By Mickey S

If you are under age, or live in an area where reading stories that include sex between males is illegal, or if you're not into this type of story, please leave. This is a fictional story and all characters and events are a figment of the author's imagination. My thanks to Tim and Drew for all of their help. The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at

Chapter 15

I decided to try talking to Declan about my dating career sooner rather than later. He'd come by the house Tuesday morning to check up on Dad (the doctor had cut the home visits back to once a week) but Declan was on a schedule and besides, he was there to see Dad, not me. Wednesday night we went out to eat but I didn't think a local restaurant was the best place for the conversation.

Saturday afternoon we were going to do some horseback riding and I thought that might be a good place to talk. My first riding lesson had been the week before. Declan had made sure that the people who ran the stable where he boarded his horse rented me a very tame one and he showed me the basics. The stable bordered on a large state park so there were miles of trails to ride. We hadn't gone very far that first day since Declan was more interested in teaching me how to get on the horse, stay on the horse and have a little control over her than wearing out my butt. He'd said that we'd go for a longer ride the next time, so I figured that as long as the horse watched where we were going and I stayed on her back, we could have a nice long talk in the privacy of the woods.

It must have been obvious to Declan that I had something on my mind because as soon as we started down a trail into the park he turned and asked me what was bothering me.

"I think it's time I told you about my old job." Over the past few days I'd rehearsed about ten opening lines to this conversation while doing farm chores and none seemed to be a good intro.

"Public relations? I always had the feeling you didn't want to talk about that."

"That's because that wasn't really what I was doing. It was more like private relations."

"You mean like therapy?"

"Not exactly." Shit, this was harder than I'd imagined. I'd never been ashamed of what I did - I couldn't have done it for so long if I'd felt that way about it - but given society's traditional moral values it was hard to explain it to someone new. There seemed no way to ease into it. I just had to jump in with both feet. "The company I worked for wasn't a PR firm. It was an escort agency that specialized in fulfilling clients' fantasy dates."

I looked over at Declan to see his reaction. He was staring straight ahead with no expression on his face at all.

"So you were basically a call boy?"

Well, at least he caught the drift of what I was saying, although I didn't want him thinking it was all about sex and money. So I launched into the philosophy and workings of Dream Dates, emphasizing the non-sexual aspects of the dates, but not glossing over the fact the sex was usually a part of them. I tried to explain that it was really all about fulfilling fantasies, not just renting a hole to achieve an orgasm. Every now and then I glanced over at him to try to gauge his reaction. Usually I caught him looking at me thoughtfully, and when our eyes met he'd quickly look away with that same stoic look on his face.

After a five minute monolog he still wasn't giving a clue as to what he was thinking, so I went into an explanation of how I got started, beginning with the guy whose poodle I walked, my initial reluctance, then gradual acceptance of escorting as a way to supplement my income when I needed it.

My mouth and throat were dry after all of the talking and still Declan hadn't said anything. The longer he was quiet the more worried I got. I finally asked him straight-out what he was thinking.

"So, what's your reaction to all of this. Are you intrigued, disappointed, appalled, disgusted? What?"

He took a deep breath.

"You just blurted out more information on your past life in ten minutes than you've given me in the past four months. Give me a few minutes to digest it all and then we'll talk."

He lightly kicked his heels into his horse's sides and the horse jumped ahead. I rode behind him, watching his back, wondering what he was thinking, wondering whether I'd just ruined any chance of a relationship, or even a friendship, with him. After what seemed like an eternity of listening to the clomp of the horse's hooves but was probably only a few minutes, he pulled his horse up and waited for me to draw up next to him. I was relieved to see that he no longer had that frozen mask on his face. He wasn't exactly smiling, but his expression was warm and reassuring.

"So basically you're saying that when you were young and found yourself in a tight financial spot, you reluctantly turned to hustling, then went at it full blast when it became more than just sex and more financially rewarding as well?"

"Pretty much, although I never thought of it as the center of my life. It was something I was good at and it paid well, so it supported me while I looked around to find out what else I was good at and wanted to do."

He still hadn't given any indication of his feelings about it all but at least he wasn't outright condemning me. I took that as a good sign but I wanted to know for sure if there was still a chance to have something with him.

"You haven't answered my question, Declan. How do you feel about all of this?"

"Well, I haven't given a whole lot of thought to the field of prostitution. I mean, I don't want to be rude about it, but regardless of what else was involved in your dates, that's what the escort industry boils down to. I don't have any moral objection to trading sex for money although personally, I can't imagine ever paying for sex. I would find it to be humiliating to do that. As far as getting paid for sex, no one has ever made me an offer so that idea hasn't come up, either. But I have a feeling I'd find that a little humiliating as well."

"Actually, the first time that poodle guy offered me money I found it flattering, even though the idea turned me off."

"I understand the flattery, the idea that you're so hot someone would be willing to pay to be with you. But the flip side is that they think that's all you are, a piece of meat to be bought and used. I know there's a lot of that impersonal sentiment involved in free casual sex but at least it's a mutual feeling. Both people are giving and taking in the same way."

"I think the flattery vs. humiliation argument boils down to an individual's basic self-esteem."

"That brings me to the point that could affect our having a relationship. I took a couple of psychology courses in nursing school but no way am I expert in the field. But I know there's been a lot written on the psychology of prostitution." I winced every time he used that word even though I had always known that was exactly what I was doing. "There are lots of theories about the type of person that becomes involved in that, especially for any length of time. About the kind of childhood abuse that often leads to it, feelings of low self-worth and lack of self-love, inability to connect with other people, to form relationships."

"Well, I have a Masters degree in psychology and I've given it a lot of thought but I'm no more an expert than you. I think I'm pretty grounded and well-adjusted, although being 32 and never having had a serious relationship I've often wondered if I was able to."

"Clearly I'm still learning some big stuff about you, but I think you're pretty sane and sensible, too. And while I'm not crazy about the idea of you in bed with all kinds of sleazy guys, I do like the Silas I've come to know the past few months."

"Well, I'm not too thrilled thinking about you in bed with lots of others either, especially the ones of the female persuasion, but the past is the past and there's nothing either of us can do about it."

"I agree. And in spite of my past, when it comes to a relationship I am strictly monogamous. So if you were still an escort, that would be a big problem. But I don't have much of a problem with you as an ex-escort."

Much of a problem? That meant there was still at least a bit of a problem, but he wasn't ruling out a relationship so his reaction was better than I had a right to expect. Besides, he'd only had a few minutes to get used to the idea of my past. He was still willing to give us a chance, so I was sure that over time whatever problems he still had would fade away.

As we headed back to the stables we changed the subject, talking about the farm, my plans for the house, Dad's health, anything but my sordid past. In his Jeep on the way back to the farm, however, he brought the subject up again.

"So how much did you make on these dates of yours?"

"It depended on what was involved, and I don't just mean sexually. They usually ran between five hundred and a thousand a date."

"Damn, you must be good in the sack to rake in that kind of dough." I looked at him and saw that he was grinning, so although I wasn't really comfortable talking about it I knew I wasn't on thin ice.

"I don't know about that. Like I said, we gave guys their fantasies, so the money wasn't for the sex act, per se. As long as they got to live out their dream and had an orgasm at the end, if that's what they wanted, that was enough. And, going through the agency, the clients knew their escort was healthy and had been prescreened so he wouldn't knife them, and there was confidentiality, so they were paying for all of that security as well."

"But still, you must be pretty versatile. I mean, everybody has a different fantasy. And some were pretty kinky, I'll bet."

"Sounds like you're looking for a little vicarious pleasure yourself, Declan. Yeah, some fantasies involved kink but if it was too extreme I passed it up. I pretty much like the basics of sex. Without the costumes, theatrics and role-playing, I'm probably pretty boring in bed."

"Somehow I don't believe that." Declan grinned again. He thought for a moment. "So you must be pretty rich after all these years. Let's see, an average of $750 a date, 5 times a week, 50 weeks a year, that's ... well, a lot. I was never very good at math but it's sure a lot more than I make."

"First of all, the agency kept nearly a third of the fee. And I rarely worked five days a week, three or four was more like it. Don't forget, I was going to school most of the time. Besides, living in the city wasn't cheap. So while I made quite a lot and lived well, I'm not independently wealthy."

"There goes my fantasy of having a hot sugar daddy."

"Sorry about that, but maybe you have some other fantasies I can take care of for you."

"I'm sure I can think of one or two."

It looked like neither one of us was going to have any fantasies fulfilled for a while, though. It was the end of August and the busiest time of year on the farm was beginning. For the next eight weeks or so I'd be working nearly every waking minute getting the corn and alfalfa in, picking the apples and pears in the orchard, and canning what was left of the veggies in the garden.

While I'd spent the first twenty years of my life doing all of these things on the farm, I'd never had to do them all myself. When I was not much more than a toddler, I helped Mom in the garden, while Dad and Grandpa took care of the crops. A few years later I'd graduated to picking in the orchard. Grandpa died when I was eleven so I took his place in the fields after school, doing what I could to help Dad.

I figured if Dad had been able to do it all himself the past few years I could do it, too, but I was still a little anxious. After all, Dad had been doing the work his whole life and was better at it than me. Also, he hadn't had a garden for several years and the last few he hadn't bothered at all with the orchard, aside from picking the fruit on low-hanging branches.

So I settled into a routine, starting with the cows at five, then breakfast with Dad, then out to the fields all day with a break for lunch. The afternoon felt like the morning all over again, with the cows at five, then supper with Dad, then out for more field work until sundown. It was nearly nine when I dragged myself in from the barn every night. I'd have a nightcap with Dad and then it was bedtime.

Rainy days were a brief respite, although there was still work to be done indoors. There was the usual housework, of course, but I also spent hours in the kitchen putting up dozens of jars of apples, pears and veggies.

The exceptions to my all-work-and-no-play schedule were Wednesdays and Saturdays. Once I'd finished the afternoon milking on Wednesday, my work was done. It was date night with Declan. I fixed Dad something simple to eat then Uncle Frank came over to play cards with him while Declan and I went out to dinner. Saturday mornings I worked in the fields until noon, then Declan and I went riding. Afterwards he came back to the house for dinner with me and Dad. Though Wednesdays were much more romantic than Saturdays, I enjoyed every minute with Declan.

I was beginning to wonder if we were ever going to consummate our relationship, though. We'd passed the stage of wanting to wait, of being afraid sex would get in the way. After my second coming out to him, that of telling him about my escort years, I think he was looking forward to sex more than ever. I knew I was.

The week before Labor Day it rained three days in a row. The first two I worked in the kitchen, but then I ran out of produce to can and patience with Dad's non-stop 'supervision' of my activities. When I awoke to a third day of rain I decided to find something in the barn to keep me busy.

The barn was generally kept in good shape. The milking room was immaculate and I cleaned out the cows' 'living quarters' every day. The area where the tractor and tools and implements used in the fields was well organized, but the far end of the barn was pretty much a mess. It was filled with things we hadn't used in ages. Most of the stuff belonged in a museum. There were four stalls that had housed horses back in the day when they were the power behind farming, pulling the plows and taking my great-grandparents to town. The stalls were now jammed with farm tools from those days. I decided to catalog all of those old things, thinking that I could have an antique dealer come in to make us an offer to supplement the farm income.

The one thing I knew I couldn't sell off was the sleigh my great-grandparents had used on their wedding day over 125 years before. I had been fascinated with it when I was a kid and even now considered it to be a part of our family history that belonged on the farm. I cleared an area around it, imagining how it must have looked all those years ago, gliding down the road drawn by a majestic horse, carrying two bundled up lovebirds, just like a Currier and Ives lithograph.

I then noticed a wooden placard about three feet by four attached to broken posts leaning against the wall. It was freshly painted and not at all worn and so didn't seem to belong with all of the antiques surrounding it. I gingerly stepped through the stuff and pulled the sign away from the wall to see what was written on it. Sure enough, it was practically new and had the words 'Preserved Farmland' written on it along with the state seal.

I knew the state had come out with some kind of program to encourage farmers not to sell their land to developers, like the Miller's down the road had done, but I knew nothing about it. Dad hadn't said anything about it, and that concerned me. I'd made a pretty big commitment, moving back from the city to take care of Dad and run the farm and now it appeared the farm might not be ours anymore. Maybe that was why Dad wasn't concerned with money - he'd sold the farm to the state.

I tried to continue with my clearing and organizing but the more I thought about the sign the more concerned I got, so I gave up on my work and went back to the house. As I crossed the road I noticed Uncle Frank's truck was in the driveway. If Dad really had sold the farm and not told me he was going to need someone to get between the two of us. With each step I got more pissed, wondering what kind of game Dad was playing, why he had tricked me.

Dad and Uncle Frank were playing checkers in the kitchen when I walked in. My mood must have been written all over my face because they both stopped and stared at me.

"What's the matter, son? Is there a problem in the barn?"

"There may be a problem all right and not just in the barn. What the hell does that Preserved Farmland sign out there mean?"

"Oh, you found it, did ya?" Dad scowled a bit. "I thought I'd hidden it pretty good."

"I thought you were going to put that back up, Sam. You know the state wants it out by the road where they put it."

"It's still my farm. Maybe they can tell me what I can do with it but they can't make me put up the sign."

"So it's still your farm, Dad?"

"Of course it is. You know what the land means to me. You think I'd sell to anyone? Didn't I tell you I was going to leave it to you?"

I breathed a sigh of relief.

"I know, Dad. It's just that I was surprised to find that sign. What does it mean? And why were you hiding it from me?"

"I wasn't hiding it from you. It's like Frank said, the state would like me to have it out where you can see it from the road but I got tired of people slowing down and gawking at the house. If anyone asks, I backed into it with the tractor and haven't got around to putting it back up."

"So are you going to tell me what the sign means or are you going to keep it a secret?"

"It's not a secret. In fact, it's a matter of public record. I sold the development rights for the farm to the state a couple of years ago. Basically, the state had the farm assessed and then paid me the difference between what it was worth to a developer and what it was worth as farmland. I was lucky that the assessment came before the economy went into the toilet and real estate prices plummeted. So the land is still mine, but it can't ever be used for anything but farming. I can sell it or leave it to whoever I want but they can't develop it."

"And there are no other restrictions on it?"

"None at all. It's still my land. That's really why I took down the sign. I'm proud that I've preserved my little bit of open space but I won't let anyone tell me what to do."

"Were you ever going to tell me about this, Dad?"

"Sooner or later." He shrugged. "It just never came up. At the very least I figured you'd find out when I died and you took over the place."

"Well, now that it's come up, is there anything else I should know about the farm?"

"You should really put the sign back up, though, Sam."

"You're so concerned but I don't see a sign on your farm, Frank."

"You know I've signed up for the program and been approved by the county. I'm just waiting for the state to come up with the money. I think they broke the bank with you."

"So this is why you aren't worried about whether the farm makes money or not, Dad. How much did you get for the development rights? Or is that a secret, too?"

"It's not a secret but I'm not going to tell you. It's still my farm so it's none of your business, at least for now. If you really want to know you can go to the county offices in Newton and look it up. But I will tell you it was plenty, so you should stop your worrying about the farm and if it's making enough money to get by."

Dad never liked to talk about money and I could see he wasn't going to get into it, especially in front of Uncle Frank, so I dropped the subject and went back to the barn. I was relieved that the farm was still ours, without any restrictions that would interfere with what we wanted to do with it. I knew nothing about real estate prices but I knew a hundred acres of land had to be worth a lot. No wonder Dad wasn't worried about how much money the farm brought in.

I decided to ask him about it again over supper that night.

"The development rights to this place must have been worth a fortune, Dad."

"I guess. What was important to me was that it left me with money to live on, since the farm wasn't bringing in much with the amount of work I was able to do in recent years."

"So we're rich?"

"I don't know about you, Silas, but I'm not rich. I invested some of the money and the return on that helps support the farm. With some of the rest I set up trust funds for Barbara's kids' education. After my run-in with Teddy this summer I wish I hadn't, but I asked Henry and there's no getting out of it. I figured since you and Barbara wouldn't want the farm itself at least I could leave you both some money."

"Then we've still got to work?" I teased. I felt uncomfortable that even during our estrangement Dad was thinking about me, about leaving me a share of his estate, and wanted to lighten things up a bit.

"You've still got to work. The doctor told me I had to retire."

"Speaking of Barbara, have you heard from her lately?" I hadn't spoken to her since I'd sent Teddy home and didn't know if she'd kept in touch with Dad.

"Nope, not since I was in the hospital and she kept haranguing me about Teddy. I told her to stop calling if that was all she wanted to talk about and she hasn't called since."

In spite of his gruffness, or maybe because of it, I could tell Dad was bothered by Barbara's apparent lack of interest in his well-being. I knew she'd been somewhat self-centered all through his medical problems, and was pissed at me over what had gone on with Teddy, but I was still surprised she'd kept her distance. I thought back to my last conversation with her and a thought occurred to me.

"Does Barbara know about the farmland preservation program?"

"Yeah, her last visit was right about the time it was taking place so she knows all about it."

That explained her 'we both know better than that' reply when she accused me of showing concern for Dad only because I wanted his money, and I'd said that the farm was all there was of his estate. And that made it even more puzzling that she hadn't called Dad. If she was concerned about her own inheritance I was surprised that she didn't try to get back on his good side. Dad was obviously thinking along the same lines because he was quiet for a minute, then shook his head and spoke softly, as if to himself.

"You'd think even if she didn't care about me she'd stay in touch to make sure she was still in my will."