The story below is fiction. It may also contain erotic or sexually explicit behavior between males. If you find this offensive, or are too young to read it, please exit.

The author reserves copyright privileges. This work may not be reproduced, except for personal use without permission of the author.

Dedication: This section is dedicated to my Mother. February 4, 2004 was the 100th anniversary of her birth. She is gone but not forgotten.

If’ you’d like to comment or just say hi, my e-mail address is John T.


Chapter Thirty

The same evening, Ron and Matt’s estate

“I’m sure you’ll remember” Ron began, “that I told you about hitting the skids after my college lover killed himself.”

“Yes I remember,” responded Matt, “You ended up passed out on the street in New York City and were picked up by two social workers.”

Ron nodded.

“I stayed with them for three or four months while I got my life straightened out.”

“I notice you rarely drink much, even now.”

“It’s true. I’m lucky, I guess. I stopped drinking before I really became dependent. It could have been different. Now I drink for the taste and the company, not the buzz. Even so I rarely have more than one or two. I came too close to disaster. When the fog cleared I swore that I’d never become dependent on substances, either liquor or drugs. I’ve kept that promise, even though there were times when I could have easily fallen back into the hole.”

“I think you said that when you left New York, you came back here and buried yourself in building RET,” remembered Matt clearly from an earlier conversation.

“Yes, technically that’s true, but there were three months after I left the “nest” of my social worker friends, until I came back to Las Vegas.”

“That’s when you met Jessie Fox?”

“Yes, strangely enough it was in a straight singles bar. During about three months while ‘coming out of my stupor’ I never left my friends’ home except with them. For the first month, I never left their home, period. Then I began going with them to the grocery and later I went with them to their work, doing unpaid volunteer work; yet I never went anywhere alone. At last they thought I was strong enough and urged me to resume living. Sometimes I’d go to a straight bar, never drinking anything stronger than soft drinks. Mostly I’d just watch people, but I got ‘hit on’ plenty of times, by both men and women. I always refused.”

“That doesn’t sound much like the Ron, I first met,” Matt chuckled.

“The Ron I was then and am now, is not the Ron you first met,” continued Ron. “I guess down deep, I always wanted to be the man I am now, or at least a close approximation. I was headed that way with my first love. Then when tragedy struck, my life fell into turmoil. I only returned to real sanity when I fell in love with you.”

“You’re sweet, my love,” Matt responded.

“Not at all my dear, not at all. I’ve still got a lot to make up for,” Ron said. “Anyway, one night I was sitting in a singles bar in Manhattan watching the ‘mating frenzy’ when in walked Jessie. I was immediately attracted to him. He is very good looking, ya know.”

“Yeah, you don’t have to tell me. Why do you think I became jealous?”

“There were no available seats in the whole place except for the one at the small table where I was sitting. Jessie got his drink from the bar and looked around. A minute later, he came over and asked if I was expecting anyone. I, of course, said ‘no’ and invited him to join me. That was the beginning. When we left the bar that night we left together and went to his place. Two days later I invited him over to the couple’s house where I lived. They were polite to him, but somehow didn’t ‘take’ to Jessie very much. I was smitten though, and two days later moved out and in with Jessie.”

“Wow! That was moving very fast.”

“It was obvious that my friends didn’t care much for Jessie, so I just distanced myself from them. They were much smarter than me, as it turned out. I was in love though, and you know you can’t tell a person in love anything.”

“I’m sure you’re right about that,” Matt agreed.

“For the next few months, the sky was the limit. I got Jessie a fashionable apartment, and spent a good bit of money buying him everything I thought he might possibly like. We went to all the best places, met all the rich and influential people, and were quickly ensconced with the “young, beautiful, and wealthy’ crowd. Of course, in that crowd are always the older wealthy people, looking for youth. We had a very good time, and I would be lying if I said that the sex with him wasn’t great. Even though I bought him nice things and his lifestyle was vastly improved, I didn’t throw money around like it was water. We did what we wanted, and I always saw that he had spending cash, but it wasn’t ‘carte blanc’. I controlled the money, and fortunately didn’t let on as to how much I was really worth. It was in that party atmosphere that we met a man named Charlie. He was an older man in his early 50’s and it was obvious from the beginning that he was attracted to Jessie. Before long, Jessie would disappear from time to time. He always had some excuse which at first I accepted trustingly. The absences became more frequent, and once he was gone overnight. We had an argument about that and a few days later, when I was gone to take care of some business, Jessie disappeared for good. He left me a note, but I never saw him again. That’s when I packed up and returned to Las Vegas.”

“What a bastard!” exclaimed Matt.

“Yes, it took a while to get over him. I was so embarrassed that I never saw my two friends again. I just left. It wasn’t until later that I learned that they had contracted AIDS and died. The rest you know. I buried myself in my business and did very well. It wasn’t until I became friends with Bryan on the Internet that I began to come out of the protective shell that I’d built around myself.”

“How long after you met Bryan on the web did you come to New York?” Matt asked.

“It was well over a year. I admit that I fell in love with Bryan, but he was taken. He was everything that Jessie wasn’t. When I came to New York for our lunch meeting, I had the thought in the back of my mind to make a play for him and steal him away from Alan. I didn’t have too much hope for doing it, but the thought was there.”

“I had no idea,” said a surprised Matt.

“Yes it’s true,” Ron revealed. “Then on the first day I met him, I also met Alan and the boys. I could tell just by the way Bryan and Alan looked at, and treated each other, that I had no chance. I was happy for them, but felt suddenly lonely. It was then I met you. At first I just wanted your body in an attempt to bury my loneliness in lust. Then after a visit or two to New York, I came to see the real you. I found myself falling in love.”

“I know that part well,” Matt said, remembering. “You must have thought I was the easiest lay in the land. I have to admit I was instantly attracted to you. I thought I was losing my mind, jumping into bed with you practically at the crook of your finger. It could have ended in disaster for me you know. Instead, it turned into a love that is far greater than just the sex. >From the day you said you loved me, I’ve been the happiest man alive.”

“I’m glad,” Ron stated softly as he squeezed Matt’s hand. “I feel the same way.”

“I never had a question about your love until Jessie appeared from your past,” Matt went on. “Suddenly I felt a cold chill and doubt crept into my mind. If he hadn’t been so damned attractive! I’m really so sorry to have doubted you, my love. I’m terribly ashamed.”

“It’s over now,” Ron said comforting Matt with an embrace and a tender kiss. “Please believe that nothing will ever separate us on this earth but our deaths.”

“I love you Ron Turner,” stated Matt with heartfelt sincerity.

“And I love you, my sweet Matthew.”

                                    *                      *                      *

Thursday Morning, Matt’s office, Thornton Center

Matt was going over some papers on his desk when he heard a knock on the door.

“Come in,” he said in a raised voice.

Jessie Fox came through the doorway.

“Good morning, Matt,” he said. “The kids are all off to school or to work and I’ve got the afternoon activities lined-up. Would you have a minute to talk?”

“ Sure, Jessie. Sit down. Coffee?”

“Thanks,” Jessie responded grabbing a cup, pouring it full of the dark liquid and adding cream.

“What can I do for you?” Matt asked as Jessie sat down.

“Uh… I don’t quite know where to start. I’ve had some time to think about my meeting with you the other day and also, as I’m sure you know, my later meeting with Ron.”

“Yes, he told me. We don’t keep secrets from each other,” Matt said.

“I came to Las Vegas intending to see if I could snag Ron back,” Jessie said looking down. “What I found were two guys totally in love with each other, a different kind of love than I’ve ever experienced myself. First, I want to apologize for acting like an ass. I guess it was just the display of arrogance at which I had so much practice. I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but I’m intensely envious of you. I keep thinking that if I hadn’t been so greedy, Ron and your happiness could have been mine.”

“Yes, but lucky for me you blew it,” smiled Matt. “But you know you can’t go backward and undo what’s already been done. All you can do is go forward.”

“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about, after I apologized, that is. I’d like to be like you guys. I’d like to find someone, not Ron I promise,” Jessie firmly interjected, ”and have a healthy and happy relationship.”

“Jess, there are some wonderful guys out there, and you’re very attractive. I would think it wouldn’t be too difficult.”

“Maybe not, but I don’t know where to start. I’m sure that I could hang out in some bars and end up in bed without too much trouble. I’ve done that often enough, but I’m thinking that a bar might not be the place to look. At least for what I’m looking for now.”

“I’d like to help you Jessie,” Matt said, “and perhaps I can. But right now is not the time. As you know, Ron and I, as well as Ron’s brother Tyler and his partner Dan are about to go to Florida for a commitment ceremony and a cruise.”

“Yes, the Thornton Center is full of excitement about it. I can’t believe that you are taking all the boys as well as inviting all your friends, including most of the Thornton staff.”

“It’s gotten totally out-of-hand,” Matt admitted.”

“I wish I was invited, but I understand.”

“I’m glad you do,” Matt replied. “If things had started differently, we’d probably have asked, but I’m afraid that neither Ron nor I fully trust you yet. I’m sorry to say so, but that’s the truth.”

“I’ve done nothing to earn your trust yet, Matt. I know it will take some time for that to occur and for you to believe that I no longer have any aims toward Ron.”

“Yes,” Matt said. “We’ll have to see what happens after our trip.”

“I can accept that,” Jessie responded. “I hope I can earn your friendship.”

“I’m willing,” Matt smiled. “Ron is a different matter. I know he was hurt when you left him and I don’t know how willing he is to forgive and forget.”

“I know,” said Jessie sadly. “I hope I haven’t screwed up my chances for becoming friends with both of you.”

“We value friendship very highly. For us, really good friends are the next best thing to being in love with someone. We love our friends, and just as importantly, we trust them. Friends act in the best interest of each other, sometimes at their own expense.”

“I have no friends like that,” Jessie revealed.

“They will come, if you are honest and extend a caring hand. I can assure you that the rewards of caring for others returns ten-fold. It’s a far different approach than putting yourself first, but much more rewarding.”

“I’m beginning to see that,” Jessie sighed. “It will be hard to break old habits though.”

“Yes it will,” Matt agreed. “But I for one will extend my hand in friendship, if you want to take it. Understand that there is a risk involved for me, under the circumstances, but I think that underneath your good looking exterior might be a good heart too. Time will tell. If I’m wrong I’ll be hurt, but I’m hoping that it will be worth the risk.”

“Thanks Matt,” Jessie smiled gratefully. “I’ll do my best to earn your trust.”

“You’re welcome, Jess.”

“When are you leaving for your trip?” Jessie asked.

“I’m leaving here about 2:30 this afternoon for a party at Ron’s office. When it’s over, we’re going home and pick up our clothes that are already packed, and taking the RET jet to Florida. We’re going to sail on our yacht in the morning from Palm Beach to Ft. Lauderdale tomorrow. The guests will be arriving tomorrow afternoon, then we’re all going to the Bahamas for the celebration.”

“You can get all of your guests on the yacht?”

“No, We have a cruise ship arranged for the guests. There will be about 700 people. It’s going to be quite a zoo,” Matt laughed.

“Please take my best wishes for a great time and a wonderful future,” Jessie asked.

“Thanks Jessie,” Matt replied. “I’ll relay the message to Ron, Tyler and Dan too.”

Jessie stood, and extended his hand. “Thanks for your time and your offer of friendship. It means a lot to me. Well, back to work. I’ll see you later, I guess.”

“Yes, for a while yet,” Matt said. “Have a good day, and take care of the place while we’re gone.

“I’ll do that,” Jessie replied. He turned and left Matt’s office, closing the door behind him.

                                    *                      *                      *

3 o’clock the same afternoon, the RET office.

The RET offices were abuzz with people rushing to and fro, some with gifts and other’s with food and other party paraphernalia. The main lobby, the largest space in the building, had been converted into a party room. The two-story space had been decorated with white and silver streamers and two large tables had been set up. One was already being laden with wedding gifts for the two couples and the other table was overflowing with food, drinks and a large wedding cake with tiny figurines of two male couples standing in white frosting, each couple framed by a silver arch. In the corner of the room a bar had been set up and from a large tub filled with ice poked the necks of many bottles of French champagne. The two bartenders had finished their set-up and the first of the employees had left their offices and started to gather near the refreshments. Ron, Matt, Tyler and Dan had retreated to Ron’s office while all the preparations were being completed. Ron poured drinks for the four of them and they sat chatting in the conversation area, the anticipation of the coming days’ excitement finally beginning to be felt. The door to Ron’s office opened and Will and Jan entered.

“It looks like the pandemonium has started out there,” Will commented as the noise from the early revelers invaded through the opening before the door closed.

“Everybody is making too big a fuss about this,” Ron commented.

Jan emphatically replied: “Ron, I don’t think you always realize how much the people in our company love you. A great many of them have been here for years, and can see how happy Matt has made you. They really want to express their best wishes for your happiness. Even though they don’t know Matt and Tyler that well yet, and of course hardly know Dan at all, they know that RET and our associated companies are great places to work. They are uncommonly loyal to the company and to you, the owners.”

“Well, they’re going to get an opportunity to see a lot more of Tyler and Dan too, now that we’ll have an office of Construction Leasing here soon,” Will responded. “Matt?” he asked, “Are you excited about coming to work here too?”

Matt laughed. “What would I do here?” he responded with a question. “It looks to me like all the bases are pretty well covered. Besides there are others here who are much more deserving.”

“Ron, haven’t you told Matt about Mr. Peterson?” Will asked.

“Not yet,” Ron answered. “We’ve been so busy the last few weeks that it had slipped my mind.”

“What about Mr. Peterson?” Matt asked.

“He wants to retire at the end of July,” Ron explained. “He, Will and I were discussing whether or not you might be interested in his position.”

“Wow!” Matt said. “He manages over a billion dollars in charity assets. That’s a huge job!”

“Sure is,” Ron agreed. “We thought that perhaps at the end of June you could leave Thornton, and come in to spend a month with him training for the job.”

“I have to say that I’m more than honored that you would even consider it,” Matt stated, still in shock. “I’m just not sure that I’ve enough experience.”

“He has a very competent staff,” Will said in assurance. “Unless the Board of Trustees decides to make drastic changes, things run pretty smoothly without micro-managing everything. You’d do fine, I’m convinced.”

“I appreciated your vote of confidence, Will. I’ll have to think about it a bit. I really like my job at Thornton. By the way, where’s Margaret? I didn’t see her when I came in.”

“She and her husband flew to Pensacola this morning to meet with Sarah to make sure that everything is coming off like clockwork,” Ron explained. “This thing is a potential logistical nightmare, but fortunately the people in the cruise business are accustomed to it. Nevertheless, there is always some last minute crisis. You know, like someone missing the plane, etc.”

“How can someone miss a plane when they are chartered?” Dan asked.

“Not everyone lives in either New York or Las Vegas though,” Matt told him. “We have quite a few people who will fly ‘commercial’ to one of the larger cities to join the charter, or if they are close to Florida, will fly directly to Ft. Lauderdale.”

“I hadn’t thought about that,” Dan admitted.

The door to the office opened again. Wayne Templeton, Tyler’s executive assistant stepped into the opening.

“We’re ready to begin,” he announced. “Because there are so many people here, there will be a receiving line. You can mingle later.”

“How many people are here?” Ron asked.

“Over 800,” Wayne responded.

“Wow! That’s a lot of people. I didn’t know we had that many around here. I hope I can remember everyone’s name,” Ron said in amazement.

“Part of the reason there are so many,” Tyler said, “is that most of the Aztec-Turner employees from California are here too. They flew in this afternoon.”

“The name thing should go pretty well,” Wayne added. “We’ve organized the receiving line by company and the head of each company will be first, staying with you to make the introductions. After all, even some of the employees here you have never met. There are also many spouses or partners here too.”

“Well, duty calls,” Ron said with resignation. “Let’s get with it guys, and Jan,” Ron said winking.

Wayne Templeton led the way and two minutes later, the receiving line was moving smoothly.

                        *                      *                      *
An hour later

“I’m glad that’s over,” Ron said to the other three celebrants after the receiving line had at last disappeared. “I was surprised at how many of the people I knew, and even more surprised at how many I didn’t.”

“I’m glad too, Babe,” Matt agreed. “I was happy to see Mabel and her brood, as well as Peter Sigler. Pete seems to really like his job as assistant superintendent. I see him now and then at Thornton working on the next three houses.”

“He’s a nice young man,” Tyler said. “I’m just sorry that he had to go through so much grief with George Olgivy and Tracy Clark.”

“What’s happening with them?” Matt asked.

“Olgivy’s in jail awaiting trial,” Tyler reported. “Tracy Clark has just been moved to his cousin’s house and is still paralyzed. His trial has been set for the first of June, but since he can’t be moved, except in an ambulance, he’s under house arrest and wears one of those locator bracelets to make sure they don’t try to take him out of state.”

“I didn’t know he had relatives here,” Ron remarked.

“His cousin moved up from Arizona,” Tyler explained. “It’s the same cousin that Gary met when they were searching for Tom Clark. She’s a pretty unsavory character, from what he said.”

“Let’s forget them for now,” Matt suggested.

Jan approached the four men and announced, “It’s time to have toasts, then cut the cake. We hope you’ll mingle after that, then when you need to leave you can, even if the party is not over.”

“Let’s do it,” Ron said.

The two couples followed Jan to the table where the cake was set up and where Will waited. Seeing them approaching, he stepped up on a small raised platform and said in a loud voice, “MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION?” He repeated himself twice before the noise of conversation abated.

“If you’ll fill your glasses,” he said in a slightly quieter voice, “I’d like to propose a toast.”

He paused a minute or so while 4 waiters who accompanied the bartenders circulated with bottles of champagne. Then he continued as he raised his glass.

“I’d like to propose a toast to Ron, Matt, Tyler and Dan. A finer group of men I’ve never met. They are great guys, and deserve all the happiness together that life can bring.”

“Hear, hear!” several voices from the audience joined in, as Will sipped his drink, joined by the rest of the party.”

The party-goers began to chant, “RON! RON! RON!”

Ron stepped up on the platform.

“From me, Matt, Tyler and Dan, I’d like to thank you for your warm wishes.”

The audience began to clap.

“We have a fine family here at RET, and I’m pleased that my family has grown with the addition of Tyler, Matt and Dan. I’m sure that when you get to know all of them better, you will know how truly lucky I feel today.”

More applause erupted from the audience.

“I’d like to tell you a little story, that you might find amusing.”

“Matt, Tyler and Dan were suddenly looking at the ceiling.

“I went to a jewelry store to buy Matt’s ring for the upcoming ceremony. As I got there a police car drove up and two officers jumped out of their car and went inside. It seems that there had been a robbery. The jeweler met them at the door and said to the senior officer, ‘You’ll never believe what happened, Sergeant. A truck backed up to my store, the doors opened, and an elephant came out. He broke my plate glass window, stuck his trunk in, sucked up all the jewelry, and climbed back into the truck. The doors closed, and the truck pulled away’.”

“ The sergeant said, ‘Could you tell me for identification purposes, whether it was an Indian elephant or an African elephant?’ “

“ ‘What’s the difference?’ asked the jeweler.”

“ ‘Well,’ said the sergeant, ‘an African elephant has great big ears and an Indian elephant has little ears.’”

“‘I’m afraid I can’t help you there,’ the jeweler said.

“ ‘Why not?” the sergeant asked.

“ ‘I couldn’t see his ears,’ said the jeweler. “He had a stocking over his head.”

Groans and laughter filled the rooms, as Ron sheepishly grinned.

Ron raised his hand for silence, and the room quickly quieted down.

“Ladies will you please excuse my following comments?” Ron asked. “I heard that Tyler had decided to start a new business. He got one of the other guys in Aztec-Turner to make a small investment in the company. When they held their organization meeting, Tyler announced that since he had put up 80% of the money, he was going to be President. The other fellow looked at Tyler and asked, ‘What do I get to be?’ Tyler thought for a moment, then said, ‘You get to be the Vice President of Sex and Music.’ ‘What does that entail?’ the guy asked. Tyler responded, ‘When I want your fuckin’ advice, I’ll whistle!’”

The Aztec-Turner group roared above the general laughter.

Ron raised his hand again.

“Jimmy and Kathie are newlyweds in the honeymoon suite on their wedding night, and Kathie’s in the bathroom. As Jimmy’s getting undressed he says to himself, ‘How am I gonna tell her? How am I gonna tell my new wife that I have the world’s smelliest feet?’

He takes off his socks and throws them under the bed.”

“Kathy walks out of the bathroom, and, too chicken to face her, Jimmy runs past her into the bathroom.”

“Kathy sits on the edge of the bed and says to herself, ‘How am I going to tell him? How am I going to tell my new husband that I have the world’s worst breath? I’ve got to tell him!’ Just then Jimmy walks out of the bathroom. Kathy runs up to him and gives him a huge sweet kiss, pulls back and says, ‘Honey, I’ve got to tell you something.’”

“Jimmy says, ‘Yeah, I know. You just ate my socks!’”

As the eruption of laugher died down, Ron continued.

“I just ran into an older gay gentleman friend of mine. He apologized profusely for not being able to come to our ceremony. I said I was sorry, and was there anything I could do? He said yes. He asked me for photographs of the two happy couples, mounted”

The room rocked with laughter. Even Matt was laughing as he blushed.

Silence finally filled the room and Ron said seriously. “I’d just like to say in parting that Matt, Tyler, Dan and I thank you for coming to celebrate our upcoming dual commitment ceremonies. You see before you four of the happiest men in this town. I know that Tyler and Dan love each other, as Matt and I do. We thank you for accepting us and for loving us. We love all of you.”

Ron stepped down off the platform to enthusiastic applause.

Looking at the three other men, he asked, “Anyone else want to say anything?”

“No,” Matt said grinning. “I think you said enough for us all.”

“I agree,” Tyler said with a laugh. “Let’s cut the cake and do that thing, then say our goodbyes and get out of here.”

Thirty minutes later, the three men arrived in the parking garage below the RET offices.

“See you at home,” Ron said as they stepped out of the elevator.

“Ok Ron, “ Tyler said. “We’d better get moving. We’re supposed to be at the plane in an hour.”

“Yep.” Ron said looking at his watch. “We’ll just have time to take our cars home, grab our bags and leave.”

Tyler and Dan got into Tyler’s car, while Matt and Ron each got into their own. In minutes they were on the freeway headed to Ron and Matt’s estate. The adventure of a committed life together was beginning.