Co-written by: Jo and LJ
This is in response to the Tea Room April Challenge.
Special thanks to C & L for the great ideas.
Kadyn merrily plunked himself down on the bar stool, startling the man on the other side and increasing the severity of the frown he had already been wearing.
“What’s new, man? You don’t look too happy at the moment; so what gives, Cameron?”
“Tax time,” Cameron muttered. “And this year those bloodsuckers aren’t getting another cent off me. Do they deliberately try to make this complicated or what?”
“What do ya mean? Surely our revered tax department hasn’t tried to steal extra money from you in the past.” Kadyn smirked as he spoke his flippant comment.
“They took megabucks off me last year,” Cameron complained. “And many times in the past, I bet.”
“Who did your returns when you were a model? And who helped you last year?” Kadyn knew he was being nosy but figured the more information he had, then better able he’d be to help out.
“Never used to worry about money when I was modelling,” Cameron admitted. “I guess my agent dealt with all that. Chad did it last year and tried to interest me in what he was doing, but I only half-listened.”
“So why don’t you just get Chad to do it again this year? Maybe he’s come up with a way you don’t have to pay back so much.”
“Hell, no!” Cameron exclaimed vehemently. “He’s so honest it makes my teeth ache.” His soft smile belied his harsh sounding words. “I love the big guy, but I don’t want to have to pay off the national debt again. He takes an extra twenty-five dollars off each pay cheque as it is. I kind of want to prove to him I can deal with this tax stuff myself.”
“The extra amount paid each week should work real good, right?” Kadyn enthusiastically offered his support of the plan.
“I have my doubts about that. Have you ever done your own taxes?” Cameron was suspicious. He knew Kadyn a bit better now and knew the young man could act without thought to the consequences. ‘A bit like me,’ he thought to himself.
“I used to do my own with a bit of help from my dad or then from Vincent. But this year, I paid Kyler to do it because of owning my own business. Kyler keeps my books for me. In fact, that’s why I am here now. I needed to sign the return so Kyler can mail it in. The poor guy is back there in the office with a mountain of paperwork on his desk. He has a lot of returns to do, including a complicated one for the lounge.”
“Yeah, this time of year must be especially busy for any accountant. I don’t want to bug him but I’d like to know what I can claim as deductions and if I really have to declare all my tips.” Cameron grinned at his friend. “What harm can there be in fudging things a little? The government’s not going to be too worried about a gay barman in the back of nowhere, right?”
“Probably not,” Kadyn agreed. “I know they sometimes audit people but I’ve never heard of anyone here in Jade Heights getting audited. You know you’re allowed to deduct medical receipts and charitable donations, don’t you?”
“Yeah I know, but I only got one dentist’s bill and one prescription,” Cameron moaned. “That ain’t going to save me much.”
“Ya got that right. After you figure out the percentages, those aren’t gonna help you at all.” Kadyn felt for his friend, but brightened some when an idea came to mind. “Hey, I got a bunch of medical receipts and my monthly contribution to our local LGBT group really added up. Only by the time Kyler finished number-crunching the money I took in, minus the bills I had to pay, he said I had more deductions than he could use. You’re welcome to them if you like,” he generously offered.
Cameron smiled, then sobered. “If they’ve got your name on them, how do I pass them on as mine?” he asked. “Do you have to send in proof? Show you how much I know about filing taxes.”
“You don’t have to show nothing if you do it all on-line; especially personal tax returns. Probably why hardly anyone gets audited,” Kadyn assured the other man while neglecting to tell him his own knowledge of such things was rather limited. “Bet I can even get some from other guys who have extras. Want me to ask around?”
“No, the more people involved, greater the chance Chad gets to hear about things. Better keep this on the Q-T. I’ll take you up on your offer though. The more I can claim; the better. You never know, they may end up owing me.” Cameron’s eyes danced with mischief.
Several weeks later, a very upset Cameron showed up at the ceramic shop. He was waving a letter from Revenue Canada and hollering for Kadyn.
“What gives?” Kadyn called out from the back room.
“I’m being audited. Would you effing believe it?” Cameron was agitated. “They obviously must be behind on the national debt payments if they’re going after me.” He kept his voice low, not wanting the world to know his problems. “Do any of those deductions we added have no name on them so I can pass them off as being mine?”
“Geesh, Cam, I’m pretty sure they all had names on them. Whoa, you’re the first I know of to get a letter like this.” Kadyn had taken the papers out of Cameron’s hand and had quickly read over them. “Man, they must be in a hurry or something, your appointment at the Federal building in Kelowna is for eleven o’clock tomorrow morning. Bet they’re trying to cheat you outta the five hundred dollar refund you’re expecting.”
Kadyn handed back the official document as if it was burning his fingers. He frowned for a moment and then his eyes widened. “Shit! How are you gonna keep this from Chad?” Kadyn never spent a lot of time with his friend’s partner, but he instinctively assumed that like Vincent, Chad would be a stickler for adhering to the laws of the land.
“Not sure. If I can keep my trap shut, I should be all right. Chad is usually at the mine early, so it will be easy to get to the appointment without him knowing. Look, if the brown stuff hits the fan, I’ll try and keep your name out of it. Okay?” Cameron had no real illusions he’d be able to keep the secret indefinitely. “I gotta go; my shift at the lounge is due to start. Thanks anyway for the help you gave me.”
“No problem. Hope all works out okay. Keep me informed.” Kadyn shook his head as he watched Cameron leave. He had little doubt that his friend was going to come through this unscathed and was feeling a little guilty for having given him his extra receipts.
Cameron arrived at the pool hall in time to begin his shift, but was distracted throughout it by the feel of the letter burning a hole in his pocket. On his break, he gave himself a good talking to in the men’s room. “Snap out of it, Cam!” he self-scolded. “One look at you and Chad will know something is wrong.” By the time he returned to duty he was back to normal, chatting and flirting with the patrons at the bar.
It was shortly after six in the evening when Chad arrived at the lounge. He immediately strolled behind the bar to wrap an arm around his young partner and drop a light kiss on Cam’s cheek. “How’s your day going, Mugs?’
Cameron jumped slightly as he hadn’t seen Chad arrive. “Fine,” he replied, willing his heart to start beating regularly again. “My day’s been fine,” he repeated while leaning in for a closer hug.
Chad looked around and calmly commented. “Not a big crowd tonight; with luck we might get home a bit early. Of course, it also gives you time to polish behind here and clean that mirror.” After a discreet pat on Cam’s backside, he moved away to answer a silent summons from one of the waitress. He listened attentively, nodded just enough to show his concern and thank her for bringing a possible problem to his attention.
Rather than follow his usual habit of working in the small office down the hall, Chad chose to stay and keep an eye on things out front.
The bar stayed fairly quiet and Cameron kept an anxious eye on his lover and Top. Without enough to keep him busy, the letter in his pocket once again started to bug him. Unconsciously, he began to chew on his bottom lip as a mantra chanted in his head. ‘I can deal with it. I can deal with it.’
Chad covertly watched his young partner, picking up subtle hints from Cam’s body language that something was eating at him. Cameron’s inability to concentrate on what he was doing led to several spattered drinks when a tray was carelessly bumped into. There were two incidents of a beer mug being dropped and smashing as it hit the floor.
“Cameron, what’s the matter with you?” Chad overheard one of the waitresses ask. “My customer ordered a rum and coke; this only has pop in it,” she complained, pushing the glass across the bar.
Taking note of the time, Chad took over the bar duties for the fifteen minutes remaining until closing. “I’d appreciate you getting a start on straightening up around the place, Mugs. While you’re doing that, you can be thinking of how you’re going to explain the reason behind keeping mum about whatever is bothering you; because we will be discussing it when we get home.”
Cameron’s inner voice chant instantly changed to ‘shit, shit, shit!’ He was wise enough not to utter the word aloud and just mumbled, “Okay.” He started the clean-up but as soon as Chad closed the lounge, they worked together like a well-oiled machine and easily had the job finished in short order.
The drive home was fleeting and quiet. As they entered the kitchen, Cameron turned to Chad. “I need a shower,” was all he said. Wanting to avoid a discussion about what was bothering him, this was the best plan he could come up with in the little time he’d had.
“Not so fast, bucko! We have things to talk over first. Take a seat at the table please.” Chad hid a smile when he was reluctantly obeyed. He took two bottles of water out of the refrigerator, opened them and handed one to Cameron before taking a seat across from the young man. “Okay, Mugs, what gives? You’ve been inattentive and antsy all evening. I know something is wrong and both of us know how I feel to being kept in the dark about things that are upsetting you. It’s late, so no beating around the bush. Just blurt it out; it will be easier in the long run.”
Cameron just sighed and took a long swallow of his water. He reached into his pocket and took out the envelope. “This arrived today,” he said softly. “It was a little bit of a shock, that’s all.” He handed the dreaded piece of paper to Chad.
Chad quickly glanced over the form letter, rolled his eyes and looked upward as if praying for strength. Taking a deep breath, he placidly stated, “Looks like you’re among the lucky ones who get to have their returns reviewed this year. While this is not exactly an audit, it can lead to one. I wonder if this was just the luck of the draw or if your return raised some red flags. I’d be real interested in seeing all the information you filed.”
"Umm,” Cameron raised his head and looked determinedly at the ceiling. His first thought was, ‘we’re gonna need to paint that soon.’ He dragged his mind back to his partner’s request. “I don’t have much,” he offered by way of explanation. “I just hit ‘send’ after filling out the form.”
“Cameron,” Chad growled. “You had to have paperwork to file your return. The numbers didn’t come to you out of thin air. You had a T-4 slip from the lounge and medical receipts. Now go get them!” was the succinctly worded directive.
Cameron scuttled off and returned holding two or three crumpled bits of paper. “This is all I have,” he explained, handing them to Chad. “I don’t have information or receipts for some of the other things I claimed. I didn’t think I’d need them.” He was determined to keep Kadyn’s name out of the discussion.
Chad looked down at the items in his hand and frowned. “Come with me!” He left the room, walked down the hall and into the study with an unhappy partner bringing up the rear. Sitting behind the desk, Chad started up the computer and after a several quick keystrokes had Cameron’s Netfile opened.
The more he read, the more formidable his expression became. “Cameron Kirk Jackson, I want all the paperwork used to arrive at these figures and I want them now!” The older man stressed just how serious he was by swinging around in the chair, hauling his Brat over his knee and landing half a dozen hard swats before setting Cameron back on his feet.
“That hurt,” Cameron complained, rubbing his butt. “I told you I don’t have them. You’ve got everything. I never thought I’d be reviewed or audited or whatever.”
Chad sighed out his frustration. “Cameron, I cannot help you if you continue to lie. Let’s start from the top. The amount you entered for income is correct as you got it directly from your T-4. However, you neglected to add on your tips: strike number one, my lad. Kyler, like Kipper before him, deducts extra tax off each of your pay cheques to cover this addition income. I trust you have a good reason for omitting this amount even after me explaining the importance of it last year?”
“No, I don’t have a legitimate reason,” Cameron admitted after quickly running through all his options and deciding that in the end, telling the truth would be a wise move. “I just didn’t want to pay as much as I had to last year. It was a rip-off. That’s why I added so many deductions as well to this year’s.”
“Cameron,” Chad was exercising all the patience he could muster. “You had to pay last year because of that modeling job you took on. There were no deductions made at the source due to it being a one-time stint. You only had to pay just over three hundred dollars for owed taxes, yet you carry on as if you’d had to sign away your first-born; had you had one that is. And just what extra deductions are you referring to?”
“Umm, some of the doctor’s bills and donation payments aren’t exactly mine.” Cameron shuffled uneasily under his Top’s glare. “Oh come on,” he protested. “Everyone does it.”
“While it is true many may do it, a lot of them also get caught and prosecuted. However, that is beside the point as what they do doesn’t concern us. Fraud is something neither of us participates in. If I remember correctly, you had approximately three hundred dollars in medical bills and you didn’t have any donation receipts.” Chad had been scrolling down the screen, but ceased when he saw the amounts claimed. “The amount you submitted is a great deal more than you have a legitimate right to, Cameron.” His eyes narrowed at a thought came to mind and he opened the bottom drawer of the desk where their personal documents were kept. There, in a partially opened folder, he found the paperwork he had been asking about. He began flipping through the various receipts and stopped short when one in particular attracted his attention.
“This is rather out of the ordinary. I didn’t know you had yourself neutered last year, Mugs. Nor was I aware of you updating your rabies shots.” Chad had a hard time maintaining his stern demeanor when his sardonic statements earned a strangled groan of alarm from the other man. “Oh, pardon me; these receipts are for Bandit. That’s Kadyn’s dog, if I’m not mistaken. And while your friend may consider his pet a dependent, I doubt very much that the government will accept veterinarian expenses as tax deductions. Was Kadyn the only one generous enough to share extra receipts with you?”
“Yes.” Cameron relied somewhat forlornly. “He was just being a friend. You aren’t going to tell anybody else about his involvement, are you? It was my idea to use his leftover receipts.”
Picking up the concern in Cameron’s voice, Chad pulled his partner down to sit on his lap. “I don’t intend to tell anyone, Mugs. What that young man does is between him and Vincent. Knowing what I do of Kadyn, I’d find it hard to believe he gave them to you with any comprehension of the repercussions.” The older man smiled when he heard a sigh of relief and a curly head dropped on his shoulder. “Okay, my lad, here is what we’re going to do now. While I work on an amended version of your return and email it, you are going to go stand in the corner and think about what you’ve done to earn yourself a sound spanking.”
He gave his Brat another firm hug, kissed the top of his head and landed an encouraging pat his hip to get him up and moving. “Please remove your jeans and sneakers, Mugs,” Chad softly directed.
Cameron did as instructed and padded over to the corner. He spent the first minute or so assessing the sting in his butt from the six swats that had already administered. Then he shuddered slightly as he recalled the fearsome words of ‘to earn yourself a sound spanking’. He gradually relaxed and did some deep thinking. He felt slightly sick as the time ticked by. He knew lying to Chad was unfair. But somewhere deep in his gut, he was relieved by the knowledge that his Top would call him on it every time.
Fifteen minutes had passed by the time Chad had completed his self-assigned task and shut down the computer. He stood, stretched his back and rotated shoulders before sitting down on the slightly-worn leather sofa. “Come here, Mugs. We have some unfinished business to take care of.”
Cameron slowly turned around, tears already dripping down his face. There was no hesitation as he walked across to Chad, lowered his boxers and lay over his lover’s lap.
Chad helped his partner settle across his thighs and waited while he squirmed to get comfortable. “Just to be sure we are on the same page here, Mugs; I want you to tell me why we’re doing this.”
“Because I lied and hid things from you,” Cameron replied, almost inaudibly. “I put things on my tax return that were false and that’s against the law.”
“Exactly! We’ll deal with the attempted tax evasion issue first.” Chad raised his right arm and brought his hand down hard, landing a resounding wallop on one of his Brat’s vulnerable butt cheeks.
Cameron understood why he deserved the punishment and he jumped as the first swat landed. It reawakened the sting of the six swats he’d already got, but he knew it was only going to get worse. The tears had started before the spanking, but they ran faster as the burn steadily increased. When Chad started to revisit areas he’d already ignited, Cameron began to yelp in pain until his tense body finally softened. Chad was in control and would finish only when he felt Cameron would never forget the lesson.
The moment Chad felt the tension drain from his partner’s body; he stopped the assault and placed his own smarting hand on one of Cameron’s quivering thighs. “That was for trying to cheat on your taxes, Mugs: this is for spending the better part of the evening lying to me.”
With that, Chad raised his target and landed six more hard smacks; three where each reddened cheek and thigh met. Once he accomplished what he’d set out to do, he next spent several moments carefully manoeuvring their bodies until he was stretched out on the sofa with his sobbing Brat lying on top of him and then spread the soft blanket they kept handy for just these times over them both.
Having talked himself out earlier, Chad merely hummed softly and rubbed gentle circles on Cameron’s back while waiting for the cries of remorse and pain to subside. When only intermittent hitches could be heard, Chad gently bullied the emotionally exhausted man in his arms to get up. They unhurriedly made their way upstairs, where Chad patiently cajoled the younger man through his nightly routine and tucked him in bed.
Quickly completing his own routine, Chad crawled in beside his lover, spooned around him and fell asleep with thoughts of tomorrow on his mind.
“Well, Mugs, I’d say you got off pretty lightly,” Chad commented as he did up his seatbelt. At Cameron’s request, he had accompanied the young man to Kelowna for his appointment with the Revenue Canada tax agent.
Mr. Judson had accepted the explanation of Cameron having sent in a draft version by mistake. After delivering a blistering lecture outlining all the possible repercussions for such carelessness, he had agreed to process the amended return as quickly as possible. The only reason he was willing to do this was because there wasn’t any money owed by the taxpayer.
“I know your refund of fifty-six dollars and change is a far cry from what you were hoping for, but at least you don’t have to pay anything,” Chad reminded Cameron as he pulled out of the parking lot in the government office complex.
“That guy told me off worse than you usually do,” Cameron moaned. “I’m glad I got a refund, but that’s the only good thing about this whole affair. The meeting was really boring and those seats were bloody hard.” Cameron shifted uncomfortably. “At least it’s over and life can go on.”
Several minutes passed in companionable silence as the beautiful, but familiar scenery slipped by. The temporary serenity was broken when Cameron requested, “Can you drop me off at Kadyn’s place, please? He knew about my appointment and will want to know how it went.”
“Of course; I imagine he’s as anxious to hear the good news as you are to tell it. Besides, you have his receipts to give back to him, right?” Chad was happy. He enjoyed seeing his partner in this cheerful frame of mind rather than the one he had been in yesterday.
“Right,” Cameron concurred as he grinned at his partner, his eyes sparkling playfully. “After all, I can’t use them next year, can I?”
“Not unless you want to relive this nightmare,” Chad muttered, just loud enough for the other man to hear and burst out laughing. He understood why Cameron was nearly giddy with relief.
Chad was almost relieved when he pulled to a stop in front of the ceramic shop an hour later. The amount of bouncing his Brat had done on the drive home must have caused as much wear and tear on his backside as the asphalt had done to the tires. It was certainly beginning to wear on the older man’s nerves.
“Here you are, Mugs. You enjoy the rest of your day off and I’ll see you at suppertime.” Chad leaned over to give his partner a brief kiss goodbye, waited for him to get out of the car and then waved as he drove away.
“Kadyn,” Cameron hollered as he walked into the shop. “Are you in here?” He bent down to pat Bandit who was the first one to greet him.
“I’ll be right out,” Kadyn called moments before entering from of the back room, wiping his hands with a none-too-clean cloth. “So, spill it, man. How did things go?”
“Good. Chad came with me and we smoothed it out together. I got a hell of a telling-off though, plus a nice little refund.”
“Great! So you didn’t get busted for either tax evasion or fraud after all?” Kadyn was grinning from ear to ear.
“Well,” Cameron smiled ruefully, “the government didn’t bust me, but Chad sure did.” He cautiously rubbed his still-tender butt. He chuckled when his friend’s only response was an empathetic grimace.