Tired of waiting for TJ to pick-up their dry-cleaning, Glen decided to do it himself. The shop was only a few doors down from TJ’s pharmacy but seeing as he had been late leaving work the past two days, TJ had arrived both times at the dry-cleaners just after it closed.
“Good afternoon,” Glen pleasantly returned the clerk’s greeting. “I’m here to retrieve a couple of suits and a jacket that were dropped off the beginning of last week. Sorry for taking so long to come by,” he offered his apologies as he handed over the three ticket stubs.
“That’s okay,” the girl answered as she went to the back of the store, returning moments later with the plastic-covered garments. “These were found in one of the pockets,” she explained, handing over a white envelope.
“Thank you.” Glen slipped the envelope into his pocket, paid the bill and left with his cleaning hanging over his shoulder. Once in the car, he pulled out the envelope and opened it. He knew he had empted his pockets and had reminded TJ to do the same, so he couldn’t imagine what had been left behind.
He felt his blood pressure rising as he stared down at the two speeding tickets in his hand. His Brat had done it again.
TJ arrived home late as usual. ‘It’s becoming the story of my life,’ he thought as he entered the kitchen to find it empty. ‘Glen’s car is out there so how come supper hasn’t been started?’ He groaned when he spotted the dry-cleaned clothing hanging from a hook. ‘Damn it!’ Sometimes he wished for the ability to kick himself. But since that wasn’t a talent about to be acquired, he settled for walking down the hall in search of his husband. He found his man sitting on the leather sofa in the den and stood in the doorway for several moments studying the love of his life.
Glen had his arms stretched out on the back of the sofa, his head back and almost touching the wall. His feet were crossed on the scratched surface of the coffee table in front of him. His eyes were closed. If he knew of his partner’s presence, he gave no indication of it.
‘He looks tired,’ TJ thought. ‘Or is he just fed-up?’ Sadly shaking his head, he walked over and quietly sat down. He blanched when he saw the two speeding tickets sitting on the table next to Glen’s feet. ‘God, this day just keeps getting worse.’ He frowned as he re-thought that. ‘Or could it possibly be going to take a turn for the better. We’ll see.’
He reached out and placed a hand gently on Glen’s leg and gave it a slight shake. Eyes slowly opened and the two men spent a moment or two gazing intently at each other while the younger one chewed at his lower lip.
“Sorry for being late again,” TJ softly apologized, glad his dark skin hid the blush he could feel burning his cheeks.
“I trust you didn’t acquire another one of those.” Glen looked pointedly at the two pieces of paper they’d be discussing momentarily.
“I didn’t speed tonight, so no new tickets…honest,” TJ was quick to assure his partner.
Glen pulled TJ towards him and lovingly kissed his lips before asking, “Care to share the story behind those two.”
TJ sighed and reluctantly began his tale. “The first one was the night of your awards dinner. Even with all my advanced preparation, I still left the pharmacy later than I’d planned. Inventory glitches,” he offered by way of an excuse. “Needless to say, I was stopped by the OPP on the 400 just outside the city. I barely made it in time for the presentation and your acceptance speech.” TJ glowered at the memory.
“And the second one,” Glen encouraged.
“Kind of similar circumstances, except this time I was late for the monthly Chamber meeting.”
Glen leaned forward, picket up the two tickets and glanced over them. “A grand total of fifty miles over the speed limit; must be a new record for you, hummm?” He shook his head when TJ cringed. “So that means….”
The raised eyebrow let TJ know he was expected to finish the sentence. “I lose my driving privileges.”
“Exactly! And for all fifty days.”
“That’s ludicrous!” TJ screeched, sending even Glen’s heart rate soaring.
Glen sat back and closed his eyes. Would he ever get used to his Brat’s penchant for overdramatizing these types of situations? “It’s doable, TJ,” he reasoned once he’d calmed his ruffled nerves. “But right now we have the other part of your punishment to deal with. Can you tell me what that would be for?”
TJ’s shoulders slumped and his stomach tightened as he confessed the wrongdoing he felt most guilty about. “I kept it all hidden from you,” he murmured and hung his head.
No further words were spoken and none were needed. TJ stood up and slowly moved over to Glen’s left side. He undid his trousers, lowered them and his boxers to his knees, and reluctantly stretched himself over the older man’s thighs.
Glen’s hand fell and rose in a steady fashion until TJ was frantically squirming in an attempt to avoid the painful swats while tearfully vowing never to speed again.
Satisfied the message had sufficiently sunk in; Glen brought the spanking to an end and patiently waited for the other man to calm down. He soothingly rubbed circles over TJ’s back and crooned words of forgiveness.
It wasn’t long before TJ had settled enough to turn over and bury his head in his chastiser’s shoulder, seeking additional comfort.
“Do you want to talk now or in the morning, Love?” Glen asked as he gave his partner a reassuring squeeze.
“Not now,” TJ hitched. He was zoning out in the safe haven of his lover’s arms. The lump in the pit of his stomach had disappeared and the guilt that had been eating at him over the last three weeks was almost gone. He sighed deeply and snuggled even closer, knowing Glen would give him as much time as he needed in order to move on.
The next morning TJ stumbled down the stairs to the smell of fresh coffee and toast. He found Glen already at the kitchen table with a mug of coffee poised against his lips and his eyes glued to the daily paper in front of him.
TJ turned up the radio that was softly playing in the background to alert his partner to his presence. The younger man got a kick out of startling his Top. He laughed as a bit of coffee sloshed over the rim of the cup and onto the table.
Glen glared up at his partner but before he could begin scolding, he found his arms full of one rather exuberant Brat. This was not an unusual occurrence in their home the day after a spanking had been administered. As a rule, a guilt-free Brat was a happier one.
Smiling, Glen kissed the man cuddling on his lap and determinedly inquired, “Are you ready to talk yet?” Getting a muffled ‘uh-huh’ he suggested, “Then get some breakfast and join me here at the table.”
TJ lifted his head and grimaced slightly. “Think you can join me at the counter instead? I really prefer to eat standing up this morning. I’m still a little tender.”
Before the men could begin their conversation, Glen’s cell phone rang. TJ impatiently drummed his fingers while Glen checked to see who was calling.
“How come you didn’t answer?” TJ wanted to know.
“Because you’re more important, and I can just call that client later.”
TJ beamed even though he was aware of his partner having done this many times before. It always made him feel special and he silently berated himself for so often forgetting that fact. “Sooo, what do you want to talk about. I hope it’s about how I go without my car for almost two months.”
“We’ll certainly be covering that issue. You do realize the advantages to you establishing better habits where time management is concerned. I think my playing chauffeur for a while may help you accomplish that.”
“Are you going to be dictating how much time I spend at MY place of business?” TJ’s eyes narrowed.
“I am going to help you stick to the schedule you yourself have set up. You’re working longer hours than you need to and aside from arriving late at various events, you are also getting over-tired and stressed out. It is playing havoc with our relationship. Look, TJ, you have a marvelous staff. They are all trustworthy, hardworking people. You have to delegate more and stop micro-managing before you lose some of them. Sally’s been working with you for years. Maybe you could consider making the inventory her responsibility? I am sure your two assistant pharmacists would appreciate more hours. Both those suggestions would free up some of your time. Time we could be spending together.”
TJ nodded his head, seriously contemplating the benefits these changes would have for everyone involved. He knew Glen was right; knew he wanted to do this. But could he let go?
“You’re right and I really want to put your proposals into practice. I’m just not sure if I can do it on my own,” TJ quietly admitted.
“I’m quite confident about you being able to count on your staff helping you,” Glen responded with a smile. “And then there’s me. I’ll back you all the way.”
TJ’s grumbled ‘yeah, I bet you will’ had the older man laughing uproariously and the younger one rolling his eyes.
Turning serious, Glen firmly stated what should have been the obvious. From past experience, he knew what was clear cut to him often seemed muddled to his Brat. “I will drop you off at the store every morning five days a week at exactly eight o’clock and pick you up at five. There will be no arguing, although I will make every effort to accommodate any unexpected difficulties. I am aware of you not taking time to eat a proper meal at noon, so for the next while until a routine becomes ingrained, I will be joining you for your one hour lunch break.”
Glen paused and waited for this last statement to sink in. When all he got was a wide-eyed stare, he thought it best to continue. “And this afternoon right after we’ve eaten, we will be going to the court house where you’ll pay those fines you’ve been collecting.”
TJ racked his brain in hopes of finding a way to circumvent this enforced break in his day. Nothing came to mind so he capitulated for the time being. This was going to prove more difficult than he’d first imagined.
“What happens if I can’t get away at the times you’ve set?”
“We’ll discuss it in order to determine why it is presenting a problem.”
“And if there’s no good reason?”
“Each situation will have to be handled separately, TJ. This exercise is meant to assist you in setting up a schedule that works for you. One in which you can maintain control of your business while still improving how you manage your time. I am sure we will both be going through a somewhat intense learning curve to begin with, but I am equally sure everything will work out in the end.”
TJ took a deep breath and decided to jump in with both feet. “Okay, I’ll give it my best shot. Just don’t expect perfection.”
“When has either of us expected perfection from the other, love?”
“Never, I guess,” TJ answered with a smirk. “Okay,” he announced and then swallowed down the last of his coffee. “Let’s get this new initiative up and running.”
Things went rather smoothly for the first week and then steadily began to deteriorate. Getting TJ to work on time each morning never posed a problem, it was the lunch hour with which they experienced their first setback.
Glen could understand an employee having to leave work suddenly to attend to a personal dilemma but found the late arrival of a drug shipment unacceptable. That evening, after discussing how the situation could have been handled better, TJ spent a considerable amount of time writing lines.
Towards the end of the third week, one of TJ’s assistants took ill and ended up being hospitalized. This resulted in TJ having to work the weekend. All too soon old habits furtively revisited and remained after the now recovered employee’s return.
Getting back on track took some doing, mostly on Glen’s part as he found himself having to put his foot down on several occasions. This proved delicate at times as he didn’t want to do anything the least bit conspicuous that would cause his partner any embarrassment.
It was TJ taking advantage of his Top’s reluctance to publicize this aspect of their relationship that resulted in a couple more trips over Glen’s knee. Negotiations seemed to be taking place almost nightly as they tried to work things out.
“This is proving harder than I thought it would,” TJ ruefully complained after yet another spanking that had followed after yet another tantrum.
“You’re making it so, love. Just let go. Trust others who have your best interests at heart.” Glen knew he was asking a lot of his partner, but also knew their goal was achievable.
TJ closed his eyes. He thought over all that had happened during the past few weeks; all he had actually accomplished. He was no longer feeling as overwhelmed at he had been, no longer suffering bouts of exhaustion, no longer being tempted to throw in the towel and forget about being his own boss; all thoughts of going back to work for someone else had vanished.
Following Glen’s advice, he breathed in deeply and just let go. He smiled and snuggled into his lover’s arms as a sense of peace and freedom enveloped him. ‘This rearranging project has been worth it,’ he admitted to himself. ‘My time is now my own.’