for the other two to plod out to the car. ‘I’m sure he isn’t actually going to kill you.’

‘Nope, probably not. He’ll just make us wish we were. Or at least he would have. I suppose by now he could be old and unable to do much.’ Aled said brightly.

Ethan didn’t say anything, he just got in the truck and buckled up.

I would steer clear of references to his age, Aled.’ The short drive was very quiet and Jack was soon parking outside Paul and Gideon’s house. ‘Here we are,’ he said cheerfully.

Ethan got out and slammed the door shut and stalked to the porch. ‘Well, come on Dad, ring the bell.’

Aled got out a lot quieter and did not slam the door. ‘I think he’s upset with you bro.’

‘Just a little. He’ll get over it.’ Jack followed Ethan and rang the bell.

Paul felt a bit better after his nap and was pottering round the kitchen when he heard the door bell. He pulled open the door and blinked in surprise. ‘Hello.’

Ethan snorted.

Aled waved. ‘Sorry, can we go now?’

Jack was well positioned to smack both of his companions on the back of the head. So he did.

‘Is this about the little blue pills?’

‘Ouch.’ Aled rubbed his head, ‘Yep.’ He answered Paul.

Ethan did not rub his head even though he wanted to.

‘These two did their bit to add to the wildfire and would like to apologise,’ Jack said, pointedly.

‘I said sorry. Actually I only told Alex and Kevin and Alex is absentminded so he’ll forget and Kevin went to take a nap so he really doesn’t care. Your secret is safe.’ Aled said.

‘Ethan?’ Paul said.

‘I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.’

‘Apology accepted,’ Paul said.

‘See, I told you he wouldn’t kill you,’ Jack said, a little smugly.

Ethan looked at Jack and then at Paul. ‘Thank you. I’m going home now. I have work to do.’

‘Oh, can I go to work now too then?’ Aled asked. He was feeling decidedly uneasy with all these Tops sending out Top hormones.

‘Yep. Run along, children.’ Jack said with a grin.

Aled turned around and took off for the fire house, happy to be free once more. Life could sometimes be just fine.

Ethan hadn’t really wanted to wait around but he didn’t feel he should just leave Aled there to fend for himself so he waited and walked off with him part way.

‘Lighten up Ethan, you got off light with this.’ Aled said to him.

‘Yeah but that was not the point. See ya kiddo. Be good.’ Ethan shoved his hands in his pockets and headed for home.

‘Coffee?’ Paul said to Jack.

‘Raincheck? I’ll pop in tomorrow if that’s okay. I’ve got a brat to talk to about firework safety.’

‘Sure.’ Paul grinned.


The next three days were absolute hell for Gideon and he was very happy to be heading home. He was covered in mud, it had rained for two of the days and he made sure that Mr. Williams was out in it every one of them.
As he pulled into the drive he sighed and didn’t even bother to lock the SUV. In the house he kicked off his shoes and stripped. No use tracking half of the Moors through the house. He went up the stairs and headed to the bathroom.

Paul put down his book and followed his husband’s trail to the bathroom where the room was already filled with steam. ‘Nice time?’ he shouted.

‘Yep.’ Gideon said and turned the water off. He stepped out squeaky clean and smelling much better. ‘How was it for you? No cooking right? You look rested.’

‘I’m feeling much better, darling. No cooking at all. Although I’m not falling asleep in odd places any more. The pills definitely worked. Which reminds me...’


                                                  Nether Kipping Books©
                                                              The End

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