Maybe you can relate to being caught... Remember it is how a man handles adversity, including potentially embarrassing situations.
As Daniel began to softly snore, Raymond considered how well his lover had accepted the fact that he was dating a billionaire. In fact, he was certain that Daniel took the news much better than Raymond himself had handled it. He worried a little that Daniel would react differently once the nebulous concept was presented in actual material wealth. It had taken Raymond some time to believe it and certainly took more time to accept it. While the Adams’s never appeared to lack funds, they certainly didn't live the “lifestyles of the rich and famous”.
Sure they traveled a bit, but Raymond just assumed it was funded by ranch profits. It was years after they took him in that he would learn that they traveled via private jet and most often stayed in five-star accommodations. He had been invited on every trip and had adamantly refused their hospitality. He felt he was honor bound to stay at the ranch and work while they traveled. He had worked extra hard so as not to be a burden. Traveling, much less vacationing, on their dime would have been, to him, unconscionable. Even after he learned about their great wealth he had been careful not to take undue advantage.
His favorite displays of Adams family wealth and largess was when Joe would direct his ranch managers from Florida, California, and Hawaii to come in and bid on livestock to help local ranchers receive much better than fair market value. Joe had a real love for ranching and ranchers. He surreptitiously arranged for local ranchers to obtain low-interest loans in time of need. On more than one occasion he bought up a ranch that the younger generation was no longer interested in holding onto. Except, when he did so, it was at a price that reflected the years of the literal blood, sweat, and tears that the older generation had invested in order to provide for their families. Not like the merciless conglomerates that were eating up smaller ranches at rock bottom prices. None of this, just like their charitable endeavors, was ever made public. It was these unselfish acts that swelled Raymond's heart with pride and cemented his love for the Adams fam… “his” family.
He chuckled softly as he envisioned Daniel's reaction when his lover actually realized what billions of dollars could really buy. Raymond's own appreciation for their wealth didn't really begin to blossom until he began to visit the various subsidiaries of the Adams Family Trust and realized these were not companies or holdings in which they had investments but these were actually owned in toto by the trust. Before that, it had been just numbers on a page. Very large numbers, but still an almost abstract concept.
IPO and early investments in IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Dell, Google and now Tesla were just some examples of their “luck” in investments. Their real estate portfolio included remote posh resorts, metropolitan high rises, as well as sprawling farms and ranches on three different continents.
Once when a particularly determined debutante asked what Raymond did for a living. He had just completed a review of a comparatively minor investment, a growing array of American garbage collection companies. He offered that his interests were in garbage collection. Her face screwed up like he had just passed gas. It was such an effective deterrent he actually considered having business cards printed up that identified him as a professional garbage collector.
He knew that if he had actually been a garbage collector it would not change Daniel's love for him one whit. He looked forward to introducing Daniel to the very real wealth and generosity that was the Adams family. With that, he pulled Daniel in a little closer and drifted off in blissful contentment.
///////////// MEANWHILE ///////////
Once Maria was properly tucked in, Jeff and Paul moved to the den. Jeff began, “You know, you have the resources now to do whatever you want to do. You can set up your own private practice or your own private clinic. You can retire completely, travel the world, visit exotic places. If you want to manage your own investments that could be a career in itself. I just hope that whatever your vision of your future holds it includes me by your side.”
Paul grabbed a bottle of water and joined Jeff on the sofa. Taking a drink he passed the bottle to his future husband. “First of all, you will have a hard time evading me. I know have the means to follow you anywhere. And I will if it comes to that, just to keep you by my side.
“I have met a few people that I thought of as wealthy. Certainly, none had as much money as you and your family. I admit, I was envious of them. I dreamed of a time when I didn't feel the pressure of being always one paycheck away from dire poverty. I remember the relief of paying off my student debt and then the almost immediate rush of saving for a home of our own. I had owned my grandfather’s house for a while, at least. I knew there were burdens that renters don't usually bear. Upkeep, I guess is common to anyone living in a house. Watering the lawn, cutting the grass, watering the lawn so you can cut the grass again. Ownership includes that, plus, painting, roofing, plumbing, termites, insurance, taxes, all that and mortgage payments. All that’s contingent on the idea that your employment continues for fifteen to thirty years depending upon the terms of your mortgage. Even with all that you spend your twilight years in a nursing home, where a stranger wipes your ass and your life's biggest investment is bulldozed to make way for a strip mall. And yet, until you came along those were some of my life goals. Now, I am suddenly able to make even my most exorbitant dreams come true. I literally never have to face financial hardships again. From this moment on, I can do as I damn well please. I suppose it has been in the back of my mind since I became aware of your wealth. You know, thinking ‘what would I do, if I had as much money as you’? The thing is, there’s nothing I want that I don't already have with you, Maria and my job. I suppose that is why I didn't rush pell-mell into your arms out of gratitude.
“I suppose I would be house shopping. But, Maria already thinks of this as her home. I must admit that it is more than I could have ever hoped to own even a part of. You have made it as much mine as it is yours. I don't think you know how much an impact that has had on me. Suddenly, I don't just live here with you. I’m not a guest at your whim. I am co-owner. We are living here together, about to be married and my life is forever changed. All because of our love for each other. Your faith in my love for you is simply overwhelming. The only thing that makes it understandable is that I love you at least as much, if not more. Right now, there is nothing in this world I want more than to have you and Maria forever in my life.
“I suspect you already know that I’m not about to do anything outrageous. As a matter of fact, I don't see this as anything that needs a great deal of attention. I have always wanted to be a veterinarian. Even as a kid my dog was as often bandaged as not and never out of necessity. I learned early on that dogs are much more compliant and forgiving than cats.
“I never really dreamed of winning the lottery. It was too unrealistic. I never said, “Well, if I win the lottery, I’ll buy this, go there or do that.” If I ever considered it at all, it simply meant I would be debt free and financially secure.
“Finding you, actually scared the crap out of me. I thought those dreams, just like winning the lottery, never really come true. You were my lottery dream long before I learned you were filthy rich. But, I was so terrified of losing you to Chicago.”
Jeff felt his chest swell and tears blurred his vision. His hands reached out to connect with Paul's free hand. “I had already decided to move back here before we met. Once we met, I could no more have left you here than I, I could have swum to the moon. I needed you in my life like I have never needed anything before. You were right up there with oxygen as far as I was concerned. I would contentedly shovel horseshit for a living, for the rest of my life, if it meant coming home to you each night.
“I don't care if you do anything outrageous or not. It never occurred to me that you might. Now that you mention it, I’ve never done anything outrageous myself. Maybe we should fly to Paris or Rome or London. Maybe all three. That could be our honeymoon. I have done some traveling in Europe. But, seeing it again with you would be like seeing it for the first time. I thought about backpacking through Europe the summer before law school, but I had the internship and that seemed more important at the time. We can take Maria if you want. But, I think a two-week honeymoon with just the two of us would be perfect. I figure that would be the longest we would want to be apart from our Princess. If we get married around the time of the festival she will be in school. I think, with a little preplanning Aunt, uh, I mean Grandma Millie would be more than happy to babysit. Oh gawd, I forgot. Don't tell Maria. I didn't mean babysit, I meant host. Yeah, Grandma will be glad to host our Princess.”
Paul chuckled at Jeff’s obvious discomfort at his Princess faux pas. “Relax Cowboy, you are among friends. There is enough time to prepare Maria so a two-week honeymoon won't be traumatic. She will be fine. I worry about my own reaction more than hers. It’ll be the longest separation we have ever experienced.
“I don't know about you, but we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow. We have our final fitting in Dallas and I worry that there will be things we have to do to be ready to fly out Saturday morning.” Paul stood and Jeff rose also. “I wish we didn't have to go. I understand it will be an opportunity to say goodbye to your coworkers, but I have an uneasy feeling about this whole deal.”
Jeff's face screwed up a bit. “To what whole bit are you referring. I know it isn't you and me, so what has your knickers in a knot mate”?
“I’m not sure. I just feel unsettled every time I think about this trip. Maybe it's us venturing out into the world for the first time as a couple. Maybe it's being among a crowd of people, every one of whom knows you better than I do. I just get this feeling of dread. I know I should be excited, playing dress up at a fancy party on top of the Sears Tower in downtown Chicago on New Year's Eve. But, it seems off somehow.”
“Well, I guarantee, no one that will be there, knows me as well as you do. As a friend, as a lover, biblically, spiritually, in any way shape, form or fashion. You know me soul deep.
“I have some obligations to meet before I sever my ties with Chicago. This party will be a venue that allows me to say goodbye to a large segment of my professional acquaintances. It will allow me to forego a farewell party as well as countless goodbye luncheons. I can't just desert these people who have been a part of my professional life for almost a decade. I know you understand that.”
“Yes, but be advised, if any big city lawyer tries to put the make on you, I may have Sam or Dave take them outside for some personal discussion.”
Jeff chuckled, “On the 108th floor there is no ‘outside’.”
Paul grinned, “My point exactly. It will most definitely be a life-altering discussion.”
“Remember, I am old hat to those guys. You will be the ‘new meat’. I’ll have to make sure that Sam and Dave protect you from unwanted attention. Although Wilson, Wilson, and Bartok are progressive in their views they are a bastion of ‘straightness’. I was the only “out” associate. There is one other closet case that I know of and I only know that because I saw him in a gay club in ‘boystown’ with his admitted partner. He avoided me at work so no one would suspect he wasn't straight.”
“Were you ever treated badly? I mean, I can't imagine you staying in an intolerable situation.”
“I wasn't ‘out’ in high school. In college, I was determined to be who I was. I was a man who was emotionally and physically attracted to other men. I joined a couple of gay support activities. I had no intention of ever hiding who I was again. My family was supportive and encouraged me. I did very well in my studies. I was always at the top or near the top of my class. When I interviewed with one of the most prestigious law firms in Chicago I made sure to list my gay activities on my CV. I would later learn that the senior Mr. Wilson’s youngest son and the younger brother to the Junior Mr. Wilson was killed in a hate crime because he was gay. People there were professional. I never felt any animosity because of my orientation. It was a very, very competitive environment among the associates. I didn't make a lot of real friends, mainly because of the feelings that your peers were your competition.
Bradley became my mentor early on. He helped develop my skills and gave me opportunities to excel over my peers. I am proud to say I never disappointed him. I think in some way he saw me as a younger brother. His best friend is a surgeon and they would occasionally take me to dinner when Bradley stayed over with Doc Steelman. The Doc worked out at the same health club as all the staff from the firm. Bradley and he were college roommates.
“Doc has the biggest flaccid uncut cock I have ever seen. It hangs down six or seven inches soft. If I was into older guys I could have fallen for him in a big way. Hell, Bradley and he could star in one of those leather Daddy porn videos. Both are tall, dark, hairy, handsome and hung. Though the Doc has Bradley beat by a couple of inches. They sometimes joke about Doc’s sons marrying Bradley’s daughters. I wonder if cock size is genetic”?
“Well, I can answer the genetics question. No, just like height, eye color, hair color or any number of potentially inheritable traits, penis size is not always directly inherited from the father. There is no guarantee a larger than average penis will beget a larger than average penis.”
They had said goodnight to Sam and Dave and made it to their bedroom. Ablutions completed they were lying in bed when Paul snuggled into Jeff and picked up the thread of their Chicago conversation. “I used to think of making friendships in college that would last a lifetime. Do Bradley and the Doc’s families get along”?
“Not really. Doc divorced a few years back. Bradley's wife has a definite dislike for Doc. Though I’ve never heard anything from Doc, I suspect he ribs Bradley about his ‘trophy wife’. I think best friends are allowed to do that. I hope Doc is at the party. I would like for you to meet him.”
“Jeff, we are likely never to see these people again. Would it be rude if I asked to see his cock”?
The ensuing tickling tussle for dominance left both contenders eventually sexually sated. Even if the matter of asking to see Doc’s cock was left unresolved. A wet washcloth and warm towel wipe down were sufficient to see them slumbering in each other’s embrace.
A soft knock on the door brought Paul to full awareness. “Yes”?
“Daddy, Mr. Fred says breakfast is almost ready and that I should let you two know.”
“Ok Honey, we’ll be out shortly.”
The exchange had awakened Jeff who decided to tease his lover with some oral manipulation. Paul managed to remind him they had a busy day ahead. Jeff withdrew from his lover’s spit slicked shaft long enough to say, “Let’s make it quick then.” He swung around and offered his massive member for his lover’s ministrations. They brought each other off in a heated rush that left each other gasping for air. They pissed, brushed their teeth, washed their faces, dressed and headed to the kitchen for breakfast.
Fred poured the most welcome first cup of coffee. He explained that Rosarita was sleeping in so he could get used to fixing breakfast. Paul bit his lip to keep from saying something disparaging about Rosarita making a sacrifice to help Fred out.
Maria was already enjoying her bacon and waffles. “Mr. Fred said if you two were gonna fool around and take your time getting out of bed every morning he’s gonna have to get either breakfast later or wake you two up earlier. I think he should wake y'all up earlier. I don't want to wait for breakfast when I’m hungry.”
Jeff and Paul exchanged a guilty look. Paul took up the gauntlet. “Well, I think Mr. Fred can compromise by having everything except the eggs ready for when we come into the kitchen. The oven can keep everything warm and we can take our time getting to the table and enjoy a cup of coffee while he cooks the eggs. If you can't wait for us, Princess, it's perfectly alright to let Mr. Fred serve your breakfast without waiting for us.”
Maria nodded her agreement as she awkwardly forked a bite of waffle into her gaping mouth.
Jeff began. “Maria, your Daddy and I have to drive to Dallas today for business. If you would like, you can go with us. It might be boring for you. You can bring along some toys. Or you can go to Grandma Mellie’s and ride Bluebell. The choice is yours.”
“Daddy Jeff, do you think Mr. Fred could drive me to DJ’s to play for a while. I have some legos that I don't play with and he has a lot that he plays with all the time. I thought we might build something together that could be fun for both of us. He would probably get more use out of them than I would anyway.”
Jeff looked at Paul questioningly. Paul simply nodded. Jeff gulped, “Well Princess, it's not polite to invite yourself to go over to someone else's house. How about we invite DJ to go to Grandma Mellie’s with you. Mr. Fred can take you to pick him up. Then Mr. Tom can take you both riding and y’all can play in your playroom over there and play at DJ’s some other time. You can still take your legos to give to him if you want.”
Jeff was relieved to see the smile of approval on both Paul and Maria's faces. After breakfast and a couple of phone calls Jeff, Paul, Sam and Dave headed to Dallas. They passed the electrician who was about to install the Tesla home charging station. Jeff asked Dave, who wasn't driving to ask Fred to hang around until the electrician finished before leaving the ranch unattended. Fred let them know that Rosarita was to be there all day, but he could hang around no problem. Jeff let them know Rosarita’s presence would be sufficient.
Jeff began mulling over security at his ranch. He decided to house more ranch hand /security forces at the ranch. He offered this idea to his three traveling companions for discussion. By the time they reached the interstate they had four names that Sam and Dave had suggested and Ilya, via a phone call, had immediately approved. They would reside in the old bunkhouse until two manufactured houses could be assembled on site. These men would answer to Sam and Dave and be tasked with maintenance as well as security. Dave was a wealth of information on electronic security and surveillance. It was decided that a remotely activated gate would allow access to the property either from the house after video confirmation or individual vehicles equipped with the appropriate remote. Every arrival would be announced. Motion activated cameras, sensors and alarms would monitor the gate, ranch house, bunkhouse, outbuildings, corrals, and paddocks. Not even a coyote would venture near the buildings undetected.
Jeff had texted Mark Sanders of Sanders & Son's to let him know they would arrive earlier than planned for their final fitting. The entire time the four men were trying on their new suits Mark and an assistant had them tying and retying bow ties. By the time they were done Paul was certain he could tie a smart looking bow tie blindfolded, in his sleep, while whistling “Dixie”. On second thought, he decided it would be while whistling “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. Today, “Dixie” just offended too many good people. He couldn't remember the last time he had actually whistled “Dixie”. Even though homophobia crossed all racial lines, racists tended to be just as hateful toward gays as they were to other races. “Dixie” would definitely be better off left to history and hopefully racism and homophobia would someday be left behind as well.
Mimosas, coffee, croissants, and pastries were on offer as the men paraded their new wardrobes. Paul was impressed that each outfit had been matched to each man's coloring and tailored to his individual fit. It was as if each shirt and each pair of pants had been made just for that wearer alone. Paul was certain he had never in his life owned so many different pairs of shoes. Never had shoes fit so comfortably. Silk socks or stockings felt… decadent. Rubbing his silk-clad feet together, he caught Jeff's eye. The knowing look they exchanged said they would be fucking in nothing but their silk stockings very soon.
The overcoats and scarves were all identical and all tasteful in a dark wool fabric. Black leather gloves and galoshes completed and complemented the outfits. Mark explained that their suits were of a heavier weight for winter comfort and fashion, but would be too warm once spring arrived. He reminded them all that their physical dimensions, as well as their personal preferences, were now on file with the store and spring fashions could be more easily accommodated by a single planned ahead visit. Paul felt there would no doubt be the occasional subtle email reminder. Idly he wondered how much his taste in casual fashion would change now that he had the wherewithal to be more flexible in choosing his wardrobe. He snickered as he imagined stepping into a steaming cow pie wearing these sexy Italian loafers. Mark also reminded them that they could easily ship to anywhere in the world almost overnight. Paul grinned at the blatant self-promotion.
For the first time since meeting him, Paul noticed that Mark seemed hesitant. “Gentlemen, obviously we could have chosen individually different fabrics and styles for your outerwear. But, you're apparently going to be engaged in business and social functions so we did not include heavy casual outerwear. Since you came in as a group, I decided that you collectively make a stronger first impression by dressing alike. Should you find yourselves outside for any length of time in Chicago’s notoriously cold winter weather, you will appreciate the advanced protection from the cold your outer garments will provide. I had this brought in especially for you gentlemen. Before you remove your overcoats and scarves, there is one more item of clothing I think you should try on. Jamie.” A young assistant wheeled out a cart with four small dark felt hats. “Gentlemen, these fedoras by Stetson will provide a greatly appreciated extra layer of warmth. 25% of your body heat escapes through your head. I am sure each of you owns at least one or more western style hat, maybe a few of those ghastly but popular ball caps.” Paul was sure the man cringed when he muttered “ball caps”. “Nothing in your wardrobe says, “I’m from Texas”. Certainly, this sophisticated headgear won't either but it will look smart with your overcoat and visually tie you even more together as a group to be reckoned with.” Please step forward and try them on.”
Paul had to admit, as a group, their individually fitted hats made them stand out. He recalled seeing pictures of the “rat pack”, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., et al. This group looked every bit as sophisticated. Jeff, Sam, and Dave agreed. Mark breathed an audible sigh of relief.
Thankfully nothing needed any drastic alterations. Once everything was packed away, each man had a very sturdy looking set of leather luggage. Sam and Dave’s luggage was a noticeably lighter shade of brown than was Jeff and Paul's. Each piece was monogrammed. Each set consisted of a very large “suitcase” with external zippered pockets galore and a very heavy duty strap. There was a very thick garment bag that obviously held the two suits, the tuxedo, and the overcoat. The last piece was a fairly large backpack. “Inside the backpacks, you will find four pairs each of socks and underwear along with individually selected grooming items. These have been chosen based on your individual skin types and coloring. I suggest you give them a try before dismissing them out of hand. The colognes have been specially matched to your individual body chemistry and when used along with the crystal deodorant stick should produce a uniquely pleasant and yet subtle aroma that compliments your own natural essence. While all this is presented gratis, refills, unfortunately, are not. I do encourage you to sample these products as a complete package. The soap, shampoo are again intended solely for your use. We do not encourage sharing unless by chance you have been given the exact same product.”
Mark then shook hands with each man, addressed him by name and thanked him for his business, as if each had just spent a fortune in his shop instead of just addressing Jeff, who Mark knew to be the one paying all their bills. Paul was again impressed with the man. He made a mental note to keep in touch with Mark. There could be a potential friendship with this haberdasher. Paul also pretended not to notice the more than one, one hundred dollar bills Jeff slipped to Mark as they shook hands. He mentally kicked himself for not matching his lover’s gratuity.
Once the luggage was loaded Paul excused himself saying he needed the men’s room before they left. He assured Jeff he did not want to accompany Paul on his odiferous venture. Jeff waited with Sam and Dave.
Inside the store, Paul asked for Mark and extracted two one hundred dollar bills as he waited. Mark appeared with a look of concern. “Paul, is something wrong”?
“No! No! Everything you did was perfect. It's just that I am used to shopping at Walmart and you made this a wonderful experience and well, uh, I was wondering if you ever visited with your customers outside of work”?
“Paul, I’m flattered, I really am. But, I am married to a wonderful man and I could never see myself cheating on him even with someone even as hot as you and Jeff.”
Paul’s face began to flush crimson. “Oh No! That's not what I had in mind at all. We would never do that with anyone except each other. I meant like friends visiting. You just seemed like a real down to earth kind of guy that I, and I am sure Jeff would also, like to get to know better. I meant do you and your husband socialize with your customers”?
“Now that it's a little more clear, yes. I think you two would be a fun couple to get to know. We have a six-year-old daughter so that limits our social activities somewhat.”
“So do we! I mean have an almost six-year-old daughter. When we get back from Chicago and get settled in with school and work and all, I will definitely give you a call.”
“That sounds great. We’ll look forward to your call.” With that, they again shook hands and Paul was pleased to see the look of surprise on Mark's face as the “tip” registered.
Paul turned quickly to make his exit. Over his shoulder, he offered, “Thanks again for everything. We’ll be in touch soon.”
Jeff didn't say anything as Paul climbed in. The smug look was enough. Paul made no comment.
Jeff directed Dave to a Tex-Mex restaurant that Mark had recommended. As they were getting out Jeff said, “Listen guys, I want to talk privately with Paul about some things. Would you mind getting a separate table”? Neither Sam nor Dave seemed put out at the request. Dining at the same table was the exception rather than the rule for security people.
Paul was pleased that he didn't feel anxious, just curious about the issues his lover wanted to discuss. Once they placed their orders and had their iced tea, Jeff began, “Paul, as you know, Sam and Dave are our permanent employees. I mean they are still employed by Adams Security, but they’re permanently assigned to us. I think Dave is the logical choice to be assigned to you and I can have Sam as my personal bodyguard. Fred will be Maria's bodyguard. I like the idea that each man has a key individual to focus on. Someone whose life he is to protect in an emergency. I don't want there to be any doubt or hesitation as to who covers whom.
“I think Sam should be given overall responsibility for securing our ranch. He already makes schedules. Dave is apparently more tech-savvy, so his input will be critical. I don't want some idiot sneaking up on us ever again. I don't care if their bodies are left to scavengers. I won't have my family put at risk. I will spend every dime I have to keep them safe. I’m not paranoid, but I know there are people out there that would kill us just for being gay. Ransom is also a strong motivator.
“I think you should get used to having Dave go to work with you. If TR and Dr. Dave need an explanation, tell them whatever you feel comfortable with. Just don't compromise Dave's ability to keep you coming back home to Maria and me at the end of the day. Remember you have the money to set up your own practice if you want to.”
The silence let Paul know the “issues” were now up for discussion. “Believe me, Jeff, I have come to appreciate having Dave close at hand. He didn't hesitate at the shootout and that tells me all I need to know. I can see now that security is a minuscule expense compared the Adams family coffers. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you’ve just said. But, I do think we should offer them their own house. I don't mind having them live with us. With Maria underfoot it's not likely we’ll be running around naked and screwing in every room in the house. But, they might like that option for themselves. We could get another of those modular homes just for them and set it close so an alarm could bring them running. Maybe even where my house used to sit. The site already has the necessary hookups and it is the best spot on the ranch. I loved the view from the front porch.
On the ride home, Jeff broached the topic and laid out their ideas. Sam and Dave agreed with the plans except they had already discussed the separate housing issue. They actually felt a little spoiled being responsible for just their laundry. Their bedroom had a sitting area complete with a big screen TV and gaming consoles as well as an ensuite like a five-star hotel, not to mention a fully stocked mini fridge. Years from now they might want their own place when they decided to add to their family, which they both wanted to eventually do.
Sam continued to speak, “But for now, the pros of sharing a house with you guys far outweigh the cons. We think you might want to bring in a cleaning lady to help Fred out a couple of times a week. Cooking and cleaning for all of us and watching Maria is a bit much. He won't complain, but it would sure be a big help for him.
Dave meekly added, “Of course if the cleaning lady did laundry a couple of times a week, that would be just about perfect."