Because It Was He by Tinnean

January 13, 2015

Title: Because It Was He

Author: Tinnean

Pairing: Ransom and Parrish from The Best

Prompt: twisted

If I am pressed to say why I loved him, I feel it can only be explained by replying: “Because it was he; because it was me.” - Montaigne

The holiday season was coming to an end. Ransom Burke, CEO of Burke, Burke, and Hammett, and Parrish Rutledge, his lover, had spent Thanksgiving with Felicia Campbell, his previous executive secretary, and her husband and their twins, who weren’t quite a year old. It had been cute watching Parrish crawl around on the floor with the little boy and girl.

For Christmas, they’d gone to visit the Pitneys, the foster family who had taken Parrish in after his homophobic brother had tossed him out on the street.  It had been interesting seeing how Parrish got along with the Pitney children, who threw themselves on him, even though they’d been seven and nine when they’d last seen him five years before.

Now it was December 31, and the condo they were going to share from this day forward—or perhaps it would be the one he’d bought for Parrish at the beginning of the year, he thought somewhat giddily. Wherever his lover chose to live, as long as it was with him. Ran tugged the hem of his dinner jacket to conceal his erection. There were times when Parrish took the reins, and although Ran had never bottomed for any of the other men he’d had in his bed, the feel of Parrish sliding a finger into his ass and teasing his prostate had encouraged him to give it a try. Parrish had been so thorough in his care of him that Ran had come twice before Parrish mounted him. And then he’d come a third time.

That memory never ceased to arouse him.

What had his thought originally been? Oh, yes, he’d been admiring the way this condo was decorated for the New Year’s Eve party they were hosting.  There were party hats, noisemakers, streamers, masks, boas, balloons….

“Are you sure this is a good idea, Ransom?”

“Hmm? Oh, this is an excellent idea, sweet.” Ran had been startled by how much that simple endearment meant to his lover, but once he had realized it, he used it at every opportunity. And each time, Parrish would blush, give him a brilliant smile, and kiss him.

It just went to demonstrate how preoccupied Parrish was now because he completely let the opportunity pass him by.

Ran sighed. In fact, Parrish seemed to find his bowtie more fascinating than his lover.

The party they were hosting was not only to celebrate the start of the New Year, but their first anniversary as well. In spite of the fact they’d been lovers for a year—longer than any of Ran’s previous relationships save the one with Scott, which had lasted six years—the disparity in their backgrounds still worried Parrish on occasion. After he’d had to drop out of college due to rising tuition costs and dwindling grants, he’d struggled along in an effort to make ends meet, living in a matchbox of an apartment, taking temp jobs, and surviving on Ramen noodles and tomato soup made from ketchup so he could pay his student loans.

However, the fact that Ransom was exceptionally wealthy and Parrish… wasn’t… made no difference to Ransom. It was just one of those twists of fate.

While Ran’s family were aware of what Parrish was to him, his friends knew Parrish as his personal private secretary, who he’d hired away from the family company last winter. And because everyone knew Ransom Burke’s policy of not dating anyone who worked for him, they’d never questioned Parrish’s position in his life.

Of course Scott, who was still his lawyer, knew the spare bedroom in Ran’s condo was never occupied on those nights when Parrish stayed over, ostensibly to work, but he also knew which side his bread was buttered on, and he kept his mouth shut.

For the past year, Parrish had willingly remained in the background. “I know you love me, Ran, and that’s enough for me. You don’t have to shout it from the housetops.”

To his shame, Ran had gone along with it, had let everyone believe Parrish was nothing more than an employee. Oh, he could try to excuse his behavior by telling himself he’d been caught between a rock and a hard place: there had been an attempted hostile takeover because he hadn’t been at the company’s helm—he had to keep flying down to Florida where his father was in an assisted living facility, due to his numerous medical problems, and his mother had been diagnosed with advanced stage congestive heart failure—and while he’d beaten back that attempt with Parrish’s help, the last thing he’d needed in his business life or his personal life was more stress.

But enough was enough, and now it was time his friends and business associates learned how much more Parrish meant to him. And if they chose to snipe and snark at him, they’d regret it.

“I want to show off what a fantastic job you’ve done.” Ran had turned over all the preparations to Parrish, and as he’d expected, his former executive secretary had pulled it together with panache. He’d gone to the chef of Wild Rose and persuaded her to provide a variety of finger foods and fine wines, as well as an excellent champagne for toasting the New Year, as a favor to Ran, since her restaurant had become extremely popular thanks to his patronage.

However, when he’d told Parrish the party was actually to announce their coupledom to all of Charlotte, he’d been afraid Parrish would have an anxiety attack. As his executive secretary, Parrish had every confidence, but as his lover, not so much. This was something Ran intended to change.

It was Ran’s fault. Parrish had seen the way Ran had gone through a series of lovers—unfaithful or simply unsatisfactory—while he’d worked for him. That was because of Scott, who’d been his partner for six years, until he decided he wanted a “normal” life with a wife he could show off at company functions. Had Ran deliberately set himself up to be disappointed in each successive lover? If he had, it turned out to be a good thing— it left him available for Parrish.

“Did I do a good job?”

“Didn’t I just say so, sweet?”

Parrish stood before the mirror, fiddling with his bowtie, now stealing glances at him.

Ran pretended he didn’t notice. He pulled Parrish to him, took his hands from his tie, and draped them over his shoulders.  “Stop toying with your tie. You’re going to wrinkle it.”

“I am?”  Oh, not a good idea. He shouldn’t have opened his mouth. Parrish looked even more nervous.

“Never mind, sweet.” He leaned forward, and the closer he drew to Parrish’s mouth, the shorter his lover’s breath became. Ah, much better. Parrish had parted his lips. Ran opened his mouth to say “Kiss me,” but before he could, Parrish’s mouth was on his, nibbling, nipping, rubbing his tongue against Ran’s….

He’d planned to distract Parrish with a kiss, but as it turned out, Parrish did a very good job of distracting him.

**

In the midst of a kiss that was quickly growing too passionate for the amount of time they had, the chimes at his condo’s front door rang, announcing the first of their guests.

“I’d better—”

“The butler will get it.”

“But it’s my job—”

“Not tonight,” Ran interrupted again. “Tonight and forever after, you’re my partner.”

“But—”

“There are no buts, Parrish. That’s how I plan to introduce you.”

“You know you don’t have to….”

“No, but I want to. And frankly, it’s time.”

“Really, Ran?” Parrish stared at him in wide-eyed wonderment.

“Really, sweet.” Ran loved his chocolate-brown eyes. Ran… loved him, simply because it was him.

Joy flooded his features, and he pressed a chaste kiss on Ran’s lips.

“I love you!” he whispered. Then he straightened and looped his arm through Ran’s.  “All right, Ransom. Let’s get this show on the road.”

Ran had never been more proud.

**

“I’m so pleased to finally get a chance to see your condo, Ransom. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about it.” Marjorie Lane, the wife of one of Ran’s business associates, had been trying to corner him all evening and had finally succeeded. “It’s so… masculine. Of course I would have expected nothing less from a man of your standing. Although I must say that chrome and glass are more to my own taste—they give a house an elegant, modern touch, don’t you think?” She drew in a breath, but before he could say a word, she chattered on. “Now, you must show me everything.” She linked her arm with his and tugged him away from the buffet and into the living room. “It was kind of you to allow your young designer friend to dabble at decorating your home.”

“Who?”

“That young man who’s going around acting as your host. So presumptuous.” She sniffed.

“He’s not acting. And he’s not my designer.”

“He’s not?”

“He’d be the first to tell you he was behind the door when God gave out the decorating gene. Although he did set up the objects on the mantel.”

“Well, that explains it.”

“Excuse me?”

“Your mantel.” She looked as if she’d tasted something sour.

She’d always struck him as a pompous busybody, and if she couldn’t appreciate how Parrish had arranged the things he had given him, then Ran had read her personality right.

“It’s great, isn’t it?” he enthused, wondering if it would drive her insane that a “man of his standing” appreciated something she obviously disdained. He studied the little procession. Parrish had told him they were presents he’d bought each year for his boyfriend, but since he hadn’t had a special guy in his life, he’d just continued buying them and letting them accumulate under his tiny Christmas tree.

When Ran woke up on Christmas morning, he’d found the small pile of presents scattered across the foot of their bed at the Pitneys’ house. Having been told the story behind them, he’d been touched and gratified as he unwrapped each gift: a Masters of the Universe action figure from the 1980s, a model from one of Universal Studio’s classic monster movies, a pewter horse no bigger than his little finger, a lead soldier dressed in Confederate gray and mounted on a stallion, a comic book, and lastly, a tiny scale model of an Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway steam locomotive. They marched across the mantel, indicative, to him at any rate, of what a caring young man his lover was.

Great?” Marjorie sniffed again, and Ran began to wonder if she was coming down with a head cold. “It’s obvious someone”— she sent a glare in the direction Parrish had gone.—“has gone out of his way to make a horse’s ass of you! I must say, knowing your exquisite taste, I have to wonder how you could permit it. Such cheap, childish things.” She flicked the scarlet fingernails of one hand against the Creature from the Black Lagoon, toppling it to the brick hearth.

“Is that how they strike you?” Ran took her other hand from his arm and stooped to retrieve the Creature. The witch was just fortunate it was rubber and hadn’t broken.

“Well, of course! They’re nothing but Goodwill trash!”

Ran bit back a caustic retort and took a series of deep breaths in an attempt to calm down. Not even for Henry would he—

“Ran! Ransom! Look who’s here!” Parrish came hurrying up, inadvertently saving the day, dragging…

“Alex? What are you doing here?”

“A fine way to greet your brother.”

“Ass.” He hugged him. “You know you’re always welcome. But I thought you planned to ring in the New Year out in LA.”

“I did. But when Parrish sent me an invitation, I realized what an important occasion this was.” His straight brother had known almost as soon as he his feelings for Parrish, and had pushed for their relationship.

“Important in what way?” Marjorie Lane demanded. She’d latched onto Ran’s arm again.

“Shouldn’t I have, Ransom?” Parrish looked concerned. “I thought having him here would be ideal.” He lowered his voice. “It would let everyone know at least one member of your family supported our relationship.”

“And it will, sweet.” As he’d hoped, his lover’s face lit up, and Parrish pounced and kissed him.

“That is absolutely—” Marjorie’s face turned an unbecoming shade of puce.

“Marjorie!” Alex interrupted her, which was a good thing, because Ran had a feeling she hadn’t been about to say anything nice, in which case his response would have been to ask her to leave. “I didn’t see you there! It’s been too long! How are you? I thought I saw Henry by the buffet. Let’s go find him, shall we? We have so much to catch up on!”

She preened. “You always were such a charming young man, Alex.”

Alex rolled his eyes at Ran, winked at Parrish, and hustled the woman back to the buffet.

He’d have to buy his brother something special to show his appreciation. He gazed at Parrish, who stood staring after Alex.

“I think you owe your brother something very special, Ran.”

Ran burst into laughter. “I think you’re right.”

“I am sorry, though, handsome.”

“For what? Kissing me?”

“Never that, but I made a scene. I keep forgetting not everyone is accepting of homosexuality.”

“They’re not?” Ran widened his eyes, pleased when Parrish chuckled.

“Well, at least she didn’t faint.”

“That’s true.” Although he was afraid it was only a matter of time. When the ball descended at midnight, he planned to kiss his lover very thoroughly.  He raised Parrish’s hand to his lips and brushed a kiss across his knuckles. “So, are you enjoying—?”

“Burke! Are you out of your mind?”

Ran turned to see one of his friends had taken the comic book down from the mantel.

Ran sighed. Having this party to introduce Parrish had been a good idea, but perhaps inviting some of these people hadn’t.

“Why would you say that, Jack?” He’d gone to college with Edgewood Jackson, and he’d never struck Ran as homophobic. Well, they’d never have remained friends over the ensuing years if he had, considering Ran had been out and proud since his teens.

“How did you get this comic book?”

“It was a gift,” Ran told him.

“Who gave it to you?”

“I did,” Parrish said.

“Where did you find this?”

“In a used book store back home, before I left for college.”

“You’ve kept it like this for four years?”

“More like five, but before Ran opened it, I kept it wrapped in Christmas paper.”

“Oh my God!”

“Do you have a problem with that?” Ran was getting tired of Parrish’s gifts to him being disparaged.

“You bet your ass I do! This should have been bagged, with a board to keep the corners from bending. It’s amazing they haven’t torn!”

“What?”

“You don’t realize what you have here? This is Fantastic Four, issue twelve!”

“I’m aware of that. I do have eyes, you know.” Ran scowled at his friend. Former friend? Parrish had told him he’d originally bought the comic because he’d had a crush on Thing, the big orange member of the superheroes known as the Fantastic Four.

“You may have eyes, but you still don’t know what you have. This issue, in this condition? It’s worth more than ten thousand dollars!”

There was a thud, and when Ran looked down, it was to find Parrish passed out on the floor.

 

Did you enjoy Tinnean’s story? If so, check out the rest of her books and take 25% off at checkout with the code TinneanFlash2. Coupon code is good for one order per customer through February 13, 2015.

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