x

[DISCLAIMER: If you're not of legal age to read stories of male-to-male intimacy, or if it is illegal to do so where you are, right now, this very second ... then please ... leave, and return ONLY when and where it is legal for you to do so. If reading about sexual intimacy, feelings, yearnings and the like, between people of the same sex offends you, the author asks that you, too, leave and find expressions to your likings elsewhere. And remember ... "Judge not, that ye be not judged." Comments, both pro and con, including constructive criticism, are welcomed.]


VITO -- A LOVE STORY


By Zeke Housemann (zekehousemann@yahoo.com)


(Soft, mysterious, chilling pipe-organ music playing in the background)

It was a dark and dreary night. The wind howled. The shutters banged against the peeling, rotted siding. Lightening flashed and eerie shadows of naked, broken tree branches danced through the fractured windowpanes. He stood, nervously sipping from his brandy snifter while warming his rear parts near the crackling fire in the ancient, huge, stone fireplace. He raised his glass to toast his invited guest.

That's the way that a good murder mystery novel begins, is it not? Of course it is.

However, this is not a novel, but a short story, based on many separate details that did, in fact, happen once upon a time. Names are fictional, except for that of the author.

And again, this is not a murder mystery, though it might have been if the visitor had screwed up and even hinted to someone, anyone, that this night had ever happened.

The wind howled, yes, but not exactly as inferred in the opening narrative. The wind was filled with sand. Millions of cubic feet of Nevada desert grit, flying near-horizontal arcs, pricking, piercing, pitting everything in its path. At sixty-three miles per hour! A true desert sandstorm, right out of Lawrence of Arabia!

And again, there were no broken tree branches -- only jagged, treacherous palm fronds ripped from their dangerously strained trunks, bent and twisted by the mighty gale.

And again there were no fractured windowpanes -- only sliding glass patio doors that might become fractured by the fronds being hurled in anger at them by the unseen devils of wind.

And yet again, there was no "crackling fire in the ancient, huge stone fireplace" -- only the growing, gnawing inferno in the groins of the two men sitting opposite each other in the oversized black marble jacuzzi spa, only steps away from the king-sized waterbed in the ebony-paneled master suite.

And one final "yet again," there were no brandy snifters -- but there were Champagne flutes, half-filled with Krug's Clos du Mesnil Champagne.

The only bit of the narrative true to the incident, was his action: He raised his glass to toast his invited guest.

"To your new job, Zeke. May it lead to greater adventures than you've dreamed."

With glasses in extended hands, they had to stand from their submerged seats, in order for the flutes to clink together. Each stepped with care toward the other in the hot, bubbling, swirling water, oblivious to the roaring storm beyond. Cloven tongues from flaming wicks danced above a dozen musk-and-myrrh-scented candles evenly spaced near the spa as the gentle movement of the two stirred the surrounding air.

"Thanks, Vito; and may (???) those greater adventures than I've dreamed begin here, this evening?" Zeke returned the toast, not as a stated wish, but as a question to his host.

Vito drew his head back from the relaxed forward position, squinted his eyes and studied Zeke for a moment. "How am I to understand that? What do you mean?"

"I've always dreamed of sipping expensive champagne with a girlfriend, with our arms interlocked. Well, there ain't no girlfriends around, just us two guys, so would it be all right for a couple of guy friends to do it? This is the first time I've ever had Krug's. And if it works out for me once I get to Paradise, we may never see each other again; may never have the opportunity to do this again; please, Vito. Please. It would mean so much to me."

Vito rarely smiled, even when not at work, but he couldn't ... not respond to his guest's heightened state of joy and enthusiasm and ... yes ... his excited pleading; he smiled as he locked elbows with Zeke.

Unexpectedly, that's not all that touched.

<><><><><><><>

"Babyface" Vito was one of the Pit Bosses at the Lost Horizons' Shangri-Lah Casino, a couple miles off The Strip in Las Vegas. He was also an instructor at their dealer's school. The "Babyface" nickname came from his turned-up little nubbin of a nose, his rosy cheeks and his fiery red hair hanging in little curls across his forehead reminiscent of some omnipotent Roman emperor cast out of his own time and place. His coloring and physical characteristics came from his Irish mother; his name and heritage came from his Sicilian father.

But nobody ever crossed "Babyface" Vito. He had grown up in the alleys and back streets of New York City. He had been forced to become street-wise at an early age after his father's brutal gangland-style murder. He knew when to hold his hand and when to play it, so to speak, not only in cards, but also in every life situation. He was considered an expert at both. And he was only twenty-eight years old, though he had already lived more than a century!

In school, he was a demanding instructor -- he never hesitated to chew your ass out over the slightest little blunder, and he would never compliment anyone on anything. He expected perfection. No -- not perfection -- NEAR perfection. HE was the only PERFECT being to walk the face of God's little green and sandy Earth -- or so he wanted everyone to believe!

None of the students at the school liked him, and none of the dealers in The Lost Horizons' Shangri-Lah liked him at all ... except, that is, for thirty-two year old Zeke Housemann. Zeke was scared shitless of him the first week of school, true, but his fear quickly changed to love for Vito; with his neatness, his orderliness, his precision, his ... yes! ... PERFECTION in everything he did. Vito WAS perfect ... in Zeke's eyes.

All too often, Vito would bring the female students and many of the macho male dealers to tears, lambasting their developing techniques, their lackadaisical attitudes toward practicing their new art, their posture, their smiles (they were supposed to be straight-faced and serious ... not there to have fun!), even their unkempt nails.

"Your hands," he would say, "are probably the only part of you that the players ever notice. If they're clean, neat, well manicured ... they'll stay at your table, even if they're losing, and they'll stay until they lose every damn, fuckin' penny they've got! That's why we're in business." And he WAS all business! No need to spend time teaching them how to cheat at the tables, because the "odds" are always in favor of the house.

But Zeke quickly learned how to handle him -- kowtow to his every whim, never place an argument, never cower or show fear, never try to defend yourself -- in essence, be a "yes" man, and let him know that he, Vito, was right and that you appreciated everything that he was teaching you. For that's what he was doing ... teaching! And Zeke loved his masterful dominance! More and more ... every day.

"And on top of everything else," Vito had repeated, "improve; improve; improve."

Zeke had improved -- from a greenhorn-walk-in-the-door-hopeful-wannabe Black Jack dealer at the Horizons' Dealers' School, to the best Baccarat croupier in the casino.

After eight weeks at Dealers' School, and nine short months after being hired by Lost Horizons, Zeke auditioned for a little pip-squeak of a guy named Dominic Patrizzi, and had been chosen to go with him to Paradise Island in the Bahamas, to help open a new casino there.

He was to be in complete charge of training hunky, blacker-than-the-Ace-of-Spades, young Bahamian men to deal Baccarat. He was to set up the entire department in the new casino. He would eventually design and custom order seven new "uniforms" for each of "his" twelve boys, who would be the newest, best-dressed croupiers in the Caribbean, a different colored "pirate's" blouse and coordinated sash for each day of the week. And he would see that "his" boys got paid more than any other dealers on the island -- they would be the envy of all the dealers in the tropics! He would make sure of that.

<><><>

Though everyone in the casino knew that Zeke had won the audition, and the date of his grand departure, he formally turned in his notice of termination two weeks ahead of time, as was ... "proper." Just in case things don't work out in Paradise, maybe I can get my job back, he thought.

His last shift came. He approached it with excitement and with eagerness for it to be over. He was anxious to begin his adventure in an exotic Caribbean island. But it was a bitter-sweet eight-hour combination of sadness and joy. His breaks were filled with hugging and kissing fellow dealers, cocktail girls, restaurant waitresses, change girls and guys from the slots area, even some of the macho cleanup guys. Anything's OK in Vegas, so the saying goes. A couple of the guys, he wanted to "hug" twice or more!

He had been on his last break of the shift, and when he returned to the Pit, he noticed his favorite player was standing at the Mini-Baccarat table; Amanda Stevenson, wife of the owner of the newest hotel and casino in Vegas. Night after night, whenever Zeke was on duty, she would come in and play, standing behind one of the seven players at the small table -- that was one of her private idiosyncrasies; the table must have a full complement of seven players! She never sat down.

Occasionally she would leave after dropping a couple thousand dollars, but more often than not she'd walk away with a fortune. And she was never there for more than two hours! And always by herself.

As polite as she was beautiful -- extremely so! -- she would always ask one of the players if she might occasionally place a bet on his or hers. No one ever refused her politeness and her charm. She exuded the very same elegant qualities as First Lady, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.

One of the place bets in Baccarat is for a tie hand which pays eight-to-one. A $25 bet, if it wins, receives $200 back. The table had a $200 limit per hand in ordinary play, but with a $25 maximum bet on the tie. That is ... until Mrs. Amanda Stevenson came to the table. When she was there, she, and she alone, was permitted to bet whatever she wanted! But she always placed her $200 bet, never more, never less ... when she placed a bet, which wasn't at every hand.

On seeing her enter the casino, Vito, or whoever was Pit Boss in his absence, would immediately have the Baccarat croupier relinquish one of the three stacks of black $100 checques in his tray, to be replaced with a stack of twenty orange $500 checques and ten golden $1000 checques.

She would just stand there doing nothing, but watching, for several minutes, letting two, three, four hands go by. Then, taking two of her black $100 checques, she would carefully stack them on that player's spot marked for a tie bet, and stand back. God! Her $200 bet would pull in $1600 in winnings, and she would give that player $100 in gratitude.

Soon, everyone at the table was asking her to place her wagers on their tie bets. Seven players times a $200 bet equals $1400 wagered. Perhaps $1400 was lost, but frequently, $11,200 was won, less the $700 in gratuities that she would happily award her fellow gamblers! Again and again she would do it! No one could ever figure out how she won so often, but she did! It was as if her sixth-sense knew just when a tie hand was going to be dealt -- to be revealed.

During Zeke's forty-five minutes of his last shift before leaving for Paradise, she won over $100,000! Nothing illegal about it -- not with eight decks in the shoe (for you non-gamblers, a "shoe" is a sloped rectangular box that can hold six or eight decks of cards, and from which the dealer can slide one card at a time to be exposed in play)!

Seeing his replacement come toward him, she wiggled her right index finger, motioning for him to come closer, as she leaned across the table and dropped five black $100 checques into his shirt pocket; "for the boys," she said. She knew that tips or "tokes" were pooled in the Horizons Casino over a twenty-four hour period, and that each dealer got the same amount as every other dealer, each day -- it's only fair in the long run.

She then kissed him on the lips -- it was the first and only time she had ever done that. Then ... then ...she wished him well on his Caribbean adventure, and did something that shocked him ... she handed him two orange $500 checques saying, "This is for you, Zeke. Put them in your pants pocket and DON'T POOL IT WITH THE OTHERS!"

He didn't know it, but Vito had been standing behind him, just off to the side. Zeke started to object to what Mrs. Stevenson had said, but Vito stepped closer, placed one hand and arm across Zeke's shoulders, took the thousand dollars from his hand, and slid his own hand and the two checques into Zeke's pants pocket, and said softly, "It's OK this time, Zeke." Zeke could smell the Wintergreen mint on Vito's breath, and wanted to kiss him -- in front of God, in front of Amanda, in front of everyone. But he refrained, not wanting to embarrass his boss.

On feeling Vito's hand slide into his right front pocket, he thought, Oh, God, Vito ... leave your hand there. Oh, shit, I'm starting to get a hardon! FUCK! He just touched the head of it -- I know he did! He could have won the Academy Award for keeping a straight face, but he knew why Vito had done this -- nothing sexual about it.

Dealers were never to have their hands below the edge of the table ... not even unobtrusively to scratch their balls. Oh, how many times he had wished that he could ask Vito to help him out that way! Oh, fuckin'-a-ditty-bag!!! No! No! Not now! He screamed in his head -- the cranial one! Now I gotta get outta these wet jockies! Ummmph!

With some difficulty, he expressed his heart-felt gratitude to Mrs. Stevenson, and after saying his "good-bye's" to the players at the table, he clapped his hands once over the dealers' till of checques, and spread his hands AND his fingers, showing the eye-in-the-sky that his palms were empty. As he turned to exit the pit, Vito walked out with him.

"Got a few minutes? Care to join me in the coffee shop?"

"Sure thing, Vito." He pulled at his sticky underwear through his pants pocket.

They found an isolated table in the far corner, away from everyone else. The waitress came to take their orders. Vito -- only a glass of OJ. Zeke -- a full breakfast of three eggs over easy, six strips of very crisp bacon, two spicy-hot sausage patties, three hot cakes, pineapple juice, milk, coffee, two English muffins, and lots and lots of butter! Oh, yes ... and grits!

"God! You always eat like that?" chortled Vito.

"No, but now I can afford it," Zeke patted his right pants pocket with the two orange checques in it. "You want anything else? I'm buying!"

Vito shook his head as Zeke enjoyed the laughing, grinning face he had never before seen. It was then that Zeke noticed that he could see everyone in the restaurant, but no one could see Vito's "Babyface." That face is adorable, once you get to know it, he thought.

It was just after 5:00 AM, Sunday morning, and Zeke didn't have to be at McCarran International Airport until 11:00 PM, Monday evening for his flight to Miami before connecting to Paradise Island.

"Are you free this evening, Zeke?"

"Nothing planned ... for tonight ... except ... to finish ... packing, Vito," he answered, pensively searching for each individual word, while at the same time wondering what else Vito was about to ask. Both sides of his brain were simultaneously working at full speed.

"I'd like ... to invite you ... out to the ranch ... for dinner ... this evening. And ... and ... uhhh ...," Zeke had never known Vito to stammer his words as he was doing now; "... I'd ... uhhh ... like for us to ... uhhh ... talk over some things ... before you leave."

Talk over some things? What are you trying to tell me, Vito? What are you wanting to say, but can't? Not here? Could it be ...? No. No way in hell! ... Oh, my, God! A light was beginning to dawn somewhere in one of the erotic tunnels of Zeke's mind.

Ironically, Sting's Windmills Of Your Mind was heard from the ceiling speakers in the coffee shop:

Like a tunnel that you follow

To a tunnel of its own

Down a hollow to a cavern

Where the sun has never shown

In the windmills of your mind.

"Sure, Vito, I'd like to spend some one-on-one with you. I've wanted to, since we first met. But you seemed so unapproachable, so business-like. And besides, I don't know where you live. What's your address? May I have your address? You wouldn't mind giving me your address, would you? And your phone number, just in case. WOULD you give me your phone number? Just in case something happens -- an accident, or something -- and I couldn't make it ... or I might be late ... or ..." He was babbling ... faster and faster, his voice rising in pitch with each additional thought, each additional word.

"Whoa, there, good buddy. Slow down. Relax."

Now THAT was totally unlike the way he usually talks, Zeke thought. "Sorry," he then replied, taking a deep breath, as well as lowering the tone of his words. He picked up the napkin to wipe his sweaty hands.

"You're nervous, aren't you? Nervous about coming out to my place."

Just then, the waitress brought their orders. "Your orange juice, Mr. Vito," she set it in front of him. "And YOUR order, Mr. Caribbean gad-about," she teased. "Youse not gonna be able to eat like this down there in that God-forsaken land. All that sultry humididity! You keep eatin' like this, baby, and youse gonna blow up like a balloon. And you be a-sweatin' like you wuz on a chain-gang choppin' wood out on the fou'th of July! From now on, youse gonna be eatin' fruit, fresh fruit and mo' fuckin' fruit! 'Scuse my language, sweety."

Vito and Zeke burst into laughter, and Zeke thought, If only you knew, sister; if you only knew!

After she had left, Vito quietly asked the solemn question, "Are you afraid to come out to my place, Zeke?"

"Oh, no, Vito. No. No. Not at all. Not at all. I'd ... uhhh ... I'd love to come out to your place, have dinner with you, spend ... time ... with you ... awww, shit, Vic ..." (He had misspoken Vito's name without realizing it. Yes, Vito had heard it; had heard it loud and clear, but refused to give any sign of response.) "... today was my last day, and since I no longer work here, I'm gonna come right out, be honest, and tell you ..."

Vito held up a hand, stopping Zeke from saying another word. "Not here. Wait 'til tonight," he said, just above a whisper, as if he already knew, or at least suspected, what Zeke wanted to confess! Or, probably more correctly ... profess!

Drawing a business card from his wallet, he slid it across the table to Zeke as he continued in a normal voice, "Now ... finish your breakfast, go home, do some more packing, and get some sleep; I've got a feeling it's going to be a long night ... for both of us ..." He smirked, and winked. "... my address and phone number are on the card, and I'll see you around ... 5:30 this afternoon... is that too early?"

He winked. HE winked at ME! Not only shocked, Zeke was also growing more hopeful. "No. That's not too early, Vito. Five-thirty is fine. I'll be there. What's the dress?"

"Casual. Very casual." There was just the hint of a smile on Vito's face.

"Just my birthday suit? Is that too casual?" Zeke joked, with a sly wink.

"If you'll be comfortable in it ... Fine!" Vito's demeanor had changed back to its usual coarseness.

"And you'll join me?" Zeke was devilishly grinning from ear to ear with the game they were now playing. Perhaps the stakes would be getting higher, bigger, fatter, longer, hotter, deeper ... whatever!

"I'll make you a deal," Vito leaned toward Zeke and almost whispered; "you drive from your apartment out to my ranch in nothing but your birthday suit, and I'll join you. And to top it off, anything you want will be yours tonight. BUT! You renege, and your ass is mine; I ... shit ... you ... not!" He was waving his index finger in Zeke's face, and he, Vito, had lost the faint smile that had crept across his lips only moments earlier.

He continued, "You're starting to play a dangerous game, kid, but I can play it better than you. And I can play it to the hilt; believe you, me. I've done it before; a hundred times before!" He was dead serious, but then continued, a bit more mellow, "We still on for tonight, hot-shot?" He winked again.

I'm four years older than him, and he called me kid? Zeke hesitated a moment, pondering possible scenarios; "I'll be there, Vic ..." he shook his head in frustration, this time realizing his goof, then corrected himself, "... Vito."

Vito cocked his head at Zeke's faux pas, but again said nothing. After a moment, he rose from his chair and said, "Ciao, Zeke. Later."

Zeke returned the departure greeting, standing and extending his hand in friendship, then returned to his breakfast as Vito returned to the Pit.

Quickly he finished his meal, went to the cashiers' cage, and cashed-out the two orange checques. Then, finally, after a few more "good-bye's," was on his way back to his apartment.

But not before he entered the "Gents" room, went into a stall, closed the door, and removed his black casino trousers and his still semen-dampened briefs. Damn! What a load that was! He sniffed them and a wicked smile came to his face. God! He accidentally touches me and I get my rocks off ...but was it really an accident, he wondered, he hoped, weighing the pros and cons of the idea, while pulling his trousers back on, commando-style, and making himself presentable. He left the stall, tossed the balled-up material down the trash shoot, and walked out pondering ... Shit! What have I gotten myself into?

<><><>

Nearly all of his clothing was already packed, except for the dry cleaning he would pick up tomorrow morning, Monday. Also, tomorrow, he would settle up with the landlord. He would leave his F-150 pickup with a friend for a few weeks until he was sure the new job in Paradise would pan out ... into the "gold" he anticipated. The utilities and phone company had been notified for Tuesday's cut-off date.

Yes, everything seemed to have been taken care of prudentially, and now, perhaps, he could use a few good hours of sleep before having to get ready to leave for dinner and -- dare he even consider the possibilities of any sensual desserts?

Have I forgotten anything?

The pent-up concerns about last minute details proved to put further strain on his back and leg muscles. They were always stiff after standing at the tables for forty-five minutes of each hour during an eight-hour shift.

Thinking of his aching muscles, he felt a stirring in his loins and decided to take matters into his own hands as he stripped out of his casino shirt and trousers. I'll take those to the dry cleaners tomorrow morning and get the one-hour special, he thought, as he gently palmed the underside of his erect member when, at last freed, it slapped against his belly.

Lying on the cool sheets and mentally relaxing as much as possible, seemed to send all stiffness in his body to the one six-and-a-quarter-inch-muscle standing as nearly vertical as possible, considering the slight upward curve throughout its entirety.

Through years of experience he had found the curvature to be more benefit than hindrance to his own sexual pleasure AND the pleasure of his partners. With 69ing, it caused less gagging and more easily slid down the other's throat. Being inside another, face-to-face, it continually stroked his lover's prostate, bringing forth sounds of passionate joy not heard when they were chest-to-back.

As he lay there, he fantasized about proving once again those two statements. Oh, Vito ... please let my dreams become real. Please. I want you so badly. I need you, Vic ... VITO! ... Why the hell am I doing that? ... You're everything I've ever wanted, my Luv ... "Vitooooooooooooo" he uttered aloud, knowing no one could hear his plaintive cry.

Laying it against his belly once again, he softly rubbed his palm up and down the pulsing length of it, the tips of his fingers further exciting his rapidly shrinking, clean-shaven ball-sack. Occasionally, they would even stroke and apply some slight pressure to the perineum, sending greater sensual sensations throughout his body.

As visions of himself and Vito mutually re-enacting these erotic actions played in his fantasies, Zeke was becoming more and more turned-on; little humming noises came from his very depths, higher and higher, louder and louder. Crystal clear drops of pre-cum came more quickly, coating the palm, the fingers, the belly and the penis into a single self-stimulating sex machine.

His moans of pleasure grew louder and louder, and soon his balls were spewing forth jet upon jet of hot, white seminal fluids, drenching his chest and even hitting his chin. Milking the last drops of his sweet joy juice from his shriveling man-toy, he began rubbing them into his abdomen, his pectorals, his neck, and back down to his nipples. Lingering there, the rubbing ended, as he began making light, almost tickling circles with the tips of his thumbs around his nickel-sized cinnamon-colored areolas, avoiding the still sensitive, still firm, pencil-eraser-sized nipples.

'Round and 'round, lighter and lighter, slower and slower. His pulse had slowed. His breathing had returned to just below normal. All sound had disappeared.

He was relaxed. He was content. He was happy. He was ecstatic. He was tingling all over. He was on his back. Vito was slowly, lovingly lifting his legs and placing them on his shoulders. Vito was placing himself at his anal entrance. Vito helped him move his legs from his shoulders, and helped him wrap them around his waist. He locked his ankles together and pulled back toward himself. He pushed out and willfully opened to Vito. He came once more.

WHAM!

He sat bolt-upright in bed. Alone. His own bed. He rubbed his eyes. He had been asleep. He had been dreaming. He stretched his back muscles and yawned. As his chest expanded, he felt a ... a glue-like tightness on his chest. He looked down at himself, and, sniffing, realized that his semen had dried. And he remembered. And smiled.

WHAM!

What the fuck was THAT? he asked aloud to no one but himself. He jumped off the bed, dashed across the room, threw open the black-out curtains in front of the sliding glass door, and gazed at flying debris cluttering the pathway between the two wings of the apartment complex.

One of his neighbors, a Mrs. Weinstein, a frail, eighty-something year old, was struggling up the walkway using her cane, barely able to move forward against the wind. Looking to her left at the sudden movement of something, she saw Zeke standing there, arms spread, holding the curtains open, in front of the sliding glass doors -- NUDE!

She began shaking her cane at him, admonishing him, and nearly lost her balance from a gust of wind. She would surely have fallen had it not been for some old bald-headed codger leaving the building, who caught her. He looked to his right, and in seeing Zeke's nakedness, gave him the middle-finger salute.

Zeke looked down at himself, shocked at his forgetfulness, and yanked the curtains closed. Then he peeked back out to see the old guy helping the little ol' lady into the safety of the building. Sorry, Mrs. Weinstein. Sorry, Sir. I forgot. Closing the little peek-a-boo hole, all he could do was laugh at the entire situation.

He looked at the clock -- 3:00 PM. He had slept for nearly eight hours. It seemed as if it were no more than five minutes. But that gave him two-and-a-half hours before his "appointment" dinner-date with Vito, and THAT gave him about an hour and forty-five minutes to get ready. And he planned to be ready for anything!

He would begin with three one-gallon enemas to thoroughly clean himself out ... just in case ...! With insertion, holding, and releasing time, that would take about thirty minutes. Then face, chest, abs, pubic and rectal shaving -- another twenty to thirty minutes. He'd have forty-five minutes to shower, shampoo and dress before he HAD to leave. Hey, wait! No, he wasn't going to dress for dinner. He was going to meet Vito's "deal!" 'Cause he recalled Vito saying, "I'll join you. And to top it off, anything you want will be yours tonight." And he sure as hell planned on getting what he wanted -- TONIGHT!

Preparing his first of three "douches" for the evening, he began acting like a twelve-year-old kid, bouncing from side to side, excited about the prospects, and singing a little ditty that all the young guys joked about:

I'm gonna git some poontang; I'm gonna git some poontang.

<><><>

He cleaned himself out. He shaved himself off. And started all over again. Noting that he was a little ahead of his time schedule, he decided to forego the shampoo, and shave his head instead. He'd always wanted to do it. Working nights and sleeping days, he had absolutely no sun on his skin at all, so he wouldn't exactly look like he was wearing a white skullcap. And perhaps in the Caribbean, he could get an all-over tan.

For his shower, he used a coarse natural loofah sponge from Egypt with no soaps or cleansers of any kind. He scrubbed every square inch of his body with more robust vigor than he ever had before, paying particular attention to his elbows, his kneecaps, and the heels of his feet. This got rid of nearly every dead cell on his body, and gave him a healthy glow from his bare head to his already manicured hands and pedicured toes.

There was no artificial flavor nor any fragrance on him anywhere. He did, however, use the astringent, Witch Hazel, to close all the pores of his skin, and its very faint natural herbal fragrance would totally disappear in ten or fifteen minutes. He brushed his teeth with Baking Soda, and gargled with good old fashioned Listerine. Yuck! But they all worked, allowing his own pheromones freedom of their own un-contaminated attracting expressions.

Preparations finished, he slipped on only a pair of cargo shorts and a pair of leather sandals -- nothing else. He shoved his wallet into his hip pocket, grabbed his key ring, and off he went to his building's subterranean parking area. He unlocked and opened the door of his F-150, looked around, saw no one anywhere, and unzipped and quickly dropped his shorts.

He was, at that moment, standing there in a public area, albeit empty of any other living soul, totally naked, except for his sandals. He bent over to pick up his shorts, and ... WHAM! ... a warm, sand-filled gust of wind slapped his bare ass and uptight balls. He straightened up with a jerk and tossed his shorts into the cab, just as another sandy gust covered him and the inside of his truck in grit.

Awww, shit! Vito ain't gonna like this! ... Hope the freeway's still open!

<><><>

Driving out the underground parking, he turned the radio to KLVN, the station that periodically gave local highway conditions. "... gusty, hazardous state of affairs north of Las Vegas, with road closures likely within the next couple of hours. Wind speed in the high fifties, and visibility less than three car-lengths. Watch out for flying cows and garbage-can lids!" Zeke remembered the sudden noise that jolted him out of his sleep.

Thank God! He was driving south on I-15 rather than north -- visibility was about a quarter-mile, and light traffic was moving only a little slower than normal. He turned west on NA-160 toward Pahrump, and fifteen slow miles later, he saw the white-picket-fenced acreage Vito had described.

Pulling in the graveled driveway, he saw the rambling, rustic ranch-style house. As he drove closer, he noticed one of the four doors on the garage wing rolling upward, and could just barely recognize Vito, standing inside, motioning for him to drive in. As soon as he was parked, Vito clicked a "remote" and the door began rolling down.

"It's a helluva sandstorm we got out there. Sorry I'm late," Zeke said, stepping out of the truck and shutting the door, revealing his ...

"What the fuck happened to YOU? You look like you've been sandblasted! Not a hair on your head ..." Vito's eyes slowly traveled down the length of Zeke's body, "...your chest ... your abs ... your ... your BALLS!"

With Vito obviously scrutinizing his crotch, Zeke's man-meat began to grow. "And there's not a hair on my smooth little ass, either ... if you'd care to check it out???"

His question was intended as an offer ... as he stared at the inflated tent in Vito's trousers. Quickly, somewhat imitating Mae West, he asked, "By the way ... is that a banana in your pocket? ... Or are you just ... happy ... to see me?"

"Huh?" Vito asked, not even realizing his own excited state. He looked down, coughed an embarrassed chuckle, grabbed his "package," jerked his hand upward, and re-arranged its contents. Then, motioning toward a door, said, "Let's get out of the garage and go inside. After you."

As Zeke stepped in front of him, Vito swatted him playfully on that hairless crack of his ass.

Zeke jerked his head back, looking right into Vito's eyes, and, again like Mae West, said, "Ohhhhh! ... you could have at least ... LEFT it there!"

"You're gonna get yours!"

"Promises! Promises! That's why I'm here; and why aren't you taking off your clothes? Here, let me help you..."

They had entered the kitchen from the garage, and Zeke was reaching to unbutton Vito's shirt.

"Whoa! Stop!" he demanded. "YOU'RE not getting ME naked."

"YOU're not reneging on ME, are you? On your deal? You promised! I kept my part of the deal, Vito. And I've never known you to back down on anything you promised."

"Deal? What deal?"

"This morning, you said ... and I quote ..., 'I'll make you a deal, you drive from your apartment out to my ranch in nothing but your birthday suit, and I'll join you. And to top it off, anything you want will be yours tonight. BUT! You renege, and your ass is mine; I shit you not!' That's what you said this morning..."

"You did'nt think..." Vito interrupted him.

"Wait, Vito! I'm not through." Zeke was taking a chance talking to him like this, but he felt it needed to be said. " I did NOT renege, even though I could've easily done so, 'cause, truthfully, I planned on giving you my ass anyway!"

"You through?"

"No! ... I drove from my apartment out here in a fuckin' sandstorm, from my apartment building, TOTALLY NAKED, and according to your deal, if I did that, you'd join me ... inferring that you'd get naked with me." He was breathing in short, quick breaths, and started biting his lips together, his eyes narrowing, and a deep frown growing across his brow.

They just stared at each other in silence. Once they had started bickering, they had stood facing each other, from opposite sides of the butcher-block island, not moving an inch. Vito watched a tear inch its way down Zeke's left cheek and fall on his quivering lower lip. Zeke's hand started to move up to wipe it away.

"Stop!" Vito demanded. Zeke froze, motionless.

Vito slowly walked around the island, moved Zeke's hand away, turned him by his shoulders, leaned in, and softly kissed away the tear, still on his lip.

"Yuck!" exclaimed Vito, quickly drawing back, and spitting in the sink, "... your hairless, sexy body has sand all over it. How'd that happen?"

"Zeke gulped, took a deep renewing breath, and said, "A wind-devil grabbed me just as I was getting in the truck to come here." After a moment's silence, they both laughed.

"OK. Before you sit down anywhere ..."

"Maybe I just better go back home," Zeke half-heartedly interrupted him.

"No! ... You will not! ...I don't want you to. ... I want you to stay here ... with me ... tonight."

"WHAT?"

"You heard me, Zeke. But as I was saying ... before you sit down anywhere, follow me." He took Zeke by the hand and began leading him through the rustic appearing, but very modern, fully equipped home.

"What? ... Where?"

"You'll see.

Suddenly, all hell broke loose! The house lit up as if a thousand light bulbs had come on simultaneously. A hellish noise thundered through the air and the ground as something exploded and everything went pitch black.

Zeke, naked and sandy, had jumped toward Vito, had thrown his arms around him, and Vito had hesitantly, but firmly, put an arm around Zeke, comforting him.

"Don't worry, babe; the backup power generators will kick in, in just a moment or two." Zeke snuggled closer.

Soon, dim lights came back on throughout the house. Vito hurried from window to window, looking outside through the furious sandstorm trying to find something, anything, that might have knocked out the power. Zeke followed him like a puppy dog following his human god.

Looking out the sliding glass door from the ebony-paneled master bedroom to the patio deck overlooking the swimming pool, Vito discovered that the electric transformer had exploded and was burning. It was high on the telephone pole about fifty feet beyond the pool decking, and the gale-strength wind must have hurled something into it. No real danger to themselves, and, thank God for the foresight to have the back-up generators ...

... and the dozen musk-and-myrrh-scented candles evenly spaced near the spa only steps away from the king sized water-bed. Cloven tongues from flaming wicks danced above the candles. "Looks like you were expecting company, Vito, or do you always worship the gods of the zodiac while bathing?"

"Gods of the zodiac? What are you talking about?"

"Twelve candles ... in a circle ... evenly spaced ... logically equals the twelve signs of the zodiac. Right?"

"You're not as dumb about some things as you look, kiddo, but the spa's not for bathing. It's for relaxing. AND for having fun ... on nights like this," Vito answered very straight-faced. Walking into the master bath area, he continued, "There's the shower. Get all that sand rinsed off. You ready to eat? It's already prepared."

"Sure, Vito; anything you want. Anything!" He walked into the step-down, tiled BATHING area, sufficiently large enough for at least four people, with room to spare!

"You can dress for dinner ... there's a robe on the vanity for you. I'll put the food on the table. It shouldn't take you more than five minutes." He turned and walked back toward the kitchen and dining room.

"OK, bossman," Zeke said. Vito looked over his shoulder, smiling.

At that moment, Zeke realized that Vito was still his boss and would not be led by a subordinate. OK, he thought, while rinsing off; he still has to be in total control of every situation. I can play that game with him.

Soon, he turned off the water, dried himself, and slipped into the full-length, white, terry robe, with hood attached. Instead of the normal terry belt, there was a brown, braided leather rope with a huge knot on each end. He tied the rope-belt, and pulled the hood up over his bald head, and then returned to the kitchen area.

Seeing him, Vito called him into the dining room.

"Wow; what a feast!" Zeke exclaimed upon first seeing the spread before him. "Did you cook all this?" It was then he noticed Vito wearing an identical robe, also with hood up. We must look like two monastic monks, he thought.

"No my kitchen staff did. I sent everyone home before the storm got too bad. I just kept it warm."

Zeke nodded in understanding, then asked, "What is all this delicious looking food? I don't even recognize much of it?"

"First, we'll start with Oysters on the half-shell ... hope you like them." Zeke shrugged, never having had them. Vito continued, "Then, Escargots with shallots in melted butter; Coquilles St. Jacques, Caribbean style, (Scallops, Shrimp, Crab and Lobster in a white sauce, then covered with melted Brie cheese), in honor of your going to Paradise; Calamari (crispy, deep-fried giant squid); and Linguini with clam sauce. For dessert ... a tropical drink that's quite popular in the islands. No alcohol; very healthy. Mango, papaya, guava, coconut milk, passion fruit, strawberries, 7-Up, and ice; everything goes in a blender and is liquified. Then poured into a tall chilled glass. Then a stick of pineapple is put in, and a couple Marachino cherries are added. It's so thick, you eat it with a spoon."

"Wow! I'm full already, even before we begin. Everything sounds delicious!" Zeke remarked.

They sat at the table. Vito pushed the hood of his robe back. Zeke followed suit.

Vito served a delicate white wine. Dinner was delicious! Zeke even enjoyed the raw Oysters and the Snails. Everything was served in small portions ... almost like appetizers. The liquid dessert was scrumptious -- light, and cleansing to the palate ... no aftertaste of any kind, of any of the rich foods.

Conversation during dinner centered primarily on gambling -- the school, the casino, ideas (Zeke's ideas at Vito's requests!) for improvements, expansions, etc. ... nothing really personal.

A lull came in the conversation. The storm outside was raging.

"Thank you for a lovely dinner, Vito."

"You're welcome, Zeke."

Both men were a little uncomfortable. They toyed with their wine glasses.

Zeke pushed his chair back, stood up, and walked over to a window, peering into the blackish-brown storm. "Maybe I should think about leaving, but the sto..."

"NO!" Vito strongly interrupted. "I said earlier that I want you to stay here with me, tonight." He, too, had risen from his chair, and had crossed to Zeke. He placed his hands tenderly on Zeke's shoulders.

Zeke could see their reflections in the window. It took every bit of willpower within him not to lean back against Vito's chest.

"Vito?" he asked.

"Yes, Zeke."

"Why did you want me to drive over here ... NAKED?" Vito didn't answer. "Why? ... Why? Tell me. ... Please," he begged.

They both stood motionless, watching each other in the reflecting darkness of the glass.

"To see how far I could push you."

"To see how... WHY, Vito?" he asked, sharply turning to face his idol, placing his hands on Vito's waist.

Returning his hands then to the front of Zeke's shoulders, he answered, "When you first came into the school, I didn't think you'd make it. I told the other instructors you'd never last the week. But you did. Then ... from your second week, there was nothing that I said, nothing that I did, that upset you or made you angry with me."

Vito was talking. Something was going to happen; he had never given any personal information about himself. Zeke felt that Vito was opening to him.

He continued, "Everything I demanded, you gave me ... everything! I've never met anyone like you, Zeke. Everyone's afraid of me -- and I like having that control, that fear. It's like ... you understand me ... you know what I want, what I expect."

"I think I do, Vito." He knelt down and let his hands slide to where the braided rope was tied, the rope that held Vito's robe closed.

"No, not just yet, Zeke." He reached into his armpits and pulled him up, forcing him to stand once again. He took Zeke's hand and said, "Come. Come on. Follow me. Back to the master suite."

Still giving orders. He always would. That was his nature.

Turning off the house lights as they went room to room, Vito led Zeke to the spa in the master bedroom.

They stood ... perfectly still ... facing each other. Only an arm's length separated them.

Vito spoke. "Untie the rope around your waist." It was done. "Let the robe just fall around your feet." It, too, was done. "Now untie the rope around my waist." Done. Zeke felt his cock stirring anew. "And now ... remove my robe."

Zeke began to move behind Vito to do his bidding, but Vito said, "No. ... From the front. ... Where you were."

At no time had his voice been sadistic. At no time had it been demanding. His words were his simple wants, his desires, his wishes. Zeke did not move in obedience; he moved in loving compliance.

The palms of his hands nervously slid inside the robe at the center of Vito's chest. Slowly, sensually they caressed his skin while at the same time widening the opening of the robe until the hands slid across Vito's shoulders. It dropped to the floor behind him, and Zeke noticed that Vito's seven-inch, uncut piece of masculinity was standing at full attention. They both were saluting each other.

"Please," Vito asked, "join me in the spa. The mineral waters are relaxing. Things have been a little tense around here tonight ... of course, with the storm and all."

They both stepped in, and sat on sunken ledges, opposite each other.

"And now," he continued," What were we talking about at the dining table? ... Oh, yes. It's like ... you understand me ... you know what I want, what I expect."

"And I said, 'I think I do, Vito.' "

"I think you do, too, but it's more than that ... it's more like ... like you worship me, Zeke, and I don't want your worship.

"What DO you want, Vito? What do I have that you want? What do I have that I can give to you?"

Vito's eyes became glassy. There was silence, as he went within, a moment thinking, then proclaiming. "I can't say it!"

He stood, reached to the side for the champagne bottle in the ice bucket, and the two flutes he had placed there, before Zeke arrived. Adroitly removing the cork from the rare Krug's Clos du Mesnil Champagne, he half filled each flute, gave one to Zeke, and returned with the other to the opposite ledge. He sat and took a sip, though he had forgotten to make a toast ... or had he?

"What can't you say, Vito?" Zeke asked, cautiously before taking a sip of the bubbly, not recognizing it for what it truly was.

"Dammit, Zeke, I told you a moment ago that I can't say it. Don't ask me again."

Zeke saw the pain in his face, heard it in his voice, and felt it coming from his heart. He also heard the demanding commandment. He wanted to wrap his arms around Vito and comfort and soothe his pain. But he'd wait for the moment when Vito would open his receptive centers. He wouldn't force it. He nodded his head in reply to Vito's strong words.

Then Vito said, "Zeke, you've proven yourself to me many times. You've shown me that I can trust you."

Zeke nodded and said, "I hope so, Vito, ..."

"Shhhhh," he softly interrupted, with words just above a whisper, then continued, "... Please ... don't say anything. Just listen."

Zeke nodded again, intuiting that Vito was going to open up as never before.

"If anything that I tell you tonight ever gets back to me, Zeke, both you and I are going to be very, very sorry that tonight ever took place." They coldly looked at each other. "Can you handle that?"

Zeke nodded in the affirmative.

"OK." He began his tale. "I'll just give you the basics." He took another sip of the champagne, refilled his flute, and offered some more to Zeke. Zeke declined the offer.

"I don't know how much longer I can stay in Vegas, or for that matter, Nevada. Shit! I don't even know how much longer I can stay in the country." Zeke's eyes were like saucers, but he didn't say anything.

"Don't ask; I won't tell. The less you know, the better. Shall I go on?" Zeke nodded yet again.

"I've been thinking about, and even making plans for getting out of here and going to the island of Curaçao, but once there, some people would expect to find me there. Now, I'm going to ask you a favor; not that I deserve any favors from anyone. But ... in a couple of months, when you're settled in Paradise, how would you feel if I were to show up, one day? I have money ... a lot of it, but we'd have to live simply for ... God knows how long! Could I stay with you until this thing blows over? It could be for a very long time."

Zeke was grinning from ear to ear. He was nodding, emphatically nodding his head up and down, and when he sensed that Vito was waiting for an answer, he jumped up and ...

Vito held up a hand for him to stop, and said, "I take it that's a Yes?"

"YESSSSSSSS!"

"Then bring your glass here, and let's toast our friendship, AND partnership."

With glasses in extended hands, each stepped with care toward the other in the hot, bubbling, swirling water, oblivious to the roaring storm beyond. Cloven tongues from flaming wicks danced above the dozen musk-and-myrrh-scented candles evenly spaced near the spa as the gentle movement of the two stirred the surrounding air.

"I've always dreamed of sipping expensive champagne with a girlfriend, with our arms interlocked. Well, there ain't no girlfriends around, just us two guys, so would it be all right for a couple of guy friends to do it? Please, Vito. Please. It would mean so much to me."

Vito rarely smiled, even when not at work, but he couldn't ... not respond to his guest's heightened state of joy and enthusiasm and ... yes ... his excited pleading; he smiled as he locked elbows with Zeke.

Unexpectedly, that's not all that touched.

"To Friendship and Partnership," said Vito.

"To Companionship and Love, tonight and always ..." replied Zeke. They both sipped from their glasses then set them aside before Zeke continued; "... for I do love you. I love you with all my heart, all my soul, and all my body, Vic, and I ..."

"Vic? Vic? Vic? What's with you calling me 'Vic?' "

Oh, shit! Did I do it again? I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, Vic ... Vito! I don't know where the hell the name 'Vic' came from. Even when I'm thinking about you while I'm jacking off, I think of you as 'Vic.' I gotta feeling ... I don't know where it's coming from, but I've got a feeling that your name is really 'Victorrio,' and not 'Vitorrio.' "

Vito sat quickly on the edge of the spa in disbelief, and said, "You want to hear something strange? On my birth certificate in New York, it says 'Victorrio,' and my mama was the only person who EVER called me 'Vic.' And now you. AND ... Mama was the only one who ever, EVER, said she loved me, until tonight. And again, it's you."

"I do love you Vito, Vitorrio, Victorrio, Victor, Vic, whoever the fuck you are! Do you think you can love me?"

"All I can say is, I'll try."

"Then, lets dry off, go over there to that huge waterbed and practice, practice, practice. And once we've practiced enough, to quote the best and hunkiest teacher I've ever had, we've got to IMPROVE, IMPROVE, IMPROVE! Now hop to it, Teach. I've only got twenty-four hours before I have to be on that fuckin' plane! And I wanna get in some fuckin', and suckin' and rimmin', and huggin', and kissin', and lovin', and ..."


EPILOGUE


Six months later, the "teacher" (I can't tell you what his name is now), arrived totally unannounced in Paradise, a nice little town on the hillside overlooking the island, at Zeke's apartment.

It wasn't long before they purchased (in Zeke's name, of course) a catamaran that could accommodate one hundred day-passengers for little scenic tours. Later, they set sail for ports unknown. They've been together now for twenty-eight years. It took the "teacher" a little over a year before he could say, "I love you" to Zeke, but it did happen, and he still does, and they still do (everything!), and all that good stuff.

They've been very successful in their day-cruise charters and now have their own 127 foot yacht, named ... oh, I can't tell you that, either. Sorry.

But wish them fair sailing and a continued happy life together.

I'm so glad I know them. It was tough for them at first, but theirs is a true love story. Honest Injun!

The Happy Ending

(of the Beginning)