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This was written for the latest round of the Oz Lyric Wheel; lyrics supplied to me by Adriana. Big thank you for Maverick for this and all the other challenges that keep our fandom alive and kicking.

As the Day Unfolds

by Riley Cannon

~As the Day Unfolds~

Toby finished picking up the kid's toys and stowed them away in the padded window seat, pausing as he lowered the lid to look out the window and sigh. He loved autumn, there was a nice long stretch there where it was nothing but a pure sensory pleasure to walk through cascades of fallen leaves and listen to them rustle and crackle, with a whiff of smoke carried in the crisp air from bonfires, or fireplaces as people cranked them up for the winter right around the corner. By this point, however, after a couple of storms had torn branches off the trees and turned the leaves into a sodden mess cluttering the lawn, that charm had pretty much worn off.

Trouble was he just could never find the time for the task of cleaning it all up. Of course, as his mother was always pointing out, that was why there were people whose business it was to take care of all those pesky chores. And thinking of that, he went into the kitchen and looked over the little bulletin board there, trying to locate a business card his mother had given him a while back for a landscaping business that came highly recommended from her. Finally locating the small rectangle of cardboard, he unpinned it and leaned against the counter as he picked up the phone and punched up the number, listening to it ring at the other end.

After three rings someone picked it up and a man's voice came over the line, "Room for a View, landscaping and maintenance. What can I do for you?"

"Well," Toby shifted the phone to his other hand, "I was wondering if you do yard clean ups? You know, leaves and stuff?"

"What size property are we talking about?"

"Pretty good sized," he said, leaning his hip against the counter.

"This something you need done right now?" the guy on the other end said around the sound of paper being riffled, like he was flipping through a book.

"If possible," Toby said, and decided to go ahead and play his trump card. "You did some work for my mother, Mrs. Victoria Beecher, a while back and she said if I ever needed some work done I shouldn't hesitate to give you a call."

More riffling, the sound of a pen scratching, then, "Yeah, guess we could work you in today -- `bout half an hour from now?"

"That sounds good. Will you be handling it yourself?"

A quiet sound at the other end of the line, sort of a contemplative sigh. "Yeah, given I'm the only one available at the moment."

"Well," Toby looked at the card again, "your slogan does say you specialize in personal service."

"I guess it does. Okay, just give me a name and address and I'll be right over."

"Tobias Beecher, 1162 Meadowlark Lane, Bryant Park. See you in half an hour."

"You will. `Bye now."


Toby put the phone down, glad to be able to scratch this item off his To-Do list, and headed to his study to get some work done while he waited.

~*~ Toby poured out a cup of coffee, added milk and sugar and stirred as he gazed out the kitchen window this time. The guy from the landscaping business was out there in the backyard, hard at work. And Toby sipped his coffee, savoring the rich flavor and aroma as his gaze lingered on the easy and comfortable movements of the workman. He wouldn't have thought so mundane a chore as raking up leaves could prove so riveting and yet he couldn't take his eyes off the other man for anything. His costume of work boots and form-fitting, faded blue jeans, worn with a blue-and-green flannel shirt buttoned over a white Henley had undoubtedly been selected purely for comfort and practicality. It was merely a tasty side benefit that they showed off a body sculpted to perfection, tantalizing the voyeur with what might be unveiled once the clothes were discarded. Toby stood there and watched, cataloging every one of those benefits as the workman, apparently indifferent to the chill autumn air, paused to roll up his sleeves and reveal muscular forearms before pulling a pair of work gloves back on and squatting to scoop a pile of leaves into a trash bag.

As the workman tied off the bag and tossed it in a wheelbarrow, Toby took down another mug and poured more coffee, stirring in just a pinch of sugar before he carried both cups outside and over by the arbor where the guy was raking up more leaves and twigs, the air pungent with the smell of damp earth. "Hey," he sat down on the garden bench nearby and held out the second steaming cup of coffee, "thought you might like a break."

"Thanks." He walked over, sexy confidence in every step, and stripped off the gloves once more, setting them down on the bench before he reached for the cup, long fingers curving around the red ceramic to soak up the warmth. Crystal blue eyes roved over Toby, a corner of his mouth quirking upwards with a secretive smile. "Good coffee," he said and took another drink.

Toby nodded, appreciating the close up view he was afforded as the guy sat beside him, half-turned toward him with one arm stretched out along the back of the bench. Those eyes were so blue, so focused on him, laced with a current of intimacy that warmed him right up. "Keller, was it?" he said, shifting to face him.

"Chris," he said, offering the familiarity of his name to go along with the boldness in his eyes. "Nice place you've got here."

Toby took another drink of coffee, aware of the hand resting so very near his shoulder. "Not quite as impressive as my parent's place."

"Maybe not, but I'll bet there are plenty of challenges."

"Yeah?" Toby gave him an interested look. "Like what?"

"Well," Keller took another sip of coffee, nodded over at the patio, "the tile over there's looking worse for wear, it could stand to be laid again."

"It could, huh?"

"Oh yeah," Keller confirmed, blue eyes smiling.

Toby gulped some coffee, tore his gaze away from that handsome face for a nanosecond. "Anything else?"

"That tree there," Keller indicated one of the elms, "it's got a balanced crotch," he said, gaze darting to Toby's lap for a moment before coming back up to his face.

"Does it?" Toby looked over there, back at Keller. "Is that bad?"

"Yep, least for trees. It means those two branches are growing equally and weakening each other. Just needs some pruning."

"Well, my mother says you know what you're talking about."

Keller nodded - and was it Toby's imagination or had he scooted over just a squidge? He certainly felt much closer all of a sudden, his physical presence harder than ever to ignore. "She's sent a lot of good jobs my way through her referrals."

Toby could feel the cast-iron scroll work of the bench arm pressing into his back. He wasn't uncomfortable, though, just ... really aware. "Have you done any work for her lately?"

"Yeah, I was over there the other day, doing some work in the conservatory and hardening-off."

Toby blinked. "Excuse me?"

That mouth twitched with another smile. "Getting some plants ready to move outside."


"What'd you think I meant?"

"I ... Nothing." God, he really was close now, close enough for Toby feel the heat of his body, to smell his aftershave. "I'm ... surprised you're using a plain old rake for this job. Don't you have ... blowers, for that?"

"Well, I don't know," Keller said, voice dropped to a warm and raspy whisper as he loomed ever closer, "did you want me to blow something?"

Powerless to resist, Toby snaked a hand around the back of his neck, fingers toying with the short, dark hair there. "Just how personal are your services?" he murmured, those tempting lips only a hairsbreadth away.

"How personal do you want it?" Keller's breath caressed his cheek as he spoke.

Toby hauled him in, seeking those lips. "This personal," he breathed.

"Oh yeah," Keller growled, arms going around him, one hand buried in his hair, "hands on all the way, baby." He pressed Toby's head close, kissing his mouth, tongue dancing along his lower lip before darting inside to slide against Toby's tongue, flick at the roof of his mouth, a groan of deep satisfaction welling up from the magnificent chest.

Nothing one-sided about that satisfaction, either. Having tasted temptation, all Toby wanted was more, and he pressed closer into Keller's embrace, fingers crooked and gripping the short, dark hair as he opened his mouth wider to the kiss, the warm, wet tongue pushing inside and awakening an insatiable need. He dragged his mouth across Keller's cheek, nuzzling his jaw, dipping his head to indulge another desire and trail his lips along the strong throat, down the vee of the open Henley and back again as Keller gasped and clutched at him and dragged him back for another deep, deep kiss. He was the one who groaned this time as Keller's kisses sizzled right to his groin and made him push against the other man, craving more contact, needing Keller to touch him ... touch him *everywhere*. Keller nuzzled his ear, his jaw, lips barely grazing his skin, and Toby's shudders had nothing to do with the crisp, autumn air.

"Cold?" Keller murmured, kissing the corner of his mouth, one hand rubbing up and down his back.

"Nuh-uh." Toby arched into that touch. He wanted his naked flesh seared by this man's caress; he wanted Keller sprawled out before him, just as naked, his to claim.

"Sure?" Keller licked an earlobe, blew on it, and felt Toby shiver in his arms.

"Maybe..." He angled his head to find the other man's mouth again and snatch another kiss, and then another. "Maybe just a little."

"We could take this inside."

Yes, they could take it inside. That was a really brilliant idea in fact. "So you..." Toby stole another kiss, "you do interiors, too?"

Keller's laugh was low and sexy and he pressed a kiss to Toby's forehead. "The whole works, baby, whatever you need."

That's what Toby called personal service, all right.

~*~ Pressed against the wall of the upstairs hallway, Toby moaned as Keller unbuttoned his shirt, knuckles scorching along his skin. He moaned again, needy, as Keller's lips brushed along his collarbone. "Mmm," he stroked the dark head, the short hairs sliding between his fingers as he raised him up to kiss him again. "Here's the bedroom."

"Uh-huh." Keller didn't bother looking. He was far too busy kissing Toby's mouth, his cheek, the tiny furrows between his eyebrows.

"We could," Toby succumbed to the temptation of that mouth once more, hovering so kissably close, begging him to taste, to push his tongue deep inside, "we could go in there," he finished, breathless. "Get comfortable."

Keller nuzzled his ear, murmured, "You feeling uncomfortable?"

Ohhh, fuck yes he was, and in the best way possible. Hands gripping strong, broad shoulders, Toby reversed their position and shoved Keller up against the wall, spreading his arms out and holding him there as they kissed again. "The," he had to suck in a deep breath before he could go on, "the bed's really big and," he was holding Keller immobile but didn't remotely have the upper hand as the other man nuzzled his jaw, licked over and over at the juncture of ear and jaw, "and I -- oh man -- changed the sheets this morning..." Teeth nipped his earlobe, lips brushed along the side of his neck, fingers twining tight with his own.

"You did, huh?" Even the sexy voice tickled and teased his skin, white teeth flashed him a smile that matched the hunger in those blue eyes. "Expecting company?"

"Well, it never hurts to be prepared."

That got him a gentler smile, fondness in the steady gaze. "Never thought I'd be sleepin' with a Boy Scout."

Toby stepped back to give him a dubious look. "How about we don't explore that scenario, though?"

Keller smiled again, the back of his hand rubbing along Toby's cheek and jaw. "Deal." Arms enfolding him again, lips brushing against his ear, he whispered, "So what do you want to explore?"

Every inch of the body pressed against him. "Maybe we can play it by ear?"

Keller kissed his ear, flicked his tongue against the ridges. "Yeah, we can do that. Play it by ear," the husky whisper was accompanied by another lazy swipe of tongue, "by mouth," and a long, long, breath-robbing kiss that left them both panting, Keller burying his face against Toby's throat. A moment, voice raspier than before as he clasped Toby's hand and kissed the palm. "Play it by hand, and," smile so deliciously wicked, he pressed that hand to his crotch, "by cock."

"Yeah, that," Toby groaned, swallowed, "that sounds about right."

The other man smiled, nudged the door open. "In here?"

"Uh-huh." He grabbed Keller's hand now, drawing him into the bedroom before he jumped him right there in the hall.

"Been a while?" Keller purred, dropping a kiss at the corner of his eye, hands resting at his waist.

"Eons." Toby cupped the back of his neck, scratching through his hair. "You?"

"What's longer than eons?"

Toby smiled, pulled himself closer, wanting to feel more of that hardness -- wanting Keller to feel what he was doing to him. "So," they were kissing constantly, hands in non-stop motion, attacking buttons, impatiently shoving bothersome cloth out of the way, "you don't get propositioned a lot on the job?"

"Well," Keller smirked, it was blatant in his voice, "I never said that."

Stepping back for visual confirmation of the smirk, Toby couldn't quite contain a huff. "Really?"

The smirk threatened to grow to even more immense proportions. "Babe," a wink backed it up, "just 'cause I get offered candy don't mean I take it."

Mulling that over and filing it for future consideration, Toby asked, "So is that what I am, candy?"

"Well," Keller kissed his lips again, "you do taste awful sweet."

"Like chocolate, peppermint?"

"Like Red Hots," Keller said and slipped his tongue inside as if to confirm the flavor.

Holding onto his shoulders, kneading them, Toby moaned into his mouth, tasting Atomic Fireballs himself.

~*~ "Nice bed," Keller remarked.

Better now, Toby thought, watching him sprawl out there with comfortable abandon. They were both mostly dressed, but shoes had been discarded, Keller's shirt unbuttoned, and he was inching the white Henley up over Keller's stomach. "I got it at an auction a while ago." He rested his hand against the skin exposed, absorbing the warmth.

"Anybody help you pick it out?" Keller's long fingers combed through his hair.

"A ... friend had some input, yes."

One corner of Keller's mouth curved upward and he turned his head to look at the framed photograph on the nightstand. "That your friend?"

Toby huffed again and reached over to turn the photo around. "Never mind that."

"Hmmmm," an index finger stroked along his cheek, rubbed back and forth across his lower lip and he tried to catch it, "one condition."

He caught the teasing digit, teeth nipping at the pad. "What?"

"Call me Chris."

He raised his eyes to the darker blue ones that gazed at him so intently, made him feel like no one else existed in the world. "If you'll call me Toby."

A full smile then, warm and sexy. "Done," Chris murmured, pulling him down into his arms, rolling them across the big antique bed. "To - by," he crooned it against his ear, lowering his head to kiss and lick along his neck.

"Yes, like that," he wound his arms around him, nuzzling his ear, "Chris."

That got him a satisfied sigh and a full body embrace. "Ya got too many clothes on, Toby."

"So, do something about it," he said, giving him an insolent look that provoked that hungry smile to return.

"Something like this?" Chris opened his zipper and dragged his pants down, s-l-o-w-l-y, pausing a moment to bend down and run his tongue along a hipbone, the crease, laying his head against his belly like the fluttering muscles turned him on. He pulled the pants the rest of the way off, along with the boxers, casually letting everything fall on the carpet. When Toby made to shrug out of his shirt, Chris stopped him, urging him to lay back down with the white oxford spread open. "Stay like that, you look sexy."

Believing what he saw in those eyes, Toby nodded. "You like me in dishabille?"

"That mean half-naked and tasty?"

"Along those lines, yes."

"Then damn, I do."

Toby's smile was thoughtful, appreciative. "And if others take a different view?"

Chris came in for another kiss. "You see anybody but me and you in this room?"

"Not a soul." And, yes, that was fine by him. Even more to his liking was Chris kneeling up on the bed and peeling out of the Henley, giving that another fling across the room before he slid off the generous mattress and wriggled out of his jeans. Propped up on his elbows, Toby took his time admiring the view, acutely aware -- as sharply excited -- that he was being voraciously ogled in turn. "Come here."

Chris came, slithering along the covers, smiling with anticipation as he caught hold of Toby's leg and kissed the ankle, drew his lips all along the muscular calf, darting one lick behind his knee and when that made Toby quiver and make a noise of pleasured surprise, he licked some more, all the while exploring the tender inner thigh with inquisitive, magical fingers. The sorcery didn't stop there, it just notched up as his lips and tongue went over that same trail, lingering with maddening indolence -- a lick, a kiss, fingers roving further, reaching between his legs and playing along his perineum, teasing around his anus as he groaned and squirmed and raised his knees, hips bucking up off the bed as Chris buried his mouth there, licking him -- "Oh God..." Reaching down, he tried to catch hold of the dark head, keep him right there, but the heavenly sinful mouth was already slipping away, nuzzling his balls, the base of his cock. He got him then, hand curved around the nape of his neck, kneading, fingers sliding through dark, silky hair as he murmured insensible things and Chris licked and sucked along his shaft. And he wanted to keep quiet, he had to throw an arm over his mouth so he could hear his lover's murmurs and groans, as if the most gloriously erotic sensation in all the world was Toby's cock big and hard in his mouth.

"Mmmm ... mmmm ... " Toby groaned, dragging Chris up, needing to kiss him, loving the weight of the powerful body spread over him, so incredibly excited by the desperate sounds of desire as they kissed, as their hands roamed with restless arousal over each others body. He had to caress that magnificent chest, had to duck his head and lick at one hard little nipple as Chris sighed and arched up from the mattress. They grappled across the bed, covers slipping loose, until Toby had Chris pinned face down against the soft fabric, kissing the back of his neck, his ear, telling him, "Fuck me, Chris." Another kiss. "Now, I want you in me, now."

Chris shifted beneath him, on his back then and looking up at him, searching his eyes. He nodded, hands slipping along his waist, massaging the small of his back and down over his ass as Toby knelt up, straddling him. And, oh, that could have been enough, hands wrapping around each other's erect cocks and rubbing together, he didn't have to tumble down into soft sheets, the dark cotton cool against his face, but -- God almighty, stretched on his side, Chris kissing the back of his neck, his shoulder blades -- did he want to.

All he could do was feel. Feel Chris' tongue, wet and warm, licking along the ridge of his spine, a hand petting along his side, over his hip and down his leg. All he could feel was exposed, completely laid bare to his desire, to his lover's, gripping fistfuls of sheet and whimpering as Chris opened him up more, relaxing him with tongue and fingers, driving him so stark raving mad he wanted to fucking hump the mattress. He thought he heard a drawer slide open, a hand fumbling for something inside; he didn't care, seconds later, as wetness was painstakingly worked into him, all he knew was that now, now, any second -- oh, Jesus fucking Christ, yes! -- his lover would be inside him. Face pressed into the pillow, Toby thrust back, wanting him deeper, wanting to fuck himself on that beautiful hard cock until neither one of them could move.

Impossibly tangled up, Toby reveled in the feel of Chris plastered along his back, pumping into him ... in, out, again ... pausing to kiss his throat, biting down, slide a hand along his belly to catch hold of his cock and stroke it in time with each thrust. Toby covered his hand, moving with him, both of them slippery with sweat, no sound but the frantic creak of bed-springs, the even more anxious, primal groans of total gratification.

"Come on," Chris moaned, licked his throat, fucking him harder, faster, "come on, baby, come on," stroking him, Toby guiding that, thrusting into his hand, coming in his hand, shuddering with each burst of pleasure, beside himself with it as Chris came deep inside him, rigid against him with the power that orgasm, crying out with it. Collapsing against the sheets, breathless, muscles quivering.

"I couldn't move," Toby found enough energy for that, "if the house was on fire."

"Back at ya, babe."

~*~ "You realize you're gonna have to change the sheets again."

"Oh, yeah, big whoop." Toby nestled closer with a huge sigh of contentment, linen and laundry the furthest thing from his mind.

Chris stroked his back. "If you were that anxious for me to rake the leaves, you could've just said something at breakfast."

"Well, yes," Toby kissed his shoulder, "but wasn't this more fun?"

Laughing, Chris pulled him closer. "It was that. Although now I'm wondering what you get up to with the plumber."

"Hmph. The plumber looks like he never got the memo about evolution."

"Yeah? Doesn't even make up for it with good ass crack?"

"Nope." Toby got in even closer, tangling their feet together. "Your ass has ruined me for any others." And there was more than smidge of truth underneath that snark.

Content with that, Chris sighed, angled his head around to check the bedside clock. "When's The Lion King let out?" he asked, straightening the photo of him and Toby, dressed to the nines in tuxedos, arms around each other.

"Five o'clock? But you know my folks'll take the kids for ice cream on the way home."

"Think they'll bring us some?"

Toby raised his head to look at him. "We have at least another hour of naked decadence to enjoy, no kids underfoot, and you're thinking about ice cream?"

"Chunky Monkey, Beecher, I'm thinking about Chunky Monkey. Besides," Chris pulled him down again, into a kiss, "you know making love with you works up an appetite."


Note: If someone wanted to see this as set in the "Happy Accidents" universe, the author would have no problem with that. :)

Des'ree - You gotta be

Listen as your day unfolds Challenge what the future holds Try and keep your head up to the sky Lovers, they may cause you tears Go ahead release your fears Stand up and be counted Don't be ashamed to cry

You gotta be You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together All I know, all I know, love will save the day

Herald what your mother said Reading the books your father read Try to solve the puzzles in your own sweet time Some may have more cash than you Others take a different view My oh my, heh, hey

You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together All I know, all I know, love will save the day

Don't ask no questions, it goes on without you Leaving you behind if you can't stand the pace The world keeps on spinning You can't stop it, if you try to This time it's danger staring you in the face

Remember Listen as your day unfolds Challenge what the future holds Try and keep your head up to the sky Lovers, they may cause you tears Go ahead release your fears My oh my heh, hey, hey

You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together All I know, all I know, love will save the day

You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together All I know, all I know, love will save the day
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