Cooking and Conversation [Liam, Chris, Jessie]
[Takes place a couple of hours after Jessie watches Liam and Chris's reunion.]
Liam blinks awake and only then realizes that he'd been asleep. Not surprising -- they'd had quite a work-out and had actually used the second of the three condoms before collapsing. Not bad for an old man; he hadn't needed two condoms in quick succession in... well, a few years.
He turns his head toward Chris and sees that his lover's snuggled up next to him but out cold. He looks even younger when he's sleeping and isn't that a thought to make a man blink.
It's comfortable here, under the sheet and the quilt and Chris's arm, but it's been a while since breakfast and he has a feeling Chris would like having lunch in bed. Breakfast would be better, of course -- maybe tomorrow. At any rate, he slides slowly out from under the sleep-limp arm, pulls on his trousers and heads silently downstairs.
A few minutes of poking around the kitchen and he's got the makings for a vegetable quiche. The food components, that is. Chris doesn't have a proper quiche dish but he's got a foil pie pan in a plastic package that had originally held two, and who knows how old that is but it'll do. Soon enough he's got the pastry dough in the fridge resting and is cutting up cheese (mental note: buy the lad a proper box shredder) for the filling.
Jessie had taken another shower -- eventually -- and then flipped through an Italian Vogue to try to press out the memories of what she'd seen but her brain was NOT cooperating. Eventually she dozed, dreaming so vividly she thought she was hearing it all over again….
When she opened her eyes, the sun had clearly changed direction and even better -- she smelled food. The boys must've finally emerged from the sex den -- oh no, thinking the thoughts again -- and gone downstairs.
Jessica puts on a pair of jeans and a tank top, tying her hair back into a pony tail as she jogs down the stairs and into the kitchen.
"Hey...oh hey." She pauses awkwardly as she spies Liam at the stove -- sans Chris.
"Jessie." Liam tosses her a nod over his shoulder before turning back to the frying pan. "I don't suppose you've any experience of this soy bacon stuff? I'll admit it doesn't smell bad but still...." He gives her a quick, teasing glance of mock-outrage at the thought of fake pig while his hands move competently over the pan, turning the crisping strips of... whatever.
Jessie makes a face and points to the fridge. "There's some real stuff hidden in the fridge, behind the beer. You have to use the blue frying pan though…." Her eyes roll back into her head. "He's particular about these things." She fidgets for a moment, hands in her back pockets. "Want some help?"
Liam's actually tempted by the siren call of authentic bacon-from-a-pig for a few moments, but he ends up shaking his head. "I'll keep it in mind for next time -- mayhap make one for carnivores and one for the grass-eater," he says with a sideways smile. "But I've only one pie pan so this time everything's going all together." He looks around, then points to the onion sitting next to a cutting board. "If you're of a mind to help, though, then you could chop that."
"Tsk, tsk, making a girl do the crying work," she smiles, moving to the sink to wash her hands then taking up a knife from the holder. "What are you making?" Jessie asks, near enough now to poke her head around Liam's imposing frame. "Looks good." I saw you naked and having sex with Chris.
"A vegetable quiche," Liam replies. "And with this soy stuff here, I still consider it vegetable, despite the claimed 'authentic smoked bacon flavor' but one makes allowances, aye?"
He takes the last of the ersatz-bacon out of the pan and lays the whole batch on a stack of paper towels, covers it all with a few more and sets a plate on top of the whole thing. He turns the stove down instead of off; as soon as Jessie's done with the onion he'll saute it in the... well, the grease, whatever it's actually made of.
Jessica works on the onion quickly, sniffling her way through. "I eat healthy but Chris takes it to a new level. I mean, I like living with him and everything but sometimes I miss just having a burger."
She pushes the cutting board closer to Liam then washes her hands, getting a cool paper towel for her eyes. "Ha ha, I'm crying for a burger…."
The chopped onion gets scraped into the frying pan with a chuckle. "Some day we'll have steaks, yeah? I'll wager we could even get East on our side." He turns the heat back up and swirls the onion about, watching it begin to turn transparent. He pulls the pan off the heat when they're about half-done; they'll finish in the oven when the quiche goes in.
Blowing her nose, Jessie goes to the fridge to get out the orange juice. "So, Liam," she says, in a way that would send anyone who knows her screaming from the room. "You don't think it's weird I live with Chris?”
Liam cocks his head at her, pausing in his prep for a moment. "You mean, am I jealous?" he asks, preferring as usual to be direct about this sort of thing. "No, I'm not. First, I'm not the jealous sort. Second, even if I were I'd hardly have a right to complain about what Chris does right now." He turns and leans against the counter so he can look straight at her. "I can give him very little of my time," he explains, his voice quiet and even, "and even less of my attention. Demanding that he wait about for me, all alone, would simply drive him away. Or, I hope it would, because if I were that sort of a selfish rotter I'd not deserve to have him at all."
She thinks this over, getting two glasses and filling them.
"He's crazy about you -- and he's patient." Jessie sighs. "He's good at being patient, being...he's like a monk in some ways. He'll just deny himself what he wants or needs for other people. But then you know that."
Jessie hands him a glass of juice.
"So you're going to make sure he doesn't have to wait forever -- right? Because some smart person might come snatch him up."
He knows what she's looking for, what she wants to hear, and he wishes he could give it to her. Instead he takes a sip of juice and then says, "Unfortunately, the impediment isn't something I control. I have obligations I can't simply abandon, no matter how strong the temptation might be. I will say, though, that the end is in sight. Or I think it is. And in fact I've some good news for Chris, something I didn't get around to telling him before we became... otherwise occupied but I'm reasonably sure it'll make him very happy.
"As for the other...." He pauses and gives her a sad smile. "I've no doubt that someone else will come along and take him from me at any rate, whether sooner or later -- the only question is when. Look at me, lass," he says spreading his arms slightly. "I'm old enough to be his grandfather, physically if not socially. I'm healthy and fit but it can't last forever and I know that no matter how much I--"
He cuts himself off there and looks past her for a moment before continuing. "No matter how much I might want it to be otherwise, I can't have him forever. I'll take what I can get and delight in the having while he's with me. And some day when he finds someone closer to his own age and moves on, I'll... know that I had more than I ever expected."
Liam's not sure why he's saying all this to a young lass he hardly knows, but it feels right. Maybe because he can tell she cares for Chris too, and it gives them a bond of sorts. At any rate, it's something of a relief to actually put it all into words.
Jessie's eyes roll so far back in her head she sees her thoughts from last year.
"Jesus Stinking Christ, you two are PERFECT for each other!" she explodes, gesturing with the half full glass of orange juice and magically keeping it from flying over the room. "How...romantic. How selfless. How freaking maudlin! I feel like I should be wearing a corset and sewing God Save the Queens a sampler."
She's so frustrated she could punch something so she walks up to Liam and socks her small fist into his rather large shoulder.
"Jerk. He's crazy in love with you and you're all...gee willigers, if someone else comes along and gets him I can accept it -- wrong answer! Wrong, wrong, wrong! You don't accept that answer -- you make sure you keep him because you love him -- and don't deny it, it's like the biggest DUH in the history of mankind!!"
Liam blinks at the furious little girl glaring up at him, startled speechless for a moment and absently rubbing his shoulder. He finally gives her a wry smile and says, "Well, I'm glad you think we're right for each other, at any rate."
When her eyes spit sparks and she looks to start up again, he lays one finger lightly over her lips. "As for the other, it's not so simple as all that. How would you feel if someone said, 'Aye, I'm in love with you but I've no time for you. I love you but if someone else calls, I'll drop you in half a blink and dash off. I love you but if someone else needs me then I'd stop dead in the middle of anything, including sex, and hurry away to them because their needs have to come first with me?' What kind of love is that?" He shakes his head, his smile vanished. "I'd not offer anyone something so paltry, much less someone I were in love with. That's not love, it's an insult, and I'd pound on anyone who tried to shovel such shite on Chris."
Jessica's eyes narrow sharply.
"Then why haven't you ended things? I mean -- you're all noble about this. You can't make him any promises...why don't you just dump him, leave him for me? I'm cute and single and I l....love him like a brother...that I have sex with." She lifts her chin with defiance, high spots of color on each cheek. "Hmmmmm?"
His smile blooms again and Liam runs a finger down her cheek. "Because I'm not that noble, lass, and you don't qualify at any rate. Chris has to be the one who's in love with someone else -- I gave him my last Noble Fade Into the Sunset coupon, whether he knows it or not. If you can manage to get him to love you enough to walk away then I'll know he's happy and you can have him with my blessing. Until then, though, I'm selfish enough to take what I can get."
"I can't compete with you, I don't have a dick," Jessie points out, a smirk slowly evolving on her face. "Between us though, I think we make the perfect uh...thing for Chris."
Liam cocks his head at her, then turns and heads over to the fridge. He takes the pastry out, a speculative look on his face, and turns the ball of dough out into the pie pan. "That's an interesting thought," he says at last. "You've certainly been doing a good job keeping him company recently. And I am glad he's had you about. He's not the sort of lad who should be alone." He goes about pressing the crust into the pan while speaking.
Inside he's wondering if she's proposing something like a three-way. On the one hand, she doesn't seem like the sort who'd dance around the matter if it were indeed on her mind, but on the other hand it's not a subject one just drops onto the table with no warning. She's a lively young woman, and pretty enough, but women just.... Well, it would depend, on a number of things.
"No, he shouldn't be alone. He gets broody. Sits in his head for too long." She sighs, finishes her orange juice and wishes it had vodka in it. "He's such a girl sometimes."
"Neither of you has any reason to believe I'm a girl," Chris croaks, slinking into the kitchen, his complexion resembling that of an uncooked steak. "Do I even want to know what you two are talking about?"
"I know for a fact that you're not a girl at all," says Liam. A few steps take him across the kitchen and he gives Chris a quick hug and a kiss. "If you'd stayed asleep a bit longer I'd have brought up lunch, but since you're awake -- or nearly -- we can eat downstairs." He re-crosses the room, lays a piece of foil over the dough in the pie pan, arranges a couple of spoons on top of the foil and puts the pan into the oven. While working, he continues, "And we were just talking about how lucky you are to have both of us about. I'm glad Jessie's here for you when I can't be."
Chris gives Jessie a glare.
Jessie sticks her tongue out at him and goes back into the fridge to retrieve the orange juice container.
"Uh yeah...I'm lucky all the way around." So to speak, metaphorically, oh look a rimshot. "How long have you two been awake? Together."
Liam sets the timer on the oven and heads back over to take Chris into his arms. "Only a few minutes. Why, isn't that long enough? You could go tuck yourself back into bed for a while if you'd rather we had more time alone to talk about you."
"I'm feeling like that's more than enough time." Chris leans casually in Liam's arms, suddenly realizing he's only wearing sweatpants – and that both other members of the kitchen contingent have seen him in much less. "Do I get to ask what you were talking about or are we going the torture Chris route?"
"Torture Chris route," Jessie pipes up, handing him a glass of orange juice.
"You wouldn't want me to contradict a lady, now, would you?" Liam asks with a lazy smile. He rubs his hands up and down Chris's arms and kisses the top of his head.
Chris drinks his orange juice and rolls his eyes when Jessie leans in for a kiss. He gives her a smack on the lips, a strange current of energy running through him -- in Liam's arms, Jessie's mouth against his.
"Thanks," he murmurs, taking a sip. It takes a second but he glances up at Liam. "Hey, you're still here!"
"Aye, I am," Liam agrees. He gives Chris a squeeze and says, "I wouldn't have left without telling you goodbye, you know. But I can stay. Christian and Jack are at Christian's place, cleaning it up for a friend who's coming to stay in a while. They'll be there all weekend." He just stops there, letting Chris draw his own conclusions, watching his lover's face and hiding a smile.
It takes a second but Chris explodes into a huge smile, like a kid at Christmas.
"That means you're here all weekend!"
Snickering from where she's taking plates from the closet for their lunch, Jessie closes the door with a clunk.
"Someone gonna give me a hundred for a hotel room or do I get to stay in the Love Motel with you two?"
"All weekend," Liam promises with another huge hug. "Tonight and tomorrow night -- I'll wander back Sunday afternoon some time. We can do whatever you like until then, so start thinking." He looks up over Chris's shoulder and adds, "And I don't mind if your Jessie stays around so that's up to you, too. But she was quiet and stayed out of the way earlier, so I've no objection to her being about the place." Then with a wink at Jessie, he lowers his voice and whispers into Chris's ear, "If you want to get up to anything more elaborate, we can head down to the Club and get a room with a door that locks," punctuating it with a teasing nip to the lad's earlobe.
"If you go to the Club, you're taking me!" Jessie announces, returning to her setting of the table duties.
"If we go to the Club, we have to take her and you don't want to do that...really." With a furious blush, Chris buries his face in Liam's shoulder and laughs. God, this is perfect. Perfect. A whole weekend together -- and strangely, Jessie being there doesn't mess everything up in his head -- and mostly alone and able to touch and talk without worry. It's freaking bliss.
The oven timer bings just then. Liam gives Chris a hug and a kiss before heading over, grabbing up a kitchen towel on his way to take out the hot pie pan. He turns the spoons out into the sink and lifts off the foil; the crust is a perfect golden brown, not quite done. He starts layering chopped vegetables, small chunks of cheese and bits of the fake bacon product, saying, "If we do go to the Club we can leave her at the door and find that room I mentioned with a lock on it. She's a big girl and I'm sure she'll manage."
Jessica cackles and Chris sits down at the table with a loud snort.
"Hey, Liam, you've been a member for a long time right? So you'll have some clout if she burns the place down...."
"Liam, don't listen to him. I haven't burned anything down in ages. Besides, if I'm naked, I'll have no place to put the matches. Well...."
Chris puts his hands up in a pleading motion. "Stop the thought process, right there. I'm enjoying the scent of homemade food and the sight of the man making it."
"Children." Liam manages to keep his voice stern and not laugh, although it's difficult. He recalls his conversation with Chris about Jessie and the Club and that leash is looking like a better and better idea. There might even be a friend or two around who'd be willing to hold it while he and Chris went upstairs.... "Behave or we're not going anywhere." Which is utter rubbish since he said they'd do whatever Chris wanted, but it sounds good. He gives each of the youngsters a hard stare, then turns back to the counter to finish building the quiche (and incidentally, let out the smile that's been fighting to escape for the last half minute or so.) Five eggs get beaten in a bowl and poured carefully into the pie, then the whole thing goes back into the oven.
"If I don't stop, will I get a spanking?" Jessica wheedles.
Chris throws a napkin at her head. "Shut up!"
"If you don't stop, you'll be completely ignored," Liam says without bothering to turn around. He sets the timer and heads over to the table, lifts Chris up, sits in his chair and settles the lad down on his lap. He gives his lover a long, thorough kiss, then raises an eyebrow at Jessie. "You didn't really think that'd work, did you?"
She shrugs. "I'm still feeling you out. So to speak." Jessie relaxes in her chair, eyes watching Liam, watching Chris' blissful expression and smile. "Now I know if I'm a good girl, I'll get what I want...."
"That's not quite how it works either, but it's a fair way closer than the other," Liam says, eyeing her good-girl mask. He doesn't trust her any farther than he could throw her and Chris tied together in a bundle but she's new to all this and it won't hurt to give her a few hints. "When you've a master, you get what he wants to give you. If you're good he's more likely to reward you but there's no guarantee of it. And different dominants have different styles, different preferences. There are some who'll lock you in a chastity belt for a month or a year and not let you come the whole time because wielding that sort of power is what they enjoy. They find subs who enjoy being done to in that fashion and they get along perfectly.
"That's the trick of it, though -- finding someone who likes the same things you do. Some doms want perfect obedience and formality while others want a snarling sub who won't obey unless he's knocked about, and still others are more casual, somewhere in the middle. If you like spankings you wouldn't want to hook up with someone who prefers whips or canes, and if you want to be a pampered pet then you wouldn't be happy with a hardcore sadist. It's like any other sort of matching, whether it's finding someone whose tennis game is about even with yours or making sure a prospective boyfriend doesn't want to spend the summer scuba diving when you'd rather have season tickets for the theater. Your job is to obey your dom and your dom's job is to make sure you're happy, but it only works if the two of you have desires and preferences which fit together."
Chris has a moment of worry as he cuddles in Liam's arms -- is that us? Are we well-matched? But he says nothing as he watches a host of emotions cross Jessie's face. For all her big talk, he knows her and he knows she's worried about all this. And doing it right.
"Are there doms who'll take on somebody who doesn't know what she's doing?" Jessica asks lightly, playing with one of the forks on the table. "Or do you have to be good already? At...stuff."
"No, you don't have to know everything or even much at all," Liam assures her. "If you're new then most folks will understand. Some doms prefer a trained slave but there are plenty who enjoy the training. And if you're really worried about that, Citadel has classes you can take.
"I think it's more important to match up general preferences and personalities, though. If you like and respect each other, if you're comfortable together, if you turn each other on, if you enjoy the same activities -- or at least mostly overlap and can accommodate each other without violating hard limits -- then the details of how your master wants you to crawl and speak and and suck him off are just that -- details that can be learned." Liam's been caressing Chris gently while speaking; explaining things to Jessie just makes him all the more grateful to have found someone like this, who matches him so well.
"It'll be fine Jessie," Chris says softly, relaxing completely under Liam's hands. "When you least expect it, you'll find the perfect situation."
Her large doe eyes flicker over the scene next to her, thinking back to what she saw before, mixing it together in a stew of envy. "You're such a romantic, Chrissy," she teases, more gentle than sarcastic.
"Aye, he is, and that's one of the reasons we match so well," Liam says, dropping a kiss into Chris's hair. "You'll find someone who's perfect for you, too. It's worth the wait, I promise. And you can have plenty of fun while you're looking." He winks at her just as the timer goes off once more. "Lunch," he says, and slips out from under Chris to go fetch it from the oven.
Jessie stares at Chris and he stares back and the weirdness of the moment is filled with a silence so pregnant he can feel the water break when Liam returns to the table with their delicious smelling food.
"It'll all work out, Jessie," Chris says again, standing up. He strokes her hair a little, the way she likes it, kisses the top of her head.
Oblivious to the tension, Liam rummages through a drawer and comes up with a knife wide enough to use without too much trouble. He adds "pie server" to the mental list of things he's going to get for Chris's kitchen, then comes over and sits down, this time next to Chris instead of underneath him.
"This should really set for fifteen minutes," he admits as he slices into it, "but I've worked up an appetite today and don't feel like waiting." The pieces he serves out aren't ready for a magazine cover, but they smell good and he's reasonably sure they'll taste good, even with the ersatz-bacon. As he picks up his fork, he looks at Jessie and says, "Any time you've questions, lass, feel free to ask. Chris will tell you I love explaining things, and especially in this environment, it doesn't do to go in too terribly innocent. Citadel is as safe as it gets, but a misunderstanding can still cause hurt feelings and embarassment and resentment. I'll tell you anything you want to know -- just ask."
"Thanks, Liam," Jessie says, honestly grateful and a bit quieter now. She picks up her fork and starts eating.
"Delicious," Chris pronounces, leaning against Liam even as he stretches out his leg to brush against Jessica's. "You can come spend the weekend cooking anytime," he teases his lover gently.
"I'll cook for you whenever you like, dear heart, but if it's going to be here then we'll have to go shopping," Liam says with a teasing look. "We'll get your toy collection up to standard yet, and then you'll see something." He takes a bite, his mind running over lists of things Chris's place needs, groceries and equipment both, before it can really be said to have a kitchen.
Chris sees the mirth bloom in Jessie's eyes and he gives her a quick nudge under the table -- not a kick, just sort of a jostle -- right as she's opening her mouth. "I'm looking forward to it," he says quickly.
Liam, who's thinking about carnivores and vegetarians, says, "I'm sure I can come up with something special for both of you."
A huge slug of orange juice is the only thing that keeps Jessie from saying something completely outrageous, but Chris can still read it in her eyes. He grins at Liam, trying hard not to crack up himself, and says, "I'm sure you can."
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