by Wayne Telfer
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Logan's Living - Chapter 6
When Ben woke the following morning, because of his position, the first thing he saw was the massive bulge of Reed's morning erection beneath the sheet. He automatically looked over at Logan's crotch and saw a very similar tent. Then he looked at his own. All right, it wasn't nearly so big, but it was still somewhat of a thrill to be lying between these two incredible older boys, all of them with erections.
"It'll get there, Benny," whispered Logan.
Ben simply looked over and smiled. "I know. I was just admiring is all." He chuckled softly. "I feel like the center of an Oreo cookie...sort of."
"Well, I don't know about you," whispered Logan, "But I gotta race like a piss horse."
"Don't you mean, piss like a race horse?"
"Well, that proves you're awake," laughed Logan as he slipped out of bed and then held the sheet up so Ben could do the same. "Better slip on something to cover our morning direction finders."
They each grabbed their underwear and pants.
"You are so weird sometimes, Logan."
Logan got a shocked look on his face. "You mean I'm just a normal guy? Come on, Benny, that can't be right."
It took Ben a moment, but he suddenly understood what Logan was trying to say. He laughed. "Ok, Logan, I get it. I guess I have been sort of doing the whole hero worship thing. Sorry."
Logan smiled and hugged him. He was definitely relieved. All those worshipful looks had begun to concern him. Ben didn't need to become dependent or fixated. He needed to stay a normal kid; just one with more understanding of who he was.
"Nothing to be sorry for. I just wanted you to see where you were headed." He kissed Ben's forehead. "It's understandable, Benny. I helped get you out of that horrible situation. Now Reed and I, through our parents, are helping ensure you have a better home life. And as if that weren't enough, Reed and I have given you the key to your manhood. After all these years, you're becoming whole, and we've had a big part in getting you there. So your reaction is normal. I just didn't want it to go too far. You need to get back to being `Benny'. None of this is going away, mister, so just relax into it."
"I couldn't agree more," said Reed from the bed, as he too began to slip out. "Now, did I hear someone say something about a morning piss?"
That brought Ben and Logan back to the moment and they raced for the bathroom and shared their morning relief, leaving room for when Reed joined them. Once that was done they returned to the bedroom and slipped on their t-shirts.
"If you two can make the bed and sort out the last of our clothes," said Logan, "I'll go and start Mom's morning coffee. Meet me in the spare room and we'll see what Benny's computer needs."
It took only a couple of minutes before they were all huddled around the box that was supposed to be Ben's computer. It didn't take long for Logan to throw up his arms in disbelief and frustration. "All right, Benny, I give up. Not only is this thing restricted so tight it's useless, it's also totally inadequate for anything you might need or want to do in the modern world."
"Yes, you did. But I could never have imagined this level of paranoia. Well, this certainly simplifies things. It'll cost more to upgrade this piece of shit than it will to just go and buy you a whole new system."
Ben stood up in shock. "That's too much..."
"I told you last night that it's my choice what I do with my money, little brother. You need a computer. Everyone needs a computer these days, especially students. How you've managed your GPA without one is amazing. You must have had to work your ass off at the library. By buying you a descent computer, I'm ensuring that one of my best friends has the best tools possible to maintain that GPA. It's also going to ensure that you now start to have more time to have fun, because you're not spending all your time doing homework."
"Logan, would you make up your mind? Am I your little brother or a best friend?"
Reed laughed and clapped Ben on the back. "Benny, Benny. What God came down and dictated that you couldn't be both? I know that I feel just like Logan about all this."
Ben thought about it for a moment and decided that he agreed. They WERE brothers as well as best friends. "Ok," he laughed, "you're right. Actually, it's way cool. I don't know any of my friends whose older brothers feel like that about them."
"Good," said Reed. "So, why don't you tear that thing apart and we'll put it in the trunk of my car. Dad has a friend whose business it is to dispose of these obsolete things safely."
"The monitor too?" asked Ben.
"Oh hell, Benny, especially that antiquated CRT. Make the printer disappear too. But keep all the cables and plugs; you can never have enough of those as spares." He got up from the chair and headed for his room. "You guys work on that and I'll leave Mom a note so she doesn't freak out when she notices the computer is missing. Then we can get out of here."
"I'm already up and in the dining room, dear," called his mother.
Logan made a sharp left and went into the dining room. There sat his mom, morning coffee in hand. "Did we wake you?" he asked as he hugged and kissed her.
"No, sweetheart. I set my alarm for an early start. I've got quite a few things to accomplish this morning."
Just then, Reed and Ben came walking past with various computer components in hand. "Morning, Mom," they said in unison.
"Morning, boys." They continued on without stopping, so she looked at Logan. "What's going on?"
"Mom, Benny's computer is headed for the scrap heap." He explained what he'd found and what he planned to do about it.
"Well, you said Ralph had given you a hiring bonus, and since he never does anything by half, I imagine you can afford it." She pulled him down and kissed him. "It's a nice thing you're doing."
"Would you like me to make you some breakfast before we leave?" he asked.
"No, dear, I'll just have a bowl of cereal so I can get started with my day. You boys go on and have fun."
Reed and Ben returned and hugged and kissed Mom before running off for the last of the components. It didn't take long for them to get fully dressed and be on their way to the residence. On the way there, Reed convinced them that a morning swim would be the way to begin. Ben objected that they hadn't brought swim suits.
"Benny, skinny dipping in the house pool is the rule, not the exception. It's the one place Dad allows us to be clothing optional. Dad's already seen you in the raw and Phillip's gay, so he certainly won't mind."
Actually, Ben found the idea of skinny dipping exciting. But still, he was hesitant. When Reed looked into the rear view mirror and saw Ben's blush he knew why. "Hey, don't worry about the occasional woody. I promise you we'll all get one at some point. I know I can't be around a bunch of naked guys and not get one. We'll tease each other about them and just enjoy ourselves."
When they entered, Reed remembered something he'd told Logan the day before. "Hey, Logan, why don't you go tell Dad about the computer and I'll take Benny to the pool."
Logan finally located Oscar in his study.
"Come in, Logan, shut the door, and have a seat." Once the boy was in place, he continued. "My son was very upset with me last night and rightfully so. You should never have gotten out of this office last week without fully understanding what you'd gotten yourself into. You have my profound apology, Logan."
"Oh, I've gotten over it, Oscar. It just seemed to have all the earmarks of a classic gangster flick."
"Well, I'm really sorry. So, Reed told me what he said to you. He pretty much covered it, Logan. Do you have any questions?"
"Not right now. But if I do come up with any, I'll be sure to come ask you instead of assuming anything."
"Fair enough. So, what's on the agenda for you boys today?"
"Fun," answered Logan with a smile. "Nothing but fun. We're going to play here for a bit. Then we're going to hit my favorite computer outlet and buy Benjamin a new computer. His was a disaster. By the way, his old one is in the trunk of Reed's Vette. He said you knew someone that could trash it properly."
"That I do. All right, get out of here and have your fun. I think Phillip will catch up with you this morning. He's got some things lined up for you this week."
"That'll be good. My current bank balance is feeling neglected." He laughed.
"Oh, before you go, can I ask how..."
Logan smiled. "How things went with Benjamin?"
Oscar nodded. "I'm sorry if I keep at you, Logan, but I'm a bit worried about the poor boy."
"It's all right, Oscar. As for Benjamin, two older guys have managed to convince him that he's a nearly fully functional member of the male species. He was a bit overwhelmed."
"A little; but I addressed that this morning." He then went on to explain what he'd done and how he'd done it.
Oscar simply shook his head. "How have you known the perfect way to handle all of this, Logan?"
"I don't really. I just think about how I'd feel in his situation and how I'd like someone to talk to me and teach me."
"Well, you just keep doing what you're doing. He's going to turn out just fine with you and Reed working with him like this."
Logan had no trouble locating the pool once he got headed toward the back of the house. The screaming and laughing was all the compass he needed.
"What's all the noise?!" he yelled as he entered the pool room. What he saw was Phillip and Reed swimming after Ben, but not having any luck catching him.
Reed stopped where he was and clung to the side of the pool, breathing hard. "He's a fucking otter!"
Logan laughed. "Oh, did I forget to tell you that Benny's a member of the swim team? He's won quite a few meets since junior high."
"Shit, no wonder. Well, you better not get in here without a jock strap and cup. The little shit is always coming up under us and grabbing our jewels and then racing off."
Logan looked up at the sunlight streaming in through the glass roof. "Maybe I'll just sit out here and work on my tan."
But he didn't mean it. He shucked his clothes and dove in. He specifically aimed himself so that he'd be able to come up under Ben as he was swimming away from a persistent Phillip. The boy hadn't been paying attention to his arrival, so Logan was able to surprise him after all. Ben's sudden stop as Logan grabbed the boy's crotch allowed Phillip to catch up and Reed to swim over. The poor kid never stood a chance at that point.
It was all in fun, and the guys eased up when Ben claimed he'd pee the pool if they kept tickling him. He even proved it by jumping out and racing for the shower room to relieve himself. They rough housed a bit after that, but mostly they used the diving board and swam leisurely laps.
Ben and Logan finally left at noon and headed for Taylor's Byte Factory. Taylor built each computer personally. He tested each one for a week before putting it on the floor for sale. When you bought a computer from Taylor, you could rest assured that all the major problems had already been discovered and corrected.
"Logan!" yelled Taylor the minute they entered. "So how's the media star?"
"Beating off the girl groupies with a baseball bat," laughed Logan. He then explained what had happened at the salon.
"So, what's up? Need some new components?"
"I don't, but Benjamin here does. We just threw his computer into the trash. He's living with us for the time being and his computer was so antiquated and parental locked that it's going to be easier to just buy him a new one."
"Oh, you know that just breaks my heart," laughed Taylor. "You didn't just toss the old one in the trash, did you?"
"No, Taylor, it's going to a properly license computer disposal company."
"Good for you." Then he turned to Ben and held out his hand. "Nice to meet you, Benjamin. So, just what sort of computer are you in the market for?"
"Well, I want to be able to do all the usual homework type stuff and research. A descent color printer would be great too."
Taylor frowned and looked over at Logan. "That's it? You could have gone to Wal-Mart for something like that."
Logan turned to Ben and gave him such a look that Ben actually took a step back. "All right, Benjamin, here's the deal. I've told you several times that I'm GOING to buy you a computer. I've told you it's my money to spend any way I choose. So, you have a choice; you can help Taylor here pick out a computer that will actually serve your school needs AND your computer interests outside of school or you can continue to be all noble and I'll buy you a top of the line computer that will do everything I can think of. The first one will probably run about twenty-five hundred dollars, the other will cost me five thousand or more. Either way, you're getting an above average computer."
Ben simply stood and stared at Logan, tears streaming down his face. Taylor took that opportunity to go assist another customer.
"Why are you doing this?" asked Ben.
"It's simple, Benny. You are my brother now, and I love you. Is that so hard to understand and accept?" He came over and took Ben by the shoulders. "My boss told me something the day I started work for him. He said, `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.'"
He put his finger under Ben's chin and forced him to make eye contact. "I appreciate you, Benny. You're a terrific friend and a killer brother. I have the means to help you become more than you are right now. I want to see you have all the best opportunities to explore your passions, the way I am. Now maybe your passions aren't in the area of computing. If that's true, then fine, we'll go to Wal-Mart. But if you have something you love to do that will be aided by a killer computer, then let me do this for you. That's what real brothers and real family do for each other."
"CG," said Ben after a moment of silence.
"Computer graphics," acknowledged Logan. "Ok, that's a start. Now what sort?"
Logan pulled Ben into a hug. "That wasn't so hard, now was it?" He released him and pushed him toward where Taylor was standing at the end of the counter. It took fifteen minutes of question and answer between Ben and Taylor, but finally the computer guru led them over to a complete computer set up.
"This will do the trick, Benjamin." He then proceeded to demonstrate the quality of the graphics that could be created and the animation possibilities. "Now, you said you don't really know all that much, so I'll give you the name of a friend that knows almost all there is to know about this stuff. He does private tutoring of interested individuals."
It was settled. Logan handed over his debit card and they called the tutor from Taylor's shop. It was arranged that Taylor would come by the house the following day and set everything up and explain all the hookups to Ben. The tutor would come over in the afternoon and sit with Ben and determine what he knew and what he wanted to learn.
They were back in the Lexus and headed home in plenty of time to begin making dinner.
"Ok, Benny, I'm sorry. I was sort of rough on you back there."
"It's all right, Logan. I'm just not used to this. I've gotten used to not having the nice things. My parents always made such an issue of the unnecessary expense of everything I asked for."
"Well, I don't consider this unnecessary, Benny. It's not too early to begin thinking about what you'd like to do for a living. The sooner you start developing the skills, the better prepared you'll be when you graduate." He chuckled. "Actually, I've been having some of these same problems, little brother. Ralph had to get pretty stern with me a time or two until I relented and realized he was right."
"Ok, I give up. Thank you, Logan. Thank you so much. I never dreamed I'd ever be able to give this CG work a chance. My parents thought it was frivolous and pointless."
"Fuck, Benny, talented CG artists are making a killing in the industry. Your parents were wrong and we're going to turn this around and get you on the right track."
Ben actually smiled with real excitement. "This is going to be so rad."
Fortunately, Mom had completed her work for the day by the time they got home, because Ben was so excited about what Logan had done that he just had to tell her all about it. She was more than willing to sit with him beside her and listen as he gushed about what he wanted to do with this chance. When Reed arrived, Ben had to go over it all again. It made Margaret smile to see the boy so excited about something. He'd been so sat upon for so long; it was amazing that he could recognize an opportunity when it came his way.
When he finally wound down for the second time, he realized that he'd been going on and on for some time.
"Oh, gees, I'm sorry."
"For what, my dear? It's nice to see you excited by all this. I have only one question. Is the desk in the spare room big enough for this monster computer you've been describing?"
Everyone looked at Logan. "It'll be a tight fit I think."
That simple statement brought out all the helpful suggestions. It was finally arranged that Reed and Phillip would come by first thing in the morning to help move and install the larger desk.
With that all arranged, the boys headed off and began putting together their dinner.
Dinner preparation was filled with considerable laughter along with the instruction. As soon as the eating was over, Reed said his good nights and left for home to get his nap before he had to head off for work. Logan and Ben simply sat on the sofa with Mom and leisurely discussed the day and some of Ben's dreams for this new future he envisioned.
Margaret was very pleased with Ben's progress. He seemed to be finally relaxing. He was becoming much more accepting of this new life. He was certainly a different boy than the one that had walked into her life two days earlier. Logan and Reed were making a big difference in his life, that was for certain. She then began to wonder what sort of people Oscar was going to be able to find for this marvelous child. Despite his easier manner, she knew that he was still going to require some special handling for a while. There were many scars, she was sure, that had yet to be attended to.
"What's the matter, mom?" asked Ben. He was looking up at her and frowning.
She hugged him to her. "And what makes you think something's wrong, my dear?"
"You were frowning and staring off into space."
"I was just thinking about the desk and how we're going to get it all to fit, that's all. But I think I've figured out the logistics."
"You really don't have to do that. I'm not supposed to be here all that long."
Margaret caressed his hair gently. "Perhaps not, but while you ARE here, I'm going to make sure you have all the things you need to pursue your interests. Now, don't worry about it."
Ben smiled that cute little boy smile of his. "Ok. Thanks Mom."
"Well, on that note," said Logan as he stretched, "I've got work tomorrow, so I'm headed for bed."
"I'm beat too," said Ben.
They hugged and kissed Mom good night and headed down the hall.
"I think I'm going to sleep in my room tonight, Logan," said Ben.
"Whatever you like, Benny."
They hugged outside their rooms and Logan initiated a good night kiss. They didn't have to say anything; their kiss said it all.
Logan had enough time in the morning to go with them and at least help with loading the desk into the truck. He'd expected Phillip to be sluggish, but he was all bright eyes and enthusiasm. It was Reed that was a bit worn. Not surprising really considering he'd just gotten off a full shift at the grocery store. Mom tried to send him home once, but he argued that he and Phillip had come in one vehicle. He compromised with her by promising to go lay down on Logan's bed after the desk was inside the house. He'd nap while the three of them rearranged the room to accommodate it.
"Well, you look like you had a good weekend," said Ralph when he got out of his car. "How's your friend?"
"He's great, Ralph. It took a bit of effort, but Reed and I managed to get him over the worst of his trauma. He's home with Mom, rearranging his room to accommodate the new computer that I bought for him yesterday."
"Ah, spreading your good fortune around a bit?"
"Yeah, I suppose."
"Well, good on you. Now, we have a business to run." They entered the salon. "Today I'd like you to spend your morning designing something new for the collection. Let's say something small and inexpensive, but still with that little extra look we're famous for."
That first assignment took only an hour because he had already made up something he'd really liked for the last charity fashion show. He simply recreated it for Ralph, who was very pleased with it and immediately took it to his photo room and began taking pictures to have included in his next add. He sent Logan off to document all the materials he'd used and some of the basics for its construction that could be given to the other arrangers as needed.
Not that most of them would need the instructions. They may not have been in the caliber of Ralph and Logan, but these eight people were still tops in their field and put all the other shops in the state to shame.
Ralph had Gyros delivered from his favorite Greek restaurant for the entire crew. It was always exciting for Logan to try new dishes. He found the Gyros to be very tasty and pocketed one of the napkins that had the name and address printed on it.
After lunch, Ralph had a new project for Logan. "I want to try something new this year, my boy. Parent's Day is coming up next month. It's not one of those holidays that gets a lot of attention. I'd like to do something this year that will put a flower arrangement in the price range that a lot of kids could afford. If you can come up with two or three for under fifteen dollars, I'll put out a half page ad in the newspaper and see if we can't garner a new class of customer."
Well, that was a challenge Logan could sink his teeth into. The idea that he might be able to make it possible for kids to do a little something special for their parents on a day that normally goes unacknowledged...well, he was all for that.
It WAS a challenge though. The flowers weren't a big issue. There were plenty to choose from that didn't bite significantly into the price range. It was the containers that would be the big issue. Even the cheap ones would take a significant chunk out of the limit Ralph had set. It wasn't until Logan remembered that there was a party supply store a half block away that he was able to solve his problem. He took a quick walk down there and was able to find plastic Champaign flutes, Brandy snifters and large dessert glasses, all for under a buck a piece.
He purchased one of each and hurried back to the salon and had to spend only an hour making up all three samples. The Brandy snifter would be the most expensive at thirteen ninety-five, while the Champaign flute would be the cheapest at seven ninety-five.
Ralph was ecstatic about his results. "How'd you manage so much floral in those types of containers, and still keep the price down?"
"Easy. They're plastic, from the party supply store down the block."
Well, everyone agreed that his design and solution were brilliant and they were all excited about trying something new. Within an hour, Ralph had one of the newspaper's ad specialists in to take pictures and design a layout. It was decided they'd make this a color ad; that would get the attention of kids. While this was going on, Ralph had Logan go down and purchase a hundred of each of the plastic containers.
"What we don't use for the arrangements I can use at my next block party," he laughed. "The best thing about these designs is that they're simple enough that we only have to make up one of each every other day for display. The rest we can make up while our new young customers are waiting."
"What would you think of setting up a small table right by the counter?" asked Jake. "We could allow each of the kids to have a certain choice in some of the blooms that go into their special gift."
"Jake, that's brilliant!" said Ralph as he ran to his office to call the ad guy and have that bit of detail added to the advertisement.
"We could rotate ourselves at the table," said Martha, "so that none of us gets bored with the process."
Well everyone agreed that this was a fine idea.
At three, Logan had to scoot out for his afternoon performance. That day's client was a middle aged, well dressed man, with a rousing sense of humor, and a lot of appreciation for Logan's act. He garnered three hundred dollars for his efforts.
Logan returned home that evening with a real feeling of accomplishment. But the thrill of what he'd done paled in comparison to the excitement in the house when he got home.
"Hi Mom, d'ja miss me?" he called out as he came in.
But it wasn't mom that responded.
"Logan!!" yelled Ben from his bedroom. Then there was this miniature tornado that spun into the room and nearly knocked Logan over when he wrapped the older boy in a fierce embrace. "Come see, come see! It's fabulous!" He grabbed Logan's hand and pulled him down the hall and into his bedroom where mother already sat next to the computer that was playing some sort of animated show.
"Good evening, dear," she laughed.
Logan kissed and hugged her with a smile. Then he looked at the computer monitor and was amazed at what was being displayed. It was a short animation showing two 3D boys playing a game of catch with ball and mitts.
"That's amazing, Benny. So, how long before you'll be doing things like that?"
Ben's smile, if anything, got wider. "This IS mine!" he crowed. "I did this while Mom and Patrick watched!"
Logan's mouth fell open and he could only stare from the screen, to Ben, and then to his mother. Mom was nodding and Ben was bouncing slightly in his chair with excitement. It was obvious that he was very pleased to have surprised Logan.
"You created all of this yourself?"
"Well, the boys were already part of the program...a template. But I added the mitts and ball and created the animation. That took a bit, to get the ball to actually land in their mitts instead of hanging in the air. Patrick said it was a very good start. He said he's thrilled to have such an apt pupil." He then sobered and picked up a post it note from the desk. "He said I need one more program, though. I'll need it to learn how to create the boys myself. Can...can you afford...to buy it for me?"
Logan put on his best look of astonishment. "Benny, did you just ask me to spend money on you?"
Ben recognized the humor Logan had put into the statement. "Uh huh. You got so mad at me at the computer store because I wouldn't let you help me. So yeah, I'm asking my big brother if he can help me a little more."
Logan stood up and spread his arms in a clear invitation, one that Ben happily accepted as he stood and hugged his brother.
"Benny, I'm proud of you. Of course I'll help you again." He pushed Ben back into his chair as he reached for his wallet. He pulled out his debit card and placed it on the desk and then grabbed the post-it pad and wrote down his PIN and stuck the note to the card. "You ask Mom to take you to Taylor's tomorrow and you buy the program."
Ben simply looked from the card, to Logan, and back at the card.
"What? Can't I trust my little brother to get what he needs without spending all my hardly earned money?" Logan laughed.
"Thanks, Logan," whispered Ben as he gingerly took the card and post-it and put it in his wallet.
"So, what's for dinner?" asked Logan as he ruffled Ben's hair.
"We're waiting for the pizza to arrive," answered Mom. "Ben and I have been so busy with all of this that I didn't have any time to cook." She sighed theatrically. "It's going to be a busy day for me tomorrow, I'm afraid. I've been having so much fun with Benny that I've neglected my work once again." That wasn't strictly true, of course. She'd spent a couple of hours with her emails and research while Ben's tutor, Patrick, had run the boy through the basics. She'd come into Ben's room when he'd yelled at his first success and she'd remained, enthralled by the process and thrilled by Ben's successes.
Benny laughed without embarrassment. It'd already been made quite clear to him that Mom's sacrifice was voluntary and that he was not to worry about it. So he simply basked in the fact that she'd spent all afternoon at his side, watching his efforts, encouraging him by the simple expedient of just being there. And yes, he'd learned his lesson with Logan. He knew, somehow, that he may not get all his requests granted, but he was positive that he was expected to make his needs and wants known to these two wonderful people.
"Well, since the two of you are having so much fun, I won't be missed while I go take a shower. I'm tired of smelling like floral foam and crushed flower petals." He laughed as he left the room, because, of course, floral foam really had no smell, and who in their right mind would ever get tired of the smell of crushed flower petals.
It was announced that the pizza had arrived while he was showering. He didn't want to rush; it'd still be hot enough when he got done. But he also knew that Mom and Ben would wait for him before digging in. So he finished quickly enough and they all gathered around the dining room table and Logan related the accomplishments of his day at work.
"That will be an interesting experiment," said Mom. "Most people don't even know about the existence of Parents Day."
"That's why Ralph is spending the extra money on a color ad. He's hoping to catch the interest and attention of the kids. We're even going to make it fun for the kids." He explained about the table and selection opportunities.
And that is how the next few days progressed for them. Logan would work all morning and most of the afternoon, do a performance and then head home. Ben would work away at his animation. Margaret would pursue her charity efforts. They'd gather for a leisurely evening meal and then retire to Ben's room to witness his latest accomplishments. It was, quite frankly, a marvelous few days for all of them.
It was on Thursday that their lives, once again, became embroiled in the unexpected. It was nearly noon when Logan got a call from Mom.
"Logan, you and Ralph need to come home for lunch as soon as you can."
"Me AND Ralph?"
"Yes, dear. A special courier is here right now with an envelope that all three of us are required to sign for."
There was silence as Logan drove them home. He was fairly certain that this would have to do with the partnership, and he was sure Ralph felt the same, but by unspoken agreement, they decided not to discuss it. If they talked about it, they'd become anesthetized to it and their reactions wouldn't be as genuine.
When they arrived home, the three of them signed the receipt and the courier left. Mom called Ben to the dining room, introduced Ralph to him, and the four of them sat as Margaret opened the un-addressed manila envelop. Inside was a lone piece of paper and a closed, legal sized envelope. She set aside the envelope and then read aloud:
The Law Offices of
Brinker, Mallen, Kamper, & Drane
1435 Broadway # 701, New York, NY, 10007-1158
Mrs. Margaret Justice
Mr. Logan Justice
Mr. Ralph Maxwell
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Justice, Mr. Maxwell;
It is a pleasure for me to contact you on behalf of our client to inform you of a sizable bequest that has been made on behalf of, and in the name of, Mr. Logan Justice. This bequest comes in the form of a twenty-five percent (25%) partnership in the Maxwell Creations Design Studio.
Now, I am certain that this action on behalf of Logan comes as quite a shock to all of you. Allow me to explain what I can.
Our client is a philanthropist who believes that the young people of our country must be encouraged to develop to their fullest potential in order for this country to prosper. To that end, he is constantly searching for creative young people who have a passion for their art. His World Wide Web search engine is constantly surfing the news of this country for young persons who have come to the attention of the media as extraordinary talents in art, business and government.
When he finds such a one, he conducts a more extensive investigation to determine if the media have brought their focus on a truly extraordinary youngster or if they've simply fallen on a one time human interest story.
In the case of Logan Justice, our client feels that there is nothing `one time' about Logan's passion, his art, or his extraordinary humanity.
Enclosed with this announcement is a letter from our client to the three of you that, he says, will more fully explain why he feels that Logan is a worthy candidate for this bequest.
As of this moment, the partnership is in principle only. It will not become fact until we hear from the three of you with your combined acceptance.
Please contact me at your earliest convenience at the number above. I will need to speak with all three of you at once. When you call, ask for me, specifically, and you will be redirected to my office immediately. I assure you, you will not be left waiting for longer than it takes for me to pick up my phone.
I will close by simply saying that I have worked with our client for many years on these bequests. In the past year alone he has assisted forty-seven young people from all parts of this country. Not once in all these years has he been disappointed in the outcome of his generosity.
Trevor Kamper, Esq.
Attorney at Law
There was complete silence in the room for several moments as the importance of the information sank in.
It was Ben, who was sitting beside Logan that broke the stunned reaction of everyone. "Damn! Logan! This is fabulous!" He then hugged his brother.
His outburst had the effect of reanimating Ralph and Margaret.
"Well, Ralph," said Margaret, "How are you feeling about this. Someone is trying to force a partnership on you."
Ralph smiled. "Actually, Margaret, they're not forcing anything, really. I've already told Logan that I wanted him in a partnership. I HAD intended to wait until he'd graduated to allow him some time to build up enough savings to afford a buy in." Margaret frowned a bit. "Look, Margaret, your son and I are perfectly matched, professionally. After his success at the Franks wedding, I'm convinced that I'd be a fool to allow him to venture out on his own. It'd be professional suicide for both of us. If we are in competition, we will have to cut our profit margins to underbid one another. If, however, we work together, we can corner the market. We'll also be able to expand in ways that I've not been able to do because it's too much work for one man."
Ben interrupted at that point. "Mom, wouldn't it be good to read the letter in the envelope? Maybe something in it will help you all decide."
Margaret laughed and pushed the envelope toward Ben. "That's a good idea, son. Would you read it for us? I think we're a bit too stunned by this. I know MY hands are shaking."
"Sure, Mom." The envelope wasn't sealed; the flap was simply folded inside. He carefully opened the enclosed letter and spread it on the table before him.
Dear Margaret, Logan and Ralph,
It is a great pleasure for me to contact you.
I will first apologize for the mystery. But I have learned that a certain anonymity ensures my privacy. To that end, I have instructed my law firm to never disclose my identity. It is up to me to determine who may or may not know it.
My name is Arthur Puckett. Yes, `that' Arthur Puckett. I simply ask that this knowledge remain with the three of you. Please do not release that information to anyone.
So now comes the question: Why Logan?
The simple answer is because of who he is and because of the ones who support him in his life.
Margaret, you are a powerhouse. Your work with numerous charitable organizations over the years is truly extraordinary. I've never encountered anyone who has done so much for so many varied organizations. If you have ever had a failure in your work, I was not able to find any evidence of it. That speaks of a person that leaves nothing to chance. You research, you plan, and then you execute.
Now, many people would be so consumed by the work load you take on so regularly that their families suffer. But not your family. The first thing that is always said about you is that your family will always come first, no matter what. For you, family is first in everything. The evidence of that dedication sits beside you at this moment. Logan would not be half the young man he is without your love and full support.
Logan, you are remarkable in your own right. You are barely sixteen and already you have developed an extraordinary talent. I've seen pictures and videos of the venues you've created for your mother's events. And what you've done since joining Maxwell Creations is simply beyond the English language to properly praise.
If it were only for your professional accomplishments, however, you would not be worthy of consideration for what I'm offering. I'm seeking to help `well rounded' young people, Logan. The worthy candidate recognizes that they are part of a community and that they have an obligation to that community. You are such a one. What you did for Benjamin Grice is a prime example of that. Your actions, though not a part of the public record because of your age, are still known and praised by many.
I have to tell you in all honesty, my boy, that I can categorically say that I'd never have had the courage to undress in such a public venue; and especially, not in the presence of my mother. But you did this without any hesitation because you believed it the only way to resolve an untenable situation involving a friend.
You've received considerable media attention, young man, and yet you haven't allowed it to become all that you are. The question you asked about looking like an English cigarette had me in stitches, and your speech to the girl groupies was priceless.
I believe with all my heart that you are destined to become a formidable member of our society and I want the opportunity to help you become all that you can be.
As for you, Ralph Maxwell, as an openly gay man in today's society you have become a force, not only in your industry, but in your community as well. I congratulate you on all the things you have accomplished with your life. You are a fine example for young Logan.
Now, I know that I have not consulted you previously on this bequest, but I felt that you would receive the possibility positively. You've expressed your desire on more than one occasion, where it could be noted by others, that you wanted to find that perfect professional partner; someone with whom you could share not only your passion, but your success as well. Specifically, it was your comment to Winston Franks that Logan was the greatest discovery of your career that has prompted me to help Logan in this way.
So, the ball is now in your court, as they say. I pray that you will conclude that I mean only good with this gift.
Be well, friends,
"Arthur Puckett?" said Logan breathlessly. "THE Arthur Puckett?" He looked up at Ralph and saw the same stunned reaction on his face. When he looked at his mother, however, she was smiling fit to break her face. "Mom?"
"Oh, my dear, dear, boy. I'm so happy."
"You mean we can do this?" he asked, incredulity clearly written on his face.
"Yes, my marvelous son, we can do this. Ralph has made it pretty clear that he welcomes this. I can't see any logical reason to refuse, quite frankly. There's no reason that it should affect any other part of your life. It simply means that instead of being just an employee, you'll have a vested interest in the success of the salon."
"Logan has never been `just an employee', Margaret. But I agree. This does not have to interfere with the things you HAVE to do right now. Graduation from high school is still your highest priority, my boy."
Logan had never seen Ralph do anything as `gay' as he did at that moment. He `bubbled'.
"This is going to be fantastic!" declared Ralph. "The Maxwell Justice Studios: Purveyors of Floral Excellence!"
Margaret simply let Ralph carry on. Instead, she got up and motioned Logan to come with her to the living room. When they entered it, she turned and pulled her son into a loving, maternal embrace. "I'm very happy about this turn of events, sweetheart. Very happy indeed. You've already made a grand entrance into the industry and the minds of people; I see no reason for you not to take advantage of it. I don't doubt for a moment that you will be worthy of Arthur Puckett's interest."
When they finally called the New York number, they were further surprised that everything was in place for the signing of the necessary documents.
"If one of you will go outside you will find, I believe, that the courier is waiting in his vehicle."
Sure enough, when Logan peeked out the door, the courier was indeed still sitting there. He exited the house and as he did so, the courier stepped out of his vehicle.
"Well, Trevor says that you have all the documents that will require our signature. Why don't you gather them up and come inside."
A half hour later it was a done deal.
"Congratulations, Logan. My client will be overjoyed at your acceptance." It was funny, really, but during the entire process, not one of them had spoken the name Arthur Puckett. He was always `the client'.
"Thank you, Trevor," said Logan. "Please inform your `client' that I am astounded and deeply gratified by his bequest and that I'll do all I can to remain worthy of his trust."
The smile on Trevor's face was clearly audible. "I will certainly tell him, Logan. Good luck to you all."
The courier encouraged them to make copies of all the documents, which Ben was happy to do on his new system.
When the courier had departed, Logan and Ralph returned to the salon. Of course Logan had to leave early for another performance, but when he was done, instead of going directly home, he stopped by the residence, ostensibly to relinquish his earnings, but mostly to see and talk to Oscar.
No one was present in the living room, so Logan walked over to the open office door. There was Oscar, behind his desk working at his computer.
"Arthur Puckett?! Arthur Puckett, Oscar?! My God, Oscar, he makes Bill Gates look like a middle class retail clerk. You couldn't have found someone with just a touch more clout?"
There was immediate laughter, but it wasn't coming from Oscar who simply continued to sit and smile. It was coming from the computer on the desk. "Turn me around, Oscar," said the laughing voice.
The man that stared out of the screen was perhaps middle aged. He was most definitely younger than Oscar. What Logan could see of him looked in good shape. But he was definitely no one that he'd ever seen or met.
"Good evening, Logan," said the man. "I am so pleased that you three accepted my offer today."
The last picture that had ever been made public of Arthur Puckett was when he was ten. No one anywhere had been able to get close enough to get a picture since that time. So Logan's reaction was natural. He stared, open mouthed at the man on the screen. Then he stared some more.
"Logan, you need to come forward and have a seat, I think," said the electronic image.
He moved forward woodenly and then simply sat down...except, there was no chair where he was, so he landed very abruptly and very hard on the tiled floor. That, at least, woke him to his situation and surrounds and his response what not what anyone expected. He rolled over on his side, clutched his sides and laughed...harder than he'd laughed in a long time.
It took a few moments for him to calm down enough so that Oscar could help him get up and get him seated properly into the chair that Oscar pulled over.
"You okay, Logan?" asked Arthur Puckett.
"Yes, Mr. Puckett, I'm fine. You know, most people would claim to have been hit by a board in this situation, but quite frankly, I feel like someone shot a howitzer at me."
Arthur Puckett dissolved in laughter and it took several moments for him to recover. "Logan, you are a treasure," he said finally. "I have to admit that you are the only one of all my benefactors that I've ever had the privilege of speaking to. Most would not have believed they were actually talking with me."
Logan smiled. "Under normal circumstances I'd probably be one of them, sir. But I've learned that Oscar doesn't do anything small, and so I have no reason to doubt that you are the man who has just made it possible for me to realize a dream far sooner than I might have managed on my own."
"You're welcome, Logan. And I'd like it very much if you'd call me Arthur. The misters and sirs begin to grate on my nerves very quickly."
"All right, Arthur."
"Now, I have only one burning question for you. May I tell Bill what you said to Oscar when you entered a moment ago? He'll get a hearty laugh out of it, I assure you."
"As long as you're certain that he'll be amused, yes. But I don't want to wake up one morning and find that my computer has eaten itself."
"No, no, I promise you, Bill Gates has quite the sense of humor. So, Logan, Oscar tells me that besides your professional and humanitarian qualities, you are quite an accomplished performer as well."
He should have known. Of course that was why Oscar knew the man.
"He's very generous to say so, Arthur."
"If I may ask, is that something you plan to continue doing now that your future is more secure?"
"Actually, yes. The money will certainly come in handy when Ralph and I decide to expand the business. Besides, I enjoy it."
"After all that Oscar has told me, I wish I could observe a live performance. It's been quite some time since I've had the pleasure."
That got Logan's immediate attention and the wheels started frantically turning. He leaned forward and grabbed a piece of paper from the desk and a pen and scribbled a query on it that he passed to Oscar.
"That's a shame, Arthur. I'd like nothing better than to have you present. It'd be a unique way of showing my gratitude."
Oscar read the note and then nodded, with a smile.
"Arthur, I have a question for you now. Have you got a secure location somewhere that would be suitable for a performance such as I give?"
This time it was Arthur Puckett that was stunned. At a loss for words, he simply nodded.
"Well then, I offer you that opportunity. You and Oscar can work out the details." He glanced at his watch. "Now, I hate to run off like this, but I really need to be getting home. Dinner will be nearly done and Mom hates it when I'm late."
"No, no, Logan, you go right ahead." He paused as Logan stood up. "Logan," he said softly, "I hope we get an opportunity to talk again."
"I'd like that very much, Arthur. I'd like that very much indeed. Goodbye, Arthur Puckett."
"Goodbye, Logan Justice."
Then Logan looked up at Oscar. "Oscar, you are a shit...and I love you." Then he abruptly left the room and the house.
Oscar turned the computer around to face him. "So, Arthur, that was Logan."
"He seems to be exactly what you claimed. A very self assured young man. I always worry just a bit about these bequests because I can never really talk to the kids I help. I look forward to watching what Logan accomplishes with his."
"He'll make you proud, Arthur, of that I have no doubt what so ever."
Arthur Puckett. He'd actually spoken with the richest man on four continents. And if things went well, he'd probably be one of only a handful of people in the world that could claim to have shaken his hand. God Almighty, what had his life become? His net worth had gone, in two short weeks, from the few bills in his wallet to...well, he had no idea what he might be worth at this point. He needed to find someone that could calculate that information out for him. That thought prompted another startling revelation which he immediately acted upon.
"Call Ralph," he said to the open air.
"Call Ralph," responded the car's computer. It was so much fun having a car that could do everything but make his breakfast for him.
"Hello, Ralph speaking."
"Hey, Ralph, Logan. I was just thinking about how my life's gone from nothing to something financially significant. That led me to a new thought. What do you do most of each day at the salon?"
"I try to keep ahead of the financial stuff. It's getting a bit much lately."
"That's what I thought. Ralph, did you know that Phillip is an accountant for his dad?"
There was silence for several moments as Ralph digested that information. "No...I didn't know that."
"Ralph, we're partners now, officially. WE are the geniuses behind Maxwell Justice Studios. But only one of us is actually putting in real time in the design area. We need BOTH of us out on the floor doing what we do best. I think we need to consider getting someone on board that can handle the administrative end so that you and I can begin working more closely on what brings in the bacon."
There was another moment of silence. "Let's pay Phillip to come in and examine our books and see if we have the means to do that. I know I'd like to get back to doing more than just the big shows."
"Good. You contact Oscar and Phillip. I'm going home for a good home cooked meal."
"Lucky dog. And thanks, Logan, for not being afraid to state what should have been obvious to me."
"You're welcome. Now go out and celebrate our partnership somewhere. I'll see you in the morning."
Logan had to smile as he got out of his car in the driveway, because of the green Chevy that slowed to take in the sight of his car. He hadn't really paid any attention to how people reacted to it and the apparent youth of the driver.
That night, Ben followed Logan into the bathroom for their nightly teeth brushing just as they always did.
"Hey, big brother, could I sleep with you tonight?" he asked shyly.
Logan smiled. "Get's a little old always handling it yourself, doesn't it?"
"Actually, Benny, I'd like that. It's been, what, five days? Let's not go so long next time, ok?"
"I can certainly survive an hour's less sleep every couple of nights."
Their sex that night was simple and accomplished in a timely manner. This was about them sharing their brotherhood and appreciation for one another. They kissed for some time, then exchanged blow jobs. It was a time for Ben to work at taking more of Logan this time. Logan helped with some suggestions, so Ben was soon swallowing nearly three quarters of Logan's length. When the big release came, Ben was able to swallow about half of Logan's offering.
Ben was a little disappointed that he couldn't manage more, but Logan made it quite clear that everything took time and practice and he hadn't been the least disappointed in Ben's efforts. To prove it, Logan gave Ben a new experience to take into his dreams.
Ben was on his back simply enjoying the fact that he wasn't spewing his seed the instant Logan touched him. This was definitely taking much longer then the other night. What shocked him was when Logan was licking Ben's small nuts, he began licking further and further down and actually entered Ben's crack with his tongue.
The instant feeling of warmth and additional connection with Logan caused Ben to pull his legs up and back. This encouraged Logan to go even further and when he brushed his tongue over Ben's ass hole...well, Ben was shocked, mesmerized and thrilled by the new and very intense sensations. His small cock went rock hard instantly as Ben grabbed the sheet and arched his back.
With that much warning, Logan leaned up and swallowed Ben's cock while placing a finger at the boy's private entrance and simply rubbed gently. Ben's orgasm was very rewarding. There was certainly more fluid this time...and did it seem a bit thicker? Well, Logan chose not to explore that thought this time. Perhaps next time he'd have his little brother cum on his stomach so they could look at the result together.
As Logan moved up to lie beside Ben, he grabbed a couple of tissues from the night stand and simply wiped up the last few dribbles from Ben's cock while the boy recovered.
When he could finally breathe again, Ben looked into Logan's eyes. "That was un-be-live-able."
"Pretty cool, eh?"
"You know so much, Logan," he whispered.
"Well, I've been doing this since I was almost thirteen; a little over three years. A fella can learn all sorts of neat things in that amount of time, if he has the right teachers."
"Well, I think my teachers are pretty terrific. Thanks, big brother."
They hugged and then fell asleep.
The morning brought a heart-felt hug and a cheery `have a good day' from Ben as Logan headed out the door. He was just exiting the housing project when the green car from last night pulled in behind him. `Hmm. Must have new neighbors,' he thought as he pulled out into morning traffic.
Ralph and Logan pulled into the salon parking lot at the same time. As he was opening the door of his car, Logan noticed the green car from the housing project pull into the strip mall across from the salon. The occupant parked in the near empty lot so that his car looked directly into the flower shop. Ok, this wasn't right.
He put the key back in the ignition and turned it on to power the electronics.
"Call Oscar," he said as he began moving about as if he were gathering things.
"Call Oscar," the car replied.
"Good morning, Logan," came the cheery greeting from Phillip.
"Phillip, I think I'm being followed. There's a dark green, late eighties Monte Carlo sitting in the strip mall right across from the salon. That car passed the house last night and then followed me to work this morning. I can't talk now or I'll give away that I'm calling. If you need anything more, call Ralph's phone."
Phillip didn't say a word, simply hung up.
He was shaking as he pulled the keys and got out of the car.
Ralph could see that something was wrong as Logan approached him and they began walking to the entrance. "What's the matter?"
"Not here. I'll explain after we get inside and away from the windows."
That put Ralph on full alert. He'd had more than his fair share of harassment over the years and he immediately recognized the strain in Logan's voice. He put an arm across Logan's shoulders. "Relax, Logan. Does anyone know you've got a problem?"
"I just called Phillip."
"Good boy. Very smart. So we'll just go about our business like we always do. I'll get the revolver out of my desk, just in case. Is it that car that pulled in at the strip mall?"
"I think so. It went by the house last night when I pulled in and it was right behind me when I left the project this morning." This was helping to relax him. If Ralph could be so calm and cool about it, so could he. "I didn't really think much of it until he pulled in across the street just now."
"What did Phillip say?"
"Nothing, he just hung up."
"Ah. That's good. Phillip's not taking any chances. You can bet that their security is already on the way, along with Phillip and Oscar. So you and I will just carry on like normal. Just try to relax, Logan, you've got all kinds of support on the way...you can count on that."
"How'd you know?"
"I've been harassed a few times. I recognized your tension, that's all." They reached the doors and Ralph opened up and they slipped inside. "Fortunately the rest of the staff park in back, so no problems there," continued Ralph as he locked the door and they headed to the back office. "How you doing?"
"I'm better now that we're inside. Thanks for the talk."
Ralph went to the desk and pulled open the bottom drawer and removed a revolver. He checked it to be certain it was loaded and then pushed it inside the belt at his back. "Ok, normal routine, Logan. Let's keep him focused on us so that he doesn't suspect you've called help."
It took all Logan's willpower not to constantly look out the front windows as he went about the front refrigerators, checking to see which display pieces would need freshening, watering the ones that seemed dry. The glances he managed in the normal course of moving around the lobby revealed that the occupant was male and there was only the one person visible. But he was definitely staring at the shop, even pulling up a pair of binoculars once in a while to have closer look.
It was only fifteen minutes since he'd made the call, when two black Hum V's raced up and screeched to a halt; one on the sidewalk in front of the car, the other right behind the car, thus preventing the vehicle from moving. All Logan saw from then on was men jumping out of the trucks, weapons drawn and running around to bracket the sides of the car. The windows on the Hum V were too high for him to see what transpired after that, except when the Hum V behind the car backed up slightly and he could see them forcing a struggling, bound man into the rear seat, bracketed by two security guys.
The Monte Carlo backed quickly out of the spot, this time with a black clad driver behind the wheel, and swiftly pulled in behind the departing Hum V. The remaining security truck pulled carefully off the sidewalk and drove across the street and parked next to Logan's car. Just then, Phillip pulled up and parked next to Ralph's car.
The three occupants of the Phillip's car waited for the security man to join them. Only then did they make their way to the salon. Logan walked over and unlocked the door for them, calling, "They're here, Ralph!"
Reed forced his way to the front and was the first to enter. He immediately grabbed Logan in a fierce hug. "You okay?"
"Yeah, sweetie, I'm just fine; only a little shaken, nothing more." He pushed Reed back slightly so they could look at one another. "Shouldn't you be in bed? Your nights are pretty long."
"Yeah, right, like that's going to happen, when I hear you're in trouble." But he smiled. "Should`a known you could handle it."
"Yeah, well, I was pretty scared anyway. Ralph had to calm me down." He then looked up at Phillip. "Thanks, big brother."
Phillip looked pissed, but also relieved. It was Oscar, however, that addressed the situation.
"Ok, Mark, what's the story."
"He's a PI is all we know right now. He was definitely stalking Logan, though. There were pictures on the front seat and a note pad with lots of time-stamped entries." He smiled wickedly. "I think we'll know something shortly, though. Mackie was already setting up this fellow's accommodations when we raced out of there." He looked over at Reed and Logan. "He'll probably be joining your parents at the resort, Reed."
"Mark," said Logan into the silence, "let's keep this quiet for now. Not a word to my mother. But if you guys could make sure there's no one lurking around the house, I'd appreciate it. And remember, she knows what your Hum V's look like, so does Benjamin."
Mark got a surprised look on his face. "We should have thought of that." He pulled out his cell phone and stepped away to make his arrangements.
Logan then turned to Phillip and his dad. "That goes for you two, too. No calls to Mom. I'll tell her what's happened when we KNOW what's going on. She'll worry herself sick if all we have is guesses."
"That's going to piss her off, Logan," said Phillip.
"Maybe. But I'd rather have her pissed for a short time rather than fretting for an entire day or more."
"Ok," said Mark as he folded his cell phone closed. "There's an unmarked car on the way to your place now, Logan. We're also leaving a man here for the day." He turned to Ralph. "You got a corner somewhere that's out of your way?"
"I've got just the place. Out of the traffic pattern in back, but with a full view of the shop."
"Perfect. All right, I'm out of here. Jackson has claimed the right of first watch, so he'll be arriving shortly. You want us to stick around until he gets here?"
Ralph pulled out his gun and displayed it. "No, I think we'll be just fine. Thank all your guys for handling this so quickly, Mark."
He left quickly as Logan addressed the rest of the crowd. "All right, you three, get gone. Ralph and I have a business to run." He then smiled. "By the way, has Ralph told you about the new name?" Heads shook all around. "You have the privilege of standing in the lobby of The Maxwell Justice Studios: Purveyors of Floral Excellence."
"Oh hell, that's right," said Ralph, "I need to call the sign company and get them started on the new sign." He turned to leave, but then thought better of it. "But not until Jackson gets here."
Just then another car pulled into the lot, a perfectly ordinary dark blue Mazda. Out of it stepped Jackson, dressed like any average shopper. The only difference is he carried a small sports bag in with him.
"All right, people," said Logan, as Jackson entered, looking far too serious. "I mean it, get out of here. My champion has arrived, so there's nothing to worry about." That got a smile out of the man.
Jackson turned to Ralph. "Mark says you have a place where I can keep an eye on things without being in the way."
"Right this way, Jackson."
And so their day began.