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 Male x Male  Modern/Modern Fantasy It's Just Love, Right?

Discussion in 'Roleplay Execution' started by TheCarrionKing, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. TheCarrionKing

    TheCarrionKing Cleverly Disgused as a Responsible Citizen Member

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    Mel stood behind the counter, polishing the wood to a mirror-like shine. It was the dip after the morning rush so only a few customers were left in the shop. One a professor named Valin, sat grading papers at a back booth, his head low as he frowned down at the assignment in his hand. The wrinkle of his nose showing Mel that whoever had written it had gotten the basic facts wrong. Two girls, Karen and Sofie, sat at a table by the window with flashcards, Sofie giving the other a soft peck on the cheek for every word she got correct. Mrs. Herbert sat where she always did, a cup of tea in her hands and a cherry turnover in front of her. Mel was still amazed by the fact that his conservative neighbor would even set foot in his shop, but she seemed to really like Kiante's turnovers. Especially the cherry ones. Officer Castillo had already stopped by to get coffee for his department and Caleb had popped out to take coffee and pastries to his husband's law firm with a promise to be back in time for his shift. In fact, Mel had seen most of his early morning regulars except for one.

    Caden hadn't shown up for about a month. He'd just stopped showing up one day, which was odd since he'd showed up almost religiously for nearly two years. He was little more than a boy, still trying to figure himself out Mel supposed. Of course, he wished it hadn't involved sleeping with his employees, but they were all adults. It hadn't resulted in any broken hearts but Mel still didn't like it much. Of course, Caleb teased him that it was because he was attracted to the boy. Not that Mel could deny it. Caden was a bit taller than him with fluffy looking blond hair and pretty blue eyes...but Mel was too old for him. He'd be turning twenty-nine in two months making him almost ten years the boy's senior.

    Not to mention Mel was long past the age where sleeping around and one-night stands held any appeal. Though they hadn't held much appeal when he was twenty either.

    That was neither here nor there though.

    Even if he wasn't so much older there was nothing about him to appeal to anyone. He was incredibly slender, but not pretty enough to be feminine. His eyes didn't match and he was covered in freckles. Outside of his shop, he could barely even hold a conversation. Yet that knowledge didn't stop him from glancing at the door every time the bell went off, hoping that Caden would finally walk in. If just to assuage the fear that something had happened to the boy. With the sleeping around he could have gotten sick or hurt. What if someone had lured him somewhere and robbed him? Or had done worse? Mel couldn't imagine Caden having to go through anything like that. Despite the sleeping around, he seemed like such a good kid.

    Once more the bell chimed and Mel jerked his head up, but it was just Chris. His longtime employee gave him a smile and walked up to the counter to put on his apron.

    "Morning, Boss," the pretty brunette said as he stepped next to him, "Have you had a break yet?"

    Mel shook his head, "No, but I'm fine. Go into the kitchen real quick and get something to eat,"

    Chris frowned, "Boss, you need a break, I'll eat when you come back,"

    Mel looked towards the door again and Chris followed his gaze, "He still hasn't shown up?"

    "No," Mel sighed, "I hope nothing happened,"

    Chris sat his hand on Mel's shoulder, "I'm sure he's fine. He's just a kid, perhaps he got busy?"

    "Maybe..." Mel turned his attention back to Chris, "I'll take my break and when I come back you can go eat. Kiante made blueberry turnovers today,"

    Chris nodded as Mel's tone brokered no argument, "Ok, deal. Did you want me to start your tea while you go get something from the kitchen or?"

    Mel shook his head, "I've got it, just wipe down the machines please,"

    Of course, Mel had already done it but Chris didn't argue instead turning to do as he was asked. Mel then removed his own apron and made his tea before taking a seat just by the door to watch the people who walked by the shop. Still looking for a familiar head of too pale hair.
     
  2. Unleashed

    Unleashed Well-Known Member Member

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    Life use to be like bread and butter for Caden. He use to be the type of person who enjoyed living day to day with the people around him. His adopted family worked hard and he had always tried his best to please them, even getting up in the morning to prepare their breakfasts before they hit the road. But that all quickly changed when he found out their secret... well, he supposed it wasn't much of a secret now, but he felt like his world had collapsed around him. The outgoing easy personality he once had completely took an opposite turn and his normal routines came to a complete hault. The only one he kept was going to the cafe. But his parents quickly foundout about his antics and banned him from going outside until he became more of a 'man' so he hadn't been able to go for around a month.

    Mel always knew what to do. The cafe was like a family on its own. Being within its walls and the presents of the employees always made him feel more relaxed and hopeful about his future. It was the only thing he had that was real. But he knew he couldn't say that out loud. He wasn't surprised if Mel was still pissed about him going with him employees behind his back, but he'd tried to be as polite as possible about it and only went out of working hours. Sure he joked and teased everyone, but who knew what he'd be like now...

    A month of training and manner classes had been a complete pain in the ass. He felt more like a shell of his former self than his usual bubbily personalty and he knew the others who knew him would notice the change, drastic or small. But now he was finally allowed out, he only had one place in mind. The Blackbird Cafe. To be honest, he felt really nervous about seeing everyone again. He was sure they'd have a lot of quesrions, but they'd be questions he couldn't answer... not yet anyway.

    His parents had even started picking out his clothes for him. His dark skinny jeans had been replaced with looser ones that felt horrible against his skin and he'd been given 'smart' button up blouses to wear to hold the company image whenever he was outside. But the shirts creased too easily and he was forever tucking it back into his trousers. What the hell would the others think? he thought crossing the road as he tried to sort himself out.

    But he'd arrived and could see Chris polishing something behind the counter. Seeing him just made his stomach knot... He'd been with the male a few times in the past, but he didn't think he'd feel this overwhelmed about seeing his 'family' again. It paralized him for a good few seconds before he forced himself forward. Would the guys even recognise him? He skimmed the customers and counted four quickly before his hand set on the handle and pushed the door open. The happy sounding chime alerted the staff that a new customer had came into the Cafe and his eyes quickly set on Chris. The smell of the fresh bakes greeted his nose and instantly relaxed some of his anxiety.

    Again there was the fear that the male would start screaming at him for being careless, rude or unempathetic for not saying goodbye or giving a warning, but he could only brace himself for such a thing. He stepped into the cafe and averted his eyes a little timidly as he ran a hand through his still messy unkept hair. "Hey... It's been awhile" was all he said as he made his way over towards the counter. What could he say? Everything would be a puzzle piece and the more he gave out, the more Chris or any of the others would know. So he just opted for a casual greeting and hoped nobody would ask any questions.

    "Do you mind if I ask for a strong coffee? I could really use one" It was normally Mel that served him out front, but from what he remembered, Chris made amazing Late's too. They went down way too easily and half the time they were on the house, but Caden always slipped some money into the 'staff' jar. It wasn't like he was stuck for cash and he knew everyone knew it. Spoilt to the core... Or that's what people use to think unless they knew him. This was his sanctuary like a bookworm in a book store. He had his Blackbird Cafe. He had everyone's shifts memorized too... weird for someone who didn't work there. "Mel is in today right?" in all honesty, Caden had a big spot for the owner. He loved speaking to him whether it was in or outside of work. Right now he really needed some Mel time and just hoped the guy hadn't changed his shifts around.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
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  3. TheCarrionKing

    TheCarrionKing Cleverly Disgused as a Responsible Citizen Member

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    "Yeah, Boss is here, he just went to the back real quick to take a call," Mel heard Chris say as he stepped back out into the lobby, "he was waiting by the door to see if you'd show up but...I guess Jenny had a real bad cold and won't be able to make it in so he had to find someone to cover her shift,"

    Jenny was one of their few female staff members, a part-timer who had the job mostly for work experience. Mel hoped she felt better soon though his thoughts didn't stay on his employee for long. Standing across from Chris was Caden. He looked different. Not just the clothes, which where more in line with something Mel would wear than a twenty year old kid, but his expression. It was dull, flat, and had Mel's pulse doing nervous little jumps and lurches. He didn't like it. Not one bit. No doubt it was his family's idea. Caden never talked about it but after twenty five years of experience he'd learned to spot family problems quickly. And Mel could empathize. His own family situation was...well he didn't have words to describe that. Though Caleb did and his friend's wording was always incredibly colorful.

    But that didn't matter at the moment. What mattered was that Caden was back and didn't appear injured. Which was much more of a relief than Mel thought it would be. He was too old to be so damn smitten.

    Mel smoothed out the imaginary wrinkles in his sweater, a deep forest green as usual, and adjusted the sleeves so they covered his wrists but didn't get in the way. A task seeing as his shoulders where a bit on the narrower side and few of his shirts, all of which were long sleeve, fit just right. Not to mention he didn't want them to slip as Caden wasn't the only one with secrets he'd like to keep.

    "I'm back," Mel called, drawing Chris and probably Caden's attention as well, "go ahead and eat Chris I'll get Caden's coffee,"

    Chris nodded, though he didn't seem all too thrilled by the idea of food, and headed back to the break room through the kitchen. With Chris gone Mel turned his full attention to Caden. He would say one good thing had come out of Chris and Caden fooling around. That being that he learned Chris was gaining weight, which was great since the man had been far too thin for too long. Chris claimed he was being a mother hen but his staff where like a second family. One that he wanted to help and keep safe since so many had issues with their biological families. Not to mention Mel simply enjoyed helping them. Making them happy made him happy. It was one of the reasons he'd opened a cafe rather than fallow his parents' wishes.

    "It's been awhile," Mel said, his voice soft as always, as he gave the boy an equally gentle smile. He knew Caden could easily pay for the coffee but didn't charge him. The poor kid looked like he needed it. So Mel fixed him the largest cup of coffee he could, brewing it fresh and making sure it was stronger than he normally brewed, "I was beginning to worry something had happened to you. Nothing did, right? You look fine but...if you need to talk we can head to the break room when Chris comes back,"

    It wasn't something he'd normally offer but, he wanted to check up on the boy. Make sure he was fine. That he wasn't holding something in that he needed to let out. He also wanted to just talk with him. To allow Caden to vent if that was what he needed. To listen to whatever problems he had or felt he could voice, and offer what advice he could.

    By the time the coffee was done Chris had returned. Mel handed the cup to Caden with yet another smile, before turning to Chris, "I'm going to head to the back for a bit, can you watch the store? Caleb should be in to help soon,"

    Chris nodded, "Can do Boss,"

    With that Mel fixed himself a quick cup of tea, something all his employees found funny. Why open a shop that specialized in coffee if he preferred tea? He then removed his apron and once more smoothed out imaginary wrinkles, before heading towards the kitchen door and holding it open for Caden. His smile still soft and reassuring.
     
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  4. Unleashed

    Unleashed Well-Known Member Member

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    Hearing that Mel had been waiting for him came as a surprise. "Waiting? I've been gone for a month" he said keeping his attention on Chris. Had Mel really been waiting that long for him to return? He'd pointed out the obvious, but he seemed to even cause trouble while he was away. Mel had enough on his plate. He didn't mean to add worry to the stress he probably had of running the Cafe. "Damn... well if you need a hand I'm free for the day. I owe you guys one" it was the least he could do.

    But his attention shifted when Mel came through the door which lead to the staff department. Just seeing the male made a small smile set on his face, but it wasn't his usual. Normally he'd have opened his arms to embrace Chris, or ran over to greet Mel like an excited child. He always had bags of energy, but today a smile was all he could manage. But it was nice to see Mel hadn't changed. He looked pretty good.

    The look Chris pulled when he was asked to go eat made Caden bite his lower lip slightly to hold back a small chuckle. But Chis looked good too. It didn't look like much had changed since he'd last seen everyone, so it made the visit a little easier. "Thanks Mel..." he said watching Chris leave. A small sigh escaped him as his muscles started to relax further. It was amazing what seeing a friendly person could do to your anxiety.

    He returned his gaze to Mel and took in every little detail about him. Walled eyed, long hair, everything down to his freckles. He just found him... cute. "It has... I actually came to apologise for my absence... honestly, I wasn't sure if you guys would be fussing or just carrying on like normal" he admitted averting his eyes for a second. 'I was beginning to worry something had happened to you. Nothing did, right? You look fine but...if you need to talk we can head to the break room when Chris comes back' There it was... He cared more about him than his step parents. They only cared about the stupid company image. Not once did they ever ask if he was okay when he came home from being out with someone. Anything could've happened, yet Mel always asked. It seemed weird... but in a nice way. He could feel his chest becoming heavy as he thought about the agonising month he'd been put through, but he kept himself collected and shook his head. "Nothing like that... I haven't done anything for awhile. In a way, I guess you could say I was banned from going outside for a month..." he said quietly as he accepted the coffee. He knew Mel wasn't going to charge him, so he pulled out a ten from his pocket and slipped it into the jar beside the till. "I don't know what to say about it Mel... I'm not good with voicing problems" he managed just as Chris came back.

    Caden turned his head to look at him and gave him a polite nod to welcome him back. "Oh..." he'd forgotten to tell Mel he was free and turned his attention back to him again. "I can help too... I know how to make a coffee or two and my parents wouldn't mind" in fact, they'd probably be all for it.

    He watched Mel make himself a cup of tea and took a sip from his own coffee and instantly melted. Mel was magic when it came to making coffee's. There was nothing better. The taste was just sweet enough and went down his throat smoothly. He could feel the warmth slide right down to his stomach where it settled for a few seconds before it slowly faided away "Hmm" he hummed happily to himself. "I've missed your coffee..." he said following Mel towards the kitchen. He felt bad for dragging Mel away from his work, but the worry and reassuring smile helped urge him forward. "Thanks..." he said as he passed through the door that Mel held open for him. He paused beside the wall to wait and slowly followed on behind. He had no idea where he was going when it came to behind the scenes.

    But there was a nagging sansation that wouldn't leave him alone. He knew the truth would come out eventually, but how much could he tell Mel? What if his view of him changed? It felt like he was walking a tight rope. It felt like an interview in a way. He knew Mel was just worried, but Caden was only human. Talking wasn't a problem. The trouble was the starting point.
     
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  5. TheCarrionKing

    TheCarrionKing Cleverly Disgused as a Responsible Citizen Member

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    "'Not allowed to go out for the month'...they do realize you're an adult right? That not allowing you out could be seen as unlawful imprisonment," Mel never liked the little things he heard about Caden's family. He liked them even less when they weighted on the young adult. He was twenty and already had so much on his shoulders. It made him want to hug the younger man and to be honest Mel was more than a little surprised Caden hadn't run up to him the moment he saw Mel. It was as though the energy that the boy was known for was slowly being pressed out of him. Which made Mel want to give Caden's family an even bigger piece of his mind. Mel wasn't happy about Caden's sleeping around either but damn it that didn't mean they needed to try and destroy his individuality. Then he'd just start sneaking around and the risk of him being assaulted or hurt would grow. It was better to make sure Caden was safe while he worked himself out and had someone to go to if something went wrong then to try and force their ideas on him. And if Caden's parents weren't going to do it then Mel would...and he sounded like he was trying to mother the boy. Maybe Chris and the others where right about that, but he didn't want Caden to end up mentally scarred.

    Or dead in a ditch somewhere.

    "And you don't have to say anything more about it than you want to," Mel continued, his voice still just as soft. Of course, Mel's voice was rarely ever loud. In fact, he didn't think Caden had ever heard him raise his voice. He did use a stern tone when he thought Caden was being a bit reckless, but he never got loud. Mel had found getting loud rarely helped, often doing the opposite and having people shut down. And in cases where people had suffered abuse, it could make the situation so much worse. Though he severely hoped Caden wasn't suffering from any type of abuse, not that the older man was holding his breath, "as for us carrying on like normal...we tried to, but when regulars stop coming in we always worry. Especially when they're in a dangerous position,"

    Mel then gave Caden a gentle smile, "And even more so when we're fond of them,"

    Sweet, outgoing, and willing to help Caden had most of the staff wrapped around his finger and didn't even seem to know it. Mel didn't think there was a single person on staff who didn't like Caden. The memory of Caleb's teasing bringing a slight flush to his face and causing his freckles to stand out more. Some were fonder than others, however, but Mel pushed that down. It wasn't time for that, he had to make sure Caden was really ok.

    With that, he led Caden into a small break room. The tables and chairs were the same as the ones out front. Though there was also a long table that held two boxes of various donuts Mel had brought in that morning and an organizer holding various pamphlets. Some had information for volunteer opportunities to assist the students who worked there. While others were for outreach centers, mental health hotlines, rape crisis support and so on. Mel didn't want anyone to have to need the latter, but would rather have them there in case they were needed than have someone suffer in silence.

    He pulled a chair out for Caden and gestured to the donuts, "I'm going to go grab some paperwork from my office real quick, go ahead and help yourself to a donut or two before Caleb gets here and eats all the good ones,"

    Mel then sat down his tea and went through a small door at the back of the break room. He returned a minute later with a decent stack of paperwork and a few folders before claiming a seat across from Caden. Instead of picking up his tea he reached across the table to brush a lock of hair off Caden's face with long fingers. His happy expression twisting into one of concern as he looked Caden over again.

    "You're really sure you're alright? You don't have to tell me anything you don't want to but all of this," the blonde gestured to Caden's clothes, but also meant to encompass his change in mannerisms, "has me worried. Not to mention being gone so long...no one-no one's hurting you are they? If they are and you don't want to tell me but there are places you can go. I don't want to pressure you into talking I'm just concerned. You're normally so happy and energetic and...seeing you like this is..."

    Well, it scared Mel.

    The older man looked away picking up his tea and taking a sip. The warmth doing little to dispell the cold knot in his stomach. Though he didn't see any signs Caden was being hit, there where other forms of abuse that were just as bad. Money didn't mean that one was exempt from suffering from them. Mel knew that personally and didn't want Caden to have to go through any of that.
     
  6. Unleashed

    Unleashed Well-Known Member Member

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    To be honest, Caden hadn't taken his age into account when his parents had banned him from going outside. Sure he'd argued and tried to fight his corner, but his dad was built like a machine. He had muscle, fat and was a great deal taller than him, so if it came to fighting, he knew who'd win. "I grew tired to arguing with them Mel... The house is guarded and there's cameras all over the place" he said with a small sigh. "If it were that easy I'd have jumped out a window... I did try" but even if he'd managed, he had no idea where Mel or anyone lived. Not once had he been round to anyone's house. Everything he did was out in an ally or hidden behind a car, in a toilet area or at a club. He respected everyone's privacy and never asked to sleep over anywhere because he couldn't take anyone back to his house for the sheer fear he felt about their view of him changing. He didn't have a little cosy house like everyone else. He lived in a mansion with lots of land... He wasn't even sure what Mel would think of him if he found out...

    "It's not about not wanting to speak Mel, it's about not knowing how to tell you or what you'll do or say if I tell you or anyone the truth..." he said honestly in a quiet tone. He felt like he was on the verge of breaking down and he knew if Mel or anyone hugged him he'd just crumble. "I don't want to put my problems on your shoulders". But it was true, he'd never heard or seen Mel properly raise his voice. He always seemed to know the correct thing to say and he always knew how to make him feel better. But when he spoke about a 'Dangerous position' he arched a brow and questioned the remark "What do you mean?" he asked taking a sip from his coffee.

    "Pfft, I should've known you'd miss me. I'm surprised you didn't send out a search party" he said with a little smile setting on his face. But it still wasn't his usual. He was trying hard to break the barrier, but he just didn't have it in him.

    He followed Mel into the break room and took a seat in the chair that Mel had pulled out for him. "Thanks Mel... I'll be here and I'm alright for food... I've not long had something" he lied as his eyes started scanning around the room to look at the various articles that were displayed. They were just like Mel... Always willing to help anyone if they were having some trouble.

    But Mel didn't leave him waiting too long. Soon enough the smaller male came back into the room and took the seat opposite him. He'd set his coffee down on the table and folded his legs slightly under the chair he was sitting on to stop his legs from swinging like a child. He didn't like feeling trapped, but it was a trick his dad had shown him to keep him still. But he was taken aback a little when Mel reached over to brush a strand of his fringe from his face.

    The question made him shrug his shoulders and slightly wriggle slightly on the seat. He wasn't sure why, but the palms of his heads felt sweaty and his eyes dropped to look at the table between them. "I dunno... It's been a month" he said looking down at his clothes when Mel gestured to them. Then there was the question about 'someone' hurting him... How the hell could he respond to that? it just made him sink slightly in the seat and his poker face slightly wavered a little. "I don't and can't go anywhere Mel. You won't understand if I told you everything and my parents have the system wrapped around their fingers... I can't tell anyone" he said trying to talk himself out of it. But what if Mel managed to work everything out without him saying anything? would that still be braking the rules?

    "Damn it..." he wasn't even swearing any more and smoking was out the window. The first two weeks had been hard but finally things started to get a little easier. He ran his hands through his hair in frustration and took in a large breath to try and calm his nerves a little. "If I give you a company name... maybe it'll help you work things out a little. I'm sure if you look on the net you'll find all the information... or some of it to understand the situation" he said letting his hands fall to rest back in his lap. "Just promise to keep all this to yourself... I know you will. But I need to hear it Mel". He was treading on dangerous ground and he didn't want to get Mel into any kind of trouble either. He wouldn't be able to forgive himself if that ever happened.
     
  7. TheCarrionKing

    TheCarrionKing Cleverly Disgused as a Responsible Citizen Member

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    At Caden's words, Mel's face lost all color. He...dear god. He'd contemplated jumping out of a window. Mel knew the boy was well off but guards? Cameras? Were they to keep people out or Caden in? Mel suspected the latter and it made his stomach roll. Why would his parents put him through all that? Didn't they care what kind of damage they could do to him? How hurt Caden could get in an attempt to escape? Whatever Mel had thought before the reality was shaping up to be several times worse. And with the way he was behaving it made Mel's unease worse. He was now sure it wasn't a matter of 'if' Caden was abused it was 'how'. Not just that but he was worried that whatever he said would change how Mel thought of him. As though he'd think poorly of him because of exactly what Caden was suffering through. He could never do that. Whatever Caden said he was still the sweet boy who came to his shop to order coffee. Who was friendly and respectful to his staff even after he'd had sex with one of them. A boy who believed that he didn't have a way out. That he was stuck where he was. Suffering and alone and...Mel couldn't stop himself. He got up out of his seat and walked around to the other side of the table. Once there he knelt down and wrapped his arms around the taller man. Pulling Caden's head so it rested on Mel's shoulder.

    "First off there is nothing you tell me or that'll find out that will make me think less of you," Mel started running his fingers through Caden's hair in a comforting gesture, "If you're worried about me finding out something and wanting something from you don't. I know it's easier said than done, and it might be hard to believe, but money isn't incredibly important to everyone. It's not to me. Nor is your name, or assets, or inheritance, or whatever you're worried about people wanting from you. Yes, I'm not rich, but I have everything I need. I'm not going to exploit or take advantage of you. Whatever you have is yours and I'm much more interested in you as a person and making sure you're safe. If possible safe and happy,"

    Mel pressed his cheek into Caden's hair, it was so soft. And whatever soap Caden used smelt amazing, much better than Mel who just smelt like coffee and his too many house plants. He shoved the thoughts away. It really wasn't the time for that. Caden needed help and Mel needed not to get distracted by his inappropriate infatuation.

    "Second, nothing you tell me will leave this room. If it'll make you feel better we can go to my office and lock the door," Mel tightened his hold on Caden. When was the last time someone hugged him? Let him know they were there for him? That they'd do whatever they could to help him? Though Caden had probably said it as a joke Mel felt bad for not organizing a search party. For not finding him before and doing whatever the hell he could to get Caden out of there, "But you have to know that legally they can't keep you locked up. It's a crime. I don't give two damns what they say,"

    The normally sedate blonde growled the words, but he didn't raise his voice. His fingers still sliding through Caden's hair, his hug still warm and gentle, to let the boy know he was not mad at him. Never that. Even when Caden did things that Mel saw as reckless he wasn't angry with him. Worried yes, but not angry, "I don't care who their lawyers are or what excuses they use, they can't keep you imprisoned if you want to leave. You are not a child. You are an adult capable of making your own decisions,"

    "Third if it's about money, if you're scared of having nowhere to go, I just want you to know you can come and stay with me. My house isn't large but I have an extra room that's just a home office," Mel pulled back just enough to meet Caden's gaze, "And don't worry about putting your problems on my shoulders. I want to help you. I'll worry about you regardless. I'd rather do what I can to help you then stand aside and watch you suffer. Then watch you be exploited and used. You don't deserve that, never that,"

    With that said Mel let go of him and moved back, just a little as he cupped Caden's cheeks to make sure their gazes met, "So tell me what you want, what you feel you can, and I'll do everything in my power to help you. Everything and anything, alright?"

    Mel then let his hands fall and moved back a bit, though he didn't reclaim his seat. Staying nearby in case Caden needed anything.
     
  8. Unleashed

    Unleashed Well-Known Member Member

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    Everything would make sense when he explained things further. But he didn't know how or what to say. What if Mel took it the wrong way or felt disgusted by him? or what if he went round and spoke to his parents. His dad would go mad and he didn't want to face his father when he was in a mood. He'd grown too tired to react to someone if they shouted at him now. Before he'd have shot something back at them and defended his corner, but now he just averted his eyes and sunk into his cocoon. He couldn't speak. The look that took hold of Mel's face made him crack and the moment the smaller male moved from the chair to kneel in front of him made the tears fall down his cheeks. He turned to face him and willingly placed his arms around Mel's neck. Managing to rest his head on his own arm so he didn't sog up the mans work clothes.

    Caden wasn't loud when he cried, the only give away was the shaky breaths and light sniffing that came from him. His arms tightened around Mel as he soaked up the warmth of his embrace. It had been well over a month since anyone had given him any kind of affection. God the last person to hug him was probably Chris... But then Mel started playing with his hair and for a small second, Caden wasn't sure what to do. His breathing and everything just paused, but he found himself relaxing and leaning slightly into the males touch. Was he broken? He knew his reactions were bound to cause suspicion. But Mel had it all wrong. He'd give away everyhing he ha to be normal, he just wanted a family. Somewhere to belong... That was why he'd started sleeping around with so many people. The comments made him shake his head a little. "That isn't it" he said still quietly. "They want to make me a 'man' for the company image and they found out about my antics and gave me 'mannerism training' to make me behave better" he couldn't say the next part and felt like kicking himself as his voice cracked slightly.

    Mel pressed his cheek against his hair and it gave him the little boost of confidence that he needed. "They want me to marry a girl..." He knew what Mel promised was true. Nothing would leave thjs room, but he didn't want to move and sit in the office, he didn't have the energy to stand right now, he just felt like a hollow shell. "Please, you can't say anything to them. This is my thing... I feel bad for unwinding on you like this. I came back to apologise and I feel like I've just planted another bomb on you". But Mel had just offered him to stay... Did that just happen? A small frown set on his face as his wild brain tried to process the words he'd just heard. Did the older male really want him hanging around? No... It was just sympathy wasn't it - or that's what his brain told him.

    But when Mel drew back and made their eyes lock with each others, he felt a little relief escape him. "Techo... I own a company called Techo" he said wiping his eyes with the palm of his hands. A little sniff escaped him as he tried to calm down again. "When my parents died they handed the company over to me on my Eighteenth brithday, but I had to be ready for it. When I hit Eighteen my adopted parents changed and started trying to mold me into the 'perfect' son, so like any kid I rebelled and shit hit the fan" he said averting his eyes again. "Everything was fine until they found out I was sleeping with people, that's when dad banned me from going outside. He thinks if I marry it'll make me loyally bound to the female, but I don't know what to do" he said placing one hand over his stomach. All his cards were now out on the table. He'd told Mel mostly everything there was to know and it made him feel sick. Completely sick.

    Now all he could do was wait for the male's reaction. He just hoped he didn't explode or ask about what went on behind the closed doors of the home. "Escaping for awhile would be nice... But I can't risk it. This place is my only safe place and if I can't see you guys I won't have anything left that's real". It sounded stupid and pathetic to say allowed, but he needed the BlackBird cafe. If he lost it, that would be the final straw.
     
  9. TheCarrionKing

    TheCarrionKing Cleverly Disgused as a Responsible Citizen Member

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    Mel blinked at the mention of the company name. He didn't need to look it up, he remembered his family talking about it. A lot. If they found out that he knew the now owner of Techo...the cold knots in Mel's stomach clenched painfully and his chest grew tight. The older man finding it hard to breathe. Why couldn't Caden have owned some other company? Any other company? The fact that it was Techo made Mel's infatuation with the boy worse. Though Mel never planned to act on it, it was now an impossibility. If the tabloids got ahold of it, with Mel's age along with his adoptive family's fixation on Caden's company...they'd twist everything into something dark and manipulative. Mel didn't care about Techo! He cared about the teary-eyed and scared boy in front of him. The one who he wanted to hold and prevent anything bad from ever happening to again. Who he wanted to help and keep safe. Not for money or to help his family, but because Caden was a person who deserved to be treated with affection and care.

    Mel lifted up one of his hands and brushed the tears from Caden's cheeks. Those shaky breaths and soft sniffles tearing the older man apart more than any hysterical crying ever could. How often did Caden sit alone crying like that? As though he was too afraid someone would hear him and either hurt or mock him for the tears? What could he do to get the boy to leave a situation that was clearly making him so miserable? Was he scared of violence? Had they hit him? Caden said they'd had him go through 'mannerism training', and Mel hoped it was simply that. Not that it sounded pleasant but if Caden was just using the words and actually meant some type of conversion therapy...No. Even if he didn't how could he let Caden stay in such a bad situation? The way Caden had leaned into his touch seeking affection, attention, he could see how the boy would have tried to find that by sleeping around. Then to be told he wasn't allowed to leave, would be forced to marry someone at twenty who he didn't have an interest in.

    "Caden," Mel started, his voice even more gentle than it'd been before, "do you want to leave? I'm not asking if you want a break from your family or to stay over for a few nights, but if you want to not have to go back. You could come to the shop as much as you want, every day if you want. If you don't want to stay with me, and again I'd be more than happy to have you, I know some of the others would be more than willing to let you stay. You're not alone alright? I know you probably feel like you are. They probably told you that no one would or could help you, but they lied,"

    The older man moved his hand back up to Caden's hair, keeping his touch gentle and comforting, "My offer to let you live with me still stands. I don't care about the company you own. I care about you and I'm worried. I'm worried about what they'll do to you. About what you'll have to go through and what you'll end up suffering before all is said and done. I'm worried that they'll twist and bend you to fit their ideas and...and how they'll toss you aside when you break..."

    Mel stopped and dropped his hand from Caden's hair to rub at his own wrist. Perhaps he was simply projecting on that point but...it'd be easy for them to do. Caden was just so young and they were isolating him. If it continued they could leave the sweet and gentle boy who's company Mel enjoyed nothing but shattered pieces. It would take so much longer to help him put himself back together if it came to that. Though of course, Mel would. He refused to abandon Caden. He would not leave him alone. He would not let him suffer alone.

    "I don't want to see that happen to you. I don't want to see you forced to marry someone. So please, I'll keep my promise and not say a word, but let me help you," Mel could no longer keep the desperation or fear out of his voice. He'd tried but...the more Caden said the less he liked.
     
  10. Unleashed

    Unleashed Well-Known Member Member

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    How had someone like Mel ever came into his life? Caden had done so much to the guy in the past and yet Mel never once raised his voice or showed him the door. He couldn't thank the male enough. Even now the older male didn't tell him to stop or to shut up. Not once had he raised his hand to him - ever. He just... He didn't know what to say. His eyes raised to meet Mel's again when he started wiping his tears away, but it wasn't worth it right now. The quiet sniffs had been hard to achieve to begin with, but he was a master at them now and there was no way Caden would tell him anything more about his dad and what went on behind the closed doors... it wasn't anything sexual, but he knew Mel would have something to say about it. The poor man had already learned enough for one day and Caden felt horrible for spilling everything out to him. He'd originally came to apologise, not make things worse.

    'Caden' Mel's voice sounded lost and the tone was more gentle from his usual - if that was even possible. But when he asked if he wanted to leave, his eyes dropped a little and his head nodded slightly. Wanting to leave was an understatement. Caden wanted to vanish. He wanted the ground to crumble and swallow him whole. But he knew it wouldn't happen. But as Mel went on, Caden couldn't see his parents allowing him to just walk out of the company and leave. He leaned his back against the chair and rubbed at his eyes again with the palms of his hands and lightly shook his head. "I don't know how any of that would work Mel... my parents would flip and the police would probably get involved" but Caden was an adult now... would the police be able to do anything if he suddenly left on his own accord? now that he thought about it, he wasn't sure. But he didn't want Mel's job to be hit or mixed up with his mess. But as the reassuring hand started running through his hair again, it seemed to ease him further.

    "You've already done a lot for me... I'd feel like I was taking advantage of you. I can't thank you enough already as it is Mel" he said honestly. "I'm sorry... Anyone else would've cast me out by now" But not Mel... He didn't understand what the male seen in him, but he was glad he had someone like Mel looking out for him. His parents couldn't do anything worse to him... It was just living through it that was the challenge.

    He kept his eyes focused on Mel's expression and found himself wrapping his arms back around his neck, holding him close again and gently taking in his scent. He smelled of coffee, but it was a scent he loved. He didn't know what Mel had been through or why he was so understanding, but thank god... "I don't what to say. I just don't want you to get wrapped up in my family drama..." he said quietly. "But I will... I will spend some time away from them and I won't sleep around anymore" Chris would probably be a little annoyed with the lack of teasing, but it had already been a month... but where did that leave Mel and Caden now? Nobody knew this much information about him.

    He drew back and felt the weight completely lift from his shoulders. He knew Mel would probably feel heavy... "C-can I work the shift for you? I'm smart enough this time right?" he said gesturing at his own clothes with a small chuckle to lighten the mood a little. "I think we've been off the floor long enough... and if it makes you less worried, I'll give you my number" he was surprised Chris hadn't given it to Mel already during his absence. Then again, maybe he felt like Caden would be mad if his personal number got passed around? "You're okay right? I mean... with the information?" he knew worry and stress could make it difficult to work, and Mel already had enoigh to worry about with a business to run. "I am sorry... and thank you for listening" but he felt a little pathetic because of it. Besides... What parent didn't hit their kid? wasn't it normal?.
     
  11. TheCarrionKing

    TheCarrionKing Cleverly Disgused as a Responsible Citizen Member

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    Mel hugged Caden back, once more his fingers finding their way into Caden's hair. He hoped the gesture was as comforting to the younger man as Mel found it, or maybe Caden was simply so touch starved that he was allowing anything even if it wasn't helpful. Mel didn't want it to be that but was too weak willed to stop himself. Caden's hair was just so soft, fluffy, touching it like petting a kitten, "and you're certainly not taking advantage of me. I was the one who offered to help, remember?"

    If anyone was taking advantage of the situation it was Mel. His infatuation with the younger man could easily make his actions suspect...but Mel knew he'd offer the same things to anyone he knew who was in the same position as Caden. He couldn't just stand by and not assist someone who needed help, especially so desperately. And despite his one sided pinning, Mel knew how to keep himself in control. He'd spent years playing a part so pretending he felt nothing but a paternal affection for the man currently holding onto him like a lifeline wouldn't be too much of a challenge. He hoped. He didn't want Caden to run or feel pressured into something should he slip up.

    "As for throwing you out I could never do that. Everyone needs help from time to time. No one should have to suffer alone," Mel said, "and you don't have to say anything else. You can stay as long as you need to. As long as you want. As for police involvement don't worry. I have a few friends on the force who'll be happy to help keep it from getting out of hand,"

    Not that he could say that Officer Castillo and the others could keep someone from coming out to make sure Caden wasn't being held against his will but he was sure they could keep it from affecting the shop as they did enjoy the coffee. Of course if cops started coming around for more than coffee and Richard found out...no. Mel slammed the door shut on those thoughts. It'd do him no good to think about it. No good to stress. He'd deal with that when and if it happened and not a moment sooner. It certainly wasn't the time for him to get lost in his own head. Not with Caden there hugging him.

    The older man didn't comment on Caden saying he wouldn't sleep around anymore. Though it did come as a relief. One less worry he had for Caden was good, especially as he wasn't sure the boy's parents weren't physically abusing him. Sure Mel didn't see any bruises, but those could easily be hidden or covered up. He wasn't about to ask Caden to strip so he could check, he'd just have to trust the younger man to tell him if and when he was ready.

    When Caden pulled back Mel let him go, dropping his hand from Caden's hair. A chuckle slipped past his lips at the boy's attempt at humor, "you've seen how my staff dress haven't you? Your old clothes would have worked just as well...and honestly I would prefer you in those you don't seem as comfortable in these ones, though they do look good on you,"

    Mel hoped the compliment wasn't too much, but it was true. Caden did look good, but Mel was sure the younger man would look good no matter what he wore.

    "As for you actually working...that would help out quite a bit...of course there's some paperwork to do first and you need your food handlers license...not to mention training..." Mel trailed off for a moment, worrying his bottom lip with his teeth. Mel wouldn't be opposed to teaching Caden himself but he had paperwork to do. He supposed he could help Caden and just take his work home, it wouldn't be the first time he'd done it and it wouldn't be the last. However if Caden would be staying with him there was things he'd need to get. Which meant Mel would be up till well past midnight and he had to be up at four to make sure the shop opened on time and...

    A knock sounded at the door and a pink head of hair popped in. The makeup the man had been wearing earlier was gone and Mel could guess how the visit to his husband's office had gone. Of course nothing else gave the man away, "Hey, Boss, Chris said you came back here a while ago and I just wanted to let you know I was here for my shift,"

    Caleb's blue grey eyes then moved over to Caden and he grinned. Mel knew that wicked edge all too well and let out a groan, his face already flushing red though nothing left the man's mouth yet.

    "Oh, I'm going to guess you're Caden," Mel stood and made a quick gesture out of Caden's field of view, but of course Caleb being Caleb he just grinned more and continued on like normal, "it's nice you're back, I thought Mel was going to wear a hole in the lobby floor with all his pacing and watching the door. I seriously expected him to file a missing person's report,"

    Well it hadn't been as bad as Mel expected it to be, showing his friend did have some tact, but Caden was already worried about telling Mel what he had and he certainly didn't need to know how worried he'd been over the boy's welfare. Caleb however wasn't through talking.

    "Of course Boss, being Boss worries about everything even if it's not an issue. Though he seemed extra worried about you. Now I see why, you're incredibly adorable," Caleb pushed open the door fully and stepped into the room. The man was a head shorter than Mel, with slim shoulders and wide hips. His jeans had a distressed look to them but his shirt was more of a respectable button up. An inky black that made Caleb look almost pearl like, with shimmering pinstripes in the colors of a rainbow. He tilted his head then, realizing something wasn't quite right but at Mel's shake of the head he didn't ask. Something Mel was grateful for. Even Caleb knew when to just leave some things alone. Of course what Caden would see as an entirely carefree tone Mel knew had threads of actual relief in it. That his friend had been as worried over him as Mel had been over Caden.

    To prevent Caleb from continuing, and hinting at things he shouldn't, Mel cleared his throat, "Yes...uh, Caden, this is Caleb. He's been a friend of mine for years and is a part time manager here, so feel free to ask him anything if you're unsure about something and can't find me,"

    Mel then paused, an idea coming to him though it could be the worst idea he'd had in a while, though he really needed to get that paperwork done, "actually, Caleb will be over seeing your training. He's trained at least half of the employees here so you're in good hands,"

    He then turned to Caleb, "Cay, this is Caden, he's going to work a shift here today...please be on your best behavior,"

    Cay was quiet for a moment then shrugged, "Alright Boss, so just take him up front then?"

    Mel shook his head, "You're going to have to go through the paperwork with him, and he needs his food handlers license,"

    Cay nodded, as though it was a normal thing to begin training that way even though they both knew it wasn't, "So we'll be using your work laptop right? Password still the same?"

    "Yes, go ahead and use my address too," Caleb arched a brow at that but didn't say anything. Instead he slipped into Mel's office to get the laptop. Alone with Caden once again he looked down at the boy and smiled, "you're in good hands with Caleb, but if you need me I'll be in my office,"

    He reached out and patted Caden's shoulder, "and don't worry about me. I'm more than fine, and there is nothing to apologize for. As for your number I'll go ahead and pull it from the record alright? And I'm always willing to listen if you need to talk,"

    With that said Mel headed into his office as Caleb stepped out. The pink haired man shooting Caden a bright smile, "All right! Let's get this show on the road. We'll do the application first since it won't take long, we just need it on file for legal purposes. Then we'll get the license, sounds scary but it takes about an hour to an hour and a half and it's all online. Finally we'll take a break then do on the floor training,"
     
    • Love Love x 1
  12. Unleashed

    Unleashed Well-Known Member Member

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    The gesture was comforting, more than Mel knew. Caden liked the male for than his words could describe. How could he admit his feeling without ruining that they had? "I know you did... I just... Don't know what to say Mel. You're just amazing" he said still holding him tightly. Mel really was his lifeline. If it wasn't for the wall eyed beauty, where would he be. He owed the place so much. "Thank you Mel. I mean it. I'll try my best to keep trouble from your door" but that was easier said than done. Nobody could stop the trouble that was probably going to unfold in front of them.

    So far he'd promised to keep his hands to himself. But how was that going to work around Chris? There wasn't any keeping your hands to yourself when the two were around each other. But he was going to try... for now at least. He owed Mel more than a simple promise though... He wasn't about to admit what his parents had been doing to him either. Mel already knew too much and the lessons weren't enough to scar him. Things healed within time and that was enough to keep him looking forward.

    Caden had stopped sniffing and drew back to joke about his attire. He knew how the staff dressed when they worked, but his eyes met Mel's when he admitted to liking his current clothes more. Was he joking? The comment made him chuckle "Man... you must be getting old" he teased. It was obvious that Caden had no idea what he needed to join the Black Bird team, but when Mel spoke about a license, he started to feel like he was being more like a pain than a help. "Oh..." he started but was cut off by a knock on the door.

    It opened and a pink haired male popped in. Caden took a few seconds to recognise him. He'd seen Caleb a few times, but he didn't know his as well as everyone else. "Sorry. I didn't mean to cause any trouble. Was Mel really pacing?" he asked looking at Mel again with a small smile. "I thought Chris was joking..." he teased.

    But as Caleb went on, he could feel his cheeks heating a little. He knew Mel and Caleb were exchanging gestures and looks to one another, but he didn't have the heart or balls to ask what he was missing. "It's a pleasure to meet you. I didn't think I'd meet anyone shorter than Mel" he said playfully. He was trying his best to act more like himself, but he was still a little hesitant with his words.

    But he slightly regretted his teasing words when Mel said Caleb would be training him. He slowly stood up and patted his clothes out and let out a quiet sigh. "Alright. I hope that would be a problem. My aim was to take away work without adding any" he said looking at the pair with a weak smile. He waited for them to exchange their handover and waited for Caleb to grab the laptop.

    He'd rather stay with Mel, but the reassuring touch and words made him relax a little. "Thanks. I'll steal your number this time too. Maybe I'll be able to give you a message when things blow up" he said as Caleb came back out the office. He turned his attention to the pink haired male and nodded his head. "No problem. Just let me know what information you need and I'll do the rest. I understand legal requirements and it doesn't sound scary at all" he said walking over to the smaller male. "I'm ready when you are".
     
  13. TheCarrionKing

    TheCarrionKing Cleverly Disgused as a Responsible Citizen Member

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    "Most of the time when we tell people they need a food handlers license they get this look like we suggested they fight a lion with a toothpick and a napkin, glad it doesn't have you worried though. Course, as I said, it's not hard. You watch some videos, answer some questions and print the certificate out at the end. Easy," Caleb sat the laptop on the table and plopped down in the chair next to Caden, "The hardest part of the day will probably be getting the hang of using all the different machines. Though don't worry too much about that, I'll be there the whole time and Chris'll be there too,"

    The pink haired man paused for a moment, typing in Mel's password, "You and Chris had a friends with benefits type deal going on right? Well Mel doesn't have any rules about dating, or screwing, your coworkers, but I will give you a little heads up that that probably isn't going to continue. Chris got a boyfriend about a week ago...course he denies it to hell and back. Says they're just friends...who go on dates, but Chris is smitten as all hell. Not that I can blame the guy, Dixon is sweet enough to give you diabetes and more wholesome than...well anything. Built as hell too, no idea what it is with guys who don't do physical labor having so much muscle but you won't find me complaining. My husband's like that too, he's a lawyer but is built like a brick wall and towers over me. I mean I know I'm small, but he makes me look like a doll. Great for sex though,"

    Cay pulled up the application and quickly filled in the address before turning the laptop toward Caden, "go ahead and fill out the rest. While you do that I'm going to snag a few donuts,"

    The small man stood and made his way back to the table that held the donuts, before proceeding to take four of the jelly filled ones. He then headed back to the table. Once he was back in his seat he looked over at Caden as the younger man filled out the application. He then looked away and took a bite of his donut, "You know Mel worries a lot, about just about everything honestly. I'm surprised he doesn't have grey hair already. Though when you stopped showing up he was more worried than I'd seen him in a long time...I'm not telling you this to make you feel bad, you look like you feel bad enough. And don't worry, I won't ask what had you upset enough to start crying. I just wanted to say I'm glad you're back. Mel tends to get attached to people quick and doesn't take it well when they vanish. Pretty sure it's an orphan thing, but it's hard to track what caused what with Mel,"

    Caleb licked his fingers before wiping them on the napkin then taking the laptop back as Caden finished the application. He then pulled up the web browser and opened a tab to the license. Cay then punched in some information, including payment information for the "class", before turning the laptop back to Caden. Leaning back again he picked up another donut and bit into it to get at the filling, which he scooped out with his tongue.

    "Course Mel is attached to almost all our regulars...and you vanishing probably made him extra nervous since a little over a year ago one of our regulars was hospitalized after his abusive ex-boyfriend tracked him down and beat the shit out of him. So Mel's brain probably just jumped to the worst case scenario..." Cay then paused and shifted his gaze back to Caden and gave him a teasing grin, "or it could just be because he thinks you're adorable. It's hard to tell with Mel sometimes...well unless you know him well.

    "I met him a long ass time ago...well about eight years actually. Mel wasn't much older than you when he opened this place. He's always worked too hard and cared too much. I mean he hasn't taken a vacation since he opened this place...not to mention dating. I don't think he's been on a date since he's opened this place. Shame, maybe if he got laid he wouldn't be so tense," Caleb then frowned, "or knowing the boss he'd just be tense about that too. He really does worry too much,"

    He continued to chatter at Caden while waiting for Caden to finish. Occasionally he'd pull out his phone and respond to a text, a soft smile tugging at his lips. More than once he chucked and muttered "dork," under his breath.

    Once Caden finished Caleb emailed the certificate to Mel and shut down the laptop. Cay then stood up and clapped his hands, "alright, any questions before we head up front? Or did you want to take a break and eat?"
     
  14. Unleashed

    Unleashed Well-Known Member Member

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    "Sounds easy enough" how hard could it be? Caden was sure he'd sat harder tests in the past, but he wasn't going to get too big headed. If he failed, he'd feel like a complete idiot. But he tried to think of this as a simple meeting rather than a test to calm his nerves a little and took a seat. "Hmm... I've used the machines before... but I'll definitely need a refreshers course on how to froth the milk for the latté art" he always thought the people at the café made it look far too easy. His art normally just came out looking more like a messy cloud... and the messy cloud wasn't a happy one either.

    He ignored the first comment about Chris being there to help him. Caden still didn't know what he was going to say to him. His eyes stayed on Caleb, but they dropped a little when word came of Chris being loved up with someone else. "Honestly... I'm not surprised" But he felt a little stab wound in his chest... Chris and him had never been a thing and it was always clear a relationship was never going to blossom. Caden hadn't helped doing a vanishing act for a month either... so it was only natural for Chris to find someone that made him happy. "But you don't need to worry about that... It's in the past" he said putting his poker face back on with a small smile and glanced back at Caleb as he continued to talk. He was glad he hardly needed to speak to cure the silence. Caleb seemed to be doing a pretty good job for the pair of them. But when word of Caleb's partner being a lawyer came about, his stomach twisted a little. That could cause a problem if word got out about his life at home. But why would it? Nobody knew what was happening... so he managed a small smile and shook his head a little as the laptop was handed towards him. "I wouldn't know... Built guys aren't my thing. They're a little scary" he admitted looking over some of the questions that were displayed. He started filling some of the form in while Caleb fetched some donuts, but the silence in the room didn't last long. He was almost half way through when the pink haired male sat down and spoke again. When he heard Mel's name his eyes moved to look at Caleb again... What was he getting at? He listened and stayed silent until he thought of something 'proper' to say... but it sounded more business like than casual.

    "I shouldn't have broke down the way I did. It was unprofessional and the BlackBird has enough to focus on. Mel is a good friend and I shouldn't have left without saying anything... But I wasn't given an option. But 'we' orphans do tend to get attached to people a little too quickly. I wouldn't always say it's a good thing or a bad thing, but it is difficult" he said finishing the application and turning the laptop to face Caleb again.

    He kept his eyes on the slender male until the laptop was passed back to him and let out a quiet sigh as he read through the information. He listened and didn't look up again until he heard the teasing tone in Caleb's voice. "Pft, you might know Mel. But if you think he's into me you must be high" but if what the guy was telling the truth... maybe he could help take away some tension? Caden knew how to work his body in little ways to get people's attention. But would it really work on Mel? It was worth a shot... No. What was wrong with him? He shouldn't be thinking like that. Mel was trying to help him and he'd only been back a day.

    It didn't take long to finish the form and he slowly slide the laptop back over to Caleb with a weak smile. "I don't really get hungry" but he stole one of the two donuts that Caleb hadn't eaten and took a childlike bite from the dough so he didn't get jam anywhere on his clothes. "Come on, I just wanna get started" he said sounding a little more relaxed as he pushed himself off the chair and decreased his clothes by giving them a quick brush down with one clean hand.
     
  15. TheCarrionKing

    TheCarrionKing Cleverly Disgused as a Responsible Citizen Member

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    Caleb looked at Caden for a moment, his brows slightly furrowed, as he made some conclusion he didn't feel the need to share. The pink haired man then shrugged, "Alright, we'll get started...but really no need to be worried about breaking down. You aren't the first person to break and confide in Mel in these walls and you won't be the last either. The world can be a terrible and harsh place but kind, understanding, people like him make living in it worth it,"

    Though the conversation had mostly been about Mel at the end it didn't seem as though Caleb was talking about the owner of the cafe. However the man didn't elaborate, instead, he grinned, "Oh, as for the high comment I resent that. I've been clean and sober for the past eight and a half years thank you very much. But if you still don't believe me don't worry, Mel isn't as nearly as covert as he thinks he is...of course what you do with that is up to you. I'm just here to point out the obvious and prevent people from taking advantage of Boss,"

    He then led Caden back out into the front of the shop. Chris turned towards them, head tilted and brow furrowed. Caleb just continued to grin which prompted Chris to arch his brow, "And what are you up to?"

    Cay lay his hand over his heart and tried to look offended, ultimately failing as his smile was still in place. "What do you mean? I'm not up to anything just showing our new coworker the ropes."

    Chris's eyes went wide, "So...Caden is working here now?"

    "Yes, oh and don't worry. I already told him you were off the market," Caleb headed behind the counter, motioning for Caden to follow. H pulled an apron off the hook and handed it over the pale-haired man, his gaze moving to Chris who was sputtering with a red face. He then turned back to Caden, tying it snuggly. "By the way don't you have a date with Dixion today? I'm a bit surprised you agreed to stay later. Are you going to have enough time to go home and get pretty?"

    The brunette flushed more over the light teasing tone in Caleb's voice. "I-I'm not you," He grumbled crossing his arms over his chest and resting his hip on the counter before he realized what was being said. His whole face turned a bright red. "And it's not a damn date, we're just friends and we're just going to see a movie. I'm paying for myself, ergo; not a date. So stop meddling and go play matchmaker with someone else,"

    "The denial is strong," Caleb chuckled, prompting Chris to look around and make sure that the customers were otherwise engaged before flipping Caleb off. Cay didn't bother to check and just flipped him off back. They then stared each other down for a full minute before they started laughing.

    Chris then turned his gaze to Caden, still smiling. "Well, it's good to have someone else here today, given outside of the morning rush it's been pretty slow...of course people do want coffee at some odd hours. It's also nice to see you're alright, I was starting to get worried."

    "Everyone was worried, especially Mel, but enough of that now. Let me show you how to use these machines,"

    ~*~
    Several hours later Mel looked up from his computer, stretching his back until it popped. He'd not only managed to get payroll done but also looked at his personal accounts to make sure he had enough money to turn his home office into a bedroom. Perhaps it was silly, maybe Caden would only stay for a day or so...but he didn't want the poor boy to have to curl up on his couch. Given he was only a bit taller than Mel but it still wouldn't be comfortable and Caden looked as though he'd experience enough of that in his life. A sigh slipped back his lips and he leaned back resting his head on the back of his chair. Of course, he could have easily just allowed Caden to sleep in his bed while Mel took the couch but he imagined the younger man wouldn't go along with that. Of course, there was also the image of Caden in his bed, groggy with sleep tousled hair that Mel wanted to avoid. In fact, any image of Caden in his bed was one that should be avoided at all cost. Mel didn't need to torment himself, but more than that Caden needed a safe place to be and not to have to deal with Mel's lopsided infatuation. If he was lucky Caleb kept that to himself.

    Though, knowing Caleb, he hadn't so Mel could only hope that Caden brushed it off as teasing.

    Caden wasn't the only thing he had to worry about. With fall on his doorstep, the holiday season was coming. While it meant good things like organizing a secret Santa for his employees, decorating, themed pastries and drinks it also meant that Mel had to see his family. They were perfectly content to pretend Mel didn't exist most of the year unless they needed something, but the moment the holidays rolled around he was required to attend all family functions. Mel wasn't much for parties or large gatherings, but it was when they were all sitting at the family table that he dreaded the most. The way every action was judged and ridiculed. He still loved them, though Caleb said he shouldn't, which made it worse.

    Mel rubbed his wrist before tugging at his sleeves to make sure they were covered and stood. He put all his paperwork away and headed out to the front of the store. There was a customer at the counter and Caleb was off to the side, watching as Caden took it then proceeded to make the drink. Mel couldn't help but smile as he watched the pale-haired younger man. Caleb noticed his expression and grinned. Mel's only response was to flush like a schoolboy and straighten his clothing before walking up to the counter. The customer left, looking rather pleased with their drink, and Mel turned his attention to Caden. He was such a handsome young man and for a moment Mel couldn't find his tongue. Caden had such beautiful eyes, a pale crystal clear blue. Like the sky after a massive storm. They were much more stunning than Mel's own mismatched set.

    At Caleb's chuckle, he pulled himself together. "How are you settling in? Hopefully, Caleb has been on his best behavior."

    "Hey," Cay said with mock indignance, "I resent that, Boss, I'm always on my best behavior,"

    Mel gave him a flat stare which Caleb just handwaved away. "Anyway, it's his break time and I know you haven't eaten, don't argue I know you haven't, so why don't you guys head to the deli across the street or something?"

    Though Mel wanted to argue he realized it was just because his friend was being a bit heavy handed. There wasn't any reason for him not to go get lunch and Mel taking whichever employee's break fell on the time Mel went to get food was rather common...but that glint in Caleb's eye. Of course, bickering with Cay about it would just give him away so he turned back to Caden, "Would you like to go? If not I can bring you something back, though I'm not sure what you'd want,"
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  16. Unleashed

    Unleashed Well-Known Member Member

    Messages:
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    5:46 AM
    That was true. Mel did make the world seem less terrible and harsh. That was one of the reasons why Caden loved coming to the Black Bird café. Even if his problems only vanished for a little while, those few seconds made it worth it. They gave him hope. "Don't I know it... Anyway, I'm eager to start" he said with a small smile. But as the conversation carried on, he grew curious about Cay's words. Was Mel clean? or was his hands a little dirtier than he was letting on? Either way, Caden couldn't blame him. The poor guy had enough of his chest. Even more so now after their conversation. He just hoped he'd be okay holding onto his dark little secret. "Somebody needs to look after the 'big' guy. He's lucky to have nice staff at his side" Caden wished he could say the same about his own company... Sadly they were all wrapped around his 'parent's fingers' rather than his own.

    He followed Cay out front and gave Chris a slight wave in greeting when he turned and questioned his co-worker. Their banter brought a genuine smile to his face, and he nodded to Chris' question. "I owe Mel one. It's a long story..." he said averting his eyes for a second. But Cay's words didn't leave him thinking about the staff room for too long. He'd almost forgotten about Chris' new boyfriend. "Damn..." did he really need to bring that up on the shop floor? Reactions were unpredictable, but luckily Chris just seemed to turn into a sputtering mess which made Caden chuckle and shake his head as he followed Cay behind the counter. He took the apron and folded it once before tying it around his waist so it didn't get in the way of his knees and glanced over at Chris again. "Hey... whatever you're calling it. I'm just happy you've found someone to share some time with. We could all do with one of those" even if it was banter, he was happy Chris had found someone while he'd been away and why wouldn't he? Chris was sweet, caring and fun to be around. They'd both had their arguments in the part, but didn't every friendship? But it seemed even after everything, Chris was still as caring as ever. "I'm sorry for not messaging you. It's... complicated. Maybe Mel can fill you in with some bits and pieces. But... it's just nice to be back around familiar faces again" He wanted to hug Chris and give him a better apology than a simple sorry, but he didn't know how to anymore. So he just gave him a weak smile and went towards the machines when Cay spoke to him.

    ~*~​

    The machines were easy to grasp and the customers were always polite. He started having normal conversations with them and spent a few minutes with each. Was this normal here? it felt so strange. Why couldn't his own environment be like this at home or during work? Everyone felt like machines in his company. If you asked them anything to do with their life at home they'd freeze up like you'd asked them a complex question that'd caused their brain to malfunction. Time always went slowly at his work, but it just seemed to fly past while he was here.

    He took another customer and chatted as he got her drink ready and carefully handed the warm cup over to her. She smiled, smelled the coffee from its lid and walked back towards the entrance. Caden hadn't even notice Mel, but his attention shifted when he noticed Caleb was looking at something. His smile brightened and he arched a brow at Caleb's words. "He's been... okay" he said playfully. "But everything seems pretty straight forward" but when food was mentioned he wasn't sure what to say. He didn't really feel hungry, but he couldn't let Mel have something on his own. "I'll only go if you're going. Eating alone can be boring and... I'm paying okay" he wasn't taking no for an answer and was already taking his apron off so he could grab his wallet that was neatly tucked away in the back pocket of his trousers. They probably had more to speak about anyway. Maybe a deli wasn't the best place for it. But it was a new atmosphere which would probably relax them both a little more. "How long do we have again?" He knew Mel would keep him right, but time was easily lost when you were talking to someone. So he wanted to keep track in case either of them forgot.
     

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