IT’S A DOG’S LIFE
    by Rusty

"It says RIGHT here you aren't supposed to spank dogs."  Gavin tapped his finger on the book he held in his other hand.  He carried it around and quoted from it constantly.  "I SAW you spank her."

"I didn't spank the dog.  I swatted her lightly, with a three-page newspaper, for crying out loud.  I barely touched her."  Jack shook his head.  He wanted to burn that book.  He really did!

Gavin bent down and patted Martha's white and black spotted head.  "She's cowering.  SEE! Great Danes are very sensitive.  She's probably traumatized.  She'll end up needing counseling.  I've read about stuff like that."

To prove how traumatized she was, Martha jumped up on Jack's legs and started licking his hands.

Jack gently pushed her down and patted her head.  "Yes, I can see how traumatized she was by the whole thing."

Gavin looked down at Martha and scowled. Didn't she know she was supposed be backing him up on this? 

"It still says in this book you aren't supposed to spank her.  A piece of paper this time…....who KNOWS what'll be the next time!"  Gavin extended his arms out, palms up and rolled his eyes at the ceiling; that damned book dangling from his hand.

Jack grabbed one of Gavin's extended hands and pulled him over to the couch, pushing him down until he was comfortably seated.  Martha bounded over and jumped up beside him on the couch. 

Jack gently removed her from the couch, sitting her on the floor beside them.  He held a hand in front of her face and ordered,    "Stay!"

Gavin frowned from his seat, looking down at the pitiful Martha, who was being banished to the FLOOR beside the quite comfortable couch. 

"What!  If she doesn't stay, are you going to get out....the PADDLE?!"

Jack rolled his eyes this time and sat down on the couch beside Gavin. He took the book from Gavin's hand and thumped it down on the end table.

"Gavin, do you really think that I would ever mistreat that puppy?" Jack asked, leaning his elbows on his knees.

Gavin looked up at the ceiling and huffed a little.  "NO! Of course I don't think you'd mistreat her."

"Then why do you think that I'm going to start beating on her with a paddle?"  Jack asked, reaching a hand down to scratch behind Martha's ears.

"I didn't say you were going to start BEATING on her!  You DID spank her though, I SAW you." Gavin thumped on his chest with a finger.  "And you sure as heck don't have any qualms about whacking me with a paddle....or any other weapons."

"Okay, let's get back to Martha for a minute, before we discuss what you meant by that statement."  Jack rubbed his forehead with his hand.  "I barely tapped her… but regardless, Great Danes can be a very serious hazard if they're not trained.  We have to start training her early for her own safety as well as for the safety of everyone else.  She can't jump on people or even bite in teasing way.  Fully grown, she's going to weigh at least 120 pounds."

"I know that!"  Gavin huffed again, and then gazed longingly at that book on the table.   "That book also said they're gentle animals. And SENSITIVE!"

"Yes I know. But that doesn't mean she still couldn't hurt someone if she's not properly trained. An untrained dog of that size is dangerous.  We have my brothers' kids over here all the time.  Do you want to take the chance that she would hurt one of them?"  Jack knew that one would get Gavin thinking a little.  He loved those
little devils.

"Of course not!"  Gavin was appalled Jack would even have to ask that question.  "But why can't she sit on the couch?  That's not hurting anything! Henry sat on the couch when he was alive. You're just being...ANAL!"

"Gavin, she's a puppy now, but in a few months she's going to be bigger than a lot of fully grown people we know. Four times the size of Henry! She can NOT sit on the furniture." Jack leaned back on the
couch.

"I weigh 165 pounds...you weigh 210 pounds. How come WE can sit on the couch?  120 pounds is less than what we weigh!"    Gavin didn't think Jack was making any sense at all today!  The man was usually so uncomplicated! 

"Okay! Let me make this clear.  We have people-furniture and we have dog-furniture.  The dog is NOT going to take over this house.  She's going to be too big and a lot of work as it is.  Just keeping the yard cleaned up when she's full-grown… may end up being a full-time job. God, it's going to be like having a small horse."

Jack wondered if he could enroll Gavin in the obedience training class along with Martha.  Although, he had feeling that getting Martha to understand the rules was going to be the easy part.  Gavin was going to need one on one instruction. 

"You don't WANT her, do you?  I knew you were freaked when you first found out what KIND of dog she was, but I thought you got over
that." Gavin crossed his arms over his chest and flopped back
further on the couch.

Jack rubbed Gavin's knee.  "I admit at first it was... a little bit of a shock.  It was too late. I was already sold on her anyway. I love her and from everything we've read, from the people we've spoken with Great Danes can be wonderful pets.  But… you are going to have to be just as firm about the rules as I am, or she's never going to be a good house dog."

"The book said they ARE house dogs," Gavin quoted from that book
again.  Another one of his favorites.  It was like a mantra.

Jack knew that book was becoming an obsession. It was like the new BIBLE and Gavin was the Pat Robertson of some strange new cult, only quoting lines from that book that HE thought were important and misquoting most of those. Conveniently skipping over any parts that he didn't like or agree with.  Jack could just picture Gavin quoting lines from that damned book from street corners next and then....tent revivals.  Pretty soon, he'd have his own damned TV show....asking for money in order to open up dog kennels around the world.

"Yes, they CAN make excellent house dogs, IF they're trained
properly." Jack chuckled. "How come you can remember every line from that book, but you only quote the parts you agree with?"

Gavin sniffed and looked up at the ceiling.  "Her eyes are so sweet, it's hard to resist her."

"Yes, she is sweet and we love her already.  And in order to keep her safe, she has to learn to obey.  You want her to understand *Stop* when she's darting for the road, don't you?"  Jack continued when he saw Gavin nod his head.  "Well, you can't whisper, "please don't run in the road sweetie" when she's running full steam….
headed for a car.  It just doesn't have the same impact, Gav.  I've tried to tell you that same thing when the "devils" are visiting."

Gavin laughed when he heard Jack call his niece and nephews "devils". "The kids aren't "devils".  They're sweet too."

Jack pulled Gavin over for a hug.  "I know, and I also know you can't resist any animal or person less than three feet tall. But Martha is going outgrow that, believe me."

Gavin pulled his legs up and crawled into Jack's lap.  "I can't resist you either."

Jack laughed and pulled Gavin away from his neck.  "We need to clear up a few more things before we start with that.  We're going to HAVE to be united about this Gav.  I can't enforce the rules and then when I turn my back, you're doing the complete opposite.  It would be confusing and not very fair to Martha."

Gavin nodded his head.  "I know that. But how come you get to make ALL the rules?"

"We've worked too hard remodeling this house for it to be destroyed by an overgrown puppy.  And the rules aren't unreasonable.  She can still be with us, in any room in the house.  She just isn't going to jump around on the furniture or chew on the woodwork.  And she can't jump up on people."  Jack looked at Gavin and lifted his chin, making sure he understood.  "Do you understand?"

Gavin nodded his head, although from his expression Jack could tell he wasn't completely convinced of the furniture rule.

"I hope you do.  Because the very next time I walk in a room and find you and Martha curled up on a piece of furniture, it's going to be your butt that pays for it, not Martha's."

Gavin's eyes widened in protest. There was a WHOLE book on how you weren't supposed to spank a DOG!  Where were HIS rights? Something just wasn't right about this whole set-up! 

"How would THAT be fair?!!"  Gavin protested as he spread his arms out wide.  He was going to have to INSIST that Jack start reading more.  Is views on things were just SO outdated.  

"Because.. I won't have you undermining everything, because you can't resist a pair of big brown eyes. I need your help here, Gavin. You have to work with me; we have to support each other in order for Martha to be a good experience for us."

"I'll work with you!"  Gavin crossed his arms over his chest and sent Jack a glare when he saw that disbelieving look.  "I WILL!  But you're NOT being FAIR!  There are whole books about not spanking a dog, but if she's on the couch...I get spanked.  Dogs have more rights than ME!"

Jack laughed.  "Oh yeah, what did you mean by me not having any "qualms about whacking you with you with a paddle…or other weapons?"

Gavin sat up in Jack's lap.  "Well, you DON'T have any qualms about it!"

"And do you think I mistreat you?"  Jack asked, smiling at Gavin's expression.  He had a feeling he knew where this was heading.  Gavin was working on some new "theory".  He had new reading material, so of course that meant new ideas. 

"NO, I don't think you mistreat me!"  Gavin leaned one arm over the couch behind Jack's head. It was high time Jack was educated on appropriate behavior in today's society.

"But it says in that book you aren't supposed to spank dogs.  What if I decided that I didn't want you to spank ME anymore?  Maybe that book knows what it's talking about, you know.  There are tons of books and articles about how you aren't supposed to do THAT!  For a Prosecutor and an intelligent man, you just aren't up to date on how you're supposed to deal with stuff…..in the 21st Century! It's lucky
for you that I keep up on things."

Jack tried choking down a laugh. "Rev. Robertson" was really becoming a fanatic about this book.   "Are you saying you want me to …train you like that book says to train dogs.  Maybe get a spray bottle and squirt you in the face when you start… nipping at me?"

Gavin gave Jack a look.  "No, that's not what I meant.  But what if I said you couldn't spank me anymore?  Would you….leave me?"

Jack gave Gavin a look back, but answered immediately.  "NO, I wouldn't leave you!"

Gavin smiled at that.  "It's my decision?"

Jack thought about that a minute.  "Yes."

Gavin smile was even bigger.  "Okay then, I don't want you to spank me anymore!"

"No."  Jack shook his head and smiled back at Gavin.

This NEW decision would last about as long as the next time Gavin did something that he thought should have consequences.  He didn't like being spanked, but Jack knew from experience that if he didn't follow through, just once, sweet Gavin would morph into Attila from Hell.  Then after causing havoc, complete pandemonium, he would get that confused look on his face and complain that Jack just wasn't
paying him any attention at ALL!

"But you just said it was MY decision!"  Gavin didn't think Jack was making any sense at all today.  It was giving him a headache!

"It's always been your decision, Gav."  Jack choked back another laugh.

Gavin grabbed a pillow from the couch and began swatting Jack over the head. 

"YOU aren't making ANY SENSE!!"  Gavin got in a few well place swats to the head before Jack tackled him.

Jack was laughing as he wrestled the pillow from Gavin's hands and rolled off the couch with him, pinning him underneath his body.  He rubbed his shadow stubbled chin over Gavin's cheek.

"It's always been your decision, Gav.  All you have to do to avoid getting spanked …is by making the right ones."  Jack started licking Gavin's ear.

Gavin laughed and wrapped his arms around Jack's neck.  "That's NOT what I meant and you know it."

"Guess you'll just have to live with it."  Jack kissed Gavin lips and groped at the zipper of his jeans.

Martha thought all this wrestling looked like fun and jumped around their heads nudging them both with her big puppy feet.  No one seemed to be paying her any attention.  She started nibbling at Gavin's ear.

Gavin was enjoying the things Jack was doing and he didn't want any interruptions right now.  He mumbled under Jack's lips. 

"Tell her to *Stop!*.

-----------------------------------------
"As soon as we're done eating, I'm gong to run to PetsMart and pick up that dog runner.  Now that we have the dog door installed we can attach it to the garage and Martha will be able to go out, have a run or whatever, while we're at work." Jack took a bite of sandwich and washed it down with his milk.

Gavin pouted from the other side of the kitchen counter. "Sounds fine."

Jack looked up and frowned at Gavin's expression.  "Gavin, I told you what would happen if I found you on that couch with Martha.  I don't want to see any pouting about it."

Gavin squirmed on his stool, but changed his expression.  He was still a little miffed about the whole thing, but Jack was being SO anal about everything, he didn't figure pouting would do him any good.

"It was only this *one* time.  I don't know why you were so upset over.. one time!"

Jack sighed and leaned his elbows on the counter.  "Gavin, you have to be consistent. You can't keep changing the rules…. when it's convenient for you.   It's too confusing for Martha if she isn't allowed on the furniture and then you tell her it's
okay….occasionally, when you feel like it."

Martha jumped up on Jack's leg and begged for a bite of sandwich. Jack stuck a hand in front of her face.

"Down."

Gavin sniffed and pointed his noise in the air.  "See.  You didn't even say please or.. anything."

Jack rolled his eyes. "You walk around here quoting that damn book like it held every answer known to man.  You know what the command words are. Come. Heel. Down. Stop. Stay. Sit.  I don't remember seeing "please" listed as one of them.  She is a dog!  Not someone you've invited over for tea."

"She's sensitive."  Gavin reached a hand down and rubbed Martha's ears.  "The book says that."

"She is not to be on the furniture.  I don't think you'll forget THAT anytime soon." Jack picked up his plate and got up from his stool. "I'm going to take that book away from you.  You only remember the parts you like and those aren't helping in the training of her."

Gavin pointed a finger at Jack.  "Yeah, you want to take that book away, because the more I read it, the more you know I'll realize that dogs have a better life than ME!  That book says you're not supposed to spank dogs.  What about ME?  Dogs have more rights than I do!"

Jack turned from the sink and took the few steps to the counter.  He held out his hand. 

"Okay Pat, hand over the book."

Gavin eyes went wide and he began to sputter.  "Why! How am I going to know how to train her?"

"Give me the book."  Jack motioned for the book with his hand.

Gavin huffed and pulled the book out of the back pocket of his jeans.  He slapped it down in Jack's hand.

"I'm going to go through this book and black out everything you've already memorized and highlight the parts that you conveniently forget.  Then I'll give it back to you."  Jack stuck the book in his back pocket and leaned over, kissing Gavin on the top of his head.

Gavin's jaw dropped and his eyes were huge.  "That's pure and simple Communism! That's what it is!  We live in America in case you've forgotten.  What about my rights as a citizen?"

"Call your attorney."  Jack laughed at Gavin's expression again.  "Oh yeah!  I AM your attorney.  Would you like to hear my expert legal advice on this subject?"

Gavin squirmed on his stool yet again. Jack had a way of making him squirm. "No thanks!  You're prices are too high."

"Hey, you get what you pay for. Or in your case…. you get what you ask for." Jack leaned down and kissed the top of Gavin's head once more.  "I'm going to PetsMart now.  When I get back we can start putting the dog run together.  Sound like a plan?" 

Gavin could never stay mad for long. Jack was so cute when he was being confusing and Gavin always liked kissing him anyway.  He pulled Jack down and kissed him on the lips. 

"I'm going to take Martha for a walk.  Hurry back."

When Gavin finally let him go, Jack headed for the closet and grabbed his coat.  Gavin got up from his stool and squatted down to pet Martha.

Looking up as Jack opened the door to the garage, Gavin called out to him.

"How come you called me …Pat?"

Jack laughed as he headed out the door.  He called back to Gavin. "You aren't the only one that can have "theories".

He closed the door behind him.

"Jack isn't making any sense at all lately."  Gavin said to Martha as he rubbed behind her ears.  "He's usually a very uncomplicated man."

Martha looked up at Gavin, tilting her white and black spotted head to one side. She really liked that big guy that just left.  He made her feel safe and she could tell he really liked her.  This littler guy was ….a bit confusing sometimes, but he was a lot of fun.  She could tell they were going to have a great time together.   She licked his face.

"Don't worry," Gavin told Martha, patting her head. "You'll grow to love him, just like I do."
…………………

After walking around the neighborhood and stopping to play in the snow, Martha and Gavin walked in through the kitchen door.  Gavin unsnapped her lead and took off his coat. 

He laughed when Martha scratched at the door.  She hadn't been ready to come in just yet.  "We'll go out again when Jack comes home, okay?"

Grabbing the box of treats from the counter, Gavin pulled out a couple and tried teaching Martha to sit. Just the way THAT book and said to do it.  They played that game awhile until Martha took off for the front door when she heard the mailman on the porch.

Gavin followed her through the kitchen and down the hall.  He opened the front door and leaned around it, opening the mailbox.  He fumbled with the mail and leaned over to pick up an envelope that fell at his feet.   Martha was nudging at his legs and he tried to push her back in, gently, without dropping anymore mail.

Martha wriggled beneath Gavin's feet until she found an opening between his legs and squeezed her way through them almost causing him to trip.  She bounded across the porch and down the stairs before Gavin had a chance to stop her.

When he saw her running across the front yard, stopping to sniff at the snow, he called to her, "Martha, come here baby."

When she made it to the curb he called out as he ran down the porch steps. "Martha, come back."

When Gavin saw he stick her paw down over the curb and onto the street he yelled.

"*STOP*"!

She didn't even hesitate. Her big baby feet were one step ahead of her brain and she darted out into the street. 

A blue Ford pickup truck was driving down the street, just over the speed limit. The driver slammed on his brakes as Martha dashed out in front of it.

No one in the neighborhood would be able to say which sound was louder or more chilling.  The squealing of those big tires or Gavin's gut-wrenching screams.
__________________________________

Jack hung up his coat in the closet and looked around the kitchen.  It was strange that no one had come to greet him at the door.  Gavin was usually at the door waiting for him as soon as he heard Jack's car pull in the garage.  Since Martha's arrival, she usually beat Gavin there.

When he started walking down the hall he heard crying sounds coming from the family room.  He hurried into the room and spotted Gavin sobbing into the pillows on the couch. 

"Oh my God, Gav!  What's wrong?"  Jack's heart was racing, dead images of every family member he had raced through his brain. 

Gavin lifted his head up from the pillows, his eyes red from crying he sobbed,  "Oh Jack, it's ….awwful."

Jack rushed over to the couch and pulled Gavin up, resting his head on his shoulder and squeezed him, bracing himself for whatever awful news he was about to hear.  His heart was in his throat now and he had a hard time swallowing.

"What is it, Gav?"  Jack rubbed his back, closing his eyes he buried his face in Gavin's hair. He breathed in the scent of him and squeezed Gavin again.  As long as Gavin is okay, Jack thought, I could live through anything else.

"Martha..she ..ran..out ..in the street…a..big truck.."  Gavin sniffed in Jack's shoulder.

Jack let out a breath.  He loved Martha and this WAS awful.  He knew he would shed quite a few tears over it, but he did allow himself a few minutes of thanks that it wasn't one of his people family members.  Martha was a family member, but she had only been with them for a couple of weeks.  She hadn't as yet earned the same grief
rights as the people he'd known all of his life.

"Okay baby, calm down and tell me what happened."  Jack pulled Gavin away from his shoulder and wiped the tears from his cheeks with his hand.

"I..was ggetting the mail and she …pushed passed me….I called for …her.   I sshould have said stop soooner.  I ssaid it..  too late.  She ddidn't listen."  Gavin rubbed his nose with the back of his hand.

Jack grabbed a tissue from the coffee table and wiped Gavin's face again. He pulled Gavin on his lap and leaned back on the couch. 

"Okay, calm down."  Jack rubbed Gavin's back, a few tears escaped from beneath his own lashes. He was breaking Jack's heart, tearing it in two.

"Bbut it was my fault.  I sshould have ssaid stop sooner."  Gavin's shoulders were shaking and his voice was hoarse from crying.

"Gavin, she was just a puppy.  She didn't even know all the commands yet.  I don't want you thinking this was you're fault."  Jack was sure this kind of guilt would send Gavin right over the edge.

"But..it was…my fault."  Gavin was sure of it.

"Enough. I don't want you thinking that way."  Jack pulled Gavin off of his shoulder and forced him to look up.  There was no way Jack would allow Gavin to blame himself over this. "Look at me."

Gavin looked up at Jack. His eyes looked so pitiful it broke off another piece of Jack's heart. 

"It wasn't your fault.  She was a puppy.  She didn't understand all the commands.  You are not going to blame yourself for this."

Gavin sniffed, not looking very convinced.

Jack knew this was something he would have to find a way to convince Gavin of, but it was going to take some time. 

"Where did they take her?"

Gavin sniffed again, looking very confused.  "Who?"

"Martha.  Where is she now?"  Jack looked into Gavin's eyes, trying to keep him focused.

Gavin pointed to Martha's bed on the far right wall behind the couch.  "Over there."

Jack looked behind the couch and saw Martha lying on her doggy bed, looking so peaceful.  Just like she was asleep.  God, it didn't look like there was even a scratch on her. 

Jack blinked back a few more tears, not wanting to upset Gavin anymore than he already was.  This would already be something Gavin would have a hard time getting over.  He would be blaming himself for the next twenty years if Jack let him.  Jack had no intention of letting him.

Just when he had gotten his tears under control, Martha lifted her head and gave him a very sleepy, contented puppy smile.

Jack blinked and looked again.  Martha smiled again before rolling on her back and falling asleep once more.

Jack pushed Gavin off his lap and sat him down beside him.  He grabbed him by the arms and looked him straight in the eyes.

"She isn't dead!"  Jack teeth were clenching.

Gavin looked confused again and shook his head.

"She wasn't hit by the truck…at all!"  Jack's top lip starting twitching.

Gavin shook his head again.  He was getting the impression Jack was pissed about something.

"Then WHY are you crying like this?"  Jack knew there HAD to be some sort of explanation. Probably not a logical one.  But...SOME sort.

Gavin's face scrunched up and he began to cry again. 

"I ..SWATTED HER!"

Jack fingers tightened around Gavin's arms.  He had just buried every family member he had, not to mention having Martha mangled and disfigured and then buried out in the back yard… next to Henry. His heart had just been ripped in two at the thought of Gavin living with this GUILT for the rest of his life. 

Right this minute it took every ounce of control he had not to wrap his fingers around Gavin's throat and…squeeze.  Really hard!

He took a deep breath and tried for a little control.  He let go of Gavin's arms and rubbed his hands over his face.  When Gavin started to speak again Jack held up one hand in a gesture that meant *STOP*… loud and clear.

"Enough!"  Jack ordered.  "I want the crying stopped right now.  You are going to tell me calmly and without any hysterics what happened.  Do you understand?"

Gavin nodded his head.  He was right. Jack WAS really pissed about something. 

He couldn't for the life of him figure out what that reason could be.  Gavin searched his brain but couldn't remember doing anything….recently that Jack could have found out about.  Jack must be having a really bad week or something.  It was the only reason Gavin could come up with to explain why Jack was being
so….complicated this week. It was just ….SO out of character!

Gavin pulled another tissue from the box and dried his face, then blew his nose…trying to do as Jack asked …well, ordered…and explain everything calmly…and simply, so he could understand. 

"Well, Martha ran towards the street, you see.  And I called to her…."Martha come here!", but she didn't stop.  When she got to the curb I …said *stop!*…just like the book says to do, but she didn't stop."  Gavin chewed on his lip a second.

"Go on!"  Jack's palms were itching and he clenched his hands in an effort to scratch that itch before he lost the battle he was having with himself and scratch them on the seat of Gavin's pants.

"There was a truck driving down the road and the driver slammed on his brakes.  He just missed her by inches."  Gavin shuddered.  "I ran after her and picked her up and....swatted her!  She....YELPED!"

"You swatted her …once?"  Jack's nostril's flared.

"She… YELPED! I shouldn't have.  I should have said *stop* sooner.  It was my fault. The book says…"  Gavin started to quote from that bible again.

Jack stopped him.  "You swatted her ..ONCE!"

Gavin's eyes widened and he nodded his head.  "I KNOW! The book says..."

Jack stood up from the couch pulling Gavin with him.  He swatted him.  ONCE!  Hard!

"OW!!"  Gavin YELPED.  He was SO confused!

Considering the amount of time Jack spent swatting on his butt, Gavin didn't figure Jack would be THIS upset about it.  Jack just wasn't making ANY sense at all lately. At ALL! Maybe if Gavin sat on the floor instead of the furniture and ate out of a big plastic bowl, Jack wouldn't swat him either. Well, except with a three-page
newspaper.

Dogs really DID have a better life than him!

Jack swatted him again. Harder still, making him YELP once more. Then let go of Gavin's arm and placed his hands on his hips. 

"Do you know that I just BURIED every family member we have, including Martha, all because of your hysterics over…swatting that dog …ONCE!"  Jack pointed at the sleeping Martha.

Gavin stood in front of Jack, rubbing his bottom. Okay, this was starting to make a little more sense.  "I'm sorry.  I didn't think ..about that.  I just felt so bad.  It was my fault and the book said.…."

Jack held his hand up stopping any further comment on what THAT book said.  "I don't want to hear another word about what THAT book SAID! You were scared and it was a natural reaction.  Swatting her one time is NOT going to traumatize her or turn her into a cowering frightened animal. Knowing you, you probably barely tapped her anyway. That book isn't written in stone, and whoever wrote it
probably wouldn't have anything negative to say about what you did. I personally think it was the right thing to do."

Jack turned Gavin around so he was able to see Martha sleeping peacefully in her bed.  Gavin didn't know what Jack intended so he covered his bottom fast…just in case.

Jack pointed at Martha again.  "Look at her.  She's sleeping like a baby.  She's not the least bit upset over any of this." 

Gavin looked up at Jack and blushed a little.  "So…you think I might have.. overreacted …a little?  About swatting her, I mean?"

Jack rubbed his hands over his face.  "A LITTLE?"

"I'm sorry I scared you. It never crossed my mind you were that thinking those... other things." Gavin hugged Jack.  "I am really sorry."

Jack put his arms around Gavin's waist.  "Gavin, you really need to try and control yourself some.  You ever scare ME like that again; you won't be able to sit down by the time I'm through with you."

Gavin hugged Jack hard and rubbed his back.  "I'm really sorry I scared you.  I didn't mean too.  I was just so upset…about it ALL... really.  The truck and…well, it reminded me of what happened to…. Henry, you know."

Jack rubbed Gavin's back and kissed him on the forehead.  "Believe me! I can understand about reacting when you've been frightened.  Just try for a little…calm....the next time, okay?"

"I'll try."  Gavin nodded his head and gave Jack a squeeze. He was feeling better now.  Jack was here and that always made things seem…simpler somehow. Even when he was being …confusing. After a few minutes of hugging Gavin lifted his head and looked up at Jack.

"You know Jack, after going through what I went through today...with Martha and all,… well, I think it's best if you don't… spank me anymore." Gavin pulled Jack over to the couch and pushed him down, then sat down on his lap.

Jack wrapped his arms around Gavin's waist. "Let me hear this new theory."

Gavin played with Jack's hair.  "Well, I felt so bad about swatting Martha. I love her SO much. It just about broke my heart, hearing her yelp like that. And I felt so guilty about it.  I just don't think it's fair to you….you know….because you love me …SO much more than I could ever love Martha."

Jack held back a laugh.  "Yes, I do love you more than that.  But how do you figure…it's not fair to me?"

Gavin face looked perfectly serious.  "Because… if you love me that much… every time you spank me, the guilt probably just eats you alive. It's really too much for me to ask you to go through that."

Jack pushed Gavin back on the couch, keeping his arms around him. 
He leaned over him, kissed his forehead and rubbed his nose against
his. 

"That's really thoughtful of you, Gav.  Thinking of my feelings and
all.  But what if I don't feel all that guilty about it?"

Gavin looked in Jack's eyes, a smile twitching at his mouth.  "Sometimes guilt is a funny thing.  You might not realize you're feeling guilty and it's just…secretly eating at you.  It could cause an ulcer…or something!  I've read about stuff like that."

Jack bit the inside of his cheek.  "Oh, I'm sure you have.  Read about that, I mean.  There isn't much…. you haven't read about."

Gavin's eyes were twinkling and the twitch lost its battle. He smiled up at Jack.  "I'm really just thinking of you, you know."

Jack nodded his head, a smile twitching at his own mouth.  "Could be.  Well, the decision's yours.  If that's the way you want it."

Gavin patted Jack's back.  "Okay… that's my decision then."

"I'm really glad that you've decided to make the right decisions in the future too, Gav. It makes me feel really good, that you'd be willing to do that… for my health and all.  And as long as you do… I won't spank you."  Jack's shoulders began to shake.

Gavin was laughing as he yanked the pillow from behind his head and whacked the back of Jack's. 

"That's NOT what I meant and you KNOW it!" 

Jack laughed as he wrestled the pillow from Gavin's hands and rolled off the couch with him, pinning him underneath his body.  He starting kissing his neck and working his magic on the front of Gavin's jeans.

Between the neck nibbling and the hand groping, Jack said, "Guess you'll just have to live with it."

Gavin was enjoying all the nibbling and hand groping.  He started doing a little of his own.  There were certain advantages to HIS life…aside from sitting on the furniture and eating at the table. He really wouldn't have it any other way.

Martha's ears perked up when she heard the commotion from the other side of THAT couch. THAT couch she didn't think she was supposed to jump on.  Sounded like her people were on the floor….again!  Doing that wrestling thing.  As long as they were on the floor…that meant she could join in the fun.  She jumped out of her bed and bounded over to join her guys.

She knew she would have to hurry though.  They never let her wrestle with them once they started doing that ….funny stuff!

She peeked her head around the corner of the couch…and sighed. 

She was too late. 

Those two were always doing that funny stuff.  She turned around with a sniff and headed back towards her bed.  She needed a nap anyway.