Co-written by Jo and LJ
Cameron was peeved. He looked at Chad and sighed heavily. For a man so anal about telling the truth, he’d kept Kipper’s secret very close to his chest. Cam was glad Kipper had someone, but he didn’t like surprises and this had been a big one. The only consolation he had was that Kyler had been as gobsmacked as he had.
With the amount of times he’d asked Chad about Kipper and his mysterious leave, he’d have thought Chad would have told him. He could keep secrets. He heaved another deep sigh as he remembered all the extra chores he’d had to do after each enquiry. His Top had called it being nosey about things that didn’t concern him and obviously needed more to keep him busy.
Chad strongly suspected something was bothering his partner. Cameron, often moody in the best of times, had been unusually quiet and pouty for the past several weeks. Chad had given the younger man his space, hoping Cameron could work it out on his own. But such was not meant to be.
It was Sunday, the lounge was closed and the two men had the day to themselves. Chad was determined they talk things out and lay everything on the table.
He pulled the heated apple pie out of the oven and breathed in deeply. His smile broadened at the tantalizing aroma. Cutting big slices, he transferred them to two plates and added scoops of French Vanilla ice cream before placing the special treat on the table. Next he poured large glasses of milk.
Sitting down at the table, he called out an invitation. “Mugs, come out to the kitchen please.”
Cameron had smelled the pie baking and eagerly walked into the kitchen. He grinned when he saw the apple pie. It was one of his favourite foods. “What’s the occasion?” he asked, looking up at his Top suspiciously. “Are you hiding something from me again?”
He was aware of Chad wanting to talk. But as he enjoyed playing the wounded party, he was not keen to talk it over. However, the apple pie and ice cream were weakening his resolve. He knew that look on Chad’s face. His Top wasn’t going to put up with his pouting much longer. In fact, Cameron was somewhat surprised the older man had put up with it for as long as he had.
Chad arched an eyebrow. “Pardon me? Have you something to say, Cameron? You know how I feel about cheap shots and innuendoes.” He continued to stare at his partner, willing him to be upfront.
Cameron just looked at Chad and shrugged. “What cheap shot?” he asked. “For someone who’s so hot on being honest, you have a lot of secrets. I was just asking if there was something else I should be aware of?” Cameron was very carefully to keep the kitchen table between himself and his partner. He had an inkling that Chad had almost reached his limit, which was a sign of how irritating Cameron had been acting recently.
Chad’s eyes narrowed. “I have never kept anything from you that is pertinent to our relationship.There is nothing deceitful in keeping a long-time confidence you’ve made to a friend. Whereas, breaking it would definitely show a lack of character. I’ve known about Kipper and Gaetane for some years now; long before Clarissa and Kyler even moved out here. It was Kipper’s secret to share, not mine.”
He sat back and studied the other man, wondering what this was really about. “Now barring further accusations, why is this issue causing you so much grief?”
“I can keep secrets. But nobody thinks I can and it’s so unfair. Like with my sp...” Cameron’s voice trailed off when he suddenly realised what he’d been about to say. He picked up his train of thought. “I’m a bartender. I’m supposed to know stuff. You know, as in a listening-ear when someone unburdens themselves. Then I find my partner is keeping the biggest secret out there. It fucking sucks,” Cameron pouted.
Chad smiled when he saw his love dig into the pie and stuff a large bite into his mouth. He hadn’t missed the hesitation and immediately suspected that the man sitting across from him had almost let something slip. Whatever it was could wait until later. Chad was more interested in finding out what was really bothering his partner. Cameron seemed to be working himself up for some reason.
“I, for one, know just how well you can keep a secret, Mugs. You are rather adept at keeping things to yourself. However, that isn’t what this is about.” His grin widened at the glare that was sent his way, but he was pleased to see Cameron continuing to eat.
When they had cleaned their plates and drained their glasses, he pushed back from the table and softly invited, “Come here, Mugs.” He waited patiently while his partner reluctantly shuffled over to him.
With Cameron safely ensconced on his lap, Chad continued the conversation. “All right, time to move away from this issue once and for all. Listen very carefully, Cameron. The so-called secret was not mine to tell anyone…not even you. It..is..not..about..you! It..is..not..about..us!” he said very succinctly. “So unless you are prepared to tell me exactly what is bothering you and why you feel no one trusts you to keep a secret; get over it!”
Cameron was in his all time favourite place; sitting on Chad’s lap. He leaned back and softly confessed. “I feel a bit out of place. I love it here in Jade Heights, but I feel the old-timers don’t trust me. It’s like even if I live to be a hundred, I’ll always be an outsider.”
He snuggled deeper into Chad’s embrace. “I’ve always hated secrets. Ever since I found out my Mom was cheating on my Dad and she told me it was our secret. We had a blazing argument once and when Dad told me to apologise, I just said ‘Why should I apologise to the cheating bitch?” He grimaced up at Chad. “That didn’t go down too well with either of them. I guess I see your point of view though,” he admitted, somewhat reluctantly. “I’ll try and get over it. I guess I over-reacted. I just don’t like surprises.”
Chad sighed and rubbed his chin over Cameron’s hair. “I am sorry about your parents’ troubles, Mugs. It is sad when families drifted apart. I am fortunate in still being as close to my family as possible, considering the miles between us all. I just wish we didn’t live across the country from one another.” He glanced down at the man in his arms. “And you do realize there are nice surprises in life, don’t you? I mean we didn’t actually plan to meet each other, fall in love and make a life together, did we?”
He chuckled when his partner’s only response was to nestle in closer, if that was possible. “As far as ‘old-times’ are concerned, they are slowly becoming a minority here. Between miners and their families returning when the mine is operating, skiers and hunters passing through on their way to higher ground, plus the influx of visitors during the summer, those of us not born here sometimes outnumber those who were. Kipper and his family, the Pierce men, and myself, just to mention a few, all moved here for various reasons. I really don’t think you have to worry about people mistrusting you just because you’re ‘from away’ as the saying goes.”
“Okay,” Cameron replied. “I can see that. I wonder if the Goth girl from last summer is coming back. I want to discuss fashion with her.” He smiled at Chad to show he was joking. “Heavy eyeliner and black clothing, here I come.”
“I can hardly wait to see the new you,” Chad teased right back before turning a bit serious moments later. “Now if there is nothing else to do with secrecy bothering you, what say we get the kitchen tided up? I am always around if you want to talk. But you know that, right?”
“Yeah, I know that,” Cameron replied, looking around. “You do realize it’s better to clean up while the pie is cooking, don’t you? Like when I’m not around, so I don’t have to pitch in.” He grinned as he slid off Chad’s knee. “You want to wash or dry? Or shall we have some more pie and ice cream before you decide?”
Chad suspected Cameron was holding something back. He had deliberately given the younger man an opening and nothing had come of it, so he decided to wait and see if there were any surprises in store for either of them.
“You can dry and we’ll save the rest for later.” He laughed at Cameron’s exaggerated sigh of feigned long-suffering.
Two days later, Chad was waiting as patiently as possible for his partner to return home from his afternoon shift. He was positive that the envelope he held in his hand contained unwelcoming news.
Cameron was running late. He walked into the house and slammed the door shut, tossing his jacket in the general direction of the coat hangers in the hallway. He stopped short when he saw Chad.
“I got a DVD for tonight,” he announced before inquiring, “What’s for dinner?” He noticed his partner was holding a letter and turned a little white when he saw the logo on the envelope.
“Umm, is that for me? I wonder why the court is writing. Maybe they want me for jury duty or something.”
Cameron was praying hard as he opened his mail. His heart sank while he scanned the letter and he felt slightly ill. He glanced up at the older man and groaned, then sat down on the sofa and handed Chad the opened letter.
Chad quickly perused the notice in his hand and muttered when he saw the amount being requested. “This is going to take a big bite out of your loose change.”
Placing the paper on the coffee table, he sat down and turned to face his partner. “I take it that this is what you narrowly avoided blurting out a couple a days ago. You remember the occasion, don’t you? If I am not mistaken, we were having a conversation about the non-sharing of information.” Chad felt no satisfaction when he saw the other man cringe with guilt.
“At that time, Mugs, I offered you the opportunity to come clean. Why didn’t you?” Chad voice was low but unusually stern.
Cameron stared fixedly at his feet and getting no inspiration, looked up. “It wasn’t my fault,” he suddenly blurted out. “It was the fucking slow car in front of me. All I did was speed up to pass it and the cop pulled me over. I couldn’t be going as fast as he said I was. My car doesn’t go that fast. I tried arguing with him, but when he threatened to arrest me I just shut-up and took the ticket. I wrote a letter to the court, explaining what had happened and then thought no more about it; honest. So you see; I wasn’t hiding anything. I thought it had gone away. I think slow-coaches should have their licenses taken from them. They’re the ones who cause chaos.”
Cameron glanced over at Chad, wondering if his excuses were working. “Anyway, everyone speeds. I bet you’ve been caught out more than once.” Cameron carried the war into his Top’s court.
“Yes, I was fined for driving over the posted limit a couple of times but it was a number of years ago. I paid the price at the time, just as you are going to do now,” Chad responded to the challenge. “As for your vehicle; it is more than capable of picking up speed without you realizing it, which is why you have to exercise due care and attention. I can easily see you going as fast as the officer says you did.”
He leaned over to verify the date of the ticket, pointed at the paper and frowned. “Looks to me that this happened the last time you and Kyler went to Kelowna. I can understand you not telling me about it then as you were already in trouble for coming home so late.”
“I still say you over-reacted to that.” Cameron squirmed uneasily, remembering the lengthy retribution he’d barely survived for that particular escapade. “I left you a message saying I’d be late home as we’d been invited to a party. I had no idea there were going to be hard drugs and a police raid.”
Cameron’s eyes went wide as he realised he had just given his Top more information on that night. ‘Not good, not good, not good,’ he chanted silently to himself.
“Hmmm, I take it you got out before the raid or I would have been called to bail you out of jail.” Chad glared at his partner, letting it be known that he had no intention of following that lead and being distracted from the conversation at hand. “Although, I have to add that starting for home after the time you were to be here, made it impossible for you to return when expected. And as we’ve already discussed, a texted message didn’t cut it.”
The older man shook his head at having to once again address the issue of his partner’s propensity of collecting speeding tickets. “According to this information, Cameron, you were going forty miles over the posted limit. This time, we are going to double the number of days you will be without your car. Besides being without wheels for eighty days, you will also be grounded for four weeks. You can spend some of that time copying the essay I had you do the last time you got a speeding ticket. In fact, I think writing it out half a dozen times just might help you remember it longer.”
Cameron’s eyes widened with shock. “Oh come on,” he spluttered. “You’re kidding, aren’t you?” He was well aware the last time he got caught speeding he’d learned his lesson, at least for the next month or two. He had a sinking feeling this punishment would last longer in his memory. “I still say it wasn’t my fault. It was the slow driver in front of me,” he moaned.
“No, I am not kidding, Cameron. You are not responsible for other drivers’ actions, but you most certainly are for your own.” Chad easily out-stared the younger man. “You are also expected to keep me informed of activities that involve either dangerous or illegal behaviour. I know, Mugs, how hard you find it to own up. But you have to admit it is easier all the way around when you’re honest. It really does earn you brownie points and God only knows, you need as many as you can get.”
“I was never a Brownie,” Cameron muttered under his breath. “And I was kicked out of the cubs on the first day.” He looked up at Chad. “But I am honest about most things,” he protested. “I just don’t believe in asking to be punished. I honestly thought less said, easily mended.”
He tilted his head to one side and slowly blushed. “That’s not what we decided on in our relationship, is it?” he sadly admitted.
“I know it isn’t always easy, Babe. But that’s no excuse for breaking the rules. We both know what the expectations are and neither of us thought them unreasonable when they were set in place. It is what works for us and that is what makes them so important.”
Chad watched at the blush deepened. He didn’t see the point in prolonging the inevitable, so he firmly tugged until his Brat was standing before him. Then he undid the buckle of Cameron’s belt, shoved the jeans and boxers down to his knees, and pulled him down across his thighs.
Raising his hand, Chad brought it down with a resounding smack on Cameron’s bare bottom.
As the spanking continued, Chad listened to the cries while watching the two perfect globes turn first a rosy pink and eventually a deep red. Once assured by Cameron’s body language that the lesson had been learned yet again, he finished off with a final swat and began offering comfort to the distraught man over his lap.
Cameron was always surprised how much Chad’s spankings hurt. He had expected to be spanked; that was part of their agreement. If he messed up, he paid the price. But once it was over, he was forgiven and everything was all right again. It felt appropriate to him and he trusted the older man implicitly. Although his Top set his butt on fire, he’d never go overboard and he’d always be there afterwards.
Accepting the comfort Chad gave him, Cameron sniffled as his sobs slowly tapered off. He sat up and settled on his lover’s lap as usual, being careful not to sit on his smarting butt. “I understand, you know. I get why you kept Kipper’s secret. It was his secret, not yours. If you had a secret would you tell me?” He didn’t look up; he wasn’t that sure he wanted to know the answer.
“Cameron, my love, I have no secrets. But if I did, rest assured I would share them with you. Why? Because I trust you to keep them. I don’t think wanting to know about each other is an unreasonable expectation, do you?”
Cameron let out a huge sigh. “Nope, there’s nothing unreasonable.” He stopped and thought hard. “I don’t think I’ve got anything else to confess,” he said, with a giggle. There wasn’t much that could keep him down for long. He hissed slightly as he moved and his butt brushed against something harder than was comfortable. “Love you, big man,” he softly murmured as he wrapped his arms around his lover’s neck and gently kissed his lips.
“I love you too, baby.” Chad tightened his embrace and lovingly returned the kiss.