Appearances Can Be Deceiving


Pairing:  Ben/Kyle

Implement:  Hairbrush

Warning:  None

Author:  Jenny


Surveying the burgeoning chaos in their closet, Ben shook his head in dismay, “This is getting ridiculous.  We have enough clothes in here to start our own shop.”


“We need to dress well.  We’re both professionals,” protested Kyle.  The closet full of expensive clothing provoked quite a different reaction from him, bringing a warm sense of contentment.


“I know but Kyle, there is no way two men need this amount of clothing. And there isn’t room to hang the suits and shirts properly, so they don’t wrinkle,” explained Ben practically.


“We can move some of them to the closet in the guest room.”


“Have you looked in there lately, Kyle?” asked Ben dryly.  “It’s as full as this one.”


“Well, the other bedroom then.  We have plenty of space,” he suggested.  This sudden, burning need that Ben felt to arrange their possessions was totally lost on Kyle.


“That’s not the point.  We need to get rid of some of these clothes.  All this clutter makes it hard to organize the ones we do wear.”


Nervously Kyle licked his lips, the vast majority of the clothes were his and he wondered at the edict that Ben was going to hand down.


“How about we sort through it tonight?  At least make a start on it,” he clarified when he saw Kyle’s worried look.  “It’s a good rule if you haven’t worn it in a year, toss it.”


Kyle nodded reluctantly, “I guess so.”


“I’ll go get some boxes from the storage room.  We can drop them off at Goodwill on the weekend.”  He strode out of the room, a man on a mission.


Stepping into the large walk-in closet of their master bedroom, Kyle ran his fingers along the row of his tailored suits, reveling in the thrill of possession.  The sheer number hanging on the overburdened rack brought a feeling of satisfaction and his stomach clenched at the thought of getting rid of any of them.


“Why don’t you start in the guestroom, Kyle?” Ben suggested, rubbing his hands together in anticipation.


“All right,” he answered gloomily, grabbing a box and shuffling to the door.


An hour and many false starts later, Kyle sat on the bed gazing in despair at the still overflowing closet.  The box sat on the floor, accusingly empty.   Taking a deep breath he went once again to remove an article from the crowded rack.  He chose a shirt at random, took it from its hanger and folded it carefully, placing it in the bottom of the box.  Turning back to the closet, he tried to ignore the abandoned shirt.  Only succeeding for a moment he snatched it back up, shook it out and re-hung it on its rightful hanger.  Jamming it back among the crowded garments, he huffed indignantly.  What a way to spend an evening!  He went back to sitting on the bed, staring dejectedly at the brimming closet.




Jumping at the sound of Ben’s voice, Kyle answered, “Yes?”


“Umm…how’s it going?” Ben asked cautiously, taking in the untouched closet.


Kyle rolled his eyes and flopped back onto the bed, his answer obvious.


“What’s the problem, sweetheart?” he asked, sitting down on the bed beside his partner, giving his knee a sympathetic pat.  “Don’t know where to start?  It is a bit overwhelming.”


An expressive groan was his only answer.  “All right, cranky,” Ben rumbled, pinching Kyle’s bottom playfully.  “I’ll help you.”  Standing up he went to the closet to riffle decisively through the contents.  “Here.  You haven’t worn this in ages, Kyle.”  Ben held up a dark suit.


“No,” pleaded Kyle.  “I love that suit.”  He struggled into a sitting position to protest.


Holding it up for a second look, Ben looked puzzled, “Kyle, I don’t think I’ve ‘ever’ seen you wear this suit.” 


“I might, though,” said Kyle, bouncing off the bed to grab the suit away from Ben and hang it back up.


“Well, how about this one?” offered Ben, reaching into the disorder to pull out another suit.


“No,” said Kyle flatly.


“Kyle, what’s going on?” demanded Ben.  “We need to clear out some of this mess.”


“It’s not mess.  I need these clothes,” he protested, his tone edging towards desperation.


“You need all these clothes?” asked Ben in disbelief, gesturing at the array of designer wear.  “Kyle, nobody needs this many clothes.”


“I do,” insisted Kyle, his eyes filling with unexpected tears.


“Kyle?” asked Ben, surprised at his partner’s emotional response.  “What’s the matter?”


“Nothing!” denied Kyle.  He tried to storm out of the room but Ben caught his wrist and held him in place.  Swiping angrily at his wet eyes with the other hand, Kyle tried to wrench away from his partner.


“Stop,” said Ben firmly, waiting until Kyle ended his futile struggling. 


Ben led his lover to the bed and sat down, drawing Kyle down to sit beside him.  Wrapping a comforting arm around his waist, he held him tightly against his side, “Now, what’s this all about?”


Shaking his head, Kyle tried to squirm away from his partner’s embrace but Ben didn’t relent, waiting patiently for him to speak. “They used to buy me khakis,” he burst out finally, the revulsion obvious in his voice.


“Pardon?” asked Ben, trying to make sense of that.


“My parents,” explained Kyle.  “They used to buy me the most god-awful clothes to wear.  All baggy and ugly.  It wasn’t that they couldn’t afford nice things, they just thought it was frivolous and vain to waste money on expensive ones.”


I just bet they did, thought Ben wryly.  Puritan was an apt description of Kyle’s family.  The fact that their son happened to be a man of uncommon attractiveness had probably sent them into a blind panic.  Trying to disguise his nascent sexuality was the most likely motivation for their taste in clothes for him.  As if the packaging could diminish the magnificence of the emerging man inside.


“I am vain,” said Kyle sadly.


“Kyle!” scolded Ben, squeezing him tighter.  “You’re no such thing.  Just because you like nice clothes doesn’t mean you’re vain.”


“And self-centered,” continued Kyle, not even registering what Ben was saying, lost in childhood recriminations.


“Self-centered! Kyle, why would you say that?”


“Do you know what I bought with my first paycheck when I was sixteen?  A pair of leather pants,” he said desolately, as if that proved his egotism without a doubt.


“Kyle,” Ben began but was cut off by Kyle’s continued litany of remorse.  “I was a coward too, I hid them. . . but my mom found my hiding spot.”  He stopped abruptly and was quiet for so long Ben nudged him and asked, “What did she do with them? Burn them?”


His face was red with remembered shame and Ben could feel him trembling, “She threw them away but that wasn’t the worst.”  Playing with the threads of the quilt on the bed, he admitted haltingly, “She found my collection of magazines too.”


“S&M magazines,” surmised Ben matter-of-factly.  He saw Kyle’s head dip slightly in agreement.


“She called me sick.  Said they’d have me locked up in a mental institution.”  Kyle shuddered in memory. “I was just a kid. That scared the shit of me. I don’t even think she cared if I wanted to do it with a guy or a girl, she just was so repulsed by the idea.”


“Ah, sweetheart,” said Ben gently, lying back on the bed and taking Kyle with him.  For a need so strong to be so misunderstood was extremely wounding.  He felt a surge of gratitude for the circumstances that had brought his partner into his life, still bravely holding onto his essence.  Stroking his hand over Kyle’s short hair, he spoke, his voice full of compassion, “I think that kind of reaction is something we all deal with at some point.”


Propping himself up on his elbow, Kyle studied his Dom, “Did anyone give you a hard time?”


Ben’s smile didn’t reach his eyes, “There’s always someone who assumes all you are is a sadistic bastard. Or on a power trip.  People are scared of things they don’t understand.”  The two men lay quietly for a few moments, Kyle’s head pillowed on Ben’s solid chest, before Ben snorted and asked, “Do you think your parents know what I am to you?  I mean the few times I’ve met them they always give me the evil-eye but I wonder if they ‘know’.”


Kyle looked slyly at his partner and stifled a laugh, “Well, last time they were here you did call me boy a couple of times.”


“I did not,” scoffed Ben, digging Kyle in the ribs.


Yelping, Kyle crawled on top of his larger partner, attempting to pin his muscular arms.  “You did,” he insisted, still laughing.


Ben rolled them both over, easily trapping Kyle underneath him, “Well, you are, aren’t you?” he teased.  “My boy?”


The words alone were enough for Kyle’s cock to start to harden, “Yes,” he breathed, arching up to rub his groin against Ben’s.


“My boy,” growled Ben possessively, covering Kyle’s mouth with his own, he kissed him roughly.  His hand trailed down his lover’s lean stomach until he reached the button of his fly.  Undoing the fastening he slid his hand inside Kyle’s jeans to cup his balls.


“Oh yeah,” he sighed with pleasure, raising his hips so Ben could pull down his pants. 

Ben stripped off his lover’s jeans and underwear with a few impatient tugs, and then engulfed his erection in his mouth, eliciting a gasp from Kyle.  He pushed Kyle’s bent knees towards his chest, exposing him fully for his attention.  Lightly he slapped his sub’s inner thigh and then kneaded the stinging flesh as he continued to tongue Kyle’s hardened cock.  The slaps became progressively harder, the kneading rougher as Kyle edged towards orgasm.  His cries of pleasure grew louder until he finally came with a shout.


Spooning behind Kyle, Ben held him close, waiting until his lover’s thumping heart slowed to normal.  “So,” he teased gently.  “What are we going to do?  Buy a bigger house to store your clothes?”


Kyle didn’t answer for a few moments and then spoke seriously, “You’re right, it’s ridiculous to keep all these things.  I don’t even wear half of them.”


“Do you think you can give them away, Kyle?”


“Yes,” he replied with confidence.  “It’s not like I’m a prisoner to my parent’s lack of taste anymore. I can buy whatever I want.”


“Within reason,” Ben corrected, smiling.


“What do you mean?  I never spend more than I can afford.”


“I know that, Kyle,” Ben reassured him.  “That’s not what I meant.  It’s just that right now I think we really need to get a handle on this clutter.  So, neither one of us will be buying any new clothes until we clear some of it out.”


“Sure,” agreed Kyle readily.  It wouldn’t be more than a couple of days at most until he worked his way through his share.  No big deal.


Well, it wouldn’t have been a big deal if he hadn’t let himself be sidetracked at every opportunity.  One night he worked late, another it was the night he played volleyball, the next he was too tired to be bothered to tackle the daunting task.  Ben had sorted through his much smaller wardrobe by the second night.  His boxes, neatly stacked, were waiting by the door to be dropped off to charity.  On Thursday Kyle appraised his share of the chaos and begged, “Can’t you help me, Ben?  This is going to take forever.”


“No, Kyle,” replied Ben, shaking his head firmly.  “I think it’s important that you decide what to keep yourself.”  And assessing his partner with an experienced eye, he added, “If you are honestly having trouble parting with something that’s one thing, it’s quite another if you’re not doing it out of pure laziness.”


Laziness? How about boredom?  Kyle could think of a hundred more exciting things to do than sort through closets.   But Ben was looking a little testy about his lack of progress and he decided it might be prudent to at least make a show of effort.  So he half-heartedly filled a box partway with his least favorite clothing, marveling at some of his more impulsive purchases, before giving up on the mind-numbing task and reading a novel.  Despite barely making a dent in the closet, Ben accepted the feeble attempt as a step forward; not wanting to unduly pressure his partner.




One eye opened briefly before fluttering shut again.  He moaned half-in-protest, half-in-delight when a large hand reached under the covers to gently rub his bottom.  “Kyle?”


“What?” he grunted sleepily.


“Don’t forget about the party at Greg’s tonight, sweetheart. Come straight home from work so we can get ready.”


“’Kay,” he muttered into the pillow.  Still drowsy, Kyle nevertheless felt a surge of excitement.  With an eclectic mix of friends involved in the lifestyle, Greg’s parties were always entertaining, to say the least.  A veteran Dom, he served as a mentor to several other dominants, including Ben.  Dressing to impress was definitely necessary, especially after the fiasco last time.  He felt the hot flush of embarrassment on his cheeks, remembering how badly he’d behaved on the previous occasion at Greg’s house.  Nearly starting a brawl hardly constituted being a good guest. He’d have to look especially good tonight, he decided, mentally going over his wardrobe.


On the way home from work he passed by his favorite store, stopping to check out the new window display.  There on the mannequin was the shirt of his dreams.  Pure silk, the exact shade of blue of his eyes, cut in a style that would flatter his slim build.  He had to have it.  Fully intending to put it on lay-away, remembering Ben’s decree, he pushed open the door to the store.  The clerk’s face lit up when he recognized Kyle.


“Hey, stranger,” he said brightly, hastening from behind the counter to greet him.  “I haven’t seen you in a while.”


“Hey,” smiled Kyle politely but immediately deflected the conversation to the coveted shirt.  “Do you have the blue shirt in the window in a small?”


“That is a beautiful shirt, isn’t it?”  The clerk enthused.  “We just got it in and that’s the last one we have.  Lucky for you it’s your size.  Come on, try it on.”


Knowing he had to hurry to get home Kyle slipped into a dressing room and stripped off his jacket and dress shirt.  When the clerk brought him the silk shirt he quickly shrugged it on and deftly buttoned it up.


“Oh God,” breathed the clerk in admiration, openly ogling Kyle.  “It was made for you.”


And it was.  Gazing at his reflection in the mirror, Kyle was overwhelmed by the need to possess the shirt.   “Can I put it on lay-away?”


“It’s the last one,” pointed out the salesman. 


“Just for a day or so,” begged Kyle, already planning on how he would dump half the contents of the closet tomorrow, just to own this shirt.


“Well, I don’t know,” he said reluctantly, wanting Kyle to be indebted to him.


Seeing the shirt slipping through his grasp, Kyle panicked and said quickly, “All right.  I’ll just buy it.” He’d just explain to Ben when he got home, he thought optimistically.  While he most likely wouldn’t get to wear it until after he finished cleaning, at least the shirt would be safe in his possession


Despite Kyle’s hints that he was in a hurry, the salesman took his time ringing up the purchase, flirting like mad the whole time.  Grabbing the bag, Kyle almost ran out of the store and down the street towards home.  He didn’t want to be late when he needed to curry Ben’s favor.  His partner would just have to understand why he absolutely had to have this particular shirt.  Breathing a sigh of relief when he arrived home before Ben, he ran up the stair two at time shedding his suit on the way.   He showered in a rush, running the towel over his short hair to dry it before pulling on a pair of snug, black leather pants, deliberately omitting underwear so nothing marred the showcasing of his perfect bottom.  Carefully he clipped the tags from the new shirt, before slipping it on.  He stared at his likeness in the full length mirror in their bedroom.  The shirt was perfect. No one would remember how badly he’d behaved last time when they saw how hot he looked. Consumed with the need to wear it to the party tonight, he dismissed the idea of asking his Dom’s permission, knowing there was a good chance it would be refused.


He jumped when he heard the door closing downstairs, wiping his sweaty palms on his pants.  Ben was home and Kyle steeled himself to say whatever was necessary to ensure he went to the party wearing this shirt.


“Hey,” said Ben, giving him a kiss and a pat on his bottom, in passing.  “You look fantastic.  I’ve never seen you wear that shirt before.”  He didn’t even consider the possibility that his sub had disobeyed him and the shirt was new.


“Yeah,” choked out Kyle.  “I found it when I was going through the closet.  I guess I just forgot about it.”  He rummaged through the dresser drawer in search of socks, intentionally keeping his back to his partner.


“Well, you look great.  See, aren’t you glad I wanted to clean out the closets?” he grinned.


Kyle gave a weak laugh and bent to put on his socks.  His heart was hammering in his chest so hard he was sure Ben would hear it and demand to know what he’d done.  Deciding that the safest thing to do was put a little distance between himself and his Dom, he said, “I’m just going to buy a couples of bottles of wine for tonight.  I’ll be back in a few minutes.”


“Sure,” agreed Ben cheerfully, looking forward to the evening ahead.  “It won’t take me too long to get ready.”


The phone rang just as Ben was about to get in the shower, picking it up he gave a distracted, “Hello.”


“Uh, hi,” came the guarded reply.  “I’m looking for Kyle Robinson.”


“He’s not here at the moment.  May I take a message?”


“Well, this is Brandon, at Villains,” he answered reluctantly, obviously wanting to speak to Kyle.  “Kyle left his debit card in the store today when he bought his shirt.  I just thought I’d better let him know.  He can pick it up tomorrow if he likes, I’ll be there all day.”  From the hopeful sound of his voice, Ben surmised Kyle had an admirer.


“Of course.  Thank you so much for calling.  I’ll tell my partner as soon as he comes home,” replied Ben.


“Oh,” came the disappointed reply.  “Sure, you’re welcome.” 


Ben winced as the phone was hung up abruptly.  He was, quite frankly, stunned that Kyle had flouted his authority over something so trivial and then told a blatant lie about it. 


Kyle looked surprised when he came through the front door, finding Ben dressed in casual clothes, sitting on the couch.  “How come you’re not ready?”


“We won’t be going tonight, Kyle.  In fact, you can go get yourself ready for bed right now,” Ben said, nodding towards the stairs.


“Bed?” asked Kyle, obviously bewildered.  “But we’re supposed to be at Greg’s party.”


“I’ve already sent our regrets, Kyle.  Go and do as I said.”


“Why?” Kyle protested, bitterly disappointed that he wouldn’t get to show off his new outfit.  Despite knowing he should have reflexively obeyed Ben’s directive without question, he didn’t move towards the stairs.   


“I suggest that you do as you’re told.  You’re in enough trouble already.”


The tone of Ben’s voice sent a chill down Kyle’s spine.  Still not realizing that his partner knew of his disobedience, he stood, unmoving with an obvious look of confusion on his face.  Finally Ben explained coolly, “You left your debit card at Villains, Brandon called.”


His stomach plummeting to his toes, he silently cursed the flirtatious Brandon.  The little weasel probably purposely didn’t return his card so he’d have an excuse to call, finding his number in the data base of preferential customers on the store’s computer.  And Kyle had been in too much of a hurry to notice the card’s absence at the time.  Shock gave way quickly to apprehension when he saw the grim look on Ben’s face.  “It was just a shirt,” he objected weakly.


But Ben was shaking his head in a most unpromising way, “It wasn’t just a shirt, Kyle.  It was willful disobedience and a deliberate lie.”


So suddenly finding himself in so deep, Kyle could only shake his head and say softly, “No.”


“No?” demanded Ben.  “Then you tell me what it was.”  Sitting back on the couch he looked severely at his partner, waiting for his answer.


Kyle shifted from foot to foot, caught in that awful glare, without any sort of excuse or explanation.  Instead of answering, tears of self-pity overflowed from his full eyes and rolled down his cheeks.


Ben’s attitude didn’t soften, witnessing his sub’s tears.  His voice every bit as firm, he said again, “Go and get ready for bed, Kyle.  Then come back here to me and bring the hairbrush with you.”


Kyle fled, anxious to escape from that unyielding gaze.  He fumbled helplessly with the buttons of his shirt for several moments before he was able to stop trembling long enough to undo them.  So stupid, he cursed himself.  All because he couldn’t resist the temptation to own, yet another, shirt.  Ben looked really annoyed, he thought, shaken by his partner’s obvious displeasure.  He badly wanted to throw himself onto the bed and give into the tears that he was choking back.  Or better yet, under the bed where he’d be safe from any assaults on his bottom.


Instead, he opened the drawer to find the detested hairbrush, trying not to think too hard about what it was going to feel like across his backside shortly.  He lingered for as long as he dared before taking a shaky breath and going downstairs.


Clasping the piece of wood in his damp hands, he stopped at the doorway of the front room, unable to go any further


 “Come here,” Ben ordered, his tone still firm but not quite as forbidding as before.  Responding to the authority in his Dom’s voice, Kyle haltingly crossed the room to sit beside him on the couch.


“Why, Kyle?” asked Ben, the exasperation evident in his voice.  He was certain it wasn’t conceit that was driving Kyle’s behavior but he was at a loss as to why he would have challenged him over a simple shirt.  “You have so many clothes you could have worn.  Why did you disobey me over something so unimportant?”


“I didn’t mean to,” babbled Kyle urgently.  “I was only going to look at the shirt.  Maybe have them put it away for me.  But it was the last one.”  His eyes begged for Ben’s understanding.  “Then I had to buy it but I wasn’t going to wear it before I did my work, I swear.  But then I put it on and I just HAD to wear it to the party.”


“Why?” demanded Ben, clearly not comprehending Kyle’s desperation.


“I needed you to be proud of me,” said Kyle faintly, his eyes fixed downwards.  “After last time, when I embarrassed you.”


“We went through that, Kyle,” Ben said.  “You didn’t embarrass me and you were punished for drinking too much.”


His head bowed in shame, Kyle didn’t answer.


“Do you really think I’m that shallow, Kyle?” asked Ben sadly.  “That I only care about your appearance?”    


Kyle shook his head miserably, knowing that his behavior was a far more important reflection on him as a sub than his outward appearance could ever be. And his disobedience and dishonesty tonight were a very poor indication of his submissiveness.


“Why do you think I love you, Kyle?  Because of how you look?”  He reached out to gently stroke a perfect cheekbone with the back of his hand.


“No,” admitted Kyle, knowing without a doubt that his appearance had nothing to do with Ben’s love for him, just as his own deep feelings of love had nothing to do with his Dom’s looks, as attractive as he found him.


“It’s what’s in here,” he lightly tapped Kyle’s chest, “that I love.  That sweet man that makes me laugh.  That’s why I want you to be my partner, not just to have sex or play with occasionally.”


Kyle nodded, hot tears of remorse welling in his eyes again, “I do know that.  I’m sorry, sir. I just really wanted that shirt.”  The justification sounded lame and childish, even to his own ears.


“But I had said no,” Ben reminded him.


“Yes, sir,” Kyle said, shifting restlessly on the couch.  No matter that the deed itself had been self-indulgent at worst; he couldn’t dispute the fact it had been defiance. Or that he had lied to Ben.


Ben shook his head, unhappily, “I won’t put up with this kind of disobedience, Kyle.  You’ve no real excuse except wanting your own way.”  He held out his hand for the hairbrush.


Clutching the small paddle against his chest, his heart thumped in dread and he couldn’t stop the plea from escaping, “Please, sir.  I’m really sorry.  Can’t we do it after the party?”


“We won’t be going to the party,” Ben assured him implacably.  “There’s no question about that.  And that shirt will go straight into the box for charity.”


Panic turning to outrage; Kyle gaped at his Dom, “No!  I haven’t even worn it yet.  I’m not giving it away.”


“Oh, you most certainly are, young man.  And you don’t say no to me.”


It took a minute of silent seething, mostly at himself for his idiocy, before Kyle finally nodded in acceptance and handed Ben the hairbrush.  He’d known all along what would happen, he’d only been lying to himself when he tried to rationalize his disobedience.  He forced himself to lie across his Dom’s lap, squirming in apprehension when his sleep pants were peeled down to his knees.


 “I won’t put up with intentional disobedience and lying,” Ben said firmly, resting his large hand on Kyle’s bottom.


“Yes, sir,” whimpered Kyle, clenching his buttocks in unhappy anticipation of the upcoming punishment.  He hissed miserably when the fist sharp swat connected.  An expert spanker, Ben covered his cheeks with solid smacks that reverberated through his whole being.  When Kyle’s bottom and upper thighs were glowing hot and he was crying hard Ben picked up the hairbrush.  Kyle’s sobs immediately turned to yelps at the sharper pain of the wood on his scorched skin.  When Ben finally concluded the thorough spanking, Kyle lay sobbing wretchedly across his knees, unable to regain his composure.  Lifting him up, Ben held him against his chest, lightly caressing his heated bottom.


When he was able to speak again, Kyle sobbed, “Don’t tell Greg why we didn’t come to his party.  Please.”


Shhh,” soothed Ben.  “Don’t worry.  I won’t.”


“He’s going to tell you to get another sub,” he wept, moving towards hysterics.  Kyle always harbored suspicions that the older man would simply advise Ben to find another, more obedient submissive if he knew how much trouble he was.


“Kyle,” Ben reproached him, taken aback by the depth of Kyle’s insecurity. “Greg loves you.  He would never tell me that.”


“He might,” cried Kyle.  “If he knew what I was really like.”


“Enough,” ordered Ben, swatting Kyle’s tender bottom sharply.  “I know what you’re really like and I love you.”


Gasping as the smack connected on his very sore bottom, Kyle nodded obediently and clung tighter to his partner.  Vulnerable and unsteady, it took a long time before he relaxed his hold and let Ben put him on his feet.


“I wish we could go to the party,” sniffed Kyle, disappointed on missing out on a good time.


Taking in his disheveled partner’s appearance, Ben shook his head in amazement at his resiliency.  “No, sweetheart,” he said gently.  “You’re not going anywhere but bed.”


“Please,” he begged.  “I could shower, use some Visine….”


“Look at me, Kyle,” Ben said slowly and deliberately.  “We just had a discussion on obedience.  I don’t think you want to repeat it again so soon but I’m quite prepared to do so if necessary.”


His face blanching at the thought of his throbbing bottom coming in contact with anything at this point, Kyle quickly said, “Yes, sir.  I’m sorry.”


Wincing and trying to rub some of the sting out of his reddened backside, Kyle let himself by led upstairs to bed.  “I’m not tired.  It’s o’clock,” he grumbled when Ben turned back the covers for him.


“I know,” Ben assured him.  “Just lie down and I’ll rub your back for you.”


His emotions still in turmoil, Kyle surrendered to his partner’s soothing touch.  A few more tears escaped onto the pillow as his back was gently stroked and then he drifted into the warm embrace of sleep.


The End