Both men stayed home, carefully avoiding the other. She couldn’t keep them in the same room for more than a few minutes at a time. Thomas let Tyler make lunch. After they finished eating, he wordlessly helped clean up the kitchen. Ah good. Finally, a thaw.
She needed to act before her afternoon pain pill knocked her out. It had to be today. The tension in the air suffocated her. She wanted to curl up with her boys—both of them.
When they finished cleaning the kitchen she called them into the living room to stand before her. She’d retrieved her phone from the office on her last potty trip. Tyler’s BlackBerry was clipped to his slacks.
She held out her hand. “Tyler, give me your phone.”
She snapped her fingers. “Give it.” Puzzled but compliant, he unclipped the holster and handed it to her.
Thomas watched, curious.
She studied her boys for a long moment then used the remote to mute the TV. She deliberately kept her voice soft.
“I want you to stay silent and listen. Simply nod or shake your heads unless I ask you a question requiring an answer, understand?”
The men glanced at each other, but nodded.
“Good. I love you. Both of you, got that? Not one or the other. We were perfectly happy a little over two weeks ago, and I want that happiness back. Do you still love me?”
They immediately nodded.
“Do you still love each other?”
The men nodded—Tyler first, without hesitation.
“Good.” She let the silence settle for a moment, allowing them to ponder that. “Am I still your little slave?”
“Are you still both my masters?”
“This morning, you have each promised me you’d do whatever I asked. Did you mean it?”
Another glance at each other, but they nodded.
Thomas started to say something and she pointed at him. “Did I say you could speak? That was an order, not a question.”
His mouth snapped shut, and he shook his head.
The men looked at her, then each other, and started undressing.
She smiled, nodding. “Very good,” she purred. “That pleases me.”
When they stood naked before her, she let them stand there for a few long minutes before speaking. “Thomas, why did you fall in love with Tyler?”
“Did you not hear the question, or did you not understand it?”
He frowned, studying her. She saw the wheels turning in his head, trying to figure out what she was up to. She struggled to keep her gaze off Tyler. She knew Tyler understood, and Nevvie didn’t want Thomas to think Tyler was in on this, tag-teaming him and backing him into a corner where his ego would force him to resist her efforts.
Thomas finally answered. “I fell in love with him for a lot of reasons.”
“Did you guys have sex on the first date?” She already knew this but had to make him remember.
He looked at the floor. “No. We went out for coffee.” She watched him steal a glance at Tyler, who stood with his arms crossed while studying the ceiling fan.
“What happened on your date?”
“We talked for about four hours.”
“Tell me about your next date. What did you do?” Again she knew this, but in light of her recent insights she now understood why Tyler did what he did.
“He called me the next day and asked if I wanted to go with him to a Lightning game. The Thrashers were in town. I said sure.”
Thomas didn’t speak at first. Then, with a soft voice full of memories, “He got us box seats, center ice. Expensive seats.”
“Was it a good game?”
He shrugged. “I was rooting for the Thrashers, but it didn’t matter that the Bolts won. I normally rooted for them.”
“How did Tyler like it?”
A hint of a smile. “It was his first hockey game ever.” Thomas shook his head. “He thought an icing call was when the players cut hard and sprayed snow.” She smiled, as did Tyler. Thomas finally looked at his lover. “He didn’t know what checking meant. I had to explain it all to him, why they’d stop playing when the light at the officials’ bench went on, what a power play was, everything. It was cute.”
“If he’d never been to a hockey game before, why did he take you?”
Thomas remained quiet for a long moment. “Because I’d mentioned it when we had coffee. We were discussing sports and I said I liked hockey.”
“Tell me about your next date.”
“He cooked me dinner.”
“What’d he make?”
“Pork chops and sweet potato soufflé.”
“Interesting choice. Most people would try to impress with steak or something fancy.”
Thomas looked at the ceiling. She knew she’d made progress because his eyes moistened. “All right. He could have written my biography by our third date, and we went out two weeks before I even asked him about his family. I was an insensitive asshole. Point made.”
“No, point not made,” she insisted. “Turn and face each other.”
They looked at her, but complied.
They inched closer, still not touching, but she let them be. “What did Tyler give you your first Christmas together when you were dating?” She knew they’d only been together a couple of months at that point.
Thomas frowned then studied his feet again. “A Frank Lloyd Wright book I’d been looking for and couldn’t find because it was out of print. I couldn’t find any copies. He snagged a mint first edition.”
“What did you give him?” He didn’t answer. “Thomas?”
“All right.” He sighed. “I gave him a Wal-Mart gift card.” He looked at her. “Yes, I know, I was a schmuck. He hadn’t had time to wear off on me yet. I was still in grad school for chrissake.”
She laughed. Tyler smiled. Tyler had educated Thomas in many ways since then. “What did he say when you gave it to him?”
“He acted like it was the best thing he’d ever got.”
She let that sink in a moment before softly asking, “Why did you fall in love with Tyler?”
Thomas rubbed his nose. “Because he made me feel like I was the most important person in the world. He didn’t try to change me. I know I’m not stupid, but he’s classy and he never made me feel like I wasn’t, even back then. Because I was still in school and making shit money, and frankly I was a loud-mouthed asshole jock back then, but he wasn’t ashamed to take me to meet his friends or the professors he worked with. He was always proud of me even though his friends turned their noses up at me because I wasn’t classy enough in their eyes.”
He took a deep breath and finally met Tyler’s steady gaze. “He made me feel loved.”
You can get all five books in the Love Slave for Two series from Siren-BookStrand, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others. The reading order is: