Co-written by: Jo and LJ
“You’re crazy!” Cameron declared. “Mad, nuts!” he clarified as he looked up at the hydro line tower. “I am not climbing that even if all of you have done it.” He glared at Lon and Tom then turned towards his vehicle. “I’ve got to go ‘cause I promised to make dinner tonight.” He tried to ignore the catcalls of coward and chicken that followed him.
Cameron roared away and despite his irritation, kept under the speed limit. He’d already had a lecture from Chad about his lead foot; luckily that time it was only a lecture. He’d managed to keep the speeding ticket away from his Top’s eagle eye. He stopped at the market on his way home to pick up steak and potatoes for dinner. When he got home, heput the steak into marinate and with the feeling of a job well done, sat back and relaxed. The potatoes could wait. He heard the front door open.
“Hi lover,” Cameron called out. “The car worked okay.”Chad walked into the kitchen with a grin on his face. “Well, I should hope so, Mugs. We put out enough money having her inspected and made road-worthy.” He kissed his partner’s lips. “Hmm, something taste’s sweet. What have you been eating?”
“Garlic and ginger from the marinade,” Cameron replied. “How you call that sweet, I don’t know.” He grinned. “Now you’re home, I’ll put the potatoes in the oven.” After he was finished in the kitchen, he poured his lover a scotch and one for himself.
“Dinner in an hour,” he announced, leaning back in the sofa. “I still say the MR2 was a cooler car,” he grumbled.
“Hmm, probably,” Chad mused, “but so totally beyond your ability to pay for. And it must have been the brown sugar in the sauce that I tasted.” He downed his drink and got to his feet. “I think I have time to grab a quick shower and get rid of some of this dust from the mine.” He gave his partner a sexy smirk. “Care to join me, Mugs?” Chad didn’t have to ask twice.
Sitting down to supper an hour later, Chad smiled at Cameron and thanked him for preparing the meal. “This steak is tender and done to perfection, babe. So aside from your car working well, how did the rest of your day off go?”
“Okay,” Cameron replied a bit evasively. “Hung out with the guys for a while after they got off work and talked some about their childhood and things they got up to. You know, pranks and dares and stuff. It sounded like a lot of fun.” Cameron was aware he’d not had a normal childhood and had missed out on a lot of the activities other children had taken part in.
There was no way he was going to take Lon and Tom at their word. They had told him that climbing the hydro towers was a way to prove oneself, but he wanted to check it out with someone native to Jade Heights. “Is Kipper due in the lounge tomorrow?” he asked Chad.
“Yes, he should be there by seven in the evening to work on the books like he does every Thursday. Is your memory starting to go on you, Mugs? That’s a sign of old age, you know. I’d be concerned if I were you,” Chad teased and laughed at the expression on his Brat’s face.
“Come on, babe, let’s get the dishes cleaned up and walked down to the dairy bar for an ice cream cone.”
Cameron grinned. “Old?” he said innocently. “And how old are you next birthday? I’ll have you know if twenty-two is old, that makes you covered in moss.” Cameron darted out the door to avoid reprisals.
Chad and Kipper walked into the lounge shortly after six PM the next night. Kipper nodded a greeting to various staff members and customers, and went directly to the office where he sequestered himself from the others to work on his beloved books.
In the meantime, Chad strolled around the back of the bar and smiled at Cameron. “How are things going this evening, Mugs? We seem to have a good crowd considering how early it is.”
“Yeah, it’s been good,” Cameron replied with a grin. “A big bachelor party came in and so did the hen party. I reckon the groom and bride aren’t going to wait for the honeymoon.” He gestured to the couple kissing in the corner. “They’re really hot together.” He glanced up at Chad. “They make me feel a bit horny,” he whispered, rubbing himself discreetly against his lover.
Chad’s laughter boomed across the room, drawing amusing stares. He lowered his voice to huskily growl in his love’s ear. “There are so many things that make you horny, my love; you’d be hard pressed to list them all. However, in this case I must agree to there being a good reason for you to find yourself getting somewhat turned on. It is something we will take care of as soon as we get home,” the older man quietly promised with a wink and a smile.
“In the meantime, was there anything in particular that had you wanting to see Kipper here tonight?” Chad asked in a normal voice.
“Lon and Tom have been telling me some things they did when they were younger. They claimed it was common around town and I wanted to talk to Kipper about it. He’s lived here most of his life, hasn’t he?” Cameron grinned innocently at his Top. “Honest, I’m just interested.”
“Uh-huh,” Chad grumbled disbelievingly. He wasn’t quite gullible enough to swallow everything his Brat told him. “To answer your question; yes, Kipper has lived here a long time. Over thirty-five years, if I’m not mistaken. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he knows a lot about what’s gone on in Jade Heights since he arrived in town.”
“I’ll take over here while you go ask him,” Chad offered as he stepped forward to serve a customer.
Cam flashed his Top a quick grin. He knew he couldn’t fool Chad, but this time he was innocent. He had no intention of climbing the electricity tower but he did want to make sure his friends weren’t pulling his leg. At least that’s what he told himself. He made his way to the back room.
“Hi, Kipper,” he said to his partner’s best friend. “Am I interrupting?”
Kipper finished adding up the column of figures he was working on, wrote down the total and smiled up at his visitor. “Not at all, lad. Come on in and sit a while. I’m used to having my nephew, Kyler, barging in at all times.”
Cameron returned the smile and folded himself into the sofa. “I just want to ask some questions about Jade Heights,” he said. “The friends I hang out with told me that a common bravery test is climbing the hydro towers on the edge of town. Is that true? I don’t want to call them liars to their face, if it is true,” he added quickly.
“Hmm,” Kipper mused as he gave the question some thought. “I know of several instances where children of various ages and both genders have tried to climb that biggest tower on the north side of town, including that nephew of mine. A few have even succeeded to some extent, if I’m not mistaken. One would think that ten-foot chain-link to be a deterrent, but for some it adds to the challenge, I guess.”
Kipper shook his head in disbelief before continuing. “However, it is my understanding that all were foolish stunts pulled in the heat of the moment as a lark. I have never heard of it being a test of any kind or rite of passage or something of the sort. This is a relatively small town, so I am quite confident that a customary occurrence similar to the one your friends are insinuating would by now be widespread knowledge or at the very least, a rumour. Such is not the case.”
He glanced at the young man over the top of his glasses and turned increasingly serious. “I am inclined to believe someone is pulling your leg, Cameron. I would ignore it if I were you. Chad would not look favourably on you doing something illegal and so dangerous. I can assure you that Kyler regretted ever having been talked into give it a try. Mind you, he was a boy of fourteen at the time. I would think young men of your age would have a little more common sense.”
Cameron gave Kipper his patented innocent look. It may never work on Chad but he knew Kipper would probably fall for it. “Hey, I just wanted to know,” he protested. “I really have no intention of climbing it.” Cameron felt a slight niggle at the back of his mind, he’d never been able to resist a dare. “We don’t need to tell Chad about this conversation, do we?” Cameron asked anxiously.
Kipper’s eyes narrowed. This young man was up to something. “Don’t try that innocent crap on me, boy. What are you hiding?” Leaning forward, he pointed his finger at the young man in front of him. “I won’t be telling Chad of this conversation unless I learn of you doing exactly what I am strongly suggesting you don’t. Do we have an understanding, boy?” The older man, who usually appeared mild-manner to many, at the moment had a strong authoritarian tone in his voice.
Cameron’s eyes widened in shock; ‘Damn, Kyler,’ he thought to himself. ‘He taught his uncle how to read Brats.’
“I’m not hiding anything, Kipper,” Cameron protested. “I have no intention of climbing the damn thing. I’d better get back to work before Chad comes looking for me,” he said, wanting to get out from under Kipper’s eyes.He slipped behind the bar and gave Chad a weak smile. “Jeez,” he said at Chad’s querying look. “That man is a mine of information.”
“Yes, I discovered that myself when I arrived in Jade Heights ten years ago. I consider myself fortunate indeed to have him as my business partner, my right-hand man at the mine and more importantly, as my best friend. I am glad the two of you are getting to know each other better.”
“I love it when we go fishing together,” Cameron replied. “Just don’t invite me to your poker nights.” He wrinkled his nose playfully at Chad. “I just don’t get it.”It was then he saw Lon and Tom come in and moved down to the end of the bar. “You liars,” he said softly. “You never climbed the hydro towers.”
He listened to the two brothers’ protests that they had and he was a coward for not doing it. Lon dared him to climb the tower, knowing his friend had never been able to turn down a dare. It was an issue Cameron and Chad had talked about before. He didn’t see Kipper watching him closely.
It was the next morning when he crept out of the house as quietly as he could, jumped in his car and took off to the edge of town where the towers were. Lon and Tom were waiting for him. The security fence was no trouble and he was about half way up when it suddenly struck him.
‘Why the fuck am I doing this?’ he wondered. ‘Just because I was dared. This is dangerous, stupid and I don’t need to prove myself.’ It was then he saw a car approaching and his stomach dropped when he realized it was the Ranger.
Chad was on his way to the mine when he saw Cameron’s car parked behind another familiar looking vehicle at the side of the road. He slowed down and pulled over. Rolling down the passenger window, he leaned over and called out to the two young men standing a little way off. “Tom, Lon, where’s Cameron?”
Tom and Lon glanced at each other, shrugged their shoulders and simultaneously pointed upward. Chad’s eyes widened and he was out of his truck in a heartbeat.
“Cameron! What the hell are you doing? Get down from there!” Chad bellowed. Stepping over to the chain-link fence, he took a deep breath to calm himself and worriedly admonished, “Take your time and be careful, Mugs!”
‘Kill me now,’ Cameron thought to himself. He’d totally forgotten the road to the mine passed the hydro towers. He started to descend slowly and after five minutes, he was back safe on the ground. He looked at Chad warily from behind the chain-link fence. He noticed in passing, that Lon and Tom had made a quick getaway.
“How much trouble am I in?” he asked, knowing he was in over his head and sinking rapidly.
“A great deal more than you want to be,” Chad answered sardonically and shook his head in resignation. He raked a hand through his hair and took another deep breath, this time it was one of relief. He knew the issue had to be dealt with immediately. If he allowed Cameron to stew on it, the younger man would just work himself up. However, this was definitely not the place to hold a discussion.
“I want you to get in your car, drive right home and wait for me in the study, Cameron. I’ll be there shortly. I have to let Kipper know I won’t be in until later, if at all.”
Cameron neatly vaulted the fence and got in his car. His felt sick and wondered how he got himself into these things. He drove carefully as the last thing he needed now was another speeding ticket.
He went into the study and wondered briefly if he should stand in a corner. He decided not to as Chad hadn’t told him to do so. He slid down a wall and put his head in his hands. After a while, he heard the front door open and looked up as Chad entered the room.
“I’m sorry,” he said immediately. “I didn’t think.”
Chad walked over and gently pulled his Brat up of the floor. “Come sit with me, Mugs,” he softly invited. The drive home had greatly calmed him which was surprising, considering all he had learned from Kipper.
Facing both his partner and the problem head on, Chad simply stated. “This was not a spur of the moment incident, Cameron. It has been on your mind for a couple of days now. So you did think. I want to know why, after thinking it over and after talking to Kipper, you still decided to do something so dangerous.”
“I don’t know,” Cameron replied honestly. “When I talked to Kipper about it, I decided it was a stupid idea and told Lon and Tom so. Then Lon dared me to climb it. He said if I did it, so would he.” He looked at Chad. “I can never resist a dare. It’s like I’m a kid again. I guess I want attention.” Cameron shrugged. “It was a bloody stupid thing to do and I’m really sorry if I scared you.”
“I don’t think my being scared is the main issue here, Mugs, but I appreciate your apology. You’ve once again let your friends goad you into doing something you had already determined was a bad idea. We’ve discussed this propensity of yours more than once in the past, have we not?” Chad asked patiently and sighed when his Brat hung his head to hide the fact he was blushing.
“We are going to work harder on finding ways to curb this habit. Seeing as it happens most when you are with Lon and Tom, maybe you should seriously consider if they are really the kinds of friends you want to have.”
“I’ve been thinking about that,” Cameron admitted. “They always seem to disappear when the brown stuff hits the whirly thing.” He briefly flashed a grin at Chad. “It’s not as though hanging out with them is much fun any more anyway,” Cameron commented. “All they do is drink and smoke, and I’m not into that shit. I guess I could at least cut down the time I spend with them.”
“Hmm, fair-weather friends who bail at the first sign of trouble,” Chad murmured and nodded his understanding. “I believe your decision is a start in the right direction, babe.”
Chad wrapped his beefy arm around his love’s shoulders and pulled him closer. “Now, you also mentioned wanting some attention. Well, my boy; that is exactly what I am going to provide. Although it may not be of the type you had in mind. You were doing something illegal and extremely dangerous; there is reparation to be made.”
Making sure he had Cameron’s undivided attention, Chad continued. “Not only have you earned yourself a sound spanking, but you are grounded for the next two weeks. In addition, you are going to spend the afternoon writing lines. ‘I do not have to accept dares in order to prove myself’, one thousand times, Cameron.” Chad firmly instructed. “Is there anything else you wish to say, Mugs?”
Cameron bit his lower lip. “Grounded?” he questioned, feigning confusion. “How can I be grounded when I work most days? Sitting on a chair after you’ve spanked me isn’t going to be any fun,” he pouted, trying to delay the inevitable.
Chad closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and finger. Taking a deep breath and silently praying for patience, he unclenched his teeth and spoke as calmly as possible. “First off, Cameron, you’ve been grounded before. It is not rocket science. As in the past you will continue to go to work, but nowhere else. Secondly, it’s a given that sitting after a spanking is uncomfortable. Hence the deterrent, so suck it up.”
He stared at his partner and waited for further protests, but none were offered. “Stand up, please,” Chad firmly requested. After helping Cameron divest himself of his jeans and boxers, he gently pulled the younger man face down over his lap. “Tell me exactly what this spanking is for, Mugs.” Chad knew his Brat hated having to answer this question, but also knew it was necessary to ensure there were no misunderstandings.
Cameron as usual wondered how he got himself into this position. ‘By not engaging my brain,’ he answered himself. “You’re spanking me for doing a dangerous and illegal act,” Cameron replied aloud, “by climbing the hydro tower. In self-defence, I was coming down even before you arrived,” he concluded.Chad’s hand descended and Cameron jumped. “That hurt!” was all he said and then the second landed. As the burning intensified, the tears started to fall and all Cameron could think was; ‘Please, let it be over soon.”
After maintaining a rapid steady tempo for almost a minute and making sure to cover every inch of his Cameron’s bottom, Chad brought the punishment to an end with two resounding swats on the lower portion of each cheek. He then rubbed slow soothing circles on Cameron’s back and waited for the younger man to realize the spanking was over.
“Okay, babe, it's over; you’re going to be okay. All is forgiven and the slate is wiped clean.” Chad turned Cameron onto his side, taking care that the sore bottom didn’t come in contact with anything. He draped the soft throw from the back of the couch over his sobbing Brat and tenderly rocked him while softly repeating his mantra. He wasn’t the least concerned about how long it would take for his lover to calm down enough for them to talk things over, as now was the time for them to reaffirm their love for each other.
Cameron was too far gone to calm down immediately. He snuggled into Chad and as normal, despite his blazing bottom, felt extremely safe. He knew Chad would always be there for him and, after his childhood and early adulthood, he needed that security. He loved his Top with all his heart. The fact that Chad was the sexiest man he’d ever seen was an added bonus.“How do I make new friends?” he asked timidly. “I don’t think Lon and Tom were really friends. I never felt safe round them.” He looked up at Chad. “I’m friendly with lots of people but I’m not sure if they’re friends as such. How did you and Kipper become best friends?” he asked, genuinely curious.
Chad felt saddened that Cameron seemed to have no idea of what true friendship was all about. This young love of his had been denied so much during his most informative years; genuine love, acceptance, guidance, the care of loving parents, as well as opportunities to develop meaningful relationships. Hugging Cameron closer, Chad placed a tender kiss on the young man’s head and began to talk about his past.
“I arrived here in the valley when I was seventeen and spent a couple of years working in various mines before heading to University. It was after I graduated and had obtained a position here in Jade Heights that I had the good fortune to meet Kipper. We hit it off right from day one. He’d worked at the mine for several years and took me under his wing so to speak. He has been there for me since I joined the company almost ten years ago. I rely heavily on his knowledge and support. Five years ago, we became business partners when we purchased the lounge.”
He smiled down at the man in his arms who appeared to be hanging on to his every word. “True friends, Mugs, watch out for each other. I can depend on Kipper to never do anything to harm me and he would exhaust every effort to prevent me from harming myself.” He carded his hand though Cameron’s hair and softly added, “I can only hope that some day you also find such a good friend.”
“You’re my friend,” Cameron replied, “as well as my lover, partner and Top.” He snuggled contentedly. “So real friends kind of happen,” he mused. “I’d like friends but don’t think I will push it. I’m friendly with a lot of people. Maybe one of them will turn out to be a real friend now that I’ve gotten rid of Lon and Tom.” He looked up at Chad. “Is that how it works?”
“It can,” Chad assured him and smiled. “You’re right; I am your lover, partner and Top. I am also proud to be your friend. But I believe that someday when you least expect it, you’ll find yourself with a best friend close to your own age who you can safely pal around with and whose interests will be similar to your own.”
Chad hoped it would be soon as he truly felt Cameron needed someone besides his partner in his life.