Stray Master

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[Chapter Twenty Eight]


Scottish Translation -

Bonnie - Beautiful/ Pretty

Bairn - Baby


It’s been a few days since we shared our backgrounds, and it’s been great. It feels as if nothing is separating us now, no secrets. Though I’m aware there is more for us to learn about either other, there always will be as people can change within a few months. Our taste, opinions, and feelings can change and it’ll give us things to talk about and relearn. Sharing our past has made us much more comfortable with each other, closer and it feels amazing to be so intimate with someone. Especially after what we have been through with our parents. I’m happy we found each other, we understand the other a bit more than before we spoke.

Though I hate the thought of Lewis growing up around something similar to my situation, loathe that his birth parents put him through that. I can’t imagine both parents being the villain, both of them bringing him into fights and causing damage to him either mentally or physically. I know in my case, it was my Mother doing that but my Father was the main victim she focused on. I was in the way, and she didn’t want me in the first place. In Lewis’s childhood, it was both his parents. His father fought with a child, his mother didn’t help; did the same even. From what I understand they were both victims of each other, refusing to be beaten without a fight and therefore; fought with fists and words like some kind of street fight.

It saddens me that someone so sweet and caring could be raised in that environment, though I also know Lewis can be the most intimidating and unashamed man in the room if he so wanted. He’s able to switch, like a flip of a light bulb, to an unpredictable fighting machine. Seán is always too delighted to share details of fights Lewis had been in, ones that left his opponent beaten and bloody, with one notable trip to the hospital. It’s one of the reasons Lewis stopped drinking, someone would provoke a drunken Lewis and it’d end up with people pushing him away from a beaten man. Lewis admitted to having hospitalized a man while in a drunken haze, he was arrested for that and isn’t proud of it.

He also stopped drinking because, while he did it underage before going to Ireland, Seáns mother hated the thought of it. He quit for her and his family, not wanting to explain why he was arrested again or why some man was in the hospital because of him. He isn’t proud of his actions, he regrets them and not having the control to stop them before they happened. He doesn’t want to fight unless it’s something he deems important; his family, me, or himself. He fights for protection, not the fun of it, and wants to keep it that way.

I’m aware the way he was raised, fighting to defend himself against people bigger and stronger than him, had benefited who he is now. He is powerful and unafraid of people who happen to be taller or have a bigger mass than him. Although, the chances of someone bigger than him, is slim. Lewis is a giant to people, taller than average, and has the muscle mass to scare others easily. But sometimes people have egos larger than him and may think they have a chance to beat him. I’ll be there to laugh when Lewis displays he won’t let someone think that way; no one is beating him down to the ground. He’s a fighter, he won’t be brought down so easily.

Thankfully, I haven’t seen him fight yet. Saw him get angry enough to fight; yes, saw him working up to brawling; yes. Seeing him attack with his fist and rage, I haven’t. Though I am aware that it’s a possibility that I will, at some point. There are a million things that could set Lewis off on any day, a simple challenge from a cocky person talking trash or another man flirting with me and refusing to back down once Lewis says something; insulting his brother. Lewis is ready to fight, always is, always prepared, he’s just waiting for someone to push too hard at him. From what I hear, Seán is the same and they feed off each other. Once Lewis throws a punch, the Irishman will follow and feed off whatever Lewis is feeling whether it’s rage or something else.

That’s what makes them unpredictable to others, makes them scarier than they actually are. Feeding off whatever the other is feeling makes them comparable to two raging bulls, alone one will create damage; both together will trample whatever. Their loyal to each other and one wrong word or action, someone could potentially have hurricane-force punches thrown at them. As much as I dislike admitting it, Lewis is dangerous but he grew up in an environment that forced him to become dangerous to survive whatever his parents threw at him. Now he has deep loyalty to Seán and his family and will defend them no matter what; action or spoken. His possessiveness is more attuned to that loyalty than I think he realizes, he’s loyal to who he deems worthy and will protect that person as much as he can. Although he is possessive, has shown that multiple times.

I think this is why I’m unprepared for the visit I make to the site he’s working at and hadn’t thought to prepare myself for other men and women to think Lewis is a great and handsome man as I do. Of course, I see the looks others give him. Men staring, women doing the same, with lustful glances and appreciative glints in their eyes when they see him. I should know that he has other people attempting to get his attention, maybe even begging in silent ways. Like the woman that came in with Brian that one time, the way she was talking about Lewis and all. It went over my head at the time because I was happy that he was with me and showing me attention. I’m never around him other places besides the cafe and the store that has strangers, they had never come up to him or blatantly flirted with him. So, it shocks me when it does happen.

Lewis invited me to come to see the project of homes his crew is working on. It’s my day off, Thursday, and I happily agreed. I haven’t gotten to see him at work yet, he talks about his friends and tells me stories all the time but I haven’t got to come over. It’s a short walk from Lewis’s apartment, where I stayed the night before, and I arrive a bit before lunchtime. It’s loud, machines moving to carry wood or some steel to different piles, men on roofs or working on porches, walls. There’s a house that seems to hold the plans as I watch as men and a few women walk in and from there, so I move towards it. The roads for the neighborhood are finished, there are a few finished three-story houses, like the one I’m going to.

It’s warm and everyone is sweaty, some men I see have decided to forgo any layers or have a wet tee-shirt on, some have tank tops. It smells like dirt, machinery, and wood, a scent I have grown used to lingering on Lewis’s skin and clothes. People give me confused glances but smile or wave kindly, and I shyly return it while going red in the face. I’m wearing one of Lewis’s shirts, one that hangs on me like a dress, and a pair of Deadpool leggings that Lewis liked enough on me to buy, he picked the outfit as usual and I’m kinda embarrassed about the leggings but the material is comfortable and thin, perfect for a warm day.

Once inside the house, I see it’s completely finished. It’s spacey, the living room and kitchen connected, a stairway across from the door that leads up to another floor, on the side of the stairs are a few doors that I assume goes to closes or bathrooms, maybe a guest bedroom. The floors are hardwood, the counters in the kitchen are black, gray, and white marble, there’s a space for a large refrigerator in the corner. At the island counter is a blueprint of the neighborhood, five people standing around it; Lewis, Seán, Brian, and a woman with another man that appears to have pink eyes.

The man is the shorter of the men, his hair is shaved on the side like Lewis’s, only he had bright vibrant colors that make up a rainbow in his. He’s leaner than the other three men, not big with muscle but built like a swimmer or soccer player. His jaw isn’t sharp but it’s defined just as his cheekbones are; his pink eyes bringing out his tan skin even more. The woman is the shorter of them all, probably my height. Black hair tied up in a tight ponytail that is braided down her back, her skin is fair, lighter tan than the man next to her. She has pretty, blue eyes and long lashes, pink plush lips that have a piercing in the middle of the bottom one. Her ears are pierced long on the side to her lobe, tattoos covering her chest and arms.

Lewis is shirtless, the white shirt he wore this morning wrapped around his neck like a towel. His chest is glinting with sweat, chest hair matted with it. His hair is in a messy bun, strands that he misses hanging down in front of his face and sticking to his skin. Seán is the same picture, only he has his tank top on, even though it’s wet and sticking to him. Brian is also shirtless, the fabric I assume is the top hanging from the back pocket of his work pants.

They’re all arguing over something, Lewis insisting that a ‘Becca’ work with someone else instead of him, Brian is asking why and the Pink Eye man just appears confused, Seán is backing Lewis up and the woman is pouting and butting in occasionally. Seán is the first to notice me lingering by the door, instantly grinning and slapping Lewis’s head to gain his attention. Which he does, he earns a glare for his trouble and a return slap, “Fuck ya!”

Seán just grabs his brother by the bun and turns his head to me, Lewis immediately smiles and pushes past Seán and the woman to get to me. ’Tommy Boy! Ya made it!”

He kisses me as soon as he’s close enough, cupping my cheeks in his big hands to pull me closer. I leaned into him happily, having missed him when I was alone in his apartment painting. He wraps his arm around my waist when we pull away, grinning at my flushed face, and my mismatched eyes glancing at the people watching us when I quietly greet him with a small, “Hey, Lewy.”

He shamelessly pulls me into his sweaty side and guides me back over to the counter where they’re standing. He places me between him and Seán, keeping contact with me at all times. Brian smiles at me, leaning on the island with his elbows, “Hey, Tom, how’ve you been?”

I wave awkwardly at him, smiling, “”

Lewis presses closer and rubs long my hip as a way to comfort me and remind me I’m with him around these new people. I’ve met Brian before and know he’s polite and kind, but I haven’t seen the other two and I’m nervous. Brian just grins, “Been great. Though your man is a pain in my ass, you should hear his bitching.”

Seán and the other man laugh when Lewis lets out an offended “Oi!”, the woman just rolls her eyes as she leans back against the counter behind her.

The Pink Eyed man suddenly leans closer, staring intensely at my eyes and making me slightly uncomfortable with the abrupt movement and eye contact. Then he gasps, as if in awe. “Your eyes are so pretty! Are they contacts?”

I lean further against Lewis at the question, unsure if I should be offended that he thinks my eyes are contacts or if I should take it as another compliment. I haven’t had someone mention my eyes so suddenly unless they were planning on insulting them, and considering he seems so excited about them, I don’t think he’s meaning to be rude. I just shake my head, slightly overwhelmed by him. Lewis presses me even closer, trapping me between his body and the counter, leaning down to kiss my cheek.

He sends a look to the man, I can see him do it from the corner of my eye and the man smiles sheepishly. He lowers his voice to normal and is much calmer, “Sorry. I just love anything with eye color. I’m Tex, by the way. I work mainly with Brian, sometimes with Lewis if we switch.”

Lewis had explained that the crew works in pairs as well as a group, two each while the group works to finish a whole project. Seán and Lewis had been working on the roofs for the past few days, they do one side of the roof while two others do the other side; it’ll work like that for the other pairs. It doesn’t make much sense to me because I don’t work with them and never had to do something similar. I was told they switch partners sometimes, for variety. It also works for safety, if one falls or is in danger, the other partner warns or helps them.

Brian pats Tex’s upper arm, smirking his actions while I hear Seán chuckle at him. Lewis just shakes his head, the woman just stands there with her arms crossed and stares at the blueprint like she’s thinking about something. I turn back to Tex, smiling kindly while shyly answering, “I’m Thomas, you can call me Tom, though. And my eyes aren’t contacts.”

Tex grins, looking extremely pleased knowing my mismatched eyes are real. “Well. Lewis was right then. They’re beautiful, I’d die for eyes like them, although I may just buy more contacts.”

The men all roll their eyes at the sentence, Brian slapping Tex on the back of the head. “You don’t anymore, man. Anyway, Tom, this is Becca, she’s been working with Lewis for the past week or so.”

He gestures at the woman, who snaps her head up and looks around at us, just now paying attention. She smiles once she realizes what was said, looking at me with what appears like jealousy before she clears her expression into something kinder. “Hey! Great to meet you! Lewy has told me so much of you!”

Lewis tenses as soon as his nickname comes from her lips, Seán releases a deep sigh next to us and I’m slightly confused because only close people to Lewis call him that, or people he specifically told it was okay. The way he tensed up at it from her gives the impression he hadn’t given her permission to use it and dislikes it, although I don’t mention it. I figure Lewis will explain because from what I remember, this is the woman he was annoyed at the day we spoke, saying she was bothering him and he’d switch her out for someone else. I’m assuming she just heard Seán calling Lewis his nickname and thought everyone did it, it could be a misunderstanding.

I don’t want to be rude to her, so I smile at her, keeping it simple since she didn’t ask me anything. “Hi, nice to meet you.”

Lewis finally speaks up, nuzzling his dirty beard into my neck to watch me squirm away. His voice isn’t in his usual playful tone, instead, it’s firmer and I can hear he’s bothered. “We were just talkin ‘bout switchin Becca and me. There bein’ difficult.”

If the arguing I saw was them talking normally I don’t see how they get anything done, though I don’t understand why a simple switch is difficult. Seán scoffs at what Lewis says, and I see Becca roll her eyes again. She sounds annoyed when she speaks, “Lewis, we don’t need to switch, we’re perfectly fine how we are.”

Both brothers scoff, Seán leveling her with a glare. “Ya would be if you’d stop flirtin with a taken man. He said he wasn’t interested, how hard is it ta understand?”

Now I tense, is that why Lewis was annoyed with her? She was flirting with him even when he rejected her. I understand now why he wants a switch. It is disrespectful to continuously come onto a taken person, especially when they told you they were taken and in a relationship. She just told me she knew of me and still tried to flirt with Lewis, and one thing I know about him is that he appreciates respectful people. It was what he told Miss Parry when they met, that people where he’s from don’t bother taken people, they respect them and if not, someone gets a lesson to do so.

Becca glances at me and Lewis, the Scotsman’s tightening his grip on me like she’d try to hurt me. She very obviously checks Lewis out, eye’s scanning his person like a metal detector, and I feel offended on Lewis’s behalf because that was uncomfortable and rude. Then she scowls, “Please. Like he’s fully gay. He’d probably drop this boy if someone else came along.”

Lewis stands his full height and glares at her so intensely I feel the rage and it isn’t even directed at me, and while I’m not all that hurt by what she said, I’m bothered because she’s partly right. We hadn’t thought to talk bout our sexuality, I had assumed Lewis was gay because I hadn’t seen him look at women while we were together, and that’s wrong to do; he could be Bi- Sexual or some other sexuality. He could very well be attracted to women and end up finding a lady he likes, that is a possibility, just like him finding another man is. Her words don’t hurt me, just bring up new doubts and questions Lewis and I need to speak about.

However, before anyone, Lewis or his brother, even Brian or Tex; she’s moving quickly. She lunges at Lewis, hands reaching up to grip his face and drag him down in a flash to attack his lips. I can see Lewis is shocked, his body tenses and locks, green eyes wide and it takes him a second to realize what she’s going, then he firmly grips her shoulders and pushes her back away from him. Seán tugs me closer to himself while I watch Lewis wipe his mouth with a disgusted expression, growling, “Ugh. Women, I’m not straight. Fully gay here. Fuckin taken. Fuck is wrong with ya?!”

Lewis seems livid, eyes burning with anger as he glares at her and Becca flushes with either embarrassment or anger that whatever she wanted hadn’t happened and she pushes past Tex and Brian to run out of the house. Lewis’s glare follows her, hands clenching before he turns to me and gently takes my hand to lead me away from the men that still appear to be processing what had happened. He stops us at the stairs, sitting on the wooden floor of the steps and moving me between his thigh. He watches me carefully, rage forgotten for a bit to talk with me.

“I’m sorry, Bonnie. She caught me by surprise, won’t happen again. That I promise.”

I just shake my head, still processing that she thought she could steal him away with a simple kiss and that she forced herself on him, in front of his boyfriend. People these days. He should be aware I’m in slight shock, not angry with him, though. “I’m just shocked, Lewy. Not mad. You didn’t know she’d do that, I understand.”

He nods, rubbing the back of my thighs. “Aye. Thanks for that. But, we should talk. Bout our sexuality and what just happened. Wanna stay at mine? I need to get back ta work in a few. We’ll talk bout this a bit later.”

I nodded my agreement since we can’t spend his work time speaking, he said we’d talk and he’s been good about doing the things he tells me. This conversation needs to happen to stop any doubts, it’d help our relationship and Lewis has been serious about these types of topics. He’ll keep his word and this situation will be cleared up, we’ll be adults about this. No use in getting mad over something that happened without either of us being aware it’d even happen. Talk it over, come to an understanding and move past it. That’s all we can do.

He smiles, “I love ya, Bairn.”

Kissing his cheek, I return the affection, “Love you, too.”

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