Choosing a Path

by PJ


Wes sat in one of the company trucks. He’d loaded it and was waiting to follow Ken to the job site, excited to see the project but apprehensive to meet up with that jerk, Mr. Myers again. His mind was rerunning the day he walked out before the interview. Maybe, this Myers guy wouldn’t remember. Wes tapped out his tension on the steering wheel and was startled when Ken came up beside the truck.

“Hey, you OK? You seem nervous.”

“Yeah, I’m fine. Just excited about seeing the project.” Wes kept his eyes on his hands.

“OK, we’re all set then.” Ken cocked his head. “Unless you want to tell me what’s really wrong?”

Damn, he just couldn’t hide his feelings lately. He decided he should let his boss know about the potential confrontation. “I hope it’s not going to be a problem, but I walked out of an interview with Mr. Myers before it even got started.”

“Why? Although I might be able to guess.”

“I couldn’t deal with the way he was dealing with one of his employees.”

“When did that happen, Wes?” Ken’s eyes had narrowed. Crap, Ken had that same disapproving look as Link. At least Ken wasn’t looking at him.

“About two weeks before I interviewed with you.” Wes smiled. “To tell you the truth, Ken, he did me a favor. If I had gone to work there I would`ve missed out on this job.” He started to blush again. “I really like it here working with you.”

“I’m glad you didn’t stay for that interview, too. I’d say Mr. Myers blew it big time.” Ken smiled up at him, “His loss, my gain. Wes, if Jess says anything to you about your interview, let me know.” Ken slapped the truck door. “Let’s get going.”

They had just moved the vanity into a bathroom. Ken had gone back out to his truck. Wes was alone when Mr. Myers bulldozed into the room. He saw a look of recognition as their eyes met. Mr. Myers crossed the room, moving into Wes`s personal space. “How did you get in here?” Not waiting for an answer, he sarcastically added, “You’re a little late for your interview so just run along kid. I’ve already hired a man.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Wes saw Ken return to the room just as Mr. Myers confronted him. Before he had a chance to respond and much to his relief, Ken interrupted the one sided conversation. “Oh good Jess, you’ve met my new shop manager.” Myers was a big man, but Wes saw him take a step back when Ken approached them. “Jess, I’d like you to meet Wes Cooper. Wes, Jess Myers.”

It was obvious Ken wanted the two men to shake hands. Wes extended his hand. “Nice to meet you, Mr. Myers.” Then on impulse he added, “Sorry I couldn’t stay for the interview.”

Jess’s mouth dropped open. He looked at Ken. Wes followed Jess’s eyes. Ken’s hard eyes were staring back at Jess, his jaw set. Jess took Wes’s hand in a firm grip. “Nice to meet you too, Wes. Don’t worry about the interview, things happen.”

Ken’s look had softened by the time Wes glanced back at him. “I’m going to show Wes a couple of things in here, Jess. I’ll catch up with you back at the office.”

Wes watched as Jess left the room. “Thanks for coming back when you did, I wasn’t sure what I should do.”

“You did just fine, Wes. You kept your head and stayed calm.” Wes blushed at the praise. “Wes, I’m not sure what’s going on with Jess, but he isn’t a bad guy. I know you two will get along fine. Just give him a chance, OK?”

“OK, Ken, I’ll try.”

“Thanks.” Ken moved over to the vanity. “Come on, let me show you the installation. Then you can take the truck back to the shop and head home after you lock up.”

*****

The phone rang, waking Wes. “Hello.” He wiped his hand across his eyes. “No, I’m awake…No, you didn’t wake me up.” He knew his mom wasn’t going to believe him; she never did. He chuckled, “OK, I was sleeping…Mom, I’m not sick…Yeah, I’m sure. I got off work early…No, I was just relaxing until Link gets here.” It was time to change the direction of this conversation. “Where are you guys?” He listened as his mom explained where they were and when they’d be back. “That’s great, Mom, I can’t wait for you to meet Link.” Wes headed to the kitchen for a drink, “I’m sure that’s OK, Mom. But I better ask Link just to make sure he doesn’t have anything planned for Friday night.” He nodded even knowing that his mom couldn’t see him. “The house is clean and ready for you guys. I’ll have all my stuff out and up to Link’s by tomorrow.” He knew what his mom was going to say next. “Mom, this is so right, I really love him. When you meet Link, you’ll see so for yourself.”

Wes jumped when Link’s hand reached around him and took the phone. “Hi, Mrs. Cooper…OK, Hi Mom. I just want to assure you that I love your son and will do everything in my power to prove that to him every day.” Wes could feel his eyes mist over. Link pulled him close and kissed his forehead. “Oh sure, Mrs. Coo…Mom, Friday sounds great…Any place is fine with us…OK, see you then, bye.” Link handed the phone back.

“So, are you convinced now, Mom?” He giggled at her answer. “Yeah, I think so too…Tell Dad hi for us. See you Friday.”

Link took the phone from his partner, flipped it shut then tossed it on the table. “You OK, babe?” Wes knew his cheeks were still damp as he leaned into his lover’s hug.

“Yeah, I’m great, Link.” He pulled back and stared into those dark eyes. “Do you know how much I love you, T-Man?”

“Yeah, sweetheart, I’m pretty sure I know. I’d say almost as much as I love you.”

He loved it when Link’s eyes twinkled.

Link reached for the phone. “Let’s order a pizza, and while we’re waiting we can finish getting you packed.”

“OK, there isn’t much left. Just some books and a few personnel items.” He headed to his room but stopped and looked back at Link. “Are you sure you want all my stuff in your home?”

“Wesley, I want everything about you in OUR home.” Link took Wes’s hand and pulled him into the room. “Tell me what’s left to pack.”

He looked around the room. “Start with the books, and I’ll finish getting my clothes and the stuff out of the bathroom.” Wes walked to his closet then turned back just in time to see a napkin fall from the book in Link’s hands. He picked up the napkin, turning it so he could read the words written on it. Then he placed it back in the book. Wes walked over to Link and carefully took the year book from his hand. Opening it, he took the napkin out and ran his finger’s over the words. He could feel Link’s eyes on him. He raised his head and looked into those dark eyes. “This was from high school, Link. I don’t need to keep it anymore.”

Wes started to rip the napkin. His lover reached out and captured his hands. “No, Wes, you don’t need to forget your past. Timmy must have been an important part of that past and I don’t want you to forget him.” He took the napkin and put it back in the yearbook. “I hope we can talk about that time in your life when you’re ready.”

Wes smiled. “I’d like that. I’ve wondered about some of the stuff that happened back then but never really had anyone that I trusted enough to talk to about it.”

“Sweetheart, we can talk about anything you want. But first we need to get you settled into our home. Let`s finish up here.” They worked until the doorbell rang. “Sounds like the pizza’s here. Get the drinks, babe.” Link left to pay for the pizza and joined Wes in the family room.

They enjoyed the quiet dinner. Wes couldn’t wait till he was all moved and they could have many quiet evenings. “Link, can we go home now?”

“Sure, sweetheart, tonight we well be sleeping together in our bed, in our bedroom, in our home.” He took his lover’s chin in his hand and turned his face up and gently kissed him. “Let’s load up and head home.”

*****

Wes followed Link up the mountain to his, no, their home. He stopped his truck when they rounded the last curve, their log house before him. It was hard to believe he would be living here. Sharing his life with Link. Wes watched as his man headed into the barn, his long dark hair flowing in the breeze. Wes breathed in the damp, cool air. This really was his home.

Wes continued up the drive, stopping in front of the house. Slowly he mounted the steps to the porch, rubbing his hand lightly over the log handrail. Everything felt different now. He waited for Link on the porch swing, gently pushing it back and forth. Eyes closed and head tilted back, he didn’t hear his lover until he heard that deep voice he loved. “You Ok, babe?”

“Yeah, I’m great. Better than great.” Wes laughed and a big smile burst out all over his face.

Before he knew it, Link’s massive arms surrounded him pinning him to the swing. “So why aren’t you in the house?”

Wes giggled “S…stop,” as Link tickled him with his beard. “I was waiting for you, Mr. Walker. I wanted to walk in beside you.” He looked up into those dark eyes, “I know that sounds corny.”

“Hey, it’s not corny.” He let Link pulled him to his feet. “This is corny.” Before he could stop him, Link had him in his arms and was carrying Wes into the house. When his feet were back on the floor, he felt a gentle kiss on his forehead. “Sweetheart, start a fire and I’ll go change.”

Was lost himself in the oranges and blues of the flickering flames of the fire he had created. When the lights dimmed, he pulled himself away from the fire and turned to see Link coming across the room. Link, his Link, dressed in sleep pants and t-shirt. Wes stood. Link covered the distance in two long strides and trapped Wes’s mouth with his and the younger man melted.

Link’s tongue was demanding entrance and he surrendered to his lover’s demand. Link guided him back down to the plush rug in front of the fireplace. Link ran his hands up Wes’s side, pushing his shirt up. Leaning up on one arm, Link pushed Wes’s shirt over his head, and up his arms, leaving it wrapped around his hands. Link dark eyes sparkled. “Now I have you trapped.”

Link leaned down and licked Wes’s hardening nipple. “Link,” he groaned. He arched his back, as his lover’s tongue ravished his nipple. Link’s rough hands felt big, sure, and safe as they ran over Wes’s body.

“Hmmmm,” Link murmured.

Wes giggled when Link’s wet tongue explored his bellybutton.

His hands tangled in his own shirt, Wes was loving the feeling of being overpowered by his lover, even if it was just a shirt and he could easily slip it off. “Keep your hands above your head.” Shivers ran down Wes’s back. His pants were getting so tight they were uncomfortable. Link unbuttoned his jeans. Wes lifted his hips so his man could pull the jeans down and off. A long low sigh escaped Wes’s lips.

Link moved to take the firm nipple in his mouth again, but Wes pushed him up, “take your shirt off. I want to feel you next to me.” Wes grinned as Link sat up and slowly pulled his shirt off. He couldn’t wait to feel Link`s bare chest against him. Once Link’s shirt was off, he lay back down pulling the man he loved on top of him.

Link’s hot tongue probed his mouth. He groaned as Link broke from the kiss and slowly nibbled and licked down Wes’s toned body. Wes couldn’t stop squirming. Link’s beard tickling as it followed the path his tongue left. Then Link found his shaft. Wes bucked his hips, wanting more. He heard Link hiss, “Patience, babe, we’ll get there. We have all night.”

“Nooooo,” Wes whined. “I want you, now!”

“Ah, little boy, I’m in no hurry.”

Wes moaned as he lay there, loving the sensations his lover was creating in him. When he felt he couldn’t hold back much longer, he shook the shirt loose and twisted his hands in Link’s hair gently pulling him back up his body.

“Too much, babe?”

“Nooooo!” Wes moaned as he pulled Link up so he could capture his mouth with his own. “But I want a chance to please you.”

Wes heard a muffled chuckle. Then Link pulled back, his eyes intense as they stared into Wes’s soul. “What did you have in mind, babe?”

Wes let his goofy grin slowly spread across his face as he pushed his lover over onto his back. He moved down Link`s long firm body…

*****

It was still dark outside when Wes woke. Slowly he became aware they were on the floor. He closed his eyes. He felt the hard arm under his head. His lover’s front against his back. The throw from the sofa covered them. Link’s warm and steady breath on his neck. The coarse beard against his shoulder. The weight of Link’s other arm over his ribs and across his chest. He turned his head and kissed the arm that was his pillow. He felt Link tighten his hold.

“Hmmmm, babe, I love you.” Link’s soft words melted his heart.

He turned over so he could look at the man who would share his life. “I love you more.” After a bit, he stood up and left the room. Returning with two cups of coffee, he waited while Link pulled a couple of cushions off the sofa to form a back rest. Link took his coffee and pulled Wes down to settle against him.

“Comfy?”

“Yeah.” Wes set his coffee down and then wiggled deeper under Link’s arm and into his chest. He was quiet for a minute. Then turned to study his partner’s rugged face. “Link, can we talk now?” He didn’t realize he was rubbing his scar until Link gripped his hand. Link always knew when he was nervous.

“We can talk about anything you want, anytime you want.”

Nervous,he turned so his face was hidden.

“Wesley, I want you to know that nothing you say will ever change the way I feel about you.” The kiss to the top of his head was firm and strong. “You are my partner and always will be.”

Wes nodded and started the conversation. “I met Tim just before our senior year of high school. Me and Tim weren’t a couple, just good friends. Well, maybe we were a little more than friends. Tim helped me figure out and understand who I am. He was always telling me it was OK to be me.” Wes paused, listening to Link’s heartbeat.

“So, babe, are you OK with being you?”

“Oh, yeah, I’m OK with being me. Can’t think of anyone else I would want to be, especially now.”

“Neither can I, sweetheart.”

Wes couldn’t help smiling. Then he continued, “During spring break, I went with Tim to visit his cousin for a week. Phil and his partner, Rusty, were great. I’d never met a gay couple before. But they were easy to be around.” He paused again to get his thoughts together. The steady beat of Link’s heart calmed him.

Link gently rubbed circles on his bare back. “It’s OK, babe, we have time.”

“Something happened while we were there. Tim tried to explain it to me.”

“What?” The tone deepened and Wes could hear the concern in his voice. “What happened Wes?”

Wes took in a breath and held it. Blowing it out he continued, “Tim and Rusty got in a fight. Phil stopped them with just one word.”

“What did he say?”

“He just said enough.”

“And they stopped?”

“It wasn’t the word that stopped them. It was the tone. They froze.” Wes smirked. “Hell, I froze and I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Link smiled. “So what happened next?”

“We all went into the house. Phil sent both Rusty and Tim to their rooms. How could he do that? Tim maybe, but why would Rusty let him do that? He was really upset.” Wes closed his eyes, trying to remember exactly what happened. “Rusty did go to their room but Tim tried to talk his way out of being sent to his room because I was there.”

“Did that work? Using you as an excuse, I mean?”

Wes laughed. “No, and I don’t think he thought it would work either.” Then turning more serious he continued. “Anyway, Phil took me outside after they left. I sorta got mad and started yelling at him.”

“How did he handle that?” Wes heard a possessive change in Link’s tone. He didn’t know why, but that tone made him feel safe.

“I still remember his exact words. He said, Wesley, calm down and lower your voice. I won’t put up with you shouting at me, young man!” Wes grinned to himself. “Let me tell you, I calmed right down.”

“Did he scare you, babe? Or intimidate you?” Link was still rubbing his back. His rough hands felt so good. Wes relaxed at the constant contact.

Wes thought about the question for a minute. “I wasn’t afraid of him or anything; I just knew I should calm down. It was the tone he used.” Wes whispered more to himself than to Link. “I hear you use that tone sometimes.”

Link turned Wes’s face to him. “Do I scare you?”

“What? No, never. I don’t think you could ever scare me! But when I hear you use that tone it makes me think back to that summer.” Grinning, he added, “Well, that and I tend to pay attention to what you are saying.”

Link laughed. “I’ll have to remember that, sweetheart.” Wes felt the gentle squeeze to his neck. Then the hand moved over to gently massage his shoulder.

Wes stared into the fireplace, getting lost in the warm glow. Gathering his thoughts as the flames flickered he wondered if Link fed the fire during the night. “Phil told me that Rusty and Tim’s actions forced him to talk to me about something he wasn’t sure I would understand.”

Link didn’t say anything for a minute, and then asked. “How old were you then, Wes?”

“It was before my senior year, but I was 19 already.” He blushed not wanting Link to think less of him. “I wasn’t a little kid.”

He was still staring into the coals when Link pulled his chin around and looked deep into his eyes. “Wesley, listen to me. You have nothing to be ashamed about because you were older in school. I know about your accident. I know it wasn’t your fault that you were held back.”

“I know, Link. I’m sorry.”

“Nothing to be sorry about, honey. Just cut yourself some slack.”

“Anyway, Phil talked to me for a while. He told me a little about their relationship.” Wes shook his head. “Phil was right, I didn’t understand then. So, I asked him what he meant.”

“Did he explain so you could understand?”

“Sort of, he said they were partners, but Rusty has given him the power to be the head of their household. They could discuss things but the final decisions were Phil’s. I asked him if that meant Rusty let him boss him around.”

Link smiled, “I can see why you might have thought that, babe. What did he say?”

“He said Rusty knew he needed help with some things and asked Phil to help him. And he’d even asked him to enforce rules after they both agreed on them. Who does that?” Wes paused again. “Anyway, I was getting upset again. I asked him what enforcing meant.” He sucked in a breath and held it before he blew it out. “He said there were consequences for breaking the rules. They had both discussed and agreed on the consequences so there were no surprises. Rusty knew what to expect because he was fighting.” He looked up at Link again. “Do you think that’s weird?”

“No, babe, I don’t. Having the security of knowing there are consequences works for some couples.”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“Did Phil tell you what he was going to do, babe?”

“No, he said it was private.” Wes was quiet for a minute then added, “I asked him what he was going to do to Tim. I mean, they weren’t partners. They were family, cousins. He said it was different with Tim. He said he was going to convince Tim not to pick fights the same way Tim’s dad convinced him when he was younger. He wouldn’t tell me what he was going to do though, he said that was between him and Timmy. And if Tim wanted to tell me it was up to him.”

“Did Tim tell you what happened?”

“Yeah, he told me some of what they talked about up in his room. Then I ask him, um, we…well, I asked him if Phil s…spanked him.” Wes knew he was bright red. But Link just kept rubbing his shoulder. “You know what Tim did, Link? H…he laughed and then said, yeah, I’m not going to be eating dinner sitting down.” He shook his head. “He laughed about getting a spanking.”

“Sounds like Tim knew he deserved to be punished and he accepted it.”

“Yeah, I guess he did.” Wes mumbled. “I asked him if Phil spanked Rusty. He said he didn’t know for sure.”

Link moved his hand down to his back again rubbing small circles. Wes pushed back wanting more pressure “You like that, babe?”

He looked up into his lover’s dark eyes, “hmmm, I love it, Link. But I’m not going to be able to finish if you keep it up.”

“I’ll risk it, babe.”

Wes laughed then picked up the conversation again. “Tim asked me if Phil talked to me about what happened in the kitchen. I told him we talked, but I still didn’t understand why a grown man would let his partner punish, um…spank him.”

He heard the smile in his partner’s tone. “You know, babe, it takes a strong person to accept discipline when he really doesn’t want it.” He kissed the top of Wes’s head. “It takes a large amount of trust. Both partners would have to trust.”

“Yeah, I think there would have to be major trust.”

“Trust is important in any relationship, babe. I hope you trust me as much as I trust you.” Wes heard the question in Link’s statement.

“I trust you with my life Link, but more than that, I trust you with my heart.” He could feel his eyes start to mist over as his lips met Link’s. He felt the love Link had for him in that kiss. There was the promise of a lifetime of love, trust, and forever. Was only hoped his partner could feel his trust as he returned the kiss. He deepened the kiss giving his life over to Link. He knew this kiss meant as much as the claiming kiss Link had given him.

Link pulled him hard against his chest. He listened as their hearts beat as one. Wes heard him whisper as Link ran his hand down his back. “Wow, that was some kiss, sweetheart.”

Wes giggled trying to form some kind of thought. “Yeah it was.” He took a couple of deep breaths, then asked, “Sooo, where were we?”

“Did Tim help you understand why Rusty allowed Phil to dole out the consequences they agreed upon?”

Wes knew he was being watched. “He said Rusty told him he needs the support and security that Phil provides.” He looked away, but felt Link’s coarse beard on his neck. “Tim asked me if I knew anything about a discipline partnership.” He felt Link’s heart beat faster before he brought it back under control. “Link, do you know ab…about this type of relationship?” He tried to pull away but Link held him close.

“Yes, sweetheart, I do know about a discipline partnership.”

“H…have you ever lived that way?” He wasn’t sure he wanted to know the answer.

Link turned Wes to face him. “Babe, I think you have checked discipline partnerships out on the internet, right?”

He nodded.

“I’m also sure you know I’m not a brat?”

He nodded in agreement. “No, y…you`re not a brat.”

“To answer your question, I lived with someone in college for a short time. He wanted me to control his every move. I didn’t want that so we didn’t stay together long. But I did learn that I enjoyed being the head of the household.”

Wes tried to pull back. “No, wait. I don’t w…want you to control everything I do.”

“Shhh, sweetheart, I would never want to control everything you did. That isn’t what I want for us.”

“What do you want for us, Link?” Wes couldn’t believe he wasn’t just saying NO and running away from Link. But he loved Link and didn’t want to run.

“I want you in my life always. I want to be part of your life. I want to keep you safe, but I don’t want to smother you. I want you to be you. I hope you want those things too.”

“I do want those things, Link. I’m just a little scared. I don’t know what to do.”

“Honey, we are just beginning our relationship. We are just finding our rules and consequences if we decide to make discipline part of our life.” Link paused watching his lover. “Babe, what do you think a DP is? How do you see it?”

“I’m not sure Link. I don’t understand all of it.”

“Ok, well I think it is about me being able to care for my partner, make decisions, and help him. Catch him if he falls, be there to hold him accountable. It’s about you being able to have someone to care about you and keep you safe. But it’s also about my partner being there for me too. Support works both ways, just like in a so called normal relationship. A discipline partnership can also be about making sure you eat well, wear warm clothes, but most important allowing you to grow.”

Wes couldn’t look at Link when he asked, “Did you and the guy you lived with in college, um…did you spank him?”

“Sweetheart, what happened between me and that other guy wouldn’t work for us. We each have unique needs. The reason I didn’t stay with him was because I couldn’t, no, I wouldn’t give him want he thought he needed.”

Wes looked up at Link, taking strength from his calm responses to his questions. “Link, is spanking the only consequence? I mean, if we do this, would I always get s..spanked? I’m not planning on doing anything wrong, but if I did, would you punish me in some other way instead?

“Those are good questions, babe. I can see why you would be worried.” Link turned his lover so they were facing each other. “There are other ways for you to learn and to stay safe. We might use them. Some things I think are more serious than others like putting yourself in danger. I will always spank you for that. Some things won’t warrant a spanking, I may have you write an essay or just have you sit at the table and think things over. We don’t want a laundry list of punishments, do we?”

Wes shook his head. “No, I don’t want to have to worry about a list of punishments.”

“We can talk more about this later, babe, any and all of the discipline we decide on is to help you, not make you feel bad or for you to be afraid of. These are decisions we make together. We can build on them and adjust as we learn more about each other. One thing you do need to accept is that we are partners. It’s your decision whether or not you want to bring discipline into our relationship but if you say yes, then I will have the final say on punishment.”

“OK, I can live with that as long as you are there to help me.”

I’ll always be here to help you, babe. One more thing, whether we practice discipline or not, I believe having one person as the head of house makes for a more peaceful home.”

“And that would be you, T-man, cuz I don’t want that job.”

Wes laughed when Link pulled him in and nuzzled his neck.

With Link’s beard tickling him, he groaned. “No fair, Link. I can’t think when you do that.”

“Wes, I know you’re scared but nothing will happen unless you want it.”

“Does that mean if we do this and I break a rule I can tell you I don’t want to have the consequence?”

“No, honey,” Link laughed. “If we both choose to follow this path we have a lot to talk about first. But no, you couldn’t choose when or if there would be consequences. That would defeat the purpose of a discipline partnership, wouldn’t it?”

“Yeah, I guess it would.”

“OK, babe, let’s get ready for work and then I’ll treat you to breakfast.” Link helped him to his feet then pulled him toward the en suite. “We can talk about this tomorrow after you’re firmly established in your new home. Tonight we’re having dinner with your folks.”

Wes’s only comment was the goofy grin spreading across his face. They were on the brink of the unknown but Wes couldn’t be happier.

TBC

~ PJ

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