By Tim Mead
The usual disclaimers apply. Don't read this if for some legal reason you shouldn't. Remember the work is under copyright and thus belongs to me. No reposting without permission
Toby's being in his life had cut down some on the writing Ben was getting done. Even though Toby had studying to do and work connected with his being a TA, he was at Ben's house frequently, both evenings and weekends, when Ben was accustomed to working on one or the other of his writing projects. Although he felt guilty about spending less time on his fiction, Ben rationalized that he was accountable only to himself so far as the writing was concerned. He hadn't spent every evening and most of the weekends writing when Trent was living with him. Besides, he enjoyed Toby's presence in his house, in his bed, in his life.
Mr. Tibbs, who seemed devoted to Toby and clearly enjoyed his frequent visits, spent as much time as possible in Toby's lap.
At work, things went about as smoothly as they had when Sharon had been PIO. The only difference was the sexual tension between Kris Anders and Ben in their Tuesday and Thursday working lunches in Kris's office. Neither of them ever mentioned the problem, but Ben felt it. And he noticed that sometimes he wasn't the only one with an erection.
One day as Ben came out of Anders' office, Phil Massini was walking past, picking his teeth.
"I can't help wondering what you two fags are doing in there so often. With the door shut." He walked on toward his cubicle shaking his head.
Another day about the same time, he asked, casually, "What did you eat in there for lunch today, Moss?"
Not a violent man by nature, Ben wanted to bash the shorter Massini against a wall, knee him in the nuts. But there was no wall. Just a corridor of movable partitions. Besides, he couldn't very well start a fight with a subordinate in the workplace. Much as he wished he could.
Colby State's spring break started the first week in April that year. The first came on a Saturday. Toby and Bruce had decided they needed to be on campus during the break. After all, Toby was to get his MS that spring and Bruce would have completed the course work for his doctorate and needed to get his dissertation topic approved. The two friends had decided, however, to go to Indianapolis on Saturday, Bruce's birthday, and return sometime around mid-day on Monday.
Ben and Toby took Bruce to dinner on Friday evening at a popular steak house and then they all went back to Ben's house for birthday cake (purchased from a local supermarket). The cake had no candles (they thought 24 candles might be a bit much), but it said "Happy Birthday, Bruce" on it.
As Ben was bringing in the cake, Toby produced a large gift-wrapped box. "This is from both of us," he said, grinning at his friend and roommate.
"Wow! This is heavy," Bruce said. "What's inside?"
"Only one way to find out, dude," Toby said. He knew that Bruce hated the overworked term, "dude."
"Hey," Bruce said after he'd torn off the wrapping and opened the box. "Books! Couldn't have gotten me anything I'd like better. But what are they?"
He reached into the box and pulled out a hardbound book in its colorful dust jacket. "Oh, this is the first of the Witherspoons. I've got it in paperback, though." Looking puzzled, he pulled out another book. "Another Witherspoon!" He still looked puzzled. After he retrieved three more books from the box, the light apparently dawned.
"Guys, this is a set of all the Witherspoon books in hardback. That's so great."
"Look inside," Toby said.
"The box is empty, Tobe."
"No, look inside the front cover of the books."
As Bruce opened the book in his hands, his eyes widened. "To Bruce. I'm glad I have such a scholarly fan. D. K. Witherspoon.," he read. He pulled out another, and another, until he'd looked at each of the five.
"Each of these is signed with a different message. And they're all addressed to me. These can't be real signatures. What did you do, write them yourselves? Well, it must have been Ben, because I know this isn't Toby's writing. What's going on? I know Witherspoon is a recluse. It's a big mystery among his fans who he or she is and why whoever it is is so publicity-shy."
All the while Toby and Ben were grinning broadly.
Toby was stroking Mr. Tibbs, who'd taken up residence in his lap and was watching the proceedings through slitted eyes.
"Bruce," Toby said, gesturing at Ben, "meet D. K. Witherspoon."
Bruce's eyes widened again. He looked like a little boy. "You're shitting me."
"No, man. I didn't believe it either. But right here in Colby, Ohio, the famous D. K. Witherspoon, writer of wildly popular het romances, is a gay man who works for the county. None other than my friend, my very dear friend," he said with a touch of the impresario in his voice, "Benjamin Moss."
"I guess I have to believe you. It is really true, Ben?"
Ben knew what Bruce meant, so he gave him the same explanation he'd given Toby a few weeks earlier.
"I'm not cut out for that kind of public life. I don't want people to associate me with those cheap romances when and if I ever manage to publish either of my two gay novels, which I hope have some real literary merit. Besides," he said with a grin, `the mystery about Witherspoon has undoubtedly increased the sales of the more recent books. But there's just one problem about this gift, Bruce."
Bruce smiled and nodded. "Yeah, I see that. I can own this set of books and be proud of them, but I can't tell anybody how I got them or how I know Witherspoon, right?"
"Yeah. Sorry to lay that responsibility on you."
"Well, maybe someday you'll come out of the closet, so to speak, and then I can say I knew you when. But I promise to keep your secret. So long as I get signed copies of each new book when it comes out."
"You got it, dude."
Toby grinned as Bruce rolled his eyes and shook his head.
* * *
If you'd like to write me about this story, please do c/o firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to put the name of the story in the subject line so I'llknow it isn't spam. Thanks. --Tim
Earlier that evening, just before quitting time, Kris had come into Ben's cubicle.
"Hey, Ben. Got any weekend plans?"
"I'm hosting a little birthday party this evening for one of the grad students who live across the street. I don't have anything else planned. Why?"
The skin around Anders' green eyes crinkled. "Right to the point, as always."
"Sorry, didn't mean to be blunt."
"No problem. It's just that there's this. . ." Kris looked around the cube farm. "We have a delicate personnel problem that I'd like to discuss with you, and I'd rather do it away from the building. Since you have no plans, could you come to my place for a drink Sunday afternoon, say about 3:00?"
"Sure, I can do that. Wanna give me a hint what this is all about?"
"Let's wait and deal with it Sunday."
"Okay. See you then."
Anders gave Ben a broad grin and left.
As Anders turned to leave, Ben couldn't help admiring his new boss's package and the curve of his ass under his dress slacks.
Since Bruce and Toby left early Saturday morning for Indianapolis, Ben did his usual pre-Toby Saturday routine of working out, grocery shopping, and spending the day on This Petty Pace. As he reread the most recent chapter, however, he began to think the novel was unnecessarily gloomy. Perhaps Jake, his protagonist, was too pessimistic, too inclined to blame the world for his feeling like a pariah. Perhaps he should have some sort of revelation, something to make him get off his butt, out of his apartment, and back into the world. He should realize that there just might be some compatible, reasonably attractive guy out there for him if he'd make the effort to look. `That,' Ben thought, `may actually have some possibilities.
He spent the rest of the day reworking three of the most recently-written chapters.
When he went to bed that night, he missed Toby. Having Mr. Tibbs at the foot of the bed just wasn't the same. He missed Toby even more when he woke up the next day. But it was a beautiful spring morning, rare that early in the season. He opened his bedroom window and took a deep breath. It was surprisingly mild, so he decided to go for a run, something he hadn't been able to do often during what had been a typically snowy winter. He loaded the coffee maker before he left.
Back at the house, after his cool down and stretches, he fed Mr. Tibbs and then shaved and showered, pulling on a pair of jeans and a tee. He would change clothes later, before he went to Kris's place. He drank a glass of orange juice, poured himself a mug of coffee, and fixed a bowl of Kashi, which he took to the computer.
He checked his email and found that there was only one, from Kris reminding him of their meeting that afternoon. He'd hoped for one from Toby, but then he realized that Toby may not have taken his laptop home with him. `But surely there's a computer at his home,' Ben thought. `Oh, well, maybe he's just having fun with his family and friends.'
He pulled up the novel and began to work. Mr. Tibbs came and settled into his lap.
"It's a good thing I have long arms, critter. Otherwise it would be pretty awkward trying to reach over you to use the keyboard." Mr. Tibbs yawned and then began to purr.
"I know you're only here because Toby's not around, you fickle slut, you." To that Tibbs offered no reply.
When Ben felt the need to use the bathroom, he glanced at the clock in the lower toolbar of his pc. It was 2:45, so he saved what he'd written and closed down the computer.
He'd been curious as to what his boss wanted to talk about, and he'd been a bit nervous about being in Anders' condo alone with him. He'd never been able to control his cock when he was around the man, and this occasion probably wouldn't be any different.
`What should I wear?' he wondered. Then he decided it wouldn't matter. He wasn't trying to impress Kris. So he chose a clean pair of fairly new jeans, a navy tee, and a yellow button-up shirt. He wore navy socks and his burgundy loafers. There was no time to eat lunch, but he figured he'd be okay since he'd had breakfast later than usual.
Anders' condo was in a new, five-story building. The units on the back looked out on the Colby State campus, those on the front on an older residential area of the city, most of the houses having been converted into apartments for students.
When Ben knocked on the door of unit number 302, it was opened after only a brief pause by his host. Kris was wearing a pair of faded jeans, a very tight green tee shirt, and white socks.
He smiled. "Hi, Ben. Welcome. Thanks for coming."
"It's good for me to get away from the computer once in a while."
"Slaving away on the novel, were you?"
"'Fraid so." Ben looked around the condo. "At the risk of being really trite, this is a nice place you have here."
Kris chuckled. "Yeah, I was lucky to find it. Condos aren't always the best real estate investment, but in this location I don't think I'll have any trouble moving it if I either buy a house or take a job elsewhere."
"You aren't unhappy with your job, are you?"
"No, no, nothing like that. But there are the realities. It's conceivable that things might not work out here. Or that I get a better offer a few years from now. So. I'd offer you the tour of the place, but we can do that later if you want. I'm ready for a drink. What's your pleasure? I seem to remember that you're a wine drinker."
"Yeah, but I'll just have what you're having." Ben thought it was a little early to be drinking, but he wasn't going to make a point of it.
Kris's unit was on the front of the building. A large window in the great room looked out on the rooftops and still-bare trees of Colby.
"Nice view," he said to his host, who was in the kitchen taking things out of the refrigerator.
"Yeah, but the view of the campus from the units on the back side of the building is really great. But those cost a lot more, and I'm stretching things a little even to buy this one."
As he looked around at the furnishings, he thought Kris had not stinted on price there.
"I'm having Bombay and tonic. I hope that's all right. You did say you'd have what I was having."
"Yeah, thanks, that's fine."
Kris sat facing Ben, raised his glass and said, "Skol!"
Raising his own glass, Ben replied, "Cheers."
Anders didn't seem to be in any hurry to get to the point. He led the conversation to local politics, sports, the mess in the Middle East. After more than a half an hour he still hadn't gotten to the "problem" he'd said he wanted to discuss.
Ben sipped his drink. Anders had added an unusually generous portion of gin. Although he engaged in the conversation, he found himself looking at the man across from him, admiring him yet again. Not only was he great to look at, but he exuded a sense of self-confidence without seeming arrogant. All in all, a sexy combination. And, as when the two of them were having lunch together in Anders' office, Ben found himself getting warm, his cock swelling. It felt much more constricted in his jeans than it did in the dress slacks he wore to work.
Kris stood. "Let's have another, and then we can get to the reason for this get-together."
`Get together. He's not calling it a meeting,' Ben thought. `He's keeping it social. Wonder what he's got on his mind.'
After he'd returned with fresh drinks, Kris sat again.
"Surely you know why I asked you here today, Ben."
"I haven't a clue. You said it was a personnel matter you didn't want to discuss at work."
Kris chuckled. "Yes, I did, didn't I?"
"So, what's the problem? I thought I was pretty much on top of things out there in the `farm,' and I'm not aware of any problems. Has someone come to you with a complaint or something?"
"No, it's not like that at all."
"Then what is it?"
Kris raised his glass and smiled. "The problem is the elephant in the room."
"Ben, humor me for a moment. Stand up, please."
"But I don't. . ."
"Please, just stand up."
When Ben stood, Kris pointed to the snake running toward his right hipbone inside his jeans.
"That, my friend, is the elephant in the room." He gestured toward his own lap. "And the elephant has a sibling here, too."
"Oh, that!" Ben said. He sat down.
"Yes, that. So what are we going to do about it?"
"I honestly don't know, Kris."
Kris smiled and then took a swallow of his highball. "You know, it's pretty narcissistic of us to get turned on by each other."
Ben, usually pretty articulate, felt tongue tied. "Uh, narcissistic?"
"Uh huh. We're both about the same height and build. We're both blonds, though mine's more strawberry, yours more of a dirty blond. Your eyes are blue, mine are green. But we certainly are the same type. We could be cousins if not brothers. So if I find you hot, and you must have guessed I do, it's a little like looking in the mirror and liking what I see."
Ben gulped some of his g & t, forgetting how strong it was. He coughed.
Kris looked concerned. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah. Sorry. I'm just a bit surprised that we're having this discussion."
"So far, it isn't a discussion. I'm delivering a monolog, it seems. Are you going to tell me what you think about all of this?"
"I've been aware of the problem since the day you were here for your interview. And since I can't help my reactions to being around you, I've at least tried to control them – as you obviously have, too."
"So you have noticed my boners in the office?"
Ben grinned. "Well, you sit there behind your desk most of the time and your stuff is hidden. But once in a while when you've gotten up I couldn't help noticing."
"And you, poor guy, have to sit there in a chair facing me, unable to do anything but cross your legs to hide your own wood."
"So you've noticed?"
"How could I not?"
Kris stood and walked the few steps to where Ben was sitting. He knelt, used his hands to uncross Ben's legs and put both feet flat on the floor. Then he scooted on his knees between Ben's legs. Looking up at the startled Ben, he said, "Here's what I think we should do about the problem." Then he leaned forward and began to chew on Ben's erection through his jeans and boxers.
Ben's first reaction was to push Kris away, but he couldn't make himself do that. He put his hands gently on Kris's head. "Uh, I don't think, um, this isn't. . ."
Kris pulled back and looked up at Ben again. "Yes, I think it is. Let's just do this, get it out of our systems, and then we needn't speak of it again." Then he began nuzzling and chewing on Ben's package again while Ben's palms began to sweat and his heart rate increased. What Kris was doing felt amazing – in part, no doubt, because it was so unexpected and, well, improper.
Ben was snapped out of his sexual stupor when the ministrations to his cock ceased. He opened his eyes to see Kris standing up. Smiling down at Ben, he held out his hand.
"Now's the time for you to see the bedroom, I think."
Wondering how much his actions were due to two stiff drinks and how much to lust, Ben left his hand in Kris's and allowed himself to be led.
When Kris started unbuttoning his shirt, Ben's first thought was, `Oh, well, in for a penny, in for a pound.'
Soon both men had urgently undressed each other and were writhing together on the bed, which had only a bottom sheet on it. Their tongues contended, exploring each other's mouths. There was no loving gentleness, only lust. Arms and legs tangled as each explored the other's pecs, nipples, and butts. Both cocks, freed from the prison of jeans, were throbbingly erect and dripping.
When Ben, nearly breathless, thought he was going to explode, Kris pulled away. He opened a drawer of the bedside chest and pulled out a handful of condoms and a bottle of lube.
Handing them to Ben, he said, "I wouldn't want to be accused of sexual harassment here, Ben, so I think you had better fuck me. That is, if you don't mind being the top."
Ben couldn't have said no just then if his life had depended on it. So he put the lube to use, donned the raincoat, and began fingering Kris's opening while the volunteer bottom groaned and cursed his approval.
What followed was hot, sweaty man sex. Although there was mutual respect between the two of them as co-workers, although Ben thought they had made a start toward friendship, there was nothing of love or gentleness about this missionary position coupling.
When he had emptied himself into the condom, collapsed on Kris, and come down a bit from his high, he smiled at the handsome face looking up at him and said, "Your turn."
"Are you sure?"
"If we didn't, I'd always wonder."
Kris grinned. "Sounds like a good reason to me."
So, having changed roles, they went through the whole routine again.
When they sucked each other off in the shower afterward, Ben was surprised he was able to recharge so quickly.
As they dried off, Kris asked, "Are you sorry we did that?"
"I don't know how I'll feel about it tomorrow, but right now I have no regrets."
"Good. Now you can help me fix dinner. I found some nice bay scallops, which we'll have on pasta with a salad. That sound okay to you?"
"Kris, you don't have to feed me."
"We're not quite through talking yet. Besides, I'd love to feed you. This once."
Kris set Ben to fixing the salad while he made alfredo sauce from scratch and sautéed the scallops very briefly in olive oil, garlic, and white wine. As Ben set the salads on the table, Kris ladled the scallops alfredo onto pasta and set the platter on the table. From the oven he pulled a baguette. From the refrigerator he took a bottle of chardonnay.
"Voila! A feast that took, what, twenty minutes to fix? With your help, of course."
Grinning, Ben said, "Impressive, Mr. Anders."
Afterward they took coffee back to the great room.
"Kris, dinner was splendid. Thank you. I don't know what to say about the rest of what's transpired here today."
"Say nothing at all. We both needed to get it out of our systems. I don't think there's any hint that we love each other, right?"
"As great as the sex was, I have to agree."
"Although we can be friendly, I think it would be impolitic for us to be fuck buddies or even close friends so long as we're working in the same Colby County Government office."
"True. So this was a one-off."
"Can you live with that?"
Ben nodded, smiling. "Kris, I'll never forget this day. But yeah, I can live with it being a one-time thing."
They chatted a while longer about work-related items, and then Ben took his leave.
As they hugged goodbye, Ben said, "You know, boss, you're not only sex on wheels, you're one very smart man."
"It takes one to know one, Ben. And don't you ever call me boss again."
The euphoria brought on by good food, a bit too much to drink, and fantastic sex wore off later in the evening.
As he sat staring at the empty fireplace with the cat on his lap, he said, "Tibbs. I've got to tell Toby about this, don't I?"
Mr. Tibbs looked up wide-eyed, twitched the end of his tail, and said "Yeow."