Building Things

Chapter 44

Derrick sat down at the small table outside at the bistro. Ty came around him and took the chair opposite. Derrick had eaten here so many times that he did not need a menu, he had it memorized. Ty picked up the one in front of him and started to look over it.

“So you said that you needed to see me.” Ty said as he looked at a very quiet Derrick over the top of his menu, and then went back to it. There was no reply and then Ty looked at him again seeing Derrick was lost in deep thought, “I’m not sure about this place. I hear the service is really lousy, we should have gone to the taco truck instead.”

“What?” Derrick asked, looking at him.

“A thousand miles away.” Ty said and lowered the menu.

“What are you talking about?” Derrick asked as he shifted in his chair.

“You, dummy, a thousand miles away. What the fuck? Are you alright?”

“Sorry. This morning has me thinking.” Derrick said with a frown.

“Well there’s nothing new there. Baby on the brain?”

“What?” Derrick asked, sounding annoyed.

“You, them, baby?” Ty held up his hands, “Something’s got you going. Why don’t you tell me about the meeting?”

“The meeting, oh, Jesus.” Derrick said rolling his eyes, leaning on the table, and shook his head, “Do you know who was there?” Derrick asked, Ty shook his head in answer, “The old man.”

“What old man?” Ty asked, then it dawned on him, “Van Owen, that old man?” Ty asked with wide eyes and Derrick nodded, “Holy shit, no wonder you’re a thousand miles away. What happened?”

“Hi, Derrick.” The soft voice said, “What can I get you?” Derrick turned his head looking up.

“Hi, Jen, uh… iced tea for us, please.”

“Ready to order?”

“Two of the usual, if you don’t mind.” Derrick smiled up at her briefly and then looked back at Ty. Ty lifted an eyebrow, and then looked at her.

“Doesn’t have all that sprouty kind of stuff, does it?” Ty asked her. She wrinkled up her face and shook her head a bit, picking up the menus. Ty winked at her and she smiled and walked away.

“What was I saying?” Derrick asked.

“Uh, really, nothing yet, besides just the old man being there.”

“Yeah,…he walked in and it just floored me. The lawsuit is dropped and the contract is null and void.”

“What? Well, that’s good news, right?” Ty asked with a small smile.

“Once we were alone, he started telling me about Conner and Alec. They’re leaving for Europe, did you know that?”

“Well I knew about the business trip to Europe. I told you that almost a week ago, don’t you remember? But I thought only Conner that was going.” Ty said.

“I kind of remember you saying something. But, then he started talking about things with Evelyn. Do you know he is having her arrested?” Derrick asked.

“What? Are you serious? Evelyn, his wife, Evelyn?” Ty was sitting there with wide eyes.

“Yes for fraud, falsifying records, court documents, it was crazy.”

“You believe him?” Ty asked.

“I don’t know what to think.” Derrick said throwing up his hands. He sat back and sighed.

“I’ll tell you what, after lunch, I’ll take you back to the office, and I’ll go out to the house and see for myself. If Evelyn is there, then we know it’s bullshit, if not, Phoebe can tell me what’s going on. You think Conner knows?”

“Hell if I know.” Derrick said rolling his eyes as he sat back in his chair, as the iced teas were set down on the table.

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The seatbelt sign came on, the flight attendant started talking about the landing and it procedures over the microphone. Conner looked at Alec, seeing that he was sleeping. Conner reached over and put his hand on Alec’s shoulder, shaking him a bit to wake him. Alec opened his eyes and took in a breath through his nose, making Conner smile. Alec looked over at him and looked sleepy.

“Hey, sunshine, we’re coming into New York.”

“Already?” Alec asked. Conner chuckled.

“You’ve been asleep the entire fight. Yes, already.”

“Did I miss anything?”

“No, nothing at all.” Conner smiled and looked down at the floor, slipping on his shoes.

The plane pulled to the gate, the door was opened and first class was the first off. Conner turned on his phone as they walked into the terminal, Alec had his carryon bag over his shoulder. Conner saw multiple messages and emails on his phone, also several missed calls, seeing the time on his phone, he looked up and saw a kiosk with flights listed with the airline, he saw their flight number and gate number and knew they had about an hour delay before the flight.

“Is that our flight?” Alec asked as he pointed.

“Yes, but it’s been diverted to Paris. I wonder why.” Conner said.

“Paris.” Alec almost whispered. Conner looked up from his phone and looked at Alec with a smile.

“Nervous?” Conner asked, Alec looked up at him with a look. He nodded his head slightly. “Why don’t you call your mom and tell her now rather than wait. I have a couple of calls to make myself while we walk to the terminal. It’s that way.” Conner said as he pointed, “Gate 12. Make sure you stay with me, I don’t want you getting lost.” Conner smiled as Alec pulled out his phone and turned it on.

“What about making calls from over there?” Alec asked.

“I added international to the plan last week. Your number should be on it as well, because of the joint account we have.” Conner said as he pushed a number to call back and put the phone to his ear. Alec called his parent’s house.

“Mama?” Alec asked into the phone, “Yes, it’s me, hi…Mama, I need to talk to you…What? Yes, there is a lot of noise here…Mama, I’m at the airport, in New York…New York!” Alec said louder, holding out the phone, then he put it back to his ear, Conner looked over at him and smiled as he was talking as well on his, “No, everything is alright…yes, Conner is with me, yes…no we’re going to Europe,…” Alec held out the phone, she was obviously screaming into hers, “no, it’s a business trip for Conner, Mama, listen,…no, listen,…Mama, we will be gone for a while,…what? No, about six months,…Mama, it’s okay, really, no, tell him when he gets home, yes, Mama,” Alec said as he looked at Conner, “I’ll give him a kiss and a hug for you,” Alec rolled his eyes, and looked ahead as they neared the gate, “no, I have to go, the plane is getting ready to leave, no, I’ll call you when we get there, yes in Paris.” Alec held out the phone again, and grimaced, “Yes, Mama, I know you have always wanted to go there…I’ll send you pictures, I have to go, the plane is getting ready to leave…tell everyone for me, give him a hug for me, yes, love you too, Mama, alright, bye-bye.” Alec pushed the button and looked at Conner, “Next time,…you call her.” Alec put a finger into Conner’s chest as he rolled his eyes again. Conner chuckled still on his own call.

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Ty dropped Derrick off at the office. He watched as Derrick went into the building, and then he pulled away from the curb. He drove toward Van Owen’s out to the country club on the northwest side of town. He drove up and over the rise with all the green manicured grass of the golf greens and came around the slight bend. He could see all the black cars and two black vans in the circular drive of the Van Owen house. Ty pulled his truck up and parked on the street. He looked at the front of the house, but no one was outside. He knew it was true, what Derrick had been told. Ty frowned and hesitated, tapping his fingers on the dash as he looked at the house.

“Fuck it.” Ty whispered and opened the truck door, he closed it and walked up the driveway and went to the door. He rang the bell and the door opened. Phoebe was standing there, looking very upset, her eyes were red. Ty stepped closer one step and she fell into his big muscles putting her arms around his neck. Ty put his arms around her but didn’t hold her, he again hesitated and then slowly closed his arms about her, patting her back gently.

“Who are you?” A man in a black nylon jacket asked from the doorway. Ty looked up at him.

“A friend.” Ty said, “No need to ask who you are.” Ty said as Phoebe pulled back, still having a hand on Ty’s thick shoulder. Ty looked at her, “You alright, Phoebe?” She nodded and wiped her eyes with her other hand.

“I asked who you are.” The man said again, Ty looked at him.

“I’m the pool boy.” Ty said flatly.

“Funny guy, there’s no pool here.” The man said. Ty looked back at her.

“Did they really arrest her?” Ty asked Phoebe, she nodded as her head was hanging down, “Do you have some place you can go till this is all over?” Ty asked, she shook her head, then he looked at the guy standing there and narrowed his eyes, “Damned old man, leaving you here to deal with this.” Ty said softly.

“It’s my job.” She said.

“Your job? What, to deal with two hundred FBI agents ransacking the house? I don’t think so. They can’t pay you enough to deal with this.” Ty said and she buried her face into his shoulder again. Ty pulled out his phone and flipped it open. He called Derrick’s office, it rang and then he heard a voice, “Hi, it’s Ty Caldwell, I need to speak to Derrick, please,…thanks.” Ty waited and then he heard his voice, “Hey, I’m out at the house, it’s true, all of it. I’m here with Phoebe right now, she’s a train wreck…no, the old man isn’t here,” Ty said as he stared at the guy in the doorway, “No,…the FBI gatekeeper is blocking the door,…yeah, I’m sure. With the amount of cars and vans here, half the FBI in the country must be crawling around the house….no, I need to get her out of this, she doesn’t need this…don’t tell me that, that old son-of-a-bitch left her to deal with it, Derrick…alright, I’ll call you later.” Ty said and closed his phone and put it in his pocket. He looked down at Phoebe, “Why don’t you go get what you might need for a night or two, we’ll get you out of here.”

“Sorry, nothing is to be removed from the house.” The guy said holding up a hand.

“Wow, thanks for the compassion and understanding, Mr. Public Servant, does that included lipstick and pajamas?” Ty asked as he glared, “Look, bud,” Ty said as he stiffened, stepping away from her, “you people have scared the shit out of this girl, and she has obviously been through enough. Now, all I’m asking is for you to let her get a few things from her room so I can get her out of this.” Ty continued to glare not moving.

“Alright, but I have to go with you.” He said. Ty turned back and took Phoebe with an arm, leading her into the house.

“Let’s get a few things for you, I’ll take you home to our place.” Ty said softly to her ear.

“I couldn’t.” She said as she looked at him.

“You can, unless you want to keep dealing with this?” Ty asked, she looked around and shook her head, “That’s what I thought. Where’s your room?” Ty asked and she led the way.

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“Clayton Van Owen, please,” He said into the phone, “Derrick Jacobson.” He said and waited, there was a knock on his door, Derrick looked up and saw Tom standing there, Derrick waved him in with a couple of fingers and pointed at the chair across from him. Tom came and sat down. “Yes?...I see, could you give him a message, please? Thank you. Tell him that Phoebe is with me at my home,…yes, thank you. I appreciate it.” Derrick hung up the phone.

“What was that about?” Tom asked.

“You remember this morning and the old man?” Tom nodded to Derrick’s question, “There has been some…other stuff that’s happened.”

“Who’s Phoebe?” Tom asked.

“His housekeeper.”

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but are you switching teams?” Tom asked.

“No, asshole, I’m not.” Derrick glared at him for a second and then eased, “The old man had his wife arrested this morning and the house is being torn apart by the FBI.”

“Are you joking?” Tom asked as he leaned forward seeing the look on Derrick’s face, “No, I guess you’re not, are you? Holy shit, Derrick, I knew this guy played hard ball, but his wife? Arrested by the FBI?” Tom sat back.

“What did you find out from Sid?” Derrick asked.

“Everything is legit, no hidden clause, no nothing. We seem to be out this all the way.”

“Not quite yet, something that the old man said this morning…I wonder.” Derrick said as he drummed his fingers on the desk. “Alright, there’s a few thing to get done, I’ll see Terry about the Beckett stuff, and I have that house to finish up with that I’m doing. Have you got something going?”

“A couple of things with Neal to check over and then I’m clear.”

“Alright, then maybe it will be business as usual, finally, the way it’s supposed to be.” Derrick smiled as he came around his desk, Tom stood and they went out of the office together.

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Ty pulled into the driveway of the house and drove all the way back. He parked the truck next to the structure, where he always did and looked at Phoebe, who sat in the passenger seat staring straight ahead. Ty reached over and touched her arm and she jumped a little.

“Hey, it’s okay.” Ty said, holding up his hands, “We’re here, come on, let’s go in the house.” Ty smiled and opened his door. She opened hers and got out and came around the back end of the truck. Ty carried her small bag and waited for her. He gave her a soft smile and walked toward the back door, then up the steps to the screen door, he opened it and put his key in the lock, and opened the door, swinging it wide, he let her go in first and then closed the screen, leaving the back door open. “Why don’t you follow me, and I’ll show where you can stay.” Ty said softly and walked into the kitchen and turned left toward the spare room, she walked slowly behind him and then came into the room. She looked around.

“This was Conner’s room when he stayed here, wasn’t it?” She asked softly as Ty put her small bag on the bed. He looked at her and nodded his head. “I can smell him.”

“We changed the sheets after he and Alec moved into their apartment, they’re clean, I promise.”

“I’m sure they are.” She said softly.

“Phoebe, I want you to know, I’m really sorry that you had to go through all that this morning by yourself.”

“That’s very kind of you, Mr. Caldwell.”

“Ty, please.”

“When will Mr. Jacobson be returning?”

“Near six is his usual time.” Ty said as she just stood there, “In here is the bathroom. Derrick’s cleaning lady took care of it last week, it never gets used. There’s stuff in the kitchen, TV in the living room, uh, there’s music, and whatever you’d like.” Ty said, feeling a bit lost for himself and for her.

“This is most kind of you.”

“It’s no trouble at all. The doors lock, if it makes you feel better. You can take a nap or whatever you want to do. I’m going to go work out back if you need anything, all you have to do is yell. We whistle for each other, but that’s a guy thing that we do.” Ty smiled briefly, he stepped by her and out of the room, but turned back, “Please, make yourself at home, and don’t be shy about it, it’s okay.” Ty smiled and walked to the back door, leaving her alone.

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“Yes, Kim?” Derrick asked after Terry handed him the phone, “Alright, I’ll get it in my office. Thanks.” Derrick said and handed the phone back to Terry, “We’ll finish this in a bit. I have to take this call.” Derrick said to Terry and walked out.

“Sure, boss.” Terry said watching him walk away.

Derrick went to his desk and picked up the phone and punching the blinking button.

“Mr. Van Owen,” Derrick said as he sat down in his chair, turning it a bit, “Conner? Hey, bud, it’s good to hear you…no, I’m alright,…I thought maybe it was your father,…I was thinking he might be calling me back,…yeah, uh,…bud, where are you?,…when’s your flight?,…uh, bud, I don’t know if I should be the one to tell you, but, your mother,…yeah something happened,…your father told me this morning about it, Ty went out to the house to see if it was true or not, he took to Phoebe to our place,…Conner, they arrested your mother this morning,…apparently it was the FBI,…I don’t know, bud, maybe you should call him,…no, I did, but I was told he was busy, I can see why now,…well that’s up to you, and that’s between you and him,…what?,...no, I only know because he explained it to me in our meeting about the hotel contract,…yeah, that was all taken care of, …I was right, it was fake,…yeah, it was her that did it all,…Conner, I’m sorry,…no, it just makes me feel bad, bud…alright, let me know, okay, tell Alec I said hi, alright, I’ll talk to you later, bye.” Derrick said and turned the chair and hung up the phone. He turned the chair away from the desk and rested his forearms on his thighs and sat there.

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Conner closed his phone and just stood there. Alec saw something was wrong, he looked up at him as he was sitting on one of the seats in the gate area.

“Conner, what is it?” Alec asked.

“You remember last night, my father said he was going to put a stop to everything?” Conner asked, Alec nodded, “Well, apparently he did. The FBI arrested my mother this morning.”

“What? Seriously?” Alec stood up in front of Conner, “Conner, would your father really do that to her?”

“Obviously he did.” Conner said and opened his phone. He called the office number for his father and it only rang, finally a voice answered, deep and low saying something to someone else, “Hello?” Conner asked.

“Mr. Van Owen?” The deep voice asked.

“Yes,…Greggson, is that you?...where’s my father,…what?...what are they doing there?...can I speak to him?...can you tell him it’s me?...shit, alright,…did he say anything?...alright, can you get to him?...good, tell him I’m catching the next flight home,…I’ll charter one if I have to,…no just tell him, I’ll call Bern and get everything rescheduled,…we can conference call it or something,…this is more important,…Greggson, does the board know?...alright, just get to him and tell him,…alright, thanks.” Conner closed the call, holding the phone in his hands, Alec was staring at him.

“What are you thinking?” Alec asked. Conner shifted his eyes around a bit, “Conner?”

“Alec, we have to go back. The FBI is grilling him in the conference room. They’re taking all the records, everything.”

“Wait a minute, hold on, slow down.” Alec said, “Remember what he said last night.”

“That’s the point, he had this planned, Alec, all along he had this planned, and it just wasn’t him overhearing a conversation with Cal and Kurt, he had this planned, a way to get my mother out of the way, and a way for him,…we have to get back there, and stop this.”

“Conner, the FBI, your mother, all of it, you think he lied to you? Just to get your mother out of the way, it doesn’t make sense.”

“No, now think about it. He does all this, tells me that Greggson has all the papers for me to take over after he’s gone as CEO, remember?” Conner asked, and Alec nodded, “He says his condition is worse and he was talking like he was going to be dead very soon, remember?” Alec nodded again, “Yeah, he will be, it’s part of the plan, his plan. We have to change the flight.” Conner said as he looked toward the counter.

“Wait, hold on,” Alec said taking Conner’s arm, “Didn’t you ask that guy to get to him, and to let you know?”

“Yeah, but what if he doesn’t?” Conner asked.

“But, what if he does?” Alec asked, “Your father also said that there was no, what did he say, no deviation. Conner, if he is going to do this, don’t you think he’s doing it to keep you out of it?”

“What should I do? What would you do if you were me?” Conner asked.

“I would wait, wait to see if this guy gets to your father and lets you know. We could take a later flight, right?”

“Yeah, we could. We have a few minutes till we board. We could bump it, I guess.”

“Now you’re thinking like a CEO.” Alec smiled.

“I knew I loved you for a reason.” Conner smiled, “Let’s see about another flight.” Conner said and led Alec over to the counter.

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Ty was on his knees inside the structure moving back and forth as he would grab a piece of the laminate flooring, put it in place, then give it a tap to lock it in, and then reach for another one. He was lost in what he was doing and wasn’t paying attention to anything other than what he was doing. He stopped as he heard something and looked back behind him. He saw her standing in the large door, making him stop working. He smiled at her.

“Everything okay?” He asked and she nodded, “You don’t want to rest or watch TV?”

“Mr. Caldwell, I wanted to say thank you again, but I’m not sure why you actually brought me here.” She said as she walked slowly toward him. Ty turned and sat on the floor, draping an arm over his bent knee as he looked at her.

“It’s very simple, Phoebe. I brought you here, because I thought that it was not your place to be left with you to deal with all that. You seemed very upset about the whole thing. I mean am I right?”

“It was rather upsetting, yes.” She said as she came closer.

“Don’t get me wrong, there’s no other reason behind it, Derrick and I aren’t like that,…them, with other reasons behind everything. It’s safer here, for you, for us.” Ty smiled, and rolled his head and looked at the flooring, he turned his head back and looked at her, seeing how sad she looked, “How long have you been with them?”

“About six years.” She said softly.

“I bet you’ve seen a lot with them.”

“Yes.” She said softly. She stopped a few steps away from him, “It was very sad to see what happened this morning with the Misses.”

“I imagine it was.” Ty said, looking down for a moment and then back up at her, “Kind of had a similar experience myself not too long ago with Derrick. It scared the hell out of me, actually.” Ty smirked, “How about a cup of coffee? I could use one about now.”

“I’ll prepare it for you.” She said.

“No.” Ty said as he got up, “There’s one thing you’ll have to learn about being here, I really don’t like being waited on.” Ty said as he was brushing himself off with his hands, “Derrick tries to, but he only does it because he knows it bugs me.” Ty smiled, and walked toward her slowly, “Come on, let’s go in the house. You can tell me all about it, if you want.” Ty said, and she turned and started walking with him. They went up the steps and Ty opened the door for her, letting her in.

“You certainly are a gentleman, Mr. Caldwell, thank you.”

“No, thank my mother. She liked having doors opened for her.” Ty smiled at her as they went into the kitchen. Ty went around the counter, “Have a seat. It only takes a minute to make with the machine.” Ty said as he opened a door and pulled out cups. He put one in and pushed the button. It took a minute to make and he pulled it out and turned, reaching it out to where she sat at the counter, setting it down and slid it to her. “You know, I wasn’t much of a coffee drinker until I came here. Derrick drinks it like it’s going out of style.” Ty said as he was doing a cup for himself. He waited and pulled it out and turned around with the cup in his hand. He gave her a brief smile and went around the counter and came over and sat on the next stool. “Oh, do you take anything in it?”

“No, this is fine, thank you, and again, for everything else.”

“Phoebe, look, it’s no problem, really. It’s not the damsel in distress thing either, it’s just I’ve seen how he can be, so cold and so much of an asshole,” Ty went wide eyed after he said it, “sorry, didn’t mean to say that.” Ty grimaced and raised a hand. She smiled at him as she picked up her cup.

“You’re right though, he can be.” She said as she sipped it, then set the cup down, “And I have seen so much in being there. That house is so cold. There is no love in it at all.”

“But yet, you stayed with it.” Ty said as he sipped his coffee.

“Not for just them.”

“For Conner.” Ty said, giving her a soft smile, “I know you love him, Phoebe, and it’s alright,” He said and she went blank on him, “I could see it the couple of times that we were all together.”

“I recall.” She said softly. “I don’t know what’s going to happen now.”

“What, your job with them?” Ty asked, she nodded as she stared down at the coffee cup, “Do you have family here?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Well, we’ll see what tomorrow looks like, but if you don’t have a job after all this crap, leave it to Derrick to save the day.” Ty smiled and then sipped more coffee.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, he’ll figure something out to help you out. He does that.” Ty shook his head, “Always rescuing this or that.”

“I see, like he did with Conner.”

“Well kinda. Conner was a different story, but yeah, it’s the same thing I guess.” Ty smiled again, “It’ll be fine, believe me.”

“You’re both very kind.” She smiled.

“Well, anyone would have done it for you, Phoebe, I’m sure.” Ty said and finished his coffee. He got up and went around the counter again, rinsing his cup and put it in the dishwasher. “I have to go and get some more of the floor down. Like I said, make yourself at home.” Ty smiled, “You know where I am if you need anything.”

“May I come and just watch?”

“If you want to.” Ty smirked a bit, “It’s kind of boring though.”

“No, I find it interesting actually. I like to see things being put together.”

“Sure, if you want to. We can get you one of the lawn chairs. You could get some sun if you’d like.” Ty smiled wider. She picked her cup, but he took it for her and did the same as his. She gave him a slight frown at being waited on. He chuckled softly.

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Derrick was done with another page on the house for the young couple, the electrical portion of the house. He knew what the building codes were all too well for what he could put in. The most important part of the house for this portion to his mind was the kitchen, to make it make total sense and for ease of use. He was moving about on the page, double checking everything and was lost in it, not realizing that someone was next to him, until his concentration was broken by a touch. Derrick looked up. He smiled.

“Sam.” Derrick said and reached up his hand, “What brings you here?” The big man took Derrick’s hand in his, giving it a firm shake, then looked down at what Derrick was working on.

“My ‘future son in law’ said there were some things that were ready. I was going to check on a job site and thought I would swing by to pick them up. What’s this?” Beckett said.

“Something I’m doing for a young couple.” Derrick said as he took his hand back and looked down at the sheet.

“It isn’t a remodel. It’s new construction, isn’t it?” Beckett asked.

“Yes, it is.”

“Do they have a builder?” Beckett asked.

“No, I don’t think so.” Derrick said as he watched Beckett flip through a couple of pages. “Are you interested?”

“I’m always interested.” Beckett said and Derrick smiled.

“I could talk to them, if you want. It’s just planning stage right now, but I know they have the lot already.”

“Where?”

“One of the older neighborhoods, they want it built so they could add on in the future.”

“This isn’t for those kids that had that baby, is it?” Beckett asked as he looked at Derrick.

“Oh, you heard about that did you?”

“Uh, yeah. Terry said something to Annie and she was gushing about it to me.” Beckett said with a half-smile, “They’re probably going to make me a grandfather before my time.” He rolled his eyes.

“Well, you are old enough, you know.” Derrick said and smiled wide.

“Thanks, jerk-wad,” Beckett gave him a side glance, “but seriously, I’d like to take a look at this.”

“I’ll tell them, when they pick these up in a few days.” Derrick smiled. “Did you see Terry?”

“Not yet.” He sounded like he was giving a whine, “I was stupid and brought Annie with me. She’s probably climbing all over Terry right now.”

“Yeah, he said something about them possibly moving in together?” Derrick asked.

“Yeah, I’m really thrilled about that one.” He said with heavy sarcasm as he looked at Derrick, making him laugh. “There’s another reason I wanted to come by and see you though.”

“Oh, what is it?”

“You got a guy that works for you, at the house, Ty Caldwell, right?”

“What about him?” Derrick asked.

“I wanted to offer him a job.”

“You trying to steal him from me, Sam?” Derrick asked as he raised an eyebrow.

“No. One of my supers wants to retire. I want someone to take over for him. I know your man’s got a really good reputation, no one’s ever said a bad word about him. He’s the kind of guy I want to have running one of my crews, maybe all of them eventually.” Beckett shrugged.

“Well, you’d have to ask him.” Derrick said, holding up his hands.

“I just don’t want to steal him out from under you, you know, leave you hanging in the middle of something.”

“He’s actually finishing up the new structure behind the house.”

“Oh, you mean the one you wouldn’t let me build?” Beckett asked, Derrick laughed again.

“You know I wanted to do it myself, Sam.”

“Yeah, right, that’s why you hired him.” Beckett said with a smirk. “Would it be alright if I went out to see him?”

“Yeah, sure. I don’t have a problem with it, Sam.’ Derrick gave him a brief smile.

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Conner’s phone rang, he pulled it out of his pocket and saw who it was, he opened it. “You alright?”

“Why wouldn’t I be?” The deep voice asked, “Why aren’t you on your flight?”

“We bumped to take a later one. I wanted to talk to you to make sure everything was okay first.”

“Thoughtful, but not necessary, everything is under control here.”

“Dad,…”

“Conner, get on that plane. Don’t even think about coming back here before you go to Europe first. That is far more important to the company. Are you clear with that?”

“Yeah, I got it. Is there something else you might want to tell me?”

“Such as?”

“Uh, maybe, like…about my mother?”

“I told you last night I was going to deal with this. How did you find out?

“A friend.”

“Ah, Mr. Jacobson. He called me as well, I haven’t call him back as yet. I understand he has Phoebe.”

“Yeah he said that to me too. Look, with all this going on, you sure you don’t want me there?”

“That’s precisely the reason why I don’t want you here. I don’t want you involved, Conner. Once it is done in Europe and South Africa, then you may come home.”

“So you’re protecting me.” Conner said.

“Yes. Now get on that plane, and don’t look back. Do what you set out to do. Close everything down like we talked about, and then come home.”

“Dad,…”

“Conner, don’t worry. For once in your life, believe and trust in me. Get on that plane.” The older man said in a soft voice.

“Alright, Dad.” Conner said, “I’ll let you know what’s happening after Bern.”

“Do that.” He said and hung up the phone.

“What’d he say?” Alec asked, looking at Conner.

“You heard part of it,” Conner said as he looked at Alec, “he said to get on the plane and don’t look back.”

“Well, I guess you have your answer.” Alec said, “I’m sorry about your mother though.”

“Thanks. I wish I knew exactly what’s going on.”

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Ty was on his knees in the structure laying the flooring, Phoebe was outside the large doors in a lawn chair just watching him work, taking in the sun. She looked over her shoulder as she heard someone coming up the driveway. She saw the large man, but didn’t know who he was and then there was a young girl that was following him.

“Hi there,” The large man said to Phoebe, “I was looking for Ty Caldwell, is he here?” Phoebe got out of her chair and looked into the structure, seeing Ty getting to his feet and brushing off his hands below his cargos.

“Hi, I’m Ty Caldwell.” Ty said as he came out of the structure, he thought he recognized the large man, “Aren’t you Sam Beckett?”

“Yes, I am,” Beckett said as he put out his hand, Ty took it in his, “this is my daughter, Annie.” Beckett said as he nodded over to the young girl. Ty took his hand back and nodded at the young girl, who smiled at Ty. He remembered her from being here once before.

“This is Phoebe.” Ty said as he was standing near her. Beckett and Annie both smiled at her.

“Hi there,” Beckett said to her then back to Ty, “I’m an old friend of Derrick’s. I was just at his office and he said I could stop by and to have a little talk with you, if that’s alright.”

“Yeah, we’re all friends with Derrick, right?” Ty smiled, “What do you want to talk to me about?”

“Well, I wanted to offer you a position with my company, and see if you might be interested.” Beckett said, “One of my foremen is retiring and I need someone who can run a crew. Your name has come up several times around town. I found out you have a pretty good reputation. Are you familiar with my company?”

“Yes, I am.” Ty said.

“And?” Beckett asked cocking his head slightly.

“I’ve never heard bad behind your name, maybe about some of your guys though.” Ty said, folding his big muscled arms over his big chest.

“Yeah, I had a few that didn’t really work out some time back, but they’re gone now. I’d need a guy like you to keep things running smooth.” Beckett said.

“I’ve been working alone for quite a long time. I haven’t worked with a crew for a few years, let alone run one.”

“Well, think you might want to? I’d make you a good offer, salary plus benefits, full insurance, retirement.” Beckett said.

“How many guys?” Ty asked.

“Four on a project, remodels or forming depending, six to eight for full construction. Do you know commercial?”

“I’ve done it. Did steel high rise with the union for a couple of years in Chicago.” Ty said.

“Really? You weld?”

“I have. Don’t care much for it, give me wood any day.” Ty smiled. Beckett smiled back.

“We don’t do much in welding, thankfully, but you never know when you might need to, right?”

Beckett asked with a soft smile, “I’d really like the chance to have you look over a written offer if you have the time.”

“When were you thinking?”

“Well, the sooner, the better. Could I have you come down tomorrow, say about nine?” Beckett asked.

“Yeah, I guess I could.”

“You know where the office is?” Beckett asked.

“Yeah, near downtown, I know it.”

“Yes.” Beckett said and Ty nodded. Beckett stuck out his hand, Ty took it, giving it a firm shake, “Thanks for your time. Hope I didn’t bother you too much.”

“Nah, it’s alright, I was taking my time with it till Derrick gets home. I hope he likes the flooring that he picked out, didn’t want to lay out too much in case he doesn’t.”

“Looks good from here.” Beckett said with a look inside, “So this is what he wanted to build on his own, huh? I offered to do it for him, but he said no.”

“Yeah, he called me and asked me to help with the ridge and the rafters. It kinda got carried away from there. I thought it was only going to be only about a day or two, but he turned it over to me and let me go for it.” Ty said as he looked back at the structure. Beckett was wide eyed.

“Are you serious?” Beckett asked, “You did all this?” Beckett asked and Ty nodded his head, “Can I take a look?”

“Sure, help yourself. I kinda took over while it was still in stick, had to do a few things extra to get it right.” Ty held out a hand. Beckett walked over and looked at the large doors, seeing their style and construction. “There was no plan for those, I had to get a little creative.”

“I think they’re gorgeous, and they fit with the style of the rest of the building as well as the house. It looks like it’s always been here.” Beckett said as he went over and looked at the corner boards, seeing how the siding tucked in underneath them on the edges. He ran his fingers over them, and the corner joints were tight. He looked back over at Ty and cocked his head a little, “You tucked it in, the siding, to keep the snow out?”

“Yeah, I like to inset to stop water. It’s just a little thing I do as I let my retentive side take over sometimes.”

“Well let me tell you, after seeing this, I’ve got to have you come work for me.”

“I’ll tell you what,” Ty said as Beckett came back to him, Ty pointed at the house back down the street that could be seen in the distance, “You stop over there at the Wilson’s on your way back to town, tell them you’d like to see the addition on the back of the house, they love to show it off. I did that before Derrick snagged me. You want to see something, that’s the place. And they love visitors, so don’t worry and be bashful.”

“I’ll do that.” Beckett said, taking Ty’s hand again, “And I’ll see you tomorrow at nine. I’m really glad I came by, thanks very much for your time. It was really good to meet you.”

“Same here.” Ty smiled as Beckett and Annie walked away.

“It looks like you have another job, Mr. Caldwell, congratulations.” Phoebe said.

“Thanks, Phoebe, but we’ll see.”

“You don’t seem very excited.” She said softly.

“Like I said, I’ve worked alone for a long time, and I’ve gotten used to it.”

“I saw you working with Conner that one day, you can’t say you’ve work alone all the time.” Phoebe said.

“You’re right, he did work with me a little bit, and Derrick does too, when he has time. Well, we’ll see.” Ty smiled and went back inside the structure to work on the flooring.

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Derrick completed another page of the plans. He was double checking what he had just completed when he felt someone next to him, he looked over and saw Tom standing there as he looked down at the sheet. Tom was scanning everything over and then pointed at a symbol that Derrick had placed on the sheet.

“You sure you want that GFI there and not over there?” Tom asked. Derrick looked and thought about it.

“Why there?” Derrick asked.

“Well that way, you split the circuit in two different directions.”

“Yeah, but it’s another breaker.”

“It is, but the amount you have on it may be too much already.” Tom said as he was running his finger along backtracking the circuit.

“You may be right, let me count it real quick,” Derrick said as he was backtracking and tapping his finger at each outlet, “Yeah, you’re right, two over limit. Thanks for catching that.”

“Hmmm, that’s what a good architect does.” Tom said with heavy sarcasm.

“Don’t push it.” Derrick said and Tom chuckled, “What are you doing, besides pestering me?”

“I was dropping a couple of more things on Neal to check over. I was thinking about calling it a day, actually. You should too.”

“Maybe you’re right. I should go check on my new house guest.” Derrick said quietly.

“You worried?”

“Not really, concerned is more like it.” Derrick said as he was making the change to the wiring plan.

“Okay, I’ll see you in the morning.” Tom said.

“Tell Terry you’re leaving, okay?”

“Okay, I will.” Tom said as he pat Derrick on the shoulder as he walked around to the other side of him, “Hey, good job this morning by the way.” Tom said and Derrick looked at him.

“I didn’t do anything.”

“That’s the point, you didn’t do anything, you were a very good boy.” Tom smiled, “See you in the morning.” Derrick nodded.

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Derrick pulled the Audi into the circular drive and parked. He got out and walked up the steps of the house and went in, setting his keys down on the stand next to the phone, and looked at it, there were no messages, thank God, he thought. He went into the kitchen and looked around, not seeing anyone, he went to the open back door and looked through the screen. He saw Phoebe sitting in a lawn chair looking inside the structure. Derrick smiled to himself and pushed open the screen and walked out and down the back steps heading toward her. She looked over her shoulder and then stood up as he came closer to her. She stepped around the chair and came to him. He smiled softly at her and he held out his arms. She stepped into him and he hugged her.

“Are you okay?” Derrick asked softly as he pat her back gently. She nodded as she was in his muscled shoulder, “I’m glad. It must have been a terrible ordeal for you, I’m so sorry. But as long as you’re safe, that’s the important thing.” Derrick said softly and Phoebe pulled back, her eyes were welling.

“I’m worried about the Mister. May I ask, have you spoken to him?”

“I called him, but he was tied up apparently. I left him a message and told him you were here with us. I’m sure he’s fine. You don’t need to worry about him.” Derrick smiled and tucked a finger under her chin, “Are you getting hungry yet?”

“I haven’t thought about eating.”

“Well, if I leave it up to Ty, he’ll be dragging you off to a taco truck or for greasy burgers.”

“There’s a lot to be said about taco trucks, I’ll thank you very much, don’t knock it till you try it.” Ty said as he was leaning against the doorframe. Derrick looked over at him and smiled, “You’re home early, anything wrong?”

“No, actually it was quiet today, believe it or not. I got a lot done.”

“I bet. I had a visitor today, thank you very much, by the way.”

“Oh, Sam came by?”

“Yeah, thanks for that heads up.” Ty smirked.

“You’re welcome, keeps you on your toes.” Derrick said and flashed his eyes, “What’d he say?”

“He wants me to come down tomorrow morning to his office to give me a written offer.”

“Hmmm, sounds big.” Derrick wiggled his eyebrows.

“I’m not sure about it though.”

“Why? Are you going to go at least?”

“Yeah, I’ll go, but I don’t know. I was kind of hoping the real estate thing was going to maybe happen, but Conner going off to Europe like that kinda blew that out of the water.”

“Well, he’ll be back. I’m kind of sad that he didn’t stop by before he left though.” Derrick said.

“There was a lot of stuff going on at the time. It’s a wonder he could even walk straight.” Ty said as he came over to Derrick and Phoebe.

“So, what about dinner?” Derrick asked as he looked at the both of them.

“I would like to prepare dinner for you.” Phoebe said.

“That won’t be necessary, but thank you. I feel like celebrating, actually.” Derrick smiled.

“Oh boy,” Ty said and rolled his eyes, “You bought lunch, so I guess I have to spring for dinner, huh?”

“Not at all.” Derrick said, “I need to see Emilio anyway.”

“Lozano’s? Great, I’ll have to hit the gym,…again.” Ty rolled his eyes.

“Nah, just pick up the building and move it over there a few feet, you’ll be fine.” Derrick smirked.

“Smartass.” Ty said and shook his head.

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Conner sat back in his seat as the plane had been leveled off for a while. He reached into his briefcase that he pulled down earlier from the overhead and pulled out his laptop. He opened it and turned it on with it on the tray table. He waited for it to come up and looked over at Alec, who was leaning back in his seat and getting comfortable, Conner smiled at him and then looked at his laptop, selecting a file and then opened it. He started to review some of the briefs for the meeting in Bern day after tomorrow.

“Are you really going to work now?” Alec asked. Conner looked over at him.

“That’s part of being a CEO,” Conner whispered, “you never get any time off.”

“Then you can just quit as soon as we land, mister.” Alec gave him a serious look.

“You know, this is a business trip, right?” Conner asked.

“Yeah, but I thought we could have some fun too.”

“We will,” Conner smiled, “I hope I can find some loopholes in all of this to make it shorter and save some more time.”

“Oh, really? Okay, then I guess I can let you do your job.” Alec smiled out of the corner of his mouth.

“Why, thanks.” Conner said with a smirk and went back to his file.

“I was giving some thought about the school thing.” Alec said.

“What about it?” Conner asked as he was still reading.

“What if I were to do it another time?”

“What do mean? I thought it was one of your dreams.” Conner asked as he looked at Alec.

“It is, but, if you’re able to shorten up your business, and I’m at school, it’s kind of a locked in thing, you know?” Alec asked.

“Yeah, I see what you mean. Then we have to go on to South Africa too.”

“And that is really scary. Going to Europe is bad enough, but going to Africa too?”

“We could get you a flight back home if you don’t want to go.” Conner said.

“It sounds exciting and all, but really scary as well.”

“Let me tell you a little story,” Conner said, pushing his laptop away and half turned in his wide seat to look at Alec, “I’ve told you before that my parents sent me away to school, right?” Conner asked and Alec nodded his head, “The first time I went away, I was nine years old. My parents sent me to a finishing school,…in Sweden.”

“What? Sweden?” Alec asked, Conner nodded.

“I was alone, they put me on the plane, well, they had someone put me on the plane, my father’s assistant, Greggson, I flew to New York, changed planes by myself, flew to London, changed planes again, to a different airline and flew to Stockholm, again,…by myself and I was only nine.”

“Weren’t you scared?” Alec asked with wide eyes.

“Yeah, I was scared. But, I did it. And after that, there was never any problem. My point is that once you get into it, you just go with it, you know what I mean?”

“I guess.” Alec said and looked ahead, “Maybe I’m just overthinking it.”

“I think so.” Conner said and looked back at his laptop, “Wait till you see Africa, it’s really nice, you’ll like it I think.”

“You’ve been to Africa?”

“A couple of times.” Conner said quietly, he was reading some more of the brief before him, noticing a few other things.

“I’ve never been anywhere.” Alec said softly.

“Well, now you are. You’ll love it, trust me.” Conner said as he was going through the first brief again, making a few sidebar notes as he saw different points to it, “Now the secret is to sleep on the way,…” Conner said as he looked over. Alec was sound asleep, with his head dropped over on his own shoulder, “to your destination,…okay,…I guess I’ll get some more work done. Nice talk, appreciate it.”

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“So, old friend, do you have the sheets?” Derrick asked Emilio, who was standing next to their table. He was looking at her from time to time.

“Of course I havea them, Mr. Derrick. You wanta comea and see them?” Emilio smiled.

“Certainly, then we can have a nice dinner.” Derrick said, he got up from the table, “Excuse me, I’ll be back in a few minutes.” Derrick said softly to Ty and Phoebe and followed Emilio.

“Where is he going?” Phoebe asked as she was looking up from her menu.

“I don’t know. He did say he needed to talk to him though.” Ty said, and looked back at the menu, “I wonder what the special is tonight.”

Derrick followed Emilio into the little office off the kitchen. The chefs that were cooking looked up, waving at Derrick and smiling, Derrick waved back at them as Emilio got out of the way of the little desk. Derrick stepped over to it and looked at the spreadsheets for the restaurant. He read them carefully, flipping a page now and then and then looked over at Emilio.

“Looks like things are doing just fine. I was worried you weren’t telling me everything, old friend.” Derrick said as he raised an eyebrow.

“Mr. Derrick, you knowa I woulda say something if it weren’ta right.” Emilio smiled, “I havea something for you,” He said as he reached over and pulled out a check, handing it to Derrick.

“What’s this?”

“It’sa for you, your part ofa the profitsa.” Emilio said.

“Now we talked about this.” Derrick said as he looked at the check and then into Emilio’s happy face, “Remember what I said, no profits for me for another year, they go back into the restaurant.”

“Buta we’re doing so gooda.”

“I know, my friend, and we will continue to do good. You take this and give it to the guys, a little bonus. They will be happier and will keep doing what they do best, pleasing the customers.”

“Mr. Derrick, pleasea,…”

“No, Emilio,” Derrick said softly, putting a hand on his that held the check, “I mean it.”

“Alrighta, ifa you insist.” Emilio said with a small frown.

“I do.” Derrick said.

“That’sa very pretty girl you havea with you tonight. Who isa she?” Emilio asked as he put the check on the little desk.

“A friend of a friend. She had a very bad time today and I want to make sure she’s taken care of.” Derrick said.

“Thena we will. You leavea it upa to me, we will see that she hasa the besta in the house.”

They walked out of the little office together, Emilio closing the door behind him, leading Derrick back out into the dining area and over to his usual table. Derrick came around the table and sat down, Ty was on his left, and Phoebe was on his right.

“Sorry to keep you waiting.” Derrick said as he put his napkin in his lap, “What’s the special tonight, Emilio?”

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Ty pulled the truck into the driveway, he stopped for a moment and looked over at Derrick, who had pursed lips as they saw the car sitting in the driveway behind Derrick’s Audi. Derrick motioned with a finger to keep going. Ty drove up to his usual spot and parked next to the structure. Derrick opened the door and opened the back door as Phoebe had been sitting behind him.

“Why don’t you go into the house with Ty and make yourself comfortable. I’ll join you in a minute.” Derrick smiled at her, closing the doors and leading her to the end of the truck. Ty was waiting there and looked at Derrick who smiled softly and then started down the driveway. Derrick came around the corner of the house and the car door opened. He was surprised as he saw the older man get out of the car and close the door. Derrick walked over toward him.

“Good evening.” The older man said in his deep voice.

“Mr. Van Owen. I was thinking you might have returned my call rather than just showing up here.”

“Yes, you’re right. I’m sorry for just coming by. I understand that you have Phoebe here with you. Is she alright?”

“I think she is, well at least she is now, but I understand it a bit rough for her this morning.”

“That’s understandable. With the events of this morning, I wanted to make sure she was alright.” The older man said.

“That’s very considerate of you,” Derrick said, “would you care to come in?”

“I know she’s in good hands with you.” The older man said.

“Thank you. I know she was concerned about you as well, why don’t you come in, you came all this way, I’m sure you have something to talk to her about.” Derrick said and walked toward the front steps, the older man followed. The porch lights came on and the front door opened, Ty was standing there, filling the door opening with his muscled frame, looking beyond Derrick to the older man that was walking up. Derrick smiled at him, silently telling him that it was alright. Ty stepped out of the way.

“Mr. Caldwell, isn’t it?” The older man asked holding out his hand. Ty nodded and took it carefully. Derrick put a hand to Ty’s shoulder and they all entered the front room together, Ty closing the door. The older man saw her standing there, her hands in front of her, looking very shrunken again. “Phoebe, I came by to see that you were being taken care of.”

“I am fine, sir.” She said in her soft voice. Derrick and Ty stood there, shifting their eyes back and forth between the older man and her.

“I know Mr. Jacobson will take good care of you, as he did with Conner.” The older man said, unbuttoning his suit jacket, he looked over at Derrick, “Mr. Jacobson, I’d like to talk to Phoebe for a minute, if that’s alright with you?”

“Sure.” Derrick said and then looked at her, she lowered her head slightly, he looked at Ty who was glaring at the older man as if ready to kick his ass right here, “Why don’t we go into the kitchen and give them a minute.” Derrick said softly to Ty. They walked toward her. She looked up as they came near.

“Sir, this is Mr. Jacobson’s home. If there is something that you wish to say to me, then it is only right that he and Mr. Caldwell should hear it as well.” Phoebe said, making Derrick and Ty stop in their tracks.

“If you wish.” The older man said, he turned and went over to the couch and sat down at one end, near the love seat, “Why don’t you come and sit down, Phoebe.” She slowly walked over toward the other end of the couch and sat at the other end, Derrick and Ty turned and went to the love seat, still standing. She sat silent and kept her head down a bit. The older man cleared his throat and folded his arms over his chest.

“Phoebe, first of all, I want to apologize to you for this morning for what occurred at the house. I only wish that I could have given you some warning, but I couldn’t. You must understand that.”

“What is going to happen to her, sir?” She asked as she lifted her head.

“She will be held in custody by the FBI until they finish sorting this all out. You see, this is why I could not tell you as you still have some loyalty to her. If I had, you might have let it slip, no matter how innocent it might have been.”

“I understand.”

“She has been doing things for quite a long time and I should have stopped her long ago, but I turned a blind eye to it all. That has nothing to do with you however.” The older man said, watching her and then looked over at Derrick and Ty for a moment and then back to her, “If you want, you can return to the house and what you were doing before all of this happened. If you don’t want to return to the house, I would understand completely.” The older man said.

“What of you, sir? What are you going to do?” She asked in her soft voice.

“Well, you don’t need to worry about me. We need to worry about you.”

“That’s very thoughtful of you, sir.” She said as she looked at him.

“You’ve been with us a long time, and you know that I don’t think of you as a servant or just an employee.” The older man said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Ty asked as he stepped around Derrick, glaring at the older man, fists balled up, ready to go. Derrick put a hand on Ty’s chest.

“That means, Mr. Caldwell, she’s family.” The older man looked up at him, then looked over at her. Phoebe looked up at Ty and Derrick, her eyes were welling. “As much as Conner is my son, I have come to think of Phoebe as a daughter. My wife never saw it as such, but, that’s because of her own twisted version of class standings and the like, that I never agreed with.” The older man unfolded his arms and got up off the couch. “Phoebe, the choice is yours, and you know that, whatever you want to do, it will be alright with me.” He smiled briefly at her and then looked at Derrick and Ty, “Mr. Jacobson, Mr. Caldwell, I thank you for what you have done for her, she deserves it, far more than anyone else. I’ll say good night.” The older man said and held out his hand. Derrick eased on Ty’s chest and turned and took the hand in his. He let go and Ty took it, giving it a firm grip as he still had the glare in his eyes. The older man took his hand back and walked to the front door and opened it, going out and closed it behind him.

“What the hell was that all about?” Ty asked under his breath.

“Phoebe?” Derrick asked as he went to her and sat down on the edge of the couch next to her, “Is it true what he said?”

“Yes, Mr. Jacobson, it is.” She said softly, a tear dropping from her eye, “He has always treated me very well. Never has he given me a cross word or a shout, unlike the Misses, who could be very cold.”

“I see.” Derrick said, taking her hands in his, “This is another reason why you stayed, isn’t it? It wasn’t just for Conner was it?” Derrick asked softly and she shook her head, “Alright, I think I understand. Tonight, you have a good nights’ sleep, and tomorrow, you can figure out what you want to do, alright?” Derrick asked and smiled. She looked up at him with wet eyes and nodded. “Would you care for anything?”

“I,…” She said softly. Derrick got up off the couch and went into the open dining room and went to the open bar against the wall. He pulled out glasses and poured from a decanter, closing it up and came back to the living room, carrying the glasses, holding one and handing her one.

“Brandy,…very simple.” Derrick smiled. She took it from him slowly and smiled briefly, “New beginnings.” He said and held up his glass slightly. She responded likewise and then sipped as he did. Derrick turned and looked at Ty and raised an eyebrow.

“What a smoothie.” Ty said and shook his head. He went to the kitchen and came back a minute later with a bottle of water.

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Conner was going through the next to last file when Alec moved and leaned his head on Conner’s shoulder. Conner looked over at him for a moment and smiled briefly and then went back to his file. He reread it and noticed a few lines that needed changing and made the corrections to them and saved it.

“Excuse me, sir, we’ll be landing shortly.” The flight attendant said softly over the top of Alec. Conner looked up at her and smiled and nodded. He closed the file and then shut the laptop down. He closed it and pushed it away on the tray table. He reached across himself and pushed Alec gently over a bit and then reached for his briefcase and pulled it up, putting the laptop in it and closed it. He slid it under his seat and then reached over and pulled Alec back to him, letting him lean against his shoulder again. Conner lay his head against the top of Alec’s and thought about how it felt to him, how he had missed this that week they were apart, just being with him, it felt so good.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain has turned on the seat belt sign, we are starting our descent…”

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“I want to thank you again, Mr. Jacobson, Mr. Caldwell, for everything that you’ve done for me today and this evening, it means so very much to me.”

“You’re very welcome, Phoebe.” Derrick smiled at her, “I hope you will be comfortable tonight.”

“I’m sure I will be. I’ll say good night then.”

“Good night, Phoebe.”

“Good night, Phoebe.” Ty said and smiled at her as she nodded toward him. They watched as she went to the spare room. Ty turned and looked at Derrick after she was out of sight. “So, your day was alright, was it?”

“Yes, it was good, well at least after this morning it was.” Derrick said as he looked at Ty.

“So what do you think your night is going to be like?”

“Hopefully pretty frickin hot and long.” Derrick said as he raised his eyebrows.

“I think that can be arranged.” Ty said as he reached out and grabbed Derrick, “Come here you.” Ty said as he pulled Derrick into him and kissed him hard, wrapping his hands around Derrick’s waist, pulling him in even tighter to him. Derrick let Ty take him more and more, loving the way he manhandled him. They started breathing hard through their noses as they ground their crotches against one another.

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“Monsieur Van Owen?” The voice asked behind Conner and Alec. Conner turned around and looked to see who was there as they stood at the baggage carousel.

“Yes?” Conner asked.

“I am Jean-Pierre. I was sent to collect you by your office in Lyon.” The young Frenchman said with a half-smile. Conner looked him up and down quickly. The young man was smartly dressed from what Conner could see, a dark suit and a conservative tie under a long dark overcoat.

“Fine.” Conner said as he half turned back to Alec, who was watching for their bags.

“You have much luggage?”

“Yes, we do.” Conner said as he looked back at the young man.

“Allow me, if you will. I have a car right outside, waiting.” The young man said, his accent was very Parisian to Conner, and Conner nodded slightly toward him. Even though Conner spoke French, he refrained from doing so, as he didn’t want Alec to feel lost if the conversation became long between them. Conner looked back at the carousel and saw the bags coming toward them. Alec started grabbing them as well as Conner, swinging them to the floor, the young man pulled them out of the way to make room for more and soon everything was pulled off and gathered. The young man looked at all of them and then at Conner with a slight look of concern.

“Yeah, we’re staying for a while.” Conner smiled at him in answer to the unasked question. The young man gathered a couple and started toward the door and the waiting car. Alec caught a look at the young man and leaned close to Conner.

“Who’s the hottie?”

“Easy killer,” Conner said, “he’s from our office over here.”

“Ohhh.” Alec said.

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Derrick was sitting on the edge of the bed, his shirt unbuttoned and open as he had his hands on Ty’s hips, looking up at his love, watching him unbutton his own shirt slowly as they stared at each other. Ty slowly revealed his big muscled chest for Derrick, and Derrick sighed softly as he loved looking at the chiseled chest and abs of this incredibly beautiful man.

Ty took the shirt off completely and dropped it to the floor behind him and smiled. Derrick slid his hands up the smooth tanned bare skin slowly feeling the muscles under the skin, loving just the softness of that tanned skin under his fingers. Derrick could hear Ty breathing a bit harder and longer from just being touched. Derrick was going to take his time this night with Ty. He could see the bulge becoming even more pronounced as he rubbed the skin and then rubbed over Ty’s medallion nipples, trapping the hardening tips in between his fingers, clamping them slightly and then letting them go, making Ty sigh.

Derrick let his fingers glide downward slowly, just grazing the skin with his fingertips, tickling Ty a bit now with the soft graceful touch. Ty closed his eyes and was breathing through his nose as Derrick reached for the snap on his pants, undoing it slowly and then slowly, teasingly, he pulled the zipper down, and took the flaps of the pants and pulled them back, revealing more tanned skin. He saw that Ty had a tan line and it made Derrick smile softly as he leaned forward and kissed Ty below his navel. Derrick used his chin and rubbed it over the soft skin, knowing that his day old stubble would drag a bit on the softness. Ty growled softly as he felt it and then Derrick put his lips back to the area, kissing it again and again. Derrick put out the tip of his tongue and drug over the area next and Ty put his hands gently on the top of Derrick’s head, just touching him as Ty sighed again through his nose.

Derrick reached up with both hands, kneading and rubbing over the hardening length trapped in the pants. Ty looked down at the top of Derrick’s head as he felt the hands working him over. Ty closed his eyes, letting the feeling take him, enjoying what was happening to him. Ty felt the pull on his pants, the hands sliding around his waist and the downward push, letting the pants slide over his tight muscled ass cheeks and then down over his thick thighs. Ty could feel himself being released from the denim prison and then he opened his eyes as Derrick was pushing the long hard length around with his face, letting it rub over him again and again as he moved his head.

“That’s so hot.” Ty whispered as he watched and Derrick looked up at Ty and as their eyes met, Derrick smiled and let his tongue out a bit, using the tip to slowly run down the side from base to tip around the bottom of the broad crown and then under it, lifting Ty, pushing him up with Derrick’s nose as Derrick tilted his head and opened his mouth, letting the thick length fall in between the open lips, Derrick letting the length travel over his mouth as Ty rocked his hips forward and back. Derrick letting his tongue tip drag against the skin as Ty moved. Ty tightened his fingers in Derrick’s short hair. Ty growled in his throat as his lust took him.

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Bags were loaded in the trunk of the big car. Jean-Pierre opened the car door for them and let them climb inside in the back seat, closing the door after them. He went around and climbed in behind the wheel and set off out of the airport.

“Where are we off to, Jean-Pierre?” Conner asked.

“I am to drive you to Lyon, Monsieur Van Owen.”

“They would not tell us why at the airport in New York why we were diverted to Paris. Do you know why?” Conner asked.

“The heightened security from all of the trouble, Monsieur, the government is not taking any more chances.”

“I see.” Conner said as he looked out the window of the car door. Alec leaned closer to Conner.

“I love his accent.” Alec said softly. Conner looked over at him.

“Like I said, killer, easy.” Conner smiled.

“How long are we going to be driving?”

“It’s about four hours, I think.” Conner said softly to Alec, then looked forward, “It’s about four hours to Lyon isn’t it, Jean-Pierre?”

“Almost five, Monsieur.” Jean-Pierre said as he looked up in the rear view mirror. Conner saw it, but Alec was looking out the window into the dark.

They left Paris, Jean-Pierre following the ‘expressway’ out of the city. It was slowly starting to get light out with the dawn approaching, the color of the sky not as black as the night. Alec could see silhouettes of buildings and houses as they went in the darkness. Conner pulled out his phone and checked it, seeing texts and then emails as well, with a few missed calls. Conner reached and opened his briefcase, pulling out his laptop, opening it, verifying the emails were there on it as well, but not having an internet connection he didn’t want to check them. Alec was looking over at the laptop himself, then at Conner.

“You didn’t sleep on the plane did you?” Alec asked softly. Conner shook his head in silent reply, “Since we still have a ways to go, why don’t you try and sleep some.”

“I really should look at these and then the files to try and get more done.” Conner said as he stared at the screen.

“Working yourself into the ground isn’t going to get it done faster, it might have you make mistakes.” Alec said softly as he leaned his head near Conner’s ear.

“You might be right.” Conner said and then sighed softly, closing the laptop down and then closing the lid. He put it back in his briefcase and sat back, looking out the window on his side into the predawn darkness. “It’s been a while since I’ve been here. I wish it was lighter out.”

“I do too. It feels like we’re missing out on seeing what’s here.”

“French countryside, there’s nothing else like it in the world, green, fertile. It’s not like back home at all. Wait till you see Lyon though, you may never want to leave, and then there’s Marseille which is my favorite city.”

“Really.” Alec said as he looked at Conner, “Are we staying at a hotel there in Lyon?”

“No, there is a villa that we have. It belongs to my parents. He bought it when the company opened our office here in Europe.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“It’s small and I remember only being there a couple of times when I was a little kid.” Conner said softly. Conner smiled briefly and then reached for his briefcase. He opened it on his lap and pulled out a large envelope. He put the briefcase back down on the floor and opened the envelope, pulling out the papers inside. He went through them and found what he was looking for. He read a down the page and then pointed a finger at it, showing Alec what he wanted to show him.

“What’s that?” Alec asked.

“It’s a list of where we’re booked to stay at while we’re here. There’s the villa, then there’s the hotel in Marseille, your hotel in Paris for going to school, my hotel in Bern, and then there’s the hotel in South Africa.” Conner said as Alec read it all.

“Wow.” Alec said softly, “It’s all laid out, I had no idea.”

“Yeah.” Conner sighed.

“You don’t sound excited at all.” Alec said as he looked at Conner.

“I’m not. I just want to get this over with and go home.” Conner said as he handed the paper to Alec, putting the rest of them back in the envelope.

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Ty pulled away from Derrick working him over, bending down and kissing him deeply as he held Derrick’s cheeks in his hands. Ty pulled back and looked Derrick in his eyes, scanning them, seeing their sparkle in the lamp light of their bedroom. Ty kissed him again as he stepped out of his pants, sliding them behind him with a foot, now totally naked in front of Derrick. Ty pulled back and growled softly in his throat.

“You’re so fucking beautiful.” Ty whispered.

“You’re one to talk, Mr. Hottie.” Derrick smiled softly.

“I want you out of your clothes.”

“What’s stopping you?” Derrick asked, making Ty move, pushing Derrick’s shirt off his muscled shoulders, letting it drop to the bed behind Derrick. Ty reached down as Derrick leaned back, using his hands to rest on behind him on the bed. Derrick watched as Ty undid the slacks, opening them and Ty lowered his face into them, gumming over the large bulge trapped in the underwear underneath. Ty rubbed it over and over as Derrick had closed eyes and was breathing heavy through his nose. Ty pulled off and grabbed the slacks at the waist and pulled. Derrick smiled softly and lifted his hips to let the slacks be pulled off and away, Ty tossing them behind him, Derrick chuckled and shook his head slightly as Ty lowered his head and went after the bulge again, making Derrick groan.

Derrick watched Ty working the growing bulge in the underwear, groaning as the motions were getting firmer on him, bringing the lust out more in Derrick, until he couldn’t stand it anymore. He reached down and hooked Ty under his arms and pulled him up, Derrick meeting Ty’s lips with his own as Ty lifted his head, carrying a devilish smile on them. Derrick wrapped his arms around the muscular back of Ty and wrapped his legs around Ty’s waist, pulling him to the bed with Derrick. Derrick became relentless with his tongue, working Ty’s mouth furiously as he ground his bulging underwear against Ty’s lower abs. Ty loved it when Derrick went over the edge like this, becoming so lost with his lust and desire. Ty moaned softly into Derrick’s mouth as Derrick pulled back for air. Ty slid his muscular arms under Derrick, lifting his back up off the bed.

“So, do you have a big day planned for tomorrow?” Ty asked with his playful voice.

“Why do you ask that?”

“Well, I was just wondering how much sleep you might need for tomorrow.” Ty smiled. Derrick shook his head a little.

“Why you,…” Derrick said softly and dove back into Ty’s mouth, tonguing him again furiously, making Ty melt into him, loving this man that he held and what he was doing to him. Derrick pulled back and started tonguing Ty’s ear and nibbling on his lobe, sending Ty over the edge, making him groan and growl in his throat, “Come up here, sit on my face.”

“What?”

“Get up here, I want to eat your tight ass.” Derrick whispered in Ty’s ear, making his eyes go wide as he moved and let go of Derrick.

“You don’t have to tell me twice.” Ty smiled.

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Alec was looking out his window in the back seat, as the dawn was now on the car, giving some light to the French countryside as the car continued on its way. Alec looked over at Conner, who had settled in the seat finally, putting his hands on his stomach and rested his head against the seat back with his eyes closed. Alec smiled at him, seeing Conner’s long legs stretched out as best he could, getting comfortable. Alec turned back to the window and looked out at this foreign land that they were in. He felt a slight pang of fear and apprehension over this in his stomach, but he remembered what Conner had said about the trip when he was a little boy and Alec felt a little better.

Alec could see mountains off in the distance and had no idea what range they were or what they were called. He could see snow on the peaks as the sky was becoming clear and that bright dazzling blue with the early dawn. It was beautiful to him and almost took his breath away in seeing it. He pulled out his phone and opened it, opening the camera app and raised it to the window of the car, focusing it once, he snapped a picture and checked it, smiling at what he saw. He would send it his sister, who would show it to his mom. Alec closed the phone and looked forward, seeing the eyes of Jean-Pierre in the rearview and smiled softly at him. The eyes shifted back toward the road ahead.

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Derrick had his hands on Ty’s muscular butt cheeks, spreading them in his palms as he worked his tongue in and out of Ty’s tight opening, Ty was balancing himself over Derrick’s face, Ty’s balls hanging and nearly touching Derrick’s forehead as Ty looked down and then closed his eyes, breathing heavy through his nose.

“Babe,…you’re driving me crazy.” Ty said through clenched teeth with a hiss. Derrick kept going on him and then planted his lips tight and sucked on the opening and Ty tilted his head back and moaned loudly and moved. He backed down and straddled over Derrick, rubbing his naked butt on Derrick’s bulged underwear, “You’re going to fuck me tonight.” Ty said as he lowered and hovered over Derrick’s face, making Derrick grin.

“I wanted you to fuck me.” Derrick said.

“Not a chance. You eating my ass like that, there’s no way. I want your cock in my ass, and I want it now.”

“I guess I have to get out of these first then.” Derrick said as he rotated his hips on the bed, rubbing his bulge against Ty’s wanting ass.

“I can handle that.” Ty said and moved again, getting lower on Derrick near the edge of the bed, his hands sliding all over Derrick’s skimpy underwear. Ty looked at Derrick as Derrick lifted his head seeing what Ty was doing. Ty gave an evil looking grin and hooked his fingers into the underwear and pulled in opposite directions, ripping the underwear apart in his powerful hands, Derrick’s long fat cock being set free finally. Ty ripped them the rest of the way until there were only fragments of them left hanging off Derrick.

“Problem solved.” Ty said as he moved.

“Uh, not what I had in mind, but that’ll work.”

“Glad I could help.” Ty said with a growl as he got over Derrick, reaching back behind him, taking the long cock and lifting it, placing it at Ty’s entrance, rubbing the tip over the hole a few times, spreading the precum around and then slowly, Ty sat on it, letting it spread him open, making Ty hiss through his teeth as he was penetrated, Derrick groaned at the pressure but lay still, letting Ty do what he wanted, needed.

Derrick took in a slow deep breath as he felt himself sliding more inside of Ty, the tightness and the warmth on him as it enveloped him. Derrick ran his hands over Ty’s big pecs, clutching the muscles tight, Ty rolling his eyes as he settled lower onto Derrick’s length, spreading him open even more until Ty stopped, felling Derrick was bottomed out in him. Ty kept his eyes closed and waited a moment, letting himself adjust to the expansion in him, loving it, but not having it in quite a while, and it occurred to him, why, he loved this, but Derrick had slowly become the bottom between them, always wanting Ty to fill him instead. Ty opened his eyes and looked down at Derrick.

“We’re going to have to do this more.” Ty said, with a slight exhale.

“We do it all the time.”

“No, I mean this, like this. I love this.”

“Ohhh,” Derrick said as he clutched the muscles again, “you want to take away my fun. I get it. Next time, we’ll have to wrestle for it.” Derrick flashed his soft eyes up at Ty. Ty bent down, getting closer.

“You’ll lose.”

“I don’t think so.” Derrick said with an exaggerated bug eyed expression and saying it slowly.

“We’ll see.” Ty grinned and started to move, using his legs, lifting himself a bit and then sliding back down on Derrick. It was a tight feeling, skin to skin, dry, as there was little or no lubricant between them, making it very tight on each. Derrick groaned and tightened his lips at the dry feeling.

“You’re gonna rub me raw with it being so dry, babe.” Derrick said.

“Hang on a sec.” Ty said, and grabbed Derrick, holding him tight, pulling him with him, rolling them together to Ty’s back, Derrick up over him now, them going eye to eye, “Now, pound the hell out me, make it hurt, treat me like a cheap whore.” Ty growled through clenched teeth as he slapped his hands on Derrick’s tight butt cheeks, clenching them tight in his grip and holding on. Ty wrapped his legs around Derrick’s, rocking his own hips up a bit, making Ty grunt softly, they kissed long and deep before Derrick began to move.

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The car moved along through and over the low mountains, pristine foothills really, Alec was taking in the green of it all, the little French houses now and then, and just the scenery of it all was captivating to him. He did not pay any attention to Jean-Pierre through all of this and their travelling, he was enjoying what he was seeing, even though he really had no idea where they were. It was nice.

A small town started to pass by the windows of the car, Alec looked back and forth through both. To him, the houses and the buildings of the town seemed to be almost ancient in their appearance, and Alec thought for a moment that if Derrick was here, not only would he be enjoying it as well, but could probably explain the architecture to Alec or even suggest how old some of these places might be.

“Pardon, Monsieur.” Jean-Pierre said as he looked in the rearview. Alec lifted his eyes to meet his, raising his eyebrows in silent answer, “This is Bourges, I was wondering if you needed a stop?” Jean-Pierre asked and gave a slight smile, Alec cocked his head slightly and then nodded, why not he thought. The smile was returned and the car slowed and went into the small town. Jean-Pierre seemed to know where he was going, Alec thought to himself, seeing a few people moving about on the street they were slowly driving on, and then the car pulled up and parked. Conner stirred from the lack of motion and opened his eyes, taking in a deep breath through his nose and then sitting up in the seat. He looked about. “Bourges, Monsieur Van Owen.” Conner heard from Jean-Pierre.

“Oh, we’re about half way then.” Conner said in a sleepy voice.

“Oui.” Jean-Pierre answered, opening the car door and getting out. He stepped over and opened Alec’s door. The cool air of the morning came into the car, Alec taking in a deep breath of it all, smelling all kinds of things at once, the dew, the faint smell of grasses, and it smelled like fresh snow. There was something else that caught his nose now, he sniffed again, but the smells of coffee and baking, and he zeroed in on it, across the street from where they were parked, a small shop. Conner got out and stood behind Alec.

“God, that smells good.” Alec said with a soft smile.

“Merci,” Jean-Pierre said as he closed the door, “that shop is owned by mother’s sister. You will come with me, no?” Jean-Pierre smiled briefly at them and led them across the street and into the shop. The girl that was behind the counter squealed in delight in seeing Jean-Pierre and came around the counter, throwing her arms around his neck, hugging him tight, kissing him over and over. He lifted her into the air, and then the young girl started calling out to someone else toward the back. A larger older woman came out and threw her hands in the air, coming out from behind the counter, Jean-Pierre put the girl down and then held out his arms, hugging the older woman, letting her kiss him as well. They were speaking with each other in French and Alec was lost in it all.

“Makes me wish that I took French in high school now. I wish I understood what they were saying.” Alec said softly to Conner.

“They are his aunt and his cousin,” Conner said quietly as he leaned close to Alec’s ear, “they have not seen each other for quite some time. The woman is asking where he’s been, and what he’s been doing, how his wife is, and now she is asking about us.”

“You speak French?” Alec looked at him with wide eyes. Conner nodded. “I didn’t know that.”

“I speak German as well. It will come in handy in Switzerland and South Africa. That’s why my father wanted to send me, plus I don’t think he trusts anyone else in the company.” Conner said as he watched the three that were looking at them.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“It wasn’t all that important.” Conner said then looked at all of the breads and pastry. “Do you want coffee, it smells really good, doesn’t it?” Alec nodded in answer to him.

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Derrick was short thrusting rapidly into Ty, both of them grunting, groaning, and then kissing again deeply, the dry feeling was erotic to Derrick and it was easing up a bit on him now as he moved faster, but it was also bringing his impending orgasm to him. He wanted it last longer, but the way Ty was working his hands over Derrick’s butt and back, clutching him, kneading him and his muscle, digging his fingertips into him, was driving Derrick crazy. Derrick took Ty’s bottom lip between his own and pulled on it, holding it, then let it go, Ty opening his mouth, letting Derrick take his tongue and thrust it in with a hunger, a deep need for more, as Derrick had taken his hands and ran them up under Ty’s arms, clutching and holding onto Ty’s thick shoulders.

“Fuck you’re hot.” Ty growled in Derrick’s mouth, then thrust his own tongue, breathing heavily through his nose. Derrick pulled back a bit.

“You’re hotter.” Derrick groaned, diving back into the waiting mouth below his, gripping the muscled shoulders tighter. Derrick pushed in and out with short movements, his breathing through his nose becoming shorter, and as Ty tightened his butt and gripped Derrick’s back tighter, Derrick moaned in Ty’s mouth and lost himself in his own intense orgasm.

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“I did not know you spoke French, Monsieur Van Owen.” Jean-Pierre asked as they sipped their rich dark coffees.

“Yes, it would seem to be the best way to conduct business in this beautiful country of yours, wouldn’t you agree, but only when conducting business?”

“I would agree very much. It lets me practice my English.” Jean-Pierre smiled and nodded, “Should we going now?”

“I think so. I still have much work to complete before going to Bern tomorrow.” Conner said as Alec rejoined them.

“I will drive you there as well.” Jean-Pierre smiled again.

“Great.” Conner said, holding the shop door open for Alec to go through first.

The car started and pulled away, resuming their journey on the ‘expressway’ toward Lyon. Conner settled back in the seat again, Alec looking out the window as he had been doing looking out at the countryside. The views were spectacular to him, Conner could see his expressions at seeing it all for the very first time, and took Alec’s hand in his, resting them together interlocked on the seat. Alec looked over at him for a moment and squeezed his fingers into Conner’s and went back to looking out his window.

Conner slowly relaxed after finishing his coffee. He set his empty cup in the door holder and stretched out his legs again. Alec looked over, seeing him relax again, taking in the sight of him on the seat, every inch of the swimmer’s body in the nice and slightly snug casual business attire Conner wore. Alec watched Conner as he slowly closed his eyes again, being overtaken slowly with sleep. Alec smiled softly at him, seeing Conner’s head lay over just a bit more now away from Alec. Alec looked up in the rearview seeing Jean-Pierre was concentrating on his driving, and Alec looked back out the window again.

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Derrick lifted his head and kissed Ty softly, then stared into his eyes, those soft and loving pools, as Derrick felt the fingers gently running up and down his back as he started to soften while still deep inside oh this beautiful man under him.

“Mmm, I think you need to get off me.” Ty whispered.

“I kind of like it here.” Derrick said.

“I’m sure you do.” Ty smiled as his hands had made it up to Derrick’s face. Ty felt movement in him, a shifting slightly and Derrick rocked his hips a bit. Ty smiled wide. Derrick moved again and slowly slid out of Ty, making him grunt slightly as he pulled out of him. Derrick got his knees under him and lifted his weight off Ty.

“That a little better?” Derrick asked with a lifted eyebrow and a smirk. Derrick was hoping that Ty was going to switch and take him now, and fuck him silly over and over through the night, but Ty just lay there, seeing that something was on Ty’s mind. Derrick shifted next to him as settled to him close, lying on his stomach, propped up on his forearms as he looked at Ty. “Hey, what’s bothering you?”

“I was just thinking about tomorrow.” Ty said softly. He reached up a couple of fingers and gently touched Derrick’s temple, feeling the soft short hair.

“What, with Sam?” Derrick asked, Ty did not move or look at him, “You’re not bothered about it, are you? You don’t have to do anything about it, you know?”

“I was thinking about it over dinner and now it just hit me as well.”

“What?” Derrick asked quietly, letting Ty touch him with soft fingers.

“I don’t know, I guess I got kind of used to this what we have going on here. You going to work, me staying here and working out back. But it’s coming to an end isn’t it? All of it.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right but, it’s just kind of changing a little bit. I mean, it might be a really good opportunity for you. I’ve known Sam for years, he’s a really great guy.” Derrick said as he cocked his head a bit into the soft fingers.

“I guess I’m just used to this now.” Ty said with a hint of a sad tone to his voice.

“Hey,…we have each other, that won’t change, unless you want it to.” Derrick whispered and leaned forward, kissing Ty’s cheek, “And I for one, don’t want it to change between us. If it’s going to bother you, maybe you shouldn’t do it.”

“Well, the other thing I was thinking is, that I kind of feel like the ‘kept boy’ with all of this too.” Ty gave a brief smile, “I mean not that isn’t hot and all, but…”

“Hey, look sweetie, I know your pride and what it means to you about being able to support yourself and all. God knows that was one our biggest arguments when I blew it about money and all with you. Maybe this will work out for you, but if it doesn’t, then it doesn’t. I want you to know you aren’t the ‘kept boy’, even though it might be hot to have you in a little uniform or something.” Derrick wiggled his eyebrows. Ty chuckled softly at it, “But I can see your point with this. It’s kind of my fault that I didn’t let you get on with your other stuff, your own business.”

“Truth be known, I kind of liked being taken care of, at beckon call and all.” Ty smiled. He lifted his head and kissed Derrick tenderly and then lay back on the bed, looking into those deep eyes of his, “I never said thank you for any of it, for letting me be here with you and all, giving me a home.”

“Better than living up over that garage isn’t it?” Derrick asked with a soft smile. Ty rolled his eyes a bit and they focused on one another again, “You don’t have to say thank you, there’s no need. I wanted you here with me, from that first day. Yeah, I was confused about it, and kind of blew it a couple of times, but,…something happened, something I didn’t expect.”

“What, you fell in love with me?”

“No, it’s more than that. Yes, I do love you, and love you very much, you know that, but, I found was a partner, someone to share everything with, someone that I have come to know. It’s hard to describe, but, I feel like I’ve known you all my life, I know what you think sometimes, what you feel.”

“Now you’re talking like the Wilson’s down the road, with us being like an old married couple.” Ty smirked again.

“It’s comfortable to me, safe,…you know?”

“I do.”

“There’s those two words again.” Derrick said quietly and then looked at the ring that he wore, the one Ty gave him that day in the structure.

“Derrick, you know that I’m happy being with you, don’t you?” Ty asked, Derrick nodded, “But,…I,…”

“I know what you’re trying to say, and it would be the happiest moment of my life if we got married, but I also know that you’re having second thoughts about it. That’s why I won’t pressure you about it. I know you’re committed to me, and it’s enough.” Derrick smiled again.

“Really?”

“Yes,…really.”

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Lyon came into view as the car moved through the gentle hills dropping down into the town. Jean-Pierre made a turn and skirted along the north end of the town and soon they were driving up into gentle rolling hills and the car slowed and turned up a sweeping graveled driveway, Alec looking forward out the windshield seeing what looked like a sweeping old house surrounded by a vineyard and low trees like he had never seen before. Alec saw it all and his heart raced taking it in. The car stopped and parked, nose toward the house, the upper floor sat back a bit and had balconies with iron railings around them. Jean-Pierre got out and came to Alec’s door while Alec was shaking Conner gently. Conner woke and sat up a bit, trying to focus on where they were.

The car door opened for Alec and he looked at Conner and then let him go, getting out and standing there, taking all of this in about him. The air was clean smelling, filled with the scent of flowers, birds singing off in the distance, but yet it was quiet and peaceful. Alec looked at the house and instantly was in love with it all, the color, the texture of the old exterior walls, the tiled roof that almost matched in color to those old walls. Alec felt someone behind him, he turned and Conner was standing there behind him.

Conner spoke to Jean-Pierre in French, Alec was lost in it, but didn’t care right at this moment as he turned back and just looked at the house. That’s when Alec saw her, the older somewhat round woman coming out of the house. She looked at the car for a moment and raised a hand to shield her eyes from the morning sun as she looked in their direction and she waited there, off the wide front pavers on the graveled driveway. Alec turned back, seeing the trunk open, hearing bags being pulled and set on the packed gravel. Alec could hear Conner and Jean-Pierre speaking French as if they had speaking to each other all their lives. Alec moved toward them, seeing the look on Conner’s face, the lack of his usual brightness in it, as he continued to speak. He was apparently giving Jean-Pierre instructions. Conner lifted a couple of the bags and started toward the house, Alec doing the same with bags, following Conner. The older woman clasped her hands in front of her as she waited for them to get closer.

“Bonjour.” She said in a soft older voice.

“Bonjour, madame.” Conner said with a brief smile. The older woman started speaking to Conner in French as Jean-Pierre came up behind them with the other bags, stopping and leaving them, going back to the car for the rest of them. Alec was feeling lost as the conversation drug for another minute until Alec heard his name said by Conner. Alec turned and looked at the older woman, who had big soft eyes. She smiled warmly at him.

“How do you do, sir?” She asked with almost perfect sounding English and Alec was amazed.

“Alec, this is Madame Julliene, She takes care of the villa for my father.” Conner said.

“Hi,…uh, how do you do?” Alec asked setting a bag down and reaching out for his hand.

“I am fine, thank you. Please, may I help you with your bags?” She asked as she took Alec’s hand, giving it a soft shake.

“No, that’s alright, we can manage.” Conner said giving her a smile. She turned and went into the house, Conner setting the bags inside the door, giving Alec a nod to follow. Jean-Pierre came up to the wide steps with the others, setting them there. Alec stepped inside and looked up at the ceilings of the entryway, the foyer, seeing old wooden beams, a wrought iron large light fixture hanging from the center of the ceiling very high up, the walls were an off white old plaster, some of it cracked and small pieces missing, adding to the charm, and the stone floor, looking very worn and smooth as if it was a thousand years old. It smelled faintly of baking bread to Alec and it brought a soft smile to his face.

“I have the master suite prepared for you, Mr. Van Owen. Would you care to see it?”

“I know where it is, thank you, but you could show Alec if you’d like?”

“If you would follow me?” She asked toward Alec, as Conner turned and looked at Jean-Pierre, leading him back outside, speaking to him in French. Alec took the other bag along with the one he still had in his hand and followed her out of the foyer, going into a wide hallway and then started up a sweeping staircase, that was somewhat narrow, a wrought iron rail ran up its length, to an upper landing, wooden posts that looked rough and ancient stood, holding it all up, wrought iron railings in between them, the wood was rough, yes, but glowed as well, like they were waxed or had been rubbed by hands for centuries. Alec saw a few doors that were back along this wide upper open balcony but she led him toward a set of wide double doors and then opened them, setting them open fully and the room on the other side was immense and open. Alec stepped in and stopped, his mouth falling open as he took it all in.

She went to the far side of the room and opened a set of glassed doors that had sheers on them that swept long, opening to a wide balcony. She turned and came back toward him and stopped halfway to him. Alec saw the ceilings were high in the center as it was like a large circle, wooden beams were in it that came to a point in the center as the beams rose up at an angle pushing toward a point at the center of it all, another large wrought iron fixture hung from its center, like the foyer downstairs, it being large but remained high.

“I hope you will be comfortable here, Mister Alec.”

“It’s bigger than our apartment back home.” Alec whispered, still holding the bags. He looked about at the furniture which was scattered about the room, it was rough looking to him, ancient as well, but yet soft and warm. The bed was large and was on a raised platform against the far wall. The headboard was massive and reached for the ceiling, the footboard was very short and there was an upholstered long bench that was there in front of it. The bed looked very thick in its coverings, white and soft looking like it would swallow you up. She smiled at him, then turned and went to the beds right, going into a doorway, turning on the light inside.

“Here is your bath.” She said. Alec setting the bags down on the wide planked wooden floor, simply still in awe over it all. She walked toward him. “Would you like me to prepare something for you? I know it is a long drive from Paris.”

“Uh,…no, I’m not hungry actually. I don’t know about Conner though.”

“I will ask him.” She said, “If you require anything, please don’t hesitate to ask.”

“Thank you, I will.” Alec said, looking at her for a moment and then smiling. She smiled in reply and then walked out of the room silently. Alec walked over to the doors and slowly went out on the balcony, taking in the view. The hills swept away, trees, tall and narrow behind the house, graveled pathways, a couple of benches in sitting areas, but it was all of the green of it that captivated Alec, the birds in the distance singing, and the freshness of it, the smell of the clean air as he stepped to the low plastered wall that had its own wrought iron railing that matched all the others of the house. He was so lost in it all, it was almost like a dream to him.

“I’m surprised that my father kept this place all these years.” Conner said, making Alec jump a little as he looked over at him. Conner stepped close to Alec, putting an arm around Alec’s waist as he joined in sharing the same view as Alec.

“Conner,…this is so,…”

“Beautiful? Yeah, it is, isn’t it?” Conner smiled, “You like it?”

“I love it.” Alec said softly as he leaned his head against Conner’s.

“The last time I was here, I was thirteen, I think.”

“Are you alright?” Alec asked as he looked at Conner’s face, only getting a profile of it.

“Yeah.”

“What’s wrong?” Alec asked as he turned into Conner.

“I’m just worried about getting everything done.”

“You’re worried about your dad, too, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, I guess I am.” Conner gave a brief smile as he looked out at the view still.

“I’m sorry, Conner.” Alec said softly.

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Derrick had moved, knowing that his and Ty’s love making was over for the night now, their talking together had taken the mood a bit, leaving them with just touching each other, cuddling as they were up in the bed now, on the pillows, Derrick had gotten comfortable in them, lying on his back, Ty, nestled into Derrick, watching him as Derrick eased himself, going into a soft sleep as he had an arm under Ty’s shoulders, dragging his fingers slowly up and down Ty’s muscular back. Ty was lying close to Derrick, his left leg draped over Derrick’s left leg, resting it between Derrick’s knees. Ty was slowly tracing a small circle with a fingertip over Derrick’s tight abs. Ty smiled as he watched Derrick begin to drift off.

Thoughts of tomorrow and how it might go filled Ty’s mind. Derrick was right, it might be good for Ty and a great opportunity. Ty had said that Beckett did have a good reputation and did very reputable work. Ty tried to ease himself in that, thinking that it might just work out for him because of those simple things. But, he knew it would change things for he and Derrick if he took the job. He had become comfortable with being here, very comfortable, and yet it did him that he felt that he was not pulling his own weight, helping to provide for the both of them.

Tomorrow would tell for sure, and Ty decided that it would be best just to just wait and see. He settled in more next to Derrick, this wonderful giving and caring man that never asked for anything in return, something else that bothered Ty a bit, Derrick never asked for anything in return, why is that? Ty closed his eyes and let himself drift off, as he took in a soft slow deep breath of this man that was next to him.

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Alec had gone into the bathroom, again, in awe of it all, the open shower, not like what they had at home, but very elegant. There was also a standalone claw footed tub that was under a window affording a different view, looking out over Lyon in the distance as it rested in the valley. Alec had undressed and stood under the showerhead, letting the warm water run over him. He wished that Conner had joined him, but Conner had said he would bring all of their bags up to the room while Alec took a shower and relaxed. Conner had also said that he would show Alec around the villa after he showered and changed.

Alec shut off the shower and grabbed a plush white towel, drying his body, enjoying the feeling of the plushness and then smelled the towel. He smelled the freshness of it, and it seemed also that it might be scented, but he couldn’t quite place it. He wrapped it about him and came out into the immense room. He looked around but didn’t see Conner, but he saw the bags, side by side with each other, near a large ancient rough looking cabinet that took up a large section of wall. Alec noticed that there were clothes that were carefully laid out on the long upholstered bench at the foot of the bed, his clothes, fresh clothes, jeans, underwear, a shirt, socks, and his loafers. He smiled and wondered if Conner had…

“I took the liberty of laying some things out for you, Mister Alec.” The voice said behind Alec, making him jump a bit. He turned with wide eyes, seeing the older woman coming into the large room with a tray in her hands. Alec was embarrassed as he stood there in just a towel, covered, yes, but embarrassed nonetheless. She set the tray down that held a glass with ice and a small pitcher of what looked like tea. She did not look at him as she set it down and then poured from the pitcher into the glass, making the ice crack as the liquid was poured.

“You scared me. I thought you were Conner.”

“Mr. Van Owen is downstairs in the study, conducting business on the telephone.” She said, again, without looking at him.

“Okay.” Alec said and almost gulped as he had wide eyes.

“He asked that I tell you and also that lunch will be in another hour. He felt that you might like it out on the terrace.”

“Okay.” Alec said and did gulp as she went across the room to the double doors, leaving them open as she went through them. Alec looked down at his clothes and then back to the doors. He picked them up off the bench and went into the bathroom, closing the door, and got dressed. Alec hung up the towel and messed with his short hair a bit in the mirror, then went out, walking over to the tray and picked up the glass, drinking a bit of it, and then looked at it. He had never had tea that tasted like this, heavy but yet excellent, he held it up to the light of the open balcony doors and could see through the glass he held, it being light in color, but yet tasted heavy. He drank it down and went out of the room, down the stairs and went in search of Conner. He finally heard his voice, speaking to someone, but only his. Alec opened a door and saw Conner inside another wonderfully decorated room that looked ancient but refined. Conner was at a desk, his back to a large window, the light filtering through the sheers of it, making Conner almost glow, his blond hair, as Conner was standing there, the phone to his ear, speaking French into the phone. He saw Alec standing in the doorway and motioned him with a couple of fingers to come in. Alec stepped forward, taking in more of the room. Conner said his thanks in French and his goodbyes and then hung up the phone.

“Hey.” Conner said softly.

“Hi.” Alec said softly, looking still overwhelmed with it all.

“How you doin?” Conner asked.

“I don’t know, to be honest.” Alec said as he looked at Conner, “It’s not what I thought it was going to be like.”

“You don’t like it here?”

“No, it’s not that,…” Alec said as he stopped in the middle of the room, “I love it, but, it’s just,…”

“Yeah, I think I get it.” Conner said and for the first time since arriving in France, Conner gave Alec his familiar soft smile, making Alec at ease a bit, “New place, new things. You must be on overload.” Conner said as he came around the desk and came closer to Alec.

“I guess. And, I guess I just need to get used to it, or should I?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, if I go off to Paris to school, should I get used to all this? Or should I get used to being in Paris? You know what I mean?” Alec looked back over his shoulder at the door, seeing if they were alone, and then back at Conner, Alec lowered his voice to a whisper, “And then there’s that lady, I came out of the shower, thank God I had a towel on as she came in the room,…” Alec seemed a little nervous, and Conner smiled wider.

“Things are different here than they are back home. Americans are the ones with hang-ups, about being…naked. Europeans don’t mind seeing a bit of skin,” Conner winked, “it’s perfectly okay with them. I mean, I wouldn’t walk around naked all the time, but they see it differently. It took a while for me to get used to it when I was a kid, seeing all these kids naked and some adults as well. As far as she’s concerned, it’s probably cool. She wasn’t checking you out or anything was she?”

“No, she didn’t even look in my direction.” Alec said and then he thought about it.

“See? No big deal at all.” Conner smiled and put his hands on Alec’s shoulders, “But, there’s something I need to say to you.”

“What?” Alec asked, feeling a bit of fear twisting in his stomach as he looked into Conner’s eyes.

“I need to say I’m sorry, sorry for being so,…distant since we landed. I’ve just got a lot on my mind, and I wasn’t even thinking about how you might be feeling with all of this.”

“Hey, it’s okay, I understand.” Alec said as he cradled Conner’s cheek in his hand, “You know I love you, right?” Conner closed his eyes for a moment and nodded and then looked at Alec again, “I know why we’re here, and it’s okay, it’s business.”

“You’re sweet, you know that?”

“Isn’t that why you love me?”

“No.” Conner said, making Alec give him a look of shock, “It’s just your tight ass.” Conner winked, and Alec let out a breath and shook his head. Conner laughed, “The look on your face was priceless.” He put his arms around Alec’s shoulders and pulled him into a tight hug, rocking him a bit as he squeezed him a bit more, “I love you, Alec.” Conner whispered into Alec’s ear.

“Good, cause I thought you were going to ditch me for a second.” Alec chuckled as he ran his hands over Conner’s back.

“Well, I might, if I find some hot Swiss guy tomorrow.” Conner said as he pulled back, seeing the shocked look on Alec’s face. Conner laughed again and wiggled his eyebrows. He leaned forward and kissed Alec long and hard. Conner slowly pulled back. “Why don’t I show you around the place?” Conner said and led Alec by the hand out of the study.

Alec was again amazed by everything that Conner showed him and then led him out on the back terrace that looked out over the back of the villa. Conner led him down a graveled path going by an old wooden bench and Alec noticed a little house hidden in some trees. Alec realized that you couldn’t see it from the balcony of their room in the house.

“What’s that place?”

“That’s her little house. She doesn’t have a room inside the main house.”

“Really? It kind of cute, but it’s small too.”

“I guess she’s comfortable there. I never gave it any thought.” Conner said as he looked at it.

“How long has she been here?”

“She came with the place when my father bought it. I remember her when I was a kid being here. Come on, there’s something else I want to show you though. I think you’ll like it.” Conner said, taking Alec by the hand, leading him along the path and into the trees that were on the hillside. Alec could start to hear it now, running water. Conner stopped and pulled Alec gently in front of him, putting his hands on Alec’s shoulders as he stood behind Alec now.

“My God, it’s…like a picture.” Alec whispered.

The hillside had leveled out a bit into a good sized area that was almost the size of a very large backyard back home. A small brook fed a small pond from the uphill side, the water flowing over rocks, some moss covered, grasses grew up from the edges a bit and some ferns were there as well. The pond itself was relatively clear and deep, grassy areas surrounded it, and the gentle brook continued on out of the other end, again flowing over rocks, some moss covered. Trees were at the edges of the grassy area on the far side, rising tall, lending to some shadow as well as giving the area a bit of seclusion. Alec turned with open mouth and looked at Conner for a moment and then back at it all.

“This was always my favorite part of this place. I was always sad when we had to leave it and go back home. I remember skinny dipping in the pond as a kid,” Conner said and then chuckled a bit at a memory, “I got caught the last time by my mother.” Conner shook his head.

“Really?”

“Yeah, it shocked the hell out of her, my naked white little ass.” Conner stepped beside Alec, putting an arm around his shoulders, “You want to give it a try?”

“It’s probably cold.” Alec said and shuddered a bit.

“Feel it.” Conner said and dropped his arm off Alec’s shoulders. Alec stepped forward onto the grass and went to the water’s edge, kneeling down, he stuck his hand in it. Again, he was in awe of it, he looked over his shoulder at Conner, who had a slight smile.

“It’s like bath water.”

“Natural hot spring. It’s that way year round, even when it snows.” Conner said as he stepped closer, “Look over there.” Conner said as he pointed toward the end of the pond where the brook came in to feed the pond. Alec looked over seeing a large flat rock in the grass at the edge of the pond, “I used to dry myself in the sun on that flat rock.”

“It’s as big as our bed at home.” Alec said quietly.

“Yeah.” Conner said as Alec stood and backed up. Alec saw something out of the corner of his eye. He looked over and then started laughing. Conner had dropped his clothes in a pile and was naked beside him.

“What are you doing?”

“Going for a swim.” Conner flashed his eyes at Alec and stepped forward onto the sandy edge of the pond and then jumped in. Conner came up through the surface and stood on the bottom, Alec saw the water just below Conner’s waist, seeing all of him in the clear water, looking so beautiful as he ran his hands through his wavy blond hair, pushing it back off his forehead. Alec stripped, dropping his clothes on Conner’s and stepped in, doing the same, then standing up in front of Conner, Alec putting his hands on Conner’s hips, looking into those steel blue eyes of his.

“I haven’t said thank you yet for all of this.”

“Are you happy?” Conner asked. Alec nodded slowly without breaking his stare, “Good.”

“I may never want to go back home.”

“I know the feeling, but we have to.” Conner said softly. The soft sounds of the water flowing over the rocks, the birds chirping and singing somewhere nearby were the only sounds around them.

“That might break my heart.”

“We’ll come back though, I promise.”

“Do you?” Alec asked as he leaned closer to Conner.

“Yes, I do.” Conner said softly and kissed Alec tenderly, the water blending together on their lips as they touched. Conner sliding his hands around Alec’s back, pulling him closer, feeling Alec respond to him, they both starting to go hard in the warm water and the sunlight, making slight reflections in the surface that surrounded them. They pulled back from one another.

“Will you make love to me here?” Alec asked.

“After lunch.” Conner said softly, “She’ll be coming to get us if we don’t show up soon.”

“I thought Europeans didn’t have a problem with being naked.”

“They don’t, but I don’t want to shock her in seeing us having sex.” Conner said. Alec smiled and shook his head a bit.

Alec gently touched Conner’s naked thigh with fingers as they lay side by side on the flat rock. The sun had almost dried them as well as the warmth from the rock surface. Alec sat up, wrapping his arms around his bent knees taking in the surrounding area of where they were. It simply amazed him in being in all of this. He looked over seeing the naked form of Conner beside him, as Conner had dozed a bit in the warmth of the sun. Alec let go his own legs and got to his feet. He went to the edge of the flat rock, his back to Conner, unaware that Conner had opened his eyes and was watching him as Alec moved and crossed the brook, using the rocks to step on to not get his feet wet. Conner watched the slender body of his love, admiring it, lusting after it, as Conner rolled his head a bit keeping Alec in sight. Conner smiled and sat up himself. He got to his own feet and started to follow Alec, following the same path of steps heading toward their pile of clothes.

Alec saw Conner coming toward him, walking across the grass to join him, Alec stopping from dressing and waited as Conner came to him, Alec reached out and put a hand on Conner’s closest hip and leaned in and kissed him tenderly and then gave him a soft smile.

“Hungry?” Conner asked. Alec nodded in answer, “I’ll bet she has something really awesome made.”

“I thought I smelled something when you were showing me around the house.”

“French cooking.” Conner wiggled his eyebrows again. He reached down and picked up his underwear and stepped into them. Alec did the same with a smile still on his face. They watched each other get dressed and then set out on the path toward the villa, going back the way they had come. Alec stopped and looked back at the grassy area for a moment and then started following Conner again.

Lunch was being set out on the table on the terrace as they came closer to the house. The table had been covered with nice white linen, heavy to the touch, simple but elegant dishes set out in place setting opposite one another. She came out of the wide doors carrying a tray and set it down, serving them as they started to sit. Alec looked it all over, a small basket of fresh baked bread, slender like a baguette, piled up, bowls of an onion soup, sliced cheeses on a wooden board, surrounded by sliced fresh fruits, as well as small bunches of various grapes. Glasses had been set out, water, along with tea, and there was a bottle of a white wine that had been opened. Conner dropped his napkin in his lap, Alec doing the same as well, and they set about it, taking their time with it all, looking out into the gardens as they ate slowly. The soup was wonderful to Alec, the full flavor of it all, and Conner poured wine for them. Lunch seemed to take forever to Alec but he wouldn’t have rushed this for anything in the world. The magic of this whole experience took him all over again and he looked over at Conner, falling in love with him again, but even more. Alec’s moment was interrupted by her coming back out to them.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Van Owen, but there is a telephone call for you.”

“Thank you,” Conner said to her and stood, “I’ll be back.” Conner said to Alec.

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Derrick opened his eyes as he heard something, and then he smelled it, something cooking. What was it? He rolled his head to the right and looked at the clock on the nightstand, it was just after six. He looked to his left and saw Ty was starting to stir as well. Derrick smiled and rolled to his side, facing Ty. The sleepy eyes opened slowly as Ty inhaled deeply through his nose, making that sound that Derrick loved to hear him make. They smiled softly at one another.

“You didn’t cook something, did you?” Ty asked.

“No, I think it’s our houseguest.” Derrick said softly as he leaned forward and kissed Ty gently.

“Hmm, whatever it is, it smells good. Beats oatmeal.” Ty said and tossed back the covers, Derrick shook his head. He got up out of bed himself. They both went in and used the bathroom and Derrick brushed his teeth, Ty did the same using the other sink. They got into some shorts and slipped on t-shirts, going down the little hallway and then went into the kitchen, seeing Phoebe there at the stove, concentrating on what she was doing. She looked over and smiled at them both standing there.

“Now, what is this, I wonder?” Derrick asked.

“Breakfast, Mr. Jacobson.” She said with a hint of a smile. Derrick smiled warmly at her and then looked at Ty for a moment, “If you gentlemen wish, I can serve you at the table.”

“Well, I could get used to this.” Ty smiled and bumped Derrick with an elbow gently, Derrick shook his head. They went over to the table and sat down as she followed them, serving them omelets, along with coffee and homemade biscuits. Derrick was simply amazed as she moved about the table and them. He waited but noticed that there were only places set for the two of them. He looked up at her.

“Aren’t you joining us?”

“Oh no, Mr. Jacobson, but thank you for the thought.”

“Phoebe, please, this is wonderful and all, but you’re a guest here.”

“This is my way of thanking you for all that you both have done for me, Mr. Jacobson. Please, enjoy.” She said and gave him a slight soft smile. Derrick looked over at Ty, who clearly was enjoying what was in front of him. Derrick gave up, knowing there was no arguing with her.

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“Is something wrong?” Alec asked as he saw the expression on Conner’s face. Conner sat back down at the table and looked at Alec.

“Kind of.” Conner said quietly. Alec waited. Conner picked up his water glass and drank from it, then set it down, “I have to go.”

“Go where?”

“Bern.” Conner said, “A problem has come up and I have to handle it.”

“Now? I thought you weren’t leaving until tomorrow?”

“I know, I’m really sorry,” Conner said, “Jean-Pierre is on his way to get me.” Alec looked crushed over it, “I know we were going to,…”

“It’s okay.” Alec said, “I just have to remember it’s a business trip, right?”

“Babe, I’m sorry.”

“Conner, it’s okay. It was nice while it lasted. I understand, really.” Alec said and smiled briefly.

“Fuck.” Conner said in a whisper shaking his head a bit. He looked down at the table. Alec reached out a hand to him. Conner looked at it and then up into Alec’s soft eyes.

“Hey, it’s okay, really. It all comes with being a CEO, right?” Alec smiled softly.

“Why are you so good?”

“Because I love you, my dipshit surfer dude.” Alec winked. Conner sat back in his chair as he held Alec’s fingers in his, “Do you want me to go with you?”

“You don’t have a passport to cross the Swiss border, remember?”

“Yeah, I guess so.” Alec looked a bit sad over it.

“I’ll make it up to you, though, I swear.”

“Damn right you will.” Alec smiled and then winked, “You go off and leave me like this. I may not be able to handle it. But, if you find some hot Swiss guy, you’d better bring him back to share.” Alec shook a finger at Conner, making him chuckle, “Do you have to pack?”

“Yeah, he’ll probably be here in less than an hour from what he said on the phone.”

“Okay, come on, I’ll help you.” Alec said as he pulled his fingers away and stood up from the table. “How long do you think you’ll be gone?” Alec asked as they went through the house together and reached the stairs.

“Just a few days.” Conner said as they went up the stairs, “After I get this new problem fixed, then we can start to close down the office. Everything will be shipped home to the states after that.”

“Then what?” Alec asked as they went into the immense bedroom.

“Then we go off to South Africa, or at least I do, if you go off to school.”

“I guess we’ll have to see about that, huh?”

“Yeah.” Conner smiled, reaching for his bags, taking them to the bed, Alec joining him, but just looking at it. Conner noticed it, Alec’s look and stopped his packing, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing really. I was just looking forward to,…you know,…”

“What? Having sex in this bed?” Conner asked with a slight smile. Alec nodded a bit as he looked at it, “I’ll be back before you know it.”

 

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