Cracklin' in the Night
|by Rolf and Gayspankee|
Copyright on this story text belongs at all times to the original authors only, whether stated explicitly in the text or not. The original date of posting to the MMSA was: 27 Jun 2002
"No means no," Justin accented each word with a hard thwack of the brush. Bradley only replied with "awwwwww"s and "ooooo"s.
"The next time I tell you to keep the computer off, I expect you to do it. Do you understand?" Justin asked firmly.
Brad chose not to answer, concentrating only on the fire that was growing increasingly hotter and more widespread. Justin landed another half dozen swats, and asked the question again.
"Y--yes sir." Brad managed to mutter in between howls.
Justin put the brush on the bed, and helped Brad to his feet.
"Go in and take a shower and get ready for brunch."
Brad wiped the tears from his eyes with one hand, and tried to rub away the fire with the other, neither doing much good. He went into the bathroom, closing the door behind him. He stood half gazing at the damage, wishing his friend Tom had a better time to socialize on instant messenger. And to top off this morning, he had to attend brunch. He was none too pleased to have to spend his Sunday morning with Justin's snobbish sister who was coming over for a short visit. Brad couldn't figure out how two siblings could have such polar opposite personalities, even if they were different sexes.
"Bradley, I don't hear any water running," Justin stated from the bedroom.
Brad gazed at the door, a look that would make small children cry, and walked over to the shower, turning it on. He so wished to comment, but knew it would only result in an even sorer behind. After letting the water warm up for a minute, Brad slid in. He let out a little whimper as the water cascaded down his sore bottom.
As Brad showered, Justin did some cleaning up, in case Jocelyn wanted to come by after brunch.
Tom sat quietly at the office computer, dressed only in his tightie whities. It was barely 6am there, and Dean was fast asleep. Tom waited impatiently for his cyber friend to log on for his solid weekly chat.
"Come on Brad, where are you?"
He cruised a few sites that he liked to keep updated on and continued waiting. Thirty minutes later there was still no sign of Brad. Knowing Brad the way he did, he figured he was in trouble with Justin again. He jumped when hands landed on his shoulder.
"Morning." Dean said.
"Daggone it, why couldn't you knock?" Tom nearly shouted.
"Hey. I wasn't sneaking around."
Tom had gotten over the adrenaline rush. "Sorry. You just scared the crap out of me."
Dean squeezed his shoulders. "Is Brad not up this morning?"
"No, he hasn't appeared. I'm guessing he's probably on Justin's bad list. He said he'd probably have troubles today as they had things to do."
"Then why don't you come back to bed. You know I like you getting to bed early when you're going to be up early, and you didn't manage that last night."
Tom shut the computer off and followed Dean back to bed. A little more sleep wasn't going to hurt, especially if Brad wasn't around to chat with.
Brad finished up his shower, his tears finally ending as well. Justin knew how to spank, that was a given. He dried off his face and looked again in the mirror, hating the bloodshot eyes that looked back at him. Justin was just going to have to give him time when he needed, as Tom wasn't allowed online at just any time. They had a weekly date; Justin was just going to have to get over it.
"Brad! Come on sweetheart, we don't want to be late!" Justin yelled from the stairs.
Brad opened the door. "I'm getting dressed as fast as I can!"
"We need to leave in fifteen minutes."
Brad grumbled as he pulled out some sweat pants and a sweatshirt. He was in no mood to get formal, not with his backside aching like it was. He pulled on his underwear and winced, then pulled up the sweats. He managed to balance long enough to slide his feet into his tennis shoes and tied them up without sitting down or falling over. He checked his hair one more time, scowling at his own face, before heading downstairs.
"Bradley Thomas, you get yourself back upstairs and into something decent," Justin said, turning Brad back towards the stairs with a swat to his backside.
Brad jumped out of reach. "It HURTS!" he said, rubbing.
"You should have thought about that before turning on the computer. Five minutes, or I come up there with the paddle," Justin said sternly.
Brad stomped up the stairs and went into his room, kicking his shoes off into opposite corners. He turned quickly when he heard Justin's tread on the stairs.
"I'm getting ready!" he said quickly, running towards the closet.
Justin came in the room and clicked his fingers, pointing at the floor in front of him. "NOW," was all he said.
Brad stepped slowly over to position.
"This is your final warning. Your attitude sucks and it ends right here and right now. If you don't like the consequences, then you don't misbehave. Is....that....clear?"
Brad muttered a quiet "Yes, sir," the only answer he knew would keep him safe.
"Four minutes," Justin said, turning for the door.
"But you said five before!"
"Three minutes and 55 seconds," Justin said, going downstairs to wait.
Brad turned and mimicked Justin. "Three minutes and 54 seconds....oops 52 seconds. Eat me!" The latter comment said in his best Gingerbread Man impersonation. He felt better after his brief, quiet rant, and quickly got dressed. He made it down the stairs with just seconds to spare.
Tom curled up next to Dean, laying his head on Dean's chest. As tired as he was, Tom couldn't fall asleep. Instead, he drew lazy circles around Dean's nipple.
Dean took Tom's hand and kissed it, stilling the movement.
Tom rolled over, staring at the ceiling. His thoughts went back to Justin and Brad. He'd been talking to Brad now for just over three months, and in that time he'd learned a lot about him. The main thing was, Brad could be a complete ass. Sometimes he'd be wanting to pick up the phone and call Justin, just to bring Brad down a peg or two. He didn't have his phone number, but there were days.....
One month earlier, Tom had been up early and was waiting for Brad. When Brad appeared thirty minutes late without explanation, Tom was going to say something to him. But Brad didn't give him a word in edgewise, just started on a rant about Justin this and Justin that, how unfair he was and on and on and on. When Brad finally ran out of steam, Tom asked him what had happened.
Tom&Jer: You sound really upset. What happened to make Justin do that?
Only14u: I was late, that was ALL!
Tom&Jer: I wouldn't have thought Justin would go psycho on you like that.
Only14u: You don't know him like I do.
Tom&Jer: What were you late for?
Only14u: Oh, it was just a stupid court date for a freaking parking ticket. He acted like it was the end of the world.
Tom sat back, his mouth wide open. Brad was pissed off at Justin because of that?! Tom would have been creamed, and rightfully so, if he were late for a court date. What the hell was Brad's problem?
Tom rolled back over and started working on Dean. It didn't take long before he had his full attention. After a good workout, Tom was able to go back to sleep.
Justin drove over to pick up his sister on the other side of town, then headed back to downtown for the Hyatt hotel Sunday brunch.
They all entered quickly and got situated quite comfortably.
"Tell me all about New York, Joycelyn." Justin asked, hanging on his baby sister's every word.
"It is fabulous Just. I am seeing a doctor."
"What for? Mental or physical health?" Brad asked, disgusted at how intensely Justin was listening.
Justin shot a look that could kill, but Brad blew it off completely, nibbling on a roll.
"Socially. I am seeing a doctor socially!"
"Ah. A proctologist? Urologist? Gynecologist?" Brad asked casually.
"Oh, Brad, you're SO funny," Joycelyn replied, blushing slightly. "He's actually a brain surgeon."
"Wonderful. Then he can do the lombectomy you need," Brad replied.
Justin was saved any more embarrassment when the waiter approached to take drink orders.
"Why don't you head on up Joyce, we'll watch your purse." Justin said kindly.
"Thanks," Joycelyn said as she headed up to the food bar.
Brad tried to follow but was stopped by an iron grip on his wrist.
"SIT still and listen closely young man," Justin said in a low growl. "I told you before we came that you were to be a gentleman, and you're far from it. I will discuss your punishment with you later, but I'm warning you right now. One more remark, one single, solitary smart alec move, and I'll take you to the nearest restroom and let my belt finish this discussion."
The look that Brad got wilted any further misbehavior on his part. "Yes, sir," he said, shifting uncomfortably in the chair.
Justin kept his eyes locked on Brad's for a moment longer. "Then go on up and get your plate."
Brad escaped quickly, an involuntary flush having crept into his cheeks during the lecture.
"You look a bit flushed Brad. You should take off your jacket if you are warm," Jocelyn said as he made his way behind her. "Oh that's right, you aren't wearing one."
Brad had a tart reply ready to roll, but knew he would pay a cost greater than it's value.
"You are sharp, Joy."
"Joycelyn, please, Bradley."
"If you wish to be picky, then its Brad!"
"What's Brad?" Justin asked, coming up behind Brad as Joyce went back to the table.
Brad wanted to say a few choice words, but knew better. "We were just getting our names straight," he said as he walked over to the bakery area.
Justin let it slide, filling up his plate and returning to the table after Brad had finished.
"So, this brain surgeon, how did you meet him?" Justin asked.
"Oh, you know the Governor's Ball? The one that I was invited to in the first place?" Joycelyn waited until Justin answered in the affirmative. "Well, the lady that invited me introduced me to the Governor's wife, and SHE introduced me to her college buddy, James. James Edward Thomas, III. He's of the Bostonian Thomas's."
Brad was having a conversation with himself, mimicking Joyce's words, and nearly burst out laughing when she added the last sentence. "He's from.....Boston?" he finished quickly, feeling the burn of Justin's eyes on his forehead.
"Oh, yes. He comes from old money, made it in oil. His father is a multi-millionaire and sits on the board of the Boston Museum of Art," Joycelyn gushed.
Justin continued asking questions and listening intently as his sister talked about her month long stay in New York.
Brad ate, refraining from further conversation unless Justin prompted him particularly. As long as he had unlimited food and an appetite, he could probably put up with Joyce.
Tom woke up as Dean sat up, ready to get up.
"Time?" he asked sleepily.
"It's nine. What would you like for breakfast?"
"That I can do," Dean replied as he slid his feet into his slippers and grabbed his robe from the chair.
Tom rolled around a few minutes more, taking the chance to stretch luxuriously in the still warm bed. His thoughts returned to Brad, wondering what Brad would have to tell him later. It would probably be a week before he could chat on IM to him again, though they used emails. It just wasn't the same as live chat.
Finally his bladder prompted him to leave the warmth of the bed.
Justin invited Joyce to visit their house for an hour or two to continue catching up after brunch. Joycelyn quickly agreed.
When they arrived home, Justin was able to get Brad alone for just a moment to tell him he needed to show his sister some respect and stay in the living room with them. It wasn't too much to ask for another hour or so of Brad's day.
After a half hour of conversation, Justin could tell Brad was about to explode.
"Brad, why don't you help me make some tea, please?"
Brad got up and followed Justin from the room, unsure as to the motive.
Once the kettle was put on to boil, Justin spoke. "Thank you for giving the hour of your time. I know my sister isn't your favorite person, but she does deserve some respect from you, if nothing more than because she's my sister."
Brad wisely kept his mouth shut.
"I didn't appreciate your behavior earlier. Joyce is going to need firewood for the coming winter, and as usual, we have enough to share. I'd like for you to head upstairs and get changed, and start working on chopping the logs to about two feet by six inches -"
"I am NOT chop-"
Justin's look stopped him mid-sentence.
"Can't it wait until later?" Brad tried asking.
"Sure, if you would rather join me in the living room."
Brad made a face and headed towards the back door.
"Get changed and get a jacket on, it's not summer."
Brad wanted to shoot daggers, but instead smiled and went upstairs. Justin meanwhile returned to his sister.
"Where did Bradley go?" Joycelyn asked.
"He volunteered to prep some wood for you."
"All rotten and wet I am sure."
"Joyce, he wouldn't dream of it. Although you two have your moments, its not all bad."
Joyce smiled and took a sip of her tea.
Brad went upstairs and changed clothes, happy to be out of his nicer ones and back into the jeans he normally wore. He was not pleased at all to be working on the woodpile, but much preferred that over Joyce's chirping conversation. He thumped back downstairs and slammed the door on the way out, tossing his jacket over his shoulder.
He grabbed the ax and started hacking away at the logs, quickly using up the energy that his anger provided him. When he started getting tired, he began thinking about how much he disliked Joyce and that is was her that got him sentenced to hard labor and his anger burned anew. He had to take a break, he was chopping so ferociously that the logs would soon be toothpicks. Brad placed the ax on the ground and headed into the shed. As he entered, something on the top shelf caught his eye. He got a wonderfully, mischievous idea. He stood on his toes, and felt around, finally grabbing hold of the item. He looked at the pack of firecrackers he held in his hand.
"This should scare the britches off of that snooty little bitch. Making me waste my afternoon back here."
Brad placed them in his pocket and returned to the chopping. He had to find a way to insert them into one of the logs, or more specifically the log on top.
Brad continued chopping, getting hot and taking his shirt off. A few minutes later he heard the backdoor open and saw Justin and Joyce come out. Justin was headed in his direction.
"Brad, get your shirt back on, it's cold out here."
"Not when you're chopping wood it's not."
"Get your shirt on, now. I'm going to take Joyce home, I want you to keep working out here. You could do another pile about the size you currently have."
"Justiiiiiiiiiiinnnnn, that'll take me another couple of hours! Why don't you help me?" Brad whined as he put his shirt on.
"Because I was not rude to my sister, you were and this is your punishment. I want a sizable dent in that load by the time I get back, is that clear?"
"And your attitude had better improve by the time I get back as well. If you don't like doing this, then behave." Justin took Brad by the chin and kissed him. "I'll be back in a little while."
Brad watched as Justin left, waving to his sister when he really wanted to be giving her the finger. At least he didn't have to listen to her any more today.
Brad continued with his chopping assignment for the next fifteen minutes. The adrenaline was pumping so he was able to chop faster and harder. He finally had enough, every chop reminding him of that snooty Joycelyn. He left the axe in the next log and took a seat. As he was sitting he remembered the firecracker. Now was the time to install it. He grabbed a good-sized log and walked into the garage, going directly for Justin's tools. He found the drill, and drilled a hole just large enough to slide in the firecrackers. He smiled wickedly as they slid in, just down far enough so they would not be seen. He quickly cleaned up his little project, and returned to the wood pile, placing the log in a special place so it wouldn't get mixed up with the other hundred blocks he had to cut. Satisfied, he grabbed the axe and continued the hard labor.
"Why do I have to deliver the wood? Isn't it good enough that I chopped the damn things?" Brad whined.
"Watch your mouth. And because I said so. Joycelyn needs them this evening. And if I take them, I will be late for the neighborhood meeting," Justin replied.