Stray Master

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[Chapter Nineteen]


Scottish Translation -

Wagon- A woman that is foul and pure evil

Eejit - Idiot

na gabh dragh - Don’t Worry

mo leannan bhoidheach - my beautiful sweetheart


Miss Parry sighs, genuinely appearing apologetic and ashamed for what she did. Ryan still won’t look me in the eye and CeCe is just as confused as me with them. Lewis rests his chin on my shoulder, his hand slowly rubbing my thigh. I find all of this, the conversation, tiring and unhelpful. So far, I’ve been lied to, which was taken back nearly instantly and that doesn’t bode well for the rest of the discussion. How am I supposed to gain my trust back or forgive her if she lies through her teeth? Ryan is acting odd, timider than I’m accustomed to with how he backs Miss Parry up when one of us looks to him for confirmation. Normally, he keeps eye contact and is confident about what he’s saying or doing. Now, he is staring at his hands and refusing to connect his gaze to mine.

I’m unsure if it’s a dominance thing, I’ve heard certain doms- usually the more temperamental ones, like when younger or less experienced doms show them respect; no eye contact, or speaking to the elder dominants sub. I’ve never seen it or experienced that, and don’t understand it. Although I doubt that’s what’s happening, Lewis isn’t that type of Dominant- I’m positive he couldn’t care less about what Ryan did or says. Ryan could think he is, after all, he thought Lewis was an abuser, who knows what he thinks now.

This discussion has already taken a bad turn, what with them lying to me then going back on the said lie, I don’t know what to believe and I’m unsure if they’re speaking the truth now. Her not having a reason for what she did somehow makes it worse, she didn’t convince someone that another man was hurting me out of some weird one-sided war and urge to protect me. It sounds like she just figured that idea would work in getting me to leave Lewis, do it to get him to go away. That’s one of the things bothering me so much, that she felt the need to interrupt my relationship with her belief that Lewis isn’t what I need and that she could take it upon herself to get rid of him for me.

Not only is it horrible, but she is interfering with my life, I should be able to date a man with parental issues without her thinking she must get between us. She doesn’t have that right and while I love her and everything she has done for me, she can’t keep doing this. It’s hurting our relationship and trust. If she can’t act like a decent human with manners and common sense not to accuse an innocent man of abuse, how can I trust her with other relationships if Lewis and I don’t work out? How do I know she won’t keep trying to ruin all my dates that she happens to dislike?

I wish she would understand that isn’t the way to deal with situations if this is how she treats someone she dislikes dating me. I know she’ll probably be one of the overprotective mothers, but if she ever pulls something like this with her child’s partners, I’m willing to bet that kid will feel horrible and pressured to break up with them. She might even lose them, because who wants to bring home a great person, only for Mother to dislike them and accuse them of abuse? That is far from being okay and Miss Parry will lose more than her child’s partner if she keeps this up, or anything like it.

The only thing I’m sure of is that Ryan is acting oddly and I don’t know what to think of it. He has been quiet and had, to me at least, appeared vaguely guilty, more so than Miss Parry. His posture and lack of eye contact seem guilty, he’s fidgeting and only speaks when one of us asks him if what my boss says is true. To which, he always confirms Miss Parry’s story. A small thought pops in the back of my head, asking if Ryan was in on this whole thing, if he knew Lewis was innocent and is only staying to do something else to get Lewis away from me. But I push the thought away, Ryan would never. I refuse to even give that concept a full thought.

Ryan is sweet and kind, he wouldn’t do this to me, to Lewis. He may not know Lewis, but he knows I care enough about the Scotsman to not mess with him any negative way. He gets along well with Lewis, granted they don’t speak much but when they do, they’re not rude or annoying to each other, they are polite and careful to keep from getting too personal. Sure, Ryan stares at Lewis a lot when the larger man is holding me, that doesn’t mean much. Lewis doesn’t care if Ryan touches me, his eyes darken and his muscles tense, yet he does nothing to stop it. If they had disliked each other, Lewis wouldn’t have come over so much unless I needed him, which I did.

CeCe is sitting down now, besides Lewis and between Ryan and us. She pokes at my knees and sends me a smirk as I haven’t made any move to get up off Lewis, I blush and lean back into his chest but quickly turn my attention back to Miss Parry. My boss is observing Lewis and me, eyes oddly intense and uncomfortable as she adjusts the sleeves of her sweater. She hasn’t taken her eyes off me, giving me hurt and wounded looks as if she gets to be hurt and wounded by what I said. I should be, I am. It isn’t fair, she’s making this about her when it’s about Lewis and Ryan. She dragged them into this, no matter how much she disliked Lewis, she should’ve never told someone Lewis actually took his fist to me.

I don’t think Lewis would ever take his hand to me, even if I asked for it during sex or something, he wouldn’t dare to. Because he’s a good human being with a good conscience that cares for me, and he isn’t going to do it unless we both agree to do it with consent. I’m not into slapping and mostly anything that involves me being hit; spanking is an expectation. I wouldn’t ask to be hit, but if I did, I know he wouldn’t. It’s one of the reasons I feel as safe as I do with him, I haven’t gotten red flags that he is an abuser. I’ve spent time with one to know the many red flags, and Lewis didn’t trigger them. He’s possessive and he admitted it, I don’t care for that unless he starts taking to stalking me and going to extremes.

He doesn’t seem like the kind to take ‘No, go away. We’re over.’ as ‘Come on, baby, we’re playing a game of chase. Follow the clues.’. If we stop dating or break up, he’ll let me leave without trying to push me and follow me like those obsessed people on tv. Because he’s a good human and isn’t crazy. So, no, his possessiveness isn’t a red flag to me.

Lewis hating his parents isn’t one either, I don’t see how it could be to someone. His family business isn’t mine to know, no one should have to explain why they hate certain people, especially if it’s family-related. I’d say the same for Miss Parry if she didn’t make it abundantly clear why she has a distaste for Lewis; his aversion towards his birth parents. That is one reason for hate that makes no sense, she knows not all parents are saints- she knows my history, she shouldn’t put Lewis down right away because of this, his history may have been worse, we don’t know.

It pisses me off she’s acting like this in the first place. Hating my own parents isn’t an issue for her but Lewis hating his is? She is supposed to be the model of an adult for me, I’m eighteen and still have to learn to be one, she is who I look up to because she seemed to have everything figured out where I haven’t. Except now, she’s showing a side I have never seen before and I don’t like it. I love her and I know she has faults, and that’s okay, yet how am I supposed to look past that she attempted to ruin my relationship by accusing Lewis of abuse?

Finally, Miss Parry shakes her head. “No. Thomas, it wasn’t worth it and I’m sorry, I really am. I let Lewis’s appearance and hatred of his parents get in my head and I convinced myself he was bad. I see now, that he...he seems good to you. I’ve seen you grow into a better version of you since you started seeing him.”

I nod, hoping she continues because that can’t be all. It sounds too simple for what she did, simply offer a sorry and move on. I need more because her actions made Lewis angry enough to want to fight his Irish brother, to punch something, and he could’ve gotten hurt if he fought someone else. This situation made me lose trust in her, put so much stress on me that I had an episode at work. I didn’t know how to act around her, and I feel awkward in her presence.

Lewis hums, the vibration of it sending a satisfying sensation through my side and throat where his lips are, his hands squeeze where they stopped moving on me- my upper thigh and the soft part of my flat stomach. He surprises me when he speaks, he normally doesn’t care about what’s happening when Miss Parry is around, or anyone really. But he does and his voice has a steel edge to it, it makes me shiver pleasantly. “Don’t gotta explain myself ta ya. Those bastards aren’t my parents, never were. Mind yer damn business.”

CeCe whistles, biting her lip and appearing to hold in a loud laugh at Miss Parry’s expression; shocked wide eyes and eyebrows so high on her forehead I fear they’ll stay there. Ryan jerks then lean back into the couch, glancing at Lewis and quickly looking away at what I imagine is pure rage in the Scotsman’s eyes as he continues in the same tone, “I’ll never hurt Tommy. I’d beat someone else though, easily. I wanna hurt ya for sayin I did, but I don’t hit woman, and Tommy Boy likes you.”

I never thought hearing Lewis admit he wants to hurt my boss would be a turn-on, but here we are. The concept of him wanting to beat someone up, Miss Parry or not, and holding back because I wouldn’t like it, gives me a small power trip. I have this immense, powerful, and occasionally violent- to no harm to myself- man at my disposal. Said man that will fight someone if I asked, I’m assuming if he thinks he could win a fight in a situation where I did. He’d stop fighting, control himself when he wants to fight for me. Of course, I’d get a mild power trip.

Miss Parry leans back on the counter behind her, as if the few inches are enough to get further from Lewis, and out of his intense gaze I can feel over my shoulder. She looks scared for a split second before her expression clears and she raises her chin, “Is that a threat? My husband is a police officer.”

I tense, she could call Oliver and say she was being threatened with violence and he’d be able to come over to see what was the matter. Although, the thought is gone when CeCe scoffs, crossing her arms under her breast that make them shift. I catch Ryan quickly looking away from the movement of her arms, trying to be respectful. “Seriously? Does Oli know you accused someone of domestic abuse? Go on, call him. Let’s see what he says.”

Lewis huffs an amused breath across my skin where he’s at in the crook of my jaw, pressing small and light kisses there. “Wasn’t a threat. If I threatened ya, you’d know.”

Thinking back to the DIck Head Lewis Threw Out Indicant, as I’m calling it, Lewis did make his threat clear and bluntly. There is no way anyone could have misunderstood him. If he genuinely threatened her, everyone would know. Though I’m happy he didn’t, it’d have only escalated the situation and shown that Lewis isn’t above hurting someone close to me. He’s holding himself back first because it is wrong to hit a woman and he knows I see her as a mother figure, I wouldn’t keep seeing him if he punched her. It strangely warms my heart, for some reason.

Miss Parry narrows her eyes at CeCe and merely glances at Ryan, who is staring at me again. He’s avoiding Lewis’s movements at my neck like he doesn’t want to be reminded that the Scotsman is currently acting as my seat and is softly skimming his lips and beard across the skin on my shoulder, hand clenched around the bottom of his shirt. I’ll ask about it later tonight, but I have questions that need answers first.

Shifting up higher on Lewis’s thighs earns me a soft grunt and his arms closing in tighter on me while I let him hold my full weight, relaxing back into his chest and allowing his presence to calm my mind. Having him here is comforting, I know without him I’d be overly emotional, letting my anger for Miss Parry get the better of me and say something I didn’t mean. Lewis being here helps ground me, I know he’ll take care of the situation if I do get that way, make them leave, and calm me down. He’s calmed me down before and comforted me, he’ll be the best person to do it.

Sighing, feeling the moment of contentment, before I turn my attention to Miss Parry. I know I sound tired, and I am, but I’m also putting more edge to my tone to make my question demand an answer. “Why do you hate him so much? He didn’t do anything to you.”

CeCe leans forward on her knees, smirking at our boss as if she knows something I don’t and it’s unnerving, because, what am I missing? Miss Parry purses her lips as she regards me and Lewis carefully, thinking her answer though. Her tone is thoughtful when she finally speaks, “Hate is a strong word, I...had disliked him- didn’t trust him. His appearance made me judge him too harshly, what he had said about his parents didn’t help. Thomas, you’re not unaware that Lewis isn’t exactly...polished to what I’m accustomed to. He threw me off.”

I hear CeCe mutter, “Yea, he’ll throw you alright.”, under her breath and feeling Lewis’s amused smirk on my jaw. Ryan rolls his eyes and turns his head away from us to prepend to gaze at my unfinished painting.

But I’m focused on how Miss Parry talked about the Scotsman’s appearance. How she phrased her words as if she thought something vastly different than what she said, it’s the tone I imagine a wealthy person would use when talking about a lumberjack, a man who lives in the woods and doesn’t fit with the social appearances; disdainful, supercilious. It makes me much angrier than I remember being because Lewis is ruggedly handsome, rough, and powerful, and hairy. He doesn’t care for socially acceptable appearances or what’s in trend, he’s blunt and honest and he can be a bit scary. But it all makes him beautiful and I cherish all his features, how he behaves, and how he’s loving, caring, and supportive even if he looks like a huge grizzly bear with sharp teeth. She doesn’t get to speak about him like he’s lower than her, that’s wrong and those times are long gone. He’s just as good as her, better even, right now.

While thoughts fly about her words, I suddenly realize what she had meant when she said he wasn’t ‘polished’ and I snap at her in a moment of lack of control. “He’s rugged, you mean. He’s intimidating and huge and doesn’t care about others’ opinions or emotions. You don’t like him because he doesn’t care what you say and didn’t answer your personal questions about him; he won’t listen to you and that bothers you. His hate for his birth parents just gave you more of a reason, no matter how ridiculous.”

It makes more sense now, why she had an instant suspension of him. Miss Parry needs to be in control of a situation, she’s the woman of her house and Oliver goes along with most of her decisions unless he thinks it’s a bad idea. She controls us at work as my boss, she makes sure I’m needing her when I’m low on money. She had always been invading when she thought she wasn’t in control, trying to force a person into submission by being too pushy- like she had attempted to do with Lewis.

Only, Lewis talked back and wouldn’t budge under her questions. He didn’t show she bothered him, didn’t let her get under his skin. He maintained eye contact and spoke clearly without stuttering, he was confident. So when she pushed more, demanding to know about his parents and going deeper in his history, he pushed right back and stated he wouldn’t speak about them and told her to stop. No one had done that before. Miss Parry used his parents as a reason to freak out because she knew she wouldn’t be able to control him and it bothered her.

Looking back at the shopping trip she went on, she was trying to control that too. Removing items and stating what I would and wouldn’t eat, attempting to force the dominance Lewis had over me at that moment to be shifted to her. But it didn’t work because I had stopped her and shown that Lewis has whatever power she wants over me, just in a consensual way. I had stood up to her, I realize. Because I knew Lewis would have my back and would take care of anything that happened as a consequence. I had never stood up to her.

Lewis kisses my jaw, hand firmly squeezing my thigh. Pulls me impossibly closer and nuzzles his nose along my jawline, his touch gentle and innocent yet firm and grounding simultaneously. It takes him clicking his tongue and placing a rough nip on my skin for me to settle back down on his chest, allowing his touch and attention to calm me down. CeCe has a proud glint in her red eyes as she looks over at us, reaching to squeeze my knee and her lips widen into an even bigger smirk. Ryan’s wide-eyed expression is going between a grimace and surprise, his body tensing.

Miss Parry scowls deeply, her frown causing wrinkles to appear at the corners of her lips, her head tilts as she watches me and she pops her index finger in two places while she releases a heavy breath from her nose. “I admit, I don’t like him not..listening, to me. I know you better than he does, he should listen to what I say will make you happy. Not knowing his history and him refusing to answer my questions was irritating, I’m only trying to protect you. I need to know what he is capable of.”

Lewis growls against my skin, “Capable of knowin his needs. Don’t need ta listen ta some power-hungry wagon. Ya ain’t protectin’ him, yer hurtin him. Fuckin eejit.”

His accent is thicker, which is the only visible hint that he’s angry. His hands and body stay relaxed and gentle, but he was like this the night Ryan came here and I’m concerned he’ll need to leave to find Seán. I turn the few inches I need to wrap my arms around his neck and bury my face in his throat, one of my hands running over the shaved hair on the back of his head, the other messing with the hair on his cheek and jaw. He sighs softly as he leans into me, head shifting to rest against mine.

CeCe speaks up finally, voice rough and angry, “Yea. Tom had been stressing and hurting every time you showed your dislike for Lewis. He had an episode because of this shit! You’re fucking with his life, trying to make him do what you want and one of these days, you’re gonna lose him when you go so far! Hell, you probably lost him already, his trust at least. How bout you control yourself and stop fucking up his relationship! It’s a bitch move and it doesn’t look good on you.”

I can hear someone shifting on the couch and I’m surprised when Ryan’s voice is the next one I hear, although his voice isn’t as firm as CeCe’s was, I can tell he’s uncomfortable by the tone he uses. “Yeah, I, uh, gotta agree here. You’re causing more harm than good with this decision. Besides, Lewis… he seems to be able to tell what Tommy wants or needs better than we ever did. He’s been good for Tom, makes him happy. That should be what matters first. No matter what anyone feels about it.”

Peeking out from the side of Lewis’s neck, I see Miss Parry glaring at Ryan with the strength of daggers and Ryan appearing defeated as he tilts his head in mine and Lewis’s direction. CeCe narrowed her eyes at both of them, glancing at me for a second, brows furrowed. Before she can ask or say anything else, Miss Parry stands up and snatches her bag off the counter. Staring Ryan and CeCe down before flicking her eyes to me, softening her features into a small smile.

“I better be off, then. Once again, I apologize to all of you for my actions. I’ll try to control myself from now on. Have a good day, I’ll see you at the shop.” She glares at my friends once more, then turns and stalks from my apartment.

I’m slightly shocked she left so fast, expecting her to stay and try to convince me she was sorry or that she thought she was doing the right thing. CeCe seems to be surprised as well but gets over quickly enough to seize Ryan’s wrist and stand up, shouting an excuse over her shoulder as she pulls him through the hall to the door. “I’ll be back, TomBoy! I got loose ends to tie!”

I huff as I hear the close slam close and CeCe yell outside the door, only to be loudly shushed by Ryan. Lewis allows a quiet laugh to shake in his chest and I wave my hand onto his firm stomach, demanding, “Shut up.”

He huffs, pressing a kiss to the corner of my mouth. “Stop poutin. We’re alone, t’s a good thin’.”

My nose wrinkles, unable to stop certain thoughts of what I’m missing. “What if something is wrong, Lewy? CeCe didn’t look happy.”

He grunts, shifting me around to straddle his thighs and his hands rest on top of mine. He gives me a soft smile, “When she finds out, she’ll tell ya. Everythin’ will be fine, na gabh dragh.”

Even though I don’t want to let it go just yet, I know he wouldn’t be able to answer the questions I have for Ryan or CeCe. So, instead, I lay down on him with my head tucked under his chin and my hands on his sides. He hums as his arms hug me, lips giving me a soft kiss on my hair. The question comes without me thinking about it, suddenly curious how he feels, “Are you okay?”

I feel him nod softly, big warm hand rubbing circles in my lower back. “Aye, heard worse than that, boy. How ’bout ya?”

I swallow and shrug, blinking and turning my head deeper into him. “I’m still pissed. I can’t believe she said that or the tone of it at least. You’re amazing and she shit on you like it was her job! How can she?! She knows I really like you, I may have gone on a rant at the shore while you were gone and I was graphic in my liking of you. I told her everything you do for me and how you’re the hottest man I meant. How dare she talk like that about you! And the controlling thing! I can’t believe I never noticed it before, I adore power plays! But-”

A click of his tongue has me stopping mid-sentence, looking up at him, only seeing him smiling. He kisses my lips once, twice, three times before shaking his head. “Calm, mo leannan bhoidheach. Don’t care what she says, you like me, all I need.”

Then he smirks, “Now. Ya been such a good lad, go pick a movie, Imma go grab ya sweet treat.”

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