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Rocky Road With Vanilla Sprinkles (Book Six)

‘Annabel, you have two cases this afternoon,’ Ruth said as she went around the office watering the plants. ‘I put the files on your desk for you already and I’ll see you tonight. I may kill that boy, so if I get arrested I expect you to post bail for me.’ The last was said with a bit of irony.

Annabel looked up from the papers she was reading. ‘What did he do this time?’ She picked up her mug to drink, sighing when she realised it was empty. ‘When did I drink that?’

‘This morning?’ Ruth said with a grin. ‘He went out with that Norman Welles again and got themselves into a fight with the bears on gay road. Now, I can’t speak for all mothers but who in their right mind would want their son to grow up to be a bear? And... speaking for myself why does my son feel the urge to feed them?’

Annabel held out the mug. ‘Be a dear and fill it then,’ she smiled. ‘I know, I know. I’m a horrible boss. Want me to make a call?’ She looked at Ruth. ‘Are you sure this is the night for us to bring our darling boys together? I know, match made in heaven and all that, but if Seth’s all covered in bear fluff...’ She tried to look serious, but couldn’t manage it.

Ruth took the mug and went to make a coffee, talking as she went about doing it. ‘Well, I think that they would be great together. Luke is so grounded and supportive. Seth is a dreamer and a rascal. He would keep Luke on his toes.  I’ll let you know if I need to call in the heavy artillery though. I don’t want to ruffle feathers at the station and I’ll make sure the fluff is washed off before I present him to Luke.’

‘I am sure they will be great together. Just so long as neither of them know we want them to be together.’ Annabel stacked the papers and sipped the scalding brew. ‘Okay, 
ten minutes.’

Ruth smiled and draped her coat over one arm as she picked up her handbag. ‘Ten minutes for what, dear?’

‘Before I have to face this afternoon’s cases. I am just taking a moment.’ Annabel closed her eyes. ‘Don’t let me drop off.’

‘You are on your own, I am going to collect my son. Remember? Seth, in lock up? I will see you later,’ Ruth sometimes wondered if Annabel had little post its all over the house to remind her of things.

‘Oh, yes. I should write that down, or I’ll be looking for you later.’ Annabel reached for the post its, wrote “Ruth – lock up” and then picked up the bunny timer, setting it for nine minutes. ‘You’re still here,’ she said with a smile.

‘No, I am not.’ Ruth said as she shut the door behind her. She sighed to herself and went to ring a taxi. It was much easier than trying to find a spot to park in.
It didn’t take her long to go through all the rigmarole that she needed to in order to spring her son.

Seth grabbed his keys and wallet and walked out to greet his mother. She cuffed him.
‘Mum!’ he whined.

‘I really don’t know what gets into you but it needs to stop. You’ll be graduating soon enough and then what? Bum around the country doing God knows what? I think not. Now move it.’ Ruth ranted as she herded him out the doors, pulling her phone out to order another taxi.
‘Just wait until your father hears about this latest escapade. You’ll be lucky if he lets you drive to and from school. You are grounded to the house, house arrest, that’s what you are young man.’

‘Good, then I won’t have to go to that insane lady’s house tonight and pretend to think she’s interesting with her snoop sister interpretation.’ Seth pouted.

Ruth cuffed him.
At home she herded him to the bathroom and threatened to wash him down herself if he didn’t get in there and do the job proper. Her husband got an earful when he stepped in the door and at some point he was sure his genes were called into question.

‘Seth, we need to talk.’ Patrick said.

‘Yeah, go on then.’ Seth said as he treaded a belt through loops on his jeans.

‘You have got to stop this. You’re not 13 anymore you know. It’s time to be more responsible.’

‘Dad, I don’t want to be responsible. I want to have fun while I’m young and free. When I get myself tied down then’s the time to be grown up.’

Patrick looked at his son and then laughed. ‘Go for it then, boy. Grab what you can and enjoy it.’

When he went to the kitchen Ruth turned around, ‘Sorted?’

‘Yes, he certainly is. Where is he going? Where are you going?’ Patrick looked at his wife who was not in a house dress.

‘To Annabel’s for a while.’

‘Ruthie.’ Patrick said and folded his arms.

‘Oh, all right then. Annabel and I think that Seth would be great with Luke.’

Patrick raised an eyebrow. Then he laughed. He grabbed his wife and swung her around as he sang badly, ‘Match maker, match maker, make a match, find me a find, catch me a catch....’
Annabel chopped and diced, throwing the ingredients for a salad into an oversized bowl. ‘I’m going to need that table, you know.’

Luke looked up. ‘I thought we had a dining room table.’

‘Are you being cheeky?’

‘Me? No, your honour.’ Luke grinned.

 ‘We do, and if you remember it is covered in your ... stuff.’

Luke had the decency to blush. ‘Oh, yeah. Sorry. I’ll be out of your hair in five minutes.’

‘Good, because our guests will be here in ten.’

Luke was making neat piles when the words percolated through his thoughts. ‘OUR guests?’

‘Yes, Ruth is bringing her son.’

Luke rolled his eyes.

‘Don’t roll your eyes at me. And go answer the door,’ Annabel added as the door bell rang.

Luke pulled open the door and smiled at Ruth. ‘Good evening.’

‘Hello, darling. This is Seth. He’s home for break, I do hope you don’t mind me bringing him along.’ Ruth stepped inside and practically had to drag Seth along. She poked him.

‘Oh, yeah, hi.’ Seth said.

‘Hi,’ Luke said with a grin. ‘We’re in the kitchen. Come through and I’ll sort drinks. Wine or beer?’

Annabel was in the process of retrieving a pie from the oven. ‘Hello dear. No trouble springing him then?’

‘Mum!’ Seth whined. ‘Coke if you got it. Any more beer and I should buy stock.’

‘Wine for me.’ Ruth said. ‘No trouble. They let him off with a warning this time. Next time though will be a different story. No feeding the bears.’

Luke peered in the fridge. ‘Sorry, no coke. We do not support American 
conglomerates. We’ve got this though.’ He handed Seth a bottle of Fentiman’s. He poured wine and handed out glasses. ‘Bears, eh? I’m sure there are signs about not feeding them.’

Annabel put plates of baked goat’s cheese in front of everyone. ‘There’s bread in the basket.’ She sat down. ‘Enjoy.’

‘Not that sort of bear.’ Seth said as he cut into the cheese and grabbed a chunk of bread.

‘Do not talk about that...that...stuff at the table. It’s bad enough you let that moron talk you into these things. Tell him Annabel.’ Ruth said as she took a bite, ‘This is lovely.’

Luke gave Seth a look. ‘I know what sort of bears. Sorry if the humour was inappropriate, Ruth.’ He buttered bread and added a chunk of cheese.

Annabel looked at Seth. ‘You upset your mother when she has to bail you out of police cells.’

Luke gave Seth another look.

‘Not the first time, Annabel. Probably not the last either. It’s a knack.’ Seth said and pushed his plate away.

‘His father isn’t a lot of help either. That man thinks it’s all funny. Sometimes I think they should just go and trek around the world and get it all out of the system. Boys being boys.’ Ruth sniffed.  She patted Luke’s hand and smiled at him. ‘Not inappropriate, I would just like him to forget about bear baiting for a while is all.’

‘It’s probably a good idea. I’ve heard bear bites can get infected.’ Luke looked at Seth’s plate. ‘Something wrong with that?’

Annabel got up to check on the potatoes.

Ruth followed along to “help”. ‘Well it may be early, but I think we got their attention.’ She said as she poured them each another glass of wine.

Seth looked at the plate and then at Luke. ‘No, why?’

‘Because you didn’t eat it.’

‘I did, right there.’ Seth pointed.

‘That’s a mouthful.’

‘It was enough.’ Seth said.

Luke quirked his brow. ‘So there was something wrong with it.’

Seth looked at him, ‘No...there...wasn’t.’

Luke snorted. ‘You’re not much for the social graces, are you?’

‘Main course,’ Annabel said, interrupting the glares.

Ruth followed along and sat dishes on the table. ‘It all looks so good. You outdid yourself, Annabel.’

Seth decided to ignore Luke.

‘I hope everyone enjoys it. Luke, darling, could I have some more wine?’

Luke tore his gaze away from Seth. ‘Of course.’ He smiled across the table. ‘Ruth?’

Ruth put a hand over her glass and then relented. ‘Oh, go on then. We can always take a taxi.’

Seth looked at his plate and sighed. So much food.

‘Just eat what you can, Seth.’ Annabel said.

Luke tucked in. ‘S’great, mum.’

Seth gave Annabel a grateful look and picked up his fork. He did more pushing than eating but when he put the fork down again the plate was half empty.

Ruth patted her tummy and smiled, ‘That was lovely as usual. I really think I should hire you to cook for me.’

‘Oh, you say that, but you’ve never experienced her tuna cheese bake,’ Luke said through a mouthful of pie.

‘Don’t talk with your mouth full, dear. No-one should have to experience my tuna cheese bake.’

‘Tuna cheese bake should be off the menu. No one should ever have to eat that unless...’ Ruth looked at Seth, ‘stop playing with that pie and put it out of its misery.’

Seth stabbed it and looked at his mother, ‘Dead now.’

Luke gathered the plates and took Seth’s from under his fork. ‘Food is good for you, you know.’

Annabel sipped her wine.

Ruth followed along with her eyes and then looked at Annabel. ‘Care for coffee, lovey? I thought we could have ours in the formal living room and leave the other to the boys.’

‘Mum, I am not six years old. Although I could do with a game or two.’ He looked at Annabel. ‘Got any good ones?’

‘I am renowned for my expertise in Grand Theft Auto,’ Annabel said, standing up. ‘Coffee would be lovely. There’s cake, boys.’

‘I’ll bring it through, mum,’ Luke said. Once the mothers had gone through to the sitting room, he looked at Seth. ‘Boys, indeed. Do you want cake, or are you full?’

‘I don’t do cake right after pie. Maybe later. One day I will get her to back that up.  What about you?  Are you an expert in GTA too?’

‘No, I’m rubbish. There are some other games, though.’ Luke made the coffee and took it through then returned. ‘Coffee or coke?’

‘Coffee because you don’t support American conglomerates.’ Seth said.

‘You have no idea, boy. Ethically produced ground Mexicans coming up.’ Luke made the drinks.

Seth watched as Luke worked and snorted.  ‘You dis the Americans but support the Mexicans?  May as well eat the devil as drink his broth.’

‘Now, I didn’t say I had a problem with Americans. It’s the conglomerates. Now behave yourself.’

‘I always do exactly what I tell myself to do. I am quite well trained that way. So, what do you do then?  You’re way too old for school.’

‘I’m in the import and export business.’ Luke grinned. ‘I’ve got a shop, well, it’s one of those tiny enclosed areas at the edge of the market. I’m looking for a proper shop, but at the moment, I’m Del Boy.’

‘So gangster then.’ Seth said and blew on his drink.

‘You know, I’m beginning to see why you rub the bears up the wrong way. No, not a gangster.’

‘Hey, the only reason they get upset is because I won’t let them. Besides, who wants to suck off someone with all that fur?’

Luke quirked his brow. ‘I’m sure that’s the entire story.’

‘Nope but I don’t want to bore you with the details.’

‘Oh, I’m not bored.’ Luke sipped his coffee. ‘Do tell.’

‘Not a lot to tell really. Norman and me went down to the clubs. Found a bear pub, only we didn’t know it was then. Went in, had a few pints, Norman bought a razor and we tried to shear a few bears. They took offense, fight started and someone rang the cops. Shit happens.’

‘I’m sure it does. Do you spend a lot of time in police cells then?’

‘I do unfortunately. Mum comes and gets me and this time she felt the need to ground me. It won’t last and it won’t work.’

‘No, you probably need a good spanking,’ Luke muttered as he looked through the games. ‘Sims?’

‘Sorry?’ Seth said, ‘Sims are fine.’

‘Sorry for what?’

‘Not me,’ Seth rolled his eyes. ‘I didn’t catch what you were mumbling.’

‘I said you need a good spanking.’

Seth laughed. ‘Not in this lifetime, mate.’

Luke smiled and put the game in.

Luke looked at his watch. He tapped his foot. He looked at his watch again. ‘Mum, were there any phone calls while I was in the shower?’

Annabel sighed and put down her needlework. ‘Darling, I would have told you if he’d rung. You know what Seth’s like, he’s probably just forgotten.’ Again, she thought to herself.

Luke walked over and checked the phone line. Apparently it was fine. He flopped down into the sofa.

‘Don’t do that, dear,’ Annabel said automatically.

‘Sorry,’ Luke said. He smiled. ‘I’m a grouch tonight, aren’t I?’

‘Well, I can understand, but you’re taking it out on the wrong person. Or sofa.’

Luke laughed. ‘I’ll make a coffee, shall I?’

‘Good idea,’ Annabel said placidly.

Patrick finally found his way to the police station and walked in. He was directed to the right person and gave the information he was asked and soon enough his son was handed to him...again. Last time though he was much smaller.... and pretty much bald.

‘Hey, Dad, no Mum this time?’
‘Nope, she’s at her mother’s for the evening so I got the call. Let’s go home.’

‘I’m whipped, I don’t know why they can’t put in better sleeping arrangements.’

‘It’s jail son. Not a sleepover.’

‘True but even so, what would a mattress cost them?’

Patrick snorted.

When they got home he pointed upstairs. ‘Get clean and get into bed. I’ll make the cocoa.’

‘Oh, I was supposed to ring Luke tonight. I should do that.’ Seth said halfway up the stairs.

‘Oh, go on with ya, I’ll ring up and tell him you’ll call tomorrow.’

Thanks, Dad.’

Patrick went to the kitchen, started the milk and dialled Annabel’s.

Luke snatched up the phone. ‘Seth? Where are you?’

‘Whoa there mate. Let’s try this again shall we?’ Patrick said.

‘Oh. Sorry. I was waiting for Seth, we’re supposed to be going out.’

‘Not tonight, Luke. I just got him home and into the shower. The most excitement he’s getting is hot cocoa in bed. You’re welcome to come over though.’

‘Oh, I don’t think he’d want to see me tonight,’ Luke said, trying to keep his scowl under wraps.

‘It’s up to you. He might like the company. I have work tonight so I can’t entertain him.’

‘I’ll be over as soon as I’ve made a phone call.’ Luke put the phone down and dialled. ‘Isaac? Sorry, Seth’s bailed on me. Again.’

‘Hello to you too, Luke. Maybe you need to rethink whether or not this boy is right for you? And while I’m in a questioning mood what can I do for you other than offer condolences and copious amounts of booze?’

‘I just needed to vent. I’m going over there now, and I haven’t decided whether to kill him or dump him.’

‘Try the first and if that doesn’t make you feel better do the second.  For what it’s worth I find once the frustration is taken care of the rest just falls into place.’ Isaac said.

‘Ah, yes, but I’m the peace loving hippie, not you. You’d just chain him to the nearest wall and whip him with a wet kipper.’

‘Yes, I would and he would love it.’ Isaac grinned. Good thing no one was there to see it. ‘You might want to stop giving peace a chance and beat it into submission.’

‘I’ll let you know tomorrow. Still okay for lunch?’

‘I am if you are. Have a wonderful time.’ Isaac put the phone down and went back to his jigsaw. One day he might go out and find someone but for now Luke was enough to worry over.

Luke tapped on the door, still wondering if Isaac’s idea would work.

Patrick was just coming down and he went to open the door. ‘Come on in. I left a cocoa for you too. Go on up, it’s the second to the left. Let me know if there’s something I can get you.’

Luke nodded. ‘Thanks.’ He bounded up the stairs, tapped on the door and pushed it open without waiting.

Seth looked up and smiled. He set the mug down and held his arms out. ‘Dad made me go to bed. He’s so meaname.’

Luke accepted the hug. ‘And why was Daddy meantoyou, darling?’

‘Oh, he’s not. He figured it was best to shower and get into bed after the horrible night I had. I don’t believe anyone can sleep in a cell. I really need new friends.’

Luke’s eyebrow was in orbit. ‘A cell? Again? You definitely need new friends.’

Seth shrugged, ‘Shit happens. Actually this time wasn’t my fault. I was jumped and just hit back but cops don’t care really who threw what when and when all’s said and done he hit me is not an excuse...apparently.’

‘Apparently. Did you forget we were going out tonight?’

‘Nope, but my dad insisted and said he’d ring you. I didn’t expect you to come round though.’

‘Funnily enough, I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to.’ Luke looked at Seth. ‘You are very high maintenance, you know.’

Seth thought about that for a minute and then sighed. ‘Well yes. I suppose I understand though. That’s the nicest way anyone’s ever dumped me. Thank you.’

Luke leant over and kissed Seth on the forehead. ‘You misunderstand me.’ He hoicked Seth out of bed and over his lap in a fluid motion. Then he brought his hand down on Seth’s bottom.

Seth blinked and his brain did not catch up until a few moments later. ‘Ouch?’

Luke shook his head and carried on with the spanking. ‘Standing me up is rude. The fact that you got pissed and thrown in a cell the night before is not relevant.’

‘Ouch.’ Seth was listening but the whole night was catching up with him and he yawned. ‘Ouch.’ He felt an obligation though.

Luke snorted and pulled a hairbrush out of his pocket. He’d got halfway down the road when he’d turned round and jogged back home to get it. His mother hadn’t commented. He brought the brush down on Seth’s rear end.

Seth jumped up and looked at Luke, ‘That hurt!’

‘It’s supposed to, darling.’ Luke patted his lap. ‘Come back here.’

Seth watched fascinated at Luke’s gesture. ‘Why?’ he asked. It came out as a bit of a whine.

‘Because I said so.’

Seth looked at the brush and then at Luke and laid back down.  He was sure it was a bad idea.

Luke took a firmer hold of Seth’s waist before he brought the brush down again.

Seth was not used to this sort of treatment. He had skated through life so far on his smile and wit and this was totally different. He blinked, he sniffed, he choked and then he felt tears begin to spill out of his eyes.  ‘Luke, I’m sorry. Tell me what you want.’

‘I want you to respect me. I love you, you idiot.’

Seth coughed and sniffed and blinked again. ‘STOP!’

Luke stopped. ‘What?’

Seth moved back and sat up, ‘What did you say?’

‘I want you to respect me?’

Seth shook his head, ‘No not that part. The other part.’

‘I love you, you idiot.’

Seth grinned and sniffed again. ‘Okay then.’ He grinned wider, ‘I love you too I was being brave.’ He laid back down. ‘I do respect you but I am who I am. Carry on mate. Make me beg.’

Luke quirked his eyebrow. ‘I’ll see what I can do.’ He spanked Seth until his arm started to ache.

Seth wasn’t sure he could beg. Or if he really knew what that was. What he did know that he hurt. A lot and almost to the point of it searing in his head. Almost to the point where it didn’t matter anymore, this was it and he was being dragged along for the ride. One thing he did know was that he wouldn’t want to have to go through this many more times in a week. Or possibly a month.

Ruth got home and stopped in the hallway, ‘Patrick?’

Her husband came out of the dining room and smiled. ‘Yes?’

‘What is going on?’

‘Luke is having a bit of a chat with Seth.’

‘Oh, I must ring Annabel.’

Luke finally declared Seth truly tenderised and put the brush down. He lifted Seth up and held him tightly. ‘I love you,’ he said softly.

Seth kept whispering ‘oh my god’, over and over and trying to breathe at the same time. He felt loved strangely enough but he refused to tell his parents in case they got the same idea.

Luke rocked them both back and forth. ‘Shhh, baby. I forgive you.’ He wondered if this was what Isaac had in mind, at the same time slightly pitying the poor soul who eventually captured his friend’s heart. 

‘Stay with me tonight? I need you to.’ Seth had finally found his voice and he had things he was going to want to say but only under cover of darkness and in bed.

‘I can do that.’ Luke stood up and put Seth into bed. He turned off the light and then slipped off his jeans and jumper then climbed in, pulling Seth close.

‘I love you. I want to stay with you forever.’ Seth said and yawned.

‘I love you too, darling. Just remember, a night in the cells is always going to result in a spanking.’

‘Luke, why did you spank me? What even made you think of something like that?’

‘With me being such a peace loving hippie? I was venting to Isaac, and something he said triggered a thought ... and the thought became action.’

‘You’re willing to do this every time I get tossed in a cell? Every time?’

‘The idea is you do it less often, darling, not that I get spanker’s elbow.’

‘So that was just talk then?’

‘Oh, no, I meant it. Each and every time.’

‘Okay, I’ll be holding you to that you know and I am very high maintenance, I have that on good authority.’

‘Oh you are. Very high. Now hush, you’ve got sleep to catch up on.’

Didn’t have to tell him twice but that night Seth went to sleep with a smile on his face and feeling quite secure in his world.  Little did he know.

Oliver looked around his fleapit room in the fleapit hotel and sighed heavily. It stunk. He sniffed. And so did he.
Doing something about it meant venturing down the dark corridor to that disgusting bathroom and he wasn’t sure he’d feel any cleaner afterwards.

It was 4am and he couldn’t sleep. He also couldn’t pay the bill. His experience of these places was that you paid up front, and he had. Three nights ago, he’d paid for two nights, and somehow tonight he had slipped through the cracks.
Slipped through the cracks indeed. How ... apposite. Ah, he might be descending to Skid Row, but at least he could remember big words. He shoved his scant possessions into a holdall that had seen better days and quietly opened the door. The fire escape was at the end of the corridor, and he’d already ascertained that someone had disabled the alarm on the door.
Presumably someone else who was doing exactly what he was about to do. A moonlight flit. He climbed quickly down the rusting ladder, dropping the last few feet into a pool of fetid water. ‘That should improve the aroma,’ he thought as he wandered through the seedy streets. It was too early for anything to be open, and too late for even the homeless, who had already bunked down in whatever stinking corner they usually frequented. That night he expected to be joining them.
As he walked, he noticed the sky beginning to lighten and he looked up. It was going to be a nice day, a thought that oddly made him feel like crying. He spotted a large window with light streaming out. It was an unusual enough sight to make him investigate further. It looked like a makeshift soup kitchen, run out of the hall of a small and somewhat run down church. He peered inside, but it was empty. Too early even for the usual clientele, although he was sure they’d be arriving soon.

Isaac had been so wrapped up in Luke’s love life that he had almost forgotten he had one of his own; a life that is, no love in sight. It was harder for him being Iranian and having served in the army there in intelligence. Now he was transplanted to England, home of his father and he often thought how much nicer and cleaner it was here.

Lately, Luke aside he had been busy helping out at the soup kitchen a few blocks over from his gym and he was headed there this morning. He had heard all the stories of the downtrodden and out of lucks and he still marvelled that people could let their lives spiral so out of control. They all needed Tops with a few Doms thrown in for good measure.
When he got to the building he wasn’t surprised to find a person already standing outside waiting. Some people were just that hungry.

Oliver saw someone approaching and he smiled. The man was exotic looking and utterly beautiful. Ebony curls with a cute cap perched on top, almond shaped eyes with the longest eyelashes and a ... well, that wasn’t exactly a smile. ‘Morning,’ he said, not sure if the vision was heading his way or just passing through.

Isaac nodded and unlocked the door. ‘Good morning. Are you hungry?’ He asked as he stepped aside. He had cast a cursory glance at the young man standing there and now he looked a little closer. Under all that grime he wouldn’t be half bad. His best feature was his eyes. They were the colour of the sky in summer and just as clear, not a fleck in them. What his mother used to call “true blue”.  ‘We aren’t officially open but I can whip up a decent breakfast.’

Oliver smiled. ‘That would be great. Is there anything I can help with? Setting tables or something?’ He didn’t want this man to see him as a down and out. Stupid, given his current status, but apparently the only thing he had left was his pride.

‘That would be helpful, yes.  I don’t want to sound ...odd but there is a shower in the back and clean clothes if you might be interested. We have all sizes I just can’t guarantee colours. I’ll put the kettle on.’  There was something a bit different about this one. Not the usual type of person to come through the door.

Oliver blushed. ‘Yes, of course. Sorry about that. The bathroom where I am ... was ...staying was grimmer than me. Which is saying something.’  He darted off in the direction the young man had pointed. Ten minutes later he was much, much cleaner, shaved and clad in a pair of worn chinos and a green sweatshirt with an interesting tie dyed pattern that looked like a tiny hippy had been squished on the front. He walked back out into the main room and stood at the door to the kitchen. ‘I’m back,’ he said nervously.

Isaac had put on the only apron available and had Kiss the Cook on the front, he was holding a spatula as he turned around. ‘You clean up nicely. Sit, the food is almost ready. I hope you don’t mind dark bread. We seem to be out of white again. I’m Isaac.’

Oliver blinked at the apron. He was definitely more than tempted, but he didn’t think Isaac would be receptive. ‘Dark is fine. Much healthier.’ He sat down. ‘I’m Oliver.’

‘Very British name. Upright and capable. Are you?’ Isaac buttered toast and put eggs and bacon onto plates.  ‘I don’t usually eat here but I decided to keep you company. Do you live around here or was your room just that?’

Oliver blushed fiercely. ‘Not really.’ He looked down at his plate to hide his embarrassment. ‘No, I don’t ... live anywhere, actually.’

‘How is that possible? Everyone lives somewhere. Okay, so that is not necessarily true. Many people who come in here live nowhere.  But you look educated, you speak well, what happened?’ Isaac never beat around the bushes.

Oliver looked at Isaac. ‘I lost my flat a couple of weeks ago. Which makes me sound rather careless. I couldn’t pay the rent, so I was evicted. I’ve stayed in a succession of increasingly disgusting hotels, and I use the term loosely, since then, culminating in the one I did a moonlit flit from this morning, because I couldn’t even pay for that.’ He bit into his toast, wondering at the tears that insisted in welling up. ‘I have a gambling problem. And I’m rapidly adding a drinking problem.’

Isaac raised an eyebrow and ate for a few minutes quietly. He sipped his coffee and then set the mug down. ‘Oliver. I have a proposition for you if you are interested.’

Oliver sipped his own drink. ‘Okay. I’m interested.’

‘You can come home with me. I would expect help around the house, you attend meetings and you find yourself gainful employment. Not everything at once, get settled in and we can take it all one step at a time. I hate to see a good man go to waste and you, my friend, are wasting your life this way.’

Oliver blinked. ‘Okay. Do you do this often?’

‘Never.’ Isaac bit into the bacon and manfully did not spit it out.

‘Are you sure you should be eating that?’ Oliver asked. Isaac’s face did not indicate enjoyment. ‘Never? So, not that I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth but why this time?’

Isaac put the bacon down and wiped his hands on the napkin, ‘Because I think you are worth saving and because I want to make mad passionate crazy love to you.’

‘Ah. That makes sense,’ Oliver gave Isaac a stupid grin. ‘You don’t have to impress me with your manly eating of pork products. I was impressed the moment I saw you.’

Isaac raised his eyebrow again, ‘I impressed you, did I? So we can get on with the sex part then and I can stop eating the pig?’

‘Aren’t you working this morning?’ Oliver grinned. ‘Yes, you did. I am impressed. And I have been scrubbed, ready to send to your tent.’

‘I am serving this morning. You can help. Your first task as my love slave.’ Isaac smiled.

Oliver’s grin widened. ‘Do I get an apron?’

‘No, only me. Although if anyone tries it, I may have to spank them.’ Isaac got up and went to start the cooking.

Oliver finished his food, most of his brain thinking about the mad passionate crazy love and a tiny cautious part wondering about the spanking thing. The greater part of his brain won out.

The morning passed with no one attempting to kiss Isaac which was a good thing, dishes got broken, which was not a good thing and then there were the good byes, see you tomorrows and cleaning up.

‘I love doing this but I am always glad when it’s done too. I forget how much work goes into this.’ Isaac said as he put the last plate away.

Oliver nodded, trying to stifle a yawn. ‘I enjoyed it.’ He chewed his lip. ‘It was good to do something for someone else. Lots of someones, I can’t believe how busy it got.’

‘It always does. Every day, I’m just not here every day. Once every fortnight for me and now you. Let’s go shopping.’

Oliver reclaimed his bag. ‘Shopping?’

‘That,’ he pointed ‘can be gone through and then tossed, we are getting you some nice clothes and thongs.’

‘Thongs?’ Oliver winced. ‘Comfy.’ He peered into the bag. ‘Most of it can go, if I’m honest.’ He rescued a zipped folder and tossed the bag into a nearby skip. ‘I’m set.’

‘I was joking about that, no sane person wears those things. Well, maybe little boys who want a quick shag. Sorry, I don’t usually talk sex on a first date.’ He led Oliver out to his BMW and unlocked the doors.

‘As we started off on the subject, no need to apologise, but we should probably keep off the subject unless you’re in favour of sex in changing rooms.’ Oliver grinned as he climbed into the passenger seat. ‘Nice.’

‘I haven’t tried that yet. I’m game.’ Isaac said. ‘Yes, my baby. I have had this car for two weeks and will love it and pet it and call it mine.’

‘It’s got that new car smell,’ Oliver said, leaning back and closing his eyes.

Isaac was a good shopper and before they left the shops Oliver had enough clothes to last him a lifetime or two. It couldn’t be said that Isaac was not a generous man. ‘I live in a two bedroom flat in a quiet section of the city and before you say anything, yes they exist. I like my privacy and the only neighbour that I know is the little elderly lady next door. I feed her cat for her when her daughter comes and takes her away on holiday. They also go to the bingo once a week on a Sunday afternoon. I hope that my lifestyle doesn’t cramp yours.’ Isaac smiled to himself as he thought just how much it would.
Living where he did though he knew it would be hard for Oliver to find any gambling action. Which is what he wanted. The young man obviously needed help with his problem and Isaac was ever the Helpful Hannah sort. Especially when it came to extremely handsome men. He had had a few in the past and that was where they lived now, the past. He didn’t dwell on mistakes and something was telling him this time it was not going to be a mistake, it was going to be a lifetime commitment.

Oliver was still in shock, albeit the pleasant variety, at the generosity of this man. The fact that he was drop dead gorgeous added to the shock, and the additional fact that he apparently found Oliver attractive was the cherry on the top of his current cupcake of life. He’d fallen so low in the past few months that the last thing on his mind at that moment was gambling. As for the alcohol, although he had been seeking solace in the bottom of a bottle of increasingly cheap wine, he wasn’t yet an alcoholic and wasn’t craving anything except food, sex and sleep. Possibly in that order, possibly not.

Isaac pulled into his parking spot and got out. ‘This is home. I recently had it redecorated. My mother had been in and did it all up for me and I had to live with it until she left. Bless her. I hope you don’t mind chocolates and reds.’ He unlocked the front door after juggling several bags of clothes and kicked the door open gently. ‘Welcome home.’

Oliver stepped over the threshold, immediately kicking off his shoes. He looked down at them. They were muddy and dirty and definitely seemed to be sullying the doormat. He picked them up and put them outside. Then he looked up at Isaac, who was giving him a curious look. ‘Sorry, I’m in the way.’ He stepped into the hall and looked round. ‘Nice,’ he said. ‘Very ... warm.’ He managed a grin. ‘Sorry. Again. I’m a bit overwhelmed, I think.’

Isaac smiled and went to set bags down. ‘I will give you the choice of sleeping in your own bed or with me. Or both.  I tend to move a lot so you might want to sleep alone. Either way is fine with me.  Go ahead and put your clothes away while I make us some dinner. I don’t know about you but shopping leaves me ravenous.’

The kitchen was just as ordered as the rest of the flat and went in a semi circular pattern for cooking and the clean up afterwards. Isaac started at the fridge and worked his way to the cooker where he started a curry. It was all done in oranges and yellows and looked cheerily out of place to the rest of the flat.  Isaac hummed as he cooked.

Oliver walked into the spare bedroom, his bedroom, and sat on the bed for several minutes, looking around and wondering about this young man who had invited him into his home. He sighed heavily. He wasn’t sure he deserved Isaac’s trust, but he was definitely going to try to earn it. He started to unpack the shopping then padded into the kitchen. ‘Smells great. Have you got some scissors? For the tags,’ he added, just in case Isaac thought he had suddenly turned into a raving loon who wanted to kill them both with a pair of kitchen scissors.

Isaac pointed to a utensil holder and stirred with the other hand. ‘I keep them in here because you just never know when you might need a pair. The black handled ones are for food though so don’t take those.’ He turned around and looked at Oliver, ‘When you are done would you please lay the table?’

Oliver nodded. ‘I’ll be right back.’ Unwrapping, tag snipping and label peeling completed, he returned to the kitchen. He looked around, hoping for inspiration, but apparently Isaac’s organisation didn’t extend to labelling his drawers. So to speak. ‘Cutlery?’ he asked.

‘In the dining room in the cupboard there. The plates, bowls and mats are all there too, with glasses. Do you want wine or beer?’

‘Um. Have you got any sparkling water?’ Oliver was not about to embark on this adventure in a state of inebriation, not least because he had a raging headache that was probably the result of the last bottle of red wine he drank. In the future he was going to avoid anything that cost £2.99 and came with a screw cap. He walked through to the dining room and started to lay the table.

Isaac went to the fridge and grabbed two bottles of water and carried them out to the dining room. ‘I do.’ He said and went to dish up the food.  After the pans were filled with soapy water so they would be easier to clean he carried the bowls to the dining room and set them in the middle of the table and went back for the naan.

‘Eat as much as you wish. We can make a list and go shopping tomorrow after work. I figure you can come in with me for the day and maybe sweat some of the crap out. Life will look much better once you have a full belly, a satisfied grin and a good night’s sleep in a decent bed.’ He held his glass of water up and saluted Oliver, ‘To a new life.’    

Oliver returned the salute with a smile. ‘To a new life. Work? I can do that. What do you do? Did you tell me?’ He piled food onto his plate and then picked up one of the naan, tearing it into chunks.

‘I’m a personal trainer and I run a gym. I make people learn to love sweat.’ Isaac ate slowly, savouring the flavours and the textures: Isaac tended to do everything slowly so he could enjoy each experience fully. ‘We get up early so I hope you don’t mind early nights. By tomorrow night you will be begging me to let you go to bed.’ He might have been serious; or not.

Oliver smiled. Sort of. He hadn’t done much in the way of exercise since he left school. He tucked into the food, which was great. Spicy, which he wasn’t used to, but not too much so. His eyelids were drooping by the end of the meal and despite his best efforts, he found himself yawning. ‘Sorry,’ he apologised. Again.

Isaac was gathering dishes and he looked over at Oliver, ‘Go clean your teeth and get into bed. I think you need to sleep more than you need anything else. I’ll finish up here.’

Oliver was too tired to argue. He plodded into the bathroom, cleaned his teeth, got undressed and crawled into bed. It was nice. It smelled clean. He closed his eyes.

Isaac did the dishes and put them away and then steamed the floor before turning off the light. He never left a mess and rarely were things out of place in his flat. Things might change with another person there but he was confident that he would be able to train Oliver to be neat and tidy. He had had bigger challenges after all. Of course they were no longer in the picture. Once he was sure things were “put dead to rights” he turned off the living room lights and went through his night time routine before crawling into bed himself.
He laid there in the dark thinking about a sandy haired man with true blue eyes and a lovely smile. The things that he was going to do to him once Oliver had recovered did not bear thinking about though and Isaac told little Isaac to calm himself and go to sleep. Little Isaac pouted but did as he was told.
Oliver woke up with a start. He had no idea where he was and he almost leapt out of bed. Then he remembered and he closed his eyes. Just another five minutes under the marshmallow...

Isaac came in from his morning run and headed to the shower. Afterwards he went to the kitchen and started breakfast. He was listening for sounds from Oliver’s room and smiled to himself at that. It was natural and sounded right to him. He wafted a tea towel thinking that food smells might get the man moving.

Oliver came round more slowly the second time. He sniffed. He could smell food. He groaned and sat up. He felt hungover, which made no sense. As far as he knew, a person couldn’t get drunk on fizzy water. He padded sleepily through the flat to the kitchen. ‘Morning,’ he mumbled, wondering where Isaac kept the coffee.

‘Good morning. Food’s about ready, coffee is there,’ he pointed to take away cups. Mine is chai, so be careful.’ He plated the food and took them through to the dining room.

Oliver sat down, a cup in each hand, and looked at the plates of food Isaac had brought through. ‘Do you eat like this every morning?’

‘I do. Well I don’t, but I always eat breakfast. I’m being nice and doing the meat products for you.’

Oliver looked thoughtfully at Isaac. ‘You really don’t have to. I was always a bowl of cornflakes type of breakfaster.’ He wondered if he looked like he needed feeding up, he knew food hadn’t exactly been a priority of late.

‘Cornflakes are bad for you. If you must eat cereal at least choose a good one, like porridge or shredded wheat. Eggs and toast are best and I do make the bread. No salt, no sugar and the jam is home made too. I don’t lay the eggs though, I get them from a farmer who uses organic feed.’ Isaac stopped and put his fork down. ‘I guess I am what you might call a food snob.’

Oliver grinned. ‘More a food tyrant, I think.’ His grin widened. ‘I was beginning to wonder where you were hiding the chickens.’ His expression grew serious. ‘It’s okay with me, I’ll get used to the taste. I’ve been eating a lot of junk food lately and I think I’ve overdone it with the salt and the sugar. Although I should be well preserved.’

‘Oliver, there are a few things that you should know about me before you start to romanticize me. One, I am a control freak. I do things a certain way and I will expect the same from you. I like things neat and tidy and if you do not pick up after yourself I won’t take it very well. In a few weeks you will hopefully decide what it is you wish to do with your life and we will get that sorted out. I will give you that long to sleep, eat and get the toxins out of your system. After that your body is a temple, do not desecrate it. I don’t usually tell anyone any of this beforehand but with you I want you to know what you might be letting yourself in for. I am not always easy to live with but I am fair and I will listen.’

Oliver nodded. ‘That sounds fair. It’s your home, after all. I will respect that...’ he paused and looked at Isaac. ‘I will try my hardest to respect that. I might forget, and I’m not going to lie to you.’ He gave Isaac a sheepish grin. ‘I guess that means no more Big Macs then?’

‘I’m not very good with fast foods.’ Isaac felt that covered it all.

‘I suspected as much.’ Oliver tucked into his breakfast, convinced all was right with the world.

Two weeks later...

Luke pushed the mug across the table to Isaac. ‘Enjoy. And try to ignore the fact that it looks like a urine sample, it doesn’t actually taste that bad.’ He sipped his own drink and savoured the liquorice and peppermint brew. ‘So, how goes it on the home front?’

Isaac looked at the drink and then at Luke. ‘I am a manly queer,’ he stated and took a tentative sip. ‘Not bad.’ He was surprised, usually Luke found the most god awful brews to test on him. ‘Good so far. We got him enrolled in classes that he seems to be interested in and he is even talking about opening a studio in the back of the gym.  I can say I wouldn’t mind having him around more.  The meals are a bit of a problem but it’s all really new to him. I was thinking maybe Annabel could invite us over for dinner one night.  How’s Seth? Staying out of jail lately?’ Isaac was not above wangling a dinner invitation or changing the subject.

‘Seth is being a little angel since I spanked him. I think he’s still in shock. I’m just waiting for the other shoe to fall. I’ll ask Mum, she does love a dinner party.’ He gave Isaac a look. ‘Are you changing the subject?’

Isaac tried the innocent look but he could never pull it off so stopped. ‘That’s good, I did tell you spanking works with brats. Oliver hasn’t done anything really to annoy me which has to be wearing on him by now. I know he is a brat. It’s right there in front of me. He’s eager right now. That will change.’

‘Oh, I’m sure. Does he know you’re going to spank him if...’ Luke snorted. ‘When he screws up?’

‘No. That conversation hasn’t been brought up yet and I am not real sure that I will. When he steps out of bounds will be time enough for that. Until then he can go on his merry way thinking we are a traditional vanilla couple learning the ropes and ways of one another.’

Luke quirked his brow. ‘That should be interesting. Let me know, I can sell tickets. Are you hungry, I’ve got flapjack.’

‘It should be but I won’t be telling you until after. He does have a few issues that need dealing with. He gambled and I need to know if there are people out there expecting payment on anything other than his last room. He did a runner out the window.’ Isaac reached for a flapjack, ‘I am being unusually patient, aren’t I?’

‘You are being so patient it’s frankly a little scary.’ Luke toasted Isaac with his mug. ‘Your forte.’
Oliver ambled down the road towards the newsagent. He had exactly enough money to buy a newspaper. As he strolled, he saw the glint of a coin in the gutter, and he stopped to pick it up. It was a £1 coin, and he looked round briefly to see if anyone had dropped it.
There was no-one in sight and he tucked it in his pocket and walked on. In the shop, he was waiting to be served when he noticed the scratch card display. It was only a pound, after all. He bought the paper and a scratch card then scraped off the panels with his door key. He felt that familiar buzz, and it was amplified as he uncovered the second £100 and then the third.
He had won! He filled in the back of the card and the newsagent handed over the money. He tucked it into his back pocket and walked back home, a spring in his step.
Back at the flat, Isaac had already left for the day, leaving him a note, a shopping list and £40. He grabbed the reusable bags and his travel card then strolled back down the road to the bus stop.
In town, the bus stopped outside the bookies. He gritted his teeth and walked past. Then he stopped and turned round. After all, he was having a lucky day. Inside, he placed a three race accumulator then walked up the High Street to do the shopping.
On the way back to the bus stop, he stopped at the bookies to check the results.
He had won! Again! Definitely his lucky day. He collected his winnings – over £1000 this time. He was considering another bet when he noticed the time. He was going to be late if he wasn’t careful, and that wouldn’t do at all. He caught the bus with seconds to spare.
At home, he started the preparations for dinner, humming cheerfully. His winnings were tucked safely in his jacket pocket, and he didn’t give them another thought as he washed and chopped, already used to Isaac’s exacting standards in the kitchen.

Isaac bid Luke good bye and good luck and strolled on home from Luke’s tiny New Age shop. He was pleased to find Oliver already in the kitchen and getting things ready for their tea that night. ‘You seem happy.  Did you have a good day today?’ Isaac snaked his arms around Oliver’s waist and nuzzled his neck.

‘I did, yes. Shopping is very exciting. I got a 3 for 2 on the pulses, grains and assorted beige things. How about you?’ Oliver stirred a pot of one of the aforementioned beige things.

‘I stopped off to have what passes for lunch in Lukeland. We compared notes on you and Seth and parted best of friends even so. I also had a great time getting Mrs. Dahl to grunt.’

‘Go you. And what was lunch then? Split pea pasties again?’ Oliver managed not to scowl at the “compared notes” comment. ‘Did I come out ahead?’

‘Apparently Seth has been an angel so I suppose it’s neck and neck right now.’ Isaac said. ‘Flapjack today.  Some strange tea he found and needed to try out.  I am a guinea pig. I just don’t squeal and whistle.’

Oliver grinned. ‘I’ll have to see if I can make you squeal then.’ He looked at the pots on the stove. ‘This is pretty much ready if you are.’ He turned and looked at Isaac. ‘Are you stopping?’ He nodded at Isaac’s jacket.

Isaac looked at his jacket, ‘I am so I suppose I should get rid of this.’ He went and hung it up and came back to the kitchen. ‘We could go out this weekend if you like and I finagled an invitation to Annabel’s for us too.  You’ll love her cooking. She does home-style and gourmet depending on her mood.’

Oliver grinned. ‘Anything that means I don’t have to cook it would be fantastic.’ He dished up the food and handed Isaac a plate. ‘Did you want anything to drink with this?’

‘No, I’ll be fine with this for now. I can cook too you know but I know what you mean, any time I don’t have to is a good day.’ He picked up his fork and took a bit. ‘What is this anyway?’

 Oliver looked down at his plate. ‘Bulgar wheat salad with feta cheese and tomato, sauteed mushrooms and the little green trees are broccoli. With lemon sauce. I wasn’t really sure about the lemon sauce so it’s in the jug.’

‘It’s nice this way but we can give the sauce a try too.’ Isaac ate in silence for a few minutes and then wiped his mouth. ‘Oliver, I think we might need to talk about money. You told me you were skipping out when we met and I was just wondering how far into debt you might be. Consider it me prying but I think we should deal with any debt before it gets worse.’

Oliver blushed. ‘Well, it was just that one night at that fleapit hotel I skipped out on. I couldn’t pay the rent on my flat, so I left there before I was kicked out, but the deposit probably covered most of what I owed there.’ His blush deepened. ‘I have a couple of credit cards which are maxed out. Oh, and my bank overdraft, but I can take care of that now.’

‘How?’ Isaac asked as his eyebrow went up.

Oliver’s blush now matched the cherry tomatoes in the salad as he realised he’d probably said too much. ‘Um. Well. I found a pound on the way to the newsagent today. So I bought a scratch card and I won £100.’

Isaac blinked. He opened his mouth but words refused to exit so he closed it again. Then he blinked a few times more and cleared his throat. ‘You found? Bought? Won? So you are telling me that you only owed £100 total? Why do I not believe this?’

Oliver swallowed. ‘I meant I could take care of the overdraft... it’s a thousand. The credit cards are ... well, one’s five thousand, the other’s only, well not only, but... it’s two thousand.’

Isaac steepled his fingers and looked at Oliver, ‘How do you plan to pay the overdraft when all you won was £100? That still would leave 900 quid to pay.’ All in all, being in debt for £8,000 and not knowing how you were going to pay it back was bad enough but there was more to this little story than Oliver was telling and Isaac wasn’t one to enjoy surprises or secrets. Granted he would never ask about Oliver’s life before they had met, it was past, but this was a bit different. Oliver himself had opened the door and Isaac was about to close and lock it.

Oliver was becoming more and more nervous as the conversation progressed. He was about to embark on a detailed re-telling of the day’s events when it dawned on him that Isaac was not going to be interested in the whys and wherefores. He sighed heavily. ‘I bet the hundred and won over a thousand,’ he admitted.
And there you have it folks. Isaac stared at Oliver for a very long time and then he got up and made them each a coffee, setting the steaming mugs down and then himself. 

‘Oliver, that is not acceptable. We talked over the gambling and how it was ruining your life. Now it is our life and I don’t want mine ruined because you can’t say no to a bet. Do you remember a few weeks ago when I told you that I am a control freak? I am, I am also a Top and frankly I have had enough of the vanilla lifestyle now to know that it will not work with you. Oliver you are a brat and there is only one way to really affectively deal with naughty brats.’

Okay, the fact that Isaac was talking in terms of their life together was positive. Oliver wasn’t sure about the rest of it. He already knew Isaac was a Top, but he had a feeling that he wasn’t talking about sex. And what did the rest of it mean? What was a brat? That was stupid, he knew what a brat was in common parlance, he just didn’t see how it fitted the situation at hand. But that last bit? For some unexplained reason, that gave him the oddest feeling inside, almost like butterflies. He was a naughty brat. He didn’t know what the one way to effectively deal with him was, but he had a suspicion that he was about to find out. ‘I’m a ... Isaac, I’m sorry, but I don’t know what you’re talking about. Did I miss something somewhere?’
“Maybe a guide book, or one of those “Dummies” books,” he thought.

Isaac raised an eyebrow and snorted. ‘You have probably missed a great deal but that is beside the point in this situation. I am a Top, I have control issues that are easily taken care of by my being in control, of everything.  You are a brat who needs someone like me to look out for you and keep you safe from yourself and outside influences. Or at least in your case.  Being flippant won’t earn you brownie points with me either.
Some people like to think that being what we are is a fetish and revolves around sex. Yes, I top in sex and you bottom but that is a totally separate thing from this. This is day to day, week to week, month to month, year in and year out living. Twenty four hours a day, three hundred and sixty five days a year unless of course it is leap year and then add a day.
I will not only keep you safe and secure in life but will see to it that you are healthy, happy and well loved if you want me to. I will also spank you when you are naughty. No exceptions, no reprieves. It will be a done deal and you have to consent. I wouldn’t think of laying a finger on you without you’re agreeing and knowing what you are agreeing to. But, Oliver, I have to say that if you do agree then life changes. No more gambling, no more double dealing and you will find a profession, a job  or a career that you love and you will do it, even if it is staying home.’

Oliver listened to everything Isaac said, but one thing in particular he heard especially loud and clear. Maybe because he didn’t quite believe it. ‘You will ... spank me?’ Even when he said it out loud, it didn’t sound any more real. ‘I’m not being flippant, but ... seriously?’

‘As a heart attack is to someone who over indulgences in cheese.’ Isaac confirmed.

Oliver frowned. ‘But... how do you know I’m a brat, then?’

‘You are joking right? You are not organised, you can’t control your impulses, you were nearly in tears the first time I saw you and you can never see the way out of any situation and most of all you wear your heart on your sleeve and think everyone is your best friend. You find great joy in watching the sun go down and think rainbows have pots of gold at the ends of them. You still believe in magic.’ Isaac smiled.

Oliver grinned sheepishly. ‘Well, I didn’t know that’s what I was. I’m really sorry about today. That’s how gambling gets you, though. When you win, it seems like it’s the answer to all your problems.’ He sighed. ‘I suppose I should tell the credit card people where I live then.’

‘Yes, I suppose you should and we can get them paid and then I want the cards. I will give you pocket money for a while and we’ll see how that pans out. Now though, I suggest you get ready for bed and wait for me in the corner of your choosing. I won’t be long.’ Isaac stood up and started picking up the plates.

Oliver blinked. There were those butterflies again. ‘Yes, Sir,’ he said softly, not really knowing why. He plodded the all too short distance to the bathroom, cleaned his teeth and then walked into the bedroom. A minute or so to get undressed and then he found himself perusing the corners. The room had four of them. The one behind the door was immediately dismissed. He was pretty sure Isaac would consider that to be flippant. The two either side of the bed were cramped... although they were technically all the same size...

Oliver realised he was taking far too long over the decision and plonked himself in the one remaining corner to wait. He still wasn’t quite sure he was doing the right thing, but part of him realised that as he hadn’t immediately punched Isaac on the nose, he was probably okay with the theory.
The practice? Well, that was going to be a whole different thing.

Isaac took the dishes to the sink and ran hot soapy water over them and then took his time doing them up. He wasn’t in any hurry now that the decision had been made and apparently Oliver was going to consent to the new practice being introduced.
When he had tidied up and had hung the tea towel he went into the bedroom and took the paddle out of the drawer where it had lived for a few years now. He sat down on the bed and looked at Oliver.  There was something different about him and Isaac was never one to second guess himself. He was sure that Oliver was a brat, he had met a few, gone out with a few, spanked a few and then walked away because they seemed to enjoy it more than learn from it. Not that Isaac was under the illusion that one spanking would stop any misbehaviour; he knew better having seen how a few of his friends’ lives were. They were still spanking for the same things, longer, harder but the same things. Brats were all alike and once they took something into their heads it wouldn’t matter how much trouble it might cause them they would do it. ‘Oliver, come on over here please.’

Oliver had gathered enough wool to knit a good sized blanket, and was in the process of deciding the pattern when he heard Isaac’s voice. It was a bit of a shock, and he almost jumped three feet. Blushing, he shuffled over to his still very new partner, his eyes widening when he saw the wooden object in Isaac’s hand. He blinked and waited silently, not sure what Isaac wanted him to do.

‘Now, before we do this I need to know that you are agreeing to it. We won’t look back and the slate will be clean when it’s over.’ He patted the bed next to him and waited for Oliver to sit. ‘What you also need to know is that once the spanking is finished everything is forgotten. It won’t get brought up again, we won’t argue over it and we won’t dwell on it. That is the one thing that is really nice about this sort of lifestyle, Oliver, you get to start fresh and you don’t have to worry about it ever coming back to bite you in the bum. Forgiveness is the end result.’

Oliver nodded. ‘I think I will like that part. Just that part, mind you.’ He looked up and straight into Isaac’s eyes. ‘I agree to this.’ He swallowed and carried on. ‘I agree to ... for you ... to spank me.’

Isaac stopped himself from smiling after all this was a serious moment in their lives and one he didn’t want Oliver to think he was taking lightly. It wasn’t an easy thing to hand your life over to someone. ‘Thank you for that and the trust. Now, up you get.’
When Oliver stood up Isaac guided him over his lap. He had never spanked anyone this way before but for the first one with someone he truly cared for he thought it might be good to have the bodily contact; more for Oliver than for him. He raised the paddle and brought it down squarely in the centre of the pyjama clad bottom and raised it again. This really wasn’t going to work well. He couldn’t see what he was doing and so he set the paddle down and hooked his thumbs in the elastic before lowering the pants to Oliver’s knees. That was much better and he picked up the paddle again.

Oliver settled into position. It seemed a bit ... uncomfortable, he supposed. The thought almost made him laugh. It wasn’t supposed to be comfortable. From his admittedly inexperienced viewpoint, it also seemed as though Isaac wasn’t completely comfortable with things. He sighed as he felt his pants being lowered. He felt vulnerable and very exposed, and he tensed as he felt Isaac change position.

There really wasn’t any reason to put this off any longer so Isaac didn’t. He raised and lowered the paddle in a methodical manner making sure every inch of Oliver’s buttocks were a uniform and bright cheerful red even if Oliver wasn’t quite as cheerful. He concentrated on the fullest part of Oliver’s bum the longest turning it a deep angry red with light purple highlights before moving the paddle down to the thighs and going from one to the other in rapid succession until they matched the rest perfectly. He was nothing if not meticulous in his work. Once he was satisfied with the way bum and thighs looked he tilted one leg up so he could easily reach the sensitive crease. Oliver would remember this spanking for a while, one because he was a novice and two because Isaac made sure that this particularly tender area was cheery and toasty before he stopped.

Oh, lord, that hurt, Oliver thought at first. And then he realised he was wrong. It really, really hurt. He was surprised when tears began to well up, and he tried to keep them at bay. He bit his lip so hard he tasted blood, at which point it seemed a good idea to stop trying to be stoic. It clearly wasn’t working, and he didn’t particularly like the taste of blood.

Objectively, it seemed as though Isaac was doing a really good job of his backside. Subjectively, it hurt like the blazes and he really, really wanted Isaac to stop doing whatever it was he was doing so successfully. AND what the fuck was that? He managed not to swear out loud when the blows began to land on the, he now knew, very sensitive crease on the top of his legs. He wept bitter tears into the bedding, at that moment absolutely convinced that he would never so much as buy a raffle ticket in the future.

Isaac had realised that Oliver was going for the strong silent type but he also knew that at some point his new partner would understand that it didn’t work that way either. He spanked until his wrist was beginning to complain and then he spanked some more finally ending the spanking with a quick circuit around the whole area one last time. Then he laid the paddle down and pulled Oliver up into his arms and rocked him. The snot, the wetness, the hiccups, the limp noodle that was Oliver were all part and parcel of the discipline lifestyle and he had no problems with sitting there covered in various things while Oliver cried it out. ‘It’s over now, Ollie, I forgive you and I love you.’ Isaac whispered as he held Oliver close to him.

Oliver barely realised when Isaac stopped, the pain by that point had become a unified fireball that threatened to burn until long after the sun had ceased to shine. When Isaac lifted him up, he automatically buried his face in the other man’s shirt and fought to catch his breath. Eventually the sobs quietened and he wiped his tears (and snot, most likely) on Isaac. ‘I love you too,’ he whispered.

Nether Kipping Books©
The End

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