Duncan found that mornings always came too quickly and he thanked whatever luck it was that meant he didn’t have to work until the afternoon this particular day. He slipped into the warm, Beau-scented space the older man left behind and went on dozing when his Top got up to his own early-morning alarm. He woke when his lover leaned down to demand a kiss before he left for the day.
“I’ll be home by six; you’re finished at five, hm? I expect you home by no later than five-thirty – that’s plenty of time to deal with any rush hour traffic you might encounter, Dun,” Beau said, tone one of warning.
Duncan clung to him, arms tight around his neck. “I will, Beau, I promise,” he grinned, sleepy still. Beau smiled and settled him into the sheets. “Please get up no later than nine, my boy. You can’t sleep all morning or you won’t sleep tonight. I love you; I’ll see you tonight.”
Warm, comfortable, Duncan didn’t respond other than to wave him away as he was tucked back into bed. He saw Beau fiddling with the alarm clock and he knew he was resetting the alarm, but he simply closed his eyes and went back to sleep.
It was six on the nose when Beau pulled into their double lane and parked his SUV. There was no sign of Duncan’s beat up pickup and he held back the sigh that had started to make its way out of his mouth. He wasn’t really surprised – this was a weekly occurrence for them.
He grabbed his briefcase and went inside. Dinner was prepped and put in the oven with a timer in no time before he retreated to the solitude of his office upstairs. From there he could look out on the street and wait for Duncan to come home.
He didn’t need to be able to see him to know he was coming – his truck made more racket than a warzone on a good day. He heard it long before he saw it, and he stood from the work he was doing to watch at the window.
He went down the stairs when Duncan had slammed his door shut. His brat found him halfway down the stairs, looking very formal still wearing his business suit. Duncan grinned at him, always quick to play innocent.
“Duncan Weston, what time is it?” Beau asked as he went down the last four steps. Duncan dropped his shoulder bag and hung his coat on a hook. “Uh, five thirty?” he asked, kicking his steel-toed boots off. Beau looked pointedly at them until he put them in the boot tray neatly.
“Try again, Dun,” Beau said.
He looked around the solid wall that was his Top and shrugged helplessly – he couldn’t see the clock. Beau casually raised his arm and looked at his watch.
“Six forty-three. You are an hour and thirteen minutes late, my boy.”
Duncan almost shrugged, but he wasn’t that stupid. He could hear the anger in Beau’s voice – no, not anger, he thought. Disappointment. With his boots and coat properly away, he stood and gave Beau his most winning smile.
“I got caught up on the site, Beau. It won’t happen again,” he promised.
Beau lifted a brow at him, arms crossed as he leaned against the bannister. “What was so important that you couldn’t leave?” he asked him. Duncan shrugged one shoulder, trying to move past him.
“Nothing, Beau. Work. I was working,” he said, stomping when Beau didn’t move out of his way.
“And what did I say to you this morning?”
Duncan rolled his eyes very obviously with a loud groan. “Be home by five-thirty. I know. But it’s stupid, Beau. You don’t have to be home at five-thirty, so why do I?”
He knew he was getting out of hand when Beau fixed him with the Look, but he couldn’t seem to stop this train-wreck he was on. He glared back; chin up in defiance.
“I work until five-thirty, Duncan, and my drive takes longer than yours. Your shift is over at five. We have discussed this, I thought to death by now, but obviously the last spanking didn’t register or something?” he asked. Duncan hated when he did that, and he hated the way he was leaning so casually, as if they were discussing a rugby game or something.
“Well, I had work to do, Beau! I can’t just put everything down and say ‘sorry, my boyfriend wants me home by five-thirty!’ and leave them in a lurch!” He was stomping his foot at intervals, his own arms crossed over his chest.
“Duncan, watch your tone,” Beau warned, and Duncan gave a shrill agitated squawk and stomped again.
“You are to be home at exactly five-thirty, Duncan. Whether or not I am here to see it is beside the point. You promised me this morning that you would be home on time. Your work does not have to be completed; those projects can run into the next day. I am not asking you to walk away from a crane dropping the roof onto the house or from a cement truck pouring a foundation – but nobody would be stupid enough to start something like that so late in the day, and you know it. Let me guess, you were working on shingling?”
Duncan bowed his head, anger dissipating as Beau spoke.
“Yes, Beau. I was shingling. And you know I hate when it’s not finished, what if it rains tonight and the roof were to leak! It would be my fault! And besides, if I left it then someone else would finish it before I got in tomorrow, and the pattern would be all wrong and I’d have to see it every day when I drive by and I can’t stand that.”
“Were there others still on site, Dun?” he asked. Duncan flushed and shook his head.
“Why was that?” he asked him.
Duncan frowned. “Because it was time to go home,” he admitted, knowing he was in the wrong.
The oven timer went off and Beau hesitated a moment. It was too annoying to ignore, however, so he took Duncan by the wrist and led him with him to the kitchen. “Corner, hands behind your back,” he directed, and Duncan went without a sound while his Top got their dinner from the oven.
He felt like he was there for a long time, years even, before Beau finally called him from the corner. He took his time making his way over to his Top, head down.
“Duncan, tell me again what the rule is?” he asked, casually.
The boy sighed. “Home by five-thirty on weeknights. No staying late. No working alone,” he said the last with a very furrowed brow.
“And which rules did you break, my boy?” Beau asked, and waited.
“All of them? But Beau, I couldn’t just leave,” he tried again, which only earned him a swat to his behind.
“No, Duncan. You follow my rules because they are important to us and to our relationship. You do not get to pick and choose which ones you’re going to follow and when. You follow all of them, or there are consequences. Am I right?”
Duncan’s nod was very slow. He didn’t protest as Beau pulled a chair out from the table and sat down, drawing him to his right side. He did squirm when he realized what was happening and he tried in vain to escape Beau’s strong grip as the older man pulled him over his lap. Duncan’s hands went to the floor to support himself while Beau’s left arm wrapped around his waist to keep him secure on his knees.
“Our rules are in place for a reason, Duncan. When you work late, we miss out on time that could be spent together. You also run the risk of being hurt and nobody knowing anything because you are alone on a construction site!” he added. “I cannot stress enough how dangerous that is, my boy. And you know that.”
Duncan squirmed as his pants were pulled down, followed by his boxers. Pale behind exposed, he exploded in movement, trying to get off his lover’s lap. But Beau held him fast and wouldn’t let him move.
“Lie still Duncan! You’re only going to make this worse,” he warned, and the boy flopped back, wailing. Beau’s spankings always hurt, and this was no exception. His hand felt like a strap or a paddle as it landed on Duncan’s behind again and again.
He didn’t let the boy up despite his squirming; when Duncan threw a hand back to cover his butt, the man simply pinned his wrist with a strong hand and went on smacking. It took nearly three-dozen swats before he was satisfied. Duncan sank to the floor in front of him, burying his face in the man’s stomach with a sob.
Beau rubbed his shoulders and smoothed his hair back gently while the boy cried. “That’s my boy, you’re alright now. Deep breaths, baby,” he soothed. It took some time before Duncan settled enough for him to pull him up from where he knelt on the floor to hug him hard. Duncan sniffled and nuzzled him roughly, earning himself a kiss to his temple.
“Alright, Dun. We’re okay now,” Beau promised. "We'll try again tomorrow. Hopefully your butt can remind your brain when it's quitting time," he teased the brat in his arms with a grin. Duncan groaned and sank down in his lover's arms with a mutinous whine.