TC goes to LA for his conference. What could possibly go wrong?
TC had an early morning flight and had arrived at his hotel in Los Angeles around two o'clock and checked in with no issues. He placed his suitcase on the luggage rack next to the desk in his hotel room. He took his suit out of his garment bag and hung it in the closet, then rummaged in his suitcase and found a pair of gym shorts and t-shirt. He changed his clothes, tied his sneakers and then made sure he had his room card, phone and headphones before heading to the elevator. He had spent the majority of the day either sitting at the airport or sitting on the plane. He needed to move and he figured a good workout would do him good.
He was the only one in the elevator when he got on, pressing the button for the second floor, which housed the fitness center and pool. There were only a few people in the gym when he got there and was greeted by a friendly attendant. He swiped his room card through the reader, granting him access to the facility. The attendant was cute, a younger guy in his early twenties who gave TC’s body an appreciative once over. He handed TC a towel and told him he was available if he needed help with anything, Emphasis on the ‘anything’. TC inwardly laughed. It was nice to know that younger guys still appreciated how he looked. There was a time where he would’ve tapped that, better yet, tapped him with Elliott watching and eventually joining in. He and Elliott would occasionally invite a third into their sessions. It had added some variety and allowed Elliott to experience something that he really enjoyed every once in a while. TC enjoyed it too, so it had been a nice way for them to connect on a different level.
TC pulled up his favorite playlist that he liked to work out to and made the rounds of the weight machines. It felt good to use his muscles that had lain dormant for too many hours today. He decided to finish up with some cardio. He looked over the line of treadmills, bikes and ellipticals. He mounted the elliptical machine and set his stuff on the attached tray. He had to give up the treadmill a couple of years ago. He was genetically predisposed to osteoarthritis and although he didn’t currently have any going on, his doctor had advised him to stop the high impact activities. He’d be thankful in the long run.
As the machine started the program he’d punched in, TC let his thoughts drift back to Elliott. He remembered fondly all the times they had spent on their boat ‘Whiplash’. TC had let Elliott pick the name and he had done well. Elliott also loved to go hiking and they had spent many weekends climbing the trails of the Blue Ridge mountains which were an easy drive from where they lived. Even after Elliott’s diagnosis, he still wanted to hike. The last time they went was a perfect fall day. It was late October and Mother Nature had painted the mountains in vivid fall colors. TC had to carry Elliott piggyback up most of the trail, taking their time. When they got to the top of the mountain Elliott had finally broken down into tears. TC held his lover gently as sobs had wracked his thinning body.
Elliott had only been diagnosed three weeks prior and had been putting up a strong front for everyone else’s benefit, including TC’s. But up on the mountain, where no one else was around he finally allowed himself to feel the emotions that bottled up within him. TC cried with him. It had been so unfair. Elliott unleashed everything all at once and seemed to hit every one of the stages of grief while yelling at the top of the mountain. He raged, his anger hot and scathing. Swear words flew out of him at a rapid fire rate, thick with venom at his situation. He blamed his parents, saying things that he would never say directly to them. He denied the severity of his diagnosis, he bargained with a god he never really believed in, he sobbed with tears of depression, stinging his cheeks as they poured out.
TC could merely hold him tight as he finally came around to acceptance. It never crossed TC's mind to correct Elliott's behavior, his boy had every reason to lose control and it was TC's responsibility to keep him safe and support him.
It took a long while before the tears stopped flowing so freely, gradually they started tapering off to a trickle. It was then that Elliott made TC promise to move on with his life, to find someone to share it with, to love again, to play again, to Dominate again.
TC would have given his own life in exchange for Elliott’s, but knowing that wasn’t possible he did the only thing he could. He promised to do what Elliott asked. He promised him to find love again. That night, after TC carried Elliott back down the mountain and drove home, with Elliott sleeping the whole way, they had made love for what turned out to be the last time. Somehow they both knew it too. TC and Elliott gave everything of themselves to the other that night and TC would always remember the gentleness and complete intimacy they had shared. It was the only time TC ever made love to anyone without his Dom present. It was a rare gift that he gave freely to Elliott, knowing the beautiful man would take a huge part of heart with him when he was gone. Five weeks later the end came, it was two weeks before Christmas. Since then the holiday had held no joy for him.
TC still had the Christmas present that he was going to give Elliott, wrapped and now put away. Elliott had always been fascinated with dragons. He had a gorgeous tattoo that covered his entire left shoulder and the left side of his chest. The dragon had been done in shades of black and gray with cobalt blues marbled within the scales, the only other color was the dragon’s eyes. They were vivid shades of golden yellow and burnt umber, showing up brightly in the center of Elliott's chest, over his heart. When TC had collared him, he had found a beautiful black leather collar that was adorned with two intricately designed silver dragon heads, facing each other, the locking ring held in each of their jaws, one on each side.
For Elliott’s Christmas present TC had found a gorgeous dragon eye charm made of amber that would have hung perfectly from the locked ring. The shades of gold and umber would have perfectly matched Elliott’s tattoo. Now the still-wrapped charm was tucked away in a box of mementos from Elliott that TC couldn’t bear to part with. One of these days he’d be able to pull the box out and go through its contents, but that day was still somewhere in the future.
TC’s legs had started to burn, he was at the apex of the elliptical program. Sweat ran off him in rivers, but he was barely aware of it, so lost in his memories he was. It wasn’t until the cool down portion of the program kicked in did he realize that he had just spent the last forty-five minutes thinking exclusively about Elliott and he wasn’t a blubbering mess. Instead he felt happy. He was happy that he could think about Elliott and not break down into tears. He was also relieved to realize that while he still missed Elliott fiercely, it didn’t hurt as much.
TC knew that David had a lot to do with it. His relationship with David allowed him to once again explore his Dominant sexuality, without the deep emotional attachment that had tethered him to Elliott. He and David were careful with their boundaries and that was exactly what TC needed. He wasn’t ready to share his emotional side with someone new, but David was an old friend and they had their own emotional history that surrounded their friendship. It was familiar and comforting and best of all they both knew it wasn’t going any further. They had sorted all that out at the beginning of their friendship and they were both OK with how things were.
The program ended and TC chugged down the bottle of water that the cute attendant had handed him with the towel. He noticed that the attendant was still eyeing him like candy. He took the towel and wiped the excess sweat from his head and arms. He grabbed a spray bottle of disinfectant from the holder on the wall as well as a handful of paper towels and sprayed and wiped down the machine and floor that had been splattered with sweat. He hated it when people didn’t clean up after themselves and made sure he always wiped down whatever he used.
He chucked the towel in the basket near the desk and nodded to the cute guy on his way out. He could practically feel the kid’s eyes following him. He glanced back and sure enough he caught the guy staring. TC winked and turned around chuckling to himself.
Once again he was the only one on the elevator, which he was thankful for as he knew he must have been pretty ripe. He got off on the tenth floor and once in his room stripped off the sweaty clothes, laying them over his suitcase to dry out before he threw them in the bag he brought for dirty laundry. The last thing he wanted was to have moldy clothes to deal with when he got home. He turned on the shower and drank down another bottle of water that was in the room. Luckily his hotel's frequent guest status allowed for complimentary water. He wasn’t quite sure how they could get away with charging five bucks for a bottle of water. He went back to the bathroom and stepped under the spray, the heat soothing his freshly punished muscles.
While under the spray he allowed his mind to drift back to this prior weekend’s activity with David. After they woke the following morning they didn’t engage in any more sex. Instead they had gone out to breakfast at David’s favorite place before TC headed back to his condo to get ready for this trip. Even though TC had assured David that he was comfortable with how things played out this weekend, TC couldn’t help but feel that he was missing something. Something had changed, he just didn’t know what. He wondered if David felt it too and just didn’t want to mention it.
Thinking about David caused TC’s dick to plump up. Smiling at the thought of David getting hard while TC was gone and not being able to do anything about it, he took his dick in his soapy hand and beat off to visions of David’s rock hard dick and blue balls. He grunted and watched his release splash on the tile floor and get washed down the drain. Satisfied, he rinsed off and stepped out onto the bath mat, grabbed a towel and dried off. He pulled on a clean pair of briefs and shorts, adding a t-shirt as the room was a bit cool, and he didn’t want to fiddle with the thermostat. Hotel climate control was fickle at best. He’d rather it be a little cool instead of a little hot.
Even though it was a little early for dinner, he was starving. He had missed lunch due to travelling and his workout had been pretty intense so he glanced over the room service menu and then called down to order a large chef’s salad and some boneless wings with buffalo sauce with extra blue cheese dressing. He tacked on two beers and asked for more bottled water as well. Forty minutes later he was sitting at the small table with his food laid out in front of him and the evening news on the TV. The conference was at the hotel so he figured he’d get up early, go down for breakfast, which was included in his room rate. Registration opened at eight and as a keynote speaker TC was scheduled to give his presentation at ten o’clock and then again at two. He had a free day the following day, but was scheduled again for a different topic the day after, twice again at ten and two.
The conference provided boxed lunch everyday, but you were on your own for dinner. TC would probably run into some colleagues that he knew, this industry was one of those where most guys either knew or had heard of just about everyone else. This particular convention was being held on an international level, so there would be plenty of new people to network with as well. You never knew when you’d need a favor from someone.
TC finished his food and set the tray outside the door. It wasn't quite four o’clock which meant it was almost seven o’clock in Florida. David was most likely at home, but there was a chance he was still working. He had promised TC that he would try to leave work by six o'clock at the latest, but TC knew that he still had a lot going on at work. He stared at his phone, debating on whether or not to call now or wait a little bit. It had been a while since he had just chilled out enjoyed a little bit of solitude.
At four-thirty his phone rang. David’s face popped up on his screen. TC smiled as he answered, “Hey! How’s it going?”
“Not too bad. Work was busy, but not crazy. We set the implosion date for the Detroit gig. Somehow, it worked out perfectly. The kids are scheduled to go back to Portland the third weekend in August. The implosion is scheduled for the following week. I can bring the kids back and then fly straight to Detroit and be there to oversee everything that needs to be done to get the explosives set. Lt. Dan was free that week, so it totally worked out.” David informed him happily.
“Don’t you love it when things fall into place?” TC commented.
“Yeah, it sure does make life easier. Hey, if you’re interested and have a few days to spare, do you want to come to Detroit and watch me destroy a building?” David asked.
“Really? I can come watch? Shit, that would be awesome. I get to see a building blow up in real life!” TC babbled, his excitement evident.
“Well, technically it doesn’t blow up, it implodes, but still, explosives are involved and it makes a loud boom.” David told him, smiling at the mental picture he had of TC.
“Who doesn’t like explosions and shit?” commented TC.
“Implosions,” David corrected, this time laughing out loud.
“Po-TAY-toe, po-TAH-toe.” TC retorted, joining in the laughter.
When the laughter died down TC said, “So, I’m pretty sure I got eye fucked by the fitness room attendant earlier. I feel a little violated, either that or I should go back down and buy him a drink."
David let out a sound that TC thought was a growl and replied, “Well you are pretty fucking hot, I can see the draw. So why didn’t you?”
“Why didn’t I what?” asked TC, a little confused.
“Go back and buy him a drink.” David clarified.
“Well, for one, he wasn’t my type. He was too young. You know I was never turned on by age play and while this guy wasn’t quite young enough to be my kid, he’d be cutting it close if I had been a young teenage father. Second, I’m currently banging my best friend so why would I need someone else?” TC commented.
“Well, I just figured that our contract never went over exclusivity so it’s not like you couldn’t if you wanted to. Let’s face it TC, what we’re doing is not meant to be long term. Sooner or later I’m going to have to let my Dom out to play. Your Dom doesn’t play nice in the sandbox unless there’s a sub involved. One of these days TC you’ll be ready to move on and find someone who can be what you need. We both know it’s not me. Don’t get me wrong, I love what we’re doing. But you and I both know that it has an expiration date. It’s not tomorrow and it may not even be this year, but eventually the benefits will run out.” David said.
TC thought about what David just said before answering, “I understand all that and I agree with you one hundred percent. What if we addressed being exclusive for the duration of however long this is going to last? I don’t feel the need to look outside what we are doing right now. Our first two months went by and we just rolled over into a new two month term, without evaluating things. I kinda like not having the pressure of second guessing what we have between us. I’m comfortable with how things are and I trust you enough to know that you’d tell me if you need to back down.”
David assured TC “This is good. I’m so grateful that we can talk about these issues. Too many people I know keep shit to themselves and let it fester until it bursts and creates a freaking mess. I’m good with being exclusive for however long this ride is going to last if that’s what you want too.”
“Yeah, it’s what I want. It’s what I need right now too. I was thinking about Elliott today and for the first time since he died I was OK with the memories. I could think of him and not break down into a crying mess. I was happy with the memories. I realized that you’ve helped me get to this point. Thank you David. I really mean that.” TC said.
“You’re welcome TC. I just let you call the shots. If that’s what you need to move forward, then I’m happy to help out my best friend.” David said in return.
They stayed on the phone a little longer and before ending the call TC promised to call or at least text each night until his return, with phone sex scheduled for his last night in LA.
The next couple of days went by quickly. His two presentations were both well attended, the second one had been standing room only. As predicted he ran into a few colleagues and therefore had dinner companions every night.
The second full day was completely free. One of his colleagues invited him out on his personal boat. The pull of the open ocean was too much of a temptation and he quickly agreed. He had worked with Brandon Taylor on a salvage project in the Bahamas about two years ago. He was a really nice guy and knew his stuff. They had managed to recover cargo from a pleasure cruiser that had been deliberately targeted and sunk. They were contracted by the Coast Guard to recover as much contraband as they could. The boat had been used to run drugs between the Bahamas and Miami. A rival drug cartel had taken the boat out of commission and made sure it and its crew ended up forty feet underwater. The Coast Guard had been with them the entire time to make sure that all the recovered evidence was kept safe. It had been a very interesting few days. They had recovered nearly two million dollars in cocaine, all wrapped up in waterproof bags.
Brandon took him out to Seal Island. TC enjoyed watching the seals basking on the rocky shores. They saw several Great White sharks milling about, swimming in search of a meal of tasty seal blubber. They were graceful creatures that had gained his respect. He had encountered them a couple of times while diving and they never failed to awe him. Brandon had a fully stocked fridge and TC enjoyed a couple of beers while catching up with Brandon. By the end of the day he had managed to darken his tan a few shades and he and Brandon had agreed that they needed to find a project to work on together. Brandon was recently divorced and once again had the freedom to travel more for work. Apparently his wife’s biggest complaint was that he worked too much. TC understood the mutual need to be out in the fresh air, riding the waves and sinking into the depths of the sea. They both loved their line of work and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
It was late when he got back to the hotel, Brandon had dropped him off at eleven. He sent a quick text to David, knowing he would see it first thing in the morning. He had already texted earlier to let him know he probably wasn’t going to be able to call. His presentation wasn’t until ten the next morning so he took the time to shower the salt residue off of his skin before turning in for the night.
The following day went well with his final presentation. Later on he was out enjoying dinner at a local steak place with three guys that he had worked with on a few projects over the years. They had just finished dessert when all of a sudden TC felt a rumbling, as if a train were passing close by, even though they were nowhere near a train station. Everything on the table started to shake, glasses fell over, spilling whatever contents they held, silverware and plates rattled.
TC’s brain registered everything at the same time as everyone else. Earthquake. It was a semi-mad scramble as patrons and employees headed for the nearest exit, wobbling over the shaking ground as if they were all drunk. TC helped a lady in front of him who couldn’t keep her balance. Together they stumbled their way out the door and into the street, where cars had come to a stop and people held onto whatever they could find.
The ground continued to shake, building slightly in momentum for a few seconds. TC and the unknown lady clung to a lightpost, somehow managing to stay upright. Just when TC thought he was going to fall over the shaking decreased and came to halt. It was at this point you could separate the natives from the tourists. The ones who were still shaking and crying were tagged as tourists, the ones betting with each other on where the tremor landed in the Richter scale were natives. It reminded him of something David had told him about Floridians and how they basically played 'chicken' with approaching hurricanes, many staying in place until the last possible minute, hedging their bets on which way the storm would turn.
The shaking had seemed to go on forever, but in reality it was less than two minutes. TC made sure the lady he had helped was alright. She wasn’t too flustered so she probably lived here and it wasn’t her first rodeo. TC saw his dinner companions and walked over to join them. They were a little rattled, but otherwise unharmed. They made their way back into the restaurant and surveyed the damage. Thankfully it was pretty minimal, mostly broken plates and glasses that had fallen. There was one large framed picture that was on the floor, having fallen from the wall, it’s frame shattered. They went back to the table to make sure nothing had been left behind. Their waiter came over and told them that dinner would be on the house as the quake had knocked out electricity to the area. TC and his companions each pulled out fifty bucks and handed it to the kid. Hopefully it would help cover whatever tips he had lost for the rest of the evening.
Out on the street traffic had started to move again, slowly. Everyone who lived in LA was well aware that aftershocks, or even a larger tremor could hit at any time. The general consensus so far was that the earthquake was somewhere in the low 5 range on the Richter scale, with 5.2 being the most popular guess. TC was positive that he didn’t want to experience anything like that again. It was bad enough that they had hurricanes to deal with in Florida, but at least those could be forecast. Earthquakes, however, they struck suddenly and in most cases without warning.
Their small group walked the several blocks it took to get back to the hotel. People were still milling about outside, mostly guests who were unsure if it was safe to go back in. Soon the general manager came out to assure everyone that the building was safe, they had electricity and almost everything was running normally. The elevators were currently not running, due to the fact that they automatically shut down in the event of an earthquake. The hotel had only been open a year and had been built with the current codes in effect. There was a safety protocol which had been followed and the people who were in the elevators when the tremors hit had been safely evacuated. They now needed to reset the system and it would be an hour before they could be used. Regardless, TC knew he would be taking the stairs for the remainder of his stay.
He said goodbye to his dinner companions, who had decided to remain in the lobby for a while and headed to the stairs. Ten flights didn’t seem like a lot on a Stairmaster, but in reality, TC was a little out of breath when he reached his room. He took a shower and packed his bags, leaving out just what he would need for the morning. He had already scheduled the hotel’s shuttle for six o’clock. His flight was at eight-fifteen, and it would take a half hour to forty-five minutes to get to the airport.
He turned on the TV and grabbed his phone. It was eleven-thirty in Florida, but he decided to call David anyway. Glancing at the screen he swore, “Fuck.” There were twenty-two missed calls and a dozen texts. All from David. Shit, it was obvious that the earthquake had made the news in Florida. He quickly hit David’s contact and barely had time to brace himself for the sudden barrage that David let loose with.
“What the fuck TC? Are you alright? Jesus Fucking Christ! What the fuck happened to you? Why the fuck didn’t you call me? What the hell happened to your phone?” David battered him as the phone barely rang once before he answered it.
“I’m sorry David. I was at dinner with some colleagues when the earthquake hit. It wasn’t too bad, just a lot of shaking and broken plates and glasses. I had my phone turned off and I guess I forgot to turn it back on.” TC had turned the TV on and the news was reporting on the earthquake. “I’ll be damned, they were right.”
“Who was right? And what were they right about? TC!” David snapped at him.
“Some of the locals were discussing the tremor and the general consensus was it was a 5.2. The news reports are saying that preliminary reports are measuring it at a 5.2. The local dudes were right.” TC commented.
“TC! For Christ’s sake are you fucking alright?” David was yelling by this point.
“Yes, David, I’m OK. Not one scratch or bump to be found. It was just a little freaky, that’s all. It felt like trying to walk in one of those funhouses with the tilted floors that move, like when you were a kid at the amusement parks.” TC assured him.
He could hear the relief in David’s voice as he calmed down. “You might want to just delete all my voicemails, especially the more recent ones. I, um, well, let’s just say I was pretty scared and really pissed that you weren’t answering your phone. The texts too.” David suggested.
TC hummed before answering, “Are these messages something that I might need to correct you for?” He heard the hitch in David’s breathing and smiled.
“Probably. Most likely. Yeah.” David admitted.
“Are you home right now?” TC asked.
For a fleeting second David considered lying and telling TC he was still at work even though it was nearly midnight. TC would see right through that.
“Y-Yes.” David stammered, his heart rate starting to increase. He heard the tone of TC’s voice and knew his Dom wanted to take control.
“Take off your clothes, David.” was the only prompt David needed.
It was another hour before the call ended. TC needed another shower and David was nearly convinced he was going to need a trip to the ER. His balls had never been bluer. He was definitely going to be late to work in the morning
Well, definitely a lot happening in a four day trip!
Today is Memorial Day. Thank you to all those who gave their lives for our freedom.