Prompt: Would love to see Cael and Ash baking on a lazy rainy Saturday. Cakes, cookies, all kinds of heavenly sugary goods. Maybe Ash finally sharing or showing the how-to of a recipe Cael just never could get right. Just them goofing off and having a good day. Would like it to be after they got officially together. And as always, a little touchy-feely never hurt anyone. ;)****SPOILER ALERT**** This takes place after Thick & Thin.
Part One last week. Read it here.
“I think maybe we should stay in today. I’ll call Sloane and tell him we’re gonna have a quiet evening in tonight.” Ash brushed his fingers down Cael’s cheek, smiling when Cael looked up at him.
“Really? Are you sure?”
“Am I sure? You’re right. Maybe I should think about this.” Ash pretended to be giving it serious thought. “Do I want to spend a lazy day with my boyfriend, touching him, kissing him, hanging out, doing incredibly dirty things to him, or do I want to spend the day listening to Dex and Sloane argue over the existence of X-Men? That’s a tough one. I know Dex makes a very solid case, and there’s always the possibility of my getting to smother him with one of Sloane’s ridiculous throw pillows, but Sloane’s kinda grown attached to the dork, so the chances of him letting me strangle his fiancé are quite slim. Hm.” He scratched his stubbly jaw, holding back a smile at Cael’s adorably unimpressed expression. “It’s tough. I won’t lie. But I think I’m going to go with spending the day with my boyfriend. Even if he’s looking at me like he wants to throat punch me.”
Cael arched an eyebrow at him. “You could have just said yes.”
Ash laughed. “I could have, but then I wouldn’t have gotten to see your adorable pout.”
“I’m not pouting,” Cael grumbled.
Right. “I’m going to go call him real quick, then I’ll be back downstairs to help you clean up.” He kissed the side of Cael’s head before heading upstairs to the nightstand where he’d left his phone. Sloane picked up on the second ring, laughing and calling out over his shoulder.
“You’re lucky you’re pretty, babe, because you are so wrong right now. Indy would totally kick Hans’s ass. Hey, Ash.”
“The level of nerd I’m being exposed to right now is seriously damaging to my health so I’m going to make this quick. We’re going to give tonight I miss. You guys go on without us.”
“Keep this to yourself, but Cael’s freaking out a little about the new job.”
There was some shifting before the room went quiet, probably from Sloane moving away from wherever Dex was. “Dex has been worried about him. He knows something's wrong, but Cael keeps insisting he’s fine.”
“Yeah, well, he’s not.” Ash sat on the edge of the bed with a sigh. “He still hasn’t opened up, but he did his Cael thing where he just blurts something out, and it was about you and Dex getting sent somewhere that puts Therians to death.”
Sloane cursed under his breath.
“The thing is,” Ash closed his eyes, and pushed down his own fears. “He ain’t wrong, Sloane. And just knowing you two could be sent to one of those places without us to back you up….”
Sloane went quiet for a moment before speaking up. “You could.”
“Back us up. You’re an asset now, Ash. You and the team.”
Ash narrowed his eyes. “Yeah, we are, but you two have a habit of running off and doing shit on your own instead of asking for help.” The more Ash thought about it, the more pissed off he got. He jumped to his feet and started pacing. “You know what? No. You get sent to one of those places, you’re calling me for backup. You got that? I don’t want to hear any bitching, whining, or pathetic excuses. You go somewhere with heavy firepower or fucked up laws, and you better put in a call to whoever the fuck you gotta call, and put me on the first flight to wherever the fuck, because if you don’t—”
“Don’t fuck with me on this, Sloane.”
“Ash, there is no one I would rather have watching my back, or Dex’s, than you. I will call you. I swear on my mother’s grave.”
Ash stilled. He inhaled deeply through his nose then released it through his mouth, the tension easing from his shoulders. “Okay.”
“Let us know if you need any help with Cael.”
“Will do. Can you keep this under wraps for a little while? I don’t want Dex barging in here in big-brother-mode. Cael needs time to process this shit, and Dex isn’t exactly patient when it comes to family.”
“I can buy you some time, but keep me posted, okay?”
“Thanks. Oh, and Rick Deckard could kick both Hans and Indy’s asses.” Ash laughed at Sloane’s curses then hung up. Dweebs. Bringing his cell phone with him, he headed downstairs, his heart squeezing at Cael standing in front of the sink just staring down into the sudsy water.
“Hey,” Ash said softly, coming up beside him so as not to spook him. Cheetah Therians were anxious by nature, and Ash made sure to always be aware of the fact. Cael blinked as if waking up from whatever trance he was in. He smiled brightly at Ash, and it was the most beautiful smile he’d ever seen.
Ash chuckled before kissing him. “Hi, sweetheart.”
“Did they mind us not joining them?” Cael asked, going back to washing the dishes.
“Nah. You know them. They’re probably going to spend the day being all disgustingly lovey-dovey.” Ash wrapped his arms around Cael, and nuzzled his temple.
“As opposed to our lovey-dovey,” Cael teased.
“I’ll have you know, my cuddles are the epitome of manliness.”
Cael laughed, and Ash couldn’t help his smile. He loved making Cael laugh.
“What did you do with all the leftovers?” Ash asked, opening the fridge and getting his answer. It was filled with plastic containers.
“I’m going to try out some of Darla’s breakfast casseroles. Cal swears by them.”
Ash couldn’t argue with that. No one knew casseroles like Darla Summers. He helped Cael finish cleaning up around the kitchen, then leaned against the counter, facing Cael. “So what do you want to do first?” If they just took things easy, Cael would relax, and maybe even feel at ease enough to talk about what was going on in his frantic little cheetah Therian mind. Even when Cael was still, his thoughts were racing.
Cael went thoughtful. “Maybe after we shower and get dressed, you could show me how you make your angel food cake. I can’t seem to ever get mine as fluffy as yours.”
Ash couldn’t help his dopey grin. “That sounds great.” He brought Cael in for a kiss, wondering when it had all become so… normal. Falling asleep with Cael in his arms, waking up to his sweet smile, and finding joy in the little things he had once thought as nothing more than a mundane necessity. When had he started getting all sappy over cooking with his boyfriend, or just hanging around the apartment? Fuck. Sloane was on to something. Ash never thought he’d look forward to just spending the day at home with someone. He tolerated people in small doses, and a good portion of the time, not at all, but with Cael everything was different.
Part three next week on 3/16/17!
Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.