Series: Hydrated
By Hypnothrill - hypnothrill@yahoo.com
published March 16, 2021
2596 words

Ben, his little brother Parker, and his stepdad Tom are getting ready to open a country inn. Too bad no one told them there’s something in the water.

Author’s Note: This is one of my slow burn stories. I’m basing it on some pictures from Lucas Films, and the pictures will get more explicit in later parts, just like the story itself. But for now, I’m just enjoying setting up the character dynamics.

Recently, I’ve been finding it hard to carve out time and motivation to write, so if you like this story and want to see it continued sooner rather than later, please leave some feedback in the comments!

Ben didn’t know what he was doing here. In this big stone house in the countryside, practically in the middle of nowhere. He didn’t really want to be here, but then, where else did he have to be?

To be honest, Ben’s life had been pretty aimless for the last few years, even before his mom died. If he could do college over again, maybe he wouldn’t have majored in communications. He’d spent the last four years wandering from one short-term job to another, doing a bit of PR work here and a bit of social media marketing there, but never finding anything that really suited him. Ben wanted something he could be passionate about; he just didn’t know what that something was.

He wished he could be more like his little brother Parker or his stepdad Tom. The two of them really knew what they wanted out of life, and they reached out and took it.

Tom buying this big stone house in the country was a case in point. When his beloved wife of 22 years was killed in a car accident, he didn’t sit around the house grieving and moping like any other man would have. No, he came up with a plan, using the money from her life insurance and retirement accounts to put a big down-payment on a largely stately home, located a couple of hours outside the city. The place had been built by a millionaire in the 1920s, but had been abandoned for years. Yet somehow Tom got it into his mind that with a bit of manpower and ingenuity, it could be renovated and turned into a profitable bed and breakfast, catering to guests who wanted a luxury retreat away from the city.

And who better to run it than his son Parker and his stepson Ben? After all, Parker had just graduated with a degree in hospitality and tourism management, so he could handle the guests. And Ben could put his communications degree to good use promoting the place on social media. Tom figured it was the perfect plan, the perfect way to give his boys something to focus on so they wouldn’t spend all their time mourning their mother. And if the boys had any objections to it—well, they hadn’t told him!

Not that a lot of people ever said no to Tom Brandt. That was one of the qualities that had enabled him to be such a successful attorney. He knew how to be forceful without ever seeming like a bully. Plus, he knew how to get things done quickly; only hours after he’d bought the old country house, Tom had been on the phone with local contractors to do repairs on the roof, the electric, the plumbing. He even had them install a new pump on the old well, to make sure the B&B would have fresh well water running from its taps.

And now Tom and his boys were driving upstate to do the final renovations on the place. He’d even managed to take a week off work—one of the perks of being a senior partner at his law firm. It was Parker and Ben’s first time actually seeing the place where they would be working.

For his part, Parker was impressed. As soon as they got out of the car, he cried out, “Wow, dad! This place is amazing! I mean, I know you showed us photos and everything, but I didn’t realize just how big it all is. It’s like our very own castle!”

“Cool, isn’t it?” Tom grinned at his son, then turned to his stepson. “How about you, Ben? You liking the place so far?”

“Sure, Tom,” Ben tried to muster up a smile. Old houses weren’t really his thing, and this one looked a little… well… rough around the edges, but he didn’t want to disappoint his stepdad. “It could maybe use a bit of, um, modernizing here and there, but like you said, it’s very cool.”

“You’re right, son, we’ve still got plenty to do,” Tom nodded as they walked into the house. “But first, I’m going to get myself a big glass of crystal-clear well water. Purest thing on earth!” He made a beeline toward the spacious kitchen, washed out one of the plastic water bottles the builders had left behind on the counter, and filled it full of water from the tap.

“Mmmm… delicious!” Tom proclaimed, “It’s not like bottled water or city water. This stuff really has a flavor to it, from the minerals in the soil. It almost tastes… sweet.” He took another deep swig of water. “You boys should really try it for yourselves. Can I pour you a glass?”

“Maybe later, dad,” Parker said, “First, I want to find my room and get unpacked.”

“I’m just gonna stick with this,” Ben replied, pointing to the ever-present bottle of Powerade in his hand. “Gotta keep my electrolytes topped off.”

“Electrolytes!” Tom scoffed, “You know that junk is pure sugar, don’t you? That’s probably why you’re hooked on that shit!” Ben just nodded wearily; he and his stepdad had had this conversation many times before. “Maybe now that we’re out in the country, we’ll be able to wean you off of that shit. Put you through some detox.”

“Yeah, maybe,” Ben mumbled. “I’m gonna go unpack.”

As he settled into his room, Ben wondered if he was being a little too hard on his stepdad. He knew that Tom just wanted what was best for him and Parker, that he called both of them his “boys” and tried to treat both of them the same. But Parker was a chip off the old block; he and Tom had the same competitive drive, the same interests—hell, they were even sporting the same hairstyle these days! And Ben just didn’t quite fit into that, and it made him feel like a fuck-up.

Maybe he’d inherited his restless spirit from his bio dad, who’d left his mom was he was 2. (She’d met Tom a year after that; if he had any qualms dating a single mom with a 3 year old son, he didn’t show it, and Parker was born a year later). But even Frank, his bio dad, had managed to settle down since then; he just settled down to start a totally new family, one that didn’t have room for Ben in it. Whenever he talked to his bio dad on the phone these days, all Frank wanted to talk about was how his 18-year-old half-brother Cole was captain of his soccer team, or how his 16-year-old half-brother Aiden was doing at his swim meets. He never asked about how Ben was doing; it was obvious he couldn’t give a shit. So even though Ben couldn’t quite bring himself to call Tom “dad,” in a very real sense, Tom was the only dad he’d ever had.

So when, an hour later, Tom stopped by his room and asked him if he wanted to go for a run, just the two of them, Ben didn’t hesitate to say yes. He changed into his little green running shorts—no shirt, since there was no sense in getting his clothes sweaty when they hadn’t even purchased a washer and dryer yet—then ran outside to meet his stepdad, who was similarly clad in just a pair of red running shorts. He snuck a few admiring glances at his stepdad’s body, not wanting to be caught staring. For a man in his fifties—hell, for a man of any age—Tom looked amazing. He had well-defined pecs and arms so thick they looked like they could crush a man to death. Not to mention his cobbled 8-pack abs, tapering down to an Adonis belt that peeked out over the waist of his gym shorts.

Not that Ben was a slouch when it came to the physique department. Growing up with Tom as a father figure left him with something to prove, and he’d been going hard in the gym trying to pack muscle onto his slim frame, trying to measure up to his stepdad. And so he had a slightly smaller version of the same physique: the prominent pecs, the corded arms, the cobbled 8-pack abs and Adonis belt.

Tom noticed it too. “Looks like you’ve been keeping up with that gym routine I taught you,” he said, checking out his stepson’s bare chest. “Nice work. Very nice.”

Ben basked in this rare bit of approval from his stepdad, then couldn’t help bragging, “Yeah, and I’ve even added in a few exercises of my own.”

Tom cocked an eyebrow, “Is that so? Well, once we get the gym in there all set up, you’ll have to show them to me. Now, you ready for our run? I’ll race you—to the end of the road and back, first one to make 20 laps wins, loser has to make dinner.”

Ben suppressed a groan. He’d hoped his stepdad had just wanted to go on a leisurely distance run, a chance for them to talk. But of course Tom had to turn everything into a competition. It was in his blood. So Ben just gave him a tight smile and said, “You’re on.”

Tom beat him handily, of course. There was never any doubt of that, given how Tom ran half-marathons for fun. Ben was still on the middle of Lap 16 when his stepdad completed his 20th lap and celebrated by grabbing the plastic bottle he’d left at the starting line and taking a big swig of water. “Come on, four more! You can do it! Don’t quit!” he shouted at Ben as he polished off his big bottle of water.

Ben was just starting on Lap 19 when Tom went inside the house; he was finishing up his final lap when Tom returned carrying two plastic bottles full of tap water. “Here you go, drink up,” he said, handing one bottle to Ben as he crossed the finish line.

“No thanks,” Ben said as he gasped for air. Feeling stubborn and still pissed off about losing the race by so much to the old man, he added, “I’ve got my Powerade in the car.”

Tom reached out to pat his stepson’s sweaty 8-pack abs, “You won’t have those much longer if you keep drinking that sugar water shit.”

“It’s the zero calorie kind,” Ben smirked.

“That shit’s even worse for you,” Tom snorted derisively, then spotted Parker standing a few yards away, taking photos of the house. “Here, Parker, catch!” he called out, tossing him the bottle of water Ben had rejected.

“Thanks, Dad!” Parker called back as he caught the water bottle, opened it, and took a sip. “Hey, you’re right: this well water does taste pretty good.”

“See?” Tom told his stepson. In response, Ben just started walking towards the car to grab his drink, but Tom grabbed his arm and stopped him. “Hey, Parker, take a photo of us!” he said, putting a strong hand around his stepson’s shoulder. As the two stood close together, side by side, Ben had the uncomfortable sensation that he could feel his stepdad’s boner pressing against his outer thigh.

That night, as Ben made dinner, his brother and stepdad worked on unboxing and assembling the gym machines that had arrived the week before. No way they were going to open this luxury B&B without a high-end workout room.

Tom seemed a little distracted during dinner; Ben could see him shifting uncomfortably in his chair as he drank his water. And he barely contributed to the conversation when Parker and Ben were talking about all the shopping trips they’d need to make tomorrow to buy furnishings for the rooms. He just kept drinking his water and occasionally looking over at the kitchen sink. Ben had never seen him so quiet before—it felt weird.

Just before midnight, Parker was in the middle of taking off his shorts getting ready for bed when the door opened and he saw his dad standing there, wearing nothing but a pair of white Calvin Klein briefs. He was holding two plastic bottles of water, and he handed one of them to Parker. Tom gave him a wide smile, “Just bringing some water for my special boy. It’s important to stay hydrated, you know?”

“Yeah, dad, I know,” Parker smiled back, then took a sip of the water. It tasted sweet and pure.

“Now make sure to drink the whole thing, you hear?” Tom said firmly, still smiling, as he went in for a hug.

“Sure thing, dad,” Parker said, feeling so safe and warm in his father’s strong arms that he didn’t even notice the erection tenting his father’s white briefs.

“Now, let me tuck you in, son.”

“Come on, dad! I’m not a kid!” Parker laughingly protested as his dad kept gripping him tight and guided him towards the bed.

“I know, I know, you’re a big man now, but you’ll always be my little boy,” Tom said, tucking his 22-year-old son into bed. “Now, you drink your water, and then have sweet dreams, okay?”

“Yes, daddy,” Parker said drowsily in a little boy voice. It was only half a joke. And then his father turned out the light, and he slept soundly through the night.

Meanwhile, Tom headed down the hall to his stepson’s room. Ben was already in bed, lights off, so he walked up to the bed and whispered, “Son, are you still awake?”

“Wha… Da… I mean, Tom?” Ben replied groggily, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong, son. I just brought you some water.” He placed the plastic bottle by Ben’s bedside. “Now drink up, son. It’s important to stay hydrated.”

“You woke me up to bring me some water?” Ben felt confused. And he felt even more confused when, in the dim moonlight, he thought he saw the outline of an erection in his stepdad’s white briefs. But that couldn’t be right, could it?

“It’s important. You need to stay hydrated, son,” Tom said soothingly. “It will make you feel soooo much better.”

“Um… okay, Tom… well, thanks. Goodnight.” Ben closed his eyes, but it took another four or five minutes before he heard the creaky bedroom door finally close. What was his stepdad doing all that time? Just staring at him?

Unlike his brother, Ben did not sleep well that night.

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Series: Hydrated