Holiday Guests

Thanks to Sean, Mike and Jodie for their help and encouragement.

Liam quickly climbed the stairs leading to the rear of his master's apartment. By his calculations, he was behind schedule and still had one or two dinner preparations to finish before guests arrived. His arms were loaded down with as much as was humanly possible for one man to carry.

Of course, it was partially his master's fault that he was running somewhat late. Liam had been told to take his time and enjoy the Christmas sights on his way home. The fresh fallen snow made that easy. Besides, the throngs of shoppers jamming the sidewalks would have made rushing all but impossible.

Liam had spent several long minutes gazing at the wonders in the large display windows of the local 5-and-10 cent store. A replica of what many would consider the North Pole, complete with reindeer, sleigh, elves, and snowmen, took up most the space; but not enough to exclude Santa and a large pile of toys to delight the children as they walked by. `Santa Claus Is Coming to Town' blasted from speakers hanging overhead. But it was the model train that kept him enthralled and ate up most of his free time.

Although he had enjoyed this time on his own, Liam had also missed the presence of his beloved master. Ever since Emerson had learned that his slave had never been picked up at school by a parent like his fellow classmates had, the older man had made it a point to be waiting outside the school Liam attend three afternoons a week. Today, however, had been one of those rare occasions when Emerson had to be elsewhere.

As he reached the back door and was fumbling for his key, Liam once again wondered if this special season was celebrated in any way by his master. The big day was less than a week away and the man had not said anything on the subject and as much as he would have liked to know, Liam hadn't felt it was his place to ask.

Expecting to enter an empty apartment, he was surprised to hear music coming from the living room. After hanging up his coat and stepping out of his boots, he left his bags on the kitchen counter and headed toward the joyous strains with a smile on his face.

He came to a halt in the entranceway to the main room and stared in amazement at the wonder standing in the corner. He was drawn to it like a magnet; his young face lit up, his eyes wide and his mouth hanging open.

A tall man stood there watching a play of emotions moving across his slave's beautiful countenance that rivalled the beauty of the decorated tree.

"So this is what kept you busy this afternoon." Liam sent a mock glare at his master.

"I wanted to surprise you and it seems I succeeded, didn't I?"

Liam nodded. "Does this mean that Christmas comes to your home, Master?" he whispered, scarcely daring to hope.

"But of course, Liam. Why would you think otherwise?"

Liam shrugged uncomfortably. "I've just never lived in a home that Christmas came to," he answered, not really wanting to explain further. "Maybe I shouldn't even be here for yours as I've been told I ruin things for people."

"That could never be the truth here. It is your absence that would spoil the festivities. After all, who else is there to prepare my turkey dinner with all the trimmings?" Emerson teased. He was totally unaware of his slave putting a completely different spin on the query.

"Of course; I understand, Master." Liam's shoulders slumped as he took one last look at the tree. Then he straightened up and put on a brave front. "Speaking of dinners, I better get back to finishing off tonight's if it is going to be ready by the time your guests arrive."

"My slave, you've been so taken with the tree you haven't noticed my guests are here." Emerson smiled and indicated the two men sitting on the sofa behind them with a nod of his head in their direction. "They arrived a little earlier than planned."

Liam's stomach plummeted when he saw who was sitting there and he began to feel a little nauseous. His expression of shock was mirrored by those of his master's two guests. "I-I better get to work," he stammered and made a bee-line for the kitchen, an area he considered a sanctuary.

Emerson caught the exchange and instantly felt a sense of disquiet. For just a moment, he speculated on what possible connection Liam had to Luther and Miles; as there certainly appeared to be one.

"Why is he here?" Luther demanded, getting to his feet at the same time as he swatted away his partner's hand.

Emerson's frown deepened. "I'm quite sure I mentioned having a companion, Luther. But right now, I’d like to know just who you think Liam is." Emerson worked at keeping his voice cordial. Although, he had never cared much for Luther, the man was presently his guest. More important, he was Miles' life-partner and Dom. And it was mostly for Miles sake, that Emerson succeeded in making the supreme effort needed to tolerate the man.

"I'm sorry," Luther apologized, retaking his seat beside Miles. "I was just so surprised at seeing him again after all this time. And living with a Dom would have been the last place I'd ever expect to find him."

Liam griped the edges of the sink so tightly his knuckles turned white. He closed his eyes and gasped for breath. Even Cassie jumping onto the counter and running her rough pink tongue over his cheek failed to comfort him. What were they saying to his master? Were they telling him he was a liar and thief? Would his master believe them? He tried to remember what his master had told him about his guests and realized no names had been mentioned. The only info Liam had been given was that one of them had once been a sub for his master. However, that part of their relationship had been short-lived because the sub had wanted to play heavier than his master had. But their friendship had continued.

He felt the tears burning behind his eyelids and drew in one final deep cleansing breath. `Just keep busy and put it out of your mind,' he admonished himself. `It is out of your control.'

Filling a large pot with water, he placed it on the burner to boil. Then he set about putting his purchases away before setting the table in the dining room.

Several minutes later, he surveyed his work and heaved a sigh of satisfaction at having perfectly set out service for three, with napkins professionally folded and white wine chilling in the ice bucket.

Back in the kitchen, he dropped the fettuccini in the boiling water and turned the heat on low under the pan of homemade, garlic-free Alfredo sauce. He sprinkled shredded cheese over slices of Italian bread and popped the tray in the oven to brown while he tore up the romaine lettuce and tossed it into a large bowl. He added bacon bits, croutons, freshly grated parmesan cheese and his own secret Caesar salad dressing, again sans garlic.

When all was ready, he walked over to the living room and announced, "Dinner is served, Master."

Emerson was not surprised by there being one place missing at the table. His slave seldom ate with him when guests were present. He nodded with pride when he saw the meticulous care that had been taken in the preparation of this meal. He just dared anyone to make a negative comment as he'd have enjoyed clipping whoever said anything inappropriate across the back of the head. Luther had already made several derogatory remarks about Liam, and Emerson was getting fed up.

"Go ahead, gentlemen; help yourselves. I just want to go check on my boy."

He found Liam standing at the kitchen sink apparently trying to wear through the bottom of a pot with the aid of a stainless-steel scrubbing pad. There was an extra dinner plate on the counter with what Emerson considered an insufficient amount of food on it; but he was willing to let the issue of quantity go. That would be the only leeway given.

Reaching around Liam, Emerson pulled his slave away from the task at hand. "I want your word that you will stop what you're doing and eat this meal you've put aside."

"I am not hungry, Master. May I eat it later?"

"No! It's now or you will kneel beside me while I eat and I will feed you."

That startled Liam. As a rule, he enjoyed the intimacy of being fed by his master as it made him feel cared for. However, it had always been something they did privately.

"You have my promise, Master." Liam submissively bowed his head. He felt a hand lightly caressing his hair and knew he had the older man's approval.

An hour passed and three satisfied men pushed back from the table to loosen their belts.

"My compliments to the chef," Miles generously offered. "That dessert was to die for!"

"Thank you. Liam will be pleased to hear that." Emerson smiled at his old friend. "Is anyone up for a brandy in the living room?" He had two takers.


Liam spent the better part of the evening puttering around the kitchen and had just put the last plate in the cupboard when the summons came. He had been both expecting and dreading it, all the while wondering if he'd be asked for his side of the events leading up to his impromptu departed from Luther and Miles' home. His master's guests were in their room settling down for the night, so Liam locked up and turned out the lights as he slowly walked to where he knew his master was waiting.

He found Emerson sitting on the long ottoman at the foot of the oversized sleigh-bed in the master bedroom. No instructions were needed as Liam silently removed and folded his clothing before kneeling naked in front of the older man and placing his forehead against his master's knee.

He wasn't surprised to hear the deep voice softy speaking above his head, but the first question caught him off guard. He had expected the third degree about his stay with Luther and Miles; instead he was asked why he had never lived in a place where Christmas was celebrated.

Emerson patiently carded his long fingers through his slave's hair, generously giving him time to respond.

"Gordon and Marion never made a fuss over traditions like Christmas, birthdays and such," Liam began with a slight shrug. He glanced up in order to philosophically emphasize, "I may not have had an ideal childhood, but I am sure many others had it worse."

Emerson already knew his slave was referring to the couple who had been his legal-guardians and he gritted his teeth. Liam had no extended family and in Emerson's opinion, Liam's immediate family had always left a lot to be desired. Liam had not had contact with them in over five years and Emerson considered it a blessing in disguise.

"Do you have any memories at all of past Christmases?"

Liam sighed as he struggled to answer the question. "It seemed they drank a little more, I guess. I vaguely remember us going to the country and spending some of the holidays with friends. One year, there were a couple of little girls my age visiting. They got stockings."

"And you didn't?"

"Nope; cause boys don't get them." Liam's expression clearly showed his belief in that detail being common knowledge.

The teeth grinding was beginning to hurt, so Emerson made more of an effort to relax.

"Hmm, and of course it stands to reason you had little means of celebrating when living on the streets or at the train depot." It was a statement which didn't required confirmation.

"Well certainly not with a family or a home-type atmosphere," Liam ruefully admitted. Unable to deal any longer with the mounting tension of stewing over the impeding drop of the hammer, he shifted anxiously and daringly broached the subject he feared most. "I didn't break the vase, Master. And I didn't lie about it either." He hung his head and closed his eyes in a silent prayer to be believed.

"I know you didn't, slave. Luther and Miles also know you didn't as at some point in time someone spoke up in your defense. However, I want your version of events; how you came to be in their employ and why you left the way you did." Emerson put a hand under Liam's chin and gently lifted his head. His kindly smile was rewarded with a sigh of relief and a pair of overly bright eyes threatening to overflow.

Liam swallowed and gathered his thoughts. "I was fed up with living on the streets, so I kept checking the `Help Wanted' wall at the employment office. Someone was looking for a male housekeeper and I applied. I still don't know how I even got the job. Luther and I didn't exactly hit it off." Liam grimaced at the memory of that first meeting, but shook off the negative feeling it engendered and plunged ahead with his story.

"I managed to stick it out for a year and a half. Maybe I should say that the three of us managed to stick it out. It wasn't easy but I was desperate not to go back on the streets. Plus I think Luther only kept me on because Miles wanted him to." He paused to see what his master's take was on this so far. Seeing only encouragement on the other man's face helped him go on.

"There seemed to be a lot of rules that I'd only find out about after I'd broken them. Of course I've got to admit that my organizational skills were somewhat lacking and my ability to cook the gourmet meals Luther expected more often than not failed to please. Time management threw in a major learning curve."

"Tell me, slave; did they discipline you in any way?" Emerson had little doubt he'd find the answer repugnant but still felt compelled to ask.

"Only Luther would; at least six hard whacks with his belt, but never with my pants off. I often got the feeling it was more to relieve his frustration than to teach me to do my job better. Either way, I put up with it by convincing myself it was either that or go back to living on the streets." As usual, Liam tried to shrug it off. His master wasn't able to.

"Just so you know; I totally disagree with Luther's actions. Tell me what finally lead up to you leaving so abruptly after putting up with what I personally consider abuse for that length of time?" Emerson's voice sounded more formidable than he intended it to.

Liam blinked, a little hesitant until he realized his master's irritation was not directed at him. "Christmas was coming again but, like the year before, not to their house. They went to Luther's sister on Christmas Eve day and took me with them, which was weird as they had never taken me out with them before. Man, I soon found out why." Liam slowly shook his head and compressed his lips in an unusual display of resentment.

A light tapping of a finger on his forehead had him continuing. "When we got there I was told to help his sister with dinner and to obey her orders or there would be trouble. The woman hadn't done a thing. I had to prepare a meal for twenty people…..from scratch; including dessert. To top it all off, she told me I wasn't to eat anything as she wasn't accustomed to feeding beggars off the street like her kind-hearted brother. She really was a little short on `goodwill to men'. I even had to do the clean up by hand because she said the dishwasher was broken. Later when the meal was over, I was called into the living room to gather up the paper and ribbons scatter about after they'd opened gifts."

Liam smiled as the only pleasant memory of that miserable day surfaced. "A sweet little white-haired lady gave me a candy cane and when Luther's sister took it back saying there wasn't enough for me to have one, the nice lady secretly gave me a big apple and told me to keep it hidden under my sweater. I ate it on the drive back to Luther's place."

The reason behind his slave's earlier reaction when the upcoming preparations of a turkey dinner with all the trimmings had been mentioned suddenly became clear to Emerson and saddened him. He made a mental note to see that nothing even remotely similar ever happened to Liam again.

"It was some time after we got back to Luther and Miles' house that his sister called to accuse me of breaking a family heirloom. I tried to tell Luther I hadn't even seen the vase let alone broken it. He didn't believe me. He said not owning up to breaking something and offering to replace it amounted to stealing in his eyes. I had until morning to admit the truth. If I didn't, he'd strap me for breaking the vase and then cane me for continuing to lie about it." Liam shuddered at the thought of such a punishment. "I left shortly after they had retired for the night."

For several minutes, the men sat in the silence that followed the story telling envisioning the scene that had never taken place.

"Are you going to give me back to them, Master?" Liam nervously inquired; his voice barely above a whisper.

"Never!" came the unwavering declaration. "It will never happen! You belong to me and what is mine, I keep!" Strong arms lifted Liam off the floor and onto his master's lap. "You will remain in my home, in my arms and in my heart for as long as I draw breath, my slave. Never doubt that."

"Thank you, Master." Liam tightly wrapped his arms around Emerson's neck and hugged him. He enjoyed the feel of his master's embrace for a few minutes longer before pushing himself upward and turning towards the en suite. "I'll ready your bath, Master."

"That won't be necessary tonight, slave. We'll just quickly shower together and call it a day. I think we can both do with some extra snooze time."

A short time later, Liam was sleeping soundly. It had only taken the comfort offered by his master's large body spooning around him to put him out for the night.

Emerson wasn't as lucky. His mind was whirling with all he had learned that afternoon. Nothing he had heard swayed his impression of Luther for the better. In fact, it strengthened the negative feeling he held for the man.

`This may not bode well for us having a smooth holiday experience,' was his last thought before falling asleep.


The next two days were busy ones for Liam. The old adage of early to bed and early to rise only applied in the morning. Remembering all of Luther's preferences, Liam carried them out to the best of his ability. He put his whole heart into serving his master's guests because he wanted to avoid bringing shame to his master's house.

Added to this extra work was the food preparation for the `Customer Appreciation' party put on in the club. Liam would do the majority of his chores when Luther and Miles were out shopping and Emerson was running errands.

At the party, he was kept running from one task to another, but actually felt a sense of reprieve in not having time to socialize. It was during a lull when he was taking a break from collecting empty glasses and plates, that an opportunity to learn more about his master's guests unexpectedly presented itself.

"So what do you think of Luther and Miles?" Ned questioned, wiping off the bar while keeping an eye peeled for Flynn. He sure as hell didn't want to get caught gossiping by his strict Dom.

"They are my master's guests; what would you have me say?" Liam quietly responded as he watched the waiters going by with the platters of hors d'oeuvres and other tasty tidbits.

"Oh, I don't know. I mean you knew the boss and Miles played together once. God, they were a lousy match. Then along came Luther and man, was he harsh. No one liked him; that is no one but the most fool-hardy subs. Give the man credit though, he never played with a newbie; only well-experienced subs who knew what they were in for. And he always respected their safe-word. Miles, on the other hand, was turned on by walking a tightrope. He and Luther really hit it off and ended up falling in love with each other. Then they up and moved away. Miles was badly missed; can't say the same for Luther."

Liam tried to signal that there was a Dom on the prowl, but Ned didn't catch on until a beefy hand landed painfully on the seat of his pants.

"We'll be discussing your penchant for nattering on about others later, my boy!" Flynn growled in his sub's ear, causing a red blush to spread up Ned's cheeks. The somewhat perturbed Dom poured himself a drink and strolled over to a couple getting ready to play on the small stage set up in the center of the room.

"I am so dead," Ned moaned. To Liam's eyes, the sub didn't appear too concerned about what was now the inevitable, but then looks could be deceiving.

"Are you on bartending duty now, Liam?" someone asked from the other side of the bar.

Liam turned and found himself facing Miles. "No, but I can serve you if you wish."

"Here, I got it, kid." Ned placed a martini in front of Miles.

"Is it dry?" Miles inquired.

"You can blow the dust off it," Ned quipped back at him. He winked at Liam and walked away to serve someone else.

"Come down to the end of the bar with me, Liam, where we might find a bit of privacy to talk," Miles invited, picking up his glass.

He slowly stirred his drink with his finger and took his time studying Liam. To give Liam his due, he stood his ground and patiently returned the scrutiny. Miles smiled and opened the conversation with, "I haven't complimented you yet on the fine meals you've be providing for us."

"Are you doing so now?" Liam boldly asked, his eyes twinkling when he sensed an element of friendship in the other man's approach and relaxed enough to enjoy the light banter. "Cause if you are, then thank you."

Miles chuckled at the sassy comeback. `Good for you, kid,' he thought. "Just tell me to shut up if I'm speaking out of line, Liam, but I'm a little confused by what I see in your relationship with Emerson. It's very noticeable that the two of you love each other. It's a given. Heck, I never thought the big guy would find his one and only and here you are, the first one to ever wear his collar." Miles reached over to lightly finger the gold chain. He lifted the delicate lock, turned it over and read the inscription. "Property of E.J. That's nice; impressive too. It sure wasn't hard to pick up the signs of a master/slave rapport or the few very subtle hints of a discipline correlation, but something seems to be missing. Do you two play at all?"

Liam stiffened slightly as he tried to determine where the other man was coming from and why. Seeing only a sincere interest, he chose to answer honestly. "No, we don't."

"How come? Man, Emerson is just about the best Dom around; subs would kill to play with him," Miles enthused. Placing his elbows on the bar and leaning in closer, he earnestly but unnecessarily spoke in defense of his good friend. "I'll tell you just how good he was even though I never did figure out his methods. He'd build the scene ever so slowly and keep you waiting at the precipice for so long, you'd be begging for release. Then he'd send you flying like you never flew before. It was amazing. Luther is good, but he doesn't hold a candle to Emerson."

"Then why did you give him up for Luther?" Liam didn't stop to think how incongruous his question may or may not have been.

"It is other areas in which Luther better meets my needs. I have an addiction that only he could…hmm, shall we say, alleviate to some extent. I'm a habitual gambler. I will gamble on anything regardless of how utterly outlandish it is. Luther was willing to be more than a playmate; he's my partner, my lover, my Dom and my Top." Miles briefly wondered if the younger man in front of him even understood the various terminologies. He was almost surprised by the nod of comprehension.

"So how come you don't play?" he asked once again, this time hoping for enlightenment.

"It's me," Liam reservedly admitted. "The whole BDSM scene turns me off…big time."

"That's a bummer," Miles muttered, shaking his head in disbelief. "Have you ever seen Emerson's private play room? It has the most amazing variety of implements and only a chosen few ever get to play there."

"I know of its existence. I've never been in it as the loft is the one area of the apartment I've been forbidden to enter. Lately my master has even kept it locked."

"God, if I were you, I'd be begging access" Miles was still having trouble understanding how this relationship could possibly work. He began to question its longevity and that made him feel a little sad. He loved Emerson and wanted him to be happy but it wasn't his place to `fix things'. "Oh well," he stoically shrugged his shoulders, "to each his own."

"Yeah, guess so. On that note, I better get back to work before I lose my job as a busboy."

Miles thoughtfully watched Liam gracefully walk away. Spotting Luther sitting next to Emerson, he decided it was time to join his partner and relieve Emerson of the tedious responsibility of conversing with someone he really didn't care for. Although truth be told, Miles' admiration for both his Dom and their host grew at the honest attempt both men were making to tolerate each other. They were so different; Luther with his rough exterior and uncouth mannerisms, while Emerson was strikingly handsome and a well-educated sophisticated man about town.

Requesting three more drinks, Miles headed towards the large armchairs where Luther and Emerson were struggling to maintain a conversation.

As was usually the case in events such as this, Emerson had spent the majority of the evening keeping an unobserved eye on his slave's activities. He was always mindful of the young man's difficulties in dealing with the activities taking place so openly.

Immediately upon spotting his slave's fatigue, Emerson signalled him over to sit on the floor between his legs.

Liam instantly obeyed the unspoken directive and gratefully sank down to tiredly lean his head against his Master's thigh. The hand gently massaging the nape of his neck helped him focus on something other than the spotlighted entertainment. Eventually, his eyelids drooped and then finally closed as he gave up the fight to stay awake.


Liam woke to find himself warmly wrapped in his Master's embrace and wondering how he came to be in the large sleigh bed. Not exactly a small man himself, Liam acknowledged that his master was a great deal taller and much more muscular than he was. He deduced the older man must have carried him up to the apartment at some time after the party ended and all guests had returned home.

The young slave felt a slight thrill at it being Christmas Eve and he was curious to find out if there would be any special plans for the day. It turned out nothing overly out of the ordinary took place. Unless of course, one was to take into account his Master's numerous trips upstairs to the playroom. Although the unexpected goings-on raised eyebrows, neither Liam nor Miles chanced to question the man while Luther gave the impression of being uninterested.

Liam worked at ignoring his Master's activities because they mirrored those made a few weeks ago. He had succumbed to his nosiness back then and it had cost him a trip over his Master's knee. The painful reminder to mind his own business was made worse by it having been witnessed by Flynn who was helping Emerson at the time. Liam certainly didn't relish a repeat performance with Luther and Miles nearby.

Fortunately, something else drew Liam's attention and that was the increasing number of gaily wrapped parcels finding their way under the tree. It confused him as to why it was happening and who all the presents could possibly be for. He had never before taken part in exchanging gifts with anyone, so naturally took it for granted than none would be for him.

He did, however, enjoy his very first experience in the wrapping process. He helped Miles wrap several and discovered much to his delight a natural ability to express his creativity with colourful paper and ribbons.

"Now that's impressive!" Miles commented, his admiration clearly showing in his voice. "I'm glad I roped you into assisting me as I usually make a bloody mess of things when left to my own devices. I'm a real menace with a pair of scissors in my hands."

Liam blushed at the compliment and tried to hide his embarrassment. "You finished in here? Can I have the dining room table back so I can serve up supper?"

"Sure, kid, go do your thing," Miles teased, easily seeing through the ruse. "I wouldn't want to interfere with you performing your duties." He left the room with an armful of packages while Liam got rid of the remaining debris.

Shortly after the evening meal, Emerson sought out his slave and found him finishing up in the kitchen. Leaning against the door frame, the older man savoured the sense of pride he felt in knowing this attractive man belonged to him.

"Liam," he softly called, beckoning with his finger when the young man turned around.

Gracefully following his Master into the study, Liam was momentarily startled when he was ordered to strip. But he instantly obeyed and knelt at the signal to do so. It was a way that Emerson had of maintaining the young man's undivided attention.

"For the next twenty-four hours, we will live as equal partners, Liam. We will put on hold our roles as Master and slave. For that length of time at least, I will be holding onto this." Long fingers reached out to skillfully undo the small lock and remove the collar from around the young man's neck. Seeing the uncertainty in Liam's eyes, prompted Emerson to continue without allowing his slave time to question him. "It's Christmas, love, and that's the only explanation I'm giving you. I expect you to relax and enjoy the old-fashioned evening I have planned. Have faith, Liam." He gently caressed his slave's face and watched as signs of stress disappear.

Liam was given a new outfit of clothes closely resembling the top-of the-line casual wear Emerson wore, only more suitable for a younger man. He grinned as he ran his hands down his chest and over the front of the silk shirt. It was a beautiful shade of royal blue and deepened the colour of his eyes.

"For some reason, I feel different," Liam commented as he slipped on the expensive new leather shoes.

"How so?" Emerson asked, inspecting the now fully-dressed man.

"I'm not sure," Liam shrugged slightly. "More confident, I think."

"Well they say clothes make the man and who knows; they just might have something there." Turning a little serious, Emerson firmly instructed, "Do not let Luther's being a Dom intimidate you, Liam. You no longer let Flynn do it." This insecurity issue was a topic they had discussed in the past and Emerson acknowledged they'd probably be doing so again in the future. "Now let's get back to our guests and open a bottle of bubbly."

The evening flew by and surprisingly enough was enjoyed by all. Liam was able to relax once the Champaign had warmed his stomach. Although he didn't participate in the singing of carols, he certainly loved listening to them; especially with Emerson's beautiful baritone voice filling the room. The roasting of chestnuts was an instant favourite. Liam even grew comfortable with Emerson helping him serve finger foods and then clean up afterward.

All too soon for Liam, it was time to call it a day and hit the hay. Emerson gave Liam a wink when the younger man began to chuckle at the sight of Luther steering a rather inebriated Miles into the guest room.


"It is only six a.m. Go back to sleep, Liam!" The muted order was accompanied by a light swat on his hip.

An hour later and still unable to fall back asleep, Liam tried again to slip out from under the older man's arm. A growl had him making hasty excuses. "I have to pee, and my throat is dry." He silently hurrahed to himself as the heavy arm lifted and he was set free to begin his day.

After dressing as quietly as possible, Liam made his way to the kitchen to begin breakfast. He found Luther already sitting at the table and Cassie lying on top of the refrigerator glaring down at who she saw as an intruder. She'd been distinctly unfriendly since the moment she laid eyes on him.

The older man appeared a little unwell. "I thought I'd get the coffee started," he explained and actually shuddered at the idea. "But I think I've succeeded In making homemade bilge water," he griped as he stood up and tipped his cup into the sink, completely missing the sight of Liam covering up a bubble of laugher behind the hand over his mouth.

Luther turned at the unusual sound and came face to face with an expression of feigned innocent. He scowled suspiciously and walked towards the door.

"I'll have another pot on in just a few minutes, Luther," Liam promised and set about rinsing out the coffee maker.

He had barely placed a cup of fresh brew in front of Luther when Emerson and Miles entered the room.

"Coffee only, guys. We've got to see what Santa left, don't we?" Emerson jovially inquired.

Luther rolled his eyes, Miles mutter a `you gotta be kidding' and Liam looked at him in wide-eyed disbelief. Emerson guffawed at all three of them.

Armed with mugs of hot coffee, they all trouped down the hall and into the living room where Emerson already had the tree lit up.

"Now there's an order to all this," the older host announced. "First off, Liam has a stocking in need of emptying." He passed the article in question to a somewhat stunned young man. "Go ahead, love. Sit down on the floor and just dump it out!"

Liam did as he was told and within moments was gazing at an array of small packages. Upon opening them, he discovered treat after treat including a plastic Slinky. He immediately scrambled up to his feet, planning to play with it and Cassie on the stairs. Emerson brought that scheme to a quick end by telling him they were just getting started.

It took well over an hour for everything to be unwrapped, oohed and awed over, and words of gratitude expressed.

Liam had trouble believing his good fortune. Besides more new clothing and several puzzle books from Emerson, he received a set of ten DVDs about trains from Luther and Miles, them having been told of Liam's love of anything to do with railways. He also received music lessons from Flynn and Ned.

"Music lessons?" It was Emerson's turn to look baffled.

"It says I can choose between instrumental or voice," Liam read off the card in his hand. "Guess I'll have to check it out after the holidays."

Emerson's gifts included a bottle of vintage Cognac from Miles, a couple of antique books from Luther, a box of Cuban cigars from Flynn and some imported chocolate from Ned.

Emerson gave Luther and Miles several tickets to sporting events and concerts.

"All right now," Emerson spoke up to get everyone's attention. "Next on the agenda is breakfast, then it's off to the playroom for all of us. Here, Miles, if you and Luther will be so kind as to gather up the debris, Liam and I will throw together a meal." He handed his guest a large garbage bag and all but towed Liam away from his new treasures.

Miles was practically rubbing his hands together in glee. They'd been here five days without setting a foot in that room and at last the wait was over. Well that is it would be as soon as they ate. Had he been hungry, he wasn't anymore. He just wanted to go have some fun. He began stuffing torn paper, ribbons and bows into the trash bag, assuming the faster they got done here, the closer they'd be to playing.

Almost an hour later, Emerson unlocked and threw open the big double doors. "Ta-da!" he exclaimed as he stood back with his arms opened wide for the others to enter.

Liam's eyes lit up at the scene before him while Miles' jaw dropped in absolute, heartbreaking disappointment.

Gone were the cupboards and chests that had housed the bondage gear, fetish clothing, kinky sex toys and restraints among other things that provided so much pain and pleasure. Gone were the racks on the far wall along with the whips and paddles that had hung there. Gone were the spanking horse and the large free-standing cross. Last but not least, gone were the chains and the magnificent sling; the ceiling now completely bare.

"What the fuck has happened in here? Is this some kind of a sick joke? Have you lost your fuckin' mind, Emerson?" Miles couldn't contain his anger and was getting more worked up with every passing second. He was all but spitting by the time his Dom hauled him out of the room and down the stairs to their room.

Emerson grimaced. He might have known Miles would be upset, but he would never have expected such a burst of rage. In order to protect Liam from hearing what was probably going to take place downstairs, he wrapped an arm about Liam's shoulder and maneuvered him into the large room. Softly closing the door, he smiled at the younger man's speechlessness. Liam seemed unconscious of the scene Miles had just carried out. But then, he would also be unaware of the transformation the room had undergone.

Sturdy waist-high platforms had been built along three of the walls. Periodically there were other display areas branching off from the main ones. But it was the back wall that Liam was drawn to. Here, the raised area had several levels to it with railroad tracks strategically placed along the flat intervals.

There was a train station gracing the center of the platform. All the tracks were flexible stainless steel. Buildings, people, animals, signals, crossings, bridges and tunnels were made to scale. Even the beginning of a town and the surrounding country scene were a flawless match. The most outstanding item was the train itself. It was a classic American Flyer with smoking engine and over a dozen cars behind it.

Liam was enthralled with it all. He didn't know where to look or what to touch first. He'd loved trains since he was a small boy and this miniature world was magical to him.

"I know you've missed working at the station, sweetheart. You miss the sounds and smells of the trains. I thought this would be a perfect hobby for us to enjoy together. It`s only just started and will take us years to complete." Emerson placed a blue and white striped engineer's hat on Liam head and another one on his own. "If we're going to be railway men, we need to dress the part, right?" He chuckled when the younger man could only nod his agreement while looking up to see the peak of his hat.

"Come check this out," he invited, taking Liam's hand in his and walking a few feet to the part of the platform located directly in front of the door. He lifted a section of the table and revealed a number of switches and lights. "Here's a hidden control box. We will eventually run our entire make-believe world from it." He spent a few minutes showing Liam what the various levers could do.

Then leading Liam to another area, he pointed out lines drawn on the top. "If we want, there is room for a possible canal in the layout; sometime in the future of course. And maybe we can consider a roundhouse over there somewhere."

"I-I like it….I like all of it." Liam finally broke his silence. "But I can't buy anything because I don't have any money."

"We'll be talking about that later, love. I've got something in mind that you'll probably find rather satisfactory."

"Okay, I'll leave it in your capable hands. I can't believe you pulled all this off without me getting the least bit curious. Well, except that one time. Are there any rules regarding the room?"

"Only one; under no condition is Cassie to be in here. If she gets in, your butt will pay the price. Got it?"

"Yeah, I got it." Liam's pout lasted all of ten seconds.

"Let's go see how our Christmas dinner is coming along. We want everything ready for when Flynn and Ned arrive."

They left the room with Liam looking longingly over his shoulder. Miles might no longer consider it a play room, but Liam certainly did.

It was a very subdued, red-eyed Miles who tendered his apologies a short time later while Emerson and Liam were peeling veggies in the kitchen.

Emerson drew the contrite man into his arms and kissed his forehead. "Miles honey, all the toys you like are in the new dungeon in the basement. We only finished building it a couple of days ago. You and Luther are more than welcome to break it in." Emerson understood his former sub's let-down as well as his regret at reacting so badly. He glanced over at Luther who had accompanied his chastened partner. "Why don't the two of you go play until dinner is ready?"

"Please say we can, Luther," Miles pleaded. "Guess not all's lost," he merrily remarked when his wish was granted.


They were enjoying some privacy time later that evening when Liam was coerced into voicing his concerns. He was once again kneeling in front of Emerson, both as naked as the day they were born.

"I know something is bothering you, Liam, so just save us both a lot of time and talk to me," Emerson had demanded.

"I didn't have a single gift to give anyone," Liam whispered, his head bent so the older man wouldn't see the tears forming in his eyes. "I know you signed my name with yours to the tags on the presents you distributed, but that's not the same as giving myself."

"We're partners, Liam. Although I have to admit I may have handled things wrong. You don't have funds of your own, that's true, but I should have made more of an effort to include you in the entire gift giving experience. I'm sorry for not having done so. I will not make that same mistake next year, I assure you."

"But, it is really you I would so much like to have given something to." Liam looked up and blinked in order to fight back the tears and keep them from overflowing.

"My sweet, sweet love; you have given me the gift of yourself since the moment you became mine." There was a slight catch to Emerson's voice as he reached out and tenderly caressed his lover's cheek.

Liam chewed his lower lip until it was gently pulled from between his teeth. "There is something special I would like to do for you," he softly intoned. "I'd like to sing if that's all right."

"Of course you may. I'd love to hear you sing." This came as a surprise to Emerson as he had no idea Liam was so inclined. That surprise became a shock when Liam opened his mouth and the most beautiful voice Emerson had ever heard began to fill the room. He sat perfectly still, stunned by what he was hearing. His chest tightened as his heart beat faster and his pride in this young man increased ten-fold, if that was at all possible.

In the room across the hall, Luther paused in mid-squeeze of Miles shoulders where he was in the middle of giving his sub a massage. Miles turned and the two men looked questioningly at each other, their attention completely captured by the wonderful rendition of `O Holy Night' coming from their hosts' room.

Emerson was oblivious to the tears streaming down his face as the last note faded away and silence took its' place. Unable to utter a single word, he leaned forward and lifted Liam up to thoroughly kiss him and ravish the young man's mouth.

"I have never, nor could I ever, receive a more wondrous gift, my love. I am unable to fully express my profound gratitude. You really blew me away, sweetheart," Emerson murmured into Liam's hair a few moments later as he gently rubbed a hand up and down Liam’s bare back. "Thank you, from the bottom of my heart."

Liam glowed under the man's praise. "Thank you, Emerson."

Emerson looked up, pleased to have heard his name on the other man's lips for the very first time. "We have a decision to make, Liam. Or at least, you do." He got up to retrieve something from his dresser drawer. Sitting down again, he continued. "We've behaved as partners for twenty-four hours now and it is time to see if you want that to remain the status quo or if you want to return to our former relationship of master and slave. It is your choice, Liam. We've only lived that lifestyle because it was at your request we do so. I am giving you a chance to change that. Do you understand why it is entirely up to you?"

"I totally understand, Master."

Emerson read the sincerity in the young man's eyes. It was accompanied by a touch of pleading. But he'd received his answer and Liam had made his choice clear in those few words.

Opening his hand, he held up the gold chain and lock he had removed from his slave's neck just the day before. They both smiled as Emerson lovingly return the collar to its rightful place, clicking the lock shut and once again sealing the covenant they'd made to each other.

Liam lightly ran his fingers over the prized item. Glancing up, his love for this man shining in his eyes, he happily informed him that this was the best Christmas he'd ever had.

"But do you think maybe I could help decorate the tree next year?" he asked hopefully.

"I think I can arrange that," Emerson responded teasingly.

"And maybe we could have the holidays alone… know, just the two of us?" Liam briefly wondered if he was stepping out of line, but decided he didn't care.

"I'm sure I'd also prefer it to be just the two of us, my beautiful little slave." Emerson would never admit to the feeling of jealousy brought on by the thought of sharing his slave's attention like he'd had to over the past several days. He privately vowed never to subject himself to that again. Thank goodness, their present guests would be gone by next weekend. He just hoped he could survive until then.

Getting to his feet and sweeping his slave up into his arms, Emerson tossed him on the bed. "It's time to send you soaring, slave."

The End


  1. A great next instalment. Should be part of the training manual for masters!

  2. I love this storyline and Liam and Emerson. I hope you continue it.
    thanks, Linda