OC’s: Ned visiting with Liam
Thank you, Brad, for lending me Liam, and for beta’ing to make sure I kept him the way you see him.
“I am never going to subject myself to something like this again!” Ned hotly declared as he roughly placed several bags on the counter. “I need a stiff drink,” he grumbled as he stomped towards the living room where he knew a well-stocked bar was maintained. He poured a shot of whisky into a glass and swallowed it in one gulp; then poured himself another with plans to drink it a lot slower.
“A little early in the day for that, isn’t it?” came the low-spoken inquiry just beyond his right shoulder.
“Considering the circumstances; definitely not!” Ned turned to face his partner. “I’m never going grocery shopping with that man again and you can’t make me!” he belligerently proclaimed. The raised eyebrow had him rethinking that statement and blushing. Flynn was not just his life-partner; he was also his Dom and Top. “Okay, you actually can. But it would be unfair.”
The older man chuckled. He knew Ned would vehemently deny the pout now gracing his handsome face, so he didn’t bother mentioning it. “Bring your glass over here where we can sit down while you share this horrific experience you’ve just endured.”
Ned felt like sticking his tongue out at the teasing remark, but fortunately thought better of it “You have no idea how picky he is,” he began his list of complaints and took another sip of his drink before grimacing at the other man, who was waiting patiently for him to continue. “He closely examines ever single item, regardless of what it is. I suggested he buy some of the fruits and veggies already in plastic bags, but he insisted on buying them all separately. And of course that was only after he’d examined each one individually. I think I would have hit him had he started doing that with the grapes.” Ned finished off his drink and looked pleadingly at his partner. “You wouldn’t really make me go with him again, would you?”
“No, you’re safe. But only because I think you actually learned something on this trip.”
“Liam’s only concern is to serve his master as best he can. He showed you that proper preparation of meals starts with the careful selection of ingredients.”
Ned muttered reply of ‘yeah, right’ had Flynn laughing. His merriment was cut short by the brief appearance of his best friend.
“Belvedere is here, Flynn,” Emerson announced. “I guess we better not keep him waiting as our meeting is probably going to last longer than any of us would like. I’ll just go let Liam know.”
“Budget consultation,” Flynn answered Ned’s unspoken question. “Go see if you can assist Liam, and take that glass out to the kitchen with you.”
Ned waited for the older men to leave before following his partner’s directives.
“Looks like we’re on our own, kid. Can you use any help putting that stuff away?”
“No thanks, Ned. I got it. It was fun having someone accompanying me with my errands.” Liam didn’t quite succeed at hiding his grin. He was fully aware of how much Ned had hated following him around the stores. “I’m going to get a start on our evening meal. You can help with that if you like.”
“Not on your life, or mine for that matter. You should be grateful for my just watching and staying out of your way because I’m a disaster waiting to happen when I’m in the kitchen.”
“Don’t you cook at all?”
“You don’t even help by peeling veggies or something simple like that?”
“Not if I can avoid it! It isn’t even particularly safe to let me boil water. Fact is; Flynn doesn’t let me in our kitchen without supervision. Although he does admit I do a mean take-out.”
The last comment had both men chuckling as Liam put away the few remaining groceries, leaving on the counter those he needed for the upcoming meal.
“I’ll be back in a sec,” Liam informed his friend. He returned carrying a bottle of Grand Marnier.
“What’s that for?”
“The chocolate mousse. It’s for dessert. My Master really likes it.”
Ned stood back and watched, practically salivating, while Liam melted half a dozen semi-sweet chocolate squares and then added some heavy cream and the liqueur, beating it until thick and creamy. Fluffy eggs whites, powdered sugar and whipping cream got added before the mixture was transferred to a bowl and refrigerated.
“For garnishing the mousse after it sits for a couple of hours,” Liam explained when asked what the chocolate shavings he was making would be used for.
Next a beef tenderloin was seasoned and browned on all sides, then set aside to cool. Finely chopped mushrooms and shallots were sautéed and also set aside.
“How come you’re making that? I thought you were having that pudding stuff for dessert,” Ned inquired when he saw what looked like pie crust being prepared.
“This is a puff pastry for the Beef Wellington. Hope you like asparagus, because that’s the veggie I’m serving along with roasted fingerling potatoes and herbs.”
“Why do I have to like it?”
“Master informed me that both you and Flynn would be staying for supper.”
“Right on!” was Ned’s exuberant reaction.
The pastry was rolled out and the mushroom mixture spread on top. Then the cooled tenderloin was placed in the middle and skilfully wrapped up with the overlapping parts being held together with beaten egg. The pastry-encased beef was then set on a heavy baking sheet and the top of the pastry decoratively scored with the dull side of a knife.
Ned let out a low whistle of admiration. “Wow, that’s beautiful! You must really like messing about with this fancy type of stuff. Flynn wishes I’d learn to cook, but he’s doomed for disappointment if he ever expects anything this grand.”
“Is making you go shopping with me part of his evil plan to get you helping him with your meals?” Liam lightly teased.
“Yeah, but it didn’t work.”
“Is he going to make you come with me again?”
“No, even though he could if he really wanted to,” Ned bluntly admitted. “And if I refused, I’d be in hot water up to my eyeballs; well, at least up to my rear end.”
Liam popped the baking sheet into the preheated oven, quietly closed the door and set the timer. An expression of deep thought settled on the younger man’s face. “You know, I still haven’t figured out why some of us are contented with someone else telling us what to do. And not just telling us, but punishing us when we disobey. This ‘we’re wired that way’ isn’t really that much of a help.” He set about washing up dirty dishes and putting them away.
“And you’re sure you want to know why, huh?” Ned chuckled at the animated nod from the man tidying up his work area. “Then I guess I’ll just have to tell you,” was his response to his friend’s request. He sent Liam an infectious grin and received one back in return. Ned was always glad to help with the younger man’s edification. ‘But,’ he silently pondered, ‘what is the best way to go about answering the kid?’
“You know there are others who cook as well as you, but I double many of them are as obsessively neat as you are,” Ned commented flippantly. “Think you might find time to sit down for a spell?” Ned asked as he fetched cans of pop out of the refrigerator for himself and Liam.
“Sure, if you don’t mind giving me a couple of minutes to set the table first.”
“No prob,” Ned responded as he set the cold drinks on the table and followed his friend into the dining room. He leaned against the door jam and watched as Liam worked, amazed at how effortlessly the younger man performed his self-assigned task. His eyes widened almost in awe as Liam folded a linen napkin in four, turned down top three layers and made a pocket to slip cutlery into. “Wow, that’s beautiful. Culinary school, right?”
“You got it!” Liam grabbed Ned’s sleeve on the way out of the dining room. “I’m ready to take a break and listen to you now, but don’t ramble on too much because I still have lots to do.” He pushed Ned into a chair before sitting down himself and resting his elbow on the table with his chin cupped in his hand.
For several moments the older of the two men unconsciously tapped the pull tab against the cold can he had just opened.
“Okay, I can’t speak for anyone but myself with any certainty. You understand that, right?” Getting an enthusiastic nod, Ned took a deep breath and plunged in. “I’m pretty sure my needs go back to my childhood and upbringing,” he started out. “Ya see, both my parents had alpha personalities; both were officers in the military. I grew up with a strictly upheld set of boundaries. Don’t get me wrong. My folks weren’t mean or harsh. They were always loving and fair, although there may have been a few times when I might not have thought so,” he admitted. His voice was low and had a ring of reminiscence to it.
Liam was all ears as he sat quietly listening. Aside from his Master’s, he had never heard details relating to anyone else’s background.
“I’ve sometimes wondered how two such strong, got-it-together type folks ended up with a unruly, indecisive kid like me. If they ever guessed I was gay, they never mentioned it. Probably because I didn’t even admit it to myself until after they were both gone. Somehow though, I don’t think they’d have minded. Although they may have had trouble getting their minds around me living the actual lifestyle I’ve chosen.”
Ned stopped to take a drink before continuing. “I was in my first year university when my dad was deployed for the last time. He was killed in an IED incident. My mom never got over it and started drinking. She died a year later in a single vehicle crash. She was killed by a drunk driver. At least she was the only one involved in the accident. I didn’t mind her drinking and I sure as hell didn’t mind her driving. I just wish she hadn’t done both at the same time.” Ned hung his head and breathed deeply to get his emotions under control.
Liam shifted uncomfortably. Due to his lack of people skills, he was unsure of what if anything was expected of him. He just knew his friend still felt the pain of losing his parents even though it had happens several years ago. He reached out to gently place a hand on Ned’s arm and softly repeated something he’d heard on TV. “I’ve very sorry for your loss, Ned.”
“Thanks, kid. I’m okay. But I wasn’t for a while back then. I left school, which wasn’t much of a loss as I’d never been able to decide what I wanted to become anyway. I began living the free-life, easily going through what had been a substantial inheritance in a few short years. I dabbled in drugs, mostly prescription meds and pot. Oh, and I started fighting….a lot. I even participated in those covert fight clubs you hear about. But what really sucked me in was the BDSM lifestyle a couple of my friends introduced me to. Hell, the first time Flynn saw me he thought the Dom I was with had given me the bruises I was sporting one night. Man, he was even more pissed when he learned the truth, which wasn’t until sometime later.”
Ned grinned at the shocked expression on Liam’s face. “I ran the gamut where BDSM clubs are concerned but eventually ended up only coming here to Em’s. Mind you, it still belonged to the old man back then. I wasn’t always careful with the Doms I chose. One in particular kinda dropped the ball where after-care was concerned. Good came out of it though. It was how Flynn and I ended up together.”
Chuckling at the memories he was about to share, Ned carried on. “One evening, that Dom I just referred to, left me once again to fend for myself. Flynn stepped in because he knew I was in no condition to make it home on my own. He took me to a back room and helped me come down safely. When I finally regain some sense of normalcy, we had a long, long talk. Flynn didn’t hold anything back. He told me exactly what he suspected, what he wanted and what he thought I needed. He said he’d never met anyone so pigheaded and hell-bent on shortening their life. Of course I argued and contradicted just about every word he uttered. He told me he wouldn’t be surprised if I could start a fight in an empty room and that I was in need of a sound walloping. It was at that moment my mind took a hike and my mouth went into overdrive by boldly challenging him with ‘if you think you’re the man for the job, give it your best shot’. Well, he was and he did.”
Liam’s eyes widened in disbelief and he swallowed audibly. He opened his mouth to speak but was unable to utter a single word. He merely gasped.
Ned burst out laughing. “Shit, was I ever shocked to find out how much it hurt. It felt like someone was using a flame thrower on my rear end. He hit a lot harder than my dad ever had. But then again, I was a grown man and he had a point to get across. Much later our discussion continued with me somewhat mellowed out and sitting on a very sore butt. Flynn asked me if I’d consider being his sub and maybe eventually becoming his partner. I secretly admitted to myself that I was attracted to the guy and so I accepted his offer. Over the next month or so, we worked out a lot of what we expected from each other.”
Finishing off his pop, Ned resumed telling his story. “I discovered I really wanted Flynn’s help to overcome my drug problem and my tendency to fight at the drop of a hat. I also discovered what a terrific Dom he is. One able to take me to heights I’d never been before. Unfortunately, it took a great deal longer for me to learn to make the proper choices that met the standards we’d set up for ourselves as a couple. I’ll give you an example. You and Em have been together for several months now, right? And how many times have you actually been spanked by your master?”
Liam blushed with embarrassment. He wasn’t anywhere near as comfortable about answering questions as he was about asking them, but figured it was only fair that he reciprocated. “Ah, three times.”
“Hell, I was spanked that many times in the first week Flynn and I were together.” Ned laughed uproariously at the look of disbelief that crossed Liam’s face. “It’s not like that anymore. I sort of have to admit to being a slow-learner back then, and I’m still definitely a pusher at times.”
“Yeah, I had to repeatedly make sure Flynn had staying power; that he’d keep his promises to help me. Oh man, when I push I don’t just poke tentatively at the restrictions. No sir, figuratively speaking I have to take a run and throw myself at them. And the results are always the same. I seem to kind of ricochet off the boundaries and land flat on my back, gasping in shock at what I’d just done…again. Then I inevitable find myself over Flynn’s lap and him proving once more that he is there for me. Of course, I don’t do it as much now as I did in the beginning. Somewhere along the road, I cleverly figured out he really is true to his word.”
“Do you ever resent him for punishing you?”
Ned didn’t have to give his answer much thought. He vehemently shook his head. “Never! In fact, I’d probably resent him if he didn’t. Although, I doubt that crosses my mind when my butt is being set on fire.” He frowned as he paused for a moment to study his friend. “Liam, do you have any resentment towards Em?”
“Not at all!” Liam was every bit as vehement in his denial as Ned had been. “But I used to really resent someone else,” he quietly added, unaware of clenching his hand and crushing the empty can he was still holding.
“Let me guess. Luther, right?” Ned grunted at the expression of disbelief that crossed Liam’s face. “I overheard Em talking to Flynn last month when Luther and Miles spent Christmas here. He certainly sounded pissed off after learning about your past connection with those two.” Ned leaned forward and grasped Liam’s arm, giving it a gentle shake. “You have every reason to hold some resentment. Hell, you have every reason to hold a lot of resentment. I sure would. Luther is a miserable bastard. He was definitely disliked by the subs who came to the club. None of us could believe it when Miles partnered up with him. I guess it’s true what they say about ‘there’s no accounting for taste’. I like Miles but was still glad to see them leave. You must have been relieved too.”
Liam merely nodded. He was unwilling to discuss the negative feelings he even now harboured where Luther was concerned.
Wanting to quickly change the subject, Ned zealously made an announcement. “Nobody knows, but Flynn has his own safe word.”
“I thought only subs had a safe word!” Liam was unable to contain his astonishment.
“Well there may be more than Flynn who do but I don’t know them. We’d been together for a couple of months when he decided he needed one. Blamed it on me getting too caught up in a scene and unreasonably trusting him to bring it to an end before harming me. I more often than not failed to use my own safe word, so if he feels a scene is a not to his liking and decides to stop when I want to keep going, he’ll call out his safe word. He also uses his when I’ve asked for something and he’s not prepared to discuss it. Trying to continue the conversation is done at my own peril.” Seeing the confusion on Liam’s face, Ned explained further. “I say he uses his safe word as a cop-out at times. He probably thinks I’d argue about stuff he considers off limits. For instance, I brought up branding once. Another time I kind of faked an interest in him using a bullwhip.”
“Did you really want either of those things?” Liam’s eyes narrowed with scepticism.
“NO!” Ned’s speedy response was emphatic. “I was just checking to see if he had ever contemplated either of them. Believe me, I was very happy to find out he was just as turned off by both ideas as I was.”
Any thought Liam had of furthering the conversation quickly faded as the oven buzzer sounded and immediately had him refocusing his attention on the meal he was preparing.
“Hmm, guess I better let you get back to work, huh?” It was a rhetorical question that had both men grinning.
“Thank you for answering me, Ned.”
“Hey, it would have been rude not to.”
“You could have easily politely refused,” Liam pointed out as he removed the meat dish from the oven and set it on the counter.
“And miss a chance to further your education? No way, my friend.”
“Well I own you….a lot.”
“Yeah, come to think of it; you do.” Ned pretended to give the idea some thought. “I have a way you can repay me. How about some cooking lessons? Only simple stuff though….very, very simple. And we don’t tell anyone so I can surprise Flynn, okay?”
“You’ve got yourself a deal. All you had to do was ask,” Liam said as they shook hands to seal the pact.
“Flynn and Em are here!” Ned unnecessarily declared at the sound of elevator doors opening and closing. He waved over his shoulder as he headed down the hall to greet his Dom.