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Climbing the Corporate Ladder
Chapter Seven: Puzzle Pieces of the Soul
"I'm sorry to keep calling. I didn't know you were on vacation".
"No, it's a work trip, and don't apologize. You can always call". Will covered his phone with his hand and whispered to Brian "I'm sorry it's one of my really good friends from home and he's a mess".
"No problem", Brian replied without looking up from the emails he was checking on his mobile.
It was 8pm, and Brian and Will had landed at a corporate airport in the outskirts of Hong Kong avoiding all the commercial and tourist hell of Hong Kong International. Will had been on an airplane a few times, though he had never left the country. He was so eager to see the inside of a real private jet he could barely sleep the night before. A town car had driven him to Teeterboro airport in Jersey where Brian keeps his Bombardier Global 5000, and Will walked around the interior of the plane three times before they began to taxi. Everything was cream colored leather, soft, muted tones and soothing. The bathroom had a shower! On a plane! In the back Brian had a private bedroom with a queen sized bed. Will wondered if he had joined the mile high club... The aircraft was loaded with ridiculously comfortable accommodations. It was the perk of owning your own jet. That, and putting your initials on the tail.
"I've got a room, but all the chairs turn into beds in the main cabin, and that's were you'll sleep", Brian had said in the hangar.
"So no mid-pacific hook-up?" Will joked. Brian smiled discreetly.
"Sorry. But when we get to Hong Kong maybe we can arrange something".
Brian's pilots invited Will to sit in the cockpit during take-off, and Will could feel the intensity of the climb as the jet soared to 45,000 feet in under 15 minutes, the fastest in the industry. That's why Brian upgraded to this plane last year, and because it could go the furthest distance without refueling (non-stop New York to Hong Kong). And... because it was better than Jeff Greene's G-6.
In the limo en route to the hotel, Will checked his messages. He had four voicemails from Trevor, each more progressively sad.
"I came home early. I told Trisha I was going bowling but I changed my mind and so I went home early and I found her there with Rick Thompson. I saw his truck outside and thought maybe he was looking for me. But they were together".
"Oh, shit Trevor. I am really sorry".
"Yeah I whooped his ass pretty good. I think he broke his nose".
"I just can't believe she'd do that to me". Trevor's voice started to shake. "I just can't".
"Oh, man, Trevor, I'm so sorry". They sat in telephone silence for a few seconds, Trevor trying to stifle his tears, trying to "man up" as they are taught in rural parts, and Will just waited patiently with him, not speaking, just letting him know he was there, 9,000 miles away, but very, very close. "Come to New York for a few days and clear your head. Get out of town. It will do you good".
"Man, I'd love to but I can't afford that".
"Come on, my treat".
"No, Will. I'm not taking your charity".
"Don't be a dick. Look I get back on Saturday so I'll get you a flight from Des Moines and meet you in New York. You come and stay as long as you need".
"What about the farm?"
"It's Trisha's family farm. Tell her family to deal with it. Just come and leave it all behind you for a while till you figure out what you want to do".
"Thanks, man. I'd really appreciate that".
"Of course. I'll get a ticket and email you the details and I'll see you on Saturday. And if you need me call anytime. OK?"
Trevor's voice got shaky again. "Thanks Will", he was able to sputter before hanging up quickly. Will canceled the call, imaging Trevor alone in that farm house, fields and animals in need of tending, and his heart so broken he can't possibly move. Hard, too, because he knew he personally had to be on his "A game" with this copper initiative, so he must put this out of his head and not get distracted. But friendship is always distracting, and listening to Trevor's sadness, Will had forgotten he was in a limo and in Hong Kong. His heart was in Iowa with Trevor. They very much loved each other, product of a lifelong friendship and years of fun adventures. And when someone you love is in pain, you cry too.
He gave himself a few seconds before addressing Brian who had been motionless and quiet during the entire phone call. "Sorry about that".
Brian lowered his reading glasses. "Sounds like your friend needs you".
"He caught his wife with another man".
"Yeah, once we get back from this trip I'll have him fly out and spend a few days with me to clear his head and figure things out".
Brian returned to his phone, poking at its buttons, giving the impression he didn't care much about the situation. Why should he, really? He doesn't know the people involved. He had done nothing wrong. Still, Will wanted to share it with him, maybe explain why Trevor was special, share a part of his personal life with Brian in a meaningful way. He was a little disappointed Brian dismissed the opportunity to be intimate on a different level. Will turned and looked out the window, a little hurt by Brian's indifference, feeling great pain for Trevor, staring at the unfamiliar Hong Kong streets passing by.
"Will, I'm looking at this map" Brian started. "I'm looking at this map and if we refuel in Tokyo, we can go non-stop to Des Moines and pick your friend up on the return trip. We have to fly over Iowa anyway, and can make a quick stop. Should we do that?"
Will turned to look at him, his expression blank, even his squinty, crazy eyes looked glazed. He couldn't believe the offer. He had totally misjudged Brian.
"You'd do that?"
"Your poor friend, Will. Of course, it's duty to take care of the ones we love".
"Brian... I... I don't know what to say. Yes, of course. Thank you, Brian. Really. Thank you".
Brian smiled shyly, and nodded. "I'll call the pilots tomorrow". He paused. "Besides I'm an expert in heartbreak, so I feel for him". Will reached out discreetly and put his hand on top of Brian's hand, rubbing it gently. Brian turned his hand over, accepting and embracing it. Will had a lump in his throat. He wondered about Brian's heartbreak, but determined now was not the time to ask. For the remainder of the ride they held hands discreetly on the bench between them.
They arrived at the Four Seasons, and a hotel manager was waiting for them when the limo pulled up. Without asking for an introduction, the manager, a slim Asian woman who spoke in a British accent, greeted Brian. Funny how when you are rich, everyone knows who you are.
"Good evening to you, Mr. Atwater. And welcome back to the Four Seasons. I hope you had a pleasant trip. May I show you and your guest your rooms?" Will took his briefcase, and following Brian's example, didn't inquire about luggage. Being rich is great, he thought. People take things for you and put them where they belong.
Brian's assistant had reserved them the Victoria Suite, a two bedroom paradise on the 58th floor with commanding views of the Hong Kong skyline and harbor in the distance. They entered through double doors into a living room and dining room sumptuously decorated in turn of the century pieces with distinctly Asian flare. The room was large enough to entertain 50 guests and included a full bar and grand piano. Brian's room was off the dining room to the left, and Will's room was off the living room to the right. Before they even entered their rooms, a team of bell hops had run in behind them putting luggage in the right room (`how do they know whose luggage is whose?' Will wondered) and unpacking it, hanging suits and shirts in the closet and refolding personals neatly. Brian chatted pleasantly with the manager and handed the lead bell hop a small wad of bills as they exited "for you and your team".
Once the staff exited Will dead bolted the door. Private cars, limos, private jets, luxury suites, and Brian still could divert his riches towards a brokenhearted young man in Iowa. Will was on fire for him, feeling a level of attraction yet unknown. He started to undress looking deep into his eyes. Brian watched him silently remove his jacket and tie, placing it neatly over a chair. He stepped out of his shoes and peeled off his socks. Brian swallowed hard, wondering when he would stop, hoping he wouldn't. He felt the onset of his erection when Will took off his pants and boxers. Will stood completely naked, erect, painfully erect, tight body and vivid tattoo in front of floor to ceiling windows with millions of Hong Kong eyes possibly watching. He staring at Brian longingly, turned and walked to his bedroom, knowing he would follow. He picked up lube from his overnight bag and put it under a pillow and got into bed. Brian followed, seconds later, himself completely naked and erect. He got into bed silently, Will, lying on his back, pulled him on top of himself.
Will gently stroked Brian's hair and face, letting his hands rub the back of his head and lightly scratch the scruff of his neck, opening his mouth wide to let as much of Brian in as possible. Their tongues massaged one another, touched, bounced, tangled and swayed, and Brian began to shift his weight assertively grinding down against Will's naked body. As Will ran his nails down along Brian's spine, he pulled his own legs up, bending his knees, allowing Brian's pelvis to rest comfortably, naturally against his exposed crotch. Brian grabbed him by the legs, squeezing his taught thighs, holding them firmly for balance as his groin came increasingly closer to its target.
They still had not spoken.
Will reached under the pillow and handed Brian the lube. They looked in each other's eyes, a whole conversation about safety and trust and intimacy and readiness took place in their glances, and Brian confidently squirted a few drops of lube onto his cock which Will massaged in, then guided to his hole, letting the tip rest at the opening. He grabbed Brian from behind, holding his ass, and slowly pulled him closer, his weight sandwiching Will in half. The head of his stiffness poked through the first muscle, and Will groaned in pleasure, pulling Brian in closer. Brian had closed his eyes in this most intimate moment, flesh on flesh, man on man, with nothing to keep them apart. The sensation was so special, and so full of memories, and so good.
After a few more deep breaths Will could feel Brian's pelvis against his ass, and he knew he had penetrated him fully. He reached down Brian's ass, around his legs, and gently squeezed his balls from behind, pressing them against his own body. Brian kissed him, slowly, softly, delicately, purely, afraid to ruin such an intimate moment with a vulgar kiss. He reached behind him and pulled the covers over both their body, protecting their intimacy from the outside, making a cocoon of privacy and intimacy that was theirs alone. He slowly pulled in and out, pumping Will's opening with his natural lube, making it slippery and warm, feeling his ass open and stretch and accommodate his manhood, receive it and incorporate it into his being.
They were one.
Chest against chest, body against body, lips against lips the rocked back and forth until Brian began to tremble. Will knew he was ready to climax, and he reached around grabbing his ass again, holding him tight, making it clear he was not to pull out. He didn't want to see Brian's orgasm, he wanted to own it. He gently squeezed and kneaded his ass cheeks, running one finger up and down the crack, feeling the moisture from sweat and sex, as Brian's breathing intensified in his mouth. He gasped and groaned, and Will swallowed each sound of pleasure, responding in kind with his grateful kisses and sweaty brow against Brian's face. Brian was able to reach Will's spot, probing his prostate with his erection, poking it forcefully in this bent, missionary position. Will groaned and sighed in Brian's mouth, and his ass clamped down on Brian's manhood reflexively, holding him captive, coaxing his penis for all its lifeblood. Brian felt a sticky fluid against his stomach, between him and Will, and then the unmistakable pungent aroma of ejaculate. He had made Will cum, and that power of manhood thrilled him, knowing he could bring such pleasure to his lover, no need for hands, only genitals and tongue. And heart. Grinding his stomach harder, feeling the warm sticky waters between them, he burst, and Will could feel his insides fill with running warmth as Brian shook and shuttered on top of him, grunting repeatedly as he unloaded inside Will, holding him closely, touching him with every part of his body. He pumped a few times, giving Will the satisfaction of exhausting his member of all it had to offer, as their kissing turned more into embracing, both in need of air, sweaty, spent.
Brian released Will's legs, letting him stretch, but continue to lay down on top of him while they kissed and touched. Will scooped up the cum oozing down his side, squeezed out by Brian's weight on top of him, and rubbed it on Brian's bare ass and back, massaging him with natural oils.
`This wasn't sex', Brian thought. `This was making love'. He knew the difference, and he hoped Will did too. He lay there on Will's bare chest for almost an hour with no need and no desire to speak. They had communicated perfectly, and words would just ruin it.
"I'm just concerned. What? Don't act like it's no big deal".
"I've been messing around with the stuff since college. You know that. I've never hidden it".
"Yeah, but we're not in college any more. I just think you should stop".
"What are you my freaking mother?"
"Hey! Don't say that!" Brian snapped sharply, making Harry withdraw. They stared face to face in the middle of the path, dozens of joggers and walkers circumventing the obstacle, ignoring their conversation. A sea of people around them and they were completely alone. Brian looked him square in the eyes, stern and serious. "Don't make me out to be the bad guy".
"I don't have a problem if that's what you are saying".
"Harry, you've been fired twice now for not showing up to work and both times because you were so stoned you didn't hear your alarm go off".
"So you don't want to move in together".
Brian took his hand and pulled him to a nearby bench. They had been walking for half an hour through Central Park, and though it was getting late, he did not think it was time to go. He needed to have this figured out before he moved in that following weekend.
"Look, let's stop yelling at each other. Look at me". Harry wouldn't. "Look at me", he repeated tenderly, getting Harry to stop staring at his shoes. "You know I want to. And you know how excited I am to move in with you. But I want to do it for the right reason. Harry, I want to go to sleep with you and wake up with you. I don't want to see you passed out in bed. I don't think I can handle that. I don't".
Harry was quiet for a few moments, thinking about Brian's plea. "I'll calm down. I will. Promise".
1983 was a banner year for young Wall Street ingénue Brian Atwater. He had worked his way up to floor manager in the Bills department at JP Morgan and was not yet 30. He had a promising career ahead of him, and it couldn't come at a more opportune time as "Reaganomics" had pumped Wall Street with more revenue and less regulation than ever. It was the spirit of the roaring 20's but with car phones, music videos, and helicopters. And, as frequently unemployable financial planner Harry Kraft learned, easy access to cocaine. Harry was still receiving a $5000 a month allowance and since his dad bought him a two bedroom condo on Central Park West for graduation, Harry had virtually no expenses and plenty of cash. It didn't matter he was a terrible financial planner. He lived like he was VP at Solomon Brothers.
They had been together for nearly 10 years, and though it was not public, most of their friends knew. Before the age of 24 hour news programs, social media, and TMZ, people could live lives of relative anonymity and discretion. It just made sense to move in together. Brian felt like he was throwing $800 a month rent in the garbage since he spent almost every night at Harry's anyway. They both wanted it. They were practically married.
But, Harry's partying had become "concerning" for Brian. It was at least once a month, usually twice, and his former prep school buddies on the U.E.S., equally awash in cash, had rekindled a nostalgic friendship of immature times before adulthood ruined all the fun. Brian didn't care for that pack of friends; he knew many from Princeton, and he disliked them then. Pretentious snobs living lives without fear of consequences, inheriting the outcomes he worked so hard for. Sure, they all had more money than him. Family money. But Brian was on a path to put them all to shame, one day having more than any of them. It was his greatest motivator.
Yes, Brian was confident in his success. He just hoped Harry would stop partying like a kid and grow up with him.
That Saturday morning they were at Mr. and Mrs. Kraft's home in the U.E.S. Harry had a few personal items he wanted to get from his old room and had asked Brian to give him a hand. He had been in Harry's childhood bedroom many times over the years. It was a large room at the end of the hall on the second floor of their home in a famous turn of the century building. The walls still had Princeton Banners and "The Doors" poster with a smattering of trophies and pictures from holiday trips and sailboats off Newport. On the top shelf he still kept his football helmet, a baseball bat and glove, as if any moment he would be 14 and run to the park for team practice.
"I used to come back here on break and jerk off in this bed thinking about you", Harry said suggestively.
Brian looked at him and shook his head. "Should I say thank you?"
"You say thank you now, when I do it in your ass", he said wrapping his arms around an ever more uncomfortable Brian.
"Stop!" he said. "Not here".
"They won't come in. They don't even know where my room is", Harry said, holding him closer, licking his ear. It gave Brian an instant erection. "You know tonight, when we get back, I will do things you can't imagine".
"Yeah? Like what?" Brian whispered.
"Places I will put my tongue", he replied licking Brian's ear. "Other holes I want to make wet",
Harry could be very sexy and a little dirty. It was sophomoric and hot, and always made Brian horny. He pushed Brian onto his bed, jumping on top of him, kissing him deeply, giggling like kids. They didn't see Mrs. Kraft come in.
"And the ram?"
"That's the symbol of my high school- the Rams".
Brian gently kissed the ram, letting his tongue massage the animal's head and horns. He lifted Will's arm up, putting it over his head. Lying on his back under a thin sheet, Will's erection was visibly standing at attention popping the sheet up like a pup tent. Brian lay next to him under the sheet, and he traced the contours of Will's bicep, letting his finger tip glide under his arm, feeling the rigid and stubborn hairs that grew out of the colorful artwork. He wanted to know about the art on his arm.
"The corn is for Iowa, I'm guessing", he said.
Brian licked the ear of corn, letting his tongue slide down Will's arm, landing in the warm, pungent crevice of Will's arm pit. Will softly exhaled, aroused by the gentle warmth of Brian's rough tongue.
"How many total?"
"Like 30, I think".
"Did it hurt?"
"Little pain can feel good sometimes", he said with a sexy voice. Brian smiled.
"And `Judy' ", he asked, tracing the letters with his fingers.
Brian smiled. Will was a really sweet kid. "I won't kiss your mom".
"You can kiss me".
Brian straddled Will, and held his arms above his head. He felt totally comfortable with his erection poking straight ahead, his bare ass on Will's pelvis. Kissing Will he could feel the young man's hard cock behind him, poking at his ass. He wanted it inside him, he really did. But he was not ready for that to happen. Not yet.
It was their last day in Asia, and Brian had successfully negotiated a possibly lucrative deal to develop Mongolia's largest private copper mine. He felt, at times like these, like the god of Wall Street people said he was. It gave him a sense of power. The jet was leaving in two hours, but Brian thought they might be a little late. It didn't concern him. The jet would leave when he said so.
"You deserve a reward for your hard work".
"What do you have in mind?"
"2.5 percent of the copper profits?"
"Oh, you can do better than that".
"2.5 percent of the copper profits and my thanks?"
"I think", he said running his hands up Brian's chest, "that you could", he pulled Brian down on top of him, "thank me another way". Will kissed Brian, holding his face in both hands, and then slowly pushed his head down his body. Brian kissed his neck and chest, his pecs and sternum, the furrows of his abs, licked his belly button deeply, and followed the trail of hairs down to his reward. Will tasted wonderful, masculine, strong, virile in his mouth, responding with his whole body in trembling legs and the uncontrollable arching of his back. He still had his arm bent above his head, the vibrant tattoos shaking in delight, his fingers running through his hair scratching his head like so much pleasure required the utmost concentration.
Brian looked up, along Will's wonderful torso, watched him bend his arm over his eyes, seeing the tension in his jaw and the smirk on his mouth. With his other hand Will reached down and petted Brian's head, letting his nails scratch across his scalp, rubbing behind his ear. It was a wonderful feeling, thinking, working, stroking, sucking, focusing all his attention on the pleasure of another. It filled Brian with a sense of passion and sexual energy greater than if the positions were reversed. His own erection was throbbing, painfully rubbing against Will's leg. Will... his sexual priority.
A rush, yes, and the taste was slightly tangier than he remembered, and thicker, more viscous. But the warmth, the force and challenge of taking it all, it was familiar, and as Will moaned in ecstasy, Brian struggled to swallow the young man's load, most of it oozing out the corners of his mouth. It was, well, a messy cum shot, great if they were making a porno and an audience wanted the visual of one man taking another man's load in the mouth, but not for two people in private who now definitely had to shower.
Will stopped moaning and shooting, and Brian just whispered almost apologetically "I didn't do a great job". He was wiping cum off his lips, looking at the mess on Will's pubic hair and thigh.
"You are amazing" he whispered, indifferent to the final result. Brian had taken Will into his mouth, and the first blast, the fiercest and most powerful, was tightly squeezed by his warm, wet tongue. For Brian to do something so intimate was sexually saying "you mean something to me"; it had the utmost significance. That didn't escape Will.
Will stirred, like he was getting up or rolling over, but Brian put his hand on his stomach. "No, stay right there", he said. "Just let me look at you". Will lay back, reclining his head on his forearm bent above him, watching Brian gather some of the cum splattered on his pelvis. Brian rubbed it onto his own erection, and slowly massaged, rubbing his fingers up and down the shaft, closely looking at Will. He didn't last but a few minutes, and Will felt another splatter against his body, warm and wet, as he watched Brian's cock pour out on him.
They were late getting to the plane. They did not miss their flight.
"I'm sorry to do this to you. I'm sorry Brian, I'm so sorry" Harry said weeping. He had his head on Brian's shoulder, and Brian was patting his hair and head, soothing him as best he could. He tried to stay calm; he needed to project calm in this moment of crisis. Making Harry see that he wasn't nervous, that he was confident in their future, that life would go on... these were all important non-verbal messages he needed to communicate with his body language and touch. But inside? Inside Brian was ragging, angry, violent. He used to only not care for the Krafts. Now he hated them.
"Shhh" he whispered, rocking Harry like a frightened child.
"I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry" he kept mumbling over and over again between sobs and sniffles. He could feel the snot running out his nose mixing with his tears. He knew he was making a mess on Brian's shirt. Just another thing to have to apologize for. He was a disaster.
Harry had been asked to leave the family. Personally and financially.
After witnessing the "unnatural" actions, Mrs. Kraft had informed her husband. Either he stop this "God-forsaken crime" or lose the family support, Mr. Kraft threatened. Harry chose Brian "the only person in my whole life who ever made me happy", and therefore his parents decided it best for Harry to take his life decisions elsewhere. He would not be invited to Newport, and would only be with the family for Christmas, and that was just to the save the family reputation. He was allowed to keep his condo, but there would be no money, no allowance, no use of the family resources, and thank goodness Granny was dead because this would have killed her.
Harry tried talking, tried explaining, tried showing them he was still the same old Harry... their son. His attempts were useless, and he was not going to plead. He would reach out to his brothers individually, and see if they would still accept him. He had no job and only about $12,000 in the bank. He couldn't access his trust fund until he married, so the millions in it would return to the family. Inheritance? Yes, there would be an inheritance but only when the parents were dead, they informed, to which Harry replied "let's hope that's real soon".
All he had was Brian, and despite his sorrow and anger, he knew, and truly believed deep down inside, that Brian was enough. Still, he felt incredibly guilty having to become Brian's burden. Harry knew, the way many good children know, that someone had to take care of him.
"Things will get better with your parents, they are just trying to understand, but they love you and they'll come around". Lying to Harry made Brian feel bad, and defending his parents was difficult to swallow, but he was trying to help the situation, and Harry had finally calmed down. He lay on the couch with his head in Brian's lap, eyes closed shut from swelling.
"And if they don't come around?"
"Give them time. And look, even if they don't, we've got money, we've got this place, you'll find a job soon. We'll be OK. You'll be OK".
"I'm lucky to have you", Harry whispered.
"I'm the lucky one. Harry, you would be fine no matter happened to you. You are good looking and personable and popular and can walk into a room and leave with a whole new circle of friends. You will always be ok. But me? If I hadn't met you I'd still be some shy kid trying to figure out Princeton, hiding in my room, afraid of who I am. And I would never have summered". He added the last line for some levity. Harry chuckled slightly.
"It's funny my dad said I wouldn't be invited to Newport, like that's some big punishment".
"You hate Newport".
"I know. If telling them I'm in love with you was all it took to stop going there, I'd have told them when we were still in school".
They sat in silence for a few moments, staring, thinking, nervous, relieved, each wondering his own thoughts and remembering his own memories. It's wonderful to remember in silence with the one you love. Their touch and presence have magic properties that can make thinking... easier. And clearer.
Brian was still softly patting Harry's blonde hair and gently running his fingers across his forehead. He could feel his breathing had become steady, normal and calm, and his body was more relaxed. `This too shall pass' he thought looking down at his golden Labrador boyfriend. A puppy, a frisky, playful puppy who just wants to be petted and loved. Sad, so sad the Krafts didn't recognize that. Sad for them more than for Harry. If only they knew how much joy he could bring into their lives.
"So you'll take care of me?"
"I'll take care of you, Harry".
"Say it again".
"I'll take care of you Harry", he repeated. Then more softly. "I'll take care of you, Harry". Then with a kiss on the head. "I'll take care of you, Harry". Then in a gentle whisper with his lips pressed against his ear. "I'll take care of you, Harry".
"I'll take care of you, Harry".
"Mr. Atwater, sir, just to let you know we land in Des Moines in 20 minutes", the pilot announced. Brian stirred in his seat, dropping a few files he had been reading before nodding off. He looked up, startled, jarred, and forced a smile. "Thank you, Pete. Thanks for letting me know".
Will sat across from him in his own leather captain's chair and had his laptop open and several papers on the table beside him, diligently reviewing part of the copper initiative and price indexes. He made no motion to Brian, fully engrossed in his work, and Brian was glad he didn't see he had fallen asleep.
When they began their descent Will put his work away. "I can't thank you enough for stopping here in Iowa", he said. "It really means a lot to me. Trevor will be so excited to be on a jet. It will be a nice distraction from this past week".
Brian smiled. "I'm glad I could help".
"Maybe I could pay you back?"
"Money? No, don't be silly".
"No, not money".
"What do you have in mind?" Will did not have his crazy eyes, he did not have his sex looked face. Instead he looked kind, concerned, worried even. It made Brian nervous. They both felt the jolt of the plane's wheels touch down. They had landed. "What?"
"Maybe later, when we are alone, we can talk about Harry".