Chapter 2

 

Liam was gorgeous. Six foot tall, with a toned body of someone who worked out on a regular basis without overdoing it. The gray tank top he was wearing stressed the width of his muscular shoulders and revealed his tattooed arms. One sleeve was mainly blue and when Liam kneaded the pizza dough, it seemed like the waves on his skin moved, sharks swimming towards his wrist to have a taste. The other hand was all about fire. Smoke coming from a luscious, female mouth on Liam’s arm formed beautiful patterns all the way down to his wrist, twisting around the words ‘Cancer Resistant’ on the inner side of his forearm.

Another tat visible over the hem of the tank top, just below Liam’s collarbones read ‘You will be surfed’ in a beautiful font that looked like taken straight from an old love letter. Ryan wouldn’t mind for this guy to ‘surf’ him all night. He knew there was more ink on his back and chest, but it was mostly hidden now.

“What about Hawaiian?” Liam looked back at Ryan, the small, white flesh plug in his ear reflecting the lamp light. He had a masculine face, with a strong brow line and a roman nose sitting between a pair of large, gray eyes. His jaw wasn’t overly pronounced, but the fair stubble made up for it. Ryan would love to feel it scrape his skin.

“Uhm… no… I’m not keen on fruits in pizza. Can you make it with potatoes?” Ryan tried not to stare but it wasn’t easy. He couldn’t wait to be touched by this guy again.

“Potatoes? On pizza?” Liam sounded surprised. A few blond strands escaped the short ponytail and he kept shaking his head to get them out of his eyes.

Ryan scratched his head. “Yeah, I like potatoes with anything.” He gave a nervous laugh. “It’s so cool that you cook by the way. My last caretaker kept making me these horrible ready meals.”

Liam’s eyes widened. “What a loser.”

Ryan shrugged. “Nah, it doesn’t matter, I just ate fries and nuggets anyway. I do like good coffee though.” He pointed to his beloved coffee machine on the countertop. The kitchen had a rustic feel to it. It was one of those parts of the house that he didn’t change after his aunt died.

“Now that sucks, you should eat proper food.” Liam flattened the dough into a pizza-like shape. “Where are the potatoes?”

“I don’t wanna get fat.” Ryan pointed to one of the cupboards. “It’s not like I can exercise that much.”

“That’s my point.” Liam smiled at him and took out two potatoes. “If you don’t want to gain weight, fries and frozen food should be the last thing on your menu.”

“It’s just… there’s a lot of stuff I don’t really like.” God, why was he doing this to himself? Always employing the best looking caretakers. He could bet this one would end up a proper failure, but couldn’t stop himself anyway.

Liam’s low, masculine voice snatched him back to earth. “So tell me what you like and I’ll think of something. It’ll be great to cook without the stress and haste of a restaurant.”

Ryan couldn’t stop watching those large hands at work. He wondered, whether Liam was genuinely happy, or was it just one of those things people said to their boss to seem more work-oriented. “So… I really like potatoes in any form. And chicken, I guess.”

“I am so fucking tired.” Fay stormed into the kitchen wearing just a pink tank top and denim hotpants. Ryan couldn’t afford to hire any more people, so he got her to pose as a secretary earlier today, even though she was mainly working as cleaner.

She blinked, stopping mid-way when she spotted Liam by the counter. “Oh, hi! I heard you got the job. Congratulations.”

Liam winked at her. “Thanks, I guess you brought me some good luck.” He threw freshly cut potato squares into boiling water. God, this man was great with a knife. Maybe it was for the better that he was straight. Ryan could still admire him, but wouldn’t get any stupid ideas. And since there was no thought police, he could fantasize all he wanted.

“I’m Fay and I live here too.” She greeted Liam with a handshake and sat down by the table.

“What else do you want on the pizza, Ryan? I think sausage, tomatoes and onion would work well with the potatoes.” Liam turned on the coffee machine.

Ryan furrowed his eyebrows. “Nah… maybe just cheese?” All those foods were out of his comfort zone. It was exciting to have someone who actually knew how to cook around, but it unnerved him nonetheless.

Fay laughed and reached out to pinch his arm. “You’re gonna have a problem with him, Liam. He’s such a fussy eater!”

“Oh?” Liam blinked at them. “Why don’t you try it? I promise, it will be good.”

“I’m not fussy!” Ryan didn’t want to look like a problem. “I’m just a bit picky and yes, I’ll be willing to try.” He gave Fay a meaningful look, as she tied back her long, burnt-blonde hair. “Just… if you could leave a bit with just the potatoes….”

“Oh come on… sausage is meat, onion is… practically a spice and tomatoes are great. Everyone loves tomatoes.” Liam gave Ryan a heart melting smile, chopping the said onion rhythmically, as if it were the easiest thing in the world. Most people would have cut their fingers by now, but no, Liam chopped his onion like the fucking pro he was. Damn. Even the way he chopped tomatoes was getting Ryan hot.

“Woo hoo! Someone’s got a pair of skillful hands.” Fay winked at Ryan, who only rolled his eyes.

“I said I’ll try it,” he muttered.

“If you want, I’ll leave a quarter with just potatoes and cheese, but something makes me think I’ll be the one to chomp it down.” Liam wiggled his eyebrows with a smug smile.

Within five minutes, he put the pizza into the oven, closing it with a jerk of his hip, and took a seat at the table. “Are we having any guests tonight?”

“There’s this couple renting the Japanese Tearoom.” Fay stretched in the chair with a high-pitched groan. Ryan was fairly certain she aimed to impress Liam with her tits. They weren’t even that big. “But the ones from yesterday… they stayed in the Psych Ward and they left a proper mess.”

“It’s been a bit slow lately,” said Ryan, playing around with a napkin. He had boasted about having guests from all over the country and didn’t want Fay to burst that bubble too soon. He didn’t want to seem like a failure.

Liam frowned as he filled three mugs with coffee and shoved one towards Ryan. “Did something happen? Is it the economy?”

Ryan shifted in his chair. “Noo… I guess it’s how it goes. I have to think of a better way to get the word out about the hotel. Maybe hire a professional photographer when I have some spare cash. Save up and get the place in better shape?” He smiled at the coffee in his hands. It smelled delicious. And he didn’t even have to make it himself!

“Oh… well, what about those people coming here from other states?” Liam took the band out of his hair, letting it fall to his shoulders. Ryan couldn’t help but stare.

“Well, they do. Just not as often as we would like–”

“What is that delicious smell?” Rodney came into the kitchen, sniffing around like hungry dog. Which was very fitting, considering his passion for puppy-play and the thick collar around his neck, one that was clearly not meant for people. Ryan could only hope it wouldn’t make Liam feel too uncomfortable.

“Hi Rod. This is my new caretaker, Liam.” Ryan was eager to make his new team member feel welcome. “Rodney lives here too. He’s a sort of receptionist slash handyman.” And another person he really liked to have around to look at. Even broader in the shoulders than Liam, buff, with a short beard and a particular liking for rubber clothing, which showed off those assets.

“Hi, nice to meet you.” Liam grinned, shaking Rodney’s hand. Ryan wondered what his kink was. Maybe he could find out if he did the tour with him? There had to be something if he was so happy to live here.

“The guests are all settled in, I showed them everything and they have my number if they have any problems,” Rodney said to Ryan and joined everyone at the table. “And what’s your deal, Liam? You’re gonna help out little Ryan?”

“Oh for fucks sake.” Ryan punched his arm.

Liam chuckled and God, this sound was sexy as hell. “I dig food,” he said, his face serious all of a sudden.

Fay cocked her head. “You’re not some kinda cannibal? I don’t think Ryan’s into that.”

“Guys, I’m sitting next to you, you know.”

“I’m only working for him, so don’t be too jealous.” Liam winked at Rodney and got up to get the pizza out. By this point, the whole kitchen smelled like a million dollars.

“Nah, me and Ryan wouldn’t work. Sorry kid, but you know it.” Rodney patted Ryan’s arm and pulled on his own earlobe with the other hand.

Oh, Ryan definitely knew it. For all he knew, Rod was pretty much only a bottom. To say ‘things would not work between them’ was an understatement.

Liam shrugged and laid the pizza on a large plate in the middle on the table. “Whatever rocks your boat, man. Is this hotel born out of passion, so to speak?” He smiled at Ryan, who smelled the hot air and closed his eyes for a moment. The pizza did look great, even if he was already feeling anxious about the unknown produce on it.

“Yeah!” He could feel his cheeks getting hotter than they should. “I wanted to make a fun, safe place for all sorts of kinky people. So you have rooms with different themes.”

While his staff already started with their slices, he was still dubious about trying the onions. The whole thing did smell amazing though, so he cut off a small piece for starters. Liam’s eyes seemed to follow the piece as Ryan held it to his mouth, probably waiting for his new employer’s verdict.

“So what’s your kink, Ryan?” Liam asked good-naturedly, but turned his attention to Fay as she patted his shoulder with her mouth stuffed over capacity. She certainly liked the dinner.

Ryan chewed on his pizza, trying to get accustomed to the texture and crunch of onion pieces. He wasn’t completely sure about it, but showed Liam a thumbs up. “You should ask what doesn’t turn me on.” He swallowed the food and grinned. There was something about his new caretaker that made him feel comfortable around him. Liam seemed easy going and non-judgmental.

“Ho ho ho!” Liam leaned back in the chair, stuffing his mouth full of pizza, but that didn’t stop him from talking. “What’s your favorite room then?”

Ryan furrowed his eyebrows. The Kill Room was scary and sexy, but then the Psych Ward was so white and clinical that it sent shivers down his spine. He never had a chance to have sex with anyone in it, but it sure as hell didn’t stop him from considering it his favorite jerk off room. “The Psych Ward,” he decided in all seriousness.

Liam grinned. “That does sound kinky. Straitjackets and stuff?”

“Yup, and an exam chair, and disposable speculums. It’s the whole deal!” Fay licked her fingers, which looked particularly obscene because of her long, pink fingernails. Oh well, some habits die hard.

“That sounds promising.” Liam nodded, lost in thought.

“What? Is that your thing?” Rodney laughed. “It even has cushioned walls. I reupholstered the whole room myself.”

“Me?” Liam looked at the other man while chewing on another piece of pizza. “I’m into bondage, so I like most stuff that restricts my partner.”

Ryan stopped chewing, trying not to stare at Liam. Oh fuck. Oh fuck. Oh fuck. He would so get tied up by this guy! He knew it was just a useless dream, but damn… Those tats obscured by Liam’s top… he’d love to see them all. All sorts of fucked up fantasies started to pop up in his brain like ads on a porn site.

“Ho! Looks like Ryan had a good hunch to employ you.” Fay got herself a milkshake from the fridge and took a sip from the bottle.

“It’s all my fault.” Liam’s laugh was so carefree and happy. “What about you Fay? I deserve to know now.”

She rolled her eyes. “Oh, I’ve been in the business too long to appreciate the weird stuff. Thank you very much! And by business, I mean business.”

Liam shrugged, completely undisturbed by the blatant confession. “Fair enough.”

“But she’s retired now,” Ryan was quick to add. He didn’t want Liam to jump to assumptions about her. “That’s not her job here.”

Fay just snorted, playing with her hair again. “Thanks for clearing that up, kid.”

“I don’t have problems with that.” Liam drank some more coffee and darted a questioning look at Rodney, who pulled at his ear again.

“Okay, okay, it’s my turn, is it? So I’ll give you a hint. There’s a room called The Dog Pound. That’s mine. Woof!” He took another slice of pizza with a wide grin.

The barking sound made Liam’s brows almost reach his hairline. He had such thick, sandy hair. “Okay…”

“I hope it’s not scaring you off?” Ryan asked. Fuck. He couldn’t wait to get into the shower with this guy. Only to have his hair dyed of course. No ulterior motive. Just being picked up by him and being so helpless in his arms would force him to delve into non-sexy thoughts to keep an erection at bay.

“No, not really. I just haven’t spoken to anyone with this kink before. Not that I know of at least.” Liam looked Rodney in the eye. “And I understand you are the dog?”

“Yeah.” Rod flashed him a self-satisfied smile. “There’s masks, leashes, cages and stuff like that in the Dog Pound.”

All Ryan could repeatedly hear in his head was Liam saying: ‘I’m into bondage’ in that rich, masculine voice. He seemed like a caring guy too, but was he still like that when his girlfriends were all strapped and on his mercy?

“Ryan! Ryan!”

When he came to, all three sets of eyes were on him.

“I said did you try to put posters in some clubs in San Diego? There is an S&M scene here.” Liam crooked his head.

“Huh?” He snapped out of his day dream. “No, I still have to get them designed. And some flyers maybe. I’m a bit too shy to actually go to the clubs.” He laughed, avoiding Liam’s gaze and trying to ignore the way Rod and Fay exchanged glances. He was open about his kinks and talking about them, but actually trying to meet someone simply freaked him out. Especially that the wheelchair made most people uncomfortable. And when it didn’t, it turned out all they wanted was a fuck and that wasn’t what he was looking for.

“What if I went with you?” There was this smile again. Ryan couldn’t understand why he was doing it to himself time after time. He should have hired the ugly nurse. Then again, if he fell for Liam, it would sure get ugly.

Fay laughed and stood up to clean the dishes. “Oh yeah Ryan. That’s a great idea. Maybe you’d finally get some action.”

“Maybe when I get the flyers done…” His eyes met Liam’s and he didn’t like what he saw this time one bit. It was pity. He was pitying him for not getting laid because of the wheelchair. “Oh don’t you worry. I get enough action,” he quickly said. “Just ‘cause you don’t get to meet my dates, doesn’t mean they’re not there.”

Fay turned her back at him, when she started washing up. “Just saying.”

“Internet’s like the god of sex.” Rodney looked up, as if he were staring at some kind of kinky supernatural being.

Liam burst out laughing. “Seriously, man…”

“Ah, fuck you,” Ryan muttered and moved away from the table. “None of you know about all my hook-ups. I don’t kiss and tell.” He was not having Liam think that he was a wheelchair using, virgin gay boy, who only jerks off to Internet porn all day. Even if it was all the action he was getting right now.

“No, seriously guys!” Rodney didn’t pay any attention to Ryan’s tantrum. “Forty years ago, what could you do if you wanted to, say, cum into a teddy bear and then give it to someone else to fuck? Sure, you could pay some junkie or homeless guy to do it, but it isn’t as fun if they don’t get off on it too, right?”

Liam just stared at him. “Oh man, that’s fucked up…”

Ryan shrugged, wheeling towards the door. He hoped Liam would get the hint. “People have very different needs. It’s not always something you can just keep in the closet.”

His new caretaker was smart enough to say some quick goodbyes and follow him. “Hey, I’m not judging. Anyone can do whatever they want as long as I’m not forced to watch.”

“That’s the spirit! And…” he started, when they slowly moved along the dark hallway. The thick velvet wallpaper seemed to swallow the light. “I’m not saying I’m some man magnet, but I do get some, all right?”

Liam gave him a small smile. “Why wouldn’t you? I had a friend who married a guy like you.”

“It’s just… hard with gay guys sometimes. A lot of them are all about being fit and shit,” Ryan said as they reached the elevator and he pressed the button. He was lucky to have all those wheelchair-accessible features in the house. His uncle was paraplegic, hence the decision to make the whole house accessible for him, and later, for Ryan. He could even access the pier from the house on his own.

Liam leaned against the wall, his strong body curving into a perfect line. “Yeah, I get it… especially if you want go long term, right?”

“Well, yeah. It’s not hard to find someone who wants to get their dick sucked. The problems start when they’d have to put more effort into it.” Even saying that was getting Ryan angry. His love life was a failure on so many levels.

Liam sighed and put a hand on his shoulder. It was large and very hot. “I guess women might be more flexible.”

Ryan shook his head, as they moved into the small elevator. “Good for you, but you’re not helping.” He sighed.

“There are some great guys out there. Maybe you should be going to the clubs? Just saying…”

“I don’t have a driver’s license, but since I got you now, maybe I will go.” Ryan forced a smile. He just never felt comfortable in gay clubs. Like some kind of freak people approached out of curiosity.

“Sure thing, I don’t mind,” Liam said as the elevator stopped, opening into a dark corridor with no windows. One more floor to go.

“Unless, you’d feel uncomfortable. I’d totally get that!” Ryan wheeled out and turned on the light. This was the part he really liked. He liked it enough to pretend the elevator wouldn’t go to the top floor. Of course, he felt guilty about it, but what could a guy do if he liked getting carried as much as he did?

“So it’s the top floor and uhm… the elevator’s broken for the last bit. If you can carry me up to the room?” His heart was already pounding. He could actually feel the blood pulsing faster in his thighs as the straps were attached so tightly.

Liam blinked. “Oh, sure thing!” And just like that, Ryan was back in those strong arms. He closed his eyes, inhaling Liam’s fresh and soapy scent. “And don’t worry about the club, it’s not like I’m gonna get gangbanged in the middle of the dancefloor.”

Ryan grabbed onto his neck. “Who knows. With your looks, you actually might.” He chuckled, imagining a heap of naked men throwing themselves at his new caretaker . It would be just like the best bits of a football game, improved by the lack of clothes.

“I know, right?” Liam didn’t seem bothered with this little bit of sexual harassment in the workplace, and started climbing up the stairs.

“Just don’t take any drinks from strangers,” Ryan said in a serious tone, but struggled to keep a straight face. Liam was not only sexy, he was so funny too.

“That’s all right, I’ll have you to back me up.”

They reached the top floor, moonlight casting a warm glow inside through a huge window hanging over the staircase. Rodney and Fay lived downstairs, close to the kitchen, so he would be alone with Liam.

“I can always run them over with my monster truck wheelchair.” He pointed at a door with a big blue ‘radioactive’ sign on it to indicate where they were heading.

Liam cackled, opening the door with his hip. “I can see it on the news. ‘He saved my ass with his big-ass wheels’.”

“‘Ryan, age twenty five, takes care of his caretaker’,” he snorted and pressed his body tighter against Liam’s, under the pretense of avoiding bumping into the door frame. He loved how hard Liam’s torso felt.

“Take care of him now and turn on the light, smartass.”

Ryan leaned away with one arm and reached for the switch. The room was instantly illuminated with green light from the big crystal chandelier. It was one of the reasons he chose living up here over the comfort of the ground floor. It used to be his aunt and uncle’’s room and even though he made some significant changes, the chandelier stayed. Plus, the room was massive and had a grand balcony that faced the seaside, a bathroom fit for a disabled person, and even an adjoined room, for a caretaker.

When Liam put him down to the bed, he was tempted to grab that long hair and pull him onto the covers, but he didn’t do it, of course. They shared a few more laughs and then, his new caretaker went back down to fetch the wheelchair.

Ryan looked up at the posters of tattooed hunks on the ceiling above his bed. Oh, he wouldn’t be thinking of any of them tonight. When Liam brought in the chair, they arranged that he’ll wait in his new room for Ryan to prepare for the hair dying.

As soon as Liam disappeared behind the door, Ryan locked it using both the key and the external lock, and frantically wheeled over to the bed. One thing he was really ashamed off were his legs. If he was going to get help in the shower, he needed to change into his wetsuit pants. He had them custom made, with sides reinforced for extra stiffness and attached fitted rubber socks, designed so that his only foot wouldn’t move much.

He methodically unbuckled every little strap of his leg braces, starting with the thighs and continuing onto the kneecaps, to finally take off the stirrups and go on to do the same on the other leg. He felt strangely vulnerable to have his legs free, like after taking off a corset. And he would know, cause he wore a medical one at some point. It was constricting and uncomfortable, but gave him a feeling of safety and confinement. The day it was finally removed was among the scariest in his life.

Looking back at the door, just to make sure that the locks were in fact closed, he stretched out his legs, feeling that pleasant tingling in his muscles after a whole day of forced immobility. He got up and stretched once more, before quickly limping over to the wardrobe. Walking on a prosthetic foot was awkward and made Ryan imagine how useless it had to look. He had to be careful for no one to find out his secret, but he got used to it and having his legs look limp came naturally. Sometimes, it seemed it was the way they should have been.

Even when on his own, he would usually move around in the wheelchair, apart from the time he used for daily exercise, but he had no time to spare right now. Liam was waiting for him, and Ryan wanted to be in the shower with him as soon as it was humanly possible. He threw all his clothes on the bed and sat down on the floor to put on the wetsuit pants. Maybe Liam would take him to the beach someday? He looked like someone who surfed, so maybe that tattoo below his collar bones had a double meaning? Ryan smiled at the thought, pushing his prosthetic foot into the stiff rubber sock. After all these years, even looking at it made him cringe. He didn’t know what was worse, the plastic foot, the stump or the burn scars all over his legs. It was always a relief to put on a pair of pants and forget about the disgusting scars for the day. Yet another thing guys wouldn’t find hot to see.

It wasn’t really the easiest thing to walk in the stiff orthopedic wetsuit pants, so he fastened the last zipper already back in the wheelchair. Despite the initial hurry, he took his time to calm down before opening his door and moving towards Liam’s bedroom, already feeling self conscious about being half naked.

Ryan took a deep breath and knocked.

*

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