A couple of readers have emailed me with regards to the length of this story. It is 52 chapters in length and covers 25 years of Kyle and Jayson's life. The chapters will be posted a quickly as possible.

 

I thank you for reading The Long Road and I welcome all feedback and comments, which can be sent to me at playmaster0023@yahoo.com.

 

~Jim

Chapter 4

 

The following evening Bryan arrived to look over Jay's pictures and was totally amazed by them. "These are some of the best I've ever seen. Would you mind if I borrowed these? I'd like to show them to a friend of mine."

 

"I guess." Jay and Bryan spent the evening looking over and discussing each photograph in detail. Kyle grabbed his guitar and provided a soft music background for their discussion.

 

A couple of days later Jay received a surprise phone call. "Hello?"

 

"Jayson Williams, please." An unknown voice said.

 

"This is Jayson Williams."

 

"Hi, Mr. Williams, this is Karl Jennings over at the art gallery. May I call you Jayson?"

 

"Sure."

 

"Bryan Garrett was here earlier and showed me some of the most astounding photographs I've ever seen, and I would like, if you are willing, to showcase some of them in my gallery."

 

Jay was momentarily taken aback. This must be a joke. He thought to himself. He checked the caller ID display and indeed, the call originated from the art gallery. "You're kidding, right? Why would you want to exhibit my pictures?"

 

"I'm quite serious. As I'm sure Bryan has told you, and even if he hasn't, you have an amazing eye for detail and your composition is outstanding."

 

"Ah, thanks. What would I have to do?"

 

"Have them enlarged to eleven by seventeen inches and dry-mounted. Drop them off here to me and I'll have them framed and hung. Who knows, you might even make some money off them."

 

"Really, how would I do that?"

 

"It's not uncommon for gallery visitors to want to purchase something they like. The gallery will handle the copyrighting of the pictures for your protection, and will also negotiate sales of the photographs for a five-percent commission."

 

"Okay, when do you want them by?"

 

"Can you have them here by Tuesday of next week? The current exhibit closes on Saturday and that will give my staff plenty of time to frame and hang them."

 

"Okay, I think I can do that. Which pictures do you want?"

 

"All of the ones Bryan showed me, if possible, plus five or six more, if you have them."

 

"Sure. I'll get them enlarged and mounted then bring them over by Tuesday."

 

"Great, I'll see you then."

 

"Okay."

 

An hour later, Kyle came home from parent-teacher conference day. "Hey, baby, how'd the conferences go?"

 

"They went well. What did you do today?"

 

"Have you heard of the name Karl Jennings?"

 

"No, why, who is he?"

 

"He's the curator of the art gallery, and, coincidentally, the friend Bryan wanted to show my pictures to."

 

"Oh, really" Kyle asked, his interest piqued.

 

"Yep, He wants to set up and exhibit of my pictures."

 

"Jay, that's absolutely fantabulous! I'm so happy for you. Your dream is finally coming true." Kyle cried as he pounced on him, giving him a big hug and kiss. "When is the exhibit?"

 

"It's the week after next. I have to get the pictures enlarged and mounted and drop them off by Tuesday. He said I might even sell some of them."

 

"What can I do to help?"

 

"You've already been a great help by talking me into showing them to Bryan."

 

Opening day for Jay's exhibit finally arrived and Jay was a nervous wreck. He hardly slept a wink the night before. Having never even been in the gallery he was at a complete loss as to what to expect. The curator had assured him that all he had to do was dress nicely and show up. He was such a wreck that Kyle had to pick out his clothes for him. He had come out of the shower and was standing in front of the closet just staring.

 

Kyle finally decided to do something to help relax him. He took Jay by the hand and led him to the bed, pushing him down into a sitting position. Kissing him gently, he dropped to his knees and pushed Jay's legs apart. They locked eyes as Kyle took him into his mouth for a slow, sensual blow job. Kyle licked, sucked and nibbled on Jay's dick and balls until Jay shot a huge load down Kyle's throat. He collapsed back on the bed and sighed deeply. "Thank you, baby, I guess I really needed that." Kyle climbed onto the bed and lay down next to him. As he kissed Jay, he shared some of Jay's creamy white nectar with him, which Jay gulped down greedily, returning the kiss.

 

"Feel better now?" He asked, breaking the kiss.

 

"Yeah, I do"

 

"Good. Let's get you dressed. You have to be there in a half hour."

 

Jay raised his eyebrows quizzically. "I have to be there? Don't you mean we have to be there?"

 

"Of course I'm going to be there. Everybody is. But this is your day. Today is totally about you."

 

After Jay had dressed, he gathered Kyle in his arms and gave him a slow, deep kiss. "What did I ever do to deserve you?"

 

"Whatever you did, keep doing it. We need to get going."

 

A hint of Jay's prior nervousness returned. "Do I look okay?"

 

"Any more okay and I'm going to start ripping those clothes off and have my wicked way with you. Here. One final touch" Kyle grabbed a bottle of cologne and gave him a couple of squirts. "There. Perfection personified!" He grabbed him by the hand and they drove to the gallery in silence.

 

They arrived at the gallery a half hour before the opening as they had been instructed, only to find all of the doors locked. After a few minutes of pounding on the main entrance, a guard came up to the door. "I'm sorry, but the gallery doesn't open for another twenty minutes."

 

"It's okay, Alan, let them in. He's the exhibitor."

 

"Sorry." The guard mumbled as he let them in.

 

"Mr. Jennings, this is my boyfriend, Kyle. Kyle, this is Mr. Jennings."

 

Karl extended his hand. "I'm pleased to meet you, Kyle. Please call me Karl." They shook hands.

 

"Same here, Mr. Jennings, I mean Karl."

 

"Are you ready to see your exhibit, Jayson?"

 

"You bet!"

 

"Come this way." As Karl led them though the gallery, the boys could not believe what they were seeing. All of Jay's photographs were beautifully framed and hung on the walls with great deliberation as to their location. Jay could not believe that his snapshots, as he called them, were actually on a display and that people were not only going to pay to see them, but perhaps even buy them. The thought was mindboggling. "Here's the program." He handed them each a folded pamphlet.

 

"Provincetown, A Pictorial Essay by Jayson Williams" was printed in an elegant script on the front. Inside, there was a picture of Jayson and a short biography, along with a list of his photographs and a sale price. Jay's eyes bulged out of their sockets as he saw the pricings. There wasn't a single on under seven hundred-fifty dollars. "Karl, these prices have been printed wrong. The cheapest photograph is seven hundred-fifty dollars. It should be seven dollars and fifty cents."

 

"No, the prices are printed correctly. If anything they're priced a little on the low side."

 

Kyle spoke up before Jay could. "You're kidding right?"

 

"No, I'm not."

 

"Nobody would pay that kind of money for a snapshot from a rank amateur." Jay replied in a self-effacing way.

 

"You'd be surprise. Actually, there are a couple of photographs I'm considering for my home."

 

Jay shot a stunned look at Kyle, who returned an equally stunned look.

 

A disembodied voice spoke up. "The gallery will be opening in two minutes."

 

"This is it. Are you ready?" Karl asked the obviously nervous Jay.

 

"No, but let's do it."

 

The first people through the door were, not surprisingly, Tommy, Andy and Bryan. Kim was on duty at the hospital and would join them later. Champagne and hors d'oeuvres were passed as a ton of people, in Jay's estimate, wandered through the exhibit, several stopping to talk with Jay about the photographs, several of them asking questions Jay could only respond to with "It just caught my eye, so I took a picture of it."

 

Kyle stood by his side, the unmistakable look of extreme pride and love battling for supremacy over his face. After a couple of hours he excused himself and started wandering through the exhibit when a photograph he hadn't seen before caught his eye. He took a closer look then groaned when he recognized the subject of the photo. It was one of his paintings. As he stared at the photo in disbelief, a museum employee walked up to the photograph and placed a "SOLD" tag on it. "Excuse me, Miss. This photograph has been sold?"

 

"Yes sir."

 

"Can you tell me how much it went for?"

 

"It went for twenty-seven hundred dollars, sir."

 

"Thank you, Miss." He excused himself and sought out Jay, only to find him talking with Karl, the curator.

 

"Hey baby. So how do you like the exhibit?"

 

"Its fine, but I have one question. When did you take a picture of my waterfall painting, and how come I never saw it?"

 

"I took it the day you gave it to Kim and Bryan. I didn't know it was in the stack of pictures for the exhibit. I didn't check it, nor did I check the enlargements. I'm so sorry baby. I would not have used it without your permission. I was just curious to see how a picture of a painting would turn out. I never would have included it without your permission. You know that."

 

"Jay, I'm not upset. It just took me by surprise. Normally you show me all of your pictures. Did you know that you just made twenty-seven hundred dollars off of it?"

 

"You're kidding, right?"

 

"No. I wouldn't kid about something like this. Congratulations." He said, sincerely. "I thought you were only joking about people buying them. So, how does it feel to have made a big chunk of change?"

 

"I don't know. It hasn't happened yet."

 

"Ah, baby, it just did. I'm not kidding. Come see for yourself." He took Jay by the hand and led him to the photograph. Jay's eyes popped out of his skull when he saw the `sold' tag. A few moments later, the assistant curator approached Jay and handed him a check.

 

"Here you go, Jayson. Congratulations on your first sale."

 

Jay looked at the check. "I'm afraid there's been a mistake. This check is made out to me. It should be made out to Kyle Matthews."

 

"Excuse me?"

 

"This picture, which was never intended for the exhibit, is of one of his paintings."

 

Karl, overhearing the exchange, spoke up. "You painted this, Kyle? It's breathtaking. You have a great technique."

 

"Thanks." He said quietly, blushing furiously. He hated to be praised or recognized for his `doodlings' as he called them.

 

Jay turned to Karl and held the check out to him. "Karl, by rights this should be Kyle's. Actually, it should probably be refunded to the customer. I didn't have his permission to include it in the exhibit."

 

"Hmm, that might be a problem. If the customer paid in cash, we may not know who they are, and they may insist on taking possession of the photograph.

 

"Karl, I have no problem with it being in the exhibit. What I don't understand is why anybody would want a photograph of a painting, especially a painting that's not very good. It's just doodling."

 

Karl turned to Jay. "Is he always this self-effacing?"

 

"No, usually he's worse."

 

"The truth be known, and I'm violating gallery policies, I'm the one who bought it. It's very unique. I've seen photographs of photographs many times over, but I've never seen a photograph of an oil painting. Kyle, by any chance is this painting for sale?"

 

"No. I gave it to my sister and brother-in-law for a Christmas present."

 

"Would you consider doing a commissioned painting for me?"

 

"Perhaps some other time, but today isn't about me. It's about Jay." He grabbed the check out of Jay's hand. "I'll make sure this gets deposited into his account." He told the curator as he took a pen, wrote "For deposit only" and Jay's savings account number on the back which he had memorized, as Jay did his, in case of emergencies. There was no way he was going to deposit in into his savings account, nor their joint account. Their individual accounts were Christmas savings accounts into which each of them deposited a small amount each month. The bulk of their salaries went into their joint account. He folded the check and placed it into his wallet. When Jay started to argue that the money was legally his, Kyle countered his argument with "Are you going to give the money from sales of your photographs to each and every subject of your photograph? How are you going to track down the owner of the ocean, the trees, the skies..." he ticked off each point on his fingers. "Regardless of the subject, the photographs are your copyrighted property. Therefore any proceeds from the sales are yours and yours alone."

 

"What about your painting?" Jay argued.

 

"Who's painting? I don't see my name on it, nor do I see any copyright notice. How do I know you didn't just see it hanging somewhere out in the open and just took a picture of it?"

 

"You know it's your painting." Jay replied with a little heat.

 

"I may have painted it, but I didn't copyright it. Therefore, you had every legal right to take a picture of it and sell that picture. You're an FBI Field Agent. You know the law. If it will make you any happier, I'll sign a release form for you. In fact, I'll do one better." He took out his cell phone and activated the voice memo recording. "Karl, stand witness. I, Kyle David Matthews, do hereby grant Jayson William Edwards the exclusive right to photograph any painting I have or will produce. Furthermore, I grant him the exclusive right to sell said photographs and use the proceeds as he sees fit." He turned to Karl. "Karl Jennings, as curator of this Art Gallery, have you witnessed what I just said?"

 

"I have."

 

"There. It's over and done. No more discussion. You have guests to get back to."

 

Jay looked at Kyle with resignation. This was an argument he wasn't going to win, so it would be in his best interest to concede gracefully. He drew Kyle into a gentle hug. "I love you so much." He whispered into his ear.

 

"I love you too. Now get back to your guests." He broke the hug, turned Jay and gave him a gentle push towards the main part of the exhibit. Grinning at Karl, he followed him and remained by his side until the exhibit closed for the evening.

 

As the boys sat at their table in their favorite all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet one of the other diners approached them. They both stood. "Excuse me, but aren't you the Jayson Williams who as an exhibit at the art gallery?"

 

"Yes, ma'am" He replied shyly.

 

"I'm Tisha Jones, Owner and Managing Editor of 'About Town' magazine. I'd like to discuss the possibility of you coming to work with us. Would you be able to stop by my office on Tuesday afternoon?"

 

"I guess so. What time?"

 

"Whatever time is convenient for you."

 

"Okay sure."

 

She handed him her business card. "Here's the address. See you on Tuesday. Enjoy your meal." She turned and left as the boys sat back down.

 

"That's awesome, Jay. About Town magazine is a huge magazine, and your photographs are going to be in it! I'm so proud of you, baby."

 

"Whoa. Put the brakes on, Kyle. There's no guarantee anything is going to come out of the meeting."

 

"Just the fact that the owner of a major magazine is interested in your work is awesomely awesome. We need to celebrate. Let's head out to the club after dinner."

 

"You mean you want to celebrate this without getting your brains fucked out?"

 

"Of course, but that will come later." He grinned evilly.

 

"Okay. Let's finish up and head for the club."

 

The following Tuesday afternoon Jay entered the executive offices of About Town magazine. He approached a receptionist. "Hi, I'm Jayson Williams. Tisha asked me to stop by today to see her.

 

"One moment please." She picked up the phone and dialed. "Tisha, there's a Jayson Williams here to see you."

 

"Okay, thank you, Pam." A moment later, Tisha opened the door. "Hi, Jayson, Please, come in and have a seat. Can I get you anything?"

 

"Some water would be great. Thanks."

 

She handed him a bottle of water out of a mini refrigerator. "So, Jayson, how's the exhibit going?"

 

"It's going great."

 

"I have to be honest with you. I didn't just bump into you and your friend at the restaurant the other night. I followed you there."

 

"Really, why would you follow me?"

 

"I saw your exhibit and was very impressed with your talent. I want you to be a part of our team. Would you be interested in working with us?"

 

"I already have a full-time job with the FBI."

 

"Okay, how about freelancing then. We'd pay you two-hundred and fifty dollars for each photograph we use, and you would have the photo credit byline."

 

"What would I have to do?"

 

"Simply do what you have been doing, and quite well I might add. Take pictures and bring them to us. If we use them, we pay you. From time to time we might ask you to take pictures of a specific person, place or event for us. You have a great eye and a lot of talent."

 

"It sounds great, but with my job, I may not be able to take the pictures you ask for."

 

"Not a problem. All you have to do is let me know that you can't cover the assignment and we'll send somebody else. We'd much rather have you, though, whenever you're available.

 

"Can I think it over and get back to you in a couple of days?"

 

"Of course, But don't take too long. We're anxious to have you as part of our family."

 

"I'll let you know what my decision is in a couple of days. Thank you for your offer and the water." He stood, shook hands with Tisha, and left. Upon arriving home he looked around for Kyle but didn't find him. Strange, his jeep and bike are in the garage. I wonder where he is. He went out the back door and down the path to their private beach where he found Kyle, painting a seascape. The look of intense concentration mixed with complete serenity took Jay's breath away. How long he stood there and watched him he didn't know, for time seemed to stand still. Finally, Kyle stood up and started packing up his paints, brushes and palette. He turned around and nearly jumped out of his skin as the sight of Jay startled him. "How long have you been standing there?"

 

"I don't know. Awhile, I guess."

 

"Why didn't you say something?"

 

"I didn't want to disturb you. Watching you paint is one of my favorite things to do. I could do it for hours."

 

"How did you meeting go with the magazine lady?"

 

"Would you believe she offered me a freelance position as a photographer? They'll pay me two-hundred and fifty bucks a picture. There're no commitments, and I'll have my own byline."

 

"Are you going to take it?"

 

"I don't know. I wanted to talk it over with you first."

 

"There's nothing to talk about. I want you to go for it."

 

"Are you sure? Between my regular job and assignments for the magazine, we might not see each other as much."

 

"Sure we will. When you go on assignment, I'll go with you as your assistant. I'll carry your equipment for you so all you have to do is concentrate on taking the pictures."

 

Jay wrapped him in a bear hug. "You're the best. Have I told you how much I love you?"

 

"No but you can show me." He kissed Jay tenderly. "I'm so happy for you, Jay. Your dream is coming true at last. You need to call the magazine lady right now and accept the position. The quicker you do, the quicker you can get started doing something you're passionate about."

 

Jay removed one arm from around Kyle, got out his cell phone and the business card and happily told Tisha he would accept the position.

 

While he was doing so, Kyle got out his cell phone and, glancing at his watch, called Andy. "Hey, guess what? Jay just got a job with About Town Magazine as a photographer."

 

"That's awesome. It's about time he started using his gift. Now, we just need to get you to do something with yours."

 

"I don't have any gifts to do anything with."

 

"BULL-FUCKING-SHIT, KYLE!" Andy yelled so loud Kyle had to jerk the phone away from his ear.

 

Why, whenever anything good happens for Jay, everyone tries to shift the focus away from Jay and onto me? Kyle thought, his irritation rising. "This isn't about me. It's about Jay and how his dream is finally coming true and I resent everyone trying to take his moment away from him." He replied with more than a little heat in his voice.

"Kyle, calm down. I'm not trying to take anything away from him. I think its way beyond terrific, and I'm going to take out a subscription to the magazine so I don't miss any of his amazing work. Believe me, if I could afford it, there's a photograph I would love to buy myself."

 

"I'm sorry, Andy. It just seems like whenever Jay becomes the center of attention, people try to shift it away from him and towards me. Like at the gallery. The curator bought a photograph of a waterfall painting I had done and he tried to talk to me about doing a commissioned painting right in front of Jay. I thought that was very inappropriate. It was Jay's time and I don't want anyone or anything to detract from that."

 

"That was never my intention, Kyle. I'm so very happy for Jay, and like I said, I'm subscribing to the magazine so I don't miss any of his photographs."

 

"It's all good." Kyle activated his speakerphone and nudged Jay to get his attention. "Which photograph were you interested in?"

 

"The sunset over the beach photograph. It's the most beautiful photograph I've ever seen. Believe me, if I could afford it, it would have a `sold' tag on it, but according to the program, the starting price bid is two-thousand dollars."

 

The boys exchanged glances. Kyle turned off the speakerphone as Jay got out his cell and called the curator. "Karl. It's Jayson. I have a quick question for you. If I wanted to pull a photo from the gallery and donate it, is that allowed?"

 

"It is. However, there would be a one-hundred-fifty dollar fee to cover the cost of the framing and hanging."

 

"Okay. How would I go about doing it?"

 

"That depends. Do you want to pull it immediately, or wait until the exhibit closes?"

 

"I can wait."

 

"In that case, all you have to do is let me know which one it is and we'll put a `sold' tag on it."

 

"Okay, cool. I'll drop by tomorrow and show you the one. Thanks, Karl." Jay hung up. "Andy's got himself a photograph. Karl said he'll put a `sold' tag on it so nobody else will buy it. I just have to pay them a hundred-fifty dollar fee for the framing and hanging, but that's nothing."

 

Kyle pulled him into an embrace. "You're awesome, baby. Andy told me he was going to subscribe to About Town so he doesn't miss any of your pictures, which I think is a great idea. I'm going to do the same." He grinned at Jay's furious blush.

 

Two months later, Kyle and Jay knocked on Tommy and Andy's door. Within moments, the door was opened and Tommy ushered them inside. "Hey guys. What's up?"

 

"We have something for you guys." When Andy joined them, Jay opened the door and retrieved a large package from outside. "Here, open this." He handed it to Andy.

 

Tears sprung from Andy's eyes as he opened the photograph. "I thought this photograph was sold."

 

"The art gallery put a `sold' tag on it at my request to prevent anyone else from buying it." Jay explained.

 

"Jay, we can't accept this. It belongs in the art gallery, or on some rich person's wall."

 

"No, it doesn't. It belongs on your wall. You can accept it, because we're not giving you guys any choice. You're only choice you have is where you're going to put it."

 

"But why would you pull a photograph from the exhibit and give it to us when you could easily have sold it for a small fortune."

 

"It's my way of showing you guys our love and appreciation for all the support you've given me over the exhibit and the new job. Kyle told me about taking out a subscription to About Town and why you were doing it."

 

"It's nothing, Jay. We believe in you and your gift of photography. We can't wait to see your photographs in print."

 

"Well, you won't have to wait long. The next edition will have a couple of pictures I took of the Old Stone Church for a historical edition."

 

"Fantabulous. I can't wait to get a copy it. This calls for a celebration, dinner and club on us."

 

"That sounds good to us."

 

After a leisurely meal at their favorite restaurant, Ruby Tuesday's, the four best friends hit every nightclub in town. Jay got mobbed in one of the clubs by patrons wanting his autograph for, unbeknownst to any of them the latest issue of About Town had a feature article about the exhibit and included a blurb about Jay becoming a photographer for the magazine. The issue even featured a photograph of Jay on the cover. Nobody understood why Jay was being mobbed until one of the ladies at the club presented him a copy of the magazine for him to sign. He excused himself and left the club, going to a nearby drug store to get a copy. Standing there in the middle of the store, he couldn't believe what he was reading. He was embarrassed to discover that the issue was a special issue focused solely on him and the exhibit.

 

When he returned to the club a few minutes later, Kyle asked him, "Where did you go?"

 

"I went to the drug store and picked up a copy of the magazine." He held it up. Kyle all but snatched it out of his hand and started looking through it.

 

"Hey, guys, check this out!" He said to Tommy and Andy. "The entire issue is devoted completely to Jay and the exhibit!" His voice, quivering slightly, was filled with love and pride.

 

"Where'd you get it?" Tommy asked Jay.

 

"There's a drug store two doors down."

 

Tommy and Andy ran out the door. "GRAB ONE FOR ME TOO!" Kyle yelled after them.

 

They returned a few minutes later with about two dozen copies. "We want to make sure everyone gets a copy." Andy explained. They left the club a few minutes later and found a nearby all-night diner where they sat and read the entire magazine from cover to cover over coffee and pie.

 

The next day Tommy and Andy happily went from one friend's house to another, distributing copies of the magazine. After the tenth phone call from their friends, Jay turned his cell phone off. "I'm going to kill those two!"

 

Kyle was enjoying all the attention Jay was receiving immensely. "You know, someday the shoe might be on the other foot." Jay said to him, slightly irritated, not knowing that his words were not merely speculative, but also prophetic as well.

 

Approximately six months after the historical issue hit the newsstands that Jay started receiving offers from other magazines as well, all of which he turned down. He was happy with About Town, and being employed fulltime by the FBI, he didn't want anything to detract from his work for them. He loved the magazine and he loved the people he worked with. They gave the choicest assignments to him, and always understood whenever he had to refuse an assignment because of his regular job. The best part was that most of the assignments were on nights, early evenings and weekends, so Kyle was able to accompany him.

 

He was surprised when, on one assignment, Tisha joined him. "Jay, I have the latest circulation figures. It seems that, since you've joined us, circulation has almost doubled. Advertizing revenues are also increasing. We're going to have to increase the size of the magazine in order to accommodate all of the requests for advertizing space."

 

"Wow! That's amazing!"

 

Just then Kyle came rushing up, camera bag over his shoulder and gorilla pod in one hand, which he handed over to Jay. "Here's your gorilla pod."

 

"I see you have yourself an assistant. Hi, I'm Tisha Jones, owner and managing editor of About Town." She extended her hand to Kyle.

 

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Jones. I'm Kyle."

 

"I'm pleased to meet you, Kyle." She frowned slightly. "I thought I knew everyone at the magazine. When did you start working for us?" She asked, puzzled.

 

"I don't. I'm just helping Jay out."

 

She turned to Jay. "May I ask how much you're paying him?"

 

"I'm not paying him anything. Kyle is my boyfriend." Jay responded, a note of nervousness creeping into his voice.

 

"You don't say? Well, we can't have someone accompanying you on assignment that's not on the payroll." She turned to Kyle. "First thing Monday morning, stop by my office to fill out some paperwork. As of right now, you are hired as Photographer's Assistant, which will pay you one hundred dollars per assignment." She turned to Jay. "That is, if that's alright with you."

 

"I appreciate the offer, Ms. Jones "

 

"Tisha" she interrupted.

 

"Tisha, the thing is, I'm a fulltime school teacher and can't always accompany Jay on assignments."

 

"So you will accompany him and get paid on whatever assignments you can. When you're not available, we'll have another assistant accompany him. Do we have a deal?" She extended her hand.

 

Kyle looked at Jay, who nodded. He shook her hand. "We do. I won't be able to stop by until after school, if that's alright."

 

"That's fine. Now, what is this `gorilla pod'? I've never heard of one."

 

Jay handed it to her. "It's a small tripod with flexible legs. It allows you to mount a camera on a fence, tree limb, or pole. Here, I'll show you." Using the gorilla pod, he mounted his camera to a nearby tree branch and took a couple of pictures of some swans swimming in a pond which he showed to Tisha.

 

"So that's how you got some of the pictures you did. I'm going to have to get a few of these to have on hand for the other staff photographers. Where did you get it?"

 

"Kyle got it for me."

 

"I bought it at a camera shop over on Third Avenue and Columbus Street."

 

"Cool. Well, I'll let you guys get to it. Don't forget to come by and sign the paperwork. I'll backdate it to cover the assignments you went on with him. I assume you went on most of them?"

 

"I only went on the night and weekend assignments."

 

"Okay. You guys take care."

 

"Bye Tisha!"

 

"Goodbye, and thank you, Tisha."

 

"Well that was unexpected. Welcome aboard, `assistant'."

 

"Shut up and kiss me!" Kyle growled, and order which Jay was all too eager to obey.

 

To be continued...