Paul's words haunted Derrick, as he hung over the set of prints spread out on the table. Derrick looked them over carefully, but was distracted. Those words kept coming back to him. 'Wearing your heart on your sleeve.' Derrick tried to shake it off, as he listened to the faint sound of the nailing Ty was doing on the garage.
"Got a minute?" Came the voice from behind Derrick. He recognized it as Paul's. He turned his head and gave Paul a half smile.
"I wanted to apologize for earlier, for what I said." Paul said quietly. He was never one for apologies, Derrick thought. "Ty is really sweet, and I think he's really good for you. I just know how you are, Derrick." Paul chuckled. "I guess we've been together too long, haven't we?"
Derrick stood straight and turned to face Paul. He smiled wide, and reached out and pulled Paul to him, hugging him tight. After a long minute, Derrick let him go.
"You're right. About a lot of things. And, yes, we have been together a long time. You do know me very well. Perhaps better than anyone else. Thank you."
"Thank me for what?"
"For giving me a reality check. What you said keeps rattling around in my head. You were right, I was wrong, and that's the way it is. I have to change that."
"What are you wrong about?" Paul asked softly.
"Jumping the gun with Ty. Asking him to move in here. He is right, too. Not wanting to do that. I am going to fast."
"Derrick...I know you too well. There's something you're not saying. What is it?"
Derrick looked back down at the sheets on the table. He touched the lines he had drawn with a fingertip, following them, not looking at Paul. "Oh, sweet Jesus, you're in love with him, aren't you?"
Derrick looked back up at Paul. "It's not obvious, is it?"
"Well...no, but it's only a matter of time before you break down and propose, knowing you and the way you are."
"I thought about it." Derrick said, watching Paul's reaction. Paul went wide eyed. Derrick smirked. "I'm only kidding." Paul looked relieved, narrowing his gaze. "It's just that, he's perfect, you know? In almost every way, he's perfect. Couldn't you get lost in that?"
"Uh, duh. He's a walking, talking god! Who in their right mind wouldn't get lost in that? I get hard every time I just look at him. And you, you lucky bitch, are sleeping with him." Paul shook his head to try and clear out the thoughts of Ty. "It's hard not to listen at the keyhole at your bedroom door. I keep having constant fantasies about it."
Derrick smirked a little. "Well, I've decided that I'm going to take it slow with him, to see what happens, before I make a total ass of myself."
"Good plan." Paul patted Derrick's shoulder. "I hope you can hold out, for Ty's sake. I for one like having him around, just to look at. Mmmm, grrrrr."
"And you called me 'bitch'." Derrick shook his head. "You're a slut."
Paul smiled wide. "You bet! And loving every minute of it, too!" Paul turned. "He's looking incredibly sexy out there, pounding nails. I only wish he was pounding me and not the nails." Paul's voice trailed off as he went back toward his room.
Derrick smiled to himself as he went back to his drafting. He was adding a few more details when the phone rang. He walked over and picked it.
"Hello?...Mr. Van Owen, yes. How are you?...fine, fine, thank you. No, I have a few more days of vacation, yes...yes, I have started them. I have the floor plan laid out...well, I'm not sure...no, I haven't made any calls to anyone, yet...I have to have plans before they can bid...I know you're pressed for time...this afternoon?...I have some things that...let me do some rescheduling...I understand that...alright, alright, this afternoon it is...yes, I may not be alone...no I understand...yes, alright then...one o'clock...thank you. Yes, see you then." The phone cut off before Derrick could say goodbye. He looked at it, then hung it up. "Oh my God, what have I gotten into?" Derrick thought to himself.
He went back to the plans, a little shaken by the call. He felt that he was being pushed, not only from Van Owen, but from himself. He had to get this done, he told himself, and quickly. He narrowed his eyes and set to it. As he drafted, he was creating a lumber take off list, to give to bidding contractors, making their jobs easier, and the process faster. He knew he could have used the computer system at his office, with the Auto-Cad program, but it has its flaws and does not take certain things into consideration, like the Human equation.
Floor plan, front elevation, side, and rear, done, lumber take off, everything was looking good. Derrick stood, craned his head right, cracking his neck, then left, working out kinks. He pulled his shoulders back and scruntched them tight to try and work out kinks, when he felt hands and fingers working the muscle in his shoulders, deeply kneading the muscle, further working out the links.
"Ohhh, that feels so good." Derrick hissed out. He felt lips at the back of his neck, softly kissing him.
"I'm so glad. I could do this for hours." The soft voice whispered in Derrick's ear.
"Mmmm, but what would the boss say?" Derrick moaned softly.
"Probably, 'why didn't you start this a long time ago?'"
Derrick chuckled, turning around slowly under the pressure from the hands behind him.
Their eyes met. Derrick put his hands on Ty's hips, pulling him in, toward him, as Derrick leaned against the table.
"You're right. He would say something like that. He might also say something like, 'you know, that guy looks like he needs a break, maybe you should go and give him a big kiss or something.'"
Ty smirked, and then leaned in and kissed Derrick softly, and then more deeply. Derrick moaned under Ty's touch, wrapping his arms around this powerful man, working up and down his back. Ty pressed deeper and deeper into Derrick, giving all of his tongue to Derrick, who took it all in, gladly. Their arms wrapped around each other, hands sliding up and down each others backs, and then each grasping the others backs of their necks, pulling into each other even tighter.
Ty pulled back first to come up for air. "Wow." Ty whispered into Derrick's open mouth. "This is so hot." Ty plunged back into Derrick again, making Derrick moan softly in Ty's mouth. The kiss was deep and long. Derrick pulled back finally for air.
"Oh man." Derrick said softly. "I've got to stop."
"Why?" Ty asked, nuzzling Derrick's neck with his nose.
Derrick took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. "I have to get ready to go."
"Really?" Ty continued to tease Derrick with his nose, touching all of Derrick's sensitive spots on his neck. "I thought we could have a quickie?" Ty asked, as he kissed the base of Derrick's neck.
Derrick gulped hard, trying to wet his mouth. "There's no such thing as a quickie with you." Derrick whispered into Ty's ear. "I would want all afternoon and evening doing it."
Ty snickered on Derrick's neck, his hand sliding around from Derrick's back, over the pronounced bulge in Derrick's shorts. Ty massaged it for a long while, Derrick moaning deeply, leaning back against the table, giving into Ty and his onslaught. Derrick knew he was losing the battle to Ty. He had to regain control, but it was so good, so very good to be touched by this incredible man. Control, control...come on...Derrick thought to himself.
Derrick pulled himself away, taking a deep breath, grasping Ty's wrist. "I really have to get ready. I'm sorry." Derrick whispered, looking pained at Ty.
Ty smiled out of the corner of his mouth. "I understand," Ty said softly, looking hurt. "It was unfair for me to do this..."
Derrick threw himself on Ty, wrapping his arms around the powerful neck, kissing him, then pulling back. "Don't you even think that. Do you know how bad I want you right now? I ache...so much, wanting you. But, ...I have to get ready to go, and...I want you to come with me." Derrick whispered the last.
"Why? What do you need me for?"
"Oh my God! Seriously? Do you know where I'm going?"
"Those people's house, right? The one's that keep calling?"
"Exactly. I need...backup, and a builder's eye." Derrick paused for a long moment, "Would you go with me?"
Ty pulled back from Derrick. "Out to Snootville? Are you kidding? Everyone avoids it like the plague, that's smalltime. We leave that shit to the big boys. There's not enough money to deal with the picky, bitchy people out there."
"I understand. But, it would mean a lot to me if I could get your help kind of surveying the area, you know what I mean?"
Ty looked deep into Derrick's eyes, seeing the need to, that call for help. Ty shook his head. "I'm only going to help you, that's it." Ty saw Derrick's face light up. "Why do I get the impression that I'm rushing in where angels fear to tread?"
"I really don't know what you're talking about? Impressions? Angels? Really, it's only business. You'll do fine. We need to dress." Derrick said.
"Dress?!" Ty asked loudly.
"You know, professional." Derrick said as he walked toward the bedroom. "Hurry, and I'll buy you lunch before we go."
"But..." Ty sighed loudly. Derrick turned and walked back to him, looking puzzled. "I need to change, get cleaned up..." Derrick kissed him softly.
"Change, yes, but you smell like a man, a real man. I love it," Derrick whispered, "and I know they will, too." He smiled that smile that always eased Ty. "You'll see. They need someone like you, a real man, to give them a reality check." Derrick breathed Ty in deeply, still smiling that smile. "Trust me."
"Hmmm, two of the scariest words in the English language." Ty mumbled, turning and headed out the back door. He walked out and went to his truck. He opened the door and grabbed his pair of jeans out of the back seat. He dropped his shorts and went to step into the jeans, as he heard a wolf whistle. He turned and saw Paul, standing in his bedroom window, just staring. Ty smiled at Paul, turning to face him, giving him a show, pulling up his jeans slowly, tucking himself into them, then buttoning up the flaps. He looked up at Paul and smiled, as Paul leaned on the window sill with a longing look. Ty reached in and grabbed his shirt, he flicked it in the air, looking it over, but it was all wrinkled. He sighed.
Derrick stepped out the back door, then smiled looking at Ty, watching him pull out his tee. "I have a shirt, if you want one." Derrick called out. Ty looked up and smiled at Derrick.
"Will it fit?"
Derrick sighed. "You may be more defined, but we are really the same size. Yes, it will fit."
Derrick watched Ty walk toward him. Up the back steps, Derrick held the screen door open. They walked into Derrick's bedroom. Derrick went around the bed, opening up the closet. He stepped in and then reemerged with a white button down. He handed it to Ty, smiling. Ty slipped it on, after examining it briefly. He hummed to himself for a moment, feeling the softness of the cloth on his skin.
"Egyptian Cotton." Derrick said, flatly. "Looks good on you, too."
"Really? I like it, it's so soft."
"Hand woven, then washed over stone. It looks better on you, than on me."
"You have expensive taste." Ty whispered, finishing the buttons, leaving the top two open, the soft collar splayed out on his thick shoulders. "It's a little tight."
Derrick stepped over to him, adjusting the shirt a little, back and forth on Ty. "You're more defined than I am, remember? I think you look absolutely gorgeous. Ready to go?"
Ty nodded, and they walked out the front door, getting into Derrick's Audi. He started it and they pulled out of the driveway, heading for town. Derrick promised lunch, and soon they were at a bistro that Derrick knew very well. Lunch was ordered, and soon arrived. Derrick watched as Ty inhaled everything but the plate.
"Still hungry?" Derrick asked, raising an eyebrow. Ty looked up, wiping his mouth with the cloth napkin. He shook his head in response. "Dinner wasn't very much last night, was it?"
"No, it was. It's just that with all of the activity that's been going on, I guess I just needed to really eat." Ty said, seemingly embarrassed by the situation. "I'm sorry, I guess I was making a pig of myself."
"Nonsense. I like to watch a hungry man eat." Derrick said quietly. "Ready to go?" Ty nodded. Derrick reached into his pocket and pulled out some cash, leaving it on the table. They got up and walked over to the car, getting in.
The drive to the Van Owens took a little bit. Ty had apparently been out here before, as Derrick looked over at him every now and again to see his response to the large houses. Ty seemed to be unimpressed by it all. Derrick remained silent until they reached their destination. He swung into the driveway and parked. He reached into the backseat and grabbed the plans that he had done so far. Together, they got out and walked to the front door, Derrick ringing the bell. They waited for a minute, when the door opened by a woman, dressed in a white shirt, below was a longer black skirt, she wore simple black flat soled shoes. Her hair was up in a pony tail, she wore little makeup.
"Can I help you?" She asked in a soft voice. She looked them both up and down briefly.
"We have an appointment with Mr. and Mrs. Van Owen." Derrick said quietly.
"Won't you come in, please?" She said, opening the door wider for them. They stepped through, into the foyer. She closed the door behind them.
"This way, gentlemen." She said, walking toward the right, into an open drawing room. She used a hand to guide them in. "May I ask who's calling?"
"Derrick Jacobson. You can tell Mr. Van Owen that I have the plans."
"Very good, sir. If you gentlemen would take a seat, I'll tell him that you are here." She turned and walked out of the room, leaving them. Derrick turned and looked back at Ty, who was admiring the woodwork of the room, running his fingers along it's smooth surface.
"Impressive room." Derrick said quietly.
Ty didn't look back at Derrick, as he kept gently stroking the smoothness of the wood. "It's meant to. It's a negotiation tactic, meant to impress, to overpower the visitor, to put them..."
"Off guard." Came the booming voice from the doorway, now behind the two. They spun quickly to see Mr. Van Owen standing in the doorway, his wife behind him to one side. "Impressive that you knew that, young man." He smiled out of the corner of his mouth, walking into the room. "Mr. Jacobson," Van Owen said, holding out his hand, "Good of you to be on time." Derrick took his hand firmly. He let go of Derrick, crossing over to Ty, who took a couple of steps forward, reaching his hand out.
"Mr. Clayton Van Owen, may I present Mr. Ty Caldwell." Derrick said.
"How do you do, Mr. Caldwell?" Van Owen asked as they grasped hands firmly.
"I am well, thank you, sir. A pleasure to meet you."
Van Owen still gripped Ty's hand, looking into his eyes deeply. "Have we met before? You look familiar to me."
"No, sir, I don't believe so. I would have remembered."
Van Owen released his grip. "I'm sure." He smiled out of the corner of his mouth, turning away from Ty. He held out his hand toward the door, "Gentlemen, my wife, Evelyn. You remember her, don't you, Mr. Jacobson?"
"Derrick, please." Derrick said, looking at Van Owen, then turning and smiling at Mrs. Van Owen. "How could I forget her?" Derrick asked, stepping toward her, taking both of her hands in his. "A pleasure to see you again, Mrs. Van Owen."
"The pleasure is mine." She replied looking around Derrick, holding his hands. "Two very handsome young men in the house, the pleasure is all mine." She let go of Derrick and crossed to Ty, taking his hand, giving it a delicate shake.
"How do you do, ma'am?"
"I am doing well, thank you. Can I offer you something to drink?"
"That would nice, thank you." Ty replied.
Mrs. Van Owen turned and looked toward the doorway. Standing there was the girl who answered the door. Mrs. Van Owen folded her hands in front of her, sighing slightly.
"Phoebe, would you bring some iced tea, please?" The girl nodded in reply and walked away.
Van Owen turned and looked at Ty, raising an eyebrow. "It's interesting how you knew about this room, Mr. Caldwell." Van Owen looked around at the room for a few seconds. "That suggests to me you know something of mediation and of business."
"A little." Ty stepped over to the large overstuffed leather sofa and sat down, next to the arm, crossing his legs.
"I have closed several deals here in this room. Tell me, what business are you in?"
Ty looked at Derrick briefly, than back at Van Owen. "I thought Derrick had told you. I'm a builder. Well, mostly a remodeler."
Van Owens eyes widened, as he sat on the opposite sofa, across from Ty. "No, he didn't say anything, just that he wouldn't be alone when he came. Hmmm. You have references, I take it."
"Certainly." Ty replied, confused. He looked up as Phoebe walked back, carrying a large tray, laden with a pitcher and glasses of ice. She placed it on the table in front of Ty and Van Owen. "I'm confused, sir. Do I need references for iced tea?" Ty saw a smirk on Phoebe's face as she poured the tea. Mrs. Van Owen came and sat next to Ty on the couch, Derrick came up behind Van Owen and his couch. Phoebe handed the glasses to Ty and to Derrick first, then Mrs. Van Owen, and then placed one in front of Van Owen on the table.
"Thank you, Phoebe." Mrs. Van Owen said softly. The girl turned and walked out of the room silently.
"Excuse me, Mr. Van Owen. I didn't bring Ty out here for you to hire him on the spot. I brought him for technical advice for the site." Derrick said. "I am in need of another set of eyes to finish aspect of the site and placements."
"I see." Van Owen hissed out. "Well, let's see what you've done."
Derrick picked up the plans and walked around the couch, opening them, then spreading them out on the large table between the couches. He explained the various plans, floor plans, elevations, what he needed to finish, and then he started asking the questions to fill in the blanks for the plans. He made notes on the plans as the questions were asked and answered.
Van Owen looked at his watch, looking like he was pushed for time. Derrick and Ty noticed it. Derrick rolled his eyes once, making Ty smile. Mrs. Van Owen slid over closer to Ty to see the plans better from her angle.
Ty leaned close to Mrs. Van Owen and asked softly. "I was wondering, could you show me where you want this built?"
"Yes, I would love to." Mrs. Van Owen said, rising from the couch. All three of them stood as she rose to her feet. She looked at Derrick, patting the back of his hand. "You two continue. Then you can join us out behind the house." She smiled, and walked toward the door, Ty following her. Derrick and Van Owen went back to their plan discussion.
She opened the patio doors and walked out on the deck, with Ty next to her. They walked off the deck and started across the expansive lawn toward the back knoll. She had taken Ty's arm as they walked. She talked of the property and pointed out where the lines were up in the trees in the back. They stopped where she thought the structure should be. Ty gently pulled his arm free, turned around and looked back at the house. He knelt down, surveying the area, then rose back to his feet.
"Forgive me, but, I just don't see why you would to build another structure on the property."
"I would have thought that Mr. Jacobson would have told you." She said, looking up at Ty.
"Really, Derrick hasn't said much, except for the technical aspect."
"Well, we want to build this guest house for our son, who is returning here."
"Oh? I would think you would want him in the house, with you two?"
"My husband won't...wants him, to have his own place. And that's the only way he would return."
"I don't mean to pry, but it sounds strained between them." Ty said, softly.
"It has been...difficult."
"Evelyn." Ty turned, taking her hands in his. "What do you want?" He stared into her soft eyes, as they watered up a little.
"That's not important. What matters is that our son returns."
"Is there something I can do to help?" Ty asked.
"Would you build it for us?"
Ty chuckled a little. "I'm previously engaged." Ty looked around, then back at her. "Besides, you need a crew for this, and I work alone. If there was something else I could do, I'd be happy to help."
"You could oversee the project for us."
"That's for the general contractor to do, a general contractor with a crew." Ty said softly, patting her hand. They both turned and looked back toward the house, watching Derrick and Van Owen walking toward them. They walked up, Derrick smiling.
"What do you think?" Derrick asked.
"It's a beautiful spot. There's a few things I noticed though." Ty replied.
"Really? Like what?"
"Drainage." Derrick looked at Ty quizzically. "Notice where you're standing." Derrick looked down at his feet. "The grass." Ty sighed. "It's thicker and deeper here than anywhere else. The water comes off the knoll and pools here. Bet there's quite a mosquito problem in the early spring too." Ty turned toward the knoll. "Have to build some kind of retaining wall and deflect the water, also have to raise the grade up for the structure, by near a foot I would think. Also, the neighbor there," turning and pointing to the neighbor closest, "there's not enough room between the two properties for a drive. It would have to come from the other side of the house. And this far back from the street, it would have to be a septic tank, not tied to the city lines. Power and water, all underground. I'm not sure the ground will perk for the tank."
Van Owen stood there, listening to every word. He looked at Derrick, then back at Ty. "Well, that's it. I think we found our contractor."
"I appreciate that, sir. But, as I explained to your wife, I'm previously engaged, and you need a general with a crew. I don't have one, I work alone. And it sounds like you're kind of in a hurry. It would take me over a year to do this by myself."
"I'll hire you a crew, then."
Ty chuckled. "And where would you find them? How would you know they were any good? How would I know if I could trust them to do the job?" Ty shook his head. "No, sir, you need a general contractor that has crews, equipment, resources. I, sir, have none of those things. I appreciate the thought."
"But, the way you picked out the details..." Van Owen started.
"Anyone with any building skills can see what I've seen." Ty concluded. Ty turned and looked at Derrick. "I think I'm done here. I'll meet you at the car." He turned and looked at Mrs. Van Owen, taking one of her hands, raising it up slightly, then bending down, kissing the back of her hand, looking her in the eye. "An honor to meet you." Ty turned and reached out a hand to Van Owen, who took it, shaking it firmly. "A pleasure, sir." Ty let his hand go, and walked across the lawn. He reached the house and walked around it toward the front, as the three walked slowly back toward the back deck.
When they reached the deck, Van Owen stopped, looking at Derrick. "I need finished plans in my hands by the end of next week. I want to break ground within two weeks, so there has to be a contractor in place. Make sure you see to it." Van Owen started to turn away.
"I'm afraid that's not possible." Derrick said.
Van Owen turned back, looking at him with a raised eyebrow. "Oh? And why not?"
"Breaking ground in two weeks? You have to be realistic here. There's a permit process. This is county, it takes time with them. And not to mention, we have to find a contractor, bid everything..."
Van Owen leaned toward Derrick. "I'll say this plainly. Two weeks, ground breaking. The contractor is out in front right now. I'll take care of the county. Just get it drawn, back to me, and I'll get the permits. I don't give a damn what it costs, just get it done. Are we clear?"
Derrick was mad, madder than he had been in a long time. "Yes, that's clear. But..."
"There is no but..." Van Owen turned and walked into the house, leaving them out on the deck. "Get it done." He boomed out of sight.
Derrick felt arms around his arm. He looked down, seeing Mrs. Van Owen standing there next to him. She patted the back of Derrick's hand, then looked up at him, smiling slightly.
"I haven't seen him like this for a long time." She whispered. "I'm sorry."
"I am too. I was trying to help, and now this has turned out to be a..."
"Nightmare?" She whispered.
Derrick chuckled. "Situation."
"Don't be so nice about it, dear. My husband can be a real asshole."
Derrick laughed, looking down at her. "Mrs. Van Owen, really..."
"Evelyn, please. Don't think I don't know what he's capable of. I've seen it too many times over the years." She shook her head slowly. "This is important to him."
"What about you? Isn't it important to you as well?" She looked up at Derrick, hearing his words.
"It doesn't matter if it's important to me or not."
"I can't believe that." Derrick said, her eyes filling with tears. "Tell me about your son."
She looked down and then slowly lifted her to look at him. "Do you know Chez Moniz?"
"The restaurant? Yes, I do. It takes weeks to get a table there."
"Meet me tomorrow for lunch. I'll tell you all about him then." She smiled. "And bring Mr. Caldwell with you. I'll make the reservation for noon."
Derrick bent over and gave her a small kiss on the cheek. "I will. I'll see myself out."
Derrick walked out the front door, carrying the plans, Phoebe had opened it for him. He walked across the driveway toward the car, seeing Ty leaning against the fender. Derrick walked up to the drivers door. Ty opened the passenger door and got in. Derrick started the motor and pulled out.
"That went well." Ty sighed. Derrick busted out laughing as they hit the road, Ty started laughing as well.