Tony made a phone call to have his furniture brought down that night. The next morning I was going back to work. He was slipping his suit jacket on. This was a sharp suit, double breasted and dark black. The red silk tie set it off perfectly. I shook my head. He was gorgeous!
“I gotta go.” I said urgently heading quickly for the door feeling my arousal growing.
Tony looked alarmed. “Wait! Don’t I at least get a kiss?” Tony asked.
“Not looking like that! I’ll wrinkle the suit!” I touched the door, then stopped, moaned and walked back toward him. “But closing my eyes won’t help! I can smell you from here!” I grumbled. He was turning me on! “Shit.” I walked over to him and grabbed him in a passionate kiss. Then let him go as he was smiling at me. “You come by the hotel afterwards. I’ll take a long lunch.” I said firmly. “Bring lube!” Then sniffed my sleeve. “You’re all over me now. I’ll be fighting a boner all day knowing it was you that did it.” I opened the front door hearing him laughing. “Set the alarm!”
“I’m not sorry!” I heard him say loudly.
Closing the door, I couldn’t help but smile. “Neither am I.” He had been damaged when the attack came that day in the towers. But not just his body, his mind. I wasn’t lying when I said I was aroused by his scent. Whether or not that’s believed as possible physically or if it was all in my head, it didn’t matter. It worked. But I needed to be careful, he needed to know I wasn’t just attracted by his looks, as if that weren’t enough. But aroused by him. Granddad, Mom’s father, told me time and again. Look at the person, see their heart. Looks are fleeting, nice, but they can go quickly. If there’s nothing else there won’t be anything else. The marriage is doomed when based on looks alone.
It was business as usual at the hotel. My being happy didn’t hurt. There were the looks others gave, and then it was about 3pm when Tony walked in. He didn’t look that happy. He was fine, but I could tell it hadn’t gone well at wherever he’d gone. But he smiled at me as I came out to the lobby to greet him. And naturally those at the front desk, one a guy was smiling seeing who it was. I had said before, there were a lot gay men in the hotel industry and I’m more surprised to find one that’s not. They were just confirming to themselves what they’d heard was true.
“Ciao, Tesoro.” Tony greeted with a warm smile.
“Hi, yourself.” I smiled at him, but looked in his eyes. “It didn’t go as you wanted, did it?”
He looked frustrated. “Oh, I could have taken the job, but really…” he shook his head. “…these people here know nothing about business or investments.”
I shrugged. “But you do.” I said confidently. “According to you, we’ll be fine a while. You can afford to be picky.”
He chuckled looking up at those that were trying not to look like they were looking, but were. “Here’s something for the rumor mill.” He leaned in embracing me tightly, then kissed me with meaning and passion. “I love you.”
I grinned at him in the embrace. “I know. I love you.”
He nodded. “I know.” Then he stretched his arms to relieve a kink there. “I need to work out.” He frowned. “I’ve neglected it since I came here. Is there a gym you recommend?”
I nodded. “Down the hall.” I pointed in the direction of our in-house gym.
He frowned. “But that’s for guests.”
I nodded. “It is, but we’re allowed to use it. Alan is okay with it, as long as it’s not crowded, which it almost never is. There are free weights, treadmills, stationary bikes, weight machines…”
“You’re sure he won’t mind?”
I grinned. “He’s gay. He’ll probably watch.”
He smirked. “I don’t care if he does. He won’t see much.” Then he looked at me closer. “I’ll bet he watches you.”
I shrugged. “He might.” I pointed to the wall at the camera. “He can see from his office all the public areas. Including the gym.”
Tony smiled. “Well, we can’t today. We’re meeting with Ms. Cunningham this afternoon. We have papers to sign.”
“Why are you saying we? It’s your condo.”
Tony frowned as his eyebrows grew closer together. “Okay. Listen. It’s not just my condo, it’s our condo. You’re a part of us. Your name is going on the deed.”
I held my hands up in surrender. “Okay.” I smiled. “We’ll sign.”
Tony smiled again. “Now, when is your lease up at that wonderful house in that great neighborhood end?”
He nodded. “When we’re ready, we’ll move in. We can pay till it’s up, but we’ll be moving shortly. My stuff is arriving next Wednesday. We’ll get it set up.” He kissed me again. “Some of that includes some workout equipment, the Nortictrack all in one and some free weights. We won’t be using this gym long. What time should I come in?”
“People check out by twelve and most don’t check in until after three.” I said. “Somewhere between there is fine.”
He smiled. “I’ll bring my workout clothes.”
“You can bring mine. We’ll do it together.”
He looked around. “Is there somewhere we can do something together now?” He grinned. “Your office maybe?”
“Let’s go. I have an hour lunch coming.” I grinned.
We signed the papers. I found out Tony had put a good chunk down, but was financing a good bit. He grinned at me. “We’re improving our credit scores.” I was now part owner in a condo. It wasn’t my first purchase property wise, but the most costly. And I didn’t pay a cent! Closing costs and other things were just bothersome to me. But we waded through it. Then inspection had shown some things that needed tending before we moved in, which Tony made sure, by contract it was to be done by the next Wednesday.
And true to his word, Tony showed up at the hotel with his gym bag, wearing sweats. Not just ordinary sweats, of course. A designer something I didn’t care to know about. He was poetry in motion when he worked out. I knew my boss was watching. He liked it when I did my roman chair situps. And the leg press. I accused him once of having the camera able to do a crotch shot, he was unhappy a week! What was wrong with that? He was a healthy man, Alan, so why not? Everyone looks. I just gave him someone else to lust over.
We had a mover come and get my things from the house and move them to the condo. We at least had something to sit on, cook on and sleep on. The couch was ugly, but comfortable. We’d have it recovered later. I transferred my number to the condo and set up my computer in the bedroom. I didn’t want to, but I looked at Tony. “Okay.” I said reluctantly. “I’m sending an email about the address change, and while I do that, I’ll agree to go to the family reunion.”
Tony looked confused. “What happened? I know what you’ve told me, but…aren’t Scottish families close?”
I sighed. “We’re supposed to be. I knew nothing about the families’ history. Not from them at least. No one ever talked about the Clan or where we were from. I found it out myself.” I got up going to a trunk. Opening it, I pulled the kilt out. “This kilt has my family pattern on it. There are several, but this one has what I was told is the family pattern. It’s supposed to tell the family line.” I shrugged. “The McKenzies seemed to have little knowledge of their own line. I researched it. I thought it was important. They didn’t agree.” Then I grinned. “But now, I’ve been to several Highland Games, even participated in the march. I have some cousins that were interested and caught up in this. But I’m still learning.” I frowned. “There’s a lot I don’t know. But I think history is important. The McKenzies in this part of North Carolina are strange.”
Tony nodded. “I agree. But why are they like that?” He sat beside me. “You say they don’t love.”
I nodded. “They stick together. But they are really sad. It’s like any positive emotion, compliment is a sin. Even being happy is sort of unwelcome.” Then I laughed, but sad from the memories. “Love? I don’t think they saw that as important either. They knew sex. As my many aunts and uncles prove by being here. But Dad didn’t seem very invested in the marriage.” I grinned. “But he was persistent. He proposed three times.”
Tony frowned. “That means your mother said no twice.”
“And she should have said no three times.”
Tony was shocked. “I’m glad she didn’t. You wouldn’t be here. At least he did it in person. Great Grandpa purposed by mail.” He grinned.
I grinned. “That’s not very romantic.”
Tony shrugged. “Well, he made up for it, but as I’m told. He saw her, fell in love and was serving in the military. He sent her the proposal and ring. She accepted. Then they got out of Italy when the threat of World War II began, my grandfather was just a baby when they came over.”
I smiled at him. “But you are romantic.” Then I climbed over him straddling his middle. “But you warned me. You are irresistible.” I pulled on his shirt bringing it up to reveal his hairy chest. “Very.” I began running my fingers through the hairs, enjoying how the tickled as they went and kissed him passionately, which he returned willingly. And then the pound on the door disturbed us.
“Damn it.” Tony muttered getting up as he moved me aside. He adjusted his pants quickly. “Don’t forget where we were.”
I chuckled as he went to the door. Opening it, Nick came in. I don’t want to say he just came in. He sort of burst in. I would find out as the years would pass that’s what he did. Always.
“So this is it?” Nick asked smiling at his Dad, then me. “The love nest. Love central.”
“And it was about to be that again, until you showed up.” Tony griped.
Nick didn’t even stop. “I’m sure you’ll get back to it again. No harm done.” He clapped his hands as he looked around. “So, where’s my room?” He asked and took the stairs two at a time.
“You have an apartment!” Tony shouted, but he was smiling. “I pay for it!”
“Come on, Dad!” I heard his son say. “This is so much better!” I could hear him going from room to room as he quickly looked around. “I’ll take this one. The one with its own bathroom.” Then he came down smiling. “You’re going to deprive me of a place to study quietly?”
Tony shook his head, but he was still smiling. “Well, you’ll have to ask the owner.” Then Tony pointed at me. “He’s one.”
“I can come over sometimes, right? Maybe do laundry.” He said enthusiastically. “That’s what parents do. Isn’t that right?” He was grinning as he said it. Then looked around. “You need furniture.” His nose turned up seeing my couch. “Some thrown out.”
Tony grabbed his son in a hug. “It’s coming next Wednesday.”
I grinned as I watched Nick hug his father back. Nick was a good guy.
“Of course, you’re always welcome.” I said. “But the washer and dryer is one of those high efficiency deals with all those buttons. I’m still figuring it out. It’s like launching the space shuttle.”
Nick chuckled. “I’m getting a degree. I’m sure we can figure it out.” Then he smiled at his Dad. “I’m glad things are going so well, Dad. You look extremely happy.”
Tony nodded. “I am. Now how about some pizza?”
“Are you ordering it?” Nick asked.
“We’re Italian! I make it.” Tony groused. “You’ve been poisoned since you’ve been here. Order pizza.” Tony said with disgust. “Not in this house.” He walked into the kitchen area. “I’ll heat the stone.”
“How are you making the dough?” Nick asked. “Doesn’t it have to rise?”
Tony opened the refrigerator and held a ball of white in a plastic bag. “They have these in the grocery store. Premade dough. All I do is stretch it out.”
My eyebrows rose. “The stone?”
Tony grinned. “A good pizza stone has to be heated. I got one the other day. You’ll learn.” He said as he dug what he needed out.
Nick chuckled and came over, plopping beside me with a big smile. He said to me quietly as his father was whistling as he moved. “Really, I won’t be over that much. I just wanted to confirm this was a good thing. And it clearly is.” He grinned back at his father. “This is the man I knew growing up. Thanks for bringing him back.”
I smiled back. “Well, he came back on his own. Then again, I never knew anyone other than what you see now.”
Nick shook his head. “I say it’s because of you. I was serious when I said he was so serious and sort of….gloomy…since September. Now he’s not. The only real change is you’re here. You gave him a reason to come back.”
“I was also serious. This is also your home. He’s your father. You’ll always be welcome here.”
Nick smiled. “He was a father at my age. Yet he still put himself through school. He’s an amazing guy.” Then he threw a chummy arm around my shoulder. “So, what do I call you? Dad? Pop?”
I chuckled. “I’m only thirteen years older than you. How about Mitch?”
Nick was beaming. “Nah. I’ll think of something. You’re a step parent. But don’t worry, I won’t ask for an allowance.” Then he bounced up and went in the kitchen to harass his father. I grinned as I watched the two work together, joke and Nick did harass his father. Except that Nick was thinner than Tony, that was more about age. They were so much alike. The kidding and harassment was something Tony ate up. The smile never went away as his son kidded him about many things. It had to be tough raising a child as young as Nick had been, but he loved his son. That much as certain. Then I joined them. I didn’t want to miss being a part of this.
On Sunday, Tony and I walked in the church. Early enough to mingle with people. He and I went in the office of the church. Terry was assembling things she was going to use during the service, but looked up as she saw us and smiled.
“What?” She asked.
“We need to give you our new address.” Tony said taking my hand.
But Terry, being the pastor smiled, but asked the question. “You’re sure about this? It was pretty fast.”
I shrugged. “I had what I called relationship whiplash it was so fast. And very unplanned.”
“We clicked.” Tony shrugged. “You saw that day one.”
“We’re from two separate worlds, but I love him.” I told her. “I know things about his past.”
“And I know about his.” Tony added. “We’re still learning about each other.”
“Jay and Bruce went on their first date…and technically still are. They never separated. Even fifteen years later!” I said.
“He’s met my son...” Tony said.
“He’s meeting my family next month….” I said glumly.
“…and mine in December....”
Terry was nodding as we spoke, but held her hands up. “Guys!” Then smiled walking over to us. “You’re already completing each other’s sentences. I could see things were pretty intense between you two Sundays ago. You’re both adults, not teenagers, if it works, that’s wonderful.” Then she took the hands each hadn’t taken with each other. “But as your pastor, I just have to caution you.” Then she nodded. “But the honeymoon period is great, isn’t it?”
“Honeymoon?” Tony asked.
“We’re not married.” I said. “We can’t marry.”
She rolled her eyes. “Neither of you is stupid. Then newness of a relationship is what’s called a honeymoon period. It can last a few days or even years. That time when you can’t keep your hands off each other.”
Tony grinned and scratched his ear. “Yea, that is pretty awesome.” Then he grinned at me. “Did you tell her how you can smell pheromones?”
“If I hadn’t, you have now.” I muttered.
“I think it’s great!” Tony defended with a smile. “He calls it my musk, but…”
Terry nodded saying quickly. “I’ve heard of it.” She shook her head, but smiled. “I’m just so thrilled things are working for you.” Then she was a pastor again. “And you know lust and love are often blurred with people.”
“Yes.” I said. “But we’re enjoying it for now.”
Tony nodded. “Well, he is hot.” He said logically.
Terry laughed again. “Two different worlds? I don’t see it. In fact, you seem perfect for each other. If they are, which as I understand about your backgrounds, it seems different enough, but you make them fit. I wish you both the best for the future.”
The furniture did arrive and now I was feeling uncomfortable again. He said himself he had been rich. He said he wasn’t anymore, but what I saw being taken off the truck was pretty damned nice! He had paintings! I mean real oil paintings. We spent a while as the men unloaded and we told them where to put them. He had two bedroom suits and I shrugged. His was going to be our bedroom’s suit. What I was, and shouldn’t have been, was his office equipment. Desk and chairs sure, but his computer. It was state of the art. His computer CPU had two nineteen inch screens attached. He used that to keep up the DOW and markets, the stock exchange and all that. He was a consultant for stocks and investments. That’s how he made his living before. And not one, but two plasma high definition TVs. One was huge! The other was still a good size, but for the bedroom he said. And his workout equipment went in one room to be our gym. Sorry, Alan.
“Mitch.” Tony said cautiously, but he knew I might have a reaction to what he was going to say.
I frowned knowing the tone. “What?”
“If you say no, I’ll be fine, but…”
“What?” I said again a little irritated.
“Can we possibly have Bubba…painted?” Then he hurried on. “It’s a classic! What year is it?”
I rolled my eyes. “He’s a 1963 Ford.”
“See?” Tony said nodding. “It’s almost forty years old. It is a classic. We could have it painted, a little body work, he’ll look great!”
I frowned. “You’re embarrassed by him.”
“No.” He said a little too quickly, but then sighed. “Okay, a little. But he’s a part of you. I’d never change you. If you say no, I won’t bring it up again.”
I sighed again. “Bubba and I go back a long time.”
Tony nodded. “I know. He’s very important.” Then he grinned. “But think about him! His feeling of self-worth. All shined up and pretty again, he’ll even run better I’ll bet. So much better than he did when slopping cows or stuff like that.”
I chuckled. “Slopping cows?” I asked. “How exactly do you slop a cow?”
Tony rolled his eyes. “Whatever. I’m not asking you to give him up.”
I grinned. “Fine.”
“Good!” Tony said excitedly. “You can take him to a man I spoke with. He’ll have it ready for going to the family reunion.”
“You sly….” I smiled as I approached him and he began backing away. “You had this whole thing planned.”
He nodded. “Yea, sort of.” He held his hands up, but was grinning. “I had to ask you.”
“Prepare to be attacked.” I grinned and charged him.
Tony let out a little yelp, but didn’t back away. I lunged my shoulder in his midsection, lifting him up and carried him to the bedroom where I threw him on the bed, pulled his pants open and proceeded to give him a blowjob. His hands grabbed my head on either side as I worked.
“This is an attack!?” He grinned as the pleasant sensations shot through his body. It wasn’t long before he was making the sounds that told me he was close. Then I stopped. Grinning at him.
“No, this is the attack.”
He sat up stunned. “You wouldn’t.”
I smiled. “I just did.”
“Non è giusto!” Tony said pitifully.
I had been learning some Italian. “It is so fair!”
Tony’s frustration softened a little. “You understood that.” He smiled. “Non è possibile arrestare in questo momento.”
I grinned. While I was nowhere near fluent I was picking it up. “I’ll finish. Thank god I took classes in Spanish in high school, I got a lot of that. But don’t do that again. You knew you had a plan!”
He held his hand up in a boy scout salute. “I swear. I’ll never do it again.”
I shook my head. “Were you ever a boy scout?”
He grinned. “Not really.”
I couldn’t leave him like he was. I finished him.
“Thank you.” Tony grinned, kissing me gently. “That was so cruel.”
I shrugged. “I know. But I made it right.”
“I love you.” Tony said bringing me close to him.
Again, he felt so good. Warm and alive, I loved how he felt in my arms. If there was anything better, it wasn’t known to mankind. “I’m so in love with you, Tony. Tu sei il mio cuore.”
Tony looked at me with a smile. “You’re my heart, too.” He kissed me tenderly.
“Knock, knock!” We heard from the other room.
“Shit.” Tony said pulling his pants up quickly. “My clothes.”
I chuckled. “He’s in the other room, we’re fine.”
Tony brushed my hair back. “Yes, we are.” Then turned to the door. “In here.”
He had clothes. A department store would be jealous. Our room had a nice walk-in closet, but his portion took up more than three quarters. And shoes!
“I see it again.” I said as he was putting some things away.
Tony looked at me confused. “See what?”
“You’re gay.” I grinned, ran my hand over his backside and walked out. I held my arms wide pointing at his part of the closet, then moved my arms closer for my small portion that held clothes for work and church.
“So are you!” Tony shot back.
I did have to ask for the time off, it was my weekend to work, so I switched with someone and took that Monday off. And I will say Bubba never looked so good. Not to me. He’d always been paint faded as long as I could remember. Now, he was red! A shiny red. But I liked that Tony took me to work every day the week it was being fixed. Tony did connect with some former clients and even made some new ones in Charleston. He worked mostly out of the condo for now. Now, I threw my Samsonite in the back of the truck and secured it with the rope. Tony owned a Mercedes, but we didn’t want to rub too much in their faces too quickly. I walked as Tony brought his Louis Vuitton suitcase down. I chuckled as he looked at the back of my truck with a questioning face.
“I’d say just toss it back there.” I smiled. “But there’s a place behind the front seat.”
Tony smiled and nodded. He opened the door and put it back there.
I sighed and closed my eyes. I heard him come over, slipped his arms around me from behind.
“It’s okay, Caro.” He said softly. “If you really don’t want to do this, we don’t have to go.”
I brought my hands over his arms, pulling them tighter. “No, I don’t want to, but I’m a McKenzie. I’m gay. I’m in love with a phenomenal human being that loves me.” I turned to face Tony. “But hear me. This is the last time. We go, I tell them, what they do after that is on them. But you be careful.”
He looked surprised. “Of what?”
“I don’t want you hurt.” I said hugging him. “Not physically, but they can hurt you emotionally.”
Tony grinned. “Hey, you thought I could be connected with the mob, right?” He shrugged. “Maybe they can think that, too.”
“I was teasing.” I laughed. “But they will not be teasing.”
Then Tony made his accent thicker. “Well, if they get too out of line. I’ll make them an offer they can’t refuse.” Then he thumbed his nose like I’d seen prize fighters do in the movies and sniffed.
I laughed at him. Adoring his willingness to do this. “I’m protective of you. You mean a lot to me. I said it before, better to face the music.” I shook my head. “You’ve been through a lot, I will defend you.”
Tony smiled at me softly. “I know you will. I’ll be fine.”
“I wish we could marry.”
He smiled bigger. “We can’t.” Then he stopped me. “We can’t legally marry, but we could have a commitment ceremony.” Then he grinned. “Did you just ask me to marry you?”
“Well, I didn’t come out and ask you, but sure. I’ll ask you. Would you marry me?”
“Yes.” He kissed me passionately. “In a New York Second.”
I smiled again. “I’ve heard of a New York Minute. It’s a short period of time, I guess a New York Second is even faster?”
Tony shrugged. “It is. I just made it up, but I’d love to marry you.”