Cole stared at the wooden planks that joined each other, tracing the grain of the wood and the wood cuts with his eyes. He counted the wooden pegs that held the planks together at right angles and wondered who had been so skilled that they had built the Saddlery. He could her soft noises behind him as Dan worked on drawing a design on the leather he would eventually make into a fine saddle. He hadn’t meant to go off with Brett and not tell Dan where he was going. He hadn’t done that in some time, but the rule still held firm. In the beginning of their relationship he had a habit of just taking off whenever and to wherever his feet would take him, not giving a thought to how his partner would be worried. After several times of this happening and them talking about the importance of letting each other know where they were and Cole promising to do better, Dan had waited for his return and instead of showing concern for where he had been he just said in a stern voice, “Cole, find a corner and put yourself in it. He remembered how surprised he had been at the command, but Dan had applied a hard swat to his bottom and he scurried into the first available corner he could find. He had told Cole that he was too upset with him to deal with him and needed time to think. When the time was up Dan had put him over his lap butt naked and made very sure that walking or riding any distance would be a most uncomfortable experience for a while.

He thought about his present predicament. He hadn’t done this in a very long time. It had seemed like fun to just go off with Brett. He now realized it had not been a good thing at all.

Dan, trying to calm himself told himself Cole hadn’t done this in some time and now having a friend around his age he was likely to break the rules once in a while, but he also knew he had to hold firm. He glanced at the clock and then called softly, “Cole, come here. It’s time for us to reacquaint you with the consequences of breaking our wanderin’ off without telling me rule once more.”

Cole turned around and seeing the love and concern in Dan’s violet eyes went to him immediately. He trusted and felt safe with his partner, no matter what he had done and knew he was loved unconditionally.

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