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Mark Arbour

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About Mark Arbour

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  1. Mark Arbour

    Chapter 1

    You’d think you’d finally figure out that the comments are spoilers. 😃. This story is a bit dark.
  2. Mark Arbour

    Chapter 24

    So glad you’re back Steve. I had the same feeling about Hornblower and Bush, especially on their escape from France down the Loire.
  3. Mark Arbour

    Chapter 28

    I think it’s important because of how fair they’d emphasized they were being when they gave JP the condo. They’d set that up as their principle, then now he’d chucked it out the window.
  4. Mark Arbour

    Chapter 24

    I think the age, intellect, and maturity differences between them are what fuels JP’s guilt.
  5. Mark Arbour

    Chapter 4

    Thanks! Not a Bonneville...too big for him.
  6. Mark Arbour

    Chapter 19

    Always expect the unexpected. 😃
  7. I can’t think of any character in this book who would be a Trump supporter, not even Elizabeth.
  8. Mark Arbour

    Chapter 31

    You are implying that I did not check the average number of daylight hours in Riga in January?😃
  9. December 28, 1800 Ursula Arensburg, Courland “We must get a man to von Beckendorf,” Granger told Schein quietly. They were in a small cabin they’d commandeered from the second mate. The guard was above them on the quarterdeck and had shown no inclination to wander through the ship, so Granger felt safe for the moment. That could change in an instant if, when they relieved this guard, they left a new guard who was a martinet in his place. “I am not sure how to do that,” Schein said. Granger was impressed more and more with Schein. He seemed to have an intuitive understanding of the situation he was in. In this case, he dropped the formal ‘my lord’ when talking to Granger, knowing that if the guard heard him, it would give them away. Yet Granger was not offended by the omission, first because he thought it showed intelligence; and secondly, because Schein had always treated him most respectfully, he was not concerned at all that this was a veiled act to undermine Granger. He took his mind off ruminating about Schein, and focused back on the problem, but his daydreaming had given him an inspiration. “We don’t have to send a man, we have to send a message,” Granger said. “Write out a note to von Beckendorf, telling him that you acquired the items he requested in Visby. Ask him to come out to Ursula to inspect them.” Schein nodded, then smiled. “I can ask the guard to take the message for me.” “Indeed,” Granger said, “and if you give him a few coins, it may induce him to make it a priority.” Granger handed Schein the money from his purse. “I will attend to that at once,” Schein said, and went up on deck where he had a conversation with the guard. Granger heard them yammering in German, then heard the footsteps as Schein made his way aft to his cabin. Winkler and Jacobs came in, curious to know what their plan was, so Granger enlightened them. The seaman who had interpreted earlier for Granger was a young man named Schneidhorn. He had all but attached himself to Granger, which probably had more to do with the guinea Granger had given him for his earlier efforts. Granger wondered if his experiences with the Guild had scarred him such that now he was convinced most people were that greedy. Still, Schneidhorn was very polite and accommodating, and being able to understand what was being communicated was incredibly important. “My lord, will you need me anymore?” “Actually, I believe Captain Schein is going to speak to the guard shortly, and I’d appreciate it if you would tell me what they are saying.” “Of course, my lord,” he said, grinning widely. A look from Granger to Winkler was all it took for him to get them all something to drink. Winkler, Jacobs, and Schneidhorn were chatting softly while Granger drank his wine and thought about this mission, such as it was. He hadn’t really worried about being able to communicate with people on this trek to St. Petersburg, primarily because it seemed that anyone in Russia who was of significant importance spoke French. He hadn’t pondered that if those people opted to speak to each other in German or Russian, he would be completely unable to understand what they were saying. He probably should attempt to learn even some rudimentary aspects of either language, then cringed at the effort it would take, especially with Russian and its Cyrillic alphabet. Granger’s ruminations were cut short when they heard Schein’s door open. Schneidhorn got up and put his ear next to the deck, but both Schein and the guard spoke relatively loudly, so he was able to come back and sit across from Granger. “The captain is asking the guard to carry a message for him, and that is making the guard suspicious. Captain Schein offered to let the guard read the message. I think he is reading it. The guard is saying that he is too busy to go that far out of his way to deliver the message.” Schneidhorn paused. “He has suddenly changed his mind, and he has pledged to deliver it as soon as he is relieved.” The others looked at Granger, confused by the guard’s change of heart. “I think that his sudden agreement was linked to Captain Schein’s deposit of some coins into his hand,” Granger said quietly, making the others giggle. Granger gave Schneidhorn some more money, then opted to indulge himself and take a nap. Granger had learned from his years at sea that it was wise to sleep when one could. He was awakened by commotion on the deck, and by the arrival of Winkler and Jacobs. Schneidhorn was not with them, but it made no difference, as Granger soon heard von Beckendorf’s voice. Granger smiled, as just hearing his voice reminded Granger of how much he’d missed the handsome young baron. There was a clatter on the ladder, and then the door opened to reveal von Beckendorf looking as handsome as ever in his uniform. “We’ll leave you alone, my lord,” Winkler said, and led Jacobs from the cabin, deftly closing the door behind him. “I have missed you more than I can say,” von Beckendorf said, then they embraced, gripping each other tightly. “I missed you so much I risked time in a Russian prison to return,” Granger joked. “Why did you come back?” he asked. “It is very dangerous here.” “To do as you said, to go to St. Petersburg and beg the Tsar to forgive me for following orders,” Granger said, rolling his eyes at this eccentric autocrat he must try to appease. “We will perhaps not phrase it that way,” he said with a smirk. “First we must get you out of Arensburg.” “I am assuming you will go with me to the capital,” Granger said. Granger had just presumed that von Beckendorf would escort him to the capital, but his change in expression made Granger realize that had been a bold guess on his part, one that may prove inaccurate. “I will try,” he said nervously. “General Rostkoswski is here with a battalion of the Semyenovsky Guards, and he is quite focused on doing his duty.” The Semyenovsky Guards were one of the Tsar’s lifeguard regiments, so their dispatch here meant that the Tsar was personally involved in their deployment. “And what is his duty in this case?” Granger asked. “He is charged with securing Arensburg from further incursions by your ships and men, and he is charged with ensuring that you and your men are not allowed transit through here,” von Beckendorf said. The Tsar or his advisors must have been worried that Valiant would use Arensburg as a base, which opened up a whole new range of things to worry about, not the least of which was von Beckendorf’s esteem in the eyes of the Tsar. Did they already suspect him of treason? “I would assume you are smart enough to get us both out of Arensburg and safely on our way,” Granger said. “I can make that happen for you, but for me to go it would mean I must defy his orders,” von Beckendorf said. “I am the governor of this place, so that means I am to be here and assist him.” “Is there not some reason for you to return to St. Petersburg?” Granger asked. “I thought you were under the orders of Count von der Pahlen?” “I said much the same thing to Rostkoswski, and he told me that he was giving me an order, and I would be unwise to question him in the future,” von Beckendorf said. Granger could well imagine this Russian general, furious that von Beckendorf would suggest that he defer to another absent general. “So how do we escape?” Granger asked. “I have not come all this way to stop now. And more than that, I have information and documents that are vital to Lord Daventry.” “What kind of documents?” he asked, then stared boldly at Granger as Granger balked at revealing his secrets. “Bills of exchange, I believe,” Granger said. He saw von Beckendorf’s eyes fly open in excitement. “It is vital that we get those to Daventry,” he said, with a new resolve. “Why?” Granger asked. He saw von Beckendorf struggle in much the same he had, but now Granger’s guard was up because the young man had been unwilling to risk a trip to St. Petersburg until he found out there was money on the line. “Is our trust to be only one way?” “The plan to make changes to the government is advancing, but it has stalled due to lack of funds. We cannot make it happen if we do not have the money to put in the right hands,” he said. “In addition to the bills of exchange, there are also some gemstones,” Granger added. “I suspect we will be keeping several jewelers busy.” “That is good,” he said, and seemed to be mentally flailing about as he tried to come up with a plan. “So how are you going to get us to St. Petersburg?” Granger asked, to help focus him. “I will go ashore and meet with the general, and tell him that this ship brought word that I must return. I will think of a reason later,” he said. “If he says I cannot, then I will have to sneak away, and that will make it dangerous for me, especially if he sends men after me.” “I had hoped to make this trip with you, but you do not have to go. As long as you can provide me with a knowledgeable guide and can help me get off this ship, I will make my way on my own,” Granger said. He was worried his words would sound insincere, since he heard the apprehension in his own voice. The idea of floundering around in the Russian countryside as a man ordered to be arrested by the Tsar, with a guide he did not know and thus could not trust, was horrifying. “Let us see how things evolve,” von Beckendorf said. “I will see how the general reacts.” “How are we to keep in contact?” Granger asked. “By tomorrow night at the latest, I will come out and talk to you or if that is not possible, I will send a man out here with a message,” he said. “The captain of the harbor is in need of my support and will help me with this task.” “I understand,” Granger said, wondering at the myriad of feudal connections in this country. “What am I to do if I have not heard from you?” Granger asked. That clearly confused von Beckendorf, as such a contingency had not occurred to him. Granger was beginning to notice that when he was upset or alarmed, von Beckendorf had problems focusing on the future beyond the immediate crisis. “You must sail on board Ursula,” he said. “I will make sure she is allowed to go.” “That will help me escape from here, but it will not help me complete my mission. I must get to Daventry,” Granger insisted. Von Beckendorf pondered that for a minute, realizing that Granger only had one option. “Then you must stay here until you have heard from me.” “I will do as you ask, but I would remind you that I am not known for being a patient man,” Granger said with a smile. “I have personally enjoyed your patience very much,” von Beckendorf flirted back. “But now I must go and prepare to outfox the general. I would ask that you are able to depart on very short notice.” “We can do that,” Granger said. He called Winkler and Jacobs back in and shared the gist of his conversation with von Beckendorf, and told Winkler to pack up their things such that they could disembark within five minutes. December 30, 1800 Ursula Arensburg, Courland It had been two days and Granger had still not heard from von Beckendorf. He felt like a rat in a cage, tormented by the bars that confined him not only to Ursula, but to this small cabin. The harbor master had allowed Ursula to offload her cargo, and Granger was hoping that they’d remove the guard, but the sentinels had remained. They rotated the same four men aboard for duty in six-hour shifts. Offloading the cargo created a lot of noise and dust, and that made being below deck even more unpleasant. And finally, the fact that they had to keep their bags packed also made living conditions difficult. “My lord, what’s to prevent us from just going up on the deck, and maybe tending to the rigging?” Jacobs asked quietly. Of the three of them, confinement was probably the toughest on him, although he had an advantage that Granger did not. Granger had graciously allowed Winkler and Jacobs a small cabin next to his, and from the muffled moaning he heard, it sounded like they were having sex, while Granger was not. “If we are on deck, we will be easily visible to those in town with glasses, and we will be even more recognizable to those who are unloading this cargo,” Granger said. “I understand, my lord,” Jacobs said resignedly. “It is quite possible this is the most pleasant part of our journey,” Granger said, both as a comedic relief and as a warning that worse was probably ahead. “I would think Your Lordship would be better advised to keep a positive attitude,” Winkler grumbled, as he shivered a bit. While confinement was Jacobs’ Achilles’ heel, for Winkler that demon was either cold weather, or spiders and snakes. “My Lordship will try,” Granger joked back, getting a chuckle from them. And so, as he had for the past few days, Granger opted to take a nap. He was finding he was almost completely lethargic at this point, and began to criticize himself for being so lazy, when it occurred to him that perhaps his body was inducing him to sleep so he could endure this period of captivity. With that as a rationale, he dozed off to sleep. “We must go!” Granger heard von Beckendorf say urgently. Granger blinked his eyes open and looked up to see the young man peering down at him, and was awake that instant. “I have already told your men to get your things ready.” “What is happening?” Granger asked, anxious to know the plan, even as he stood up and gathered his things together. “I will tell you all about it when we are safely away, but for now, we must get into the lugger. I have bribed the guard to go below and drink with the other men,” he said. Von Beckendorf was clearly panicked, and was acting emotional and erratic. Granger froze and stared at von Beckendorf. “It is important for you to remain calm in a crisis,” Granger said sternly, his eyes boring into von Beckendorf’s. That had the effect Granger wanted. “Of course,” von Beckendorf said, pulling himself together. Granger cautiously walked up the ladder to the deck, where only Schein, Winkler, and Jacobs were present. “Our trunks are loaded, my lord,” Winkler said. “But I thought you’d want your coat.” He helped Granger with the garment, which was still warm from being below deck. The metal boxes made wearing the coat not as comfortable as his normal overcoat, but the padding sewn into them made them less annoying than he would have guessed. “Thank you,” Granger said. “Captain Schein, I appreciate all you have done to assist me, and I wish you luck in our venture.” “No, my lord, it is I who must thank you,” he said. That was the extent of their parting words, as anything more was unnecessary. Granger shook hands with him, then followed the others into the lugger von Beckendorf had been referring to. They said nothing as they cast off and remained silent as the lugger worked her way out of Arensburg harbor. It was as if they were all holding their breaths, as if any words may jeopardize their escape. They were fortunate in that there was only a slight mist, enough to shield them from prying eyes from the shore, yet it was a cloudless night, enabling them to use the light from the moon and the stars to spot major geographic features. Once they were clear of the harbor, von Beckendorf spoke to the captain in German and then led Granger and the others below to a stuffy yet thankfully warm cabin. “I am sorry to have induced you to make such a hurried departure,” von Beckendorf said pleasantly. Evidently having escaped from Arensburg had removed much of the stress von Beckendorf had been exhibiting. He was speaking French, which Winkler understood, so he furtively translated to Jacobs. “It was a relief to be off that ship,” Granger said honestly. He saw Jacobs nod firmly in agreement as that was interpreted for him. “Why were you so worried about our escape?” “As we had discussed, I spoke to General Rostkoswski about my need to return to St. Petersburg due to the deteriorating health of my mother, and as I feared, he was most unhappy about my request,” von Beckendorf said. An ailing relative, especially a mother, was usually a compelling reason to summon home a son. “He told me that if I could produce some evidence of my mother’s condition, he would let me go.” “And you were able to acquire such a document?” Granger asked, hoping that von Beckendorf had at least come up with a convincing forgery. “Conveniently enough, this lugger arrived in Arensburg bearing just such a message,” von Beckendorf said with a sly grin. “I was able to convince the captain to turn about and sail again immediately.” That probably required more bribes. “I don’t understand why you were so anxious to depart?” Granger asked. “Because I could not get the general’s direct approval, since he had retired with a companion for the night,” von Beckendorf said with a raised eyebrow. The general was probably preoccupied with his mistress. “Rather, I was able to explain things to his Brigadier, who was little concerned with my reasons for leaving, and truly seemed more than happy to have me go.” “You were worried that between the time that you left the town and the time we were out of the harbor, the general could have become aware of the situation and sent for your recall?” Granger asked. “That is correct,” von Beckendorf said. “But now that we have left, with each passing minute we are deeper and deeper into Livonia, of which my father is the intendant. It will not be so easy to have me marched back to Arensburg.” “I am glad of this for many reasons, not the least of which is that I will have the joy of your charming company on our trek to St. Petersburg,” Granger said with a smile. “I think it will end up being a pleasurable trip, although a bit cold,” he said. “Winkler doesn’t like the cold,” Granger said, getting a horrified look from his chief steward. “Then I would think he would have tried to get a posting to the tropics,” von Beckendorf said, actually joking with Winkler. “Alas, Your Excellency, I am tied to Lord Granger as surely as the serfs are tied to the land,” Winkler lamented, making all of them chuckle. “When he complains of the cold, I merely remind him of the travails we experienced traveling through the Egyptian desert,” Granger said. “We were both disguised as women and had wine-based paint on our skin to make us look darker.” “That paint drew the flies to us in a terrible way,” Winkler said, almost a stream of consciousness. “Winkler gets disgruntled about that part of the trip because I was a more attractive woman than he was,” Granger joked. “That was certainly not something I felt bad about at all, my lord,” Winkler said, making them laugh. “So what is our plan now?” Granger asked, getting them back on topic. “The lugger will get us as close to Riga as it can, then we must go ashore and hire transportation for the rest of the way. This part of the trip will definitely be cold and unpleasant,” he said. They all cringed at the thought of it, but no one dared complain. Winkler and Jacobs left them to have the cabin to themselves, and then all of their pent-up drives and emotions vented themselves in a sexual extravaganza. After his first orgasm, with Granger’s lusts temporarily sated, he instinctively made to go up on deck, but then reminded himself that he had no obligation or right to intervene in the direction of their passage. Once he had come to that conclusion, he allowed his lust to resurge again, and again. December 31, 1800 Off Engure, Courland A knock on the door heralded the arrival of the captain of the lugger. Granger and von Beckendorf were just beginning to break their fast, so they invited the captain to join them. He spoke only German, so Granger opted to gorge himself with food until the conversation was translated for him. “The captain has explained to me that he has gotten us as far as he can,” von Beckendorf said. “The ice is too dangerous beyond this.” “Where are we?” Granger asked. Von Beckendorf opened his satchel bag and took out a map of the area, which delighted Granger. “I am so glad you have this, so I can visualize our progress.” “I thought you would appreciate it, and while I am quite familiar with this part of the world, it is never bad to have a handy reference,” von Beckendorf said. “We are here, at Engure, which is some sixty miles from Riga,” he said. The town did not look significant on the map. “Will we be able to find transportation here?” Granger asked. “Certainly,” von Beckendorf said, but seemed a little nervous about that. He had mentioned the discomforts of this trip ahead several times now. “We will probably have to make do with horses for us to ride, and a cart for our possessions, but it will suffice.” “Of course,” Granger said, even as he shivered at the thought of being on horseback all day in these sub-zero temperatures. As long as the wind did not become too fierce, it would be tenable. The captain began chattering and pointing at the map, so once again Granger was left to eat until his words were translated. “The captain apologizes for not getting us any closer,” von Beckendorf said. “The ice freezes the eastern part of the bay first, and one must avoid it or one can get ice bound.” These were the ice floes and the gales Granger had already planned to avoid with Valiant. It was quite thoughtful for the captain to explain himself, which probably meant Granger would need to give him some coins to show his gratitude. “I understand,” Granger said. The captain smiled after that was translated, then made his way back up to the deck. “He is preparing to enter the harbor, and then we will disembark and begin our journey.” Granger took out his purse and handed von Beckendorf 10 guineas, making the young man’s eyes bulge. “I do not want you to pay for our expenses on this trip. You will need to spend money to arrange our transport, and that should help us get the best vehicles we can.” “Indeed it will,” von Beckendorf said. “With money, our trip to St. Petersburg will be much more pleasant than I had thought.” “I would like you to make sure it is as pleasant as possible, both for us and for my men,” Granger said, referring to Winkler and Jacobs. “I am willing to pay the cost to make that happen.” And with that, it was as if a weight was lifted off von Beckendorf. Granger suddenly realized that von Beckendorf had assumed that as a native of these parts, he should be a good host and provide for them on their journey. Money was clearly very tight for him, and such a strain on his finances had obviously stressed him greatly. It would not have been easy for him to imagine funding Granger’s trip to the capital in a style consistent with his and Granger’s status. “Then let us go see if Engure has changed since I was last here,” von Beckendorf said, and led them up to the deck. They stared at the bleak little town, which Granger suspected contained less than 100 souls. “It has not.” “I will be impressed if you find so much as a horse here,” Granger said dubiously. “Then prepare to be impressed,” he replied. The lugger was small enough that it could sail into the small port and tie up at the single pier. There was a small group of men frowning in a menacing way, waiting to see who had arrived. As soon as von Beckendorf disembarked and they saw his uniform, that attitude was replace with one of complete servitude. Granger was quite stunned to see the transformation from hostility to compliance, and wondered if that would happen to him if he suddenly landed in Essex. He decided that it would, but these men seemed to have more fear than disgruntled bystanders close to London would have. They were accommodated at the only substantial house in the town and provided with more food and drink. “How long will we be here?” Granger asked von Beckendorf in French. Granger had lamented that he would not understand what the locals were saying, but on the other hand, in situations like this, they would not understand his conversations. “They have sent for a sled, and it should arrive within an hour,” von Beckendorf said. “We will travel to Schlockenbeck Castle and spend the night there, then the next morning we will travel the rest of the way to Riga.” Just as von Beckendorf promised, a large sled appeared, with a seat for the driver to share with Winkler and Jacobs, and one directly behind it for Granger and von Beckendorf. There were large bearskin rugs to try to keep out the cold, but even with those odorous things draped over them, it was still very cold. They arrived at the castle and received a warm welcome from the servants even though the lord of the manor was not present. They had a nice supper, which made up for a perfunctory dinner on the run in the sled, and retired for the night, grateful for the warm fires in their rooms. January 1, 1801 Riga, Livonia Granger had discovered that travelling by sled was significantly faster than in a carriage. He spent much of his time trying to figure out why, using that to distract himself from the miserably cold weather, and had finally decided that it must be due to less friction. That speed was the reason that they were able to make it from Schlockenbeck Castle to Riga in just one day, and a shortened day at that. Being so near the winter solstice had shortened the daylight to seven hours. It was yet another challenge to face. The sled entered the city which was much larger than Granger had expected. He decided there must be some 50- to 100-thousand people living here, but then again, it was getting dark so it was difficult to be certain. The sled stopped in front of a grand townhouse, in a place that seemed analogous to Belgravia in London. “This is my parents’ home when they are in Riga,” von Beckendorf explained. He alit from the sled, even as footmen hurried down the stairs to welcome them. They entered the building which was ornate and impressive as would expect at the abode of one of the province’s leading families. “We will have supper, then we will enjoy the sauna.” “Excellent,” Granger said, as both of those things sounded fabulous. He had hoped to visit the sauna in Arensburg, both to warm and wash his body, but that hadn’t been possible. He had not been able to do either one of those things since he’d left Visby. Von Beckendorf led them upstairs and showed Granger to his room, and then showed him which room was his. “I will leave you to recover from our journey, then meet you downstairs when you are ready.” “Thank you,” Granger said. He scanned the room and noted that the entire house seemed as if it were some twenty to thirty years out of fashion, and while well kept, there was no hiding the slightly worn nature of the furnishings. The overall impression Granger got was that of a family who did not have the resources to do more than maintain the place. “Here, my lord, let’s get you out of those clothes,” Winkler said, and immediately began clucking around him as a mother hen would, or at least that’s how Granger felt. Once he was in more comfortable garb, he descended the staircase to find von Beckendorf waiting to lead him into the dining room. A nice meal and a visit to the sauna was the prelude to a night of rest and recreation, with the recreation being amply filled by his sexual interludes with von Beckendorf.
  10. The joys of being 19
  11. The next chapter should post soon...it’s in editing.
  12. Granger is in editing. He’ll be back soon.
  13. October 10, 2003 Escorial Palo Alto, CA Will I was pulled out of my deep slumber by loud banging on my door. “Will!” I heard my father call. “What?” I asked, without even making an effort to hide my annoyance. “We’re looking for Colin,” he said, but much more nicely, since he knew he’d pissed me off by banging on my door. “We can’t find him.” Colin was sitting up in the bed next to me, spazzing out. “Relax,” I said to him quietly, then spoke louder to address my father. “He said he was going to go jogging, so he’s either doing that, or taking a shower.” “Thanks,” he said. “Well if you see him, tell him to come up and eat breakfast.” “Fine,” I said. Colin made to jump up and rush to his room, but I stopped him. “You have your duties to perform first,” I said, making him chuckle. I did the same thing I’d done last night, slowly rocking on his cock, only I didn’t keep him on edge that much since we were in a hurry. “I hope I have completed my mission, sir,” he said, as he hopped out of bed. “For now,” I said, then smiled. “Dude, what do I wear?” he asked. “That towel,” I said. “If someone asks you what you were doing, just tell them you were trying to find some hairspray.” “I don’t use hairspray,” he said. “Well make something up,” I said, rolling my eyes at his literate interpretation of my ready-made excuse. “Check the hall first, then run across to your room.” He looked both ways, then dashed across the hall and into his room. I laughed at him, then took a shower and got ready for the day. When I was done, I looked at his jeans, and saw that his waist was two inches bigger than mine, while his inseam was two inches shorter. I found a pair of jeans that were pretty loose on me and took them over to his room. I knocked on the door and went in when he told me to. “Good morning,” he said to me formally, as if we hadn’t already seen each other. I couldn’t figure out his deal until I looked beyond him and saw his father in the room. There was no reason for me to be freaked out about being in the room with both of them, but it still kind of did. “Good morning, Will,” he said in his stiff manner. “Morning,” I said to both of them, then addressed Colin. “Since your other jeans got wet, I brought you these. They might fit, but you’ll probably have to cuff the legs.” “Thanks, man,” he said genuinely. “How did your jeans get wet?” Mike asked in an accusatory way. “I fell in that fountain out in the courtyard,” Colin said, acting embarrassed. “Were you that drunk?” Mike asked, and now sounded annoyed. “I wasn’t drunk at all,” Colin said in a very annoyed tone. “Christ!” “Colin was actually my designated driver,” I said, trying to smooth things over. “He was totally sober, but a little clumsy.” Mike actually smiled a little bit at that. “I’ve only got this pair of jeans left,” Colin said, gesturing to the pair he was wearing, “so it will be good to have a backup in case I fall into some quicksand or something.” “Cool. I’ll see you guys in the dining room,” I said, and left them alone. I followed the smell of food to that room to find Beverly, Jake, Grand, Stef, and my father there. We all said the obligatory good mornings. “How was the party last night?” Stef asked. “It was kind of lame,” I said. “I ended up coming back pretty early. Colin was sober, so I got him to drive me.” I could sense his mother staring at me intently, but I focused on Stef. “Is Colin up?” she asked. I bit back my smart-ass answer about how Colin was always up. “Yeah,” I said to her in between bites. “He was in his room talking to his father.” “Good,” she said. “Then we can work out our plans for the weekend.” That was evidently important to her, to know what was on her calendar. That made sense; she didn’t strike me as being very spontaneous. “I got a call from your brother this morning,” Grand said. “Which one?” I asked, and started to get a little panicked, worrying that something had happened to Darius. “JJ,” he said. I raised my eyebrow to show him I was surprised at that. JJ never called Grand. “What did he want?” “You mean you don’t think he called me just to chat?” Grand teased. “JJ would not call you just to chat,” I said with conviction, because if he did that, he would be so fucked up we’d have to fly out and check him into a hospital. “You are correct,” Grand said playfully. “He wanted my advice on what kind of car to buy.” “He can’t even drive,” my father said. “How young is he?” Beverly asked, wondering where this person who must be sixteen years old or less was living. “He’s almost 18,” I said, “but he never got his license. He would rather be driven than get his own car.” “Oh,” she said, and blinked a bit at that. Wait until she actually met JJ, I thought: then she’d really be surprised. “So why’s he buying a car?” I asked. “He went up to stay with John Carullo and found that John had an inadequate vehicle, so he was going to replace it for him,” Grand said. “Carullo was driving a piece of crap,” I said, summing up his sentence. “He was,” Grand agreed. “What did he get him?” Dad asked. “An Acura MDX. John wanted something that he could use to haul items around, and he wanted something that was good in the snow, and that seemed like a very good option,” Grand said. I was really glad that JJ was doing that for Carullo, not only because he was a nice guy who deserved a decent ride, but because it showed that JJ was trying to mend that relationship. I really thought that Carullo had been a good friend to him, so hopefully they’d be able to solidify that part of their relationship. “Being mindful of the present you got me, we got it in red, to remind him of Stanford.” “Good job,” I said. “It seems that as much as he’s done for our family, including you, I think that is a nice thing to do,” Stef said to my father with a suggestive look that Beverly fortunately missed. “He’s been a very intimate member of our family for a long time,” I said to Beverly in a reverent way as if to explain Stef’s comment, which would have been more effective if Stef weren’t about to break out giggling. Dad just rolled his eyes at me. Colin and Mike came walking into the room, and that basically stopped our conversation about Carullo and his car. They both sat down after greeting us, and then Colin started to eat. He had an appetite that rivalled mine. “Colin has expressed a desire to go surfing,” Mike said. It was hard to tell if that idea annoyed him, or if he was always gruff like that. “I can do that,” I said, so stoked to hit the waves. “Weather should be nice today. Sunny and in the seventies.” “I was able to rouse Christopher enough to ascertain that he would prefer to stay here,” Mike said. Chris probably had a massive hangover from the party; he was knocking back drinks pretty fast before I left. “I am not sure if he’ll be up to anything until this afternoon, at least.” “At least,” Colin chimed, and got a dirty look from his mother for his comment. “We can go over to the coast and stay for the day, or we can spend the night and come back tomorrow morning,” Dad said. He was as anxious as I was to get to Santa Cruz. “Maybe Colin can take his father to the house in my car, and the rest of us can go in the limo,” I suggested. I thought that would give Colin some time to spend with his father, and maybe then they’d leave us alone and we’d be able to spend the night there. “It’s a Ferrari,” Colin said to his dad with an adorable grin. I had to watch myself to make sure I didn’t gaze at him like a star-struck teenager. Mike actually smiled back at him. “That’s tempting, especially if you let me drive for a stint.” “Done,” Colin said, trying to make sure a trip to the beach was a done deal. “I think we will stay here,” Grand said, including Stef in his statement. “Since that is the case, perhaps Colin and Mike would prefer to drive my car?” “No offense, but the Ferrari is the bomb,” Colin said. “My Ferrari is better,” Grand said with a smile. In the end, it was decided that Colin and his father would drive the Enzo, my father and Beverly would go in his car, and I would drive Jake over in my car. Once that was done, I decided to let my father round everyone up and give them directions. “You ready?” I asked Jake. He looked surprised, since he probably figured he’d get sucked into the departure delays that came from herding people, but got his act together quickly enough. “I’ll meet you in the garage in five minutes,” he said, gave my dad a nice kiss, and hurried off to get his stuff together. “I’m going to hit the store on my way, just to get some snacks,” I told my father. That was one reason I was leaving early; the other was to avoid the traffic as much as possible. “Thanks,” he said. I hurried back to my room and threw a few things in my backpack, then went out and stuffed it into the trunk of the Ferrari. I’d just backed it out of the garage when Jake came strolling out. Damn, he was one handsome man. He put his bag in the trunk too, then hopped in. I was shooting down the driveway before he even had his seatbelt on. “Someone is excited to hit the waves,” he said. “I am, and we have to swing by the store first,” I said. “There’s nothing perishable at the house.” “Where are we going to put these supplies you’re going to buy?” he asked, which was a very good question. “We’ll cram what we can in the trunk, and you get to hold the rest,” I said with an evil grin. We got to Interstate 280 and I headed south, gunning the Ferrari’s engine as I did. “Don’t kill us,” he said. “You drive just like your father.” I laughed. “We both learned to drive out here. Fast and furious.” “So what’s the deal with Colin?” he asked. “What do you mean, what’s the deal?” I challenged, because I was worried that we were giving off fuck vibes. “I’m trying to figure out if you fucked him yet,” he mused. “What would make you think we were that intimate?” I challenged. “The way you looked at him at breakfast when he smiled at you,” he said. “Fuck,” I said, frustrated. “Do you think anyone else noticed?” “I’m betting that JP and Stef figured it out, and it’s almost certain your father did, but I’m guessing Mike and Beverly didn’t pick up on it. Hard to say though, because Colin was giving some pretty strong signals too, but I don’t know him as well as I know you.” “I got him to fuck me,” I said. “Dude, props to you!” he said, sounding like one of my friends. “You work fast!” “I don’t know…I was just drawn to him from the moment he got here,” I said, thinking about that. “Then again, I usually do move fast.” He laughed at that. “So how was it?” “Not great at first,” I said, and decided that Jake may be able to give me some advice on Colin’s issue. “He’s got a problem with premature ejaculation. It’s really a bummer, not just because it makes sex kind of shitty, at least at first, but because it really bothers him.” “Ah yes,” he said knowingly. “I dealt with that a long time ago, when my dick still worked.” “How did you handle it?” I asked. “I think the worst part of it was what my mind did to me. My brain was convinced I was going to shoot quickly, so my body just did what it was told to do by my brain,” he said. “OK, I get that he probably has hang-ups over this, but there has to be a way to treat it,” I said. “What did you do?” He nodded, getting where I was coming from, that I wanted a practical method to help Colin. I didn’t want the psychology, which was the shit he liked, because he’d probably ramble on about that for an hour and I wasn’t qualified to coach Colin through it anyway. “There are basically three methods you can use to train yourself to last longer.” “Three,” I repeated, trying to etch that into my brain, and to show him I was paying attention. “The first is kind of a potpourri of tricks, and I’m not sure they work, or at least they didn’t work for me. You can jack off before you fuck, you can wear two condoms to reduce the sensation, and you can try deep breathing.” “Deep breathing?” I asked, wondering what the fuck was with that. “It supposedly shuts down the reflex that makes you ejaculate,” he said. I’d have to try that. There were times that I would have liked to have lasted longer too. “Interesting,” I said. “The other two are kind of the same thing: the squeeze and the stop-go techniques. It’s basically edging, where you train yourself to last longer. Think of it like building up your biceps. The more you lift weights, the stronger it gets. So the theory goes that the more he keeps himself on edge without shooting the more he exercises the muscle or whatever it is that makes him ejaculate. It gets stronger, he lasts longer.” “Sounds simple enough,” I said. “Did it work for you?” “Took a while, and I had other fucked up mind issues, but it helped. I liked the stop-go method better,” he said. “That’s where you’re fucking someone, and when you feel yourself getting close, you freeze until the orgasm subsides. When you’re back in control, you go at it again.” “That’s pretty much what we did last night,” I said, pretty impressed that we’d intuitively figured that out. “What’s the squeeze technique?” “That’s where when he gets close, he squeezes the head of his dick until the feeling subsides. He should squeeze for about half a minute, then do nothing for half a minute, then start again,” he explained. “So you think stop-go works better?” I asked, trying to figure out which one to try. “Yeah, because I liked to fuck people,” he said, cracking me up. “I think it’s easier to use if you’re inside someone. I think the squeeze method works better if a guy’s jacking off, or someone is doing it for him, or someone is sucking his dick.” “I can see that,” I said, digesting all that he told me. “Thanks.” “No problem. I think it’s really cool that you’re jumping in to help the guy.” “Well, it’s in my own best interest if I want a decent fuck,” I said, cracking him up, then I got more serious. “I just met him, but I really like him. There’s something about him that, I don’t know, when we’re together, we just click.” “I understand,” he said. “Doesn’t bother you that he’s a first cousin, and that his brother almost looks like you?” “Not at all,” I said. “Besides, he’s only a half first-cousin, and besides that, first cousins are fuckable, you just can’t marry them.” “Yeah, and the military life isn’t real easy for a gay couple,” he said with dread. “Maybe you can give him some insights on that,” I said. “We talked about it, but I don’t think I dealt with that conversation real well.” I gave him a brief recap of our discussion. “If I get a chance, I’ll do that,” he said. “You came back early so you didn’t totally piss off my dad?” I asked, totally changing the subject. “Yeah, that’s why,” he answered sarcastically, even though it was partially true. “I never really had relationships when I was younger, I only had encounters. Those were usually in dive places, like bathrooms, and that’s one of the problems I had with premature ejaculation. In those situations, you need to get off quick, because it’s high risk.” “So you end up training yourself to blow fast,” I mused. “Exactly. I only had one real relationship, and that ended really really badly,” he said. “Then I started things with Sean, and you know how that went.” “So what are you saying?” I asked, trying to figure out where this was going. “Being in a relationship is a scary thing for me. If I find myself falling for someone, all of my internal shields are maxed out, and I subconsciously do what I can to keep things from getting serious,” he said. He actually wiped a tear out of his eye. “The first man I fell in love with, I ended up having to shoot him. I don’t want to ever do that again.” “I am so sorry,” I said, and grabbed his hand. That didn’t last long, because we were on Highway 17 heading over the mountains, and the Ferrari required a little bit more of my attention. “So with your father, when I start to get comfortable and get really into him, my mind tells me to run away, so I don’t hurt him, and I don’t get hurt myself,” he said. “Dude, the only way you’re going to hurt him is if you push him away like that,” I said. “He really does not handle rejection well.” “Neither do I,” he said. “The other thing is when you make a commitment to him, you need to keep it,” I said firmly. “I do that,” he objected. “That’s the biggest reason he was upset when you bailed on Wednesday,” I said. I could tell from his reaction that he already knew that and that he was just being defensive. “I personally think it’s part of his control deal. He has all these loose cannon people in his life, so he figures out things that are important to him, then gets those people lined up to help him out. If they blow him off like you did, then his whole control strategy explodes in his face. He really doesn’t like that.” “Wow,” he said. “I never thought of it that way.” I focused on the road while we both thought about our conversation. When we got close to Santa Cruz, I decided to give him some shit. “So did you tell him that you love him yet?” I asked, giving him shit. “Not yet,” he said, totally blowing my mind. I figured he’d deny it. “I’m not going to tell him that until I’m sure that he loves me.” “If I had to place a bet, I’d say that he already does,” I told him. My father was giving off pretty strong signs that he was pretty emotionally committed to Jake. The way he acted with Jake, the way he was around Jake, was a lot more reminiscent of how he was with Robbie than how he was with Marc. I was surprised when he shook his head. “I’ll know when he does,” he said, with total conviction. “How will you know?” I challenged, wondering what magic signal he thought he could read. “I’ll know it when he fists me,” he said. He said it so abruptly, it was funny, so we both started laughing. I thought about that while I was trying to find a parking place at the store. I parked and we paused our conversation while we walked into the store. “Why do you think that?” I asked him curiously, as I grabbed a cart and started looking at bananas. “Because then I’ll know he’s really over Robbie, and he’s really into me,” he said. “And because of his relationship with Robbie, he wouldn’t be able to fist me unless he was willing to see me as his partner.” We were walking down the aisle shopping, and when he said that, we got some odd looks from a few of the other patrons, which made me start to giggle, then laugh. “What?” “Did you see the way that lady looked at you when you talked about fisting?” I asked, gesturing toward the prim and proper woman who was looking away from us. He started laughing with me. “She’ll probably go home, look it up on the internet, and puke.” “Do you realize that if Beverly was listening to our conversation, she would think we were totally fucked up,” I joked, cracking him up. “No doubt,” “Seriously though, that was pretty insightful,” I said, responding to his comments before our comic interlude. I was impressed at how he’d worked that all out. “I never thought about it like that, but I can totally see what you’re saying.” “Thanks,” he said like it was no big deal. “So is that why you bailed on him, because you were mad because he doesn’t love you enough to shove his hand up your ass?” I challenged. Another lady looked at us strangely, and it took all my restraint not to start laughing hysterically. It’s a good thing I hadn’t smoked a J before I came in here. “There’s more to it than that,” he snapped. “Is there?” I asked. “You figured out how you’ll know if he loves you. How’s he supposed to know if you love him?” He didn’t say anything. “You want him to take the rejection risk.” We moved the conversation to lighter topics, mostly joking about the people in the store, since we’d both given each other some pretty intense things to think about. October 11, 2003 Highway 17 Los Gatos, CA Brad “What a lovely lake,” Beverly commented as we crawled down the highway. “It is pretty,” I said, “but technically it’s a reservoir: Lexington Reservoir.” She’d been pretty uptight on the ride so far, so I was trying to be as friendly as I could to make the whole situation bearable for both of us. “Sitting in this traffic reminds me of what I didn’t like about living in San Diego,” she said. I laughed. “Everyone probably thought Will was being rude to just dash out of the house, but he probably beat the Saturday beach traffic. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember, with people heading from the valley over to the coast.” “Colin and Mike aren’t going to enjoy the Enzo as much in this,” she said. I glanced in the rearview mirror and it looked like they were having a relatively animated conversation. “It usually smooths out a bit after the summit,” I said, although that was a more hopeful than factual statement. “I’m sorry about my tirade last night,” she said. “I have put up with that woman for 22 years now, and I am done with her.” “I totally understand, and quite frankly, I appreciated your candor,” I said. “I just had to put up with her as my wicked stepmother, I can’t imagine what life must have been like as her daughter in law.” “I’ll tell you what it was like,” she said, and then it was like a spigot opened. “Being constantly manipulated, having to try and figure when something bad happened whether she was behind it, having her try and ruin my marriage, having her try to turn my kids against me! That was what it was like!” “See, and I just had to deal with her trying to ruin my relationship with my partner, destroy my business, and mess with my family. When I really lost it was when she had someone stalking my son,” I said, with a fire that was as big as hers. “You and your partner seem fine now. I’m glad you survived that,” she said sympathetically. “Jake and I aren’t technically partners,” I said. “Technically?” she asked playfully. “We haven’t been together all that long, but I think that’s where we’re going. I was referring to Robbie, who was my partner until I lost him during the 9-11 attacks,” I said sadly. “I forgot about that. Mike told me. I am so sorry…” She had put her foot in her mouth and was about to go on a long tirade to try and excuse herself, but I didn’t want to deal with that. “It’s over. Don’t worry about it,” I said dismissively. “Let me guess, Will was the son being stalked,” she said bitterly. I nodded. “Because he looks so much like you, and like his grandfather.” “Why doesn’t that bother Alexandra when she deals with Chris?” I asked. She chuckled a bit. “I have to say I was a little surprised at the family resemblance between the three of you. My guess, because no one knows what’s going on in Alexandra’s twisted mind, is that since Christopher is one of her grandchildren, it’s OK that he looks like his grandfather. Since you two aren’t, it’s not okay.” “That is one fucked up woman,” I said, accidentally dropping an F-bomb. Fortunately, Beverly just laughed. “That is an understatement,” she said. “I think that in a way, she saw Chris as her successor.” “He was going to take over her evil empire?” I joked. “I think that was her plan,” Beverly said. “Chris is more like me than Mike. Mike is a good naval officer, but he’s not good at the politics behind the scene. I’m the one who takes care of that.” “It’s amazing he lacks those instincts based on who his mother is,” I noted. “I think that’s why he is the way he is,” she said. “It’s almost like he is trying to be as different from her as possible. You should know that this conflict between you and Alexandra has really been wrenching for him. His first instinct when he found out about you was to try to meet you and welcome you to the family.” “That would have been a lot nicer than the reception I got,” I said ruefully. “I did want to thank you for your help with Mike’s promotion to Captain,” she said. I glanced at her peripherally, stunned that she knew I’d pulled strings to help that happen, but it was her way of showing me her bonafides as a good Naval politician. “I was glad to do it. I was raised to believe that family was the ultimate social unit, and that our job is to help each other out. Mike has always struck me as a stand-up guy, even when we were in the thick of battle, so that was a no-brainer.” “That’s how I was raised as well, and that’s the ethic that Mike had grilled into him,” she said. “I don’t want you to think that Chris is like Alexandra. I’m very proud of him, and he has a strong moral compass.” “Unless there are women around,” I joked. “There is that,” she agreed fatalistically. “He has the ability to be aggressive and cutthroat, but he wouldn’t be malicious without a purpose. That’s really what makes him so different than his grandmother.” “I think Alexandra always has a purpose,” I disagreed. “You’re right,” she said, reconsidering her words. “Chris doesn’t have her innate desire to harm people. If he had to do it, he would, but he wouldn’t enjoy it.” “I wonder if he’s that different than the rest of us in that regard,” I mused. “Colin seems like the exact opposite of Chris.” “That’s a pretty astute observation on your part. It made growing up a little tough for Colin, because Colin’s instincts were to protect his brother, but when Chris was violating tenets that Colin believed in, he had a tough time doing that.” “I can see that,” I said, more to show that I was listening. “Colin is like his father. He’s solid, honorable, and loyal. He worships the ground Mike walks on. He craves Mike’s approval, yet Mike rarely gives him the praise he wants. He’s much harder on Colin than Chris.” “Why do you think that is?” I asked. “Colin is going into his world. Colin will have the built-in advantage of having an influential father in the navy, but anything he does, good or bad, will reflect back on Mike,” she said without feeling, as if she were reciting facts. “That must put you in a tough situation,” I said. She shrugged. “I really can’t do much about it. Neither one of them seems to want me in the middle of their relationship. I try to support Colin from the sidelines as best I can. He and I have never been close, which is odd because we share a lot of the same interests, like surfing.” “Raising sons isn’t easy,” I said, and thought that in my situation, that was a major understatement. “Especially when one of them is gay,” she said. I actually took my eyes off the road briefly to look at her in surprise. “You’re saying Colin is gay?” I asked. I had pretty much figured that he had hooked up with Will, but I didn’t know she knew that. “What kind of gay man are you, that you can’t figure that out?” she asked me, making me laugh. “What’s that thing you have? Gaydar?” “Mine’s never been very good,” I said. Will, on the other hand, seemed to be like Stef, with a finely tuned ability to detect if men were interested in him. “Maybe since you’re with Jake, it’s not that important,” she said, acting like a matchmaker. “Does Colin know that you know?” I asked. “I tried to raise the issue with him once but he shut me down hard. As I said, we’re not real close, so I’m not sure he’s comfortable talking to me about it,” she said. “How did you figure out he was gay?” “I came home and found him in his room with a friend. I saw them, but they didn’t see me,” she said. I could visualize the scene all too well. That was very thoughtful of her to say nothing, especially since it seemed pretty out of character. “Navy life is going to be tough for him,” I said ruefully. “I know that, and he knows that, but it’s what he wants to do,” she said. “Does Mike know Colin is gay?” I asked her, as I stopped at the gates to our beach house to give them time to open. “I don’t know, but even if he does, he’s not going to raise it as an issue,” she said. “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
  14. Mark Arbour

    Chapter 14

    Thanks so much. This saga does take a lot of research.
  15. October 10, 2003 Bristol, CT JJ “I’ll pick you up on Sunday then?” the driver asked. I looked skeptically at the dwelling that corresponded to the address Carullo had given me. There was a long hideous building that presumably contained individual townhouses, and it was connected at a 45-degree angle to a similar building, forming what was a courtyard of sorts. Presumably parking was in the back. The first floor was brick, while the upper level was covered by a hip roof, and there were dormer windows sticking out like huge bugeyes. The whole thing screamed bad 1970’s architecture. There were people hanging out in the courtyard, drinking beers and acting rowdy. A small group of them were throwing the football around. When the Maybach limo had pulled up, they’d all stopped and stared; I couldn’t tell if they were curious or planning to mug me. I wondered if I’d make it to Carullo’s door without getting assaulted. “I’ll call you if I need you sooner,” I said, “but wait so I’m sure this is the right address.” I rummaged around in my rolling cocoon, putting my things in my satchel bag, when the limo door opened abruptly. I briefly looked up to see the driver still in his seat and wondered if I was about to be gang raped. “Jay!” Carullo said enthusiastically. He all but dragged me out of the car and hugged me, lifting me up in the air and spinning me around. He was wearing a hoodie and jeans, and must have been one of the guys playing football. “Dude, be careful,” I said nervously. “What’s wrong?” he asked, concerned. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to come on so strong.” “No, it’s not that,” I said, trying not to cry. “I just didn’t want you to hurt yourself.” “What are you talking about?” he asked, confused. “Look at me!” I said, although it was all but a sob. “I’m almost obese.” “What a bunch of shit,” he said disdainfully. “You look great!” “You must be blind,” I muttered, then resolved not to be a buzz kill. “Come on over and meet my friends,” he said. Great. I looked like a cow and I had to meet new people. He led me over to the rowdy group. I knew that I wasn’t in danger with Carullo there, but I was nervous because I wasn’t entirely sure how to deal with these people. I mean, we probably had nothing in common. “Will you need me anymore?” the driver asked, anxious to leave. “Hey, can you take us to get some more beer?” Carullo asked me. “Sure, we can do that,” I said, glaring at the driver, daring him to give me a dirty look. “We’ll be right back,” I told him. “Hey!” one of the guys said. “Nice ride!” “Thanks,” I said a bit shyly. “Hey guys, this is one of my best friends, Jeremy Schluter, but you should call him Jay,” Carullo said exuberantly. I wasn’t sure that I liked being called Jay be people other than him, but I decided not to be bitchy about it. There were six guys there, and four women. I forgot their names as soon as I heard them. “The driver’s going to take us to get beer,” Carullo announced. They let out a collective whoop. “I’ve got an idea,” I said, which was usually the beginning of a really bad course of action, at least for me. “Why don’t you let a couple of these guys go get the beer while I put my shit inside?” “Dude, ride in a Maybach?” the first guy said. “I’d buy the beer just for that.” “Nope, I’m buying,” I said, and handed him a one-hundred-dollar bill. “Just tell the driver where you want to go.” “You are my new best friend!” the guy said and motioned to one of his buddies. They headed to the Maybach while I phoned the driver to tell him what to do. He almost had the nerve to complain, but shut up when I told him he could leave after he dropped them back off. “Come on,” Carullo said, and led me into his ‘unit’ of this condo complex. I walked in and frowned. “It’s not the nicest, but it’s home.” He said that nervously, but I recognized that I was on the edge of being rude. “I’m just looking at it, seeing all the potential,” I said. “You are not going to decorate my condo,” he said assertively. “I most certainly am,” I said even more firmly. “If you’re nice to me, I’ll even let you have some input.” He grimaced and caved to the inevitable. “Thanks.” “Smart boy,” I said, smiling at him. “So what’s this shit about you being fat?” he demanded, even as his eyes scanned my body. I was embarrassed and humiliated to have him focus so much on my pot belly. “I was taking those pills, to help me with my moods, and they made me gain weight,” I told him. “I was hardly eating anything, and I was going to the gym every other day, and I kept packing on the pounds, until now I look like this!” “How much weight have you gained?” he asked. “Five pounds,” I said, and felt a tear fall out of my eye. He shook his head at me in a patronizing way, which was just infuriating. “You know, those runway model types you hang around with may not appreciate that extra five pounds, but in the real world, it makes you look better.” “Right,” I said skeptically. He was so full of shit. “That’s why you didn’t want to come up and see me,” he said, acting like a detective who had just found out where Jimmy Hoffa was buried. “I look like a fat pig, and I didn’t want you to feel like you had to, uh, be with me,” I said nervously. This whole conversation was just agonizing. “For a smart guy, sometimes you can be a complete fucking idiot,” he said, and not all that nicely. “Even if you’d gained twenty pounds, I’d still want to be with you. It’s not about how you look, it’s you that I find attractive.” “I’m so bitchy and moody, I figured that a slim body, a pretty face, and a lot of money was about all I had to offer,” I said, descending into a pity party. This whole situation had moved from awesome to unbearable, and my flight instincts kicked in. “I should go.” “You’re only going one place,” he said to me with a growl, then he picked me up, tossed me over his shoulder, and carried me upstairs to his bedroom. I hoped he didn’t get a hernia from all this exertion. We walked into the room and he lowered me down and kissed me, and that one kiss just blew all my problems to the back of my mind. We tore off our clothes so quickly we could have been models changing in the middle of a show, until we were standing in front of each other, naked. “You stayed in shape,” I said with a smile, ogling his huge, muscular body. He picked me up like a caveman and tossed me onto his bed. I tried to ignore how the 200 thread count sheets scratched my back. “This extra weight just put a soft layer over your hard muscles,” he cooed in my ear. “It is so fucking hot!” Then his hands were all over my body, then his mouth, and then he was in me, taking me on one amazing ride. When we were done, I lay there panting, grinning from ear to ear. “That alone was worth the drive,” I said with a smile. “I haven’t been with anyone since I left New York,” he said, which stunned me. “I’ve got a lot of energy to work off this weekend.” “Awesome,” I said, and felt my whole body tingle in anticipation. “But right now, we need to go out and party with my friends for a while,” he said. “I hope you like them.” “I’m good with that,” I said. “They seem nice.” I steeled myself to go deal with these people who probably trashed the interior of my Maybach, pondering that either one of my brothers would be so much better in this situation than I was. October 10, 2003 Escorial Palo Alto, CA Will “Made it,” I said to him, getting a laugh in return. “Good thing,” he said, looking down at his jeans, which were already starting to look like he peed his pants. He must be a volume shooter. I laughed to myself, thinking that I’d already made this guy have an orgasm and I hadn’t even gotten his clothes off yet. His eyes followed mine down to his groin. “Guess I need to deal with this.” “That’s easy,” I said. “Follow me.” I led him into my bathroom, pausing to adjust the lights and the aromatherapy controls before turning on the shower. “Nice bathroom!” “It’s awesome,” I agreed, then continued more authoritatively. “Now strip.” “Aye aye sir,” he said, in probably the same way he answered a superior naval officer. Just one more thing about this guy that was too fucking cute. I watched him take off his clothes while I stared at him, while he did the same thing as I took mine off. “Gross,” he said, noting the spooge smeared on his underwear and jeans. “Not at all,” I said, taking his underwear, and licking a blop of cum from them. His eyes shot open while his dick started to rise, making me laugh. I took his belt out of his jeans, along with his wallet and other shit, and set it on the counter, then led him into the shower. “What are you doing?” he asked, since I’d carried his pants in with us. I rinsed the cum off carefully, then wrung them out to dry, all while he was luxuriating in the multiple streams of water that were blasting him. “This way, I can give them to the maid and tell her you fell in the pool,” I said. “What about my underwear?” “I’m keeping those,” I said in a sexy way, as I moved up behind him and nuzzled his neck. I got some soap on my dick and used that for lubrication while I thrust back and forth against his taint, then reached around and grabbed his rock-hard cock. He was a pretty big boy. He wasn’t as big as me, but then again, I was a freak of nature, but his dick was a lot like mine, only smaller. I stroked him slowly, but it wasn’t slow enough, as I felt him stiffen up before I could stop. He came again, blasting all over the shower wall. I nursed his orgasm out of him, then pulled away from him and jacked myself off, shooting my load against the same wall. “Dude, you could be a horse,” he said. “You said you liked to ride,” I joked, and saw him get a little excited and a lot nervous. I was getting the feeling that he didn’t really have much experience with other guys, which was strange to me since he was so good looking. I grabbed a towel and dried him off, checking out every part of his body. He had a big frame, and tacked on to that, he had good muscle tone. I cringed briefly when I realized his body probably looked a lot like Zach’s would look if he weren’t freakishly huge from working out for football. His dark blond hair was even darker around his pubes, as if to accentuate his awesome organ. “This is a full-service spa,” he joked. I handed him a fresh towel to wrap around his waist then led him into my room. “How am I going to get back to my room?” “You’re not,” I said. “At least not until morning.” He grinned at me and hopped into my bed. “Cool.” He’d been rigid, shy, and formal at dinner, but now alone in the room, he was happy and playful. We lay side by side, with him on his back looking at the ceiling, and me on my side looking at him. “Have you done much with other guys?” I asked. “I got tested when I went to the academy, and I haven’t had sex with anyone since,” he said defensively, totally missing the point of my question. Still, that was good information to have. “I’ve been safe every time since I was last tested,” I said, giving him similar stats on me, “but that’s not what I meant.” “Mostly blow jobs, and I fucked a guy a couple of times,” he said, and blushed a little bit. “Did you like it?” I asked. He looked at me and grinned. “Yeah I liked it.” I thought that was pretty funny. “But you’ve never been fucked?” I asked. “No,” he said, shaking his head. “I’d like to try it sometime though.” “Cool,” I said, and sat up. “Roll over.” He looked at me almost terrified, until he saw me grinning at him. “Asshole,” he said, and I collapsed back onto the bed laughing. “You’re probably not the best person to get my cherry. You’re fucking huge.” I shrugged. “It just means I have to spend more time getting you ready.” “How do you do that?” he asked. I leaned in and kissed him. “I’ll show you how I’d prep you, but then you’re going to fuck me.” “Awesome,” he said. I moved my mouth to his neck, then his chest and nipples, then lower across his abdomen. When my lips began to trace where his treasure trail would have been, he arched his back and moaned. I logged that into my brain in the Colin sexual information folder, that his lower abdomen was super erotic for him. I sucked on his dick for a bit, but he was getting pretty worked up, so I moved down to his balls, then his taint, with its sexy dusting of his dark blond hair. He liked that a lot, so I put that in the folder as well. I blew on his cute little pucker, making him moan in pleasure. As my fingers gently traced the outline of his hole, his moans got louder still, but when I replaced my fingers with my mouth and tongue, he moaned so loud I was worried they could hear it in the hallway. I grabbed some lube, which got a nervous look from him, but he relaxed when I used it on my finger. I gently probed him, working his prostate, until I got the reaction I wanted. Only he liked it so much, he came. I nursed his prostate as long as he seemed to like it, even as I moved forward to suck the last bit of cum out of his dick. “That was awesome,” he said, as he lay there panting. I thought about the two other times he’d shot his load, not to mention how he reacted when I’d started to blow him, and came to the conclusion that he had a real short trigger. When the afterglow subsided, he got uncomfortable. “I should probably get back to my room.” “I already explained to you that wasn’t an option,” I said playfully, only he didn’t smile back, he looked at me with what seemed to be pain. This was really bothering him. “Does that happen to you a lot?” “What?” he demanded in a super defensive way. Even an amateur psychologist like me could visibly see his shields going up. “Come really quickly,” I said. He made to get up, but I held him down. “Dude, relax.” “I feel like a failure, every time I have sex with someone,” he said sadly, staring at the ceiling. My heart went out to him when I saw that his eyes were wet. “You are not a failure,” I said firmly. “You just need more practice, and you need to try to train yourself not to blow so fast.” “What if that doesn’t work?” he asked. “Then you go see a doctor,” I said simply. He cringed. “Yeah, try telling a navy doctor you suffer from premature ejaculation. He’ll tell me I’m wasting his time.” I chuckled. “I’ll bet they’ve dealt with it lots of times. Besides, if that freaks you out, go see a regular doctor. You can afford it.” “I know I can afford it, but I don’t like to just piss money away,” he said. I laughed internally at how if JJ were here, that statement would be so foreign to him it wouldn’t even register. “I’ll do some research and we’ll work on it,” I said. “Does it help you to jack off before you fuck someone?” “You make is sound like I’ve fucked all kinds of people,” he said, grinning at me, then answered my question. “If it helps, it’s not much.” “Have you fucked all kinds of people?” I asked him. “I’m not a virgin,” he said, and was annoyed. “Look, if I’m going to be your doctor and help you with this problem,” I said, adopting my fake officious voice with him, “you’re going to have to be candid with me about your sexual history.” “Aye aye sir,” he said again, then started laughing at how goofy I sounded. “One dude and two girls,” he said. “You said girls,” I noted quizzically. “Were these encounters with females of legal age?” “Oh, so you ask me about the women but not the dude? You don’t care if he was underage?” he asked. “Touché,” I responded, since he’d caught me showing off my gender bias. “I just gave my grandfather crap about that before you got here.” “About fucking boys?” he asked. “No, dumbass,” I said, chuckling. “About a double standard where you treat women having sex differently than men having sex.” “They were all legal,” he said. “So how is this going to work for you in the navy?” I asked, thinking that this was almost as bad as the NCAA and the NFL. “I just have to be low-key,” he said resignedly. “What happens when you have to go to an event or something where you have to take a date?” I asked. “Then I don’t take a date,” he said. He didn’t add that he could get some girl to go with him as a cover, but we both knew that’s what would really happen. “What about a family?” “Dude, I’m 19 years old,” he said, getting annoyed with me. “I don’t even want to think about a family.” “I’m sorry,” I said, and instinctively reached out to touch his chest. “I’m just trying to figure out why you made this choice. I’m worried that you won’t be happy.” He tilted his head so his eyes could bore into mine. “I love my country, I love the navy, and I love dick. I’m going to do the best I can to balance those.” “Speaking of dick,” I said, and knelt over him, aiming my dick at his mouth. He obligingly started to suck me, while I held his head in my hand to help him regulate the depth, only I was feeling a whole lot of teeth. “Open a little wider,” I said. He gave me a dirty look but did what I said, and then it felt great. “Good job,” I said, moaning. I enjoyed his oral intentions for a while, then moved my hand down to stroke his dick to get it hard, but there was no need. He had a problem cumming too soon, but he had no problem getting an erection. I lubed up his dick and lubed up my hole, then slowly lowered myself down on him. The slowness served two purposes: it let me adapt to his large intruder since I hadn’t prepped myself at all, and it kept the stimulation to a minimum so he didn’t cum right away. “God, that’s good,” he said, and tried to thrust into me. “Don’t move,” I ordered. I began to rock my body forward and back in really slight movements, enough to let his dick work my prostate, while I stroked my own cock. Somehow, going so slow and being careful not to overly stimulate him was more erotic than him just slamming into me over and over again, and I felt my orgasm slowly starting to build. As I felt us getting closer to a climax, I stopped moving, letting him calm down, then I started all over again. After the third time, I knew I couldn’t hold out any longer, and I was damn sure he couldn’t. I felt my own orgasm building, and the closer it got, the more I moved my body, and the more I stimulated him. Amazingly enough, I started shooting first, and when I did, I just let myself go, and all but hopped up and down on his cock. Probably half a second after I started, he started too, and we both rode our orgasms down to a very peaceful euphoria. I leaned in and kissed him, then slid off of him and back onto my side, facing him. “That was amazing,” I said, in between my residual panting. “Dude, I have never experienced anything that good,” he said, looking at me in amazement. “How many guys have you fucked?” “A lot,” I said. I watched him react to that, with the standard disdain for sluttiness that permeated our society. “If I wouldn’t have, that wouldn’t have been as good, so aren’t you glad I did?” That logic seemed to register in his brain. “Very glad,” he said. We lay there for a few minutes, just enjoying the feeling of being sexually satisfied, when I heard his very soft snores. I thought about what he said about joining the navy and got where he was coming from. His whole theme was that life was about making compromises, and you had to fit yourself into the mold the best way you could. Only what if it wasn’t about compromises, what if it was about just being who you are and doing what you like to do? October 11, 2003 Bristol, CT JJ “I like you like this. You’re soft and cuddly,” Carullo said to me, referring to all the extra weight I was carrying. I was sprawled across his massive body after enjoying yet another amazing round of sex. This guy knew just how to ignite my body, and he’d left me in too good of a mood to be bitchy about his reference to my portliness. “Well enjoy it now, because it’s not going to last,” I said. I was determined to get back to normal as soon as possible. “If those pills would have worked, it would have been a good trade off,” he said, reminding me of how different our world views were. “Well they didn’t,” I said, being a little bitchy. “So I have to hope these new ones do the trick.” That prompted me to roll off of him, dig through my bag, and take my morning dose. “What do you want to do today?” he asked. “We can go hiking, but that’s probably better tomorrow.” “What’s the weather forecast?” I asked. I’d just assumed it would be like New York, in the mid-50s. “Cloudy and maybe some rain today, sunny tomorrow,” he said. “Then today we go shopping,” I announced. “Jay…” he said, beginning to argue with me. “Let’s check out your shower,” I said. He followed me in there nervously, although I’d noticed last night that he’d cleaned it up pretty well and had put fresh towels out for us. “Needs some work,” he said apologetically. It was a shower in the tub, with a curtain that was pretty old and nasty. Evidently he didn’t pay much attention to that. The tub was old, and it was possible to see mold growing in the grout, but I ignored that. “It works for me,” I said. He fucked me again in the shower; the speed at which he recharged was incredible. If things had turned out like I had subconsciously hoped they would and we’d ended up together, he probably would wear me out. Then I thought about how much fun sex was with him and decided that I could keep up with him just fine. He led me downstairs to the kitchen, which was ridiculously small and cramped. I stared at the kitchen and dining area, and how it was walled off from the front room. While he made us eggs and bacon for breakfast, which I agreed to eat even though it wasn’t on my diet, I ran upstairs and got my note pad out and started sketching plans. He put the plate loaded with food in front of me, even as I looked at him skeptically. “You’re staying with me, you have to eat what I eat,” he said with a smarmy grin. “Then you’ll just have to help me work off these extra calories later,” I said. We finished eating and I helped clean up by putting my dirty dishes in the sink, then he led me downstairs to an open area that had boxes and shit piled all over the place, through a laundry room with a crappy washer and dryer, and into the garage. I stared at the old Buick in front of me in horror. “Didn’t have much money left after I bought the condo, and my credit is bad,” he said apologetically. “How did you buy the condo?” I asked. I mean, if his credit was bad, then how did he get a home loan? Or maybe it didn’t work that way? I really was clueless about mortgages. “Stef helped me out,” he said. “Well then I’m going to help you out and fix this car issue,” I declared. “First stop is a car dealer.” “You are not buying me a car,” he said loudly, expecting me to back down. “Look,” I said to him even more loudly. There was absolutely no way he could out-bitch me. “I feel really bad about how I acted, especially about how you moved out. This lets me at least make up for that.” “I treated you just as badly,” he said sadly, “plus you had all that shit going on in your brain.” I rolled my eyes at the way he put it, even as I climbed into the car and noted the word “Century” written on the dashboard as if it were a major mark of excellence. “Plus I really like you, and I want to do nice things for you,” I said. “You don’t have to spend money on me,” he grumbled, starting to cave. “I want to,” I said. “Plus if I’m going to come up and visit you, you need to have better shit.” “Who says I want you to come visit me?” he asked, falling right into my trap. “I’m sorry,” I said, acting all sad. “I can see why you wouldn’t want me to be around.” “Jay, that’s not it at all,” he said, frustrated. I pretended to wipe away a tear. “Fine, we can go shopping today.” “Thanks,” I said. He frowned at me. “Which car dealer?” he asked. “What kind of car do you want?” I asked. “I don’t know,” he said, which was so annoying. I’d need help with that, so I decided to contact the person who was, in my mind, the expert on cars. I took out my phone, noticed that it was only 10am here, and that meant it was 7am in California. Grand would be up, a conclusion that was validated when he picked up on the second ring. “Good morning,” he said, and sounded surprised, since I almost never called him. “Good morning,” I said in a chipper mood. “I need your advice.” “I am happy to help,” he said. “I’m visiting John Carullo, and his car is a piece of shit, so I’m taking him to buy a new one,” I explained. “He’s going to try to get me to buy him something really cheap with cloth seats or something horrible like that, so I need you to talk to him and then tell me what to get him.” “Put him on the phone,” Grand said. They yammered back and forth about sedans and coupes and SUVs and spewed out a bunch of words I didn’t understand at all. We were heading toward Hartford, and I hoped we didn’t actually have to go to that God-awful city. I saw signs for a Best Buy ahead, so I nudged Carullo and pointed to the exit. He pulled into the parking lot and finally finished his call with Grand, handing me the phone. I noticed that we’d taken up about 20 minutes of Grand’s time. “JJ?” he asked me. “I’m here,” I said pleasantly, since he was doing me a favor. “Here’s what I propose. I would suggest that you go to the Acura Dealer in West Hartford, and plan to get there at 1:00pm. Everything will be arranged,” he said. I was ecstatic, because I loved it when other people did all the work to make my plans come to fruition. “Got it. Thank you so much!” I said. “I’ll call you later and tell you whom to speak with when you get there,” he said, and then ended the call. “What are we doing here?” Carullo asked. I ignored him and labored to push open the creaky rusty doors of the Buick Century, and headed into Best Buy, knowing that he’d follow me. I headed to the appliance section. “What are you going to buy now?” “What if I have to do laundry?” I asked. “Just go look at televisions.” “Fine,” he said, and went off to browse. In half an hour, I’d bought him a new washer and dryer, then tracked him down in the television department, just as I thought. “Nice TV,” I said, admiring the picture on a big Sony. “You are not buying me a new television,” he said. “Let’s go,” I said, ignoring him again, and he followed me out to the Buick. I was so glad I didn’t know anyone here, otherwise they might see me in this crappy car. “Your washer and dryer are going to be delivered and installed on Monday.” “I won’t be home on Monday,” he said, getting all worried. “I’ll be at work.” “If you don’t mind, I’ll stick around and wait for them, then leave after they’re done,” I said. It wasn’t that big of a deal, and my schedule was open until Monday night anyway. “No,” he said forcefully. “You have to stay until Monday night so I can take you out to dinner to thank you.” “I’ll try,” I said. “Now stop over there at Bed Bath and Beyond.” “Christ,” he muttered. We spent a lot longer there, because I got all new bedding with 1000 thread count sheets, and a new shower curtain, rug, towels, and accessory set for his bathroom. Conveniently enough, Grand called me and told me the name of the dude to talk to at the Acura Dealer just as we were leaving. “We need to go to the Acura Dealer,” I told Carullo. “You are not fucking buying me an Acura!” he objected. “Grand already took care of it,” I said, as if I had nothing to do with it. “We’re just going to pick it up.” “No way,” he argued. “Do you really want to piss him off? I mean, pissing me off is bad enough, but he can be fucking scary,” I said to him. “Fine,” he grumbled. He took me out to dinner that night driving his new Acura MDX. Grand had gotten it in red, to remind him of his days at Stanford.
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