Chad walked into the kitchen from the back porch just as Cameron was coming in from the lower hallway of their home. The older man smiled when he saw the younger one using the small pliable rubber ball he’d been given by his therapist to strengthen his weakened left arm. The cast had been off a week now and Chad couldn’t begin to guess which of them was more relieved. The four weeks waiting for the break to heal had seemed endless with both men’s patience being sorely tested.
“Here’s the mail, Mugs!” he announced, tossing an elastic wrapped bundle onto the table. “I think it includes something you’ve been expecting.”
“What is it?” Cameron inquired. His face split into a wide grin when he saw the letter had a recognized company logo on it. “About time too!” It had been a couple of weeks since he’d contacted his insurance agent and to inform him of the accident he’d been in. He expressed his thoughts about the car probably being totalled. The man had said if such was the case, he should receive between eight-five hundred and eleven thousand dollars. Cameron eagerly tore open the envelope.
“Bloody hell!” he hollered. “Unbelievable! Fucking unbelievable! He lied to me. This is so unfair.” He glanced down at the ball that had been his consistent companion since the cast came off. In his frustration, he hurled the object and to his horror, it headed for the window. He was only slightly relieved when the window didn’t break.
Chad pursed his lips as the ball fell to the floor. He grabbed his Brat’s wrist and hauled him towards the counter He braced himself by placing one foot on the rung of a stool before draping Cameron across his raised knee. Yanking down the younger man’s sweatpants and boxers, he began pummelling the bare bottom while Cameron’s arms and legs flailed about.
A dozen hefty swats later, he set a somewhat shell-shocked man back on his feet, rearranged the disarrayed clothing and pulled him into his arms. “Why did I just spank you, Mugs?” Chad inquired of his partner who was still gasping for air.
Cameron looked up at him for a moment with tears in his eyes. He just managed to bite back the comment ‘because you’re a big mean Top’ and instead honestly admitted “because I lost my temper and threw the ball at the window.”
“And throwing things inside is definitely frowned upon, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” Cameron mumbled. “And that hurt!” It was an oft voiced complaint.
“Care to settle down and talked about what set you off?”
“This!” Cameron picked up the letter and handed it to Chad. “They promised eleven thousand dollars.”
Chad did a quick read, sighed and took a seat at the table. “Sit down please, Mugs.” The older man waited for his directive to be complied with. “I tried to prepare you for this, but I’ve heard it said that hope springs eternal. Will Simpson, your agent was merely giving you the approximate value of a similar model an age of your vehicle. He explained when he was here that the final decision would be up to the appraiser after he’d examined the damage and determined the condition of the car before and after the accident. It was not Will’s call to make. There were many factors to be considered and although we may not agree with the ultimate outcome, there is nothing we can do other than accept it.”
“That’s not fair!” Cameron adamantly stated. “I think we ought to challenge. The car was immaculate.”
Pointing to the paper in his hand, Chad directed Cameron’s eyes to the second paragraph. “It says your car showed signs of having been in a previous accident which automatically lowered its’ value. You purchased it second-hand, Mugs, from a friend of a friend, remember? There is a lot of its’ history that we know nothing about. Although you put a lot of money into it over the last couple of years, cosmetic work only makes it more valuable to you, not to the insurance company. I think you trying to fight their decision will only lead to more disappointment and frustration.”
“That just sucks!” Cameron bitterly complained. “It means I’ve less money for a deposit than I thought I’d have.” After picking up his exercise ball, he glanced over at Chad with his eyes twinkling. “I guess the Viper has been ruled out.”
Chad merely rolled his eyes. He didn’t bother verbalizing the obvious. “Why don’t you go to Kelowna tomorrow afternoon and check out some of the car dealerships?” he calmly suggested. “See what your options are. I hear they have some great promotions on; like zero percent interest for six or seven years on certain cars. You could end up with your very first brand new vehicle.”
“I could?” Cameron was surprised. “A brand new sports car would be so cool. I’ve kind of been on the net and the Toyota GT86 is pretty stylish. It’s thirty thousand. Do you think that’s doable?”
“Yes, I really do believe it’s a good possibility.” Chad smiled, happy to see his Brat’s mood take a turn for the better. “New cars come in a wide range of colours too, some are extremely trendy.”
“Come and look.” Cameron led the way down the hall to the study and going over to the computer, rapidly brought up the picture. “I love the Velocity orange one.”
“Whatever you want, Mugs. It will be you paying for it and driving it.” Chad patted his partner’s back. “But right now I think it’s time we thought about having supper. My stomach is beginning to gnaw at my backbone.”
All through preparing and cooking dinner, Cam was buzzing. He did slow down enough to eat supper but started talking again as they cleaned up. Chad was pretty quiet most of the time, but Cam was so hyper he didn’t give his lover an opening to calm him down.
Chad finished drying the last dish and instead of hanging the wet towel on the rack to dry, he tossed it over his partner’s head. “I thought that would get your attention,” he laughed at Cameron’s look of indignation. “At least, it stopped you from yammering for a second or two.”
“Hardy, har, har,” Cameron replied. “I guess we’d better do the math-type stuff and figure out how much this is going to cost me.”
“Well, let’s see.” Chad sat down at the kitchen table, dropping the pad and pencil he’d taken from the drawer on it. He began writing out a list, verbalizing the items as he did so. “Okay, we’ll start with the thirty thousand for the car which includes the freight charges. Then there’s the sales tax of twelve percent for both provincial and federal, to the tune of thirty-six hundred bringing the purchase total to thirty-three thousand, six hundred. Minus your downpayment of eighty-two hundred, leaves you in need of a loan in the amount for a little over twenty-five thousand. That should make the payments approximately four hundred and twenty-five dollars a month. Think you can handle that?” He studied the other man and saw a shocked expression on his handsome face.
“I only clear about twelve hundred a month,” Cameron muttered. He was furiously thinking through options when something else suddenly hit him. “Then I have to pay for gas and upkeep.” He looked over at Chad. “Can I have a raise?” he requested half joking, half serious.
Chad just grinned, choosing not to comment on the ‘raise’ question. “You forgot your tips, Mugs. You probably clear closer to eighteen hundred. Then there’s also the modelling gigs you get now and again. But you’ll also have to add insurance to your overall expenses. I wouldn’t be too surprised if your premiums were somewhere around the three hundred mark. You’ll be lucky if your overall payments are below seven hundred monthly.” He seriously eyed the younger man. “You can afford it. But it is up to you to decide if you want to spend that much every month for a set of wheels. Because you’re right, you still have to operate and maintain it.”
Cameron sputtered. “Why the hell would my insurance be three hundred? That’s ridiculous.”
Chad shook his head. “Not at all. Remember that on your last car you had the least amount of coverage allowed by law. You only carried PLPD because you didn’t owe anything on it. This is different. You not only have to carry full coverage due to a hefty loan, but the insurance company will take into consideration that it’s a sports car and your age. Add the fact that you’ve been driving for less than five years and haven’t earned a discount yet. You can still budget for it all. The question is; do you want to?”
Cameron knitted his brow. He was very much aware of this being a big decision and that it would be a huge chunk out of his disposable income. “I think it’s doable,” he eventually voiced his thoughts. “What do you think?” he asked, still a little unsure.
Chad recognized that the young man merely needed a little reassurance. “Well, if it was me, I’d go for it. It about time you had a brand new car.” He reached over and grabbed Cameron’s arm before his Brat’s excitement got the better of him, and pulled him over to straddle his lap. “Settle for a moment!” he ordered when Cameron tried to pull away. Chad landed a sharp swat on his partner’s thigh to get his attention. “I’ve an offer for you if I can keep you still long enough to listen.”
“Ouch,” Cameron retorted, rubbing at the sting left from Chad’s hand. “I’m listening.”
“I’m thinking of taking tomorrow afternoon off. I could pick you up at the lounge when your shift ends at one o’clock and we’d take a trip into the city to test drive that GT86. You can see how it handles and if you like how it feels behind the wheel before making a final ruling on it. What do you think?”
“Sounds cool,” Cameron responded just as his curiosity got the better of him “How come you’re encouraging me to get this new car? A sports car, at that?”
“I recall a time, not too long ago, when you let your finances get so out of control we feared you ever digging your way out from under. But you mastered your weakness to rack up you cards and paid the all off. You are now debt free and I think you deserve a reward. A car can be an investment if cared for properly.”
Cameron nodded his understanding. He ducked his head to hide the moisture forming in his eyes at the praise being given him by the man who meant the world to him. “Oh, I’ll take care of it all right. She’ll be my baby,” he softly vowed, picking up his ball and working on the exercises his physiotherapist had recommended. “My arm is all better,” he announced. “I’m ready to drive again.” He turned his puppy dog eyes on Chad. “Can I drive the Ranger,” he requested, thinking to himself, ‘This just might work.’
Chad smiled. He knew knowing he was being played, but it didn’t matter. “Yes, I think it’s about time.” He stood up, setting Cameron on his feet at the same time. “I trust when all is said and done that this insurance check will have been put to good use. Are you satisfied now that the payoff was worthwhile, my gorgeous Brat?” He affectionately and teasingly ruffled the younger man’s hair; then chuckled when his hand was batted away and Cameron stepped out of arm’s reach.
“It let me get a new car,” Cameron joyfully responded. “I’m really happy about that. But I’m gonna have a hard time waiting until tomorrow while knowing my car is waiting for me.”
“Patience, my lad, patience.” Chad raised his eyebrow when he saw Cameron roll his baby blues. Both men laughed, knowing that wasn’t going to happen.