Kyler dreamily played with the last of the cereal in his bowl as a reoccurring thought played over in his head. He glanced across the table at Patrick and smiled. It was kind of nice having one of his partners home all to himself and infrequent for it to be Patrick who was often called into the clinic on a Saturday morning. Not that Kyler expected them to be alone much longer as Hugh was just downtown picking up ingredients for the supper he wanted to prepare that evening.
“Patrick,” Kyler spoke softly to attract the man’s attention and smiled when the newspaper was lowered. “You and Hugh were together for over four years before you met me. Being as same-sex marriage had been legalized during that time, did you guys ever consider getting married?”
Patrick's eyes narrowed as he pondered the question. "Why do you ask?"
“Just curious,” Kyler shrugged nonchalantly. “It wouldn’t have made any difference to me or my feelings for either of you. At least not when we first met, but it would now. And even though same-sex marriage is a go here in Canada, we can’t get married anyway, right?”
"What are you saying, honey?" Patrick put his paper down and regarded Kyler seriously, sensing his partner's mood. "What do you mean it wouldn't make a difference on how you felt?"
"Well, I’m pretty sure I would still have fallen in love with the two of you and would still want to have our relationship.” Kyler stood up, gathered up his and Patrick’s dirty dishes and took them over to the sink. He squeezed in a few drops of dish liquid and turned the water on full blast for a couple of minutes. Leaving everything to soak, he sat back down next to continue the conversation. “I think had you been married would have been kinda cool. But now, if you were to consider it, I’d feel left out. After all, bigamy is illegal, right?”
Understanding Kyler, Patrick said very gently, "As far as I am concerned, we are married. The three of us. We don't need a certificate to prove it, do we? We live it every day of our lives. And honestly darling, do you really think either Hugh or I would ever consider getting married without you?" Patrick raised his brows so high they almost reached his hairline.
Kyler smiled and moved over to straddle the older man’s lap. “You’re absolutely right; we don’t need a certificate. But you know, a ceremony to celebrate our union might be nice. In a couple of months, it will be three years since we met and in less than six months it will be three years since we became a threesome. The weather would just about be perfect by then for a nice outdoor party. What do you say, Patrick? Think Hugh will be willing to at least think it over?” He tightened his arms around his partner's neck and teased him by applying light kisses along his jawline before deeply kissing his lips.
For several minutes there was only the sound of lips meeting and hot breathing. When the couple finally broke apart, Patrick leaned away from Kyler so he could look at him, asking quizzically, “Has anything happened lately that I am not aware of? Why this sudden fascination with marriage sweetheart?”
"It’s just that several of my friends have exchanged vows and the like lately. And the other night when I was visiting my mom, we were going through some old albums that had pictures of my dad. There were even some of their wedding and I realized that when we’re older, the three of us won’t have anything so special to remember. And even worse, what if something was to happen to one of us? What would we have to look back on?” Kyler kept his eyes down and shyly played with the buttons on the front of Patrick's shirt.
“Nothing is going to happen to any of us, ok?” Patrick said, gripping Kyler by the arms. “And we do have plenty of photos and videos for us to look at in our old age.” He paused as if deep in thought. “But tell you what, why don’t we bring this up with Hugh when he comes back tonight. What do you say?”
“Sounds like a plan to me!” Kyler smiled brightly and got off Patrick’s lap. “How about you introducing the subject to him? You have a much better approach than I do.”
Patrick grinned. “It’s your question to begin with! Besides, I am sure Hugh would love to hear you ask him!”
“Would love to hear him ask me what?”
Both heads turned to the tall sun-tanned figure at the doorway with bags of groceries hanging from both hands.
“Ah,” Patrick threw out his hands in a magician’s pose. “Here’s the man himself! Kyler, he’s all yours!”
Kyler ran over and threw his arms around Hugh’s neck as soon as the packages had been placed on the counter. “Can we have a commitment ceremony maybe sometime this summer? Patrick didn’t say ‘no’, so I guess it’s up to you.” Kyler figured jumping right in would be better that leading up to the subject slowly.
“Whoa,” Hugh wrapped his arms around Kyler to steady them both. “Easy, brat! And stop strangling me!” He turned to look enquiringly at Patrick. “What have you got us into now, hm?”
Patrick raised his brows innocently. “Me? I haven’t done a thing! Kyler, let Hugh breathe please. He’s turning blue.”
Kyler released his hold to bounce excitedly on the balls of his feet. “There’s nothing cast in stone yet, Hugh. We’re just kind of discussing the possibilities of having one. The end of March which would mark the anniversary of the day we met is coming up to soon. But May will give us plenty of time and that’s the month I moved in and we became a threesome. So it’s perfect, don’t you think?”
Giving Kyler’s bum a little pat, Hugh walked over to the sink and began to fill the kettle with water. He pulled a tea bag out of the cupboard and dropped it into a mug, then turned around and leaned against the counter. “Either of you want some tea?”
“Yep - I’ll take one.” Patrick smiled at Hugh knowingly, then asked sweetly, “So what do you think of Kyler’s suggestion, Hugh?”
Hugh gave Patrick a ‘look’ he usually reserved for Kyler and turned to their younger partner instead. “Why do you ... we ... need a commitment ceremony, Kyler?” Hugh asked, crossing his arms.
“So we can have special memories in our old age, Hugh. Gosh, I’d think you go for the idea as you are getting on in years, you know.” Kyler smirked up at the older man.
Patrick hooted with laughter and Hugh dropped his arms. “I’ll show you just how much I am getting on in years, young man. Come here!” He crooked his finger at Kyler, waiting.
Kyler laughed and immediately obeyed the summons. He didn’t for a moment believe that Hugh would take his teasing as being sassy. He came to a halt in front of his Top and grinned up at him.
Hugh looked down at his young partner and tapped the tip of his nose. “What should be the punishment for being sassy, would you say?”
“Hmm, let’s see. I think in this case it should be for the three of us to head upstairs and make mad passionate love as soon as your purchases are put away. What do you think, Patrick?” Kyler’s eyes sparkled with a mixture of mischief, amusement and anticipation.
Hugh grinned and promptly turned Kyler sideways to land two swift – but not particularly painful – swats to his backside. “I said punishment, not reward!” Hugh admonished as sternly as he could with Kyler staring up at him with open love and adoration.
Patrick came towards them and wrapped his arms around his two partners, giving a tight squeeze. “Call it what you want, but Kyler’s suggestion sounds too good to turn down. So are you guys coming up or what?”
Kyler freed himself from Patrick’s embrace and scurried about putting meat and fresh vegetables in the refrigerator, and can goods in the pantry. Then he was off up the stairs before his partners could change their minds.
Hugh and Patrick quietly pulled the bedroom door closed and then proceeded down the stairs, leaving their young partner worn out and soundly asleep in their bed. They made their way into the kitchen to prepare a late lunch as it was already past two o’clock in the afternoon.
“What do you feel like having?” Hugh asked, going to the fridge to peer inside.
Patrick came up behind Hugh and put a hand on his butt. “I don’t particularly care – I just need food. I am famished.”
Hugh turned around with some eggs, bacon strips and a chunk of cheese in his hands. “How about an omelette? With bacon and cheese. That’s quick and easy.”
Patrick nodded his agreement. “Sure, that sounds good, perhaps with some salsa on the side?” He moved easily around the kitchen to gather the required ingredients – tomatoes, onions, cilantro and a nice big lemon.
At the end of twenty minutes the two men sat down to a simple yet satisfying meal. They ate quickly and without talking, perfectly comfortable in their shared silence. When they were done they both leaned back in their chairs to drink their coffee, enjoying the strong aroma and each other’s closeness.
“Nothing like good sex to work up an appetite,” Patrick said with a devilish grin.
“I’ll say!” Hugh agreed wholeheartedly. He put out a hand and leaned over the table to grasp Patrick’s as he got up to clear his plate. “Hey, wait a minute. I want to ask you something.”
Patrick immediately sat back down, his face serious. He didn’t need to ask what Hugh wanted to talk about. His voice was gentle when he spoke. “We agreed a long time ago we would not go through any kind of commitment ceremony or get married even when they legalized it. There’s no reason for us to change that agreement. Kyler will understand I am sure.”
Hugh hesitated. “Yes, but did you get the impression it was something he wanted very badly? Kyler sometimes gets these ideas into his head and he must do them at all costs at that moment, regardless of the consequences. But these ideas sometimes do not last very long.”
“I know what you are saying, Hugh,” Patrick said with a short laugh. “Which is why we’ve got a Brat on our hands.”
Hugh sighed softly. “How did this subject come up anyway? Did the notion of a commitment ceremony suddenly pop into his head because some of his friends were going through it, or is it something more serious, more lasting?”
“I really don’t know.”
“Has it been brewing in his mind? Did we miss any signs?” Hugh continued to mull.
Patrick shook his head. “I don’t think we missed anything. But if you are not sure – and I definitely am not sure – then why don’t we ask him?”
“We could. Only thing is ...” Hugh’s voice trailed off.
Again Patrick picked it up without difficulty. “We can explain why we never considered it. If this thing is important to him, then he needs to know our position.”
“That’s not what I am worried about,” Hugh said. “We can explain and knowing Kyler he will try to understand and abide by our decision and even tell us he is ok with it. But what if he really really wants it?”
Patrick paused. Before he could think of a suitable response the phone rang, startling both of them.
“Damn!” Patrick cursed under his breath as he picked up the phone extension in the kitchen. “Yes, this is Dr Dean.” He listened quietly for a few seconds, and then replied crisply, “All right, I will be there in about half an hour. In the meantime, keep her calm and put her on a saline drip.”
“Emergency?” Hugh asked, inured to such calls after more than five years together.
“Yeah,” Patrick said, already heading to the stairs. “Sorry honey, but I need to be at the hospital right away. Are you leaving for your swim meet soon? It’s today isn’t it?”
“Yes, I will need to leave soon too. But you go on ahead, I will take care of the dishes. I’ll also leave Kyler a note if he is not awake by the time I leave.”
Kyler stirred, rolled over and pushed back the blankets. He paused in mid-stretch to listen for sounds in the house. There were none; the quietness was almost eerie. He thought over the conversation he’d had earlier with his partners. They had promised to resume ‘negotiations’ later this evening, but Kyler found himself re-thinking his stand on the subject. Oh well, he’d wait to see what Hugh and Patrick had to say about it all.
Eventually crawling out of his warm nest, he padded around the room gathering up the articles of clothing he’d flung in different directions during his haste to get naked and wait for his lovers’ attention. He smiled at the memory of how quickly they played with his body until he begged for release, which proved as mind-boggling as always.
“Double the manpower, double the fun,” he sang as he got dressed, re-made the bed and headed downstairs to the kitchen. He spotted Hugh’s note on the large wooden table and heaved a sigh of disappointment as he read it.
Darling, Patrick’s got an emergency in the hospital and I’ve gone for my swim meet. I will be back after dinner and I have no idea when Patrick can be home, so please make sure you eat a proper dinner. See you later tonight sweetie. Hugh.
Rather than making a bite to eat, Kyler wrote a note of his own to let his partners know he was going to the coffee shop. Then grabbing up his cell phone, keys and wallet, he sailed out the back door to look for companionship.
Knowing Cameron was off somewhere with Chad for the day, and learning that Rene was helping out at the ceramic shop, Kyler continued on to Tim Hortons where he had the good fortune to find someone to hang out with.
“Hey, Travis, mind if I join you?”
“Not at all; I’d kinda like the company.” Travis folded up the sheet of paper he’d been perusing and shoved it in his pocket. “Anything exciting going on in this one horse town?” he asked jokingly.
“Not for me at the moment. Almost everyone I know is busy. I could have offered a hand with the kid’s birthday party Kadyn has booked but I didn’t feel like spending a couple of hours chasing after a bunch of ankle-biters. Or I could go visit my family, but Uncle Kipper and Gaetane have bad colds. I wouldn’t dare interfere with my Mom when she’s in her glory playing nurse-maid to them.”
“I’m on my own, too. Callum is tied up with compiling marks for the report cards going out next week.”
“Luckily Hugh teaches Phys-Ed, so there are no written exams for him to grade.” Kyler swallowed a mouthful of coffee. “So you got any plans for the afternoon?”
“Matter of fact, I do. Have you ever been to Spotted Lake?”
“No, but I’ve heard of it. It’s a saline, alkali lake located northwest of Osoyoos beside highway three. I was told it is quite beautiful because of the extremely high concentrations of numerous minerals that leave large spots on the surface of the water. The First Nations consider it a sacred site because of its’ therapeutic properties. If that’s you’re going, I wouldn’t mind tagging along.”
“I was told it’s only an hour away from here, so we should be back well before dark.”
“Lead on, my friend.” Within minutes, they were driving out of town in Travis’ car down highway 97.
“I think it’s been well over an hour, Travis,” Kyler commented after glancing at his watch.
“There’s the sign!” Travis announced as he rounded a bend in the road. “Don’t worry about being late. We can make up for lost time by taking a shortcut home. Someone at the post office told me about it.”
Once the car had rolled to a stop, the young men got out and stretched. They could easily make out the lake at the bottom of a shallow gorge, but were disappointed in its’ lack of colour.
“Maybe it looks better close up,” Travis muttered.
“I’m pretty sure that fence is there to discourage people from walking down there,” Kyler pointed out.
“Well I don’t see anyone around to stop us, so I’m going down. I didn’t come all this way to gawk at a big semi-frozen puddle.”
With that, Travis swung his leg over the fence and started down the hill. Not wanting to be left behind, Kyler followed suit.
“Doesn’t look good enough to have been worth the effort to climb down here, does it?” Travis griped.
“Not really,” Kyler agreed and pulled out his cell phone to call home. “I better let my partners know I’m gonna be a little late.” He hit speed dial and waited. “Nuts, there’s no reception here. Let’s get out of here.” The words had barely left his mouth when the phone slipped out of his hand and into the lake. “For shit’s sake!” he hollered as he set about removing his boots and socks. He took off his coat and handed it to Travis. Then while rolling up his shirt-sleeve, he stepped into the freezing water.
“Fuck, is this cold!” he complained through chattering teeth. After a bit of splashing around he finally found his phone and stomped back to shore. “Definitely not a good activity for the end of January,” he carped, shouldering into his jacket before slipping and sliding his way back up the hill in his bare feet.
Back in the car, Travis turned up the heat while Kyler dried off and put on his footwear.
Half an hour later, he was still shivering and his phone was still dripping water on the floor. Travis had tried two more times to call on his cell phone but couldn’t get a connection either.
“Where the hell are we?” Kyler asked when he realized the sun was beginning to go down.
“I was hoping you wouldn’t ask because I haven’t a clue. This is some shortcut,” Travis grumbled while looking for a sign post.
“Turn there!” Kyler instructed at the next junction. “Keremeos is just over the next hill. It is a little out of the way, but at least we’ll have the use of a payphone.”
It was dark and hours later than Kyler had planned to be home by the time Travis dropped him off. Although he fretted for most of the return drive, he hadn’t said much to Travis. He sure as hell hadn’t mentioned having an unhappy Top to go home to. He didn’t know Travis well enough to trust him with that kind of information.
Seeing his partners’ cars in the driveway and knowing they were waiting for him caused a groan to escape his lips. He reluctantly entered the house, wondering what the evening had in store for him.
Hugh called the house first. He waited till the ringing tone died. He tried Kyler’s cell phone next. He didn’t even get a ringing tone this time. With a frown on his brow, he next called Patrick. Luckily he got an answer almost at once.
“Hey, heard from Kyler?” he asked without preamble.
“Nope,” Patrick replied. “Why?”
“Oh nothing much, I tried calling the house and his cell. No answer.”
“He’s probably gone out for a bite and forgot his phone or its flat,” Patrick said calmly. “I had to go into an emergency surgery but I’m done. Where are you?”
“On my way home. You coming back soon?”
“Yeah. I am in the car park actually. See you in a bit? And let me know if Ky calls back.”
Hugh hung up and pressed Kyler’s cell again.
He tapped a finger on the steering wheel, and then called the house. Still no answer. Just where was their beloved Brat?
Kyler hung up his jacket, stepped out of his boots and walked into the kitchen, tossing his dirty socks down the basement stairs as he passed the door. Although he could hear his partners’ low voices coming from the living room, he was still cold and in no condition to face their questions. He dragged a straight-back chair over to the stove and turned on the oven. Sitting down, he opened the oven door and rested his bare feet on it. The warmth was heavenly. He closed his eyes, leaned back and loudly exhaled his contentment.
In the living room, Hugh suddenly stopped talking. “Did you hear something?” he asked.
Patrick shook his head. He was sprawled on the sofa, exhausted. “No, but go check honey,” he suggested. “And bring me some soya milk, will ya?”
Hugh leaned down and planted a kiss on Patrick’s head as he passed. “Sure thing. I think Ky’s home.”
“Good, you can quit worrying now. He’s a big boy; he can take care of himself. And he did leave a note!” Patrick said the last bit loudly to catch Hugh’s retreating back.
Hugh made his way into the kitchen silently and spotted Kyler in front of the oven. His brow creased as he tried to figure out what Kyler was doing.
“What the ... Kyler!”
Kyler jumped at the unexpected holler, pulled his feet off the oven door and swung around in his chair. “Whaaaat?”
“What are you doing?”
“Trying to get my feet warm as fast as possible.”
“The oven is NOT for you to dry or warm your feet, young man!” Hugh said sternly, pulling Kyler up and shutting off the oven in one swift motion. He landed a swift swat on Kyler’s behind, not particularly hard.
“Ow!” Kyler pouted and pulled away.
Hugh looked down at his palm. “Why are you are damp?”
“I slipped in the snow.” Kyler crossed his fingers behind his back, hoping the other man wouldn’t pursue the subject.
Hugh sighed in resignation. “Go on up and change into dry clothes and then you can come down and tell us all about it. Go on, now!”
Kyler moved the chair to its proper place by the table and reluctantly obeyed.
Hugh watched until Kyler had turned and trudged into the hallway before he went to the fridge and extracted a box of soya milk. He headed back to the living room and nudged Patrick awake. “Here you go. And our boy is back and guess what he was doing in the kitchen?”
Patrick opened his eyes enquiringly.
Hugh told him. Patrick looked stunned for a moment, and then burst out laughing.
“Shut up!” Hugh scolded as sternly as he could. “You are almost as bad as he is!”
“Well, it is rather ingenious!” Patrick said. “Quick and effective.”
“And totally unsafe!” Hugh glared at Patrick. “The oven is for cooking, not for drying clothes or parts of the human anatomy!”
“Well, don’t lecture me.” Patrick grinned broadly, shaking his head. “There, your quarry is here.”
Kyler quietly entered the room wearing flannel pants, heavy sweatshirt and thick wool socks. He curled up next the Patrick to absorb some of the bigger man’s body heat.
“Have you eaten, sweetheart?” Patrick inquired.
“No,” Kyler mumbled into the front of Patrick’s shirt. “But the supper Hugh made really smells good. Hope you guys saved me some ‘cause I’m starving.”
“Sure did. Want some soya milk while Hugh heats it up for you?” Patrick held out the box to him.
Kyler lifted his head and sneered at the carton. “You’re kidding, right? I can’t stand that stuff! Give me the real milk any day.”
Hugh looked over at his two lovers and couldn’t hide his smile. “You should have eaten earlier, Kyler. Didn’t you get my note? Never mind, don’t answer. Come into the kitchen and I’ll get you some of my stew, which if I may say so myself is pretty darn good!”
“Hugh is absolutely right,” Patrick agreed, gently shoving Kyler off him. “You’re getting fat!”
“Then you should stop trying to force feed me,” Kyler pointed out with a mock glare.
Hugh held out his hand to Kyler. “Don’t listen to him. You still look hot to me.”
“At least someone has good taste.” Kyler stuck his tongue out at Patrick and followed Hugh into the kitchen.
Hugh went over to the stove and began to dish out some stew into a deep bowl. “I’ll microwave this, much faster. You look starved.”
“Yeah, I am rather hungry,” Kyler answered getting some bread and butter out and setting them on the table along with some cutlery.
Hugh stuck the dish into the microwave oven and while waiting, turned to ask. “Of course you should be hungry - it’s after eight o’clock already. So where on earth have you been Kyler? I got worried when I couldn’t get hold of you at all.”
“I’m sorry for being so late, Hugh. But at least I got a chance to call from the pay phone and leave a message about getting lost and running a bit late. The shortcut Travis was given to Spotted Lake proved unreliable.” Kyler clamped a hand over his mouth as he sat down at the table. He felt like kicking himself as he had intended to keep that information to himself.
Patrick, who was about to take a seat at the kitchen table as well, stopped short and Hugh whirled around to face the young man. Both Tops simultaneously towered over Kyler, eyes pinning him still.
“Excuse me? Where did you say you went?”
“What did you say? You went to Spotted Lake?”
“Ah, yeah. I thought I told you that. I must have forgotten to mention it.” Kyler chuckled nervously and tried to shrug off the activity as trivial.
Hugh and Patrick exchanged a quick look and both shook their heads to indicate neither had known about Kyler’s plan.
“Eat,” Hugh ordered crisply as he placed the steaming dish down in front of Kyler. “And then we are going to talk.”
Kyler’s appetite suddenly waned as his stomach tightened. He took a small bite out of the slice of bread he had buttered and picked up his spoon. He hoped to at least win brownie points for eating his supper.
Patrick sat opposite Kyler and watched the young man spoon stew into his mouth with less gusto than would have been expected. “Why, stew no good?” he asked sombrely although his tone was teasing.
“It’s okay,” Kyler mumbled into his bowl, ignoring the gentle jibe.
Hugh poured a glass of milk and brought it over to the table. He pushed the glass over to Kyler, and then reached out to ruffle Kyler’s hair at the same time saying quite firmly, “Finish up the stew. Hurry up please.”
Kyler failed in his attempt to eat faster, but eventually only his drink remained. When the bowl was finally empty Hugh waited till Kyler had taken a sip of the milk before he started speaking. “All right Kyler. Now would you care to tell us why you went to Spotted Lake?”
“After I found myself home alone, I went down the street for a coffee and met up with Travis. You know the new assistant postmaster; the guy whose partner teaches music at the high school. Seems we were both at loose ends and when Travis told me he was going to that lake I asked if I could go with him.”
“Why?” Hugh demanded.
Kyler blinked at the suddenness of the question. “Cause I’ve never seen it before, but had heard it’s really beautiful.”
“Honey, you know very well Spotted Lake is off limits to the general public.” Patrick shook his head at the contrite young man.
“I thought we’d stop by the roadside and only study it from the lookout point that’s erected there for sightseers. It wasn’t at all like we’d expected; kinda colourless with just a bunch of odd-shaped circles because of the overcast skies. We thought if we got down closer it would look better, but it didn’t.” Kyler’s expression clearly showed his disappointment.
“Well It’s private property,” Patrick said. “Owned by The First Nations. You really shouldn’t have been there, Ky.”
“Wasn’t there some kind of fencing around the lake? To prevent trespassers?” Hugh asked with a frown. “Not to mention signage to warn people off?”
“Yes, there was a sign,” Kyler answered reluctantly but truthfully. “But we figured that was for the tourists in summertime, not for a couple of guys in the middle of winter. And it wasn’t much of a fence anyway.”
Patrick sat up straighter. “You climbed over it? Kyler ...”
Hugh sighed with displeasure. “That much is obvious. Darling, why this sudden fascination with Spotted Lake? What’s the attraction?”
“Like I said, I’d heard it was beautiful because of all the chemicals coming from the ground below it. I guess that is only so in the summer though. And I do know how some people feel about it and that it is supposed to have healing powers of some sort. We weren’t gonna damage anything; we just wanted to see it up close.”
“Your desire to see the lake does not override the fact that this is considered sacred ground by the First Nations! There is a fence around the property for a reason. The authorities put up signage for a purpose. What possessed you to ignore all these reminders and precautions and to simply trespass into private property?”
When Hugh lectured and questioned like that, there was an awful lot a person could offer in response.
“I hadn’t planned to; it just kind of happened.” Kyler had no intention of admitting that he’d just been following along rather than take a chance on being called a chicken. He glanced at Patrick for support.
Patrick shook his head again, for once unwilling to help. “No Kyler, this is not acceptable and I agree with Hugh whole heartedly. I am very disappointed.”
Kyler’s head dropped and his shoulders slumped as he fought back tears. He hated having his Tops disappointed in him, especially Patrick who was the easier-going of the two.
“Is that why you didn’t answer my calls?” Hugh asked.
“Huh?” Kyler was momentarily confused until he remembered why he hadn’t answered. “I never received any calls because we had no reception. We found that out when we tried to call home ourselves.”
“All right, so you weren’t ignoring my calls. But couldn’t you have called me when you started your journey back? Didn’t you see my missed calls then?”
“Ah, well you see…it ah, kinda fell in the lake.” Kyler grimaced when he thought of his Tops’ possible reaction to that tidbit of news.
“Into the lake?” Patrick looked quite shocked. “You dropped your phone into the lake?”
Hugh’s head jerked up. “Is that why you were damp when you came in? Tell me you did NOT go into the lake.”
“Sort of; but I didn’t actually drop my cellphone. I was frustrated because I couldn’t get it to work and was giving it a shake when it flew out of my hand and landed in the water. I only had to take a couple of steps into the lake to get it out. I removed the battery right away and wiped it off on my shirt. I haven’t tried it again yet so I don’t know if it’s working or not.” Kyler looked from one of the older men to the other and felt a need to exonerate himself. “It’s a new cell; I couldn’t just leave it there, for Pete’s sake!”
Patrick threw his head back and sighed loudly. “Kyler, Kyler ... what were you even thinking .... it’s January for crying out loud!... “He seemed at a loss of words.
Kyler pushed away his unfinished milk and let out a low groan. “The fact that it has warmed up some doesn’t cut it, huh?”
The look he got from both Tops shut him up quite effectively. Patrick glanced at Hugh and seemed to ask ‘what next?’ Hugh returned the look without giving away any hints of his thoughts. After a moment, Hugh got up and began to clear the dishes and placed them in the sink.
“So can we talk about something else now? Maybe we can return to the conversation we were having this morning if this one is over.” Kyler hoped introducing another topic would provide the opportunity to escape today’s adventure unscathed.
Hugh turned and came to stand behind Kyler’s chair. He leaned down and planted a kiss on his Brat’s head. “Nope - this is certainly not over, babe. There are a few facts we need to establish and deal with before we can call it a night.”
Patrick sat quietly, letting Hugh take the lead. He usually tended to be more relaxed and forgiving of their Brat’s escapades but this was one time he felt Kyler had really overstepped his boundaries. Patrick held a time-honoured respect for the natives of his country and he took the protection and preservation of the sacred ground in a serious light.
Kyler’s brow creased in thought as he tried to determine what his older his partner had in mind when Hugh voiced his request.
“Patrick, can you please fetch a pen and some writing paper?” Hugh asked.
Patrick nodded. “Sure.”
‘Damn it,’ Kyler silently swore. ‘I so don’t feel up to writing lines.’ He put his head down on folded arms to keep his thoughts hidden. Both his Tops were rather adept at reading his facial expressions, especially negative ones.
When Patrick put the writing material down in front of Kyler, Hugh continued. “Write down all the things you think you shouldn’t have done today, Kyler. Let’s see if you regard this little adventure of yours at the same level of gravity as Patrick and me.”
Kyler pulled the items closer and clicked the ball-point pen a few times. “I’m sure I was doing fine when I first went out. I did leave a note after all,” he facetiously reminded them before buckling down to the task at hand. ‘I better keep this as short as possible.’ He wisely kept that thought to himself.
“I should have called before we left town to let you guys know where we were going,” he spoke slowly as he wrote it down.
“Getting lost wasn’t really our fault,” he looked up and received nods of agreement.
“Now I’m getting into dangerous territory,” he griped under his breath as he continued his list.
“What’s next, Kyler?” Hugh prompted when Kyler hesitated.
“Next, I shouldn’t have climbed the fence and trespassed on private land.” He paused to think if he’d done anything else he might not have had he thought it over first.
“Good, go on,” Hugh encouraged.
“Guess I shouldn’t have gone in the lake to fetch my cell either, huh?”
“Guess I shouldn’t have gone splashing about in the lake to fetch my cell either, huh?” The expressions on the older men’s faces men had Kyler hastily writing down his third offence.
“I am in trouble for putting my feet in the oven?” he artlessly enquired.
Patrick kept his face straight as Hugh responded. “We’ll let that pass, but you don’t use the oven for anything other than baking, got it?”
“Anything else, Kyler?” Hugh’s voice held a certain warning tone which made Kyler tense up. “Think.”
Kyler’s frown showed his confusion. “Nothing else comes to mind, Hugh.”
“Are you sure? When I asked you why you were damp, what did you say?”
“I told you I had slipped in the snow.”
“And is that not a lie?”
“Not exactly! I really did slide most the way down to the lake and fell a time or two on the way back up. But I never fell in the lake. I mostly only got my feet wet.” Kyler paused and took in the raised eyebrows and matching looks of expectation on the older men’s faces. “Okay, so maybe a bit of water got on my clothes but not much.”
Patrick peered at the sheet of paper and shook his head. “Kyler, I don’t want to add to your woes but I have to say that sounds awfully like telling us only a half of a story - and that you well know constitutes a lie! Just so we are clear, Hugh and I cannot always ask questions to cover every little bit of what has happened and it is up to you to tell us. Truthfully and completely. Isn’t that right Hugh?”
“Absolutely! Well said Patrick.”
Kyler’s nod indicated his acceptance of what had been said and he took the writing pad back from Patrick. He read over his own list and the growing burden of guilt caused him to add more.
“I lied by omission,” he sadly murmured as he wrote the words. He paused for a moment before adding one final act of thoughtlessness. “I needlessly worried my partners.”
Watching him write the last sentence, the two Tops shared a private smile.
“Thank you.” Hugh said. He then turned Kyler’s face around and gave his cheek a small pinch, with more affection than anything else. “Now let’s get this over with.”
Kyler lay contentedly sprawled on his stomach between his two partners. His backside was still a little too tender to put a lot of pressure on it for any length of time and there was a lot they had to talk about.
Last night, once they had laid to rest the poor choices that had led to his misadventures both Tops had taken him upstairs and fussed over him in a way which had more than made up for the sting in his bottom. Hugh had meted out a more than adequate spanking, and to Kyler’s surprise Patrick had followed up with a few firm swats of his own. That was most unusual as Patrick had never added to Hugh’s punishments in the past and that only spoke volumes for Patrick’s feelings on this incident. Patrick’s swats however had not been particularly hard and would not have hurt nearly as much had they not been applied to an already extremely sore bottom. Still it was what Kyler had come to expect in the lifestyle they had jointly agreed to share. Kyler was at least honest enough to admit that he’d most likely feel out of his depth if his partners weren’t willing to occasionally help him keep his feet on the ground and his head out of the clouds.
As he lay there in the quietness of the dawn, Kyler felt a wave of possessiveness sweep over him. Here were the two men he loved most in his life and he wanted so badly to have something tangible to link them together. As a family unit. Since the law forbade them the legal recognition, he had to find some other way to prove their commitment to one another.
Kyler shifted restlessly as his mind drifted once again to yesterday’s unfinished discussion involving their having a commitment ceremony. It would not be the same as a civil marriage but it was better than nothing. He wondered if the topic had crossed either of his partners’ minds yesterday and came to the conclusion that it probably hadn’t. It sure hadn’t entered his and he had been the one to bring up the subject in the first place.
Well, now was as good a time as any to re-introduce it.
Lifting his head and holding it in his hands, Kyler unrelentingly ventured forth. “So guys, what are the chances of us having a commitment ceremony this spring?” He smirked at the unenthusiastic groans that emanated from his still half-asleep lovers.
“Why are you this chirpy so early darling?” Patrick murmured, pulling Kyler closer to his body.
“Can we have this conversation when we are awake, babe?” Hugh grunted.
“Come on now, it takes time to make plans for one of these events. It’s not gonna happen on its’ own.”
Both Tops sighed but neither made any movement or response. Patrick just turned his face into Kyler’s shoulder and Hugh buried his in his pillow. Staring impatiently at his immobile lovers, Kyler inched over and slowly began tickling first Patrick and then Hugh, totally ignoring their demands to cease or else.
“STOP!” Hugh ordered, sitting up suddenly and grabbing the young man. He pulled Kyler easily over to his side, away from Patrick. “I said stop, Brat!” he ordered and landed a sharp slap on Kyler’s bum. And when Kyler opened his mouth to protest, Hugh leaned back and pulled Kyler with him, placing him on his side away from Patrick.
Kyler squirmed in an attempt to get away. “Let me go, Hugh!” His demand fell on deaf ears.
Without a word Hugh threw a massive thigh over Kyler’s hip and pinned him under his greater weight, effectively imprisoning him within his arms. “Stay put now and don’t move. It’s not even light yet outside. Quiet now!”
Patrick reached out across Hugh’s body and softly ruffled Kyler’s hair and patted what part of him he could find. “Be a good boy Ky. And later when I am awake, I will explain to you why we don’t have serious conversations at seven on a Sunday morning.”
Kyler exhaled a loud sigh of feigned resentment, but nevertheless nestled contentedly against the older of his two lovers and was soon fast asleep.
An hour and a half later, Hugh felt something warm move against his groin. It was very pleasant and he smiled with his eyes still shut. When the movement stopped, Hugh cracked open an eye. Kyler was sound asleep in his arms, his head resting on Hugh’s muscular chest and his butt trapped in between Hugh’s thighs. Hugh let his eyes close as he dreamily slid his hand down to Kyler’s hip and stroked him. That brought a moan to Kyler’s lips and the young man unconsciously moved again, his backside squirming into Hugh’s already semi-hard cock.
Hugh sighed with contentment and let his hand drop down to the front of Kyler’s pyjamas. He held the soft appendage for a moment, and then gently squeezed. It didn’t take long before Kyler’s cock was erect. Coming fully awake, Kyler jerked his hips to pump his straining erection into Hugh’s large hand.
Hugh’s hands were strong as he held Kyler immobile. “Don’t move,” he whispered into Kyler’s ears. “Let me do it.” His hands quickly removed Kyler’s pyjamas, followed by a slow exploration of the familiar body in front of him. One hand moved to cup Kyler’s naked right buttock before a finger slid in between the butt cheeks. It wormed its way in until it found the tiny puckered opening.
Kyler softly moaned and he couldn’t help himself from moving his hips back onto the probing digit.
“Can you reach the lube baby?” Hugh said softly as he kicked off his own pants.
Easily locating the requested item, Kyler quickly unscrewed the top and squeezed a bit on his lover’s hand. Once Hugh had managed to get some lube on his finger, he brought it back down and began to probe his young lover. Without too much difficulty, his finger found the spot and slid in.
Kyler’s moans of pleasure grew louder as his panting increased and he found it harder to stay still.
“Hush, soft and easy baby. Patrick is still asleep.” Hugh added another finger and continued to slide both slowly in and out of Kyler until he felt Kyler’s muscles relax. “Move your legs a bit babe,” Hugh instructed. “Yes, like that. Ready?”
He positioned Kyler and then himself, half lying on his side. His fully erect cock was pointing at Kyler’s opening. Kyler reached one hand behind him and grabbed one cheek to allow Hugh easier access. Hugh squeezed his buttock muscles and pushed as the tight muscle ring slowly expanded to accommodate his girth. He let out a deep breath as he slid all the way inside. He made Kyler lean back against him and they both stopped all movement for a while, simply enjoying the feeling of being so intimately connected.
“Can a guy get in on some of the action?” a sleepy voice sounded from the other side of the bed.
“Why not?” Kyler giggled his response. “It’s one for all and all for one.”
Hugh turned his head to look at Patrick. “Wanna come in from behind?”
Patrick’s eyes opened wider and he grinned. “Pass the lube.”
Kyler loved it when they all made love together. In some respects being a threesome might involve more work, especially in ensuring that no one felt left-out. But the benefits more than made up for it. With the discovery of how versatile they could be, their three-way sex had proved to be incredibly liberating, amazingly exhilarating and surprisingly intimate. Their individual sexual creativity and potential guaranteed them many hours of bedroom fun.
Kyler pulled a casual shirt and slacks out of the closet and tossed them onto the bed. He’d been told to dress up because they were going out to eat at the Trillium Inn and everyday clothing would just not do. It wasn’t a special occasion or anything; just a last minute decision to do something exciting after spending the afternoon doing mundane household chores.
Half an hour later, they were led to the table that had been reserved for them. They made their choices from the menu, the candle in front of them was glowing and their crystal glasses were filled with ice water.
While running his finger lightly over the condensation forming on the side of his glass, Kyler glanced around the large room. He recognized a number of patrons which included the Pierce family. It was an all-male family that consisted of two gay couples; the older couple being the parents of one of the younger men. Seeing them reminded Kyler of the conversation he’d been meaning to bring up again since its derailment yesterday morning.
“What’s on your mind now?” Patrick asked with a half-smile on his lips. He could pick out Kyler’s mood without too much difficulty these days. So could Hugh. They had come a long way during their soon-to-be three years together.
Leaning forward, Kyler pointed out the family to his partners. “The Pierce men are as unlikely a set as you can get but they sure make a happy looking group, don’t they?”
Hugh and Patrick exchanged a quick look.
“Yes, they do,” Patrick responded. “And so do we, wouldn’t you agree?”
“Sure I do,” Kyler assured him with an emphatic nod. “Both couples are married and seeing them just reminded me that we’re not. We were going to talk about that, remember. Or have you forgotten?”
“No, of course we haven’t forgotten,” Patrick answered at once.
“So even though we can’t get legally married, don’t you think a commitment ceremony would be nice?”
Hugh’s voice was gentle but firm when he answered. “The commitment is in what we do every day. It is in the way partners treat each other, not in some one time fancy occasion.”
Patrick saw Kyler’s crestfallen face and interjected. “I don’t think that is what Kyler means, Hugh. Is it, Ky?”
“No. I understand what you mean, Hugh, about it being an everyday type of thing. But I think a ceremony makes it kinda special and leaves memories of a very important day in a person’s life. Of course, if you’ve got something against the institution of marriage….” Kyler left the rest of his sentence hanging.
“You are wrong, honey. I don’t have anything against marriage. I just don’t see why it matters so much. I am not putting it down – I just don’t see the need for myself and my partner, well partners now, to go through that ceremony. Patrick and I discussed this subject many years ago when our relationship began to turn serious and we agreed we would not need to prove our relationship in any way, even if gay marriage was legalized.”
Hugh turned to Patrick, who was smiling warmly at him. “Right, honey?”
Patrick reached out and gave Hugh’s hand a quick squeeze, then as quickly withdrew. It was too public a place for any show of affection but he could not resist that little gesture. “Absolutely! And let me just say this for the record. In all this time, I have never once needed to have our union legalized. I am happy the way we are. However,” he turned his eyes towards Kyler. “Since we’ve never discussed this subject with you, we don’t really know how you feel and we certainly do not expect you to feel the same way as us - and more importantly its all right to be different. Do you understand, Kyler?”
Hugh too was looking at Kyler intently. Their young partner appeared to be mulling things over and didn’t seem ready to respond yet.
Patrick then shifted to directly face Kyler. “Marriage isn’t the end all and be all for every couple, honey. Take Hugh and me for instance, we’re both content just being together. Nothing more was needed. In a way it meant more to me. It showed we didn’t need a licence or any form of legality to bind us together. We stayed because we wanted to, not because we had to.”
“I’ve seen enough break-ups and divorces to know it does not mean a thing.” Hugh’s eyes were sombre. “You can have all the ceremony and signatures in the world, and yet it will not help you stay together if either party has stopped trying.”
Kyler slowly nodded as his understanding of their words became clearer. He thought over the various aspects of their relationship and realized the truth that was evident in everything the older men said. Their day-to-day conduct along with their love and respect for each other not only proved their commitment, but also cemented it.
He smiled brightly as an idea took hold. “Hmm, kind of like ‘different strokes for different folks, huh? Sooo, maybe instead of spending a lot of money on an unnecessary party to prove something that doesn’t have to be proven, we can do something else with it. Like a special holiday or trip to celebrate our third anniversary in a few months.”
“Should we tell him now?” Hugh asked Patrick, with a sly glance at Kyler.
“I think this is as good a time as ever,” Patrick replied.
Kyler glanced suspiciously from one partner to the other. “You guys been keeping secrets?” he teasingly accused.
“Well, Hugh and I have been planning a surprise for you. Do you wanna hear it?” Patrick asked.
“Of course I do!” Kyler bounced in his seat and reached over to lightly punch Patrick on the arm, almost knocking over his water glass in the process.
“Settle down honey, people are looking our way,” Hugh admonished but he was smiling in a way that belied his sternness. “Patrick, did you bring it?”
“I sure did,” Patrick said as he brought out a long envelope with a colourful design. “There you go honey. I hope you like what we’ve planned.”
Kyler accepted the thin package and closely examined the outside, hoping that the logo matched the contents. “Is this for real?”
“Look inside – you’ll find out if it is.”
Hugh and Patrick waited with bated breath while Kyler spilled the contents onto the table.
“It’s a match!” Kyler joyously exclaimed as he picked up the brochure that read ‘Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’. Accompanying it were three tickets for a 14-night all-inclusive Transatlantic Eastbound Cruise. For several moments he was spellbound as he looked over the papers. “Wow, this is so awesome,” he murmured, momentarily overwhelmed.
Kyler’s obvious delight was infectious and his joy made his Tops smile.
“We haven’t taken a proper vacation in years,” Patrick said, suddenly sounding almost as excited as Kyler. “It’s about time we did something spectacular.”
“That’s right!” Hugh reached out and placed his palms briefly over each of his partners’ hands. “Can you just imagine it? ... a whole two weeks all to ourselves. What do you say?”
“I said this is really awesome.” Kyler’s blue eyes were sparkling. “It’s gonna be sooo hard to wait until May first.”
It was their second day out to sea and the three men were lazily lounging on the sun deck, soaking up the sun. After about an hour Hugh and Patrick, who were on both sides of Kyler, exchanged a look, nodded and stood up.
“Come on, Ky, its too hot now. Let’s go back to our room, shall we?” Patrick held out a hand and winked.
Kyler didn’t need another sign to quickly scramble up and follow his partners down the stairs into the narrow corridor. Together, they made their way back to their cabin. When they arrived, Hugh opened the door and went in first. He looked around and smiled at the bottle of champagne which he had ordered earlier sitting in an ice bucket.
“What’s that? Champagne?” Kyler asked, his eyes round with surprise.
Hugh grinned while Patrick headed directly to his suitcase and pulled a small item out of it.
“What’s going on?” Kyler asked, looking from one partner to another.
Patrick looked at Hugh and seeing his nod, opened his palm to reveal the item. It was a small velvet jewellery box which he handed to Kyler, who just stared at it in bewilderment.
“Sweetheart, open the box.”
Kyler turned over the small box and obediently opened it to discover three gold rings nestled inside. “Three for three, huh?”
“Yes, one for each of us.” Hugh too peered into the box and watched as the sunlight streaming through the porthole sparkled on the contents. “Do you like them, Kyler?”
“They’re beautiful!” Kyler barely managed to breathe out.
“We got this made a few weeks ago,” Patrick said as he carefully picked up one of the rings and took hold of Kyler’s left hand and then gingerly slipped the ring into his finger. “Fits?”
“Perfectly! Thank you so much, guys.”
“Great. Now you take this one,” Patrick instructed as he indicated the bigger of the two rings left in the box, “and put it on for Hugh.”
Hugh obligingly held out his hand as Kyler performed the simple act. “Thanks darling. And now it’s my turn I guess.” He picked up the remaining ring and solemnly slipped it into Patrick’s finger and smiled at his two lovers.
“I hope you are not too disappointed, Kyler,” Hugh said, as he pulled the younger man closer for a quick kiss. “I know you wanted a proper ceremony ...”
“I know I did,” Kyler interrupted. “But this is sooo much better. There is a lot to be said for privacy, you know,” he assured both his partners
“I couldn’t agree more darling.”
“Now we are all committed to one another, in every way possible. May the circle never end,” Patrick said gravely.
“Amen to that,” Kyler quickly concurred before throwing his arms around both of them. “I love you both so much. I can’t imagine what my life would be like had you not let me become part of a threesome. No commitment ceremony could ever hold a candle to this private one we’ve just shared.” Kyler’s voice rang with heart-felt sincerity.