Brian's Loft - 7 p.m.

Brian slid the loft door back on its hinges, and closed it behind him with a bone-weary sigh. He had left around six a.m. that morning to polish up the King Transportation account before his team met with their representatives at Kinnetik, and fortunately it had turned out to be quite successful. But the fine tuning he had done to the campaign, along with the actual pitch meeting, and then a long lunch afterward had worn him out. Now, all he wanted to do was kick back with some Beam and his favorite blond on the sofa, watch some mindless entertainment, and then head off to bed and fuck Justin's brains out...that is, if he could even get it up. Right now, even THAT was debatable.

But as he turned around and caught sight of his partner's best asset presently displayed in a snug pair of beige khakis, he decided that would not be a problem. What DID concern him, however, was the sight of Justin standing on the second to the highest rung of a yellow, metal, eight-foot ladder, directly underneath one of the kitchen's hanging lights. Biting his lower lip in concentration, he was holding onto some sort of handled tool that Brian didn't recognize, while his other lightly grasped the side frame of the ladder. Where the fuck did he get a ladder? Brian mused with a frown. He never recalled seeing one anywhere around before.

"What the fuck are you doing?" He called over to Justin, who was focusing so intently on his task that he had not even noticed Brian's appearance, or even heard him arrive. Startled at the sound of Brian's voice, he briefly let go of the ladder, only to frantically reach to grab it again to remain upright. The peculiar contraption he had been grasping in his other hand (a cross between an apple picking tool and a Lacrosse stick, in Brian's opinion) made a rattling noise as Justin let go of it and it hit the hardwood floor, skittering on the ground a couple of times before landing nearby. Brian breathed a sigh of relief as Justin managed to right himself seconds before he would have taken what no doubt would have been a nasty tumble.

"BRIAN! Fuck! You scared the shit out of me!" his partner growled as he turned his head to peer over at him, his heart thumping furiously and an exasperated expression on his face. "What the hell?" He held tightly onto the ladder as Brian walked over to him.

"Only YOU could be so focused on something as mundane as replacing a lightbulb to not hear the loft door opening," his lover wryly observed as Justin glared back at him. Despite numerous efforts to lubricate the heavy, metal door to Brian's residence, for whatever reason nothing ever worked. He had even tried some of his expensive lubricant shit to silence it, but to no avail. It still sounded like a dungeon's door every time it was pulled open, making it virtually impossible to sneak up on anyone already inside. Anyone, except a certain blond, who - when in marathon painting mode - could tune out everyone and everything within a hundred yards of him.

Brian reached up to grasp Justin to support him. "Justin, come down from there before you fall," he urged him. He heard his lover scoff. Stubborn little shit.

"I'm not some little kid, Brian," he rebuffed him as he twisted his neck around to peer down at him.

"Then stop acting like one, and come down from there."

Justin rolled his eyes. "Aargh! You've been around Debbie too much! Well, at least stop groping my ass, and put your hands somewhere else! That is NOT helping!"

"Sorry, Sunshine. I was temporarily distracted from my rescue mission," he explained, his lips rolled together in amusement. He gave the perfectly rounded globes a familiar, loving squeeze through the material of Justin's pants before he placed his hands on both sides of his partner's waist until Justin descended to the ground. The blond turned around to face him, his hands on his hips. "There? Are you happy now?"

"Not quite...just one more thing..." he answered before he cupped both sides of Justin's face and pressed their lips together for a passionate, yet much too brief kiss. He felt Justin protest for just a second over his action before his lips parted and he melted into his embrace, sliding his hands around to Brian's waist to pull him closer and deepen the kiss. They broke apart somewhat breathlessly several seconds later. "Had to make sure your mouth was working properly...although I should have already figured that out based on your non-stop chatter," he explained with a smirk as Justin rolled his eyes at him.

"Chatter?" Brian grinned with a nod before Justin admitted, "Well...that was almost worth falling off a ladder for." One side of his mouth quirked upward. "Would you have caught me if I had? Swept me up into those strong, brawny arms of yours, and carried me off to bed to make mad, passionate love to me?" His eyes twinkled as Brian huffed indignantly at him.

"No, I would have spanked your ass for getting up on the ladder in the first place."

Justin grinned as he let go of his lover and tapped his right index finger over his lips as if in deep thought. "Hmm...I could live with that," he decided, unable to keep smiling at the thought. "We haven't done that in a while." Just the thought make his cock stand up and take attention, but for now he had more crucial things to do. Perhaps later...

Brian harrumphed. "I am not some Fabio Harlequin hero with enormous pecs and flowing tresses in the wind from one of those cheesy romance novels, and you are certainly NOT a damsel in distress. It might have served you right if you had fallen, though; that was very foolish, Sunshine, especially considering that you work with your hands for a living. I just use mine to fuck you with and jack you off." He couldn't help shuddering a little at the thought of Justin being hurt again, though.

Justin's solemnly responded, "Well, both are equally important." He paused. "So, how did the campaign go?"

Brian smirked. "It went fine, of course," he told him, as if it had been a sure thing. Well, he always liked to exude that attitude, but with the King account, he hadn't been 100% convinced, since it was a new client. But he wouldn't tell Justin that, or anyone else; he had a reputation to uphold.

He inhaled the scent of some bread baking in the oven, making him realize suddenly how little he had eaten at lunch, and how ravenous he was for food as well as something else. He glanced down at the weird-looking device lying nearby before asking, "Picking apples, Sunshine?"

Justin gave him a 'duh' look as his eyes drifted upward directly above them. "Ha, ha. See how bright Light #1 and Light #3 are, and how dark Light #2 is? When a lightbulb burns out, it doesn't light up anymore. Isn't that fascinating?"

Brian rolled his eyes. "I know that, asshole. But, No. 1, there are two more lights, and No. 2, there is no way you will ever be able to change that lightbulb yourself...short stuff."

He chuckled as Justin snorted back at him in indignation. "I think even YOU will agree that I am not 'short' by any means where it counts..." His eyes drifted down to the long-handled object lying on the floor a few feet away. "And that, Mr. Know-it-All, is a light bulb changer for hard-to-reach places. If you had ceilings with a normal height, I wouldn't have had to go out and buy THAT. Do you think all the bulbs that burn out magically relight themselves?"

Brian shrugged. "I just thought Maria did it, or she called one of the maintenance guys," he replied as he peered upward to look at the center kitchen light that was no longer burning.

"Well, I've got news for you, Brian. Maria's afraid of heights...and the maintenance guys want to put those stupid electric-hogging incandescent bulbs back in, so whenever one goes out somewhere in the loft, I borrow the ladder from the maintenance closet out in the hall, and replace it with a fluorescent kind. Haven't you noticed how much brighter it is in the bathroom now? I just replaced one of those the other day."

"Not really...I just thought I was being blinded by your smile whenever I fucked you in the shower," he replied, tongue firmly planted in his cheek.

"Ha, ha. Well, I hate to contradict anything that even remotely sounds romantic, but it's not my iridescent smile. It's these." He reached over to pick up a spiral-shaped, fluorescent bulb lying on the counter. "And I was about to replace that burned out one before you scared the shit out of me."

"What will they think of next," Brian mused with a smile. "I never engage in such rudimentary labor," he announced. "But what's the emergency, Justin? It's only one bulb. I'll even make the ultimate sacrifice and change it for you...later." He looked over at the stove. "Aren't you cooking something? It could burn." He could see Justin's beat-up, well-used wok sitting on top of one of the stove's burners.

Justin placed his hands on his hips. "I was about to cook my brown rice and broccoli chicken recipe that you like so much. But I need bright light to cook by, especially with a wok. The one that's burned out is right over the stove. And I'd like to change the other two to fluorescent ones, too, so it's brighter here in the kitchen and more energy efficient. Those other two are bound to burn out soon, anyway, since I'm assuming they were all put in at the same time, so why not just change them all at once?"

"My thrifty, little housewife," Brian declared melodramatically as Justin smacked him in the chest. He grinned before sighing in resignation, knowing he wasn't going to win this battle. "Let me get changed, and I'll do it." Justin beamed as he narrowed his eyes at him. "If I didn't know better, I would think you had this planned all along, didn't you?"

His partner rolled his eyes at him. "Yeah, I knew you would be coming home at precisely 7 p.m., so I hurried and climbed up the ladder so you would take pity on little old me and do it instead. Never mind that I'm trying to prepare a home-cooked meal for you - one of your favorites - or that I had no idea exactly when you would be coming home. But if you would rather order takeout for the fourth time this week, I'll just turn off the burner and forget about all the chopped up vegetables I cut up, and the chicken I had to slice into small pieces."

"I said I would do it, Justin!" Brian responded just a little more curtly than he had intended. "Just let me get out of my suit, and into something more comfortable."

Justin smirked. "Well, make sure it involves clothes. That metal would be cold against bare skin. And don't even think about it," he warned, as Brian opened his mouth to speak. "I am NOT letting you fuck me against the rungs of a ladder." He shuddered at the thought of his dick trapped against the cold steel of the steps. "It's bad enough when you slam me up against one of the pillars and do it there."

Brian shrugged. "I just get these urges sometimes, Sunshine, after a long day of toiling at the office. I can't help it if you wiggle that ass at me so invitingly when I walk through the door." He chuckled as Justin huffed in response to his comment. "And besides, admit it, you think it's hot when I do it."

"No, Mr. Neanderthal. It' very, very, cold. I haven't seen YOUR dick plastered to one of those poles lately. Or, anywhere at all, for that matter. And I have no intention of having mine wedged between the two rungs of that ladder."

Brian grinned as he pulled on his tie and headed toward the bedroom. "Kinky. Okay, Master Chef. Give me five minutes, and you'll have more light in here than the entire grid of PA."

"I'll settle for having three bulbs replaced for now, thank you very much." Justin grinned as he turned back to the stove, confident that his alpha partner would get the situation rectified soon. After all, there WERE benefits to Brian being taller - in more ways than one.