by Tim Mead
Bax: That's awfully personal. I wouldn't even talk with Mitch about what Russ and I do in bed.
Tim: Yeah, I understand how you feel. But you know some of your readers are going to be unhappy if you don't describe the big sex scene when Russ came home from his tour.
Bax: Isn't that pretty voyeuristic?
Tim: Well, duh!
Bax: [chuckles] Yeah, I guess I have to keep in mind who my potential readers are.
Tim: I'm afraid that's true.
Bax: But, look, Tim. What about you? I noticed that in the story about the writer and the one about the cop there wasn't any graphic sex to speak of.
Bax: Did you get any complaints?
Tim: Not that I remember. But then I don't know how many readers I may have lost, either.
Bax: So what should I do?
Tim: Do whatever you're comfortable with, Bax.
Bax: [looks relieved] Thanks.
Tim: Hey, it's your story!
The last concert on the Chace Biggs tour was in Savannah on a Sunday afternoon. Russ told me each of the guys in Apex was making his own travel arrangements to get home. They had some last-minute business to take care of on Monday morning. Then he was flying out of Savannah to Atlanta. From there he had to go to Cincinnati to catch a flight to Zenith. He wasn't arriving until 4:15.
I worked Monday morning and took the afternoon off. In fact I'd told Carol and my office people that I wouldn't be back until Wednesday.
As I was driving out the Expressway to Zenith's Dodsworth International Airport, I was thinking about the man after whom it was named. Quite a guy! Sam Dodsworth founded the Revelation Car Company in the early 20th century and made it into a highly successful business. In the twenties, when he was in his fifties, UAC, the biggest automaker in the country, made him an offer he couldn't refuse. So he sold the company to them and took off for Europe with his wife. The wife came home before Sam did by a couple of years. When he did return to Zenith after doing a lot of what he called "loafing around Europe," he had a new wife. In the elections of 1932, he surprised his Republican business friends by running for mayor of Zenith as a Democrat. He was swept into office in the Roosevelt landslide and served two terms. Sam passed away during World War 2, but after the war when the city decided to make a major expansion of its airpo rt, the facility was renamed in honor of the very popular former mayor. Zenith oldtimers tell me the airport has been under almost constant expansion or renovation ever since, but there's never been any sentiment for changing its name. I suspect very few of the people who fly in and out of there have any idea who Sam Dodsworth was.
Have you ever noticed that there's no place to sit in the baggage claim area of most airports? By the time I got the car parked and made my way to the carousels, the plane from Cincinnati had landed and discharged its passengers. In fact, when I got off the escalator and looked around, there was my guy sitting cross-legged on the floor reading a book. Beside him were a big suitcase, a bigger duffel, and his guitar.
He looked different. I mean there were the jeans and button-up shirt, but over the shirt he was wearing a denim jacket I'd never seen before. And he was still wearing his Stetson and his cowboy boots. His hair, still the same beautiful auburn, was longer than I remembered, curling over his collar in the back and over the tops of his ears. He'd lost some weight, too: his face was thinner.
I walked up, stood over him, and cleared my throat. The man who tilted his head back to see who it was looked tired. But he smiled, and oh! That smile! I held my hand out. He took it, and I helped him stand up. Then he hugged me so tight I literally had trouble breathing. He eased up a little and kissed me. If there had ever been any doubt in my mind, it was erased by that kiss. I knew that for ten weeks he'd missed me as much as I'd missed him.
Some guy walking past muttered, "Get a room!" I was turning, about to say something to the jerk, when Russ pulled my face back toward his and smiled at me.
"It's okay, hon. We got a room. Let's go home."
I picked up his suitcase, he threw the duffel over his shoulder, grabbed the guitar with his left hand, and we set off for the car. I'd brought his Land Rover so there'd be plenty of room for his luggage. After we got it stowed in the back, I offered him the keys.
"No, babe, if you don't mind, you drive. I'm bone weary, and I don't want to cope with rush hour traffic."
I took the loop around the city instead of driving through downtown at that hour. Russ tried valiantly to keep up a conversation, answering my questions and asking a few about my work, but I could see he wasn't kidding when he said he was wiped out.
"Is this accumulated fatigue, gorgeous, or have you just not had any sleep lately?"
"It's partly cumulative. I've had to be `up' for all this time, and that can wear a guy out. But we were up most of last night, too, celebrating the end of our tour. I tried to sleep on the planes, but with so many short hops and gabby seatmates I didn't get much chance."
"Poor baby. We'll feed you and then you can crash."
He didn't answer. His head was tilted back against the headrest and he was already beginning to snore softly
Who said "Life is a series of anti-climaxes?" I think it was me.
Russ woke up when we pulled into his parking space behind our house. He gave me an apologetic grin as we carried his gear inside.
"Did you have any lunch?"
"No, just some peanuts and a cola somewhere in the air."
"You wanna go somewhere and get something to eat? Or, I've got a couple of steaks. We could have salad and some home fries."
"Hon, I don't care if I see a restaurant again for a long, long time. Let me just take a little nap and then we'll work on supper."
"Sure, babe. Let's get your gear upstairs."
Once in the bedroom, Russ stripped to his boxers, peeled back the covers, and flopped onto the bed.
He didn't wake up until 8:00 the next morning.
When he woke, I was sitting in the rocking chair. His eyes opened slowly, and I could tell he was checking to see where he was. He blinked a couple of times, stretched, and then noticed me.
"Good morning, gorgeous."
"Bax! You've been watching me sleep?"
"Yeah, wanted you to get your sleep in, but couldn't help needing to be close."
"I'm sorry I died on you last night. Uh, you must have had big plans. We should have made love to each other all night. What happened to those steaks?" When he mentioned the steaks, he grinned, as if he was proud he remembered it.
"They're in the fridge. But for breakfast I've got biscuits ready to go in the oven, and we can have eggs, sausage, and milk gravy whenever you're ready. You've got to be starved. You haven't had anything to eat since breakfast yesterday except for some peanuts."
He chuckled. "Well, hon, there's starved and then there's starved. Let me go piss and rinse my mouth. Don't go anywhere!"
"You don't want me to put the biscuits in?"
"Nope. That's not what I want you to put in."
I was undressed, had condoms (just in case) and lube on the night stand, and was in bed by the time he got back from the bathroom.
There was an awkward moment when he spied the condoms. We assured each other that there was no need for them, and then he was on top of me. We kissed and rubbed, groped and stroked, and both of us climaxed within minutes. We lay there, arms around each other until we finally became uncomfortable from the stickiness.
"Shower time?" Russ asked.
"I'd say we both need it."
After playing in the shower until the water ran cold, we pulled on sweatpants and tee shirts and went downstairs so I could feed my hungry cowboy. Then we cleaned up the skillet, loaded the dishes into the dishwasher, went upstairs, brushed our teeth, and got back into bed where we made sweet love until noon.
Actually we both fell asleep after the lovemaking, and the first thing I was aware of when I woke up was that Russ was spooned up behind me, his arm over my chest. I knew he was awake when he kissed the back of my neck and nuzzled the short hairs there, which always gave me the shivers. I could feel his hard cock poking my balls.
"Mmmm. You ready to go again? I thought you were tired."
"You perk me right up, baby. `Sides, we've got a lot of catching up to do."
I couldn't help wondering how much time we had to catch up before he and Apex hit the road again. We'd never talked about that. He hadn't mentioned it and I had been afraid to ask.
I rolled over so we could put our arms around each other. Patting his smooth bottom, I said, "It's been awhile since there's been any traffic down there. Are you sure you're ready for more?"
"You were great, Bax, very gentle, but, yeah, I'm a little tender. How about a 69?"
One of the things about Russ that had changed, I discovered, was that his fingertips were callused. He made me thrum like a plucked string with those calluses, which he said came from playing the guitar so much.
After lunch we put a bunch of his dirty clothes in the washer. He had to go to the post office to arrange for his mail to be delivered to the house again instead of to the management company that received it when he was on the road. I'd made sure there was plenty of food and drink in the house, so there was no shopping to do. I opted to go with him, just because I didn't want to be away from him yet.
That evening we finally had the steaks. I felt guilty that his first supper at home was something so simple, but he said home cooking tasted wonderful compared to all the restaurant food he'd had on tour.
* * *
I went to work the next morning and Russ stayed home. That became our pattern. Russ took over the grocery shopping and the house cleaning. He usually handed me a glass of wine when I got home from campus. Sometimes he let me help him get supper, but sometimes he'd do something like stew or chili or spaghetti which didn't take any help from me. Some evenings if I coaxed a little he'd play and sing for me after we'd cleaned up the kitchen.
Our nights were electric as we continued to have reunion sex. And I was happy once again.
One of those evenings, not too long after he'd returned to Zenith, stands out in my mind. When I got home he poured me a glass of cabernet. He was already working on a glass of the piesporter he liked.
"I'll bet you missed that on the road," I said, nodding at his wine.
"Yeah. The kinds of places where we were eating didn't usually have it. It's not exactly fashionable right now."
"Can I help with dinner?
"You can, in fact, but why don't you just unwind a few minutes first? We're having veal marsala, which doesn't take long, and you can deal with the potatoes." He went to the kitchen and came back with a bowl of cashews. Now, cabernet and cashews may not be everyone's cup of tea, so to speak, but I loved the combination and I'd converted Russ as well.
He asked me how my day had gone, and I told him about some of the things that had happened. Then I asked about his day.
"Oh, I took both cars to the car wash, separately of course, went to the music store to get some new strings for the guitar. And my mother called this afternoon."
"How's she?" I asked dutifully.
He kept his face expressionless as he said, "About the same as always. She asked what I'd been doing since I got back, why I hadn't called more often, and commented that it sounded as if I was your housewife." There was a hint of a grin. "Then she wanted to know what I planned to do now that I'd `gotten the singing nonsense out of my system'."
I wanted desperately to ask what he told her, but I didn't want to pressure him. I figured he'd tell me when he was ready.
When we'd finished our first glasses of wine, we went to the kitchen. He'd peeled and cut up the potatoes and had started them cooking when I got home. So I took care of mashing them while he did the veal. As he said, those thin slices of veal don't take long to cook.
I loved the marsala sauce with onions and mushrooms spooned over the mashed potatoes as well as on the veal. We had more wine with dinner, and life was good!
Later, when we were at the foreplay stage in bed, he asked, "Weren't you even tempted when Mitch and Corey came over that night?"
"You really want to talk about that now?" I'd been pretty much in the mood, and his question surprised me.
He was making circles around one of my nipples with a callused finger. "I just wondered."
I grabbed the hand and held it. There was no way I could think straight while he was doing that. "Okay, it depends on what you mean by `tempted.' I've imagined what it would be like to do it with a lot of guys, and some of those fantasies are pretty hot. You must have done the same thing?"
"Uh huh." He pulled his hand away from mine and began to draw circles around my navel.
"Dammit, if you want an answer you've got to quit that!"
"Sorry." His grin showed he wasn't really sorry at all.
"Look, I love Corey and Mitch, and I think they're both sexy. I admit imagining a threesome with them turned me on." I still hadn't told him about coming in my pants that evening. "I see other men who turn me on, too. But was I going to have sex with anyone but you? No way!"
"Oh, okay. That's what I thought, but I needed to hear you say it." He began to nuzzle my ear.
I groaned. "How about you, cowboy? Surely you must have been tempted pretty often."
"You like that, do you?" He chuckled.
"Oh, yeah. But I'm waiting for an answer to my question."
"Tempted yes. But faithful to my lover, also yes."
"Good. We've cleared that up. Now can we get back to what we were doing?"
He began nibbling on my ear while he ran his fingers up and down my chest and abs. I made appreciative noises.
"You know, babe, using my finger in the shower got pretty old. I missed what you do for me"
"I suppose a dildo was out of the question," I said.
"Absolutely out of the question. And even if I'd ever had privacy, there's no way I could have carried a dildo in my luggage without someone finding out about it." He gave one of my nips a lick. "Besides, there's something you can do for me a dildo can't."
Now I've salivated at the sight of a cute boy butt since I was 12, so I knew exactly what he had in mind.
Ten or fifteen minutes later, after his rosebud had blossomed under the ministrations of my tongue, he asked for the real thing. I was happy to oblige. He always said when I was inside him it was like having a twenty or thirty minute orgasm. I never got that myself, but I was happy I could give him such pleasure.
After I'd erupted inside him he was so ready that it didn't take long to bring him to his climax.
As corny as it sounds, we went to sleep that night, as we usually did, in each other's arms. I remember thinking as I drifted off that this was how it should be.
* * *
It was right about that time in my life when I learned there was going to be an important change at work. Carol, who'd recently made a couple of unexplained trips out of town recently, called me in to tell me that she had taken a job at a larger, state-run university in a neighboring state. It probably had less prestige than the U of Z job, but the pay was considerably higher. Her announcement saddened me, because she was good at what she did. I admired and respected her as my boss. Like most people, however, I also wondered immediately what it would be like to work for a new Dean of Students.
I congratulated her and told her I was personally sorry she was leaving.
"There's a problem, Bax. I'm leaving at the end of the term. The higher-ups weren't too happy about that, but they're going along with it. They want to have a national search for my successor."
"Of course," I said.
"All of this impacts on you two ways. You'll have to run the department after I leave until my successor arrives."
"Okay. I've learned from the best, so I suppose I can manage that."
"Thanks for the compliment. I've told our bosses that I think you would be perfect to replace me. So if they go ahead with the search, I hope you'll put your name in."
"You think so?"
"Indeed I do. You know how we do things at Zenith, and you've been doing a stellar job."
I was startled by the news, and her suggestion that I apply for her job, plus her confidence in me was a bit overwhelming.
"Thanks, Carol. I'll do my best to hold down the fort, and I'll think about applying, though I'm not sure I could stack up against others who'd be after your job."
"Don't underestimate yourself."
We spent another hour talking about my increased duties in the upcoming months.
* * *
On the Saturday evening after that, Russ and I were invited to have dinner at Mitch and Corey's. Of course I had told Russ about Carol's impending departure, and he understood that I'd be taking on more responsibilities as a result. There had been a brief article about Carol's leaving in the City section of the Zenith newspaper.
It was always lively when Corey, Mitch, Russ and I got together. Mitch kept things stirred up. I often wondered what his students thought of him. Some of them were probably afraid of him because he was pretty demanding and because of his wry sense of humor. Even in a social situation his comments could be taken as acerbic, but we three knew him and enjoyed the give and take.
Corey had made a stew from a recipe he'd picked up at the fire station. Along with it they served yeast rolls and salad, with a bakery Black Forest cake for dessert.
After we'd finished eating and had all pitched in to help clean up the kitchen, we were sprawling in the living room, full and content.
"Gentlemen," I groaned, "that was wonderful. I feel as if I need to loosen my belt."
"Yeah," Russ said, with his trademark lazy smile, "you'll lose your boyish figure if you eat like that very often."
"You should talk, cowboy! I noticed you tucking in pretty well yourself."
Russ turned to Corey. "Do you guys eat that well at the station?"
"A lot of the time, yeah. When we're just waiting around, there's not much to do but cook and eat."
"And play dominoes," Mitch interjected.
Corey nodded and continued. "So some of the guys are really good cooks. And the rest of us have learned from them."
"And," said Mitch, "I'm one of the beneficiaries of all that. The big lunk often comes home with a new recipe or a new twist on an old one."
"You don't sit out here on your professorial ass while he's cooking, do you?" I asked him.
It was Corey who responded. "No way! Mitch and I always work together in the kitchen."
"When you're home at normal mealtimes," Mitch said pointedly.
I knew their relationship was tight, but I realized for the first time that Corey's odd working hours could perhaps put some strain on it.
Corey changed the subject by looking at me and saying, "So, Bax. I hear your boss is leaving U of Z."
"Did you see the article in the newspaper?"
"No," he said, grinning, "I have an inside source."
"Duh! Of course you do."
"My impression," Mitch said, "is that her leaving will be a real loss to the University."
"She's been great to work for. Most of the time."
"Well," Corey said, "all any of us can hope for is to be good at what we do most of the time."
"Something funny, Logan?" Mitch asked, raising that eyebrow.
"I think what Bax was suggesting is that his boss tends to be a bit hard to live with when it's her time of the month."
"I think," Mitch opined, "that's the sort of thing we are allowed to think but shouldn't talk about. We wouldn't want to be thought of as male chauvinists, would we?"
"Us?" Corey snorted.
"To get back to the soon-to-be-vacant deanship," Mitch said, "I assume you'll be acting Dean of Students when she leaves."
"So," Corey said, "Carol THE dean is leaving, and our buddy Bax is now THE dean."
"Only in an acting capacity. I'm just the caretaker until the new guy, uh, person, can be selected."
"Rumor has it," Mitch said, "that you have the inside track."
"That's news to me. I haven't even decided whether or not to apply for the position."
"Why wouldn't you?" Russ asked.
Good question. Why wouldn't I? There was a pause while I tried to explain my reluctance.
"The job will be advertised in the national educational journals. It will bring in candidates from all over the country. Many of whom will have far better credentials than I do."
"Says who" Russ asked.
"It just stands to reason."
"Didn't you tell me Carol herself said she hoped you'd get the job."
"Actually, I think she said she hoped I'd apply."
"Isn't that the same thing?"
"No," Mitch said. "Not necessarily."
Both Russ and Corey looked at him, waiting for an explanation. I could tell Mitch had seen what I was worried about.
"First of all, gentlemen, all three of you know that I think Bax would be perfect in the job."
Corey and Russ nodded. I smiled at my former lover.
"But I think Bax is thinking about the gay issue."
"The departing dean may think it will be good for U of Z to have a candidate in the mix who's gay. That's not the same as saying she wants him to replace her."
"Well, if she's leaving, why should she care?" Corey asked.
"That's a good point," I said. "But I just can't see the University wanting someone gay in a high-profile job like the Vice President for Student Affairs. I don't think they have any real complaints about the way I've done my job, but I've always thought of myself as a kind of token."
"Oh!" Corey said.
Russ merely nodded.
"All the more reason why you should apply for the job," Mitch said. "There are a fair number of us on the faculty, but if you get the job, you'll be the most "visible" gay in the University."
Russ shook his head. "I don't think Bax should worry about representing the gay community. I think he should do what he wants to do. If he'd enjoy being dean of students, then I'm all for it. But if he doesn't want that kind of pressure, I can understand that, too, and I'm behind him all the way."
The conversation halted briefly while I moved over and gave Russ a big, deep, juicy kiss.
When we finished, Corey and Mitch were both grinning at us.
"I stand corrected," Mitch said, nodding at Russ. "Of course you must do what you want, Baxter." And then he added, "We certainly wouldn't want you to have a prestigious, high-paying job just because you're gay, now, would we?"
We all laughed at that.
"Guys, would anyone like more cake or coffee. Or a brandy?"
"Fine idea!" Mitch said. "Who wants a brandy? We can celebrate Bax's doing what he wants instead of what he ought to do." He gave me a sideways glance that let me know he was putting me on.
"Make mine a little one," I said, since I had driven the Mustang rather than our bringing Russ's big Land Rover.
Once we were all settled with our drinks, Mitch put on an air of such innocence I knew he was up to something.
"So, Russ, since we're on the subject of jobs, careers and the like, what are your plans? Is Apex going on the road again soon?" He glanced at me to see how I took his question.
I don't know what Mitch saw on my face, but inwardly I was saying `Hallelujah! Someone else asked him.'
"Apex is disbanding, so to speak."
We all waited for Russ to continue.
"The bass player we picked up midway through the tour isn't from around here. And they'd need to find another lead singer. So we're just giving it up."
"Another lead singer?" Corey asked.
"Would you care to explain?" Mitch asked, in his most professorial tone.
I just sat there fascinated with what was going on.
"Okay. I've been meaning to tell Bax about this, but just haven't been able to. So it's good you asked. One night a few weeks before the end of the tour, Chace called and asked me to come up to his room. When I got there, he was alone. He'd told his security to take a hike, knowing that he was safe with me, I guess.
"He offered me a drink. Now you'd expect that it would be JD or some kind of bourbon, wouldn't you? Well, he had that if I wanted. But he was having Sprite! Can you believe that? Sprite! But he made me promise I wouldn't tell anyone. So you guys are all sworn to secrecy about that."
"Okay," Mitch said, "but get on with it. What did Biggs want?"
"He asked me what my plans were. Was I thinking about trying to make a career as a singer?"
"I told him that had been my dream for a long time. That I'd only gone into business because I didn't think I had a chance."
"What did he say?" Corey asked
"He was really nice about it, but basically he said I shouldn't have given up my day job. He said I had a nice voice and that I looked good, but that I didn't have the, let's see, what did he call it? I didn't have the `world weariness' it took to be a big country star."
"'World weariness' is an interesting term coming from him," Mitch said.
"Chace majored in philosophy at Vanderbilt," Russ said, grinning.
For once, Mitch seemed nonplussed.
"But he's also had his problems. I'm not giving away any secrets when I say that he's been through rehab a couple of times for substance abuse. He says that's all behind him now, but he also admits that the premature gray in his hair and the whiskey voice are part of what makes him popular."
Russ took a sip of the brandy.
"But he most definitely doesn't recommend booze and drugs as a way to success."
"Russ, babe, I don't think you'd have given up your dream just because of what Biggs said, if that's all there was to it."
He was holding his snifter with both hands at waist level, looking down into its pale golden contents.
"No, that's not all there was to it. I told him I appreciated his advice, but that I'd already decided not to pursue a singing career."
I think there were three pairs of raised eyebrows at that admission.
"I told him that, while I loved the rush of being onstage, I hated life on the road. That I had someone at home I didn't want to be away from any more if I could help it." He looked at me. "Hon, I've been waiting for you to ask me about this. Don't know why you didn't."
I blinked back tears as I said, "Because I was afraid of the answer."
If Mitch hadn't asked his question when he did, I'd probably have been sitting in Russ's lap kissing him again.
"Well, then, Russ, if you are through with your singing career, what are you going to do?"
Russ gave him a straight-faced look and said, "At this point, I haven't a clue, Mitch, I just don't have a clue."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, being sure to put "Lonely" in the subject line so I'll know it isn't spam. Thanks! --Tim