Relatively Speaking

Title: Relatively Speaking
Authors: Mel and Tarabeth
Characters: James and Quinn
Implements: Hand and Paddle

James was exhausted and more than just a bit frustrated. His elderly great-aunt had descended upon them for a visit. Though she was staying at the Inn, he and Quinn were still expected to keep her entertained for the duration of her visit.

Auntie Clarisse had married a rich industrialist when she was but nineteen years of age, the man had died on their honeymoon, leaving Clarisse a wealthy woman. She never remarried, and spent the rest of her days traveling the world and blessing members of her family with regular visitations. If you were to be included in the current year’s list of family she deemed worthy of her company, you would receive a letter in January telling you when to expect her, how long she was to stay, and explicit instructions as to her dietary and personal needs during the visit.

James had picked her up from the train station in Kelowna only this morning and already she was turning the Inn on its ear with her needs.

Thank heaven she was having a nap now and James could steal away to spend some time with his husband. He was 'instructed' to introduce Quinn to her at dinner this evening. James could only pray that she would be charmed by Quinn's lively personality.

"Hey Babe I've got an hour away from auntie entertaining!" he called out as he entered the cottage. "Can I tear you away from your soaps to spend it with me?"

Quinn hobbled on his crutches into the front room to greet James; he was excited to see him, because he had worried, from James description of his aunt, that he might not see his husband until dinner. Upon seeing James, he gave a look of mock outrage. "I do not watch soaps!" he said. "I was in the bedroom reading." Quinn couldn't keep up his farce of anger when he saw the warm teasing smile and twinkle of James' gorgeous hazel eyes, so instead he leaned into his hunk for a kiss.

James returned the kiss enthusiastically, as he wrapped his arms around Quinn. "Mmmm love you,” he murmured. "Have you eaten yet? I could make us up some lunch."

"No, I haven't eaten yet. Lunch sounds great. Can we eat on the terrace?" Quinn questioned.

"So, I thought maybe we should serve dinner to your aunt in courses. I can make a salad for a first course, and then maybe we could grill some shrimp while the roast finishes. I think we should steam the broccoli, and my mom is coming over this afternoon to help me put the au gratin together. Don't forget to bring some biscuits back from the Inn, so I can do berry shortcake. Do you think she will be okay with that? It’s so nice, maybe we should eat dinner out here, too, or would she prefer it to be more formal at the dining table. I've ironed my dark gray slacks and I thought I would wear the blue cashmere sweater you gave me for Christmas." Quinn stopped for a breath and noticed a large grin on James' face. "What? I just want it to be nice. I want her to like me."

"You're too much you know that?" James laughed. "I love that you want to impress my aunt, and I know I've told you that she is difficult to please. But sweetheart you just need to be your wonderful self, who could help but love you?"

He gave Quinn another kiss, "now let's go have lunch and get you off that foot for a while. You have your next physio session in the morning don't you?"

Quinn blushed at James’ sweet words, but he was still nervous of what Auntie Clarisse would think of him.

"Yes, I have physical therapy at 10:30. Are you sure you can take me; it isn't that long after you finish serving breakfast, what about checkout, and what is your aunt going to do during that time?" Quinn asked. "And you didn't answer my questions about dinner," he stated with a bit of a nervous pout.

He and James enjoyed a nice lunch, but Quinn had a hard time shaking his anxiety. He hated that after four year with James, and a marriage certificate his insecurities could still cause him to question why James would want to be with him. All of James' relatives loved him, but whenever he met a new one, he was sure that this would be the one to bring James to his senses about the stupidity of marrying a small town outdoorsy jade miner.

Quinn sent James back to the Inn and his aunt with a kiss and request for a reminder phone call about putting the roast on, and threats of what would happen should he forget to bring the biscuits home.

He enjoyed his time with his mother, for all his manly baseball player, miner, adventurers’ traits; he loved cooking with his mom. Well usually they cooked together, but she was in full mother mode and sat him in a chair at the counter with his foot up, while she put the roast in, made the potatoes au gratin, put the salad together, marinated the shrimp, prepared the berries, and set the table. Quinn was a little disgruntled about not making the dinner, but his mother could be just as fussy and bossy as James, so there was no arguing with her.

After his mother left, Quinn showered, dressed, poured himself a large glass of wine and awaited the arrival of James and Auntie Clarisse.


James softly shut the door behind him as he arrived back at the cottage. Auntie, had been safely escorted back to her room in the Inn and he was hoping Quinn was resting.

The dinner had been nice, though he thought Quinn looked a bit stressed sitting with Auntie Clarisse. He'd tried not to leave them alone for too long but with Quinn still on crutches, he'd had to do all the serving and clearing up. He'd also had to leave them while he ran over to the Inn for a few minutes to solve a problem that Stan, his assistant manager was having.

He knew Quinn was a bit put out with him when he subtly took the wine bottle from his hand during the dinner. However the large glass he'd been drinking when they arrived was more than enough. Mixing alcohol with a nervous Quinn was never a good idea.

He found Quinn still clothed, sitting quietly on the side of the bed."Hey Babe I thought I'd find you in bed by now."

Quinn hadn't heard James enter the house; he’d been thinking about Aunt Clarisse's comments. He was amazed at how well she got her digs into him while James was out of the room.

He hadn't been too bothered when she told him she hadn't realized that ankle injuries prevented one from getting a haircut.

He thought he had handled her comment, about the potatoes being a nice working class dish, well.

But when she said she had always expected James would end up with a well-bred educated man--and not do the typical man thing of choosing beauty over brains--Quinn felt like he had just been punched in the stomach by all of his worst fears.

He decided not to tell James about her comments or the additional glass of wine he had.

Quinn gave James a weak smile. "Just thinking, but yeah, I’m tired." He pulled himself up onto his crutches. "I'm going to go brush my teeth, and then I'll come to bed."

James quickly stripped off his clothes and followed his husband into the bathroom.

Quinn had pulled off his shirt and discarded it over the side of the bath; he stood bare-chested at the sink balancing on one foot while he brushed his teeth.

James slid in behind him and wrapped his arms around Quinn and teased the pert brown nipples as he placed small kisses down the back of his lover’s neck. "Mmmmm, you smell so good," he whispered. He allowed his hands to move very slowly down his lover’s body as Quinn finished brushing. He teasingly undid the button and zipper on the gray wool pants and slid his hand inside.

He was frankly shocked to find Quinn completely unaroused; he had always teased his husband that he could be turned on as fast as a light switch. "Hey beautiful," he asked, "everything okay?"

Quinn's heart ached at James' touch; it felt safe and yet it hurt so much as he thought of how bad he was for James.

He had to compose himself before he spoke; he had learned not to tell James he was fine when he wasn't. It had been a painful lesson, as James seemed to view it as a lie, and James Lefebvre did not like being lied to by his partner. So, after a thoughtful review of his use of the word, on a very sore bottom, Quinn decided maybe it was best to delete its use as a comment on his wellbeing. Thankfully, he had found that telling James he was tired seemed to not yet garner an overly questioning response from his husband.

Quinn finished brushing his teeth and gave his stunningly handsome partner a light kiss. "Just tired," Quinn responded as he broke free of James' embrace, retrieved his crutches, and returned to the bedroom to finish getting ready for bed.

Though he didn't doubt for a minute that Quinn was tried, James had a niggling feeling something else was on his lover’s mind. He quickly finished his own absolutions and returned to the bedroom, only to find Quinn already in bed with the light out.

He slid in beside him and pulled him into his arms and stole a kiss. "Good night sweetheart." He paused and then asked again. "Are you sure everything is okay?"

Quinn let out a soft sigh and snuggled up to James. "I wish dinner would have gone better," he said. "Your aunt didn't like my mother's potatoes."

James smiled and gave a gentle laugh, "Oh sweetheart is that what's bothering you? I told you Auntie Clarisse was hard to please; it's nothing about you or your mother's delicious potatoes au gratin. She's just a fussy woman who has no compunctions about telling people when something isn't to her personal liking."

"Now give me a kiss and go to sleep. You have physio in the morning and before you start on about that again, we only have one guest leaving in the morning so Stan will be fine doing check out, and Auntie Clarisse has an appointment at the beauty parlor, so we will drop her off there on the way to your appointment."

"Okay," Quinn nodded into James.


He tossed and turned a lot during the night, waking often from short uncomfortable dreams and finding it difficult to go back to sleep. He would have loved to get up and read or watch some television, but knew that getting out of bed for one of those things would definitely raise James' suspicions. Sohe would cuddle into James; appreciating how James could unconsciously rub his back, smooth his hair or gently coo him back to sleep.

The morning was quiet. James had gone to the Inn at his normal early hour, so the men had not seen each other until Quinn hobbled over to the Inn's lobby to meet James and his aunt.

Quinn had a bit of a struggle comfortably getting into the back seat of the Camry, but was thankful for the fact that it allowed him the excuse to stay out of the conversation taking place in the front seat between James and Auntie Clarisse.

Upon arrival at the beauty parlor, James got out of the car to open the door for his aunt. It was during this time that the old biddy turned into the backseat to ask Quinn if she should make him an appointment for a haircut while she was inside.

Quinn looked out the window at James and drew upon composure he didn't know he had, "No ma'am. I actually just had it cut about two weeks ago."

Auntie Clarisse shook her head and informed Quinn she hoped he hadn't paid too much for the cut, and then exited the car for her appointment.


James sat surreptitiously looking over the top of an out dated Reader’s Digest while Quinn was taking his physiotherapy. It was good to see his husband starting to bear some weight on his ankle again; he'd had such a difficult time being disabled these last weeks.

Quinn had been unusually quiet on the drive to the therapist, saying only that he was anxious about his ankle as the reason for his quiescence. However James felt there was something more bothering his Brat, something he couldn't quite put his finger on.

All thoughts of Quinn's off mood momentarily disappeared when he saw his partner limp his way without the crutches, just with a simple cane clutched in his left hand. "Wow I see you've graduated!" he exclaimed, as he got to his own feet, "congratulations babe.”

Quinn was so excited about losing the crutches; he instantly felt not only more mobile, but also far less dependent on James. He was so very thankful for permission to return to some physical activity and he felt a hint of mischievousness that had been mostly absent since his trip to the meadow.

Quinn flashed a smile of sheer joy as he walked towards James giving James a view of his pearly whites and sexy dimples. Quinn fell into James’ arms for a congratulatory embrace. “How much time do we have before we have to pick up your aunt?” he whispered into James ear.

James enthusiastically returned the hug; it was so nice to see Quinn smiling like that again. This was the man he'd fallen in love with, the man with the dimpled face that had captured his heart.

"I'm sorry love, but Auntie is already waiting, she called my cell less than ten minutes ago." He leaned in to whisper, "but just wait for later tonight I'll show you just how happy I am you've lost those crutches. I've got a big stick that can support you." He growled low and gave a quick nip to the ear he'd been whispering in.

After returning home from physical therapy Quinn got permission from James to borrow the Camry so he could go to the high school for their afternoon swim. He promised to be back in time to meet James and Auntie Clarisse for an early evening drink at the Inn.

Quinn had a wonderful swim, he enjoyed stretching his muscles and working up a good strong sweat. He found that James' enthusiasm this morning, the physical therapy, and the swim did wonders for his outlook and mood.

Pulling up in front of the Inn Quinn could see James and Auntie Clarisse sitting at a patio table on the porch sipping ice tea. He smiled to himself as he decided to prove the old biddy right, and give James a taste of what he turned down earlier in the day. If she thought he was a boy toy, he might as well give her the full show.

He lifted his shirt over his head and adjusted his shorts so they sat a little lower on his hips. His left hand grasped the cane to provide the support he needed to move from the car to the porch in full strut. He stopped midway to the porch and struck a pose to shake the last bit of water out of his hair.  He held the pose long enough to ensure that all eyes were on him. And all eyes were, James, Auntie Clarisse, and a hand full of the Inn’s guests saw his shorts sitting low enough on his hips to give a lovely view of the sexy line that ran from the edge of his chiseled abdominal muscles down to the bare hint of hair hidden by the fabric of his shorts.

He continued to the porch, and before saying hello to either James or his aunt, Quinn gave James a kiss using just enough tongue to let everyone around know his tongue was in James’ mouth. He then stood back up, picked up James’ ice tea and assumed a pose similar to that of Michelangelo’s David as he took a sip from the glass. Bowing his head to James’ aunt, Quinn said, “How are you this evening, Auntie?”

There was nothing more intensely desirous to James Lefebvre than the sight of his husband strutting before him; he momentarily forgot where he was and who he was with when Quinn kissed him. It was the sharp intake of breath and sour remark about 'tawdry behaviour' from Auntie Clarisse that drew him back to reality.

Whatever the hell Quinn was up to, he certainly wasn't about to let it continue. He could feel his face flush with embarrassment, several of the Inn's guests who had been enjoying the afternoon on the large wraparound porch, where also watching the display.

He grasped Quinn by the biceps and turned to address his aunt. "Auntie Clarisse will you please excuse us? Quinn has been up on his foot longer than he should today and I can see it's a bit swollen." Then he addressed his husband, "Let's get you in my office, I'll get you an ice pack and you can put that foot up."

He guided his limping partner inside as quickly as the younger man could safely move, not saying a word until they got to the sanctuary of his office with the door closed.

He drew a deep breath to calm himself before asking. "What the hell did you think you were doing out there?”

Quinn still running on the endorphin high of his performance decided this situation called for a continuation of his boy toy act.

He moved in close to James, so their bodies were touching and placed one hand on James’ cock, and licked James’ neck before he spoke, “From where I was standing you seemed to quite enjoy it.”

James firmly took Quinn's hand off his pants, took him by the shoulders and looked him in the eye. "Enough Quinn, I want an explanation of this performance and I want it right now. You deliberately put on this show to either upset my aunt or embarrass me and I'd like to understand why."

And that was all it took for full Brat mode to engage, Quinn crossed his arms, gave a pout and a stomp.  “Oh, please. It was no big deal; it isn’t like you don’t fly the rainbow flag right next to the Maple Leaf in front of the Inn. At least 50% of your clientele are queer, and you cannot tell me that the group sitting on the porch right now are not complete and total Queens. If anything I’ve just upped your booking rate for the rest of summer. I can see those Queens on their cell phones right now. ‘Oooo honey, there is a hunky half naked floor show with the evening drinks’.”

It wasn't often that Quinn gave into such behaviour but when he did James knew the fastest way to end it. They were standing beside the coffee table, so James simply placed one foot up on the solid wood surface and before Quinn had the chance to think about it James had him bent over his raised knee and was raining down a series of hard swats over the thin fabric of
the younger man's shorts.

"I asked you for a proper explanation of your behaviour. Now are you going to give me one, or am I going to pull down your shorts and give you a real reminder of who is in charge in this relationship?" He punctuated the question with four more solid whacks.

Quinn worked hard to hold the tears back. He was not happy about the fact that he found himself in this predicament at the Inn. James’ office was private, but there was an added level of discomfort about the fact that they were still in a ‘public’ place and not at home. His heart sank as he realized what he had just done at James’ Inn.

He really didn’t want to have this conversation with James, but at this point he had little choice. Quinn recognized that talking would save him from the immediate risk of being bared and punished, but was concerned that James’ hand would have a fair amount to say about the behaviours that had lead to his grand performance. James would not be pleased that his little show was a result of him acting out his hurt and anger over Auntie Clarisse’s comments or that her comments had stirred up insecurities regarding his and James’ relationship.

His husband would have quite a bit to say about him keeping his emotions bottled up to the point of explosion; that was a conversation they’d had before, and James had made it very clear it was not acceptable.

Quinn expected that James would have even more to say about his lack of sharing information that affected their relationship. He could hear James’ voice in his head, ‘Relationship issues are handled as a couple, not to be stewed over by yourself.’

Quinn was quickly brought out of his thoughts by a very firm swat and a growl from James about his last chance to start talking.

“She doesn’t like me,” Quinn said. “Your aunt, she thinks I’m your toy boy.”

James gently guided Quinn back up onto his feet and led him over to sit on the sofa. "Alright, my boy, start talking."

He listened intently as Quinn haltingly told of his aunt's comments and how they'd made him feel. James had to prod and encourage his husband a number of times throughout the tale until the whole story had been laid out before him.

James wrapped his arms around Quinn and pulled him close for a hug. "Quinn Seamus Sweeney, you are the love of my life, the most important person in my world. We are going to sort this all out, and Auntie Clarisse is going to be made to understand just that. After which you and I are going to have a very long discussion on hiding things that are bothering you."

He could see a slight welling of tears in Quinn's eyes, "It's going to be okay, we'll work it out. Now I want you to go back to the cottage get yourself changed for dinner and be back here in fifteen minutes. I've got a beef bourguignon ready and we're going to eat in the Inn's dining room."

He helped Quinn back up, gave him a light swat on the bottom and admonished him not to be late. Then he headed back to the porch to deal with the inevitable fallout from Auntie after Quinn's performance. While at the same time planning just how he was going to let her know that she had stepped way across the line.

Quinn left the Inn through the back door in the kitchen, hoping to draw as little attention to himself as possible.

He entered the cottage and sat on the sofa in the lounge, dropping his head into his hands; he could still hear James’ words running through his head.  ‘It's going to be okay, we'll work it out.’

“Yeah, on my butt,” he said tapping on the large aquarium to signal the two angelfish he and James had purchased just after their wedding. Seamus, Quinn’s fish, swam over to where Quinn had tapped the tank. “Be thankful you don’t have a butt that can be spanked,” he said to Seamus.

The bells on the grandmother clock signaled a quarter to the hour. Quinn looked up at the clock and gave a sigh before heading into the bedroom to change for dinner. He quickly ironed a pair of slacks and dressed in the pants and one of James’ polo shirts.

As Quinn passed the aquarium on his way back out of the cottage he could swear he saw Simon, James’ angelfish, give Seamus a gentle nudge. “We’re moving, we’re moving,” he said with a light laugh to the fish. The sound of his own laughter sent a wave of warmth through him. Quinn took a deep breath to calm himself before dinner, and he heard James’ voice in his head, ‘It's going to be okay, we'll work it out.’


James walked slowly down the stairs of the Inn after having escorted a properly contrite Auntie Clarisse to her room for the night. The dinner had started out a little tense with the feelings between Quinn and his aunt quite palpable. However he was quite proud of himself and the way he had shown Clarisse how very wrong she was.

He had subtly turned the conversation at dinner towards one of Clarisse's favourite subjects, herself. He had her telling the tale of how at nineteen she had been a clerk in the office of a machinery manufacturing plant. It was WWII and as a morale booster the company held a beauty pageant, with the winner to receive a fifty-dollar war bond presented by the owner, wealthy industrialist Marcus Biddle.

Clarisse had won the pageant and also the heart of Marcus, though he was twenty-two years her senior, they fell deeply in love. They married only three months after meeting and departed for their honeymoon. Three days later Clarisse was a widow with Marcus having died of a massive heart attack.

James then guided the story by 'suggesting' how wonderful it must have been for her to have Marcus' loving mother and sister there to help her deal with her loss. It was then that Clarisse's mood changed as she went on to tell of how horrible they'd been to her, calling her a gold digger, and a brainless beauty. Of course she was also very proud to say how she'd shown them that she was made of better stuff than that.

James smiled at this description and deliberately took Quinn's hand in his as he commented just how awful it must feel to have your in-laws judge you by your looks alone and not take the time to know the real you. Auntie had the good grace to blush at this remark. By the end of the meal she and Quinn were actually talking civilly.

Now if only the rest of this evening could be so pleasant, however Quinn was waiting for him back at the cottage, and they were due a long talk. He knew that letting what happened go without consequences would leave his beloved feeling lost and insecure. So he was off to remind Quinn just how much he was loved and cared for.

Quinn was sitting on the soft leather couch in just his boxers and James’ polo and was clutching his knees. He hated that he had embarrassed James and hated even more that once again he had let his insecurities get the best of him.

The sight that greeted James as he entered the study brought a slight tightness to his chest. He'd noticed Quinn had been wearing one of his polos at dinner, something his Brat would do when feeling the need for comfort and reassurance. But now to see him on the couch wearing only the polo and boxers gave him mixed feelings. Part of him felt pleased that Quinn understood and accepted just where this evening’s discussion would end. Yet it also made him sad that they had come to this point, especially since it was the second time in as many weeks.

Quinn was chewing on his knuckles when he looked up with such a hang-dog expression that James had to truly steel himself for what was to come. James reached forward and pulled the abused digit from between Quinn's teeth and rubbed at the marks. "You'll gnaw through to the bone if you keep that up."

Quinn gave James a sad smile and then rested his head against James’ chest. “Thank you,” Quinn said. “Thank you for dinner.” Quinn meant so much more than just ‘thank you for dinner’, but he couldn’t quite get the words out.

They sat quietly for a while and James ran his fingers through Quinn’s hair. Quinn hoped that James knew how much he appreciated the ease at which James had handled the situation with Auntie Clarisse.

James had been kind and eloquent; he had defended Quinn and politely facilitated a truce between the auntie and himself. He so valued his husband’s gentle grace, and was terribly saddened that he had not trusted James to help him solve this problem before he let his emotions boil over. He eventually broke the silence. “I’m sorry I’ve been so much trouble lately.”

"Hey, you are never trouble to me. What you are is the best thing that ever happened to me. As far as the dinner goes, no need for thanks, you were wronged my love and it needed to be corrected." James kissed his husband, and pulled him into a hug.

“Now we have to talk about why you didn't come to me in the first place. Why you chose to defy our rule about sharing those issues that can affect our relationship. And lastly talk about a certain performance of yours, put on with the sole purpose of causing sensation."

They spent almost an hour hashing though Quinn's insecurities, appropriate responses to situations that exacerbate them, and most importantly the need to share when something was bothering him.

"Last thing we need to take care of sweetheart is consequences." He left Quinn sitting on the couch while he went to his desk, and from the bottom drawer he pulled out the polished wooden paddle that they saved only for more serious infractions. Re-seating himself James looked expectantly at his lover.

Quinn knew his behaviour had been a major violation of the rules he and James had established for the health of their relationship. He knew he would be punished, and had prepared himself for what he anticipated would be a momentous spanking. He had planned to be earnest and obedient in receiving his punishment to show James his respect for their relationship and the sincerity of his sorrow. But given all of that, he was still scared and shocked to see James retrieve the paddle.

Quinn closed his eyes and fought the urge to plead with James not to use the dreaded implement. He took a deep breath and reminded himself to trust that James knew exactly what he needed to absolve himself of his guilt and move forward. So he stood, lowered his boxers and accepted James’ hand in helping to position himself over James’ lap.

Quinn found, that as always, his husband delivered a very thorough and painful spanking, which was followed by ten solid swats of the paddle, leaving Quinn bawling in misery.


It had been an hour since the spanking had ended and James’ arm was going numb from the pressure of Quinn's head lying against it. They had cuddled together on the couch for a long while and Quinn finally fell asleep after releasing all the pent up emotions of the last few days.

It had been a hard time for his poor Brat; Quinn's insecurities still got the better of him at times and as usual led him down the wrong path. Well it was over now and they could move on.

Auntie Clarisse would depart in a couple of days; she had told James that she was going to stay next with his cousin Leanne, in San Francisco. James wondered how long it had been since Auntie had seen Leanne. Last James saw her she was wearing an "I like to Dyke" t-shirt and riding a Harley.

James softly caressed the sleeping head of his husband with his free hand. "Come on babe, time to get up and move to bed," he whispered. "Tomorrow will come soon enough and neither of us wants to be stiff and sore from a night spent on the couch.”

Quinn awoke and mumbled nonsense to James as he struggled to open his sticky eyes. This was not how he had envisioned spending this evening with James. His vision HAD involved removing his pants, but for a far more pleasant purpose.

Quinn stood with a grunt, wiped the tears and sleep from his eyes, pulled off James’ sweat soaked shirt, and gave his bum a gentle rub. He took hold of his cane and wobbled, naked, into the bathroom to brush his teeth. ‘Oh yeah, I’m one hot toy boy,’ he thought with a small snort as he looked into the mirror.

He crawled into bed and waited for James to join him. When James slipped in, Quinn cuddled up to him. Quinn was exhausted and looking forward to getting back to sleep. Despite his very sore bottom, his body was relaxed and tension free; it was hard to dispute the benefits of a spanking, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t. Quinn gave a very large yawn into James’ chest. “I hate that damn paddle,” he said with a small pout.


The next day proved to be extremely busy at the Inn, Mrs. Chelsea who normally arrived at 5:30 a.m. to make the breakfast called in sick, and they had a plumbing problem that required turning off the hot water until the plumber could get it fixed. So James had an Inn full of hungry, unwashed guests to appease. Between cooking and carting basins of water heated on the kitchen stove up to the rooms James and the chambermaid were running non-stop.

James was feeling bad that he would have to cancel the trip to take Clarisse to the Jade Mine today. They held a small tour of the operations once a week on Friday mornings and had a gift shop where he knew Auntie had wanted to purchase a souvenir of her visit to Jade Heights.

He was about to go and break the news to his aunt when Quinn walked into the Inn's kitchen. He looked so nice, hair still damp from the shower, wearing soft blue jeans and another one of James’ own polo shirts. And James was pleased to note barely limping at all with his cane in tow.

"Good Morning beautiful." he said as he wrapped his arms around his husband. "What brings you here so early? I thought you'd sleep in this morning."

Quinn leaned into the hug, and relished at being enveloped by James. He held on a little longer than normal, needing reinsurance that in James’ arms was where he belonged.

“It was lonesome in bed all by myself,” Quinn said as he eventually pulled out of the hug. He moved over to the counter and began to assemble his breakfast of a scone with fresh berries and cream. “I was hoping you might need some help at the Inn today. I would rather be here with you, then in the house by myself.” Quinn gave a quick glance at the barstool tucked under the counter and decided a standing breakfast would be more comfortable.

James smiled as he watched his lover consider sitting on the stool and decide against it. He knew Quinn would have difficulty sitting on any firm surface today; he'd delivered a very firm spanking last night, one meant to be remembered. He moved to stand behind Quinn; he gave the tender bottom a little pat, and kissed the back of his husband’s neck.

Quinn blushed when James patted him. He thought he had been very cool and nonchalant about his decision to stand during breakfast. He knew that James’ pat was his husband’s subtle recognition of the reason he had chosen to stand.

"I’m bogged down today sweetheart, the plumber has the hot water tank off line and Mrs. Chelsea called in sick. However we've got the hot water basins carried to all the rooms now and I've just simplified the breakfast meal this morning and given all the guests a credit to make-up for the inconvenience. My biggest problem is going to be telling Auntie Clarisse that I can't take her for the tour at the mine today. I can't leave with the plumber still here and an Inn full of disgruntled guests."

“I could take Auntie Clarisse on the tour of the mine, and I could even show her the old caves,” Quinn offered.

James snapped a gentle swat on the butt he'd just patted. "If I thought for just one second you were serious about taking my elderly aunt anywhere near those condemned old caves; I'd turn you over my knee right here in the kitchen. However if you are serious in your offer to take her to the mine I would be most appreciative. Besides you’d make a far more informative guide than I would."

It may have been a gentle swat, but it reignited the heat in his sore bottom. Quinn smiled at James as he rubbed his butt. “Yes, I really meant my offer, and no worries, I’ll behave myself. Although those caves really are beautiful.”

Quinn noticed James’ eyebrows rise at his comment about the beauty of the caves, and he quickly moved to get his butt out of the danger zone. “Yes, I have been to the caves, and calm down I already paid the price. I was ten and Patrick was twelve; we decided to do a little spelunking. My dad gave our butts some serious attention. You would’ve been proud of him.” Quinn scrunched his face at this last revelation.

James reached around and stole a plump berry from Quinn's plate and popped it in his mouth. "I always knew I liked your dad." James said with a grin. "I hope that lesson never needs repeating."

"It won't," Quinn promised.

James headed towards the kitchen door. "I'll go and let Auntie Clarisse know that you're going to take her. She's in the dining room mumbling about the lack of fresh croissants this morning. Why don’t you go bring the Camry around front for her? And, just remember that you are NOT there to work, you're still on leave with your ankle and I don't want to hear about you 'just giving a helping hand'."

Giving his bottom another tender rub, Quinn said, “No worries, I think I have a good reminder to behave myself today.”


James assisted his Aunt in getting into the car, and Quinn leaned over and gave Auntie Clarisse a good morning kiss. Quinn was amazed at how much less tension there was between he and James’ aunt.

Quinn and Clarisse waved their goodbyes to James and were off. Quinn made his apologies to the Auntie for having to make a quick stop before they went to the mine, but all was forgiven when he returned to the car with a fresh croissant from the Maple Grill.

Quinn wasn’t about to let Auntie Clarisse go on the normal tour of the mine, instead he checked a golf cart out from security and gave her a one-of-a-kind tour.

First he took her down to the quarry and had a large group of Sweeneys demonstrate the process of mining the jade. Quinn’s father supervised the production while Quinn talked Auntie Clarisse through each of the steps. Rowen used a diamond tipped drill to extract core and handed the sample to Clarisse to show her they were working on a gem grade piece. Aedan and Sully showed James’ aunt the cleavage points they had used and the additional core holes that were drilled to make room for the hydraulic spreaders. The middle Sweeney boys then demonstrated how the spreaders split the jade apart from the rock. Next Auntie Clarisse was presented to Patrick who was operating the machinery that pulled the jade out of the rock. Lastly he introduced her to his cousin Kelly, who was filling in for him, reducing the jade boulders to manageable sizes.

After Auntie Clarisse had a good understanding of the mining process, he took her up to the work shop where she was able to meet many of the mine’s artisans. When Quinn took Clarisse into the showroom and shop she quickly shooed him off while she made her purchases.

Quinn used the time to call the Maple Inn and order lunch.

When she had finished her shopping she and Quinn returned the golf cart to the security office and headed back to town. With another quick stop at the Maple Grille, Quinn picked up lunch for he, Auntie Clarisse and James and then returned to the Inn.

James sat over lunch, grinning ear to ear as he listened to Auntie Clarisse describe the personalized tour of the mining facilities that Quinn had given her. Once again his delightful partner had won over a member of his family and given who this member was that was a real accomplishment.

Though she may be a fussy old thing his aunt really was an amazing woman, she had appeared this morning dressed in what she described as dungarees and sturdy hiking shoes topped with a plaid wool shirt. James wouldn't have believed the lady owned such clothing had he not seen it with his own eyes. At seventy-eight years of age she moved with the alacrity of a woman half her age.

She then proudly showed off a beautiful brooch and matching earrings she had purchased from the mines gift shop. James knew that had set her back a pretty penny, but then she could afford it.

It was however a complete surprise when she gifted him with a pair of jade and silver cuff links and then went on to preset Quinn with a heavy silver chain that had a hand carved jade pendant. This did not come from the mines gift shop, James recognized the artist’s style; it was an original by Jackson McCallum. It had two entwined male symbols with the arrows twisted around each other, it was an incredibly beautiful piece, and the look on Quinn's face was priceless. His lover was absolutely

The End


Copyright Mel and Tarabeth 2008

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