And Many Happy Returns [Liam/Chris]
[Takes place on June 7th, three days after this. The boys are still on Santa Madalena.]
Chris uses Liam's brief "hammock nap" time in the afternoon to confer with the concierge on the set-up for tonight. He explains the issue with the cake and the man assures him he can come up with something both vegetarian and decadent. In fact, every concern Chris brings up is whisked away by the man's smoothly accented voice and he imagines a magic wand waving after each, "Sir, that isn't a problem. I'll take care of it." As the conversation moves forward, Chris starts to feel cocky -- like maybe he should ask for something outrageous just to hear the man say, "Sir, a donkey dressed like a nun in a cake -- not a problem. I'll take care of it."
"Thank you, so much," Chris says finally, hanging up with a chuckle -- and no mention of a habited ass.
The cottage is neat as a pin; Chris digs around in his luggage to find the neatly wrapped gifts, leaving them in a pile on the small round table near the window. He selects a few CDs from the collection, romantic jazz background music and checks the clock.
A quick shower, get dressed and wake his boyfriend with a birthday pounce....
Liam'd been having a lovely dream involving Chris and a jar of honey when a sudden impact jerks him to wakefulness. His eyes snap open and Chris's smiling face is inches from his own. The hammock is swinging wildly and Liam reflexively grabs his lover and hangs on.
"Happy Birthday." Chris grins, using every bit of balance he got in training for F4 to keep them both from flipping and ending up in the sand. He digs his knees into the knotted rope webbing and holds onto the sides until they rock into a more steady rhythm. "Did I wake you?"
That gets an eyeroll. "I certainly hope you intended to," Liam says, a wry tone in his voice. "If you honestly didn't think a flying dive on top of me would wake me up if I were sleeping then I'm going to haul you off to the clinic for a thorough looking-over as soon as I can call a car." He pins Chris down with one leg and tickles him silly while crushing him close in his free arm for a kiss.
"And thank you, love. You did wake me but since I was dreaming of you anyway I'm willing to forgive you." He smiles up into Chris's blue eyes, more than happy to lie right here with his lover's weight pressing him into the hammock.
"Ohhhh well, if you were doing something particularly nice to me, feel free to finish. I'll wait here quietly." Chris smirks, letting his fingers brush over Liam's chest and stomach. "Wouldn't want dream me to get blue balls or anything."
"What makes you think your dream self was going to be coming any time soon?" Liam asks, his voice even and matter-of-fact but a teasing glint sparkling in his eyes. "I still had two-thirds of a jar of honey to use up yet -- I hope dream-Chris has decent control."
One eye brow arches up. "Dream Chris has a magic lasso for a cock ring -- he NEVER comes without permission." He waits a beat. "Bastard, showing me up like that...."
Liam laughs out loud and rubs comforting hands up and down Chris's back. "Aye, he's a smug little bugger, isn't he? How about if I leave him hanging for a while and stay with you instead? We'll teach him some humility."
"That'll teach him to not be so smug," Chris deadpans, nipping at his lover's shoulder through his tee shirt. "And while he's hanging -- you had him literally hanging didn't you? -- we can get started on your birthday party."
"Whatever you think best," Liam says meekly. "We can send a servant out to cut him down when you think he's learned his lesson." He cranes his neck up enough to press a kiss to his lover's lips, then wriggles under him and asks, "Do I need to change? Or are ratty denim shorts covered in the day's dress code?"
"Frankly, you're overdressed." Chris smiles, checking the watch on his wrist before returning his attention to Liam. "You have a massage in ten minutes. Dinner'll be set up while you're being pampered and then...and then you have to wait to find out more." He's already beaming, excited by the prospect of giving Liam a wonderful birthday evening, to show him how special and loved he truly is.
"Well, being overdressed is easily fixable and a massage sounds grand." Liam eyes Chris, wondering just what he has in mind for later. Whatever it is he's sure it'll be lovely. Probably tiring and messy, he thinks with an inner smile, but lovely.
"All right, let's get you up and naked." It takes another round of concentrated movement but Chris manages to get up without flipping them over. He offers Liam his hand, his smile huge. "I want you to enjoy your night. You deserve to be pampered today."
Liam lets Chris help him up and maneuver him around and get out of his shorts and shirt. It is his birthday, after all, and the lad's clearly enjoying himself -- Liam just has to smile back, watching him. "Whatever you say, dear heart. I'm in your hands."
"First the massause gets you, then you're mine." Chris tosses the clothes into the sand and laughs as he drags Liam back to the cottage. Birthday suit -- very appropriate.
They reach their temporary home and Chris smiles as they duck in through the glass doors and he sees the table set -- complete with an elaborate grouping of flowers in a silver urn and lit candles -- and their dinner on a cart, covered with domed lids to keep in warm. There's even a bottle of champagne cooling. Perfect.
"I'm always yours, love, no matter whose hands are on me at the moment." Liam pauses near the table and pulls Chris closer for a kiss before releasing him and getting ready to follow once more.
Whatever the lad has ordered it smells very good to Liam's educated nose. Definitely something to look forward to but for now he's going where his lover hauls him.
Liam's words fidget in Chris's stomach. He wraps his arm around Liam's waist and leads him to the bedroom where more flowers have been set up, along with a padded massage table.
"Lie down okay? Get comfortable. I'm going to be in the other room for the massage uh...getting a few things ready." He presses a kiss to his lover's shoulder.
Liam watches Chris retreat, wondering if he'd said something wrong. He decides not to press it, though -- he won't spoil his lover's plans. Instead he stretches out on the massage table, his arms on the rests and his face fitted into the padded donut, and immediately begins to relax. He loves getting massages and whenever he has one he reminds himself to do it more often. It's never worked before but mayhap it will this time.
The woman who comes to the door is pretty and pleasant; Chris directs her into the bedroom. He's wandering around the living room when she disappears, fixing flowers and checking out the various seafood and pasta dishes as well as the absolutely gorgeous carrot cake sitting on a cooling plate. His mouth waters -- but he resists sneaking anything.
There are nerves now; pleasing Liam is important and the comment about "no matter whose hands" were on his lover has him thinking. They've shared Jessie. Chris knows Liam's been with other men since they started seeing each other.
It leaves him wondering if anything will change now that they've entered this new phase of their relationship.
The masseuse is slender but strong, with capable hands and a powerful technique. She has Liam relaxed into a man-shaped puddle on the table within a blissfully short time, and then keeps going for a while longer just because. By the time she leaves, Liam is fairly sure he'll never again move under his own power and is happy to have it so.
Chris thanks the woman profusly then lets her out of the cottage. He peeks in on Liam and sees him relaxing, decides to give him a little extra time before he pounces him again.
And then he can't really wait all that long so he tiptoes into the bedroom, his voice soft.
"Hey, Liam? You awake?" he whispers.
"Mmmm?" Liam's voice is low and sleepy. "D'pends. Which Chris are you?"
Chris snickers. "Dream Chris. I've come to wreak my revenge for you leaving me hanging for so long...."
"Bugger," Liam mutters. He manages to lift his head up out of the donut -- slowly, as though it weighed about as much as a small sports car -- and turns squinting eyes and a sleepy smile on his lover. "I'll just have to concentrate on dreaming up Real Chris to protect me, then."
"I left my cape in the other room but I'll see what I can do." Chris presses a kiss on Liam's forehead, stroking the back of his neck. "How'd the massage go? Or is the answer obvious by the way you're melted to the table?"
"Mmm hmm." Liam pries one arm up and drapes it across the arm Chris is using to stroke him, pinning him in place. His head's clearing as sleep retreats but he doesn't jump up just yet. "That was a wonderful idea, love," he says. "I don't know how much good I'm going to be to you for the rest of the evening, though. Whatever you've got planned I'm afraid you'll have to do all the work."
"I just need you to get to the bed." Chris grins, nuzzling Liam's cheek. He quickly changes the eating plans, figuring he can wheel everything in here. Easier that way, now that he thinks about it. "Everything else you're getting is from me."
Liam smiles up at him, then pushes himself up and turns over so he's sitting on the edge of the padded table. He stretches, enjoying the loose, relaxed pull of his muscles, then puts a hand on Chris's shoulder and hauls himself to his feet. He's feeling perfectly capable of moving, now that he's woken up, but he fully intends to enjoy having Chris fussing over him. "Bed it is, then."
"Here, let me help you," is actually the polite version of "excuse me while I grope your glossy warm muscled skin as I lead you to bed." Chris enjoys the next few steps way too much, then arranges Liam in the most relaxed half-sitting up pose he can manage.
"Comfy? Nod once for yes and I'll go get dinner."
Liam manages to keep a straight face, but just barely, while nodding and settling into his comfortable semi-recline against the pillows. He's pretty sure the smile lines around his eyes are giving him away, as they usually do, but that's fine; he and Chris are both having far too much fun for that sort of detail to matter.
"Okay, I'll be right back. If you need to doze or something go right ahead but I reserve the right to wake you any way I want when I return." Chris backs out of the room, his smile bright and excited.
He hurriedly puts everything on the rolling cart, making two trips. The first brings in the candles and flowers and champagne bucket which he arranges around the room, the second trip brings in their dinner on the cart.
The sight of Chris bustling back and forth, moving decorations and fixing up the bedroom when he'd already had the living area done up makes Liam regret not just getting up and heading out when the masseuse had left, but only for a moment. The lad looks so happy that Liam just lies back and enjoys watching him -- his face, his smile, the way he moves. When he comes in with the food, Liam takes a long, appreciative sniff.
"That smells lovely," he says, his voice low and affectionate. "What all are we having?"
"Salad, bread, pasta dishes -- mostly with seafood and carrot cake for dessert." Chris begins to take off the covers and fix a plate for Liam. "Wine with dinner and then I have champagne to toast the birthday boy." He beams over at Liam, heaping a bit of everything onto the heavy porcelain.
"Sounds wonderful," Liam says, still watching Chris moving. "And after a long, hard day of walking about and napping in my hammock I'm more than ready to eat." His eyes aren't exactly on the food when he says that last bit, but that's all right. He's sure everything he might want will come in its time.
"I know, you must be exhausted by all that activity." Chris balances the plate in his hand, grabbing the handy bed tray with the other. "Okay, here we go...I hope you like everything. I mean -- I didn't cook it but I picked it and man, these people are accommodating! I could have asked for just about anything and they'd have not batted an eyelash."
"We'll have to try for an elephant ear sandwich tomorrow," Liam muses, looking thoughtful and trying very hard not to grin. He shifts over a bit, giving Chris room to sit on the bed by him, while eyeing the plate. It looks as good as it smells and although they did have a very nice lunch, that'd been some time earlier and his stomach is making approving rumbles.
"Go ahead and start -- oh wait, jeeze, silverware." He's muttering now, rushing back over to the table to get Liam a fork and napkin and glass of wine. "I was thinking we should ask for something like...McDonald's. You can eat it but man, I'm dying to know if they send a guy on a plane to go get us some Happy Meals!"
That has Liam laughing out loud. "If we're going to try that particular experiment then I'd rather have a few quarter pounders with cheese than happy meals," he says. "And mayhap we could get the staffers here to add a few slices of bacon to each one before delivering the sack...?" He watches Chris closely for a response while snagging a piece of pasta with his fingers. It's cooked to perfection, of course, and the sauce is spiced perfectly, with a thread of something exotic he can't identify.
"It's your birthday -- but don't push it," Chris teases, returning with a plate for himself and utensils. He figures they can share the glass of wine....
"Yes, love," Liam says meekly. He leans back against the pillows and waits for Chris to finish his preparations. Except for snitching another piece of pasta.
When he can finally sit down and relax -- after handing Liam the utensils -- Chris decides he's overdressed...and strips down to his white boxers before joining his lover in bed.
"There, much more appropriate dinner attire."
"I'd say you're still a bit overdressed," Liam says with a glance down at his own lap, naked under the bedcovers, "but likely just as well. I'm hungry and I'd like to get through the food uninterrupted. Mostly uninterrupted." He leans over and nuzzles up against Chris's ear for a moment. "And the cake -- I love carrot cake and if the frosting is cream cheese based then I'm going to want to wallow in it."
"Only the best for you," Chris hums, twisting the pasta around his fork. He tries not to be distracted by Liam's soft touch against his skin. "I can even wear the frosting so you can wallow in me."
Liam visibly brightens. "Now there's a grand idea. I'll hold you to that, definitely." He picks up his own fork and stabs a piece of crab meat in cream sauce hiding in the pasta. "And since it's white," he adds with a playful glance, "you won't have to fret about the sheets or the rug this time."
"Plus, we don't live here or come here frequently so if we do make a mess, we just pay for the extra cleaning and make a run for it...."
That makes Liam laugh again because now he has this mental image of them on the last day, bags in hand, tossing money at some old-fashioned hotel desk clerk as they dash by and high-tail it for the airport, with a faint shriek somewhere in the background just as they scramble up the steps and into the plane.
"For what Citadel charges I'm sure they could afford to replace and not just clean whatever we might spoil," he comments dryly.
"To be honest and germ phobic for a moment? I gotta say, with all the sex that goes on at these places, I'm hoping they replace EVERYTHING...frequently."
Liam leans over so his shoulder presses against Chris's. "I've never inquired but I'm sure they do. And I'm sure things like the linens are laundered quite thoroughly, steam cleaning for the carpets and drapes, something incredibly caustic for the counters and tables, all that sort of thing."
He really hasn't thought of it before but it's an interesting subject to ponder and his eyes go unfocused for a bit. Sex toys are designed to be easily sanitized and rope is disposable. The furniture? More steam cleaning. The hammock? Surely it'd been fucked in before, assuming it wasn't new for each guest. He pictures it in his mind, the strands and knots and fringes, and decides it's likely new; a thorough cleaning of heavy, twisted fiber would leave more wear marks than he remembers seeing.
"Do I even want to know where your mind just went?" Chris is chewing and laughing, trying not to choke. There's something rather sweet when Liam's brain turns into a computer and it rushes off to do some research and analytical thinking....
"It might make you feel better," Liam says, giving Chris a speculative glance and then a rueful smile. "Or mayhap not. It's just interesting to think of all the different skills they must need, the support staff at these places, and the great scurry of work it takes to tidy up after one set of guests and ready the place for the next. I'm sure they're quite thorough, though."
Chris eats a few forkfuls of pasta, licking his lips. "Annnnd now we know why it costs so much to join." He lifts the wine glass and enjoys a long sip. "Cleaning products."
Liam laughs, his eyes shining with mirth. "And replacing rope," he adds, agreeing. "So, can you relax now and not fall into the willies at the thought of who's been here before us?" He takes another bite of pasta, one teasing eyebrow raised.
"Fortunately you distract me from the willies...." Chris murmurs, leaning back and against Liam's arm with a languid smile. "I'm willing to do the germ thing so long as I'm with you...."
"And I'm pleased and gratified that that's so." There's still a tease in Liam's voice but he's serious at the same time. It's flattering that the lad's willing to let go of a phobia, even a relatively mild one, when they're together.
He finishes off his pasta, wiping up the spiced sauce with a piece of bread, then tries the salad.
"Oh, you're touching salad, I feel confident that's my influence." Chris finishes the wine, feeling the flush of the alcohol run through his system, slow and sensual. He licks his lips and puts the half-finished plate aside. One arm goes around Liam's shoulders, idly stroking the back of his lover's neck.
That gets a silent laugh. "I did eat salad before I met you, you know," Liam points out. He leans into Chris's arm and tilts his head down a bit, giving the lad some perhaps not so subtle encouragement.
"Shhhh, I'm taking credit for the fact that you're eating more than iceberg and shredded carrots." Chris' fingers trace circles and lazy loops over Liam's skin, humming under this breath.
"Ahh, I see. Well, if you want it then you may have it," Liam says in the serious tones of one bestowing a boon. A shiver passing through his skin under Chris's wandering fingers draws his attention away from his dinner for a moment. His smile slips and his eyelids dip as he takes a deep, slow breath, then releases it in a low, purring hum.
"How much does that extend to?" Chris shifts so he can go up on his knees, tracing the path of his fingers with soft kisses. His lover looks well-fed and ready for the rest of his birthday celebration and Chris is eager to start.
Liam sets down his fork and turns to face his lover, then tilts his chin up with one finger. "Everything," he says softly. "And always." Then he leans in for a kiss.
Chris pours his affection into the kiss -- his love and passion and tenderness and heartfelt adoration of this man into every sweep and curve of his lips. He's been under a spell since the first moment they met; he wonders if he can ever convey everything he feels into actions or words that will make Liam understand.
He pulls away, flushed and smiling.
"If I'm yours..then you're mine. Just so you know," he says breathlessly.
"Aye, I am. You have me right here," Liam says, pressing a kiss into the palm of Chris's hand.
"I -- I want to wear your collar," he says, the words he's rehearsed the whole day clear as day in his head. Chris' heart thumps wildly as he looms up over Liam, on his knees, like...like he's proposing or something like that. His voice shakes, vibrating with emotion.
Liam's expression softens and his hand moves to gently cup his lover's face. "Chris..." he breathes. His other arm curls around his shoulders and draws him down into an embrace, sliding down to his waist and pressing them together. "Jaysus, love you so much," is about all he manages to say and it's so inadequate but the words that usually flow so easily just won't come.
"I only ask...one thing," Chris says breathlessly, nearly losing his focus as Liam draws him into the circle of their love. "When you give me a collar -- I'm yours. And the only person...the only person you give a collar to."
"Of course." Liam meets Chris's eyes once more and says, "I've never done this before with anyone else, ever, and that's a very easy promise to make. I told you before, love, you've made your own place in my life and in my heart. You're the only one I've ever wanted to have as my boy."
Chris nods, his face solemn as he presses forward, kissing Liam again to seal their words. Something only ours, he thinks as their mouths slant together. Something, no matter what other lovers he has, something he only gets from me. There's something important in that for Chris, something more than possession. Security.
Liam nudges the tray out of the way, or mostly so, and wraps both arms around Chris without breaking the kiss. He pours all the love and committment he can manage into touch and taste and rumbling sounds of pleasure and approval.
There are other gifts to share and a cake to eat but Chris thinks he'll never move again, his hands rubbing all over Liam's back and shoulders, clutching him closer and closer still.
The closeness Liam's feeling right now is surprisingly non-sexual. The cuddling is intense but the need is for... for togetherness, just being with his lover, feeling him pressed up against Liam's body, touching and sharing warmth. It's a contented sort of cuddling, like just being together is what he really wants and needs and anything else is icing.
Of course, Liam is terribly fond of icing.
"There's more," Chris whispers, as if reading his mind. "I just don't...want to move right now." He chuckles softly, winding his legs through Liam's.
"Then we won't," Liam says, shifting to accommodate Chris's desire to tangle their bodies together. "I'm perfectly happy right here, right now." He brushes a hand up and down Chris's smooth back before adding, "I'll eat my cake off of you later on, when we both feel more energetic."
"Got more presents too," Chris points out, burrowing a hitch closer, trying to crawl directly inside Liam for the most comfortable spot. "More of everything...."
"At the risk of ruining my status as the big, bad dom of the house by turning into a lump of treacle, I have everything I need right here." Liam hugs Chris with arms and legs both, just for emphasis, and kisses him gently on the forehead.
The room smells like candles and flowers and seafood and Chris decides to make a cologne out of it so he'll never be at a loss to describe the "most romantic scent ever."
"You? A treacly lump? Never," he purrs, all sarcasm lost in the bliss of the moment. His eyes drift closed in their cloud of contentment.
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