Bruises, Lies and Misunderstandings (Steven & Shawn)
How the hell was I supposed to get out of this? Unharmed that is, or at least without further injuries.
Sighing, I turned left, hoping that Steve wouldn't already be home. Usually, I wanted him to be home early but today … it would be really inconvenient.
Even from the end of the street I could see that the lights were on at home. Shit! I cursed, briefly debating if I should just turn around and do … something else. Something that didn't include going home and having to explain what just happened.
Gathering up all my courage I withstood the temptation of bolting. I was an adult, I wasn't going home to some kind of monster, though Steve sure looked intimidating when he was pissed off, and if I didn't come home Steve would get suspicious. That, I needed to avoid at all costs!
Slowly, I pulled up in front of Steve's house, which was technically ours but I still referred to it as his because … I simply did. I had my reasons, a whole variety of reasons; right now was not the time to elaborate on them. Snail-like I got out of the car, cursing like a sailor – inwardly of course, because Steve would know something was off if he heard me curse. Fuck-shit, this hurt like crazy!
Stiffly, I rounded the car, where I got my riding boots, chaps and my cap from the trunk. Taking out my frustration on the trunk I slammed the lid close with a satisfyingly loud bang. With my stuff in my hands I walked towards the house.
Steve stood in the doorway, a dish towel slung over his shoulders, interestingly enough accentuating the broadness of his shoulders. I licked my lips. He sure was a looker, my man.
Steve stood a good few inches taller than me, a fact I normally hated but didn't mind one single bit with him. When he hugged me, my head fit right under his chin and … I really, really liked that. I felt weirdly protected whenever he rested his chin on my head.
Shaking myself from my reverie, I forced a smile on my face and tried not to limp too obviously. Steve smiled back at me and held out his arms for me. My gut clenched and also did this very disturbing nose-dive, like when you're sitting in a plane and said plane suddenly drops into an air hole. I felt ready to puke, which might have come in handy.
On the other hand … no. So not a bright idea. Steve would hover and find out. He'd find out sooner or later anyway but I was all for the later option. Maybe I could gloss over the truth a little bit. Seriously, just a little bit. Only so much that he wouldn't flip completely and never allow me to get on a horse again. Damn, damn, damn! This whole situation was truly fucked up!
“Hey,” I managed to say in greeting before I was engulfed in a tight embrace. Dark spots danced in front of my eyes, blurring my vision and a pained gasp escaped my mouth.
“Shawn? Are you okay?”
He had just squeezed the living hell out of me, which almost had me faint and he seriously asked me if I was okay? Then I remembered that neither did he know about the bruises on my left flank nor was he supposed to have any knowledge about them. My voice came out rather high-pitched but I tried to cover it up by a cough. “Yes, sure, just a bit tired.”
“You haven't overdone it, right?”
“No, of course not!” I replied hastily, cringing when the first lie of probably many more, tumbled from my mouth.
Damn! I really should tell him right now before things got out of hand. After having been caught lying a few times I should have learned that Steve hated, er, didn't like me lying to him. He had imprinted this on my butt several times already.
“Are you sure?” he asked, stroking a hand over my hair gently before steering me inside the house.
I bobbed my head vigorously. I hadn't overdone it, not really. I had just miscalculated a tiny bit. Steve simply didn't understand these slight miscalculations on my part. He still had a long learning curve ahead of him regarding the difficulties of calculating the right amount of food intake and such stuff.
Opening the door of our hallstand I wanted to lift my cap to its usual place on the top shelf but all I managed was to almost drop it. Pain sliced through me, forcing all breath out of me in a rush. Gentle hands took my boots and cap from me, placed them on the right places on the shelves and closed the wardrobe doors. I stared at the floor, eyes brimming with tears. I hated how easily they welled up and threatened to spill over since I found my man.
Wordlessly, Steve linked our hands together and towed me towards the kitchen. I was incredibly grateful that he took my right hand and not the other one. He guided me on a chair and got my glucose meter from a drawer. My heart lurched in relief. So he thought my blood sugar level was too low? I could live with that, if only because I knew it would be in the right range.
I endured the whole procedure, all the while studying Steve's face as he waited for the number on the display. His eyebrows rose and he turned to me with a slight frown. “Your glucose level is pretty good, especially considering that you were riding.”
Willing my traitorous cheeks not to flush, I smiled up at him. “Maybe I'm just getting better at calculating how much I have to eat before riding.”
Steve smiled back at me, a heartfelt, genuinely pleased smile. Before he put the meter away he came to me and kissed me hard on the mouth. My lips tingled even after the kiss had ended. I touched them but felt sick to the core. That must be a record for me, two lies in less than five minutes.
I wished Steve had noticed the lies, I wished I could have gotten rid of the thick lump in my throat and confess my lies. Instead I kept smiling, bathing in his approval though I didn't deserve it. Clearing my throat, I got up and snarled, “Since you've acted out your toppish side, may I please be excused and take a shower?”
Steve whirled around, the confusion clear on his face. I hated that he looked at me this way; I liked his approving look much better. Still, I kept a straight face, cocked my head to one side and tapped my foot while I waited for an answer.
He just stared. And stared. And stared.
I was not going to cave under this stare. I was not!
“I'm sorry, I didn't mean to snap at you. I'm … I'm tired and I really need a shower,” I heard myself mumbling seconds later. So much for not giving in. I probably had to work on that in the future.
Steve nodded, his eyebrows furrowed in concentration. Never a good sign. Usually that facial expression meant I was in trouble sooner or later. I fidgeted on the spot, wanting nothing more than to get out of my breeches. The thin material would not protect my backside as well as jeans could and I already feared for the safety of my backside.
“Are you sure you're okay? Do you want to talk about something?”
Fuck, yes. I wanted to tell him that I had miscalculated my food intake, that my glucose level had gone too low and that Silver, Rina's and my horse, had reared when I fainted. He had shoved me against the stable door, wherefore I was now sporting some bruises on my left flank. I wanted to tell him I lied, wanted him to hold me and tell me he still loved me.
“No. I only want to take a shower, since when is that a reason for you to glare daggers at me? Seriously, that is getting annoying,” I snapped.
That hadn't been what I wanted to say in the first place. Really, it hadn't. Not waiting for any kind of response, I stomped from the kitchen and up the stairs. I made sure to stamp my feet, just because Steve hated it and immediately loathing myself for acting like such a brat.
I slammed the door of our closet open, staring at its content, fuming. Pricking my ears, I heard no approaching footsteps. Given, he could be a sneaky bastard but not that sneaky. Quietly, I walked back to our bedroom door and peered out.
No Steve. Good, no interrogations to be feared. Yet, my mood went downhill. Well, further downhill than it already was.
I walked back to the closet, grabbed a pair of sweatpants and a long-sleeved shirt and closed the closet-door. The closing sounded suspiciously like a thunderous bang but hey, surely you all know these moments where something slips your hands and closes a bit more forcefully?
I stomped into the bathroom, making sure to make as much noise as possible. Why the hell wasn't Steve here, with me, demanding answers I didn't want to give? Why did I even want him to be here? Why couldn't I just keep quiet and not draw attention to myself?
I caught a glance of my reflection in the mirror and gaped. I looked like shit – pale, angry and worried at the same time. No way in hell would Steve believe that I was fine. I couldn't help the pout that appeared on my face when I thought that Steve wasn't here, ergo he couldn't call me on my lie. I felt sick, horrendously sick.
Swallowing hard, I turned my back to the mirror and started undressing. It all went well until I had to get rid of my shirt. I was wearing one of my tight fitting shirts, which actually looked great in combination with the breeches but didn't work well to get off when you were hurt and each lift of your arm send pulsing pain through your side.
Several tries later I still hadn't managed to get rid of my shirt. Tears of frustration prickled in my eyes, and giving in to the impulse to simply lash about I swiped bottles, tubes and whatever else was there, from the shelf at the wall to the bedroom. The noise was indescribable.
My heart stopped beating for a minute, I was sure of that, then it started galloping wildly, pounding against my ribcage. I heard hasty footsteps dashing upstairs and panicked. Taking two steps towards the bathroom door I locked it right when Steve tried to open it.
“Shawn! Baby, are you okay? Open the door!”
Yeah, dream on. I would not open the door now. Absolutely not.
“Shawn? Shawn!” Steve sounded frantic.
“I'm okay. The … the shelf got loose somehow and everything fell on the floor. I'm just cleaning up,” I shouted, mostly to drown out the thumping beats of my heart.
“I'll help you,” Steve said and rattled on the door. “Open the door, please. You know we don't lock the bathroom door.”
Grrr. Well, I do, he just didn't agree because what if my glucose level crashed and yadda, yadda, yadda.
All right, I had agreed not to lock the bathroom door. There was no point in arguing with him anyway, he had been very convincing. I touched my butt, rubbing there as I remembered how very convincing he could be.
“Just a second!” I said.
My gut and my butt clenched simultaneously. I licked my lips nervously, surveyed the chaos in the bathroom then looked down at me. I still had my shirt on while the rest of me was bare. Climbing back into my briefs and breeches would take too long so I snatched a towel and slung it around my waist.
“Shawn! If that door isn't open by three I'll break it up!”
What? I stared at the door. He wouldn't!
He was counting. He was seriously counting.
“Stop!” I cried out. “Please! You're not … you're not going to kill me for having locked the door once, right?”
Was that really my voice? I sounded pathetically small. Not that I wasn't small, at least in comparison to Steve but I didn't need to sound that way.
“Open the god damn door.”
Gulping, I fumbled with the lock of the door and opened it a fraction. I peered out, where I was confronted with a grimly looking Steve. My testicles immediately retreated inside my body. I wished I could hide the rest of me somewhere else too. Preferably my butt, who certainly would receive some attention of the painful variety tonight.
“H-Hey,” I croaked.
Yes, my lord. Of course, my lord. Whatever you want, my lord. Far be it from me not to obey instantly.
Stop what? “What? Stepping back?” I asked, confused.
Steve stepped inside, surveyed the bathroom floor scattered with bottles, tubes and pieces of glass and pointed a finger at me. “You. Sit down. Right there.”
Very well, my lord. I'll do practically anything if you stop glowering at me that menacingly. I sat down, my eyes riveted to my partner. Steve bore his dark blue eyes into mine, piercing me. I couldn't hold his gaze and dropped my eyes, nervously starting to play with a loose thread on the towel.
“The shelf got loose, eh?” Steve remarked.
My head snapped up. I shrugged vaguely and mumbled, “I guess so.”
Aha? What did he mean by aha? Shouldn't he call me on my lie? It was pretty obvious that the shelf was as solid as ever.
I watched him pick up stuff from the floor and place it on the shelf again. At least the things that were salvageable. Carefully, he picked up the shattered glass pieces and threw them in a garbage bag. He turned towards the door; telling me on his way out, “Stay there. I'll get a mop and slippers for you.”
Slippers. I pulled a face. He knew how much I hated wearing slippers. I went barefoot or in socks but I did not wear slippers. “I don't wear slippers.”
“You will for a few days,” he threw over his shoulder, totally ignoring my complaint.
He could be such an annoying prick sometimes, always needing to have the last word.
Even as I thought this, I felt bad. Steve wasn't a prick. Sure, he annoyed me sometimes but he took good care of me, even when I said I didn't want it. Totally fucked-up, that's what I was. Sporadically at least. I wanted him to take care of me, then not because I didn't want him to think less of me and so on and on. When would I ever get a grip on this? Definitely not today.
Steve came back, stuck slippers on my feet and said, “Do not whine about the slippers. We both know that the shelf isn't loose.”
Shiiiit! Putting on my best innocent look, I replied, “I don't know what you're talking about.”
Steve mopped the floor in brisk, efficient movements. “No?”
“No!” I snapped. “I wouldn't say that I don't know what you're talking about if I did, you know, actually know what you're talking about.”
He sat the mop aside, clicked his fingers and pointed at a spot right in front of him. His voice was soft and gentle but I was still chilled to the bones when he said, “Get over here.”
Uh, no, thank you. I hazarded, “I was going to take a shower.”
“Get. Over. Here.”
Okay, okay. Since he asked so nicely – who was I to deny him his wish?
Slowly, I got up and walked over to him, my eyes focused on his chest. I stopped in front of him, barely breathing. He didn't say anything, just waited. He didn't even touch me, which was unnerving. “What? I'm here!”
“Is there anything you'd like to talk about?”
Here it was, my chance at salvaging what was possible. I only had to say yes. Well, maybe a few explanatory words would be good too. I opened my mouth to answer and was slightly taken aback by what I heard. “No.”
“You're going to stick with that answer?”
Hell no! I tried voicing this but nothing happened. What was it with my vocal cords today?
I flinched when Steve laid a finger underneath my chin, tipping up my face. He looked at me, his dark blue eyes gleaming in a scary, intense way. “Shawn?”
I burst into tears. I hate when I do that but I couldn't help myself. He wasn't some cruel monster, he was my lover, he was the one person who really knew me at my best and at my worst, which made it all the more awful to have lied to him. I squeaked slightly when he simply lifted me off the ground, cradling me to his chest as if I was a small child. I hated how vulnerable this made me feel. Nonetheless I loved how safe I felt in his arms.
He carried me over to the bed, sat down and placed me carefully on his lap. I made sure my arms stayed locked around his neck while I pressed my face against his shoulder. For a while he didn't say anything, just rocked us back and forth, soothing me into a more coherent state of mind.
“How bad are you hurting?”
“W-What?” I asked, not sure if I had understood him correctly.
“Don't play games with me, Shawn. How bad does that bruise hurt?”
“How do you know about the bruises?”
“Bruises? It's getting more and more interesting,” he said dryly.
I ducked my head, not wanting to answer him but not daring to refuse him any longer. “It's not that bad.”
I hated when he did that. Really, really hated it. “Well, it hurts but it's just a bruise, nothing worth getting freaked out over.”
Oh God, I was toast. He knew. He knew about the source of the bruise. He had to. Defensively I snapped, “What do you mean with aha? It is just a bruise, it happens when you work with horses from time to time.”
“How did you get those bruises again?”
I shrugged. I so didn't want to go into details. Before I had time to process what was happening, Steve put me on my feet, lifted my shirt and gasped. “Holy shit, Shawn!”
“I'm fine, it looks worse than it is!”
Steve's arm locked around my waist, preventing me from bringing space between us. He traced his fingers over the bruises, which were large and already merging into one another. I'll have a hard time sleeping for a few nights. I usually slept on my left side or stomach; neither of these options were practical for tonight.
Steve pulled away the towel around my waist in one swift move, revealing the bruise on my left upper thigh. He took his time inspecting the bruise. I shivered in the cold, feeling very much exposed standing half-naked in front of my man. Not daring to move an inch, I stayed glued to the spot, warily eying Steve.
When he finally looked up at me and asked me in that low, gravelly voice, “You're fine? Is that right?” my legs threatened to buckle.
I shook my head, causing my hair to fly around wildly.
“N-No,” I stammered.
“You just told me you were fine.”
“Steeeeeve!” I wailed.
“You didn't tell me that?”
“I …,” I trailed off before having another go. “Don't be mad at me, please?”
“It's a bit late for that, kitten. What happened?” He lifted his hand to ward off my quick reply. “Not the version you came up with on your ride home, the truth, please.”
Tears welled up anew in my eyes and I tugged at the towel, wanting to wrap it around my waist again. Steve swatted my hands. I stared at him open-mouthed.
“I believe you're going to stick closer to the truth without anything covering your butt,” he said.
I sputtered and put more force into pulling the towel from his hands. “You don't even know what happened yet and already you're threatening to spank me? What are you? Mr. Omniscient all of a sudden? Let go!”
“Stop it, right now.”
“Stop what? You're being unreasonable and totally unfair. You've judged already without knowing all the facts. You just want to hurt me and--,” I cut myself off, my eyes going wide.
Steve's eyes turned to small slits and I remembered what he'd said to me the first time he'd spanked me. If I'd ever accused him of abusing me again, that was it. Frantically, I shouted, “I didn't accuse you of abusing me! I didn't!”
Closing my eyes, I felt tears roll down my cheeks. How could he love me when I was such a mess? Such a nasty mess.
I was shaking all over. Had I blown it? I knew he wouldn't leave me, or at least that's what he'd said, but if he interpreted my words in a certain way he'd cancel the disciplinary part of our relationship. As much as I loathed getting spanked, because it fucking hurt like all hell and because it was so hard to accept punishment, even if it was well deserved, which it always was, I didn't want to be in a relationship with him without the discipline. I loved him for who he was but also for being able to handle me, for keeping me in line. I wanted, needed him to be my top, period.
“I'm sooooorry,” I sobbed.
“Let go of the towel,” came the sudden instruction.
“You heard me.” With that he tugged the towel from my hands then turned me around, leading me to a corner in the bedroom.
“I want you to calm down and think about what you want to talk to me in a few minutes.”
Steve dropped a kiss on my head before he left me standing in the corner, naked from the waist down. I shivered. “Can't I--”
“No, as I already said, you do your best thinking without any clothes covering your butt.”
My cheeks flushed bright red. I tried pulling my shirt further down but it was a short one. Inwardly cursing myself for having picked this one I glared at the corner. I didn't want to stand here, half-naked and think. It was mean and I was cold and hurting and-- Hah! “Steeeve! I can't stand for so long.”
“Why's that, kitten?”
Briefly, I considered saying I felt faint but then remembered we had checked on my figures a short time ago. Also, he didn't like me playing him, specifically not with pretending to be low.
“Shawn? You weren't thinking about telling me to feel faint, were you?”
“No!” I protested vehemently. Maybe he was omniscient after all?
“Why can't you stand for so long then?”
Wracking my brain for a satisfying answer I was relieved when I was able to come up with one. “My leg hurts from the bruise there.”
He got up, surprising me. Was he really getting me out of the corner? I had to remember that; maybe it would work with headaches too?
I heard him leave the bedroom, only to be back a minute later. He carried something over to me then told me to sit down. Wait – sit down? I turned around and found a chair placed behind me. When I made no move to sit down, he guided me onto it, smiled and patted my shoulder lightly. “See, all better. You might want to value that you're capable of sitting.”
I cringed. He was mad, no doubt about it. So I sat and squirmed until he reminded me rather sharply to sit still.
Grrrr. He could sit still if he wanted. I couldn't, what with my poor butt tingling in fearful anticipation.
“Sit still please.”
Double grrrrrrrrr. I crossed my arms over my chest while I glared at the corner. It did look different from this point of view but even though I couldn't claim to be bored instantly, the new view didn't lift my mood in any way. Why the hell did he have to do that? He knew how much I loathed being parked in a corner.
“I didn't DO anything!” I blurted, myself surprised by my outburst as much as by the words. Why did these words fly out of my mouth? They didn't have permission from me, that much was sure.
I bounced up from the chair, intent on telling him exactly where he could stick his bloody “no?” but the sudden movement sent sparks of pain through my body. I only gasped and clutched my side.
“Shawn! Damn, don't do that!” Steve exclaimed as he rushed to my side. He pulled the chair aside and gently wrapped his arms around me.
“I'm sooooorry. Steve, I am sorry, honestly. I just thought you'd freak and won't allow me to go riding anymore.”
That was at least part of the truth. Maybe we could just forget about the little tantrum earlier and live happily ever after.
“Why did you think that?”
Uh, what? “I … because I got hurt and you don't like me getting hurt?” I tried.
I felt his chest expand while he was obviously taking in a very deep breath. He asked, somewhat wryly, “Seriously?”
He pulled me flush against his body and slid his hands down to my butt, squeezing my buttocks non too gently. I scooted closer to him and just shrugged.
“Or were you afraid I'd ban you from the barn because your glucose level went down faster than you expected, causing you to faint and the horse to panic?” he asked calmly.
My teeth chattered violently, which was completely his fault since I was half-naked. “You talked to my sister.”
“Yeah, Sabrina called me right when you stomped upstairs, asking if you were all right or if we'd need anything from the pharmacy. Consider me surprised when I talked to her a bit longer, eventually getting the whole story from her.”
My knees shook. Oh, I was in deep shit. “I meant to tell you about it.”
Steve's chest expanded again, very slowly and equally slowly went back to normal size. “Did you? When?”
“Later?” I mumbled into his shirt, inhaling his scent and wanting nothing more than to crawl right inside him.
“So you didn't really mean to tell me, right?”
The protest lay on the tip of my tongue but I swallowed it down. My shoulders slumped as I leaned heavily against him, trusting him without doubt to hold me in place. “No.”
“I believe this is the first time since you came back from the barn that you didn't answer a question from me with a lie,” he commented, his voice low, not accusing but nonetheless tearing right into me.
“I didn't mean to,” I managed to choke out before I started crying.
He let me cling to him while he swayed us back and forth. Eventually he took pity on me, guided me over to our bed, sat me on his lap and wrapped the comforter around my lower body half. His solicitousness brought forth another surge of tears.
When the tears finally subsided I asked, “Are you going to spank me?”
Even though I slapped a hand over my mouth to keep the whimper inside, it escaped nonetheless. “But I'm sorry, Steve. Please, it won't happen again!”
“I know you're sorry. I knew you felt bad right after you opened your mouth the first time after you came back.”
He rubbed my back and I lifted my head, looking up at him hopefully. “So, you won't spank me after all?”
He kissed me, hard and thoroughly. Slightly dazed I smiled up at him but only until he said, “Of course I'm going to spank you. We agreed on this, remember?”
“B-But,” I stuttered, “I'm already hurting.”
“I'm not going to spank your side or leg, I'll spank your butt.”
He was a real comedian. Ha-ha! I bestowed him with a freezing glare, shoved my elbow into his ribs and got up from his lap, all the while making sure not to lose the comforter around me. “Very funny! I don't think so! I'm already hurt and you will not add to it. I will not--”
I lost the thread of my thought because he lunged at me, swatting my backside hard several times. It hurt even through the fabric of the comforter. Shocked, I stood still and gasped for air. When he was done, he fastened his hands on my hips, turned me towards him until I stood between his legs. The look I received had me hastily drop my eyes to the floor. What the hell did I think?
“You know, I was going to suggest we wait till tomorrow since you are hurt and I don't actually want to add to it but given your behavior I changed my mind. We will deal with it now.”
He unwrapped the comforter, which left me standing half-naked in front of him again. Trembling, I didn't follow his invitation of lying across his lap when he patted his thighs. Instead I snapped, “I don't give a shit about--”
Seconds later I found myself lying across his lap, my upper body supported by a pillow and the first slaps raining down on my butt. I yelped and twisted, wincing at every twist because of the bruises. “Ow! Steve! You can't, ow! Do this!”
“Don't counter-ask a question with another question, that's rude!” I yelled, frustration taking over my commonsense and ruling my mouth.
Steve concentrated his slaps on my sit-spot, causing my voice to get up a notch. “Steeeeeve!”
“Since you brought up the talk about rude behavior, let's have a little chit-chat about that,” he replied, never ceasing in his assault on my butt.
Oh God, why didn't I have better control over my mouth or more specifically what came out of it? I swear, I never had this problem before Steve crossed my way. I was already at screeching point by that time. “Steeeeeeeeeeeeve! I'm sorry, I'm sorry!”
He stopped. The slaps stopped coming down but my butt smarted fiercely. Drawing in chunks of air, I tried to lever myself up from his lap. His hands – one cupping my hip and the other one resting on my smarting butt – grew heavier and held me in place.
“For what exactly are you sorry for?”
Ah crap! Not this game! I groaned, which earned me two vicious slaps on the back of my right thigh. I yelped and twisted before remembering his question. “For … for having been rude to you. For being a sorry excuse for a lover, you name it!”
I heard Steve inhale and exhale deeply. Anticipating another volley of slaps on my behind, I clenched my buttocks and eyes. Nothing happened at first. Wondering what was up with his silence I glanced over my shoulder at Steve. He was staring into space, his face showing lines of exhaustion and weariness.
I was the source for his exhaustion, a thought that instantly brought fresh tears to my eyes. I knew he'd tire of me. I just didn't think it was going to be so early. Taking in a shuddering breath I said in the calmest voice I could manage, “You're getting tired of me, of taking care of me. I knew this would happen and I'm sorry you're feeling this way. I know I'm pushing too hard and this isn't how a relationship should go anyway and I...”
I trailed off, feeling horrible and drained. I loved this man but I just made him miserable. Deep sobs forced their way out of me and nothing I tried was able to keep them inside.
Steve moved, lifting me off him. So that was it. The end of Steve and my relationship because I was such an idiot. Someone who was unable to get a hold of his mouth or his fucking diabetes. I was a burden, had always been one, but it had been so nice to believe that someone would love me, support me and hell yes, even take some of the burden of me. It was all so unfair.
Strong arms slid underneath me, lifted me again and carefully placed me on my right side. “Is it easier for you to talk to me if you see my face or not?”
Talk? He seriously wanted to talk to me? Didn't he ever listen? I bit on my lower lip, hoping I hadn't said this aloud. He did listen. Always. He even listened to the things I didn't say aloud, which scared the hell out of me.
“I'm sorry,” I sobbed, my voice sounding strange and pitiful even to my own ears.
“That's not an answer to my question,” he admonished mildly. I felt the bed dip behind me then solid warmth nestled up against me. He was spooning me, lifting the comforter over both of us. “Come on, kitten, tell me what's going on. You haven't snapped at me like this for months.”
“I was just worried you wouldn't allow me to go riding anymore if you knew that I fainted because of low blood sugar.”
He tapped my butt lightly with one of his surprisingly large hands, clearly warning me. I wished I'd get the meaning of his warning. “What? That's the truth!”
“You would never flip like this. You know I wouldn't forbid you to go riding. I know how much you love it and I also know that sometimes your glucose level crashes without us knowing the reason for it. You ate appropriately before going out, your figures were all okay and that for weeks. It's the first time you fainted and you even realized becoming too low early enough to get off the horse. Now tell me what's really bothering you.”
“You're not mad at me for fainting?”
“I'm not happy about it and I certainly wished you'd told me right away but no, I'm not mad at you for fainting.”
Steve kissed my wet cheeks before he slowly turned me on my back. He cupped my face in his hands and my eyes fluttered close when he pressed light, teasing kisses all over my face. When he stopped, I opened my eyes again. His expression changed from sympathy to seriousness in seconds and my gut did this annoying nose-dive thing again. How often could one gut do this per day anyway?
“Y-You are not?” I asked, just wanting to make sure we were on the same page.
“No. I am however absolutely not pleased about you throwing tantrums, smashing things, hurling hurtful words at me and then telling me I'd tire of you. Hmm, come to think of it, I'm pretty mad at you for still believing we won't last for long,” he told me, his hands on my face tightening fractionally.
My eyes went wide during his little speech and nervously I licked my lips. Bitterness seeped into my voice when I told him, “You could find someone who isn't such a burden, someone you could do weekend-trips spontaneously or just be more spontaneous in general. You know, all the things we can't do because I need to take my insulin with me, because I need to eat regularly and all this fantastic crap you have to deal with if you hang out with me.”
Steve frowned. “Did I give you the impression I was missing something?”
I shrugged and averted my eyes.
“Shrugging is not an answer.”
It totally was. He would get the hang of it. Probably. Later. Most likely way in the future. For now I had to play by his rules. Sighing, I mumbled, “It totally is.”
“No, it's not. Talk to me.”
He expected me to talk, to really talk. Now. As in now, immediately. I swallowed and decided to take the easy way out. I lied. “No, you didn't.”
It wasn't even a hard-core lie, he hadn't said anything. His parents had. They had come to visit last weekend and everything was fine until the point where his father shook his head in disappointment. He told me how much Steve enjoyed to travel, how often he'd spontaneously decided to visit a place that interested him before he got to know me. He told me all about it. I felt like a millstone around Steve's neck ever since.
“Kitten, if you don't stop lying to me right this instant I'll blister your behind with more than just my hand.”
My mouth fell open. What? “What?”
“You heard me loud and clear and I don't like to repeat myself.”
“You can't use anything else than your hand!”
“I didn't agree to anything else,” I sputtered as I clawed at his hands on my face, unsuccessfully trying to remove them.
“Shouldn't you have been all indignant because I said you were lying? Which of course means that you are lying,” Steve replied.
He withdrew his hands and carefully but very firmly sat me up on the bed. I grimaced and shifted, attempting to take some weight of my butt. Steve rested his hands on top of my shoulders and looked at me searchingly. “Shawn, talk to me, please! Since last weekend you're withdrawn and bounce back and forth between sulking, clinging and stropping. I want to know why.”
Oh. So he noticed. I knew I needed to tell him but that meant showing my insecurities and inadequacies and … he didn't need that. I shook my head.
Steve sighed and I relaxed, thinking that I'd gotten away. He quickly disabused me of this thought by saying, “It's the hard way, hm? All right, we can do that too.”
I frowned at him, not really getting or not really wanting to get his meaning. He forced me into getting it when I found myself lying over his lap again. I still have no clue how he could manhandle me so fast yet so gentle. My bruised side barely protested at the movement whereas my butt clenched and protested, rather vehemently, against the reawakening of the fire.
Steve held me so firmly in place that I had no leeway at all. No twisting, not much jerking also, only his hand slapped down on my bare bottom relentlessly. My eyes started streaming almost immediately, the stress of the last days finally taking its toll on me. I also didn't understand why I was back in this position.
“Steve! Stop! Please stop it!”
“Did you lie to me or not?” he asked, his voice sounding grim and resolute. He probably wouldn't take any kind of euphemism too kindly. I should really teach him to loosen up once in a while.
“I want you to let go of me!” I screeched, ignoring his question.
A volley of sharp, forceful slaps, all concentrated on my sit spot, had me squealing within seconds. Steve seemed to take lessons because he ignored my protest completely, merely repeated his question, “Did you lie to me or not?”
Sobbing uncontrollably, I shouted, “I'm sorry! Ow! Okay? Ow! Please, Steve.”
“Did. You. Lie. To. Me. Or. Not.” He emphasized each word by a thundering smack on the back of my right thigh.
The smacks stopped instantly. I cried in relief. Relief because he didn't punish me any more but mostly because I had told the truth. It took a load off my mind, allowing me to feel more peaceful than the last few days. Still sobbing, I managed to add, “I'm sorry. I didn't mean to. It wasn't with malicious intent, it was just … just ...”
“Just what? Come on, Shawn, don't stop now. I can't help you if you don't let me.”
But if I said it aloud what would happen? Would he say yes, you're right, what the heck am I still doing here with you or would he stay with me, out of pity?
Steve sighed, shifted one leg further up, which brought my butt higher into the air and before I understood what went on, he had administered a few more slaps to the lower part of my buttocks. “Maybe you simply need a bit more convincing so you can spill it.”
I ow'ed and moaned because I just had no breath left to complain about his method anymore. It hurt. My butt hurt like it had never hurt before, everything felt raw, sore and each new slap ignited the same fire just deeper in the muscles. I cried into the pillow, going slack over Steve's lap, wishing I would be healthy and not such a burden.
“I don't want to hold you back! I don't want you to resent me in a few weeks or months,” I explained in between sobs, hoping he could make sense from my choppy gibberish.
“Hold me back? Resent you?” He laughed, a harsh, cold laugh that sent shivers up my spine. “Why would you think that?”
“You can't be spontaneous like you used to be. Your dad told me how much you liked to travel and how much you changed since you're with me. That you've changed from someone who was always on the move to someone who's always home,” I blurted while trying to catch my breath at the same time.
He pulled me up into a sitting position, eliciting shocked yelps from me when my bottom brushed over his thighs. He guided me until my flaming backside was securely cradled between his thighs and gently pressed a kiss on my forehead. He wiped my face with a tissue, slapping my hand away when I tried to do it on my own. I let him be. He needed to fuss over me after a spanking, it was always the same. Poor guy was probably guilt-stricken for inflicting so much pain on me and if fussing about me did the trick, who was I to deny it to him?
“Did it ever occur to you that I might have been unhappy before I met you? That I was always on the move because there was no one in my life worth going home for?”
I did a double-take and gaped at him. “N-No?”
“So you just jumped to a conclusion, which also happened to fit your self-perception? Is that correct?”
“Your dad said--”
“Is that correct, yes or no?”
Grrrrrr. I could explain my reasons for believing his dad to him if he'd just let me but no, mister-knows-it-all had to be a nitpicker. I didn't want to tell him that though so I grumbled, “Yes.”
“We could have avoided all this, you know that, right? There was no need for you to have such a sore butt at all,” he sighed.
“I'm sorry.” I was. I knew he wasn't a big fan of spanking me but did it anyway because it worked for us. “I really believed your father thought I'd hold you back. That ... that I was a burden, not a partner.”
Steve shook his head. “You heard what you wanted to hear. Actually, my dad is happy about me being home so much. He worried about me, being everywhere, always moving because he saw that it didn't make me happy. It did not make me happy, Shawn. I was always searching, always feeling restless but never content, happy. I'm all that when I'm with you. I love coming home, being home now.”
Oh. Um. What did you say to such a declaration of love? That I didn't deserve him? That he deserved someone who didn't make a mess out of everything? Someone who actually acted mature and not like a brat? Swallowing hard around the big lump in my throat, I said, “I didn't know that. I love you too, Steve.”
“I bet it never occurred to you before, huh? I bet you still believe that you're not good enough for me.”
“Uh,” I stammered, feeling heat color my cheeks. Fine, now those cheeks probably glowed as much as my other ones.
“I won't say it's okay because it's not. I do know that you can't change how you feel overnight. Be assured that I am where I want to be, that I have all I ever wanted to have right here, in my arms and that I don't miss a damn thing.”
The damn lump in my throat was back; it had just doubled in size. It was impossible to talk with this ginormous thing stuck in my throat so I reverted back to crying. Steve stroked my hair, cuddled me closer and rocked slightly back and forth.
“It's okay, kitten, let it out.”
Feebly, I croaked, “Are we okay?”
“Yes, we are. Except there's one thing: next time you go riding, I'll go with you.”
Alarmed, I blurted, “Why? You don't like to be around horses, you said so yourself.”
“That's a very nice euphemism of 'Oh God, don't do that to me. You made a fool out of yourself the last time you went with me.' I'll still go with you,” he laughed.
I grinned. “You did make a fool out of yourself.”
“Yeaaaah, I guess I did,” Steve chuckled ruefully.
“You don't have to go with me.”
“Yes, I do because I'll make sure your figures are in the right range before you get on that horse of yours. I promise I'll just look and stay out of your way otherwise.”
“If I fight this do I have a chance of winning?” I asked, still embarrassed just thinking about the last time he went with me.
“I have to call Rina later, tell her she has to exercise Silver for the next two or three days. At least I won't have to make up a reason for her,” I mumbled, the guilt I felt for having lied to Steve seeping into my voice.
“No, you won't, you just need to leave out the detail that your butt is scorched.”
“Bastard,” I said, meaning it as an endearment.
Steve chuckled, clearly getting how it was meant. “Draw in your claws, kitten.”
I huffed but otherwise said nothing. Steve stroked my hair and I nudged his hand with my head whenever he stopped in his ministrations. That was the least he could after setting my butt on fire. The pain, exhaustion and turmoil of emotions left me drained and tired and for a while I simply dozed. Steve roused me after a few seconds – okay, probably minutes – and said, “You never took that shower, did you?”
“Is that your polite way of telling me I reek?”
“That's the polite way of asking you if you need help.”
“N--,” I stopped myself immediately. Steve's glare helped remembering to think twice before opening my mouth too. Trying again, I said, “I do. I can't pull the shirt off on my own because of the bruises.”
Steve frowned, slipped his hands under my shirt and carefully felt me up. “There's nothing broken, I'm sure about it. We do not need to go to the hospital. I'm not lying or anything, promise.”
I wasn't, really and it would be a total waste of time to go to the hospital. Also, I didn't want to explain to anyone why I couldn't sit down. Feeling myself blushing, I rested my head on his shoulder. “Seriously, Steve, it's not too bad. I just need some help getting undressed.”
“Oh, I think I can help with that,” he grinned at me.
“You do?” I grinned back. “Think you can help me with, uh, other things too?”
“Of course! You know me, I'm always helpful.”
He was. He was also a lot more and he meant a lot more to me than he could probably imagine. Swallowing heavily, I whispered, “I know. Want to lend me a hand in the shower?”
His promising grin was all the answer I needed.