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The Conquered - Chapter 26: Journeys (part 3)

***** Taylor *****

I wonder if they make it with creamy or chunky? Does it matter? I stared at the sandwich sizzling in the skillet. What about bread? White or wheat? Am I supposed to try and make this healthy? I assumed that Elvis hadn't cared a thing about the nutritional value of his food, so I went with wonder bread, creamy Jif peanut butter, ripe bananas, and real butter spread over the outside. I guessed that it was cooked like a grilled cheese sandwich. It didn't smell bad; weird, but not bad. My attention was yanked from the skillet as the mudroom door opened.

"Hey," Becca called as she came inside, dressed for a winter run. "Why are you in here instead of stretching out for the run?" She sniffed the air. "What is that smell?"

"Andrew mentioned he had a new cheat addiction," I commented as I flipped the sandwich to brown the other side. "Elvis's trademark sandwich."

Becca came over and looked at the grilling mystery. "I remember something about that. Isn't it weird -- like peanut butter and yams?"

"Grilled peanut butter and banana."

"Ewwwww." Becca made a face, and then thought about it. "Well, maybe it wouldn't be too bad. Larry likes to spread peanut butter on bananas. I've never done it myself."

I flipped the sandwich again and verified that both sides were golden brown. Sliding the experiment from the pan to a plate, I shut off the stove. I cut the sandwich corner-to-corner and looked at it dubiously. "It can't be horrible. Andrew doesn't have bad taste when it comes to food."

"Coward," Becca laughed, taking half. "This has enough fat and carbs in it to fuel us for a two hour run."

"That's what I'm worried about." I preferred chunky peanut butter and cheddar myself. Andrew liked sweet snacks, I liked savory. A cheat was a cheat. I took up the other half. "I will try most things once."

We took our bites, chewed, and considered our words carefully. I raised an eyebrow. Becca shrugged.

"Larry would like it," she commented, taking another bite.

"It's pretty good. I don't think it's addictive, but I can see why Andrew would like it." I had no problem finishing my half. I wouldn't want it as a regular thing, but it was more than edible.

"Okay, now that we've fueled up for the next several days, shall we?" Becca gestured toward the door.

"You're a slave driver, Becca."

"No, I'm just trying to get you to move that ass of yours. You've got to keep it firm for when Andrew gets back."

"Who says it's my ass that's going to be worked over," I objected as we stepped out into the crisp morning air. It was too damn cold as far as I was concerned. I moved here to live in temperate weather. All this freezing and snow was anything but temperate.

"Oh, please." Becca started down the driveway at a comfortable pace. "You honestly think I'm going to believe that you're not going to make up for a week of celibacy?"

"And you think that means I'll have my ass in the air, being pounded senseless by an over-muscled ape?" Okay, so I would be. Still, I didn't like the assumption that'd be what we'd do.

"Oh, I'm sure you'll put his hairy ass in its place as well, but yeah, I think you won't even make it to the bed."

"You must think gay men fuck anywhere and anytime." We practically did, but again, I didn't like the assumption.

My cell buzzed on my hip, and I checked the ID. It wasn't a number I knew, so I let it go to voice mail. If it was so urgent that someone needed me at eight in the morning on Saturday, they could leave a message. We jogged for about a half an hour before Becca came up with a new topic.

"So, what are your plans once Andrew gets back?"

"We've been invited to go skiing with Tom and Moira next weekend. We're going to drive up Thursday night and make a long weekend of it."

"Andrew skis?"

"Snowboards, supposedly. My impression from Moira is that he snow wipe-outs mostly."

Becca grinned. "I can't imagine that. Andrew seems like a natural athlete."

"Oh, I think she's just holding onto his first few times of snowboarding with Tom." It was typical Moira to see a person as they were then, not as they were now.

"That sounds like a great get-away. With the hell-a-days, and getting Sean off to school, you two haven't had much time just for you."

I nodded. "Yeah. I'm going to miss Sean, but I'll be happy to have time to be a couple again. Not be big brothers and protectors for a little while." Smiling, I thought about March. "Luckily, we'll just have enough time to miss him before we see Sean again."


I realized Becca hadn't heard the news. Don and Seb weren't in Becca and Larry's close circle of friends. "Don and Seb are getting married on March 12th. A full church wedding, in Don's home town, with the groomsmen and such."

"Wow." Becca smiled. "I guess it went well with Don's folks then."

"Yeah." Don was a lucky man. I tried to ignore the jealous pang I felt about that. "Apparently the news wasn't a surprise to them, and his mother was bound and determined to have her son's relationship acknowledged in some way."

"So you, and Andrew, and Sean will be at the wedding?"

I nodded, making our next turn before I answered. "Andrew is one of Don's groomsmen, along with Jackson and Lee, and I'm one of Seb's, along with his brother Antonio and Sean."

"Don has a sister, right?"

"Yep. I think they're going to end up making Lisa the 'Best Woman', and making Antonio 'Best Man'. The jokes about who will have the bridal shower have been flying fast and furious."

Becca laughed. "That's so wrong. Neither of them would look good in drag."

"I agree."

We got back to the house after an hour and a half of running in crusty snow. I looked at Becca as she stopped by her car and started walking to cool down.

"You want to come in?"

She looked at her watch, and shook her head. "No. I'll get back to my side of town with just enough time to run some errands before I have to get home. Larry lets the boys get away with murder."

"Okay. I'm supposed to be at your place tomorrow at eight, right?"

"Yep. Bright and early for a Sunday morning run." She clicked the automatic lock release. "Have a good day, Taylor."

"Drive safe, Becca."

I walked around a bit to cool down, and watched Becca drive off. I checked my phone. There was a message. I clicked the retrieval button, waited, and dialed in my code. I wasn't ready for what I heard.

"Hey, Hot Stuff. I'm back, and finally settled in. I'd love to get together and catch up. I've missed you..."

I clicked the delete key without listening to any more of the message, scrolled to the number that'd come up earlier, and identified it for the future. Those were calls I definitely wasn't going to take.

***** Lee *****

Saturday, finally. My God. It had been a hell of a week. Though Andrew had cancelled or rescheduled most of his appointments, I realized that one person couldn't cover it all and stay sane. Had we really grown that successful so quickly? At least we had prepared for Sean's departure and Andrew's week off to take him to Florida. Taylor came in a few times during the week and helped keep up the books and filing. It was good to know that the business could survive, temporarily, if one of us needed to leave in a hurry.

I guided Amanda through her workout while juggling my time between Frank and Leon. Not that Frank needed anything more than a place to workout, and we both tried to keep Leon focused.

"Come on, Amanda. You can do another set." The ringing of the phone cut off her response. Again. It was only nine-thirty and we'd had three calls. A hell day to end a hell week, I thought as I grabbed the handset off my belt and clicked the talk button. "Goals & Dreams."

"Hello, lover." Tyrone's smoky, rich voice purred into my ear and traveled down my spine, easing my tension.

I grinned as I sighed, "Tyrone."

Amanda rolled her eyes and forced out another set while leveling the "look of doom" at me. Frank winked at me from the curl stand.

"How are you holding up, Babe?"

I snuck a glance at Leon as he worked on some leg presses. "Is it eight yet?"

His chuckle sent chills along the back of my neck. "That good, huh?"

I laughed lightly. "Not at all. But I'll be glad when Monday comes around."

"Miss your partner that much?"

I sighed. "I miss our receptionist more." I paced around a bit while I searched for some privacy, but didn't find any. "This week has proved how much he really did around here."

Tyrone chuckled again. "The kid was a God send."


Amanda finished her set, and I turned and pointed at the treadmill. Amanda glared at me as she thrust herself off the bench and stalked over to the treadmill. "He's one in a million. I know he'll do excellent in school. He's so organized."

"Maybe you need another receptionist."

I sighed, ignoring Amanda's glare as I set the treadmill another mile-an-hour faster than she had. "I don't think we could swing it just yet. Soon. But not yet."

"How about a temp?"

"Nah. You know me. I'd get attached and couldn't send them away." My bleeding heart, as Tyrone put it, got me into trouble. If he weren't allergic to cats, every stray in the neighborhood would have a home.

"You'd better."

That made me pause. "What are you talking about?" Just then the door chime rang. "Babe? I've gotta run, someone just came in."

"Ignore him."

I scoffed into the phone. "I can't do that."

Tyrone stuck his head around the corner as he closed his cell phone. "Sure you can."

Amanda was running, not speed walking, on her treadmill. Leon was engrossed with the rowing machine. I crossed the room to Tyrone as I clicked off the phone.

"Bull? What are you doing here?"

He reached out and cupped my cheek. "I came to help."

I looked at him as my heart thumped hard in my chest. I loved this man so much. "But you have that project you had to work on this weekend."

Tyrone held up his briefcase. "I can work on it at the desk and answer the phones for you."

I didn't care that we had clients. I had to do it. I brushed my lips against his. "Thank you."

He grinned and ran his thumb over my bottom lip. "Promise me another one, and I'll even fetch your coffee and food, Boss Man."

"I promise."

He grinned and pushed me gently back into the gym. "Go work."

After Amanda, Frank, and Leon were done, the next tide of clients came in. This was a pared down day? Ten new clients joined in the last week. New Year's Resolutions were already driving people, for a month or two, into the gym. I needed Andrew back so that we could keep a few of those clients longer than the usual two months those resolutions lasted.

Tyrone scribbled on a note pad and answered the phone while I worked with another new client. He dealt with a client who popped in to drop off a check without even having to ask where the receipt book was. When the tide flowed out again, I walked over to a frowning Tyrone. He mumbled to himself as he skimmed through the filing cabinet.

"Problem, Bull?"

He shook his head. "I knew I should have offered Sean a scholarship and internship at the office."

"What do you mean?"

He walked back, sat down, and leaned back in his chair. "Every file is in place. Everything is laid out perfectly."

I shrugged as I sat on the edge of the reception desk. "He did his dad's business's books and filing for years."

"He'd have made a killing in business."

I laughed. "It wasn't his calling. He was good, but it wasn't what he wanted."

Tyrone shook his head. "Damn shame, too." He pointed at the sandwich on the desk. "Eat."

I managed to get half the sandwich down before the next client tide flowed in. As slammed as I was, the day went smoothly. I found myself wandering to the desk, touching Tyrone, or just smiling at him, frequently.

As the client tide shifted, I looked at the clock on the wall behind Tyrone. "Five o'clock. Only a few more hours." I looked down at the pile of paperwork on the desk. "How bad is this going to set you behind?"

He smiled at me. "Not at all."

I leaned against the desk, crossing my arms. "No bullshit now."

He placed his hand on my thigh. Just that light touch made me think of comfort and warmth with a healthy dose of sex thrown in. "None. I promise."


When the door chimed again, I stood and leaned down to whisper in Tyrone's ear. "Andrew has been missed, but I wouldn't trade today for anything." I brushed my lips against his temple as I stood and faced the next client. Andrew. You'd better be back on Monday, and not moping. I'm gonna miss the kid too.

***** Sean *****

I watched Andrew go back to the den to change into his running clothes while I rinsed the dishes from breakfast. As I dried off my hands, I noticed Grandma watching me. "What?"

"Are you alright, Sean?"

"Sure," I lied as I dropped the paper towel in the trashcan.

Grandma shrugged, taking a sip of her coffee. "It has been my experience that when a person snubs his friends, something is bothering him."

I frowned. "Andrew didn't snub me. He's going for a run."

"Who said anything about Andrew? You've been acting like you want him to leave since last night."

"I have not."

"Okay," she picked up her coffee. "I simply mentioned it because I think you're hurting Andrew. After all he's done for you, that is a very selfish way to behave." Grandma took her coffee to the sunroom and turned on the TV.

I stood in the kitchen feeling guilty, stupid, childish, and still hurting. I wandered out onto the porch and sat down on the front step. What was I doing? The last thing I wanted to do was hurt one of my friends.

Andrew came out in his running shorts, shoes, and carrying his shirt. Our eyes met, and I felt worse. He stepped around me and got down to the driveway before I managed to get my head out of my ass.


He stopped, looking back at me as he finished pulling on his shirt. "Yeah?"

"Want some company?"

He smiled. "I'd love it."

"Let me change my shoes." I jogged back into the house, swapped shoes as fast as I could, and got back out in under a minute.

Andrew set a nice pace, perfect for talking, but I didn't know what to say. We didn't talk until we got to the park at the end of the development. Andrew stopped at a bench and started stretching his out his legs. After a minute, I sank down to the sidewalk and did some martial arts stretches. A week in the car had left me tight and a little stiff.

"I think you impressed the girls," Andrew commented as I pushed up from a low split.

I looked over my shoulder and saw a couple girls, my age, slowly walking their bikes passed us on the other side of the street. They smiled and looked away, talking to each other, when I looked at them.

"They're cute, I guess." They could have been fifteen to twenty years old. I couldn't tell. Girls were harder to peg. Of course, I didn't care, but I'd have been confused if I'd been into girls.

Andrew ruffled my hair. "Not those girls," he nodded beyond the close girls to two guys, maybe in their late twenties or early thirties, walking a Greyhound and a Shih Tzu.

The guys slowed their walk and looked at us more intensely before smiling and continuing on. I looked back at Andrew. He'd just finished taking off his shirt. No wonder the guys had stared. Andrew had preened for them.

"That should make their morning," he chuckled. "They can fantasize about the boy doing full splits in the park, and his big beefy brother."

"No they won't." I blushed. They wouldn't be fantasizing about me, but anyone would fantasize about him.

Andrew laughed. "Yeah they will. You didn't see their reactions when you did the splits."

Just as quick as the happy, flushed feeling came, it went again. They wouldn't get another morning view of my big, beefy brother and me. This was the last time I'd be out with Andrew. I looked at his shoes. "I'm sorry I've been acting like a brat."

Andrew lifted my chin. "Let's not think about tomorrow, okay? We've got a whole day to hang out. Why don't we check out the school campus, and look around the area. Maybe we can talk your grandmother into giving us a tour. She's been here over forty years. That's before Disney. She's probably got a lot of stories about the place."

"Okay." I didn't care what we did. As long as I could ignore the fact that Andrew was leaving tomorrow, I'd be fine.

We finished our run, showered, and spent the rest of the day learning about Orlando, present and past. The present and the past were fine. I wasn't ready to think about the future.

***** Andrew *****

I had only flown a couple of times in my life. Not that flying scared me, but I wasn't enjoying this flight. Once the plane leveled out somewhere over Georgia the turbulence hit, bad. I shifted in my seat, trying to get comfortable. As tall as I am, as I sat by the window, the plane curved inwards before I did. My shoulders are so broad; I had to sit with my arms crossed over my chest. And the woman sitting next to me would not stop prattling on.

"My husband and I usually fly together to his mother's. But we couldn't get on the same flight."

Two hours to go until we would land at Dulles airport. Of course, I spent my time waiting for the miniature woman in front of me to lower her seat back in order to crush my knees.

"Did you see the Christmas parade on TV this year?"

My heart was breaking. I had left my baby brother behind, tearfully waving to me as I passed through security. Sean. I had to swallow the lump in my throat as I continued to nod stupidly to the woman next to me.

"Have you read this book? Dyanetics changed my life."

Never once in my life, had someone I loved left. Not that Sean was permanently gone, but... I was dying. A hole gaped in my chest that oozed pain. More than once I'd had to blink back tears.

"A personal trainer? How wonderful. How do you feel about Atkin's?"

Somehow, I knew I'd made a mistake. When searching for the plane ticket home, I'd clicked on the cheapest fare available. Now I regretted saving forty bucks. After Dulles, I had a stop in Chicago to look forward to. And wasn't I thrilled when I was handed my little plastic cup of water and some pretzels. At least it shut the woman next to me up for a few seconds. Then the woman in front of me decided to take advantage of the next hour to rest and back her seat went into my knees. I hated flying.

"So where do you live?"

I rolled my eyes before telling her. If this flight had taken any longer I'd have been a candidate for a mental institution. Hell, it was cloudy out; I couldn't even look out the window and see the countryside below me. I should have taken an aisle seat; at least I could have stretched out a leg. I missed Taylor. I needed Taylor. I wanted to wrap my arms around him and have him hold me until my heart pains went away.

Finally, we landed in Virginia. I had never been so glad to be somewhere in my life. The landing, on a scale of one to ten, was about a four. Meaning we only bounced four times before actually setting down. The lady next to me, I think her name was Maria, but I wouldn't bet on it, got up immediately and started gathering her things. I had an hour to get to my connecting flight. I wasn't in a hurry.

"Have a safe journey home."

I rolled my eyes then stood and walked off the plane. I stared at the reader board, looking for my connecting flight and found out I would be hiking a fair distance. I set off towards the gate. Once there, I noticed a large line at the podium. The little hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. This didn't look good.

When I got to the front of the line, the harried gate worker looked at me. I handed her my boarding passes and she tapped away on her keyboard. She looked up at me, fear in her eyes. "Mr. Jackson? We've overbooked this flight. Is there any way we can ask you to take a later flight?"

I sighed deeply. What did a few more hours matter? "No problem."

Just as the gate worker began rerouting my baggage, and me, a very pushy man elbowed me and stood at the counter. "This flight isn't overbooked is it? I have to get to Chicago today!"

The woman looked at him and I could see her guard rising. "Sir. You'll have to wait your turn in line."

"Just answer the question."

"As soon as I'm finished with this gentleman, I'lló"

He tossed his carry-on bag to the ground. "Just tell me."

I'd had enough. I grabbed the man by the arm and spun him around and used my height to step into him. It forced him to look up. "Listen. She's busy. The airport is packed. Give the lady a break."

"Who the hell do you think--"

I stood closer to him and lowered my voice. All the hurt and sorrow turned to anger. "I think you are very rude. Now I suggest you wait your turn."

I pushed him away, and he grabbed his bag and stomped to the end of the line. I turned back to the woman behind the counter. She grinned at me.

"Sorry about that." I read her nametag. "Jessica."

"Thank you, sir." She looked down at her monitor and made a few keystrokes. "We have a direct flight home that leaves here in two hours. It will get you home only an hour later than your original arrival time."

I shrugged. "Do what you have to do."

She smiled at me. "Now you won't have to go to Chicago." She started working on her keyboard again and talked to herself while she did so. "Flight is only half full." She looked up at me again, but all the anger had left me. Damn, I was going to miss Sean. "Are you alright, Mr. Jackson?"

I grinned at her but had to fight back tears and clear my throat before I could talk. "I'm going home after dropping my baby brother off at college." I ducked my head a bit sheepishly. "I'm going to miss him."

Her smile was pure sympathy as she typed on her keyboard again. True, Sean wasn't my brother by blood. But it didn't mean he wasn't. It felt good saying it too. He was a part of my family and I'd miss him terribly.

When Jessica cleared her throat she handed me a new boarding pass. "Mr. Jackson, thank you again." I took the envelope but her hand on mine stopped me. "Company policy for when you are bumped from a flight means you are entitled to two round trip tickets anywhere in the Continental United States. They are good for two years. The vouchers are with your boarding pass."

I grinned. Perhaps flying wasn't so bad. "Thank you."

She smiled at me again. "Your flight leaves out of gate fifteen. Boarding will begin in a little over an hour." I nodded and grabbed my duffel bag. "One more thing, across from that gate is our premier club office; stop in there, the gold seal on your boarding pass will get you in. Have a drink. You can use your cell phone inside if you wish."

I nodded my thanks and walked down the terminal. Once I saw my gate, I looked across the way and indeed there was the premier club. I entered, showed them my boarding pass and was escorted to a nice, comfortable chair in the corner. I was given a glass of orange juice and I leaned back and took out my cell phone. I still wasn't used to the thing. Taylor and I had gotten them with a third phone for Sean so he could call us anytime without worrying. I dialed the number I had memorized by heart and waited for the voice on the other end.


"Hey babe. How are you doing?"

I could feel Taylor's smile through the phone. "Better now that you called."

My eyes clouded and my throat tightened. "I've missed you, Baby."

"How are you holding up?"

I sighed and felt my lower lip quiver. "Not too good. I miss him so much."

I heard a sniff through the phones. "I know. I miss him too."

The line was open, but neither of us spoke. We commiserated together in silence. After a few moments, I couldn't let the silence continue. "I got bumped from my flight, but I'll be in only an hour later." I grabbed my boarding pass. "Flight 87, from Dulles."

Taylor's soft chuckle warmed me in places I had thought too cold to melt. "I'll be waiting for you at baggage claim."

I couldn't stop myself; I felt a tear trail down my cheek. "I love you, Taylor."

"I love you too, Andrew."

I sniffed back the few remaining tears. "I'm going to kiss you so damn hard when I see you. I don't care who sees."

I waited for Taylor to protest or hesitate. He still wasn't completely comfortable with public displays. But he only chuckled. "Try to stop me."

I laughed. "I've missed you."

"I've missed you too. The bed is too big when you're not there to share it."

I chuckled. "This is the first time we've been apart. I don't like it."

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

I scoffed into the phone. "Bullshit. If it grows any fonder, it will explode."

Taylor's soft chuckled filled my ears. "You always say the most romantic things."

I felt my face heat with a blush. "It's true."

"I know. I feel the same."

I heard a click and Taylor told me to wait. I sat in the chair and sipped at my orange juice, listening to the many pages over the PA system in the lounge. My flight hadn't been called yet. I heard the phone click and Taylor's voice came back on. "Sorry. Grace just called. Congratulations, Uncle Andrew. You have a brand new nephew. Eight pounds, six ounces."

I chuckled. "Imagine that. Have they named him?"

"Ian Michael Robertson."

I laughed as Taylor continued to talk.

"Grace said he has a full head of dark brown hair and is the cutest baby, besides you and Moira, she's ever seen."

"I'll have to call her later."

Taylor laughed. "Don't bother. She said she'd call in the morning. She didn't expect us, and I quote, to be up to answering the phone anytime soon."

"She's right." I heard Taylor suck in his breath over the phone. "It's true, Bacon. I'm not letting you out of bed at all tonight."

For Christmas, Taylor had given me a few pairs of very soft, probably very expensive, silk bikini style underwear. I had taken a pair with me, and wore them for the flight home. I felt overly confined. But I did catch sight of myself in the mirror. It caused my jeans to bulge quite impressively. With the holidays, saying good-bye to Sean, and the defilement of our house, I hadn't had the opportunity to model them for Taylor.

Taylor chuckled a bit breathlessly. "I'll make you keep that promise."


I heard the announcement for my flight over the address system. "They're calling my flight. I love you, Bacon."

"I love you too, Gorilla."

I hung up and walked out of the lounge and to the gate. I looked down at my boarding pass as I got my ID out to show the gate worker. I was shocked when I saw that Jessica had bumped me up to first class. When I was aboard the plane, sitting in a leather chair with a glass of ginger ale, I stared out the window as they backed the plane up and grinned. No, flying wasn't too terrible after all.

***** Taylor *****

Airports, post nine-eleven, sucked. There had been something important about being able to wait at the gate for someone. Sitting in the arrival area, watching planes come in, hoping "that one" was the one. Then trying to stand close enough to the exit ramp so that the person you're waiting for can see you, but far enough back not to look as anxious as you felt. All that joy and anticipation was gone from the airport experience. Now you milled around with hundreds of other people in the main terminal. You waited, getting more anxious as each crowd of strangers entered the terminal from the gates, hoping that this group was your group.

I spotted Andrew, finally. An hour at the airport and two Starbuck's Venti latte's later, the wait was over. Well, almost over. I wasn't about to throw myself into his arms and try to kiss away a week's worth of missing him right there in the terminal. Gay or straight, that was inappropriate behavior. I watched as other couples gave short, promise filled kisses, hugs and held hands. That was appropriate. I'd live with appropriate.

"Andrew!" Once he was past the ropes, I wove my way through the crowd to get to him.

"Taylor." He leaned in, wanting that first kiss as badly as I did. Maybe our kiss lasted a bit longer than proper, but at least he didn't grab me by the ass and haul me up against him. He pulled back and smiled. He wanted another kiss. I wanted another kiss. We were just going to have to wait.

I stepped back. "Welcome home."

We got his bags and made it out to the car without succumbing to the desire to kiss again. The bags got into the back of the SUV, but the door didn't get closed. Andrew got the last bag in and turned, grabbed me, and we sucked face. I wanted to get him home and naked. I also wanted some cool down time. The sex was only part of it. I hadn't been able to touch him, or smile, or flirt, or just enjoy being loved in a full week.

"Are you desperate to get home?"

Andrew blinked at me as he set me down. "I'm desperate for you."

Slow it down, Taylor. Anticipation always makes it better. I smiled. "We have to pass by 'Dealer's Row' on the way back to the house. It's only three. We could get a jump start on replacing the truck."

Andrew hated shopping. He'd hate having only one vehicle worse. I wasn't sure what he'd agree to.

"I've been in a truck for a week. I'm not sure I want to sit in any more trucks for a while."

I chuckled and got the door closed. "But the memory of the good, the bad and the ugly is fresh. It will give you a good feel for what you like and don't like."

We got into the SUV. I started the engine, and got us safely out of the airport.

"What about next weekend," Andrew hedged.

"Sure. I'll call Moira and cancel."

Andrew smacked his forehead. "Oh shit. That's next weekend?"

"Yep. And I can tell you that Lee won't take too kindly to you taking time this week to hunt for vehicles." I grinned. "I reminded him that he'd be without you again Thursday and Friday coming up, and I think he started swearing in Korean. I'm not sure, but what ever he was saying, it wasn't pleasant."

"I should check with Lee about tomorrow."

"You have a seven a.m. client, an eight thirty client, a client at ten, at eleven-thirty, and then you get a one hour break from one to two p.m.; after that you stay booked for the rest of the day. Your last client is at eight. No dinner break. I thought I'd sneak in about six and smuggle you a file hidden in a burrito so you could try to escape before midnight."

Andrew groaned. "When the hell did my schedule get so full?"

I laughed. "Don't all gyms get busy right after the new year?"

"I didn't even think about that. I was so worried about Sean, and the move, that I forgot what business would be like." He sat back and shook his head. "Poor Lee. This week must have been hell."

I smiled. "He survived it. I came in as often as I could to help with the filing, banking and phones. As of Friday, you guys had ten new clients."

"Shit. How the hell are we going to man the phones if we're this slammed?"

"Call a temp agency. There is always a glut of workers in need of positions right after the holidays. All the temporary retail positions are gone." I suddenly remembered the gift Tyrone had gotten for the guys. "Oh. Grab the planner from the back seat."

Andrew reached behind me and picked up the planner. "What happened to your desk size leather daytimer?"

"Nothing." I grinned. "Look at the front."

Andrew looked at the cover and just blinked for a few moments before he traced the "Goals & Dreams" logo. "When did you get this?"

"I didn't. Tyrone has been balancing the books and says you guys are way ahead of the curve. He thought you and Lee would need help keeping organized."

Andrew opened the planner, finding it didn't have all the calendar pages that mine had. His was more modern. "A palm?"

"Tyrone's company is upgrading, so he snagged two obsolete palms and a desktop for the shop. Not that I'd call any of the stuff 'obsolete'. It's only two years old. The palms will sync up with the desktop, and we set up a yahoo calendar for each of you so that the office computer can load up to the internet and you can sync from home." I'd worked my ass off last week trying to get it all working and all of the schedules into the computer. "Your entire schedule, and contact list for your clients, is in the palm."

"I don't have a contact list." He tapped the screen with the stylus and navigated for a moment. "Oh. I guess I do."

"Between you and Lee there were less than two hundred contacts, Andrew." Yeah, I'd keyed them all in myself. "No biggie." I looked at the exits. "So, home or Dealer's Row?"

"You're not anxious to get home, are you?"

I shrugged. "I'd rather spend time with my man, get something accomplished, maybe lull him into a false sense of security over an early dinner someplace, and then drag him home and have my way with him."

Andrew smiled. "I can live with that." He looked back at the Palm. "You busted ass to get this done before I got back."

"I had to have something to do to keep my mind off of missing you." It was a little white lie, but he didn't need to know I'd been prepping for this for over a month with Tyrone. Yahoo's online address books and calendars could be accessed anywhere. I had missed him, regardless of whether I'd spent the week in data entry madness or not.

"Don't miss the turn."

I pulled off the highway and eyed the endless sea of dealership signs before us. "I assume we're only looking for Ford, Dodge or Chevy?"

"American made, big and tough." Andrew grinned. "Like me."

I laughed. "That limits our choices."

Andrew frowned. "How so?"

"A truck like you wouldn't be anything less than an F350, king cab."

Andrew smiled. "You're just trying to rev my engine."

"I'd rather grease the gears."

He pointed. "Why don't we try Ford first."


Andrew may have hated shopping, but he loved trucks. I'd have preferred a more economical vehicle. A Subaru Outback would have been nice. Andrew didn't like sitting 'down' into cars. He liked climbing up. Sometimes I wondered if he had a redneck gene tucked away someplace.

"Who the hell needs all that crap in a truck," Andrew asked as we finished looking at the Dodge trucks. "Onstar? Drop down DVD's? Eight speaker surround sound? I'm not going to be watching Star Wars in the truck."

I chuckled. "Didn't you know that you're shopping for a status symbol? Trucks aren't for hauling loads any more." I patted his arm. "As for the Onstar, I have to say that's a feature I like."

Andrew frowned as we got in. "Why?"

I smiled. "I'd never have found your address that first time without it."

"Really?" I loved how his voice softened to a deep, soothing purr whenever he thought about the fact I'd been so stuck on him I'd driven across two counties to make sure he was okay.

"Yeah. They practically guided me to your front door."

Andrew nodded. "Okay, Onstar is a good thing."

"Okay, that's one point for GMC," I tallied as we pulled out of the dealer's lot.

"Chevy next."

We had more paperwork on big, beautiful, powerful trucks than I knew what to do with. We took a booth at Outback and set the stack of brochures and such down and just sighed. I hadn't intended to spend four hours looking at vehicles. It'd been fun though. Andrew really liked leather seats. That had me thinking about him with other kinds of leather.

I was yanked out of that hot little day dream by my cell. I snapped the little interruption off my belt, eyed the number, and shut the annoyance off.

Andrew eyed me over his menu. "Why'd you shut it off?"

I shrugged, dismissing the question. "I don't want to be disturbed while I'm with my man."

Andrew didn't look convinced, but he let the subject drop as the server got to our table. The phone was all but forgotten by the time our blooming onion arrived. We were nose deep in vehicle choices, comparing options, and the ever important dilemma of colors. You didn't need to be a gay man to get into the look of your vehicle. Stupid or not, this truck had to be "Signature Andrew."

Steak, potatoes, a sexy man, and truck literature; what more could a man ask for? We got back to the house by nine, and I had no intention of letting Andrew rest up for his early day. I'd had just enough red meat at dinner to be ready for some prime beef for dessert. Once Andrew dropped his bags at the bottom of the bed, I pressed up against him and wrapped my arms around to find that special hot spot. I tugged on his piercing through his shirt.

Andrew moaned. "Fuck that feels good."

I nuzzled his shirt between his shoulder blades as I started unbuttoning it from behind. I slid my hand in, raking my fingers through his chest hair, and found his nipple. I rolled it between my thumb and forefinger as my other hand continued unbuttoning on its trek to his jeans. "I want you to just stand there and let me strip you."

Andrew moaned as my fingers trailed down his torso and I unbuckled his belt. The shirt came off, and I kissed his back as I got his pants undone. I stopped as my hands hit something other than boxers inside his jeans. I looked down. He had on the silk bikini. I traced around his hips as the jeans slid down to his knees. His meaty ass felt so good being hugged by silk. I slipped my hands back around, sliding my fingers over the obscenely over stretched fabric at the front of his hips.

"You are so hot, Andrew." I stepped around, getting a good look at how his monster was stretching the poor bikini. I it was so tempting to rip the thing off him, but at the same time it was incredible to see just how blessed my man was. Total nudity wasn't always the most erotic thing. Having Andrew, only partially covered by soft, straining silk was irresistible.

I pressed Andrew back on the bed, his pouch looked even larger and more painfully stretched as I pulled back and yanked off his jeans and shoes. He lay there, watching me with lust filled eyes, with his hands behind his head and a sexy grin on his lips. I stood up, kicked off my shoes, and stripped down to the silk boxers he'd given me. It was ironic that we both bought silk, but he'd given me his usual style briefs and I'd given him mine. I crawled back up him, rubbing that silk covered cock along the way, and chewed on his lips.

Andrew brought his hands up and stroked my back as we kissed. "I've missed you, Bacon."

I rubbed myself back against him, causing him to grunt from the additional stress on his confined cock. "I've missed you too."

The head of his monster slid free of his bikini and caught in the leg of my boxers while Andrew kneaded my ass. His beast was leaving a slimy trail up the inside of my thigh as it slipped up the leg of my briefs to brush my perineum.

"We should get these things off," Andrew panted, pulling my boxers so that they wedged up into my crack.

I groaned. "I have a better idea." I grabbed my boxers from behind, pulled them out of my crack, and sat back... He slid, dribbling and hot, between my cheeks. We both moaned."

Two, three, four strokes later, my hole caught his hot, throbbing head. I tilted my hips and pressed down. The first breach, especially after a week of nothing, was a shock. I gasped, freezing for a moment, before swiveling my hips to get him moving again. It only hurt for a moment. Had I really been fucked by this man, at least once a week, since September? I was an addict. My ass missed him.

"Fuck, Taylor... you're so tight" Andrew thrust up, working his way into me as I slid further and further down. "So damn tight."

I leaned in, gasping, as the burning in my bowels turned to a warm glow that melted my tension. "You've got to keep me on a regular workout schedule, Mr. Trainer."

He began working me harder. Andrew normally lasted a good long time before blowing, but he must have held off for the last few days. It wasn't five minutes before he slammed up into me and bellowed out my name. I loved the fact he kept going after a blow, grimacing and whimpering through the super sensitive period, and fucked me without a break.

"God. Andrew... you feel so good." I pressed my cheek against his chest, closed my eyes, and let him plow me through my own chest clawing, name crying, release against his belly.

As we lay there, panting, still wearing our now very soiled silks, Andrew stroked my back.

"I plan to keep you on a cross training schedule, Bacon. That was only the first exercise in the routine."

"Good... I've got a muscle that hasn't been worked out nearly enough lately."

Andrew chuckled, pulling me up and almost off his still hard muscle, and kissed me. "We can't have that."

We didn't get to sleep until after two in the morning.