by Tim Mead
Tim: You know, Bax, some of your readers may wonder why you never knew about the trust fund. You and Russ had been together over a year when he told you, right?
Bax: Closer to two. But I honestly didn't know about it. And you don't want me to make up stuff, do you?
Tim: [smiles] That's up to you.
Bax: It was this way. Each of us had a checking account when we got together. After that we set up a joint account for household expenses but kept our individual accounts. So I never knew how much income he had or where it came from. I mean, I knew he was being paid for his work at Pierce-Thompson and after that for the tour. But I never knew how much or whether he had money coming in from other sources.
Tim: Okay, that makes sense. But you might get emails from readers about it.
* * *
I pulled my face back, still holding a hard little bun in each hand.
"I was just thinking what your colleagues and the U of Z students would think if they could see you now."
"Well, it's no secret that I'm gay."
"Yeah, but with you being a candidate for Carol's job, and all . . ."
"Watch it, buster! You mess with me and I'll tell all our friends what your middle name is."
"Oh! Okay. Maybe you should get back to what you were doing."
He wiggled his beautiful butt but said nothing.
"No please, no pleasure."
"As wonderful as that was, I think I'm ready for the main event. Fuck me, babe."
"I don't think I heard you."
"Please, Bax, make love to me."
"All you had to do was ask, gorgeous."
I knew that Russ was named Logan after his mother's parents. When we first met he refused to tell me his middle name. It wasn't until we were filling out papers related to purchasing our house that I found out. His middle name was his paternal grandmother's maiden name, Walpole. So he was Logan Walpole Smith. I could imagine the kind of teasing he'd have received in high school if his friends knew about that.
So, from time to time, just to remind him I could, I threatened to tell his awful truth. But I hadn't. And he knew I wouldn't.
* * *
Dad and Lisa wanted to see the big star now that his tour with Apex was over, so one Friday evening when I got home from work we had a quick supper and then threw a bag in the trunk of the Mustang and headed for Fort Wayne. Once we got out of the city and onto the Turnpike we chatted about how our day had gone. He wanted to know all about the search for Carol's replacement (more about that later). And then he told me about his checkup with Dr. Sam that morning.
"He's not dating anyone, and, though he pooh-poohs it, I can tell he's lonely."
"That sucks. Sam's a great guy. And cute, too. For a doctor."
"Hey, you're a doctor."
I laughed. "Not a physician, though. The point is, we have to keep our eyes open for somebody that Sam might find simpatico."
"You know, Bax, he might be pissed with us for trying to play matchmaker."
"Not if we find the right guy. Why don't we talk to Mitch and Corey and see if they have any ideas? They both go to Sam, too."
He sighed and agreed. Then he turned on the radio. After fiddling with the tuning knob, he came up with something that sounded startlingly familiar. It was him! The station was playing the Apex CD.
I put my right hand on his thigh and squeezed. "Wow! My lover, the country star!"
Mockingly, he said, "Awww, shucks!"
We continued to drive west on the Turnpike into the night.
"Rusty," I said, intentionally using his stage name, "are you sure you don't miss that life?"
He lifted my hand and put it on his hard dick.
For emphasis, he humped into my hand.
"Watch it there, cowboy! Don't want to distract me at 70 miles an hour. Do you want to stop at the next rest area?"
He released my hand, and I put it back on the steering wheel.
"I guess I can wait until bedtime. We're gonna have to be very quiet so your dad and Lisa don't hear us, though."
"I'll stick a sock in your mouth if necessary."
"Talk's cheap, little man."
"Oh, you're gonna be so sorry you said that, Walpole."
The weekend with my folks was pleasant. We loafed around the house with Lisa and Dad on Saturday. That evening Ellen had insisted that we all go there for supper. Tyler and Taylor were excited to see my "cowboy," as they'd called him ever since they'd seen the cover of the Apex CD. He'd brought along his guitar, so after supper he allowed himself to be persuaded to play and sing for us. And then we all sat around and talked. Everyone wanted to know what it had been like to be on the road, especially with a big star like Chace Biggs.
Russ told them some things about the trip he hadn't told me. Nothing important, just stuff that must have occurred to him as we sat there and talked. Like the time their luggage never made it from the hotel to the bus and they arrived in a new town with no clothes, toiletries, nothing. Fortunately, their instruments had been brought along, but their handler or manager had to send someone out to buy new shirts and jeans for each of them. Unfortunately, the person doing the shopping did just what she was told. So they had no clean underwear or socks to wear for that night's performance.
"So what did you do?" Sis asked, a devilish look on her face.
"We all decided it was better to go commando than to take showers and then put on underwear we'd had on for hours on the bus. I was sorry I didn't wear any socks, though, `cause those boots weren't made to wear without `em."
"What's commando?" Tay asked.
"Taylor, never mind!" his dad said.
Giving Mark a look, Lisa asked, "It must have been fun bein' up there on the stage and thinking `if this audience only knew . . .' wasn't it, hon?"
He blushed. I always loved it when he did that.
"Well, I don't know how the others felt, but I was glad I had my guitar to hide behind."
There was a general laugh.
"What's so funny about that?" Taylor asked.
"I'll tell ya upstairs later," his "big" brother of 9 years old said. And that brought another laugh.
Much before they were ready, the boys were told by their mother to go get ready for bed.
"Can Uncle Bax and Uncle Russ come upstairs and say goodnight to us?" Tay asked.
Ellen looked at us.
Russ was grinning. He obviously liked being called "uncle" by the boys.
"Sure we will, pardner," he said.
I couldn't help laughing at the cowboy act he was putting on for the kids.
"What's funny, Uncle Bax?" Tay wanted to know.
"Um, nothing, kiddo. Uncle Russ and I'll be up in a few minutes.
Later, Ellen had a sherry while the rest of us were sipping brandy.
I remember feeling totally contented. Here I was with my family and my lover. We'd had a big meal, and I was still comfortably full. I felt a sense of well being such as I hadn't experienced since I was a kid at home. (I'm not leading up to a disaster, I just want you to know that I was really happy that night.)
There was a lull in the conversation. Lisa looked at Russ and asked, "Russ, honey, you've been home for a while now. Have you decided what you're goin' to do next?"
Russ had been sitting next to me, slumped down into the sofa, his long legs stretched out, holding his glass on his belly. I knew he must be sick of hearing that question, but he handled it with typical patience. He sat up and put his glass on the end table.
"I'm not really sure, Lisa. But it won't be anything I've done before. I don't want to go back to being a broker. And after that tour I've got the singing career out of my system, as my mother says."
Everyone was watching him carefully. Dad nodded, but no one said anything for about a minute. Then it was Lisa who spoke up again.
"But surely you must have some idea what you'd like to do."
He smiled at her, and she smiled back. You couldn't not smile when Russ smiled at you.
"Well, I know I'd better make up my mind pretty soon. It bothers my parents that I'm not doing anything productive with my life."
"It's your life," Dad said. "I can't imagine your folks would try to pressure you into doing something you don't want to do."
I bit the inside of my cheek to keep from saying anything.
He shook his head. "I'm afraid you don't know my parents. They've always been very, um, ambitious for me. And frankly I don't think anything I ever do will impress them."
Then he took my hand. "But my strongest reason for needing to make up my mind soon is that I think it bothers Bax that I'm not out working at something."
I got reproachful looks from Lisa, Ellen, and Dad. Mark raised an eyebrow and looked at me sympathetically.
"It's not like that, baby! You know I want more than anything else for you to be happy!"
I was regretting that I'd said anything to him about the Puritan work ethic. Abstractly I couldn't help thinking that being idle all the time was somehow wrong, but concretely I was concerned about Russ's happiness.
"So far as I'm concerned," I continued, "you can take all the time you need to figure out what you want to do."
"Russ, hon, you must have given it some thought. Don't you have any ideas?" Lisa asked.
He squeezed my hand and let it go. Then he took a sip of brandy and set the glass down again.
"I want to do something. . . I don't know how to put this so it won't sound stupid. I want to put back, to do something that matters, to help people."
"Well bless your heart!" Lisa said. "That's not stupid."
I thought for a moment she was going to come over and hug Russ, but instead she just gave him a big smile.
"I've thought of a few things I might do, but all of them would involve going back to school. And I'm a little old for that."
"You are not!" I exclaimed. "We have lots of non-traditional students, and so does every university these days."
"And how would you feel if I became a college student again?"
It struck me as odd for a moment that this conversation was being held in this venue, on this particular stage, so to speak. But why not? These were all my people, the ones I loved most in the world.
"Sweetheart, if that's what you want, I'll be fine with it."
Everyone had encouraging things to say, and after much hugging and thanks, Lisa, Dad, Russ and I went home. Well, we went back to Lisa and Dad's house. The house where I grew up. Home was in Zenith, where Russ and I lived.
We remembered to be very quiet as we made love that night so we wouldn't be heard in Dad and Lisa's room.
* * *
A procession of candidates for Carol's job came and went. Carol was involved in the selection process, but I wasn't. It would, of course, have been inappropriate for me to be, since I had acquiesced to the urging of my friends and applied for the position.
I'm not sure why I did. I didn't expect to get the job. I thought I was qualified. I knew the higher-ups were happy with the way I'd done my job. I'd worked more closely with Carol than anyone else in the administration. But I was pretty sure they'd find a reason.
Normally, I'd have been expected to talk with each candidate. And I was told several of the candidates had asked to talk with me, to get the lay of the land, so to speak, but had understood when they were refused on the grounds that I was in the running for the job.
So, with Carol getting ready to leave at the end of the term and being involved with the interviewing of candidates, I was the de facto Dean of Students, doing my regular job and taking on many of her duties as well. And when the Provost wanted to talk about plans for the coming year, Carol sent me along. The assumption was that whether I was the new Dean or not, I'd be around, able to provide continuity.
Of course, like all the other candidates, I was interviewed by all sorts of people, ranging from the two assistant deans, my subordinates, to Carol, the Provost, several Vice Presidents of one sort or another, including Academic Affairs, Finance, and Development. Eventually by the President himself. At some point it came to me in a blinding flash that I would not be getting the job. All of the people who interviewed me were men except for Carol and one of the two assistant deans. My new boss would inevitably be a woman. They couldn't afford to do otherwise. I understood that. Once Mitch had persuaded me to apply for the job, I'd found myself thinking how nice it would be to have the recognition – for my abilities, for the work I'd done. But I wasn't getting my hopes up.
So, though I couldn't help having the kind of concerns anyone does who's faced with the prospect of a new boss, I concentrated on doing all the things that I was expected to do.
I liked the work, which helped. And Russ was always there when I got home, which helped even more. Once I'd made him understand that he'd be under no pressure from me to rush out and find a job, we both relaxed and settled into loving each other. He pampered me outrageously, and I showed my appreciation as often and as enthusiastically as I could.
* * *
One Thursday night a couple of weeks after we'd been to Fort Wayne, Russ came home from his chorus rehearsal, put his coat in the hall closet, and gave me the usual kiss and hug.
"So how was rehearsal?" I asked. (I know, it's not terribly original, but that's what I said.)
"It was good, but I'm hungry. Let me grab something, and then I'll tell you some news."
He usually ate lightly before rehearsals. I wondered if that was why he'd lost weight on his tour, not wanting to eat much before going onstage.
"You didn't eat your dessert this evening. Want a piece of cake or some ice cream?"
He grinned. "How about cake with ice cream?"
Soon we were sitting at the kitchen bar tucking into all those calories. Since he had skipped dessert and I had as well, I didn't feel too guilty.
He must have been hungry, for he really tore into the food. I ate a bit more slowly. He was sexy even when he was eating. And I was thinking about being in bed with him in an hour or so. Then I remembered what he'd said.
"What's your news?"
"I'm going for a job interview tomorrow." Those brown eyes were watching me carefully.
"Well, sort of."
I had put down my spoon.
"You finished with this?" he asked, picking up my plate along with his.
I chuckled. "Yeah, I guess I am."
"Let's go in the living room and I'll tell you about it."
We flopped in the big chairs, facing each other.
"Have I mentioned Chuck Davis to you?"
"Don't think so."
"Well, Chuck's a tenor in the Chorus. He's got a PhD in psychology and has a practice mostly here on the East Side."
I wondered what sort of job a shrink would have for Russ, but I didn't say anything.
"He's pretty busy, but he finds time to do some counseling, on a pro bono basis, I think, at the Teen Shelter downtown."
I nodded to show I was following him.
"He's been telling me that their bookkeeper quit and they're having a hard time finding a replacement. It's only a half time job and the pay sucks. They can't really afford to pay the going rate for a qualified person."
Aha! I could see where this was heading.
"And they want you to take the job?"
"Are you going to?"
"That's what the meeting's about tomorrow. The director is going to show me around. I've heard they do wonderful work, but I've never been there. And we're going to talk about me maybe filling in for a while."
"But you were bored at Pierce-Thompson. Won't this be even more boring? And I never thought of you as a bookkeeper."
"Well, I've had plenty of courses in accounting. I'm sure I can handle it. Besides, they're hoping I'll help write grant proposals and stuff like that, too."
"But the key difference between this job and Pierce-Thompson would be that this is for such a good cause. And, like I said, it would only be temporary."
"Had you thought about what it might look like down the road to have a job like that on your resume?"
"That would depend on who was reading it. I'm not planning to work in a brokerage again, and I doubt that I'll ever be looking for a job in a big corporation. One of the things that I like about this job is that it'll give me the chance to watch an operation like the Shelter up close. I might want to get into counseling someday."
As we were snuggled together in the afterglow of our usual getting into bed ritual that night, I thought back to our earlier conversation and said, "I can see why that job at the Shelter might appeal to you. You're a good man, Rusty Smith!"
* * *
Tim: You know your reader is going to expect you to describe the sex you and Russ had that evening. After all, you brought it up.
Bax: [chuckles] Brought it up! Actually we both had it up.
Tim: You're changing the subject.
Bax: Not really. We were like a couple of teens. We had sex just about every night when we got into bed and often again the next morning. Am I supposed to write about every time Russ and I made love?
Tim: [smiling] Well, some of your readers wouldn't mind. But, no, of course not. All I suggested was this might be a good place.
Bax: Fuck! If they want a sex scene here, they can go to a story they like, pick out a scene that turns them on, and cut and paste it in here.
Tim: [holding up his hands, palms out, in defeat] Okay, okay. As I've said often enough, this is your story.
* * *
Friday was a busy day, and though everyone else in our office had cleared out, I had work that kept me an hour later than usual. I called Russ, but he wasn't home, so I left a message on the voice mail.
When I arrived, he was there to greet me with a hug, a kiss, and a hump.
"How'd your interview go? Tell me all about it!"
He smiled, so I knew that things hadn't gone badly.
"Let's have our wine. There's lamb stew in the crockpot, and I've got a salad in the fridge."
While I was changing out of my office clothes, he set out some cheese and wine in the living room.
I flopped into the big chair facing him.
"How was your day?" he asked.
"Baby, fuck my day! It was just like always, only busier. I want to know what happened at the Shelter."
He took a sip of his Piesporter and smiled at me over the rim of the glass. Anything he was about to tell me would be okay so long as he looked at me like that.
"It's an amazing place!"
I waited for him to continue, trying to look encouraging.
"Do you know anything about it?" he asked.
"Not really. I've heard people refer to it, and I know they're providing an important service, but that's about all."
"An important service? Christ, Bax!"
"Okay, sweetheart, so tell me."
He took a deep breath. "You know they're funded by a bunch of local churches. They have no official connection to city, county, or state government."
I hadn't known that.
"They do get government grants, occasionally, but they have to compete for them like other non-profits do."
I cut myself a piece of Jarlsburg to put on a Wheat Thin. "And they process runaway teens, isn't that it?"
"Process? Come on, Bax. That's pretty cold."
"I'm sorry. I was just reviewing what I've heard about the place."
"Well, what they do is work with runaway and homeless teens. They give them a safe place to live and decent food until they can figure out how to help them. And they get kids not only from Winnemac but from Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, too. Even some who've come up from Kentucky."
"Sounds like a big, expensive operation."
"Yes to both points. Les Crocker, the director, says they're always short of cash, but they always manage to take care of their kids. They have several trained counselors on the staff, but they could use a lot more. He pleaded with me to help them out. I got to talk with several of the staff people, including a counselor, a receptionist (who's a registered nurse but does this job because she loves it), even one of the cooks. They're all high on Les and on the Shelter."
"You seem to be pretty high on the place yourself."
"Yeah, I guess I am."
"So you're going to take the job?"
"If it's okay with you."
"Hey, you know whatever you want to do is okay with me. At least with this job you'll be coming home to me at night."
"You can count on that, babe."
I went over and sat on his lap, put an arm around his shoulder, and kissed him. He seemed eager for the reassurance, so we snogged for a while. I worried that he had worried about my reaction. Was I such a bitch?
"Oh," he said when we quit kissing and I was licking his ear. "I love what you're doing, but I forgot to mention that I talked with some of the kids, too. That's why I described the place as amazing."
"Nice kids, were they?"
"I suppose they were nice."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, the ones I was allowed to talk to were pretty high on what the Shelter had done for them. And you've got to remember that these were kids who still hadn't either returned home or been placed with Family and Children's Services. But each one of them, Bax, had this sort of haunted look in their eyes."
"Oh!" I instinctively squeezed him.
"Yeah. That's the way I felt. What could be more important than helping kids who got kicked out of their homes or whose lives got so bad they felt they had to run away?"
"You wouldn't be working directly with the kids, though, would you?"
"No. But I'd be helping the Shelter do its work. And that seems pretty important."
"Uh huh. So you're gonna call this, what was his name?"
"Yeah, you're gonna call Crocker Monday and tell him you'll take the job?"
"He said I should take the weekend to think about it. But he also said he'd be at the Shelter tomorrow. I think I'll just go down there and tell him in person."
"Oh, okay. You gonna work out with me first? You want me to do the grocery shopping?"
"I can work out on weekday mornings. The job is from one to five. But if you'd do the grocery shopping and the other Saturday errands tomorrow, I'd be grateful."
"No problem, gorgeous."
Later, in bed, Russ was so keyed up that, after very little preparation, he wrapped his long legs around me and practically pulled all of me into his sweet, hungry ass.
To Be Continued
Thanks to Drew, Mickey, Tinn and Bill for invaluable help with "Lonely."
This story is my intellectual property. Do not post it to another site without my express permission.
If you'd like to email me, please do so at email@example.com, being sure to put "Lonely" in the subject line so I'll know it isn't spam. Thanks! --Tim