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Logan's Living - Chapter 2 by Wayne Telfer
Logan woke the next morning without any disorientation as to where he was or why he was there. He simply opened his eyes and smiled. Where was he taking his life? This was simply the craziest thing he'd ever done before. Of course, it was the craziest thing he'd ever encountered in his short sixteen years, too. But it'd been so much fun!
Oh, the passing out and sore balls hadn't been all that enjoyable, that's for sure. But in each case he'd been taken care of...immediately. And to think, all of this because he'd taught himself how to undress sexily. And then, of course, there was the money.
That thought caused him to look over at the night stand and the wallet that sat there. He sat up in bed and smoothed out the blankets and then reached over and grabbed it. He unfolded it and slowly opened the bill section...the very full bill section. He just sat there for several minutes and stared at the green paper. When he did finally reach for the contents, his hand was shaking slightly. He set the wallet on the stand and then very methodically laid out the collection of bills. When he was done all he could do was stare. Ten one hundred dollar bills, four fifties, a twenty, three fives and two ones.
There they were. His new collection of presidents. Two Washingtons winked at him. Three Lincolns smirked. Leave it to the two Jacksons; they simply continued to look stern. The four Grants seemed to be shaking their heads in disbelief. But the ten Franklins were grinning as if to echo his own disbelief.
There it sat; one thousand, two hundred, thirty-two dollars. All but twelve dollars of it earned in less than a twenty-four hour period.
"Pretty awesome, isn't it," said Phillip softly from the door. "May I come in?"
Logan had started just a bit at the sudden violation of the silence, and he couldn't help but blush at being caught like this. He nodded.
"No need to be embarrassed, Logan. It's something we all have had to deal with at some point." He sat at the end of the bed and tweaked one of Logan's feet. "In one fell swoop, we go from begin a working stiff, toiling to get enough money to fill the gas tank and maybe afford a bit of luxury for ourselves...to this." He swept his hand over the display of plenty. "You've just made more money in one day than you probably made in two or three weeks. And the most amazing thing is that you actually had fun doing it." He paused and looked at Logan closely. "You did have fun, didn't you, Logan?"
That startled Logan into looking at Phillip. There was concern in his eyes and Logan knew why.
"You're all wondering if I've changed my mind after having slept on it, aren't you? Well, I haven't. I DID have fun yesterday. And you're right, this is more than I could make in two weeks at the hotel." He grew silent and went back to staring at the money.
Phillip allowed him a moment or two more of silent contemplation. "What are you thinking, Logan?"
"Just thinking about all the things I could do with this money," he said without looking up. "But I remember what you said last night about changing my spending habits and it's kind of sobering to think that I've got all this money and I don't dare spend it. If I do there'll be questions."
"Yes there will," answered Phillip with real sympathy. "But think about this too, Logan. All you're thinking about right now is how you could spend it to better your current existence. What about the future? Think about what you could accomplish for yourself if you could save the greater share of this new wind fall."
He patted Logan's leg. "That's what you and I are going to talk about later. All I'll say right now is that Oscar and I will be setting things up so that you will see an increase in your income with this new job we get for you so that you can start to enjoy some benefits from all this."
He laughed and stood up, giving Logan's leg a good shake that disturbed the display of money. "But it's far too early in the morning to be expounding on futures and philosophy. Come on, breakfast is just about ready. You've got time to shower and dress."
He stopped at the door and looked back at Logan stuffing his money back into his wallet. "By the way, you should probably know that this room is now your room. For as long as you're with the organization this will be your own sanctuary. A little home away from home, if you will." With that remarkable revelation, Phillip left, closing the door behind him.
Yet another unexpected benefit of this new endeavor. Logan could only shake his head in wonder as he quickly made his way to his private bathroom and got ready for the new day.
With breakfast complete the three of them gathered in the den, closing the door behind them.
"No Morgan?" asked Logan.
"Not this morning," answered Oscar. "He really is in town on a business trip. He's got meetings today. He'll be joining us for lunch before he has to catch his plane for home. Besides, his part in all of this ended when he brought you here. He recruits; we take it from there."
"Oh." Well what else could he say? They really did seem to have this down to a fine art form.
"All right, Logan," began Oscar, "It's going to be a busy day and it's already started for some of us. I've been on the phone this morning with the manager of the hotel and arranged for you to quit immediately without any blemish on your employment record."
"Wow, you don't waste any time, do you?"
"Not with a talent like you, Logan. You are going to be a very lucrative part of this business, especially in the beginning. That means that you're going to be very popular, my boy. We need to have you in an employment situation where we can take full advantage of that talent."
"So let me give you the run down on our little organization chart. I think we've already mentioned that Phillip will be your handler. My job is to look after the medical needs of our performers and to support Phillip in any way he needs. Actually, Phillip and I have developed a good working relationship where we frequently work closely."
"I've put out a few feelers, Logan," said Phillip. "I've already gotten four requests for your time."
"Jesus, you guys don't mess around!"
"It's a business, Logan," said Oscar. "You are a commodity for us to exploit." He smiled. "A very handsome commodity."
"I knew I wouldn't have any problem getting you clients, Logan," continued Phillip. "The men like some variety, and you are going to be very unique. Actually, I think Reed is going to be relieved. The business has picked up lately in this region because of all the new electronics industries moving here."
"Reed another performer."
"He's been the only one in this region for the past three months. Our other performer, Walt, had to quit when his family was forced to move to the other side of the country because of his mother's promotion. So poor Reed has been valiantly trying to pick up the slack."
"Would Reed and I be performing together sometimes?"
"Only if the two of you decide you want to," said Phillip. "But that's something we can address after the two of you get to know each other. And before you ask, I'm going to ask him to join us for lunch today."
"Right now, though," said Oscar, "I need to get some idea of what your interests are so that we can see about finding you a new job."
Logan blushed. "You're going to laugh."
"Maybe," said Phillip, "But it'll be a friendly laugh."
"Florist. I love arranging flowers."
"Just the sort of thing a gay boy would like," laughed Phillip. Logan joined him.
"And just the sort of job that would allow you to work a flexible schedule," said Oscar with a humorous look in his eye. "I just happen to know someone that can probably help us out. You ever heard of Maxwell Creations?"
"You're kidding? Hell, he's the best florist in town; maybe the state."
"Yes he is. He's also a regular client of ours," said Phillip.
"Do you have any experience?" asked Oscar.
"You ever hear of Margaret Justice?" asked Logan.
"Who hasn't?" said Oscar. "She's got her hand in most of the charitable organizations in tow...your mother?"
"Uh huh. She never pays a florist for her events. She buys what I need and has me do all the floral arrangements for her events. Saves her and the organizations loads of cash. A few dollars, a couple of hugs and kisses, and she's set." He laughed at his own description.
Oscar and Phillip both got stunned looks on their faces. "You did the arrangements for her last charity fashion show?" asked Phillip.
"Oh my," said Oscar as he fell back into his chair. "Ralph is going to die." He then leaned forward and leaned on the desk, pointing a finger at Logan. "You have been driving that man mad, young man. Every time your mother pulls off another one of her benefits he gets depressed. He knows it's not been any of the established florists that's been doing her work. But he's never been able to discover who. He's going to be over the moon when I tell him." Then he got an evil twinkle in his eye. "Better yet, I won't tell him. I'll invite him to lunch and you can spring it on him. I can almost guarantee you'll get a job offer before you can take a breath."
"Well," said Phillip, "That pretty much takes care of that problem. Now," he said, standing, "You and I are going shopping, young mister."
"Why shopping? Aren't my own clothes good enough?"
"Yes they are. But you're going to be getting the occasional last minute calls, no matter how well I schedule. If you're going home in the middle of the day to change, when you should be at work, it'll raise questions. We'll just go buy you a few things to keep here so that we can eliminate that problem."
"Oh." He rose and followed Phillip out of the den. "You really have done this before."
"More than once. Besides, the organization has been going long enough that they've discovered the usual pit falls and have developed a training manual for handlers so that we don't have to reinvent the wheel every time we take on a new performer."
Logan stopped as they exited the house, stunned to see his car parked out front.
"Oh, sorry, meant to mention that I stole you car keys this morning when Morgan left. He arranged for your car and bag to be delivered."
They didn't buy much, really. About half a dozen outfits was all, with shoes and the necessary under garments, most of them sexy styles. They arrived back at the mansion just before noon.
The first thing that happened was that he met Reed.
"Gods, Logan, I'm really glad to meet you." He was about Logan's age, and he looked somewhat familiar, as if he'd seen him around school from time to time. "I may not die from all the work, now." He laughed.
They shook hands and sat in the main living room while they waited for the last of the lunch guests to arrive.
"So, Oscar tells me you're sixteen. I've only got you by a year. I remember seeing you during junior high. Always thought you were cute. Too cute, in fact."
"Ah, come on, Reed. You're good looking too."
"Thanks. So, Oscar tells me you're pretty hot as a performer."
Logan blushed, a bit in embarrassment, but also in concern for Reed's opinion.
"Hey, don't sweat it. We all have our talents. I do well enough to suit me. I'm not jealous, really." He stared at Logan for a moment or two. "Am I embarrassing you? I don't mean to. It's just that Oscar requires complete honesty where the business is concerned. You'll get use to it, promise. So, what is it you do that has Oscar so excited?"
"He didn't tell you?"
"Nope. That's not how we work. You and I are in separate businesses, unless we decide to work together some time. So that means that no one will talk about what any other performer is doing."
"I do a sexy striptease to music."
Reed actually laughed at that. "Tried that a couple of times. No coordination. And no sense of rhythm. I looked like a pregnant whale dying on the beach...or so I'm told. At least it was done here in practice. Never embarrassed myself in front of a client."
"So, they get you a job yet?" asked Reed.
"Not yet. But we're working on it." He had an evil look on his face.
Reed laughed again. It appeared to be a natural reaction for him. He seemed more than willing to see the humor in life. "Ok, I won't ask. But I can see you've got something planned. Will I at least be able to be there?"
Logan simply nodded. He was definitely taking a liking to Reed. It seemed that they weren't going to be rivals. That had worried him a bit, that Reed would be jealous or feel threatened.
"Well, that's a beginning," said Phillip as he entered. "At least you aren't at each other's throat." He laughed.
Reed laughed. "No cat fights today, Miss Prissy. Maybe later."
"I'll `Miss Prissy' you, you ungrateful boy!" Phillip swung to swat his head, but Reed ducked away with more laughter. "So, you like each other enough to be willing to think about doing a double?"
"Oh, come on, Phillip! Ease up! He hasn't even gotten his feet wet yet. Let him get comfortable with it before you start pressuring him."
Phillip had the grace to blush. "Sorry, guys. It's just been so long since we were able to provide it." He looked at Reed. "You and Walt just never hit it off."
"He was too into himself; thought he was the Great White Way or something." He shuddered. "Gods, I hate that type." He looked at Logan. "I've already had more fun in fifteen minutes with Logan than I had in two years with Walt." Then he got a speculative look on his face. "Besides, Walt wasn't near the looker that Logan, here, is."
Logan blushed. He wasn't use to having guys make a big thing of his looks.
"See what I mean? Walt would have preened if I'd said something like that about him." He reached out and patted Logan's knee. "Sorry, didn't mean to embarrass you. But it's true. You're cute as hell, as I've already told you."
Just then `HE' entered the living room along with Oscar. "Reed, you sexy devil! How nice to see you again."
Reed leaned toward Logan, but spoke so everyone could hear. "You ever give a thought to sharing sex with one of your clients, you think about Ralph here. He's a tiger between the sheets...and generous, too."
"And you're a devil," replied Ralph as he leaned over and gave Reed a kiss on the forehead. Then he looked over at Logan. "And who's your friend, Reed?"
Logan stood and decided that since Morgan had just entered behind them that now was as good a time to drop their bombshell as any.
"My name's Logan, Mister Maxwell."
Ralph took the offered hand with a look of surprise on his face.
"And just how would you know who I am, Logan?"
"Oh, come on, Mister Maxwell; the premier florist in six states, if not the country? You're a legend."
Now there was genuine confusion on his face.
"Actually, sir, Oscar tells me you've been wanting to meet ME."
"Meet you?" Ralph was now at a total loss. He glanced over at Oscar but could tell nothing from his neutral expression.
"Perhaps it'll become clear if I told you that my full name is Logan Justice."
"Logan Justice...Logan Justice...Justice." The moment of epiphany was like a nova exploding. "Your mother is Margaret Justice! Finally, someone that can tell me who does her arrangements. Please, Logan, tell me you'll tell me." He really was begging by this time.
Logan simply stood just a bit taller and smiled, looking his idol right in the eye.
And then it hit him. "You?! You've been doing your mother's floral arrangements?!"
"For the past year and a half."
Ralph looked down but he wasn't near a chair, so he simply dropped onto the coffee table, then he looked back up at Logan. "How old are you, Logan?"
Logan returned to his seat. "I turned sixteen this past March."
"Sixteen? Shit, I didn't know a baby's breath from a baby's bottom at that age. Where'd you learn it all?"
"By studying your work, sir. And a lot of research online."
Ralph sat silently for several moments simply shaking his head. "I remember when your mother stopped coming to me for her shows. I remember thinking the arrangements adequate for that first show. But then they got more fantastic with each succeeding show." He then reached out and took one of Logan's hands in his own. "Logan, that last fashion show was spectacular."
Logan blushed at the compliment from his hero. "Thank you, sir," he whispered.
"No blushes for that, Logan. I mean it, I was envious. That was easily the equal of anything I've ever done. I've been trying ever since to discover who my rival was."
This was all just a bit more than Logan had expected. "Sir, I'm not your rival...but I'd love the chance to become your student."
"My student? Logan, I don't know if there's much I could teach you."
"Oh, but there is, Mister Maxwell."
"Ralph, please," he interrupted.
"Ralph, I don't know anything about the selection of bouquets for a function. Mother always makes those decisions. She decides what she wants, buys me all the supplies she thinks I'll need and then gives me some direction on what effect she's going for. But I don't understand how to make all those selections and decisions myself."
"Phillip and I have been discussing my future all morning. This being a performer is going to be a lot of fun, I think. It's certainly going to make it easy to plan financially for after graduation. But I need a career. Something that will carry me through the rest of my life."
"Gees, did I just say that? Listen to me. Yesterday I couldn't have cared less about what I wanted to do after graduation. Phillip, you've contaminated me." He laughed.
"But he's right," he continued. "I'm old enough to start thinking in those terms. Ralph, I'm convinced that floral arranging is what I'd love most. It's like I'm in a zen state when I'm surrounded by the raw materials and coaxing them into unusual and spectacular arrays."
Ralph smiled at that analogy, because that was precisely how he felt when he was working on a new display.
He smiled. "Well, at least now I know why I was invited to the residence for lunch. It wasn't about my company. This is about you." He paused as Logan simply nodded, a bit apprehensively. "No fear, Logan. I'm thrilled to be able to have access to your talents." He turned to Oscar. "I assume you will have to be involved in these negotiations?"
Oscar simply nodded. "But not now. Let's enjoy lunch and dispense with business for the time being."
Phillip held Logan back as everyone else headed for the dining room. "You up to doing another performance...after lunch?"
Well, here it was, the moment of truth. This was business. This was no longer strictly about what he wanted. Phillip wanted to start getting Logan some exposure. Ralph Maxwell was a very elite member of high society and surely had a considerable number of friends that would like to avail themselves of Logan's talents. The best way to gain that exposure and following was to develop satisfied customers. Besides, this might smooth over the negotiations for his employment.
"Phillip, as of last night I'm officially on the payroll, so it's up to you to schedule my services. All I ask is that you don't wear me thin."
Phillip smiled at Logan's acceptance of his role. "I'll do my very best for you, Logan. And if you ever feel like I'm over working you, you better tell me. I'm not all knowing, and I sometimes get carried away." He held out his hand. "Partners?"
Logan ignored the hand and hugged Phillip instead. "Partners." It was a brief hug. "But you have to come up and help me choose the right outfit." He then looked speculatively at Phillip. "Uh, could we include Reed at no charge?"
Phillip was thrilled, but didn't show it. This at least demonstrated Logan's willingness to be friendly. "Why Reed? And why for free?"
"Well, if Reed and I are fellow performers, wouldn't it be nice if we were friends? What better way to start that than to let him watch me. And since he IS a fellow performer, I don't think it's right to charge him."
"Both are good reasons and I agree, since you're willing."
Everyone retired to the mock cottage after lunch while Logan and Phillip raced upstairs and chose one of his new outfits. Logan paused a moment or two to calm his nerves in the small room that acted as the equivalent of the bedroom of the cottage. This was going to be a bit unnerving, having someone his own age present. But it would tell him a lot about his potential. Would he be able to put aside the distractions and give a complete performance?
The moment he crossed the threshold into the main room his favorite dancing song began; the title track to the Moody Blues, The Other Side of Life album. He began, this time, by totally ignoring his audience. Instead, he concentrated on his reflection in the full length mirror he'd had Phillip place in the room. Oh, he could see them if he wanted to, but he focused all his attention on himself, just as if he were at home practicing in his bedroom. But the mirror was positioned such that every member of the audience could see his full reflection.
It wasn't until he had removed his shirt and was reaching for his pants that he acted startled, as if just then noticing his audience. Of course, he'd waited that long because he wanted to be sure that everyone had succumbed to the eroticism and had their cocks out of their pants.
He gave them all a shocked look that he slowly transformed into one of delight. And that's when he started dancing solely for his audience. He would step up and dance for a few moments in front of each of the five. Then he'd do it again, only this time he'd be one step closer to his objective and theirs. The first trip down the line resulted in him having unbuttoned and unzipped his pants. The second trip had him folding back the flaps and slowly working down his legs until at the final man he stepped out of them, leaving him only in his new maroon bikini briefs.
Of course, by this time he was sporting a fully erect cock inside those bikinis, one that was drooling into the material. The wet spot was very large and was actually oozing down the front of them. He reached down and scooped up a finger full of the wet stuff and slowly drew it to his mouth where he sucked it in, all the time his other hand pulling down on one side of his underwear. It was almost amusing watching the reaction of these men. They couldn't decide where to watch first; his sexy finger or his soon to be revealed crotch.
They were all starting to get just a bit glassy eyed when Logan ended their agony and pulled his bikinis down to his knees and then kicked them off to the side. He then proceeded as he had the night before. He slowly stroked his eight and a half inch pole in every possible position he could attain. When he decided that he'd prolonged their agony long enough he knelt down in front of Ralph and Reed and stroked for the finish.
Reed was the first to explode, but Ralph wasn't but a moment behind him; then came the other three nearly simultaneously. But Logan held back, slowing his strokes and delaying the inevitable. These men were paying to watch HIM cum and they couldn't watch that properly when they were in the throes of their own orgasms. So he stroked and waited until he was absolutely certain that he had their undivided attention and then he sped up and went for the finish line.
This time, since he was the only one cumming, he let loose with a cry of fulfillment. "Ahhhhhhhh!" Six or seven pulses later he released his cock and let it finish on its own while he supported his spent body with both hands behind him.
His eyes flew open when the sudden, enthusiastic applause started. It was almost a humorous sight. Five men standing in front of him applauding, all with their pants down around the ankles and their softening cocks dangling for all the world to see.
If there'd been any blood left for it, he would have blushed. But all he could manage was a weak grin as he sucked in air.
Reed was the first to move. He pulled up his pants quickly and got them fastened and then stepped up and knelt beside Logan.
"Want a little help with your shower?"
Logan smiled and nodded. Reed helped him up and then simply put an arm around his waist and supported him a bit as they made their way to the bathroom. It wasn't until they were in and the door was closed that Reed spoke.
He grabbed Logan and hugged him hard. "That was incredible, Logan."
"Whatever they're paying you isn't enough; and no, I'm not asking. It's none of my business."
He sat Logan on the closed toilet seat and set about getting the shower started, then he helped him into it only making sure he wouldn't collapse. Then he closed the sliding door and sat on the toilet.
"Phillip told me you'd invited me along. Thanks, Logan."
"You're welcome," he answered as he began to feel his energy returning. He heard the door open, a brief whispered exchange and then its closing. The next thing, Reed pulls open the shower door and hands in a glass of juice.
"Phillip says Oscar has prescribed a little something to restore you." He was looking unashamed at Logan's body as he waited for him to finish drinking. "You look even better naked."
Logan handed over the empty glass. "Oh, that's not fair at all."
"What? Want me to join you?"
"Yeah, Reed, I would."
Logan didn't know anyone could undress so quickly. It seemed that the words had barely passed his lips and Reed was pressing in beside him, naked.
"Oh yes, that looks much better without your pants at your ankles," teased Logan.
"That is a pretty funny sight the first few times," laughed Reed. "You get use to it, though. So want a back wash?"
They washed each other carefully and completely. Logan was just too spent to react to Reed's handling of his cock, but Reed didn't suffer from that. His cock got rock hard almost the moment Logan touched it.
"Gees, Reed, you'd think after all this time being a performer you'd be able to control yourself better," he laughed.
"I thought I was." Then he blushed as he looked into Logan's eyes. "But I can't remember the last time I was naked with someone my age. And shit, Logan, I'll say it again; you are just so damn cute."
Logan simply pulled Reed toward him and embraced him, planting his lips on Reed's. Reed didn't hesitate, he opened wide and they began battling for position with their tongues. But Logan had no intention of a prolonged kiss, he was hungry for something else entirely. He turned them around and broke their kiss, pushing Reed against the back wall of the shower.
"I want to taste you, Reed."
Reed smiled and nodded.
Logan didn't give him a moment to reconsider. He dropped to his knees and swallowed that eight inches of cut boyhood all the way, until his nose was buried in pubes and that cock was down his throat. Logan had been getting himself off for two days now and hadn't gotten anything in return and he was hungry for cum. For it to be someone his own age and cute was a marvelous bonus.
For someone who'd cum only a short time ago, Reed was surprisingly quick to climax. But then, Logan was stimulating both of his most sensitive areas; his nipples and his ass hole. So it was, that Logan didn't have to work very long before his mouth was tasting the glorious seed that he'd been missing for so long. It'd been over a week since he'd given his last blow job to a patron at the hotel and he was oh so hungry for it.
As Reed expressed his enjoyment vocally, Logan moaned between swallows. This was the finest cum he'd ever tasted. And such a large load.
When Reed collapsed, Logan took up the soap and wash cloth and washed the sweat from Reed's body. By the time he was clean they were ready to stand and exit. But not before Reed pulled Logan into a bear hug.
"That was great, Logan. But I get to return the favor some time."
"That'd be just great with me."
Reed quickly dressed while Logan went out into the main room to retrieve his own scattered clothes and dress. As they made their way back up to the main floor Logan broached a possibility.
"You know, Reed, if we practiced a bit, I bet we could come up with something that'd make a good double."
"Well, I'm more than willing. The rates for a double are outrageous, I've been told. They're also done in front of a larger audience, because they're so rare."
"You want we should talk to Phillip? He can arrange some practice time for us I bet," said Logan.
"You kidding? He's so hot to have a double, he'll do almost anything to get us together."
"That's sort of the way I saw it," chuckled Logan as they reached the first floor landing.
Everyone was gathered in the living room sipping at glasses of wine. Ralph motioned Logan over to him. He reached up and pulled Logan's head down and planted a firm, but quick kiss on his lips.
"THAT...was a superior performance, young man. I haven't enjoyed a show that much in quite some time." He glanced over at Reed. "Sorry, Reed."
"No need to be sorry, Ralph. I happen to agree with you. That show rocked big time."
Ralph smiled. "And this," he continued as he handed Logan a folded wad of bills, "Is in appreciation of your efforts."
Logan didn't even look at it. He took it and slipped it into his pocket. "Thank you, Ralph."
"What? Not going to check to see if I cheated you?"
"Ralph, we both know that Phillip and Oscar know exactly what's in that bundle of bills. If I can't trust them to make sure I'm not cheated, then I'm with the wrong organization." He then gave him a peck on the cheek and went and sat in the one remaining chair. "Now, have you managed to work out the details of my possible employment?"
"Oh, it's not just possible, Logan. Your mother has already agreed to it."
"My mother?! Jesus, you guys don't mess around."
"It wasn't hard once Phillip mentioned that he overheard that you two recognized each other from junior high."
"Eavesdropping is a nasty habit, Phillip," said Reed.
"I know, but I have lots of nasty habits, and I won't apologize for a one of them."
They all laughed at the truth of that.
"So, Logan, the story is a simple one. You met Reed this weekend at the mall and renewed your friendship. Reed mentioned to you that he's doing delivery and setup work for me, which he does, by the way. You, in turn, expressed your admiration of my work and he brought you by this morning to meet me. I found out that you'd been doing her arrangements and I begged her to let me hire you. I even told her that I'd be willing to pay for home schooling for you if she'd allow it."
He chuckled next. "She agreed, but only after I conceded that you had to be available to continue doing her arrangements for her functions. I let her believe she'd gotten the better of me, but I know I've made out in this deal."
"That's great, Ralph. When's she going to let me start?"
"Bright and early tomorrow morning."
"Well, I should probably think about getting home. She's going to be anxious to see me, I've been gone all weekend."
"I told her that I'd like you there at seven, Logan, just to show you around. But you'll come here instead. Oscar says he still has one or two items to finalize for you. So be at my store at nine."
Logan went over and hugged Ralph. "Thanks for this, Ralph. I won't let you down."
"We're going to do beautiful things together, Logan, I don't doubt that for a minute."
"I'll show you out," said Phillip.
Once they were out of the living room, Logan reached for his wallet and pocket and pulled his earnings from them. "You better put this some place safe for me, Phillip. I don't dare take it home with me."
"It'll go in the safe as soon as I go back in. By the way, that was fifteen hundred dollars Ralph handed you; from all of us."
"You guys are spoiling me, you know that?"
"You're worth a little spoiling."
"Oh, one other thing, Reed and I are going to need some practice time when you can arrange it." He smiled and hugged a stunned Phillip and walked out to his car, having kept thirty- seven dollars of the money he'd handed over. It wasn't until Logan was about to slip the key into the ignition that Phillip recovered.
"YES!" Then he waved and ran back into the house.
It was well before dinner that he arrived home. He didn't have to look long for her, because she was at her computer, as usual. She spent all her free time on it, researching and arranging. She was a dynamo in the charity game.
"Hi, mom. Did ja miss me?" He came around her desk and hugged her from behind and kissed her cheek.
"As a matter of fact, I did." She stopped what she was doing and turned her chair around and gathered Logan into a heart-felt embrace. "I heard you had a good weekend too."
"You heard?" he asked, putting on his best surprised expression. "And just what did you hear?"
"Does the name Ralph Maxwell sound familiar?"
"Oh, mom, that was the greatest...wait, did he call you?"
"Oh, mom, I told him not to. I told him you insisted I finish high school before I took on a serious career."
She got up from her chair. "Come over here and sit with me, sweetheart." They sat together on the sofa off to the side. "Yes, Ralph called. And no, I'm not upset by it. In fact, I'm pretty excited for you, sweetheart."
"Because I've changed my mind, darling. If being another Ralph Maxwell is really what you'd like to do with your life, then you could hardly do better than to be trained by him, now could you?"
"But what about high school?"
"It seems that Ralph wants you at any cost. He's offered to get you a tutor and have you home schooled until you graduate, or you decide that being a florist is not your cup of tea after all."
"And you agreed?" he allowed himself to show real enthusiasm now.
"Yes, dear, I agreed."
He hugged his mom tight. "Oh mom, you're the greatest. Thank you, thank you, thank you."
"You're welcome, sweetheart." Then she chuckled. "I got one concession out of him, though. You still get to do my arrangements at our agreed upon fees."
"Oh, mom, for this chance I'll even do them for free. This means so much to me."
"We'll see. I don't think it'll be a good idea to let all these organizations get the idea that they can just get all our services for free, do you? Let's just keep things the way they are. It won't be much compared to what Ralph is paying you, but every little bit helps, I always say."
"Why, what's he going to be paying me?"
"He didn't say?"
"No, mom, I never let him get the idea that he could hire me."
"You're a good son, Logan. I'll just let him give you the details. You're supposed to arrive at his store in the morning at seven to begin your new career."
He glanced at his watch. Only five. "How come I don't smell dinner cooking?"
She rose and pulled him to his feet. "Because we are going out to celebrate your good fortune."
He arrived at the residence the following morning feeling stoked for the day. Phillip met him at the door before he could even knock.
"Good morning, bright eyes," greeted Phillip.
"Morning, Phillip," he replied and then got an impish grin on his face. "So, how many shows have you got lined up for today?"
Phillip smiled. "None, smarty pants. After this weekend I thought you could use a break. I do have something scheduled for tomorrow afternoon though."
"I've also cleared your schedules so that you and Reed can get together here on Saturday if you'd like to try and work something up. I don't want to push you two, but I really need something like this. There are so many requests. We'll have to use the big theater AND have two shows."
"Wow. Well, we'll work on it, Phillip. Promise we'll try to put something together for you soon."
"I appreciate it, Logan. Now Oscar is in the den waiting for you so you can set up your account."
"Will I see you before I leave?"
"No, I've got to go check the cottage and set it up for Reed this afternoon."
"Well, if you see him tell him I said hi."
Logan headed for the den, a new spring in his step. He was suddenly looking forward to Saturday.
Setting up his bank account was an odd experience. Oscar made the call on his computer and began by chattering away in Spanish. The only thing Logan understood was the word English, at which time there was a change of personnel at the other end and suddenly everything began to make sense.
"Ah, Mister Stewart, so good to see you once again. I understand you have a new account for us?"
"I do indeed, Manuel." He got up from his chair and motioned Logan to take his place. Once seated, Oscar continued. "This is Logan Justice, Manuel." He then looked down at Logan. "Some things you'll have to type to Manuel, but for most of it he'll just record your answers at his end." He stuck a post it note to the bottom of the monitor. "That's the amount you're to deposit. Manuel already has the particulars of where the money's coming from." He then turned back to the monitor. "I'll just leave the two of you alone, Manuel."
"Good to speak with you Oscar. And thank you for the business."
Logan and Manuel chatted about many things so that Logan's identity would be sufficiently secure. Then, when it came time to quote the deposit amount, Logan nearly choked, "Ah, thirty-five hundred dollars, Manuel."
"Very good. So, Logan, from this moment on, Oscar will be the only one other than yourself that can make deposits, and only you can make withdrawals. Is that satisfactory?"
"Yes, Manuel, that is perfect."
"Very good. You have a good day, Logan. I look forward to serving you in the future."
"Thank you, Manuel, and goodbye." He moused over the disconnect icon and clicked.
He entered the living room looking a little bewildered. "Oscar, how is it my deposit was as big as it was?"
"It's part sign-on bonus and part thank you for being willing to explore the possibilities of you and Reed doing a double. He got a bonus for the same reason."
"It's all about money, isn't it?"
Oscar got up and stepped in front of Logan and placed his hands on his shoulders. "Money is really the only way we can truly express our appreciation, Logan. You and Reed are being very generous with your time and your bodies. Don't think we don't know that. You just keep on doing what you do so very well and we'll continue to demonstrate our appreciation. Ok?"
"Ok. Thank you, Oscar."
"My pleasure. Now there's one other sign on bonus I have for you. It's just outside."
"Oscar! You've got to be out of your mind! I can't suddenly start driving that home."
What `that' was, was a 2009 Lexus SC 430 sports car. It was a brilliant bronze with five-spoke aluminum rims and rear spoiler.
"You won't be driving it home, Logan. For the time being, it's a fleet car for Maxwell Concepts. There's a pair of magnetic ad signs in the trunk that you'll attach to the doors when you're working for Ralph. You'll put them back in the trunk when you are going to or from an appointment for us. When your day is through, you'll bring the car back here and pick up your own." He patted Logan on the shoulder. "But make no mistake, Logan, that is your car, free and clear. In a couple of years, if you do well by Ralph, he'll `present' it to you as a gift."
Logan didn't say a word for several moments. Finally Oscar looked around at Logan's face and was surprised to see tears running down his face.
"Ah, Logan, come inside." He led the poor boy into the foyer and closed the door and then gathered him into an embrace. "Logan, Logan. Shh, now."
"But Oscar," Logan gasped. "A hundred thousand dollar car? I haven't done ANYTHING to deserve something like that."
"But you have, Logan. You've accepted out invitation for starters. Then you go and put on two marvelous performances, thus demonstrating your abilities and willingness. We recognize your potential, son. Not just for yourself, but for us. We're going to make a fortune because you've agreed to put yourself in front of a bunch of dirty ole men." He pushed Logan back so that he could look him in the eye. "And just for the record, the car is only worth sixty-five thousand."
Logan burst out laughing even though the tears continued. "Only, he says. I suppose you're handling the insurance as well."
Oscar nodded and smiled. "Come on, let's go get something to drink. You don't have to be at Ralph's for another hour."
By the time Logan had to leave, he'd regained his composure and accepted, at least tentatively, what he'd been given. He had to admit as he slipped behind the wheel of that magnificent vehicle that he could definitely get used to life like this.
He arrived fifteen minutes early and Ralph hadn't arrived yet, so he took the time to locate the magnetic signs and carefully attached them to the doors. When Ralph finally arrived, Logan understood why they'd chosen a Lexus for him. Ralph drove up in a luxury Lexus and parked beside Logan.
"Good morning, Logan. I see Oscar has already started outfitting you as you deserve."
Logan flashed him a self-deprecating smile. "I'm not convinced that I deserve all this, Ralph."
"Nonsense, Logan. The trick to this life is to understand that you have to allow the people that appreciate your talents to reward you. It's their choice. You haven't asked it of them, but they feel compelled to show their appreciation. Your only requirement is to accept their largesse with grace and humility, just as you're doing now. The only thing you have to guard against is allowing yourself to begin expecting gifts such as this. The moment you start that, the gifts will end, and so will your popularity."
Logan smiled, understanding his point. "I'll be guided by you then, Ralph."
"Good boy. So, how about we go in and I get you set up with your own work area."
"Isn't that going to put some noses out of joint, Ralph?"
"Not if they know what's good for them. Besides, I intend to give you a project to accomplish on your own. It's an upcoming commission and I want you to handle it completely on your own. Once they see the product of your labors, the noses will straighten out because they'll see your unequalled talent."
Well, Ralph was the boss, so Logan kept his opinion to himself and simply followed along. The commission was a wedding to be held in two days. Ralph gave him all the paperwork with the requests for various flowers and a couple of specific types of arrangements, along with a handful of pictures of the location. After studying the material and pictures for an hour, Logan went to talk with Ralph.
"Ralph, I've got a problem."
"All of this is fine information, but the pictures just aren't enough. They don't give me a feel for the location. The photographer obviously had his own idea of what was important, but there's so much more to the area. I'm use to scoping out the locations personally."
Ralph simply smiled and leaned back into his chair. "Good boy. First lesson; never let anything get in the way of a personal reconnaissance. You said it exactly, there's so much more to a location than just the immediate focal point." He jumped up and grabbed his jacket. "Come on, let's go reconnoiter. You drive."
On the way out of the office, Ralph snatched up a tote bag. It wasn't until they were settled in the car and on the road that he explained. "It's full of note pads and cameras; both still and video."
They spent an hour at the park that was to be the location of the wedding. Ralph simply stood back and watched as Logan went about his routine. The cameras were a big improvement on his usual hand drawings and memory. Why hadn't he ever thought of the camera angle before? But then, that's what this was supposed to be all about; learning from the best.
Ralph sat with him on a park bench and listened as Logan outlined what he had in mind for the event. When he finally wound down, he looked expectantly at Ralph. "Well?"
"Your instincts are very good, Logan." He pointed out one or two places he might consider a different approach, but Logan had good reasons for his ideas. It didn't take long for Ralph to consider himself satisfied. "Your arguments are good ones, Logan. You go ahead and use your own judgment." He then smiled. "I am so glad I finally found you, Logan. I can see that all I'm really going to have to do is give you a few pointers, like the camera thing, and teach you the business end. We're going to do great things together, young man."
"By the way, Ralph, you've never said what I'm getting paid for all this."
"Your mother didn't tell you?"
"She said it was your surprise, not hers."
"You're on a salary of sixty thousand a year, with a ten percent commission on every job you complete on your own."
Logan's jaw fell open. Sixty thousand dollars?! That was four times the amount he'd been making at the hotel.
"Trust me, Logan, you're going to earn it. But from what I've seen of your work for your mother and what you've demonstrated for me today, you're going to be well worth it. You see, one of my problems with growing this business is that I haven't had anyone creative enough to take on more of the big events. I can only do so much myself. The people I have working for me are capable, but not creative. You, my young friend, have that creative spark. You will allow me to take on those additional big commissions and know that they'll be handled with the same over the top polish that's become my trademark."
"I'll tell you something else, Logan. If you still enjoy this work when you chose to retire from performing, I'm going to offer you a full partnership. I really think that together we can take a great business into the realm of spectacular."
"You have to promise one thing, Logan. I know that the next couple of years are going to be filled. You have the opportunity to make some spectacular money with your performing. That's going to be important for when you strike off into your adult life. I want you to take full advantage of that. But you're also going to have your school work. Your mother tells me that you're a good student. I don't want that to end. You're going to need that education in order to be successful."
"So, it's going to be up to you to tell me to back off if it all gets to be too much. I'm in no rush to build this business, really. I can wait until you've graduated or you decide that performing is no long appealing. Between now and then, I'll teach you the ins and outs you don't know. I'll give you the occasional solo commission. Otherwise, you'll help me create the things I've made my reputation on."
"So, can you promise me that?"
"Yes, Ralph, I can promise you."
"Good," said Ralph as he jumped up, "Let's get back to the shop. By the way, I intend for you to start your tutoring right away, if you can manage it. I'd like to help you graduate early if it's possible."
"Could you give me a couple of weeks, Ralph? Reed and I are going to try and work up a double for a couple of large audiences. I'm going to need all my free time to make that happen I think."
"Oh my god, you and Reed in a double? I'll sign up for that one. Yeah, we can wait until you've gotten that out of the way. I know they schedule doubles very rarely. It ensures a large enthusiastic audience."
Logan spent the remainder of the morning going through his pictures and video and making sketches of what he planned. Then he started making out his supply requirements and had Ralph show him where to find everything. He spent his afternoon making up the smaller arrangements and ensuring his assistants understood what he wanted for the corsages and boutonnieres. By the end of the day, he had completed everything that would hold up for a few days.
By the end of the day, the other employees had given up their suspicion and admitted that he knew precisely what he was doing and even offered a compliment or two along the way.
"They'll come around, Logan, don't worry about it. They've seen enough already to know that you are way above their league. The envy will pass as we get more work and they get a few bonuses. That's another lesson. Never be afraid to spread your success around to the employees. They have their part to play in all of this and they have a right to reap some of the rewards."
"You're a good boss, Ralph."
"Well, I try. Now get on home before your mother accuses me of over working you on your first day."
His mother was excited for him as he described how his first day had gone.
"So, Ralph has recognized your talent right off. That's great, dear."
"He's promised that my education will come first, mom. I'm to tell him if I start having trouble keeping up with my school work."
"Good. That's the one thing I was a bit concerned about. I didn't want him to get carried away and forget that you need to graduate."
The next day was relatively easy because he'd done all the tedious small stuff already. He was able to put together the signature pieces in a leisurely fashion and have them done before he had to leave and change for his first performance. He'd arrange the two spectacles he'd planned first thing in the morning, in time for the one o'clock delivery and setup.
He followed Phillip out to the cottage. They arrived in plenty of time for a grand tour of the facilities, not that there was much. It was precisely what the name cottage implied; a small building with a main room, bed room and bath room. There was a small refreshment credenza in one corner with a frig and coffee maker.
"The clients bring their own snacks if they want any. So, you ready?"
"Yeah, Phillip, I'll be fine."
"Your body guard is Jackson, Logan. Remember, he'll be just outside."
"You expecting problems?"
Phillip patted his shoulder. "No, Logan. Just want you to know that everything is exactly like we told you it would be."
"Thanks, I'll be fine. By the way, you never mentioned. Do the clients pay me or have you already received that."
"Good question. No, they pay you directly. We've already received our commission."
"Ok, get out of here. I'll see you back at the residence."
Phillip gave him a hug. "Good luck."
It wasn't long after Phillip's departure that Logan heard the arrival of the client. He entered briskly and looked none too happy for some reason. Logan noted the frown on Jackson's face as he closed the door.
"So, you're the new boy."
"What's your name, boy?"
"Sir, you know I'm not suppose to give you that."
"Oh great, a by the book boy." He flopped down in the lone chair. "All right, get on with it, boy."
Logan started toward the stereo.
"None of that, boy. Just get undressed and show me what you got." It was obvious that the man was becoming increasingly irritated.
Logan resigned himself and began to simply undress. Once fully nude, the man had him turn around.
"Well, at least you've got a nice ass." Suddenly the man was all over Logan, first covering his mouth so that he couldn't call out. Then Logan felt the man's erect cock attempting to violate him.
Logan was so frightened that he did the first thing that entered his mind, he bit down hard on the man's hand. That forced the man to ease off just enough for Logan to yell, "Jackson!", before the man got his hand back over his mouth.
In only a heartbeat the man was yanked off Logan. "Get out, boy!" Well, Logan didn't have to be told twice. He raced outside and jumped into his car and simply sat there shaking like a leaf. There was no disguising what was going on inside. The man's screams and pleadings were clearly audible and just as clearly being ignored. There were several minutes of this before finally he was cut off in mid scream.
There was complete silence. Finally, Jackson appeared at the door, shirtless. He looked around frantically until he noticed Logan sitting in his car. Logan simply stared at him the whole time he slowly approached the car and finally opened the door. Jackson knelt down, but didn't reach out.
"Logan, did he injure you?"
He was still so shaken, he could only shake his head.
"You're absolutely sure?"
He nodded. Then he gave into his greatest need and he launched himself from the car and wrapped his arms around Jackson's neck and cried. Jackson simply held him with one arm.
"It's Jackson. We've got an alpha one situation...no, Logan's fine physically, but he's understandably shaken up...he's not going anywhere...yeah, both legs, both arms and his jaw...oh, no he's quite alert...looks like we need a new object lesson...no, he's right here in my arms...no, not yet, he's still crying...we'll be here."
Oddly enough, Logan understood all of that. He pulled himself together with a bit of difficulty and finally leaned away from Jackson.
"I need to get my clothes, Jackson."
"No, Logan, they're not in any condition for you to be wearing them. Phillip's bringing some clean things for you to wear."
"Thank you, Jackson."
"You're welcome. You sure you're okay?"
"Yes, I'm fine, really. Let's go."
"We can't leave until Phillip gets here."
"I don't mean leave. I want to see him."
"No, Logan, you don't want to see that."
"I've got to, Jackson. I've got to SEE that he got what he deserved."
Jackson simply stared at him for several moments. "You're going to insist, I suppose."
"Jackson, I've got to see it for myself. If I don't I'll always be afraid. Don't you see?"
"Yes, Logan, I see. You're made of sterner stuff than I initially thought. Want me to come along?"
"Oh yes. I'm not going in there alone no matter how many parts you broke."
"Hmm, caught that did you? All right, if you're going to insist, let's get this over with."
The main room was a shambles and there was blood everywhere. Surprisingly, that didn't bother Logan a bit. He simply looked around trying to locate the victim.
"He's in the bedroom, Logan," said Jackson softly.
The mangled body bore little resemblance to the man that had entered a short time ago. His arms and legs were sprawled out in very unnatural directions. His lower jaw was shifted to one side and there were tears rolling down his face as he continued to moan. The sight was oddly satisfying for Logan.
The amount of blood in this room made the main room look positively pristine.
"I hope it was worth it," was all Logan said. He then turned and left the cottage.
Jackson led him to a garden bench set off to one side intending for them to simply sit side by side. But Logan sat in Jackson's lap instead. Jackson simply wrapped his arms around him and held him. Fortunately, it was a clear, warm day, so he wasn't in any danger of catching a chill. But he obviously needed the close contact, so Jackson simply let it happen as it would.
And that is how Phillip and Oscar found them when they arrived with a medically equipped van and another vehicle out of which piled a half dozen men. Oscar led the cavalcade into the cottage while Phillip made a b-line for Jackson and Logan.
"He hasn't said a word since we came back out."
"You let him go inside?!"
"Shut up, Phillip," said Logan softly. "It was my choice. I had to see that the bastard got what was coming to him. Jackson tried to stop me, but I insisted. He was with me the whole time." He said all of this without looking at Phillip. When he looked up at him, Phillip was a bit surprised to see no tears. "Did you bring me something to wear? I'm sure Jackson is quite tired of keeping me warm."
"Yeah, I've brought some. I'll go get them."
"That's all right. I'll come and change." He then simply turned and kissed Jackson on the cheek. "Thank you, Jackson. You're very comfortable."
"Any time, Logan. I'm very sorry this had to happen."
"I know. But you took care of it for me. You protected me. That's all you need to remember, ok?"
"Yeah, kiddo, okay."
"Come on Phillip, let's get out of here. I've had enough for one day."
Logan dressed and then Phillip drove them back to the residence in Logan's car. On the way Logan called home and got permission to spend the night with Reed. He was cheerful and enthusiastic during the call, giving no clue to the close call he'd just endured.
When they arrived and got inside Logan made straight for the liquor cabinet.
"Phillip, help me chose something strong, would you?"
Phillip stepped up beside him. "You sure that's a good idea?"
"Just a shot, please?"
"Okay." Phillip poured him a full jigger of the strongest whiskey that he could find.
Logan didn't hesitate; he downed the entire contents in one huge swallow. "Eeuck! Gods, how do you guys drink that shit?"
"I don't. I restrict my drinking to wines. You're the one that wanted something strong."
"I had to wash the taste of that experience out of my mouth."
Phillip, of all people, understood. "That was a good idea, calling you mom and getting permission to spend the night out."
"I need a little time to get over this."
"Is there anything I can do?" Phillip knew better than to go charging in with all sorts of unwanted assistance.
Logan stepped over and wrapped his arms around Phillip. "Hold me. Just hold me."
And Phillip did. All night. Even in bed.