“What’s going on?” Robbie asked. There were three police cars parked out front. I drove slowly past them. Two of them had Hillsborough markings; one was a Palo Alto squad car.
“I don’t know,” I said, trying to hide how worried I was. I pulled the Ferrari into the garage and got out, then started walking at a deliberate pace. I sensed that Robbie wanted to take off running, but I held back. In the end, he followed my lead. Whatever reason had brought cops to Escorial, rushing in there wouldn’t help the situation.
We walked into the Great Hall to find several police officers speaking with JP. “Ah, there you are,” JP said in friendly yet somber manner.
“What’s going on?”
“These officers are looking for Mark Clark,” JP said. The fact that he used Lark’s real name, and not his nickname, told me to be cautious, as if I needed that warning.
“Why?” I asked.
“Do you know where he is?” one of the cops asked. He was wearing a suit, not a uniform, and was clearly in charge.
“Why?” I asked again. He glared at me, and seemed to ponder whether or not to be a dick.
“He’s gone. He hasn’t been seen all day. He left a suicide note.” Lark left a suicide note? He killed himself? I fought back the emotions that threatened to overwhelm me.
“He killed himself? He’s dead?” I asked. Holy shit. He killed himself? I felt Robbie’s strong arm around me, there to support me just as solidly as he’d done when I’d found out about the Carmichaels.
“We found a note,” the cop reiterated.
“What did it say?” I asked.
“Have you seen him?” he asked again.
“No, I haven’t,” I replied icily. “What did his note say?”
“He left two. One was addressed to you.” I held out my hand, demanding it from him. He just looked at me.
“It was addressed to me. Let me see it,” I ordered, pissing him off.
“I’m asking the questions,” he snapped.
“Have you contacted Gordie?” I asked JP.
“He is on his way,” JP said.
“Gordie?” the asshole cop asked.
“Our attorney,” I said. “Now are you going to show me the note before or after he gets here?”
“I think I should take you in for questioning,” he said. I actually laughed at him.
“You’re not taking him anywhere. You’re out of your jurisdiction,” one of the Palo Alto cops snapped.
The asshole cop glared at all of us, then said nothing. He looked around the room, as if looking for clues. He was dying to search around, for some reason. “Can I use your bathroom?”
“No,” I said, before JP’s polite manners asserted themselves. I saw the Palo Alto cops try not to chuckle out loud. Before anyone could say anything else, we heard loud footsteps.
“Hello JP. Brad, Robbie!” Gordie said as he breezed into the room. “It’s good to see you.” We shook hands while the others just watched. “What seems to be the problem?”
“A friend of mine apparently committed suicide and he left a note addressed to me. These men came to ask me about it. This one,” I said, pointing at the asshole, “thinks I should be taken in for questioning.”
“I don’t see that happening,” Gordie said, giving the cop an icy look. “What did the note say?”
“Even though it is addressed to me, he hasn’t seen fit to show it to me yet.” Gordie stared at the asshole cop meaningfully, and he handed me the note.
I don’t have many people who will give a shit that I’m gone, but I’m hoping you’re one of the few who will. I know we had some rough times Brad, but there were also the good times. Remember how we went to LA, you, me and Robbie, after you guys got back from Yosemite? What a blast. I hope those are the memories that you’ll keep with you when you think of me.
Please tell Max I’m sorry for the way I treated him. I feel too guilty to leave him a note. He was always there for me, even when I abused him for it.
Thanks for being my best friend.
I pretended to wipe away a tear. “Where did they find his body?”
“They didn’t find it yet. In his other note, he said he was going to die doing what he loved the most: surfing. We found his car parked up at San Gregorio Beach,” the asshole cop said.
“Well, I don’t know what more I can add to this. I haven’t seen him.”
“When was the last time you talked to him?” Asshole Cop asked.
“This past Sunday,” I said.
“What did you talk about?”
“None of your fucking business,” I snapped. The asshole and I squared off, ready to really get into a pissing match. Gordie intervened at that point, and bullied the cops, all of them, into leaving. Before they did, I made a copy of the note. After that, the five of us, JP, Stef, Gordie, Robbie, and I, retired to JP’s study.
“He didn’t kill himself,” I announced.
“You mean he is alive?” Stef asked.
“I don’t know. All I know is that he didn’t kill himself.”
“You think he was murdered?” JP asked.
“If he’s dead, he was murdered. He didn’t kill himself.”
“How do you know this?” Gordie asked.
“The note was bullshit. It was Lark’s writing, but he was telling me he wasn’t suicidal.” I pulled out the copy. “First of all, he never called me Brad. He always called me ‘B’. That’s his nickname for me. He used “Brad” twice in his letter.”
“And we didn’t go to LA together, all three of us, after Yosemite,” Robbie said. He looked at me and I could still feel the sadness in him, and in me, over our estrangement back then. “Only you and Lark went.”
“So what happened?” Gordie asked of no one in particular.
“Either he was murdered, or he staged his own suicide,” I said again. I couldn’t see any other option.
“Why would he stage his own suicide?” Stef asked.
“Who did he write the other note to?” I asked Gordie, ignoring Stef.
“To his lover, Dan Church,” Gordie said.
“Any chance we can get a copy of that?” I asked.
“I can try. Why?”
“On Sunday I agreed to buy some information from Lark on a company that Dan works for. If he felt threatened, he might do this, stage his own demise,” I told them.
Everyone nodded, agreeing with me. “I’ll go see if I can get a copy of that other letter. It’s my obligation as your counsel to tell you that you must let me and the police know if you see him,” Gordie said. He was smiling to tell me not to listen to his advice.
“I’ll keep that in mind,” I said, smiling back. JP escorted Gordie out, and then returned to the study. “What are you going to do?” he asked me.
“If it’s alright with you,” I said to Robbie, “I think I’ll spend a couple of days in Santa Cruz. Lark’s car was found in San Gregorio. It’s not too far from there to our house in Santa Cruz.”
“You think he will come looking for you?” Stef asked.
“If he’s alive he will,” I said. “I’m the only hope he’s got of getting out of this mess. That’s why he came to me in the first place.”
“What will you do with him if you find him?” JP asked.
“Where’s your boat?” I asked Stef.
“On a charter. It should be back tonight. Back in Redwood City.”
“Then here’s my plan,” I said, laying it out for them. When I was done, they stared at me, impressed.
“I guess we’re not going to Hawaii,” Robbie said sadly. “I should probably get back to LA.”
“Let’s go spend some time together first,” I said. JP gave me a dour look, while Stef giggled. I led Robbie back to our room.
“I don’t like you going there alone,” he said firmly. He was acting pissed, but he wasn’t. He was worried.
“Come to Santa Cruz with me,” I said. “You’re out until tomorrow afternoon anyway. Instead of going to Hawaii, we’ll go to Santa Cruz for the night.”
“Or I could go home now, and then go to New York with you this weekend,” he said. I saw him labor with the decision. I ran my hand up his thigh, to his groin, and began to massage his hardening dick.
“I like that idea,” I said. “I’ll be fine. In the meantime, I want to make love to you one more time before I go.” We took off only our pants, and I pushed him face down on the bed and made love to him. Being with him was surreal. We knew each other so well, every move we made seemed designed to stimulate the other. I made love to him slowly, then I fucked him really hard, then I went back to making love to him. I kept us both on edge for what seemed like an eternity, until finally, I could take no more and I brought us off. I lay there afterward, panting, my shirt covered with sweat, basking in the afterglow.
“That should tide me over,” he joked.
“Me too,” I said. “You satisfy me like no man ever has or ever could.” He smiled at me and pulled me to him, hugging me tightly.
“I’m here for you if you need me,” he said. “If you want me to go to Santa Cruz with you, I will.”
“Oh, so you had to experience amazing sex before you’d agree to go with me?” I teased.
“It helped,” he said, smiling at me.
“I’ll be fine. We’ll have more fun in New York.” I paused, and then broached the other issue besides Lark that was on my mind. “Do you think David was right about us, about why we’re vulnerable to our taboos?” I’d been wanting to ask him that since our meeting, but I didn’t bring it up in the car because I wanted to digest it.
“Yeah, and I think it cuts both ways too.”
“Explain that,” I said.
“You don’t want another guy fisting me because that’s what we do that’s special,” he said. “And the thing is, I feel the same way. That’s why I got so freaked out after we did it with Cody and Kevin.”
“And you think the same thing is true of Matt? You think I really don’t want a younger version of you?” He looked at me nervously, not getting that I was teasing him.
“Not a chance. I only want one man.” That got me a big grin.
“He’s a lucky guy,” Robbie said, drawing a big grin from me too. We got up and cleaned ourselves off, and then I took him to the airport. I dropped him off and headed over the mountain to Santa Cruz. It was foggy and rainy, a crappy night, but I just took it nice and slow. I was feeling introspective anyway.
I knew in my heart that Lark wasn’t dead. It was just an instinct, but I knew it. That meant he was in danger. Those assholes must be on to him. He must have really felt threatened, like his life was in danger. What did they want from him? Did they put out a hit on him? And if so, who did it? Dan? I didn’t see that, although he was really cold when he was jilted. Brian? That was entirely possible. The Carmichaels? They had the most reason, and the resources to do it. I mulled those things over in my mind as I drove to Santa Cruz. I stopped to grab some food, and then headed up to the house.
I drove through the gates, down the drive, and pulled into the garage. There was an SUV there: Matt’s GMC. Matt was here? I thought about my conversation with Robbie, and smiled. He no longer tempted me. I grabbed the groceries and walked inside, strolling confidently into the kitchen. The sight that greeted me almost made me change my mind.
Wade and Matt were there, stark naked. Wade was bent over the kitchen counter while Matt fucked him. I watched his cute ass as he squeezed his muscles tightly when he pushed forward into Wade. It was so hot I lost my balance and dropped one of the bags. Matt turned around, alarmed, then saw me and grinned. “Don’t stop on my account,” I joked. They didn’t. I put the stuff down, put what needed to be put in the fridge away, and then watched them go at it. “Um, I should leave you alone,” I said nervously, even though I didn’t want to.
“You can stay if you want to,” Wade said breathlessly. Matt pulled out of him, turned him around and picked him up effortlessly. He put Wade down on the counter and pushed him onto his back, then he re-entered him. I moved closer, watching as Matt plowed into him, as Wade’s hard cock flopped around. My eyes focused on Wade’s and I smiled. He was about to blow. I looked down at his dick, where Matt was stroking Wade while he fucked him, just in time to see Wade’s first shot rocket out and fly across the kitchen. Matt growled and slammed into him as his own orgasm took over. I watched them, my dick hard as a rock, as they spasmed together, enjoying their moment of ecstasy.
Matt leaned in and kissed Wade. “You liked having an audience?”
“I liked it,” Wade said, and blushed.
I ran my hands through his brown hair. “I liked it too.” He smiled at me. “Wanna see the food I bought?”
I knew they had bottomless pits for stomachs, so that changed their whole focus. They went back and slipped on boxers while I found the glop of cum that Wade shot across the kitchen and scooped it up with my hand. I looked around to see if anyone was watching, then I sucked Wade’s cum off my fingers. He tasted pretty damn good, I thought, smiling to myself. I went into the great room and collapsed on a couch.
“So what brings you here?” Matt asked as he came ambling in. I noticed how much his walk reminded me of Robbie’s, only his step was a little more confident, a little cockier.
“A friend of mine from high school supposedly committed suicide. I don’t think he did. I figured if he was looking for me, he’d look for me here. So I planned to spend the night, hang out for a while tomorrow, and see if he shows up.”
“That’s pretty intense,” Matt said.
“Did you see anyone around here when you got here?” I asked.
“No. It was deserted as usual. That’s why we come out here. It’s like our own little island.” I smiled at that. Just like Robbie’s apartment had been for us.
“I’m sorry to ruin your romantic getaway.”
“Dude, are you kidding? That was so hot, having you watch us. I haven’t made Wade blow like that for a long time.” I laughed. We hung out and ate some food. Around 11:00pm, Matt whispered something to Wade, and then I saw Wade blush.
“We have class tomorrow, so we have to head back soon,” he said.
“You’re driving back tonight? It’s kind of late.” I guess being young had some benefits, like more stamina.
“Yeah, gotta make class,” Matt said. “So we were going to fuck before we left. You wanna watch?”
I stared at them, my mouth agape. “You don’t have to,” Wade said insecurely. I remembered how Matt had told me, how I should fuck Wade if he hit on me. Wade was an amazing young man. There was no way I’d want him to feel like I didn’t appreciate him.
“I think watching is allowed,” I said, grinning at them. I followed them in to Matt’s room and admired their bodies as they shucked off their boxers. Matt was a work of art. He worked out and it showed. His chest and shoulders were broad, and his six-pack was visible enough to be sexy as hell. I loved the way his muscles made that sexy “V” near his groin. Wade was different. He was handsome in a different kind of way. He was like a bigger, more muscular version of Kevin. He’d never have Matt’s mass, but he still had an incredibly handsome body. Everything about Matt was wide, even his rounded nose. Not Wade. His features were pointier: refined and patrician.
“My turn,” Matt said, as he lay on the edge of the bed, grabbing his ankles. I felt myself get hard as a rock at the sight of his cute little pucker, winking at us. Wade lubed him up carefully then pushed in. The look on Matt’s face was priceless; the look of ecstasy a guy who likes to get fucked has when a dick slides in his ass. “Oh yeah. Dude, that feels so fucking good,” he told Wade.
Wade was fucking him, but he kept looking over his shoulder at me. I pulled off my shirt but left my pants on, and moved up behind him. I wrapped my arms around him, running my hands across his chest and his nipples as I did. “Is this OK?” I asked.
“Fuck yeah,” Wade said. He thrust into Matt, and then moved his ass back, trying to grind it into me. I moved forward to let him. My pants were on, but I knew he could feel my cock in his crack when he pushed back. I ran my hands all over his torso, getting little whimpers and moans as I did. Then I looked down and my eyes locked on Matt’s.
I grinned at him, and he grinned back at me. I was really enjoying this, enjoying being an innocuous part of their intimate encounter, but the feelings of uncontrollable lust that had gripped me in the past, they were gone. I could read in his eyes that it was the same for him. We both were there, enjoying Wade more than each other. Not that it wasn’t hot watching Matt. As a gay guy, I’d be an idiot not to find him sexy and attractive. No, what was awesome was that I didn’t want to pull Wade out of him and plunge in myself. I really had no desire to do that at all. I felt my emotions soar, so thrilled to realize that my taboo wasn’t even tempting any more.
I watched Matt’s cock bounce around, the pre-cum dripping out of the end. I saw his mouth open wide, then grin, and then open wide again. Wade picked up his pace; really working Matt, and then Matt came. I watched as his cock started spewing rope after rope of cum out, amazed at how it did that without anyone even touching it. Just like Robbie, I thought, a flash of guilt overtaking me. That was squelched when Wade came.
He really roared, and for him, that was so sexy. I drove my hips into him, smashing him into Matt, making him fight back to get out of Matt’s ass, making him push back hard into me to do it. That just seemed to intensify his orgasm more. He let himself go, really losing it. And then I was surprised as fuck when I felt my own orgasm hit. I didn’t even realize I was that close. I pushed harder into Wade, blasting my load into my underwear, working with Wade to make his orgasm last and last.
When we were done, I looked at them sheepishly. I wasn’t sure if I crossed a line or not, but regardless, I decided that my own personal revelation, and having Matt out of my system once and for all, was worth it.
“That was amazing,” Wade said as he turned around and gave me a really sweet kiss. “This stays between the three of us.” Matt nodded and I smiled at them, and went off to change my pants. They didn’t say goodbye, but I heard them leave, and then I was all alone. I was about to torture myself with guilty musings when my cell phone rang.
“Hey baby, I got back safe and sound,” Robbie said. “How are you doing?”
“I’m fine,” I said nervously. “Matt and Wade were here when I got here.”
“I thought they were in school?”
“They came out here for a romantic interlude,” I said. He could hear the nervousness in my voice. “I was a pretty good boy.”
“Pretty good?” he asked, the irritation and nervousness in his voice was palpable.
“Yeah. I walked in on them fucking and decided to watch,” I told him. “Is that OK?”
“You kept your pants on?” he asked.
“The whole time,” I said.
“That’s fine,” he said, giving me absolution to a sin he didn’t know I committed.
“They got me so horny though, so fired up,” I said in my sluttiest voice. “I wish you were here.”
“Oh yeah?” he said.
“Where are you?”
“I’m at home, in our room,” he said. “Lying naked on our bed.”
That visual got me going. “I’m here, doing the same thing, stroking my dick and thinking how good it would feel to be inside you.”
He moaned. “I love it when you’re in me,” he said. “You make me feel so good.”
“Take your fingers, two of them, and stick them in your ass,” I ordered. I heard him rustle around as he grabbed more lube and did what I said. “Pretend they’re my fingers.”
“Feels so good,” he moaned.
“Now another one, put another one in,” I told him. I heard him grunting as he did.
“Oh baby, that’s so good. Your fingers would feel so much better.” I kept talking to him, coaching him along, while I slowly stroked my cock. Ten minutes later, we both had loud orgasms.
“I told you phone sex could be fun,” I teased.
“Nothing like the real thing though,” he said. “You get home tomorrow?”
“I do. I love you,” I said.
“I love you too.”
I smiled as I hung up, then threw some sweats on and went out onto the deck. I lit up a joint and looked skyward, but I couldn’t see anything. It was too dark out. All I could see was the fog, dimly lit by the lights from the house. I let my other senses take over and smelled the scent of sea air. The crisp smell of salt water, mixed with that beach odor of rotting seaweed that managed to be so stimulating. I let my ears absorb the sound of the crashing waves, of the surf as the water slammed into the rocky shore, continuing its endless job of eroding the cliffs and turning them into sand.
I inhaled the joint and exhaled, making the smoke into a ring pattern. Armand had taught me how to do that years ago. I thought of him and what an amazing lover he’d been. I’d hooked up with him when I was only 17, and he’d shown me how to fuck a man, and how to let another man fuck me. I’d been his willing apprentice as he’d guided me through it, showing me when to be gentle and tender, and when to be rough and hard. I heard the ocean and thought of his death and his burial. What a tragedy. With the new drugs out, AIDS wasn’t an immediate death sentence like it was then. Now, it seemed like guys had almost a lackadaisical attitude about it, about getting it. I thought about how Robbie and I had fucked Kevin that night with Cody. I guess we were just as bad.
I vowed to myself to never to be that stupid again. I’d lost too many people that I loved to that fucking disease. First Armand, then Roger, Sam, and Mouse: all gone because of that goddamn virus. I remembered the scene at Roger’s bed when he died, how Robbie, JP, Stef and I had watched him take his last breath. I wiped the tears away, remembering what a good man he was, and how good he’d been with JP. Mouse had been just as bad. His little body had been emaciated down to where he was just a skeleton. He looked like death even before he died. The pain he endured, the suffering, was almost unbearable, but he clung on to life with such determination, it was hard to do anything but admire him.
If I ever got mad at JP again, I’d have to remember to cut him some slack. Watching two of your lovers die like that, and knowing that a third, Sam, went the same way, would have laid a lesser man low. But JP was tough. He’d had his share of trauma. He’d put everything else first, before his own grief, and he’d trudged on. I wondered if I could do that.
I heard gentle footsteps on the deck and I almost jumped out of my skin I was so scared. “Hey B,” Lark said casually. “I figured I’d find you here.”