by Mickey S
I got up in the morning and Steve had breakfast ready, as usual. He was reading the paper at the kitchen table when I stumbled into the room. I sat down with my coffee and he gave me a look of concern.
"You didn't sleep well last night. You were tossing and turning all night."
"Yeah, I couldn't stop thinking about Richie. I'm sorry if I woke you up."
"No problem. You know me, I wake up, turn over and am back asleep in two seconds." He paused. "You really loved that guy, didn't you?"
"Yeah. Because of the way our relationship slowly developed it took me ages to realize it, but I did love him."
"Damn, you always said your first relationship was with a married man but you didn't talk about it much and I figured it wasn't my business. I still can't picture you with a mobster, especially at that age. Even now I think of you as a bit innocent and naive."
"It's all an act. Don't forget, I was a theater major." I grinned. "But seriously, he wasn't a gangster when he was with me. He was older and a bit rough around the edges, but maybe I brought out the good side of him. He was good to me."
"Well, I can't wait to hear the rest of your story. Right now though I've got a lot of students eagerly awaiting their next economics lecture."
After he'd left for school I had my breakfast and then got ready for work. I had a busier than usual day at the shop but even so had plenty of time to reminisce about Richie.
* * * * *
The summer we bought the townhouse was a hectic time. It was early June when we made the decision to buy it and the first thing I did was break the news to my parents, telling them the story that Richie had made up. They didn't like the idea of my living with a man I'd apparently just met and insisted on meeting him. Since we wouldn't take possession of the house until later in the summer I had to put the meeting off, explaining he was traveling on business.
Richie spent the next month or so shuffling money around. Following his instruction I opened a couple of bank accounts. He deposited as much money into them and my existing checking and savings accounts as he could without alerting the IRS to the transactions. I was more than a little nervous about that and he had to keep reassuring me it would be okay.
"Technically, we're breaking a few laws, Tom. Whenever you give a lot of money to another person you're supposed to pay a gift tax on it, but I'm not really giving it to you. We both know this place is really going to be mine regardless of whose name is on it. You're just 'holding' it for me."
"But we could still get in trouble, couldn't we?"
"Believe me, with all of the other business activities I'm involved in the last thing I'd want is to get nailed for something as minor as this. I'll tell you what we'll do. I'll draw up an informal loan agreement, lending you the money at a reasonable interest rate. And since I'm legally allowed to give you a small amount of money tax-free every year what I'll do is forgive the interest and as much of the principal as I can each year. That way we're covered as long as we have the place. Of course, when I decide to sell it we'll have to work something out since by that point you really would be the legal owner."
"Isn't that still cheating?"
Richie sighed and smiled. "How did I get mixed up with such an honest man?" He shook his head. "Maybe the intent isn't totally honest, but there's nothing anyone can do about it. You'll learn that everyone cheats a little here and there, Tommy. Everyone bends the rules now and then. You have to decide what you can live with."
So even though I wasn't totally comfortable with the arrangement, I went along. I knew what was what. Richie was paying for the house and it was going to be his. The fact that my name was on the deed was a technicality and we were using another technicality to make that legal. It balanced out.
Richie immediately put me to work shopping for furnishings. As he put it, I was the 'fag decorator' so that was my job. I was working on getting him to stop using words like fag and while I was making progress it was slow going. He didn't have many requirements for the household decor except that he wanted a masculine look, which was my taste as well. He didn't want to be seen in public with me too often, so he let me shop on my own and when I found something I liked he gave me the cash to buy it. As he'd pointed out when talking about Sol and his store, furniture had no proof of ownership attached to it so we didn't have to worry about that.
For the next few weeks I spent most of my free time shopping and loved it. I was somewhat restricted in that Richie wanted everything ready for delivery the minute he closed on the house. He wanted the whole place done practically overnight. That was okay with me since my parents were getting antsy about meeting him and the place had to look lived in by the time they met. Richie's only other interest in decorating the house was the downstairs den, which he decided would be his personal space. He took care of buying everything for that.
We closed on the condo the second Monday of July. By the end of the week it looked like he'd been living there for months so it was time for him to meet my parents.
I was practically trembling as we drove to Morristown. Richie had promised to be on his best behavior and we'd gone over our story so many times I almost believed it myself, but I was still nervous. I had more than a little closet paranoia and was afraid it would be obvious to them just by looking at the two of us together that we were having sex. And if somehow we got away with that, there was Richie's Mafia background. Maybe Dad had read about him in the newspaper. We'd decided to use the name Richie Messina rather than Dick Palermo, but I was still tense. My knees were knocking as I rang the doorbell, but then Richie answered with a smile on his face, looking strong and beautiful
"Mom, Dad, this is Richard Messina. Richie, my parents, Jim and Helen Webber."
They all shook hands and Richie stood aside as they walked into the house. After closing the door behind them he led them to the living room where he took their drink orders and we all got comfortable.
"I'm sorry it's taken so long to finally meet you folks. I've been away even more than usual this summer."
"Yes, Tom said you traveled a lot. What kind of business are you in?" We knew Dad would ask a question like that and Richie was prepared.
"I'm a consultant, what used to be known as an efficiency expert. I go into a business, analyze how they do things and give them suggestions for how to best use their resources to maximize their profits. Sort of like a Dear Abby for the business world. And how about you, Jim? Tom said you were in insurance."
Richie had neatly turned the conversation around to my parents and kept it there. He was very smooth and charming and I could see that both of my parents were flattered by his attention and interest. By the time we got up to give them a tour of the house a half hour later they were sold on him. The master bedroom, which would be mine, was of course pointed out as Richie's. We told them the guest room would be mine and the third bedroom we'd set up as a study room for me. It only had a desk and one set of bookshelves, but that made sense, as I hadn't moved in with my stuff yet.
"So Tommy tells us you're recently divorced, Richard?" Richie threw me a questioning glance at Mom's question and I tensed up. We hadn't discussed what kind of background he'd pretend to have other than the travel associated with his job.
"Er, yes, that's why I've just recently purchased this place. What with all of my travel I'm still in the process of getting settled." I breathed a sigh of relief at Richie's ad lib.
Both Mom and Dad were as impressed with the house as they were with Richie and Mom commented on it as we were leaving.
"The place is beautiful, Richard. You have wonderful taste."
"I'm afraid I can't take credit for that, Helen. I had a decorator do the whole place." Richie cast a sideways glance at me.
"Well, if I ever decide to redo my house you'll have to give me your decorator's name and number."
"I'm sure you'd love him, Helen."
I was far more relaxed as we rode home. Richie had passed the test. The next night after work I walked across town from Sol's shop to the townhouse. Richie's wife and son were spending the month at his house at the shore so he offered to make dinner for me and talk about how the evening with my parents had gone. Plus I was sure he was horny since the meeting with them had prevented us from having sex the night before. I called out as I let myself in the front door with my key, thinking it might not be a good idea to surprise him. The house smelled like an Italian restaurant and Richie appeared in the kitchen doorway wearing an apron. Somehow that made him look even sexier and more masculine than usual. I threw my arms around him and hugged him tight. I felt him tense up slightly but then immediately relax. Although he'd become much more passionate in bed the past six months he still wasn't all that affectionate the rest of the time, not that we spent much time together out of bed.
"Well, what brought that on?" Richie asked as I finally let go of him.
"My parents loved you! Dad thought you were a great guy and Mom thought you were very classy."
"You sound surprised. Don't you think I'm great and classy?"
"Tough and sexy is usually the way I think of you but I'm glad you didn't come off that way with my parents."
"In my various business enterprises I have to deal with all kinds of people. Different people require different approaches. So what's with the divorce you gave me? Wishful thinking?"
I'm sure I blushed. "No, but Mom started asking why a guy your age wasn't married, so I thought that would satisfy her. Something smells really good in here."
"That's my mama's gravy. She taught my wife how to make it the way I like it before we were married and I'll have to teach you." He led me into the kitchen, picked up a large wooden spoon and stirred a pot of steaming tomato sauce for a minute. He scooped a little out, blew on it to cool it and offered it to me. I carefully took a taste.
"Oh man, that is fantastic! So much better than Ragu."
Richie made a face. "You don't eat that shit, do you?"
"Well, Mom used to make her own sauce but since she works it saves her time."
"I guarantee that after you've had mine a few times you won't be able to eat that crap again."
"Speaking of having yours..." I boldly grabbed at the lump in his crotch.
"I suppose we could let the gravy simmer while we go upstairs and christen the new bed. If you're not too hungry, that is."
"I'm hungry, but not necessarily for food. Let's go." I grabbed his arm and dragged him toward the stairs.
"You're finally starting to act like the horny fag-boy I thought you were when we first met. You're hooked on my dick, aren't you?" Richie asked as we undressed.
"And you're not just as horny? You've got other outlets but you're still all over me every time we meet. I may be hooked on your dick but no more than you're hooked on my ass."
"It's not just your ass I'm hooked on, baby." He took me in his arms and pressed his hard, naked body against mine.
He pulled the covers back from the bed and we lay down. We began making out, slowly and tenderly at first, then a bit more passionately. At one point our two hard dicks were grinding against each other and he reached down and took them both in his hand, slowly stroking them together. He'd never touched my cock before except for an accidental graze now and then, and I nearly shot just feeling his hand around me. Richie either sensed that or realized he was touching me and let go after just a minute. He positioned himself between my legs and prepared me for his big tool. As he entered me and I relaxed to receive him I briefly thought of that first, painful time and all of the Valium I'd needed for quite a while after that. I think it was once I realized that Richie thought of me as more than a hole to fuck that I was able to relax enough on my own to handle him. And once our fucking became lovemaking, well, it didn't get any better than that.
When he was all the way in me I wrapped my legs around his hips as he bent over and kissed me before he began to slowly pump in and out. For a long time we got into the passionate kisses as his hips rhythmically thrust into me as if on autopilot, stroking my prostate every time, making me moan into his mouth. At long last he began to put more force into his fucking and it became more of an animalistic mating. We both lost ourselves in the passion until I couldn't hold out any more and exploded all over my chest and abs, pushing him over the edge seconds later.
He collapsed onto me and lay there for a long time while our breathing slowly returned to normal. Finally, he rolled off me and lay on his side gazing into my eyes.
"Damn, we're good, Tommy."
"Good doesn't begin to describe it. I don't think there are words for this."
"Sometimes actions speak louder than words, and as long as we've got the action, baby..."
For the next couple of weeks I saw lots more of Richie than usual. He was staying at the condo most of the time while his family was away. He'd had two telephone lines installed, one for the house and one with an unlisted number in his den. He'd made it clear I was never to answer that phone. That was a number he gave to his 'associates' as a backup in case they couldn't reach him at home or one of his other regular haunts.
All that was left for me to do for the summer was buy a car and move in. Dad and I went out car shopping the next two weekends and finally decided on a two-year old Toyota Corolla. By the third week of August I was settled into the townhouse, more settled than Richie, but then I was the one who would be living there. Richie had a few changes of clothes and some personal possessions in the den, but other than that he was just a visitor. I was not only the owner in name, but the real resident as well. Although I knew it was Richie's place, by the time school started it felt like my home.
A few days before classes began Richie surprised me by suggesting we go out to eat. Up until then we'd never gone out in public together because he didn't want to be seen with me. That sounds horrible but I wasn't offended. I realized that he knew a lot of people and they weren't the kind he wanted to introduce his boyfriend to. Besides, he was married and he didn't want to publicly flaunt an extramarital affair regardless of the gender of his partner. I liked the idea of going out with him since I'd never been on a real date aside from those few fix-ups at school but still I questioned if it was a good idea.
"Most of my associates hang out in the more urban parts of the state. The Reservoir Tavern is pretty much out of the way in the suburbs. They've got good Italian food, not as good as mine, but better than average. I don't think we'll run into anyone. I like to spend time with you and I think we're gonna get cabin fever if we stay here in the house all the time."
So we drove up to the small restaurant near the Jersey City reservoir for a late dinner. Richie was right; the food was very good, although I preferred his home cooking. We had just finished with our meal when Richie looked over my shoulder toward the door and looked startled.
I turned and followed his gaze. A couple in their early fifties had just walked in. The man was very tall and thin, the woman short and a bit plump. They saw us and headed our way. Richie stood and performed the introductions.
"Johnny, Josephine this is a surprise. This is Tom Webber. Tom, John and Josephine D'Angelo."
We all shook hands as the tall man's eyes bored through me. It was as if he was trying to read my mind and I felt very uncomfortable.
"We were just visiting Josephine's sister in the hospital in Boonton and thought we'd drop in for a bite. Is the food as good as ever?"
"Sure is, Johnny. Would you like to join us? They could push another table together with ours."
"Nah, it looks like you're about to leave. We wouldn't want to keep you." I breathed a sigh of relief and I could see that Richie felt the same way.
Just then the woman excused herself to go to the ladies room and Richie lightly kicked my leg under the table. I got the hint and excused myself as well. I stalled around in the men's room as long as I could, almost afraid to go back out. I'd never seen Richie look so unsure of himself. When I got to the table he was paying our bill and his friends were sitting at a table across the room. We left immediately, stopping at their table to say goodnight.
In the car I asked him who they were but he just shook his head and said nothing. We drove in silence back to Morristown. Once in the house Richie poured us each a brandy and collapsed on the couch. I sat without saying anything, waiting to see if he wanted to talk.
"I'm sorry if I rushed you out of there, Tom, but Uncle Johnny was the last person I wanted to run into. Well, maybe my wife would have been the last person, but he was pretty close."
"He's your uncle?"
"No, that's just what everyone calls him, although he is my mother's cousin. He's my boss."
"You mean you work for him in, um, waste management?"
He gave me a sharp look. "Don't be naive, kid. I know you're no fool. The waste management job is just a cover as you well know. Uncle Johnny runs the other business enterprises I'm involved in."
"You mean he's, like, um, the godfather?" I was a little afraid to say something like that to him.
Richie smiled. "A bit Hollywood, but that's pretty much the idea."
I was appalled but glad I didn't know that in the restaurant. "So are you gonna be in trouble?"
"I doubt it. I panicked a bit when he first walked in but that was just paranoia. While you were in the can I explained I'd taken you out to pump you for information about Sol and his business."
"You're pumping me all right, but not for information." I smiled. "So he knows Sol?"
"Sure, they go way back. Look, I don't want to get into details. It's better for you not to know some things. But we do some business with Sol now and then and we always like to keep an eye on our business partners."
I'd realized within a couple of weeks of starting the job that Sol wasn't as honest as he appeared. All of those steps he took to keep clean were really just steps to appear to be clean. But most of his business was legitimate and he was a good boss so I played dumb and just did my job.
"Yeah, I can imagine you're probably connected to the part of Sol's business I have nothing to do with."
"That's right, and I want to keep it that way. Remember, no questions."
"Don't worry about that. I already know all that I want to about you, probably more as far as your business goes. Feel free to keep that part of your life to yourself."
"I will, and next time we go out together it will be someplace far away. Maybe the Poconos. Nobody I know goes there."
* * * * *
"Damn, you actually met 'Uncle Johnny' D'Angelo? I've read about him in the papers for years." After we'd had supper we'd retired to the couch and I'd spent a couple of hours continuing my story while we cuddled.
"Yeah, he's been in the news a lot since then. Maybe before as well but I'd never paid attention to stuff like that. I'm just glad I didn't know who he was when I met him or I probably would have had an accident in my pants."
"I always wondered how a WASP who doesn't cook made such great pasta sauce."
"Yeah, Richie usually cooked for us when we ate at home but he made sure I could do it for the times when he wasn't in the mood."
"So it sounds like you started to get more and more mixed up in his life."
"A little. We both tried to keep me out of his business but it didn't always work. Especially one time about a year after we bought the house."
Steve glanced at the clock. "I want to hear all about it but it's getting late. How about we continue tomorrow?"
I chuckled. "I feel like Scheherazade, earning a reprieve by continuing my stories over to the next day."
"Maybe you had to worry about Richie killing you in the morning, but you know you're always safe with me."
"I know, but I was safe with Richie, too. He never would have harmed me. He loved me."
To be continued.