Stray Master

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[Chapter Six]

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Scottish Translation

Màthair - Mother

Bràthair- Brother

mo luran - my pretty boy

leannan - Sweetheart

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Waking up now is different. Before I met Lewis waking up was a whole ordeal I hated, forcing myself to get up and get ready for work while rushing to make it on time, was stressful and on days off, I was lonely. Now though, I have Lewis calling me and guiding me through my routine to get ready for work and having knowledge that I'll see him later at the coffee shop. On-off days he calls me and talks to me for hours if he can and we meet up. I never feel lonely anymore.

It's been close to three weeks since we went on the first date to the park and got coffee, we haven't been on an official date since. We have hung out together and spoke over the phone a lot, though. Lewis had rewarded me for concentrating on work just as had said he would, he picked me up and had taken me to the store.

At first, I didn't realize what was going on. I figured he may want me to buy more food, after all, my menu at home is mashed potatoes and chicken parmesan. But instead of the food aisle, he had taken my hand and led me to the art supplies. Canvas' of different sizes and paintbrushes, paint, sketchbooks, and drawing pencils. It was heaven for me.

Lewis crossed his arms over his chest, the action making him appear bigger as his arms flex, and looked at me expectedly; waiting. When I didn't move, he nudged me softly, 'Go 'head. Pick whatever you need or want, on me.'

I tried to argue with him on it, not wanting to appear like I'm after his money, yet he insisted. Said it was my reward and that I have what I need to continue my hobby, even went as far as to tell me to paint or draw him something to put in his apartment. 'You're a good artist. I'd be well to have your work on my wall.'

I was so flattered by the compliment I couldn't focus on what I had needed or wanted, my red face bringing amusement to Lewis as he stepped in and grabbed any random thing I happened to glance twice at. I had to force him to stop, finally convincing him I had more than enough. We had four bags full of art supplies, and three large canvas'.

In Lewis's old truck in the parking lot after he paid, he pulled me against his side and kissed my temple, his beard lightly scratching my skin and tickling me in a way I had giggled. He thanked me for allowing him to pay and not argue with him about it, explained that he enjoys spoiling his partners when he thinks they deserve it. It's something I should attempt to get used to if dating goes well, it wouldn't be horrible to be spoiled occasionally.

Lewis has yet to meet Miss Parry, I want to make sure we work out as a couple before she interrogates him. He hasn't met my aunt either or been officially introduced to CeCe, although I don't speak to my Aunt much anymore she still calls to check up on me. My sister had moved after she was released from rehab and met her girlfriend, Ashley. I don't have much blood family in the state anymore now, although Miss Parry and her husband, and CeCe are the closest thing I have to the family I had always wanted.

My sister, Sarah, calls a few times. We were never very close to begin with, I'm eight years younger than her, and when I came along she was with my grandparents most of the time. Over the years she was distant from me, too focused on her friends or with my grandparents out of the house my parents owned. Then in her teen years, she got caught up in drugs and was never around except to ask for money. I barely knew her until recently, we spoke over the phone while she was in rehab and she apologized for never being with me when she knew I needed help. Drugs were her way of coping and she was young, she didn't know what to do and was scared.

I don't blame her for anything, I was scared too. I wish she didn't turn to drugs but sometimes we do things we can't control, like her addition. I know she attempted to quit cold shoulder, locked herself in her room, and didn't come out until she couldn't handle herself anymore. I had heard her through the door, throwing up and sounding like she was in pain. When she came out she was pale and skinny, it was as if she was tortured as she trembled violently and her expression was haunted and resigned to the knowledge she was going back to the drug to stop the withdrawal she was going through.

Sarah is better now, Ashley helps keep her sober, and rehab had done her well. Whenever we speak she mentions that she still occasionally has urges, but Ashley gets her back on track before she can do anything. She's working as a tattoo artist with Ashley, her girlfriend is a piercer in the shop and they spend all day together. Sarah keeps promising to visit me and see how I'm doing, see our Aunt and go to the cemetery to visit our grandparents. Something always comes up, either work or Ashley's family.

It doesn't bother me, I'm happy for my sister. As long as she has something to distract her and keep her busy, she won't backtrack to the way she was before. I'm proud of her and thankful for Ashley, and her loving family, for accepting Sarah as quickly as they did. Most people wouldn't want a former drug addict dating their daughter.

She had called yesterday, Thursday, after I got home from being with CeCe. We spoke mainly of how she was doing and if she was having any urges, she said she was feeling great and that she wasn't. Sarah asked about me, how work is going and if CeCe is okay, asked if Miss Parry was still baking for the shop. I told her everything that was happening, even with Lewis and she sounded excited that I was finally dating someone who would take care of me, shouted to Ashley about it and I heard a squeal from the other woman.

I'm happy I get to have conversations with my sister, we had spoken very little when were kids and she didn't spend much time at the house I grew up in. I'm glad she made it throw her drug addiction because she could have easily overdosed and I'd never had known, so being able to speak to her is wonderful.

I told Lewis a little about Sarah, what she does for a living, who Ashley is to her, and what state she lives in. I don't think I'm ready to reveal my past to him, I need Sarah's permission to tell him about her past to explain some of mine and I'm not ready for that. I trust Lewis, he hasn't been anything less than sweet and caring, but I'm unnecessarily scared of how he'd react.

Lewis had warned me a few days ago during coffee that he has issues with possessiveness and he's protective of his partners, he doesn't see them as objects, he just dislikes when another man flirts or tries to touch his partner. He gave an example of when he was dating someone in Scotland and a man walked up to his date, flirted, and attempted to touch the boy. Lewis had pouched the man in the face and would've continued the beating if his, now ex, boyfriend didn't drag him away. He assured me he wouldn't hurt me and didn't want to scare me, he started he thought I should know before we continue, to make sure I was okay with it.

I'm am, okay with it. If anything I love that, it makes me feel safer because strangers make me uncomfortable, especially if I'm being hit on or touched. It hasn't happened with Lewis around, the man being as big as he is he scares off most men who look at me without trying to. I have yet to see him fight or hit someone and a sick curious part of me wants to see that, wants to see him defend me from a strange man who tried to take me from Lewis. See his arms flex and his body move to intimidate the other man, hear any sounds he may make; a grunt or growl.

I've always been slightly primal in that way, I enjoy being owned and being the one to be taken care of, having a larger and stronger man take responsibility for certain things. If it was caveman days, I would be in the cave, and Lewis would hunt or fight or do whatever cavemen did without their partner. CeCe once called me the ultimate submissive and I wholeheartedly agree.

Lewis fighting over me in a possessive rage would most likely turn me on, we'd probably forget the no sexual agreement and fuck wherever we were. I don't mind, at all.

Yet, telling him of my past is scary. I'm not scared of him, never. I'm scared for the people, who are dead and in prison, in my past. Lewis would probably look like a cartoon with smoke blowing from his ears and red eyes if he heard what they did. If Seáns and Lewis's stories are to be believed, Lewis wouldn't stop until he beat them to death. But again, I'm not scared of Lewis, he wouldn't harm me, but if I don't mention the already dead person and the one behind bars, I'll have an angry Scotsman.

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Friday isn't busy as it usually is, normally people rush in for morning coffee or lunch, college students drop by after classes and stay to work on their laptops. It's mostly people who are into the style and music that the regulars are into, goths or alternative people. There is the occasional football jock, those don't stay long because of the looks they receive; they're in different territory when they step in here, most of our customers have been bullied by football players and don't take kindly to them welcoming themselves to a place they usually avoid.

Overall, it's a quiet afternoon. CeCe said that there were a few new stores at the local mall that had just opened, most of the people probably went to check them out. Lewis texted me saying he'd drop by and that his shift ended due to a new man taking his place for the day. His boss wanted Seán to help out the new man, get him used to everything since it's his first construction job.

I'm excited for him to show up, Miss Parry had told me that my shift would end when her husband came in. Explaining I'm only hired to work for one shift and I only had to stay because I came in late, I had to work overtime. She was seeing how long it took for me to catch on to my own work schedule, but I never did. That means I can go with Lewis for the rest of the day and hang out.

When he called me to get up for work, he mentioned taking me on another date - 'A proper one, màthair would take a broom to me if I didn't.' I assume that means dinner, or something involving a restaurant and food.

I had learned to connect when Lewis says 'mother' he's speaking about Seáns mother, just as when he speaks about any member of the Irishman's family. He had explained once that Seáns family is his too, they accept him as a son or grandson. Lewis told me stories about when he first met them, after following Seán home from a bar when he moved to Ireland and offered to help Seán do his chores. He was accepted quickly and sees all of them as his family since his own wasn't, he disowned his parents on his eighteenth birthday, the day he moved away. He just cut off any ties to them he had.

Seán even said his family introduces Lewis as a son, a grandson or a nephew, even a brother. That Seáns brother, Jack, introduced his wife to Lewis with, 'This my other stupid Bràthair, Lewis.'

I find it sweet, it's heartwarming and it reminds me there are people out there that are decent humans. Ashley's family and now Seáns, it's amazing how accepting others can be when they open their hearts.

Unfortunately, I can't keep thinking about how I'd love to meet Lewis's chosen family because of the door to the coffee shop dings. My first thought is that it's Lewis and I smile to myself, then I look up and see a terribly out of place man. He's most likely from the university close by, from the hoodie he wears I'm proven correct, he's tall but definitely shorter than Lewis. Blond hair and blue eyes and a smug smirk when he sees me.

I'm alone at the counter, CeCe had to leave because her father called to report that her Husky is sick and needed a vet visit. Meaning I have to deal with people all by myself, without the comfort of my sassy and scary friend.

"Hey," the man glances at my name tag, saying my name in a flirtatious tone, "Thomas."

The urge to wrinkle my nose is stronger and I barely stop myself, forcing a polite smile. "Hi, what can I get you?"

The man very obviously tracks his eyes down my torso, leaning against the counter as if it'd allow him to see below it. "Can I get you?"

I'm quick to shake my head, wanting to shiver in disgust. The man apparently thinks I'm playing with him, pouting and smiling in what he seems to think is charming. "You like being hard to catch, I got that. You don't look like it, but I get it. Bet guys come here for you, huh? Wanting you?"

I shake my head again, face heating in slight humiliation- the bad kind- and embarrassment. I hate this and I never have the bravery to tell people like this to stop, too anxious and scared of what would happen if I refuse them. I heard men like this can get violent when rejected.

The man coos at me, finding my flushed skin adorable, thinking I'm flattered. "Yeah, you lie. I bet there guys coming in here to give you dick and a good fuck, right?"

Shaking my head again feels stupid, he isn't going to stop it order anything if I just keep quiet. Maybe I should ask what kind of coffee he wants, or ask him to stop. He might make another comment though and I don't want that, I'm uncomfortable as it is and intimidated by him. I've never been good with men like him.

He opens his mouth again just as the door dings and I quickly look past him, feeling relief flood my body when Lewis walks in. He's only in his jeans and his unzipped hoodie, it's been warmer today and he's been working so his chest shines lightly with sweat. Dust sticks to his beard and his hair up in a messy bun. He smiles at me, eyes taking in my red skin and the men in front of me, who hasn't noticed the Scottish man and is still leaning on the counter.

Lewis comes past the man to stand to the spot to my side where I normally place coffees, it's free of machines and allows him to lean slightly over to grip the back of my neck with his hand. I relax nearly instantly, letting myself be guided closer to Lewis, and sigh at the kiss to my temple. Thankful I don't have to deal with the strange man anymore and trusting Lewis to take care of me.

I hear the man make some sort of noise of disbelief, before, "Dude, you gotta have seen me trying my luck. You can't just come and steal my chance."

Lewis's hand squeezes a bit rougher for a split second, then relaxes again. The dominant guides my head to face him, staring at me with soft eyes yet I can see the building anger behind the care. "He botherin ya, mo luran?"

The man says, "No."

At the same time, I state, "Yes, Lewis."

The man snorts, "He's just playing, we were just having a nice conversation."

Lewis gives me a small smile, hand squeezing the skin on the back of my neck gently in a silent 'Good Boy' before his eyes turn to the man and are suddenly cold. Voice making me shiver at the tone he uses, allowing me to hear him when he's angry, "Your conversation made him uncomfortable. He isn't interested in you. Ya got no chance, at anyone with your attitude."

The man takes offense, standing straighter and glaring at Lewis, "Hey man! I don't see a ring and he didn't say he had a boyfriend, he's fair game."

Lewis growls, "He's not an animal to hunt. You don't have right to him if he doesn't want you, he is not interested."

I'm stuck in the middle of them, unsure what to do and if I should get Miss Parry or not. Lewis seems to be getting angrier the more the man speaks and the stranger doesn't seem to be backing down.

Then suddenly, the man turns back to me, "How about we get out of here? Get away from this asshole."

I blink, Lewis flinches as if he barely kept himself under control, and I decide that maybe I should try to calm Lewis down. So, I speak, quiet and unsure, "Lewis is my boyfriend.."

Now, I don't know if he is or not. We're not officially official, we're just dating and seeing where it goes. We have agreed not to date other people but we haven't agreed that we're together as a couple. I don't know how Lewis will react to being called something he's not.

Turns out, he doesn't seem to mind, he smiles at me right before the man scoffs. "Yeah, right. You're just scared of him."

"I think you should leave, my fist is close to fucking your face up." Lewis threatens, and normally someone would probably take the warning. Lewis is large and strong, that's obvious, it should be common sense not to get on his bad side.

To my surprise, the man stands to his full height and looks about ready to fight. I get this man, what would he get out of fighting over me. Pride? Does he think I'd fuck him? Not even if I was dead would I touch him.

I see a flicker of amusement from Lewis at the action, he clearly knows how to pick his fights and knows when he can take someone. Then he's releasing me to step up to the man, spine straightening and his arms flex in a way that defines the muscles and veins. He has to look down at the man, eyebrow raised as if waiting.

"You're stupid, boy. I don't wanna fight in my boys' work, wouldn't be decent. Heard the owner is a nice lady, it'd be rude. Better to take your arse outside and leave."

The man laughs, "All bark and no bite! Fuckin coward!"

Then swings a punch at Lewis, I gasp as Lewis catches his fist and gives a quick punch to the man's stomach earning a grunt and pained groan, spinning him around to slam his head on the counter. One hand holding the man's arm and the other holding him down. He grips the hoodie and roughly pulls him up, forcing him to stumble to the door and throwing him out on the sidewalk.

Afterward, he returns to me, looking at me as if I was hurt. "Ya okay, leannan?"

I nod, blushing because I realized that Lewis finally showed me his protective side, and he defended me. Granted he didn't want to fight in front of me but he kicked someone out for being rude and suggestive towards me, I suddenly want to see it more often.

"Thank you... I never know how to make them stop, CeCe usually helps me." Looking down I scratch at the counter even if I cleaned it before that man came in.

Lewis hums, "It's okay, Tommy Boy. I understand. And if you wanna, call me your boyfriend if someone bothers you again, we may have agreed to wait but that doesn't mean you can't use it to stop that from happenin."

He gently grips my hair to pull me closer over the counter and kiss my forehead, a small content sigh leaves me. Happy he doesn't care I said that and will allow me to use it again, delighted I have someone to protect me from men like that.
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