Co-written by: Jo and LJ
(With Cameron and Kyler)
Cameron looked up as Kyler entered the office. “You shouldn’t be in here. I’ve been grounded for two weeks and instead of leaving me at home, Chad decided I should be able to listen to the party, but not be allowed to join in.” He felt hard done by and wondered why Chad had decided to make his punishment a public issue. Sure, they’d arrived early and would in all likelihood be the last to leave, but he had the feeling his workmates would know he was being punished and he hated it.
“Hey, it’s okay. I asked Uncle Kipper where you were and he told me to ask Chad, who said I could join you. All curious on-lookers think I’m just visiting a sick friend.” Kyler chuckled at the look of exasperation that passed over his friend’s face. “Besides, I’m also grounded for the next two weeks. Like go figure, huh?”
“Why are you in here instead of out there enjoying yourself? Haven’t you ever heard, ‘What the Tops can’t see; can’t hurt us’?” Cameron grinned at his friend, his innate sense of humour surfacing. “Do you think there’s a handbook for Tops out there? You know, turn to page twenty about Brats breaking curfew; a spanking and two weeks grounding is the appropriate punishment.” Cameron shifted uneasily. He was still a bit tender.
“Wow, what is this; twenty questions or something.” Kyler laughed as he gingerly sat down on the far end of the sofa and turned to face his partner-in-crime. “Chad asked me if I was supposed to be at the lounge today, but it’s my bet that he had a pretty good idea before even asking. And I don’t have a lot of faith in that adage about ‘can’t see, can’t hurt’. As far as a handbook is concerned; guess Hugh didn’t read that page, because aside from a few swats, he really didn’t do much more than ground me for coming home late.”
“Pull the other one, mate,” Cameron teased. “You aren’t sitting much more comfortably than I am. I can tell you for free that Chad was not highly impressed with me and made his point known to my butt via his hand.”
“The condition of my rear end has nothing to do with my missing curfew,” Kyler unperturbedly informed the other man. “It’s because I was trying to defend you to my partners who have decided it might be better if you and I got together less often. They are definitely not in favour of us thumbing our noses at the posted speed limits.”
“You told them,” Cameron sputtered as he glared at Kyler. “That was the one thing I managed to keep quiet about.” He stopped in mid-rant and turned wide-eyed to his companion. “They want to stop us from getting together? You defended me?” Cameron bit his lower lip. He wasn’t used to people standing up for him. “Man, I’m sorry if I caused tension between you and your partners.”
“Don’t sweat it, Cameron. Hugh and I worked it out; everything’s cool now,” Kyler hastened to assure his friend. “Sooo, just when do you plan to tell Chad about the ticket?”
“Never!” Cameron’s voice rang out decisively. “It’s like I said before; what he doesn’t know can’t hurt me.” His grin was somewhat crooked as he looked at Kyler. “You aren’t going to get all virtuous and tell Chad about it, are you?”
“I don’t see anything virtuous in snitching on a friend. Besides, as far as I’m concern, it’s between you and Chad. Hmmm, although I gotta tell you, Hugh begs to differ on that stand.” Kyler’s smirk had Cameron rolling his eyes. “He also said I couldn’t get in a car with you behind the wheel; I’m just not sure for how long.”
“I guess it’s a good thing Hugh and Chad don’t socialize together, and I don’t think Hugh has to worry about me driving any time soon,” Cameron replied, relieved by the thought that the chance of their Tops meeting up was slim.
“I’m really sorry I thought you’d tell on me,” Cameron apologized. “It’s just recently I broke it off with some so-called friends who ratted me out every time. I want to be a good friend but I’m just not altogether sure I know how to be one.”
He grinned at Kyler uneasily. “It’s something Chad and I are working on; this self-confidence thing.” Cameron was surprising himself. He was so open with Kyler. He stood up and began to pace. “I hate this you know; being grounded sucks.”
“Yeah, it does. I wouldn’t even be here if Patrick’s parents hadn’t wanted to come in. But I really don’t mind going along with their wishes if it makes them happy. They’re having a bit of a tough time this weekend, dealing with moving out of the house they’ve spend most their married life in.” Kyler got up and fetched a couple of bottles of pop out of the small fridge in the corner of the office. He handed one to Cameron and sat back down.
“I know it can be hard making friends when you’re new to a place. I went through the same thing when Mom and I moved out here. I was twelve at the time, but it’s probably easier to adjust when you’re a kid. I met some fellows when school started that fall and the five of us have been best buddies ever since. Man, we used to get into some scraps but none of us ever snitched on the others. If we got caught, we all paid the price.”
“I think I remember you hanging out with a bunch of guys,” Cameron replied, throwing himself back onto the leather couch. “I haven’t seen them recently. I did wonder why you came to the pool tournament with me when you could have been hanging with them.”
“Well, we don’t spend as much time together as we used to.” Kyler took a long drink of pop and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand while thinking over the changes that had taken place recently. “This past fall, the twins turned twenty-one. They were the youngest in the gang. Shortly after that, we just kind of seemed to go our own ways. Ronnie and Donnie decided they’d lived under their father’s rule long enough and headed to Vancouver to seek their fortune in the big city. I wish them the best; God knows they deserve a better life. Their old man could be one miserable son-of-a-bitch by times.” Kyler shook his head at some of the tales his friends had told him about their home life.
“Harry, the oldest of our group, has found himself a girlfriend….again! But it looks serious this time, and there’s nothing better than falling in love to mellow out a guy. I won’t be surprised to get a wedding invitation any day now.” Kyler smiled at the idea of his buddy getting married and then momentarily reflected on the transformation of his own life. ‘Guess I’m sort of married myself,’ he thought with a soft chuckle.
“That leaves Charlie who is still living on the wild-side, as he calls it. He has no intentions of settling down any time soon. He and his cohorts on the reservation get up to some crazy stuff, so my partners are kind of relieved that Charlie and I seldom see each other. Which, when you think about it; should mean they’d be happy to see me making new friends, right?”
“You’ll get no argument from me.” Cameron smiled brightly. “I guess we’re friends, but I think we may need to prove to your partners that I’m not an irresponsible Brat; even if I am. Of course being grounded will put a definite crimp in that plan. And I guess to put Hugh’s fears to rest; you will need to agree not to get into a car with me driving again.”
Cameron sobered a little. “Although if Chad finds out about that speeding fine; it won’t be an issue. He took my car away for a month last time, plus gave me a long writing assignment.” Cameron grimaced. “It’s amazing how many chores Chad manages to find that have to be done while I’m grounded; ones we’ve left for months at a time.”
“And on that note, you think it’s wise to just leave it to chance that Chad won’t find out about it. I know you’ve been with him a lot longer than I’ve been with my Tops, but…” Kyler shifted, feeling he may be getting in over his head to be advising another Brat; an older one at that. “I mean, wouldn’t it be better to be upfront and get it over with?”
Cameron shook his head. “If I get my way, he won’t hear about it. I’ve already got a letter written to send off to the traffic court, explaining why I was speeding. I’m hoping they’ll wipe the fine. If they do, there’ll be no need for Chad to know. You should only confess if there’s no way out.” Cameron grinned. “Come on, man; when you were a kid, did you admit every wrongdoing? This is the same principal. I’m upfront about the important things. I just don’t happen to think a speeding fine is that big an issue.”
“Geesh, of course I didn’t own up whenever I did something wrong as a kid. But I learned the hard way that it’s usually better to do so; especially with Tops!” Kyler was rather adamant about this as he began holding up one finger at a time. “Being less than honest, losing my temper, bolting, deliberate disobedience and back-talking are all major no-no’s in our house. Most will result in a trip over one of my partner’s lap and not for anything fun, if you get my drift.”
“I get it,” Cameron replied. “Been there and been spanked for all that. I just don’t go around asking for it. Chad is pretty laid back, but I can push him too far sometimes and last night was one of those times. When he decides to confront me, he doesn’t mess around. He can be very inventive with his punishments, but he’ll never use anything but his hand with the physical part of it. He doesn’t need to; it gets the message across just fine.”
“So far, Hugh and Patrick have only used their hand. But then I try real hard not to endanger myself or anyone else, otherwise Hugh might be tempted to bring his paddle into play.” Kyler shuddered at the thought. “I really don’t want to go there,” he muttered.
“Yeah, how does that work?” Cameron asked curiously. “I mean with two Tops. I have enough on my hands with just the one.” He blushed slightly. “Do they take turns or what?”
“Nooo,” Kyler chuckled. “They don’t take turns. Hugh takes care of most issues that involve discipline; although, if I disobey a direct order from Patrick, he is more than capable of stepping up to the plate. And I’d be willing to bet that if I was ever foolish enough to try and play one against the other, they’d both wallop me.”
Kyler downed the last of his drink and got up to put the empty bottle in the rack next to the fridge. “There are several same-sex couples here in Jade Heights. Have you ever wondered if any of them are living a life-style similar to ours?”
“I’ve thought about it,” Cameron confessed. “I can tell you, two of the toppiest men I’ve ever met are Mason and Jack. They are pretty intense. I once flirted with Billy and Mason went off the deep end. I thought I was going to have to hide behind Chad.” He flashed a quick grin at Kyler. “I know Zach and Rene are together and Zach’s fathers moved to town last fall. Don’t know about them though. What do you think?”
Kyler shrugged nonchalantly. “Well, like Hugh, Zack strikes me as being a real Alpha male. But that doesn’t mean he and Rene are in a DP. And I wouldn’t even hazard a guess where the older Pierces are concerned. However, I have a pretty good idea that the book store owner, Vincent, and his partner, Kadyn, probably are. At least I would hope so for the sake of the whole town.” He chuckled at the re-emerging memories from his school days. “Man, even Uncle Kipper will admit that I didn’t get in anywhere near the amount of mischief Kadyn got into. You could dare that kid to do just about anything and he’d do it. He was soooo much fun, and generous too; always had candy in his pocket.”
“Candy?” Cameron eyebrows went up. He was still slightly paranoid about his weight. “Did he think he’d get into less trouble if he gave candy out?” Cameron smiled to take any sting out of his words. “If it worked, I might start carrying a candy bar around to give to Chad.”
“Kadyn’s family runs the candy store here is town, Cameron.” Kyler frown, slightly confused by what his friend has just said. “He’d just handed some out at recess to the kids that didn’t have as much, that’s all. It wasn’t to bribe anyone.”
“That’s right. I forgot that about Kadyn. I got a mind like a sieve, ya know.” Cameron blushed momentarily. “What do you think about James and Quinn? I have a feeling they are.”
“If they are, they’re sure not flaunting it and I can easily understand why. Even though you and I have talked to each other about our home life, doesn’t mean I’d want the whole world to know. Uncle Kipper has known for a while now and I took it for granted that Chad would figure it out; what with him being a Top and all himself.”
“Yeah, I wouldn’t talk about it to too many people either,” Cameron admitted. “Did you have any idea about me and Chad before you got together with Hugh and Patrick?” he asked out of curiosity. “I’m almost positive Kipper knew, or at least suspected.”
“Actually, I’d never given it a thought. I hadn’t even heard of discipline partnerships before I met my partners. Came as a hell of a shock, I can tell you.” Kyler grinned, finding nothing awkward about their topic of conversation.
“Getting back to your uncle; you think there’s any chance he and Gaetane are…you know?”
“In a DP?” Kyler sought clarification and got a quick nod. “I can’t see it. After all, they spent years only seeing each other every few months. I don’t think our kind of lifestyle would survive long-distance like that. I know I need to physically touch base with either Hugh or Patrick, preferably both, on a daily bases. Not just because they are my partners and lovers, but because they are also my Tops.”
Cameron thought for a moment. “Yeah, I can see your point. I know if Chad and I weren’t together, the whole discipline thing would be just too hard. We’d probably spend almost all of the time we had going over what rules I’d broken.” He sent a crooked grin Kyler’s way.
“Count on it,” the other man teased. “By the way, you must be aware of our Chief of Police being in a same-sex relationship; although I can’t picture him in a DP.”
“Really?” Cameron exclaimed. “Man, he keeps that quiet. At least I didn’t know about him, but then he doesn’t really come in here much. Can you imagine going up to him and asking, ‘hey, does your partner spank you when you’re bad’?” Cameron was giggling. “It may actually be worth it just to see his face. Except it would out us, and Chad would definitely not be happy about bailing me out of jail, which is where I’d probably end up.”
Kyler burst out laughing at the thought of approaching the Police Chief with that question in mind. “You ever think that maybe Chandi is a Top? Although, I have to admit to having a bit of trouble wrapping my mind around Eric being a Brat.” He made no effort to get his laughter under control.
It was at that moment that Chad entered the room to find two Brats laughing hysterically. He rolled his eyes and quickly decided he wouldn’t bother asking them what was so funny.
“Kyler, you asked me to let you know when the hour was up. Well, it is and your guests are almost ready to leave. You’re welcome to grab a couple of slices of pizza on your way out.”
“Thanks, Chad. I’ll see ya later, Cameron. I gotta get Doug and Bette home. Hang in there, man. Stay cool.”
“Yeah man,” Cameron replied, wiping tears of mirth from his eyes, “you too.”
After Kyler left, Cameron stood up and glared at Chad. “Is the party winding down or do I have to stay in here forever? And who took the beer out of the damn fridge?” he belligerently demanded. “Don’t you trust me?”
“Pardon me?” Chad’s voice showed his displeasure at the young man’s attitude and manner of speaking.
“You heard me,” Cameron shot back. Despite his talk with Kyler, he was still feeling unsettled.
Chad’s face darkened. He turned Cameron around, placed his hands on the younger man’s shoulders and steadily maneuvered him towards the only empty corner. He stood behind him and spoke calmly, but in a tone that brooked no nonsense. “Yes, I heard both what you said and how you said it; neither of which was acceptable. But to answer your questions: first off, no, the party is not winding down, but under Kipper’s watchful eye, everything is running smoothly. Which brings me to your next question: again no, you’ll not be staying in here forever as I’m planning on us leaving now. I would have left earlier but I thought you might enjoy a visit with Kyler. Next, no one took the beer out of the fridge. It simply did not get restocked last night. Lastly, there was no issue of trust involved here.”
Cameron hated being put in a corner, but admitted it did help him calm down and think more clearly. He recognized Chad’s demeanour and knew that if he pushed any further he’d probably get swatted, if not worse. He was still tender enough that the idea of Chad reigniting the fire made him shudder. “Sorry,” he muttered. “I just feel closed in.”
“Exactly what are you sorry for, Cameron?”
“Being rude and disrespectful,” Cameron replied after giving it a quick moment’s thought. “Honest, I am sorry.” He didn’t move from the corner. He just hoped nobody would choose that moment to walk into the office or his ‘cool’ factor would plummet through the floor.
Satisfied with his love’s sincerity, Chad kissed him lightly on the back of his head. “Okay, Mugs, let’s get out of here. We can hold a private party of our own at home. No others around to entertain; just you and me in our own little world…or bed, as the case may be. Sound like a plan or what?”
“Works for me!” Cameron declared, his smile breaking through as he turned to melt into his Top’s strong arms. They made their escape out the back door without seeing anyone or being seen.
They eventually made it to their bed, but only after Cameron jumped Chad the minute they walked in the house and then again as they relaxed in the living room in front of the fire.
As Cameron closed his eyes, his last thought was that his grounding was going to go quickly if this happened every night.