This multipart story is primarily about romance and relationships between men. Any reference to actual persons, living or dead, is only to enhance the fictional nature of the story and does not suggest a particular sexual orientation. If you are offended by graphic descriptions of homosexual sex, what the hell are you doing here? Bye, bye.
Special acknowledgements to Drew and Brad for providing diligent proofing and editing of the story.
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Chapter 10, Summer Visitors
Dex had a feeling of contentment as he sat with Kyle and the Lewinthal brothers on the rear deck of Chip's Bethesda home. They had just finished a hearty dinner of chicken bar-b-que, roasted corn and salad. 'Just the way to spend a warm, late July evening,' he thought as he took a swig from the beer bottle.
"Guys, I'm going inside and see if Sally needs any help getting the twins to bed," Chip said as he got up. "Those little guys can be a handful at bath time."
"Don't I know it," Brad replied. He turned to Dex and continued, "I was the official scrubber last night." Brad Lewinthal had arrived on Friday and would be in the area for the next week before he traveled on to London. "Take all the time you need, bro. It'll give me a chance to get to know your friends better."
"There's plenty of beer in the kitchen if you need more." Chip nodded and walked inside the back door of the modest Cape Cod house.
"Chip and I have really become close this summer," Dex said. He admired the obvious love that the two brothers had for each other. Except for the younger brother being much taller, they were obviously from the same gene pool; both were very bright, very in-shape and very good looking. "Your brother is one helluva guy."
"I know he feels the same about you. Tonight was a great way for everyone to meet one another." Brad flashed a smile, raised his bottle and took a sip.
"When are you traveling on to London?" Kyle asked. "If you have time, maybe Dex and I can show you around the night life in Washington."
"As a matter of fact, I'd love to check out a few bars and maybe dance a little. I'm not a big bar guy, but to go with a group would be fun. My schedule is pretty open until I travel on next weekend."
"Then why don't we plan on meeting up Friday night for dinner and then check out the action at Apex? It's a crazy crowd and they usually have fun DJs," Kyle suggested.
"And you can stay at my apartment overnight. I've got a sleeper couch that's pretty comfortable," Dex added. If you can take the Metro in Friday afternoon, we can make an evening of it and bring you back to Bethesda Saturday morning."
"Guys, that sounds great. This is my first time in Washington and I'd like to see where the boys are." Brad chuckled and got up. "I'm going to get one more beer. How about you two?"
"Naw, we're fine. Tomorrow is a working day for both of us and I'm the designated driver," Kyle said. "We're probably going to leave as soon as Chip gets back."
"But let me give you my card with all the contact numbers. The cell is probably the best one to use. We can coordinate and plan on meeting up at my place on Friday around 6:00 p.m." Dex retrieved a card from his wallet hand and handed it to Brad.
A few minutes later, Brad returned to the deck with Chip. Both had fresh beers.
"Brad told me about your plans this Friday. I think he'll really enjoy an enlightened District tour from you two."
"Why don't you join us?" Dex asked. "I promise we'll keep you out of trouble."
"It would be fun but Sally and I already have plans. A boys' night out with you three could get a little crazy for a straight boy." Chip swatted his brother on the back and sat down.
"Maybe a little crazy but I think your little brother will have a good time," Kyle said.
"And I promise to be a good boy, daddy." Brad winked, reached over and gave Chip a big raspberry on the neck.
After the restful weekend, Dex returned to AOI headquarters on Monday to find that he was being entrusted to provide security for a VIP visitor from the U.K.: his first official AOI assignment. Over the next two days he had time to thoroughly review the dossier concerning their client's firm and the person to be 'escorted.'
Geoffrey Timmons, Junior, was the oldest son of Sir Geoffrey Timmons, chairman and primary shareholder of one of England's oldest and largest banks. The Timmons Bank maintained branches in most of the world's capitals and commerce centers. Except for a photo-portrait pose of a very serious-looking man in his late 20's with glasses and dark hair combed straight back, Dex only had a bullet-point detail report of young Timmons' position with the bank, the primary mission for the visit to Washington, D.C. and an itinerary.
"Yes, Sir. I'll meet BA 214 at Dulles just outside customs this afternoon," Dex said to his division head. "It departed from Heathrow on time and the ETA is 1355."
"Tate, I know you'll do an excellent job. The London office advised that the client specifically wanted someone who is in his age group and has a similar educational background.
"If you don't mind me saying this, it sounds pretty snobbish." Dex looked at his senior and shrugged.
"Apparently, last time another firm assigned someone twice the client's age and - if I remember the exact quote - the man had an I.Q. below room temperature. I only hope he was referring to Fahrenheit as point of reference," the division head said with a chuckle. "This is a good new account for us. Needless to say, your performance and rapport with Mr. Timmons is paramount. He is being groomed to be the chairman, someday."
"I understand. And we'll be using an SUV rather than a limousine."
"Yes, a Range Rover as a little British flag waving. Although I don't think anyone at the Timmons Bank bothered to check that Ford actually owns the Land Rover Group, Limited," the division head said with a chuckle. "You've also been assigned a driver who's about the same age. He's fairly new at AOI but can handle any driving assignment or challenge behind the wheel."
"Then that seems to cover the bases. I spoke with the manager at the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton concerning Mr. Timmons' accommodations. It will be an executive suite on the 9th floor club level, accessible only by a key card. It's a bonus that I live only about five blocks away from the hotel."
"Between this afternoon's arrival and his departure on Sunday, make his stay pleasant. By the way, I don't think I mentioned that he likes to party and may want to explore some of the evening entertainment over by Dupont Circle," the division head added with a raised eyebrow.
"Is a confirmed bachelor."
"I'm sure I can find a few safe diversions for our client, Sir."
"Tate, of that I have no doubt. Just make sure he doesn't get involved with any cheesy rent boy."
"Don't worry. If he wants to go out, I'll steer him to bars that have a solid local crowd." Dex stood and shook hands with his boss before leaving.
The rest of the morning flew by. Dex was very anxious for his first assignment to begin. By the time noon arrived he had reviewed the dossier again. Geoffrey Timmons was on a good will mission, visiting the bank branch in Washington, D.C., as well as paying a courtesy call to the World Bank officials, the British embassy and the U.S. Department of State.
"Mr. Tate, it's time we should depart."
Dex looked up from his desk and saw a formidable figure standing by the entrance to his cubicle. "You're..."
"Jack Deutsch. I've been assigned to drive Mr. Timmons and you this week."
"Jack, first, let's do away with the formalities. My name is Dex when we aren't with a client." Dex stood and reached out his hand. He smiled when Jack responded by taking his hand. They shook just long enough to messenger each other's strength. 'This dude must have been a Marine,' Dex thought.
"Works for me. I look at us as being a team this week and using first names is always a comfort level I prefer."
Dex grabbed his suit jacket and brief case and followed the 6' 3" driver out of the office. By the time they had reached the gray Range Rover, Jack revealed that he had been in the Marines for four years and was ready to start his third year of school at American University. When Dex asked about his personal life, Jack hedged before saying that he experimented on 'both sides of the fence' in high school and the Marine Corps. However, he added that had been exclusively dating guys the past couple of years and was very comfortable with the decision.
Dex felt it only fair that he give Jack the rundown on his new relationship. By the time they reached the transportation pool parking spaces, both men were loose and joking with each other. Jack signed out the spotless Range Rover and they were off to Dulles. With no heavy traffic, they would be at the international airport within 30 minutes.
"Jack, I didn't mean to put you on the spot about asking anything personal, earlier," Dex said. "I figured you were cool with AOI and I didn't mean to make you feel uncomfortable."
"No, it's just me. I've only recently been recruited to work at AOI so being gay isn't something I feel comfortable talking about with people I don't know. Christ, I'm not even out to my folks. I'm second generation Marine and I think Dad would flip out."
"It's different for each of us and only you can reach that decision. If you ever want to hang out and talk, I'm a good listener. And I'd like you to meet my partner, Kyle." Dex decided that he'd clarify that he was suggesting that they be friends...only.
"Gee, after this assignment, I'd really like that." Jack nodded and continued to drive.
They sped along the highway and Dex took the opportunity to review his notes one more time.
"Where do you want me to go?" They had arrived at the Dulles turnoff from VA-28 just after 1:00 p.m. and Jack was putting his files back in the brief case.
"Um, why don't you let me off at the terminal and you can hold up at the cell phone waiting area. I'll call you when I see him inside customs and you can drive over to the international arrivals curb. You've got plenty of beverages in the cooler?"
"Everything you requisitioned. You don't mind if I grab a water?"
"No problem. I have no idea what Mr. Timmons may want on the drive into Washington but I've got most thirst quenchers covered. There's a five hour difference and he may be ready for an adult beverage."
The SUV stopped curbside and Dex got out with his briefcase and suit coat. He waved as Jack pulled away and put on his jacket. He wasn't surprised at the activity in the international arrivals building. Most of the morning-departing flights from the U.K. and Europe were stacked up for landing. He scanned the L.E.D. arrivals board and saw that BA 214 was arriving 20 minutes early. Dex figured he had just enough time to scout out the nearest Starbuck's for a well-earned Frappuccino.
"British Airways announces the arrival of Trans-Atlantic Royal Flight 214 from London. Passengers will be available after they transit United States Customs," came the call from the public address system.
Dex walked a little faster, Frappuccino in hand, to the area outside customs. As he arrived close to the windows, Dex saw that the BA area was still clear of passengers. 'Must be the calm before the storm,' he decided. He calmly sipped the cold, frothy, caffeine drink and waited until he saw the first of what must be the disembarked passengers from the London flight. He was not surprised when he saw Mr. Geoffrey Timmons be one of the first to arrive at the baggage carousel. 'Timmons would be traveling first class and therefore be one of the early passengers to de-plane,' Dex decided.
The picture didn't do him justice. Even from the 50-foot distance, Dex could tell that the tall, aristocratic, young man was immaculately tailored in a Saville Row double-breasted suit. He watched as Timmons commandeered a luggage cart and patiently waited for the carousel to start operations. When he slowly turned to look beyond the window, Dex smiled and casually waved. Timmons returned the smile and nodded.
Within moments, the carousel started moving and baggage began belching out of a cavity in the wall. With BA efficiency, Dex observed that they had obviously unloaded first class baggage before any other passenger class. Geoffrey Timmons seemed satisfied when he retrieved the third bag and made his way to the customs inspection counter.
Dex called Jack on his cell and said, "We're almost ready. I'll see you outside A.S.A.P."
Dex put his cell back in the briefcase and stood at the exit door. As he suspected, Jeffrey Timmons was on a VIP list and clearing customs was merely a formality. Once his passport was stamped, the young banker pushed his loaded luggage cart past security and out the door.
"Mr. Timmons, welcome to Washington. I'm Dexter Tate," Dex said as he walked up. "Let me help you with your baggage." Dex couldn't help but admire the matching Louis Vuitton luggage.
"Ah, yes. I was told that a Mr. Tate would be meeting me. You're not the driver, then?" Timmons asked, somewhat suspiciously.
"No, Sir. The driver is awaiting our arrival outside. I will be escorting you during your stay." Dex subtly took command and started pushing the cart to the building's exit.
"I must say, Mr. Tate, that I already admire your style. I was, um, not very pleased at the other firm that provided the services last time."
"We hope to have you enjoy your stay - safely - and with us as your, ah, security."
"This is a very routine, uneventful visit to the States. Security measures are just a formality that the bank requires."
"Aside from your official meetings over the next couple of days, I'm not familiar with your social schedule." Dex made sure to make eye contact whenever possible. When they exited the building, he was pleased that the Range Rover was almost directly in front of the door by the curb. Equally impressive was Jack Deutsch standing at a modified parade rest. Dex was amused to see Timmons' eyebrow rise just slightly and smile at the sight of the driver.
"Mr. Timmons, welcome to Washington. Mr. Tate, allow me to take the luggage." Jack commandeered the cart and rolled it to the rear of the spacious SUV.
"Jack Deutsch will be your driver during your stay," Dex advised. "We have approximately a half-hour to 45 minutes before we get to the hotel. Would you care for a beverage on the way in?"
"Hmm, that does sound refreshing. Do you perhaps have Champagne?" Timmons asked a bit smugly.
"I have Taittinger non-vintage in splits or a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal. Which would you prefer?" Dex had a warm 'I've got my ass covered' smile plastered on his face.
"I suppose you don't have any Beluga or canapes in the back," Timmons shot back with a laugh.
"No, but we could stop by a McDonald's for a quarter pounder on the way in," Dex said with a grin. "Although I don't know if the ketchup and vintage champagne are a good match."
"I dare say I've met my match. Brilliant...absolutely brilliant. Mr. Tate, break open the Cristal and let's be on our way. However, there is one condition," Timmons said sternly with an aristocratic air.
"Yes, Sir?" Dex looked at Geoffrey Timmons a little nonplused.
"That we dismiss this formal salutation and refer to each other as Geoff and Dexter." His mock haughtiness turned into a broad grin.
"Ah, actually it's Dex. And I wholeheartedly agree." Dex smiled and shook hands with the complex Englishman. He sensed that this agreement didn't include Jack. 'Must be a case of the upstairs-downstairs mentality,' he reasoned.
"How about having a glass of champagne with me?"
"That I can't do. But allow me to pour. If you'll get in the SUV, I'll have a glass of Cristal in your hands before you can say 'It's good to be back in the colonies'." Dex walked back to the rear of the Range Rover and opened the cooler. Within moments the cork was gently eased out of the bottle and Dex was pouring some of France's finest into a large tulip glass. He secured the rear cargo door and walked over to the open rear passenger door. "Geoff, sincerely, a big welcome to our country. I'll do everything possible to make your visit pleasant." He handed the glass to Geoff and closed the door.
"I look forward to this visit now that I know that you're handling things."
"Your well-being and physical safety is my first concern. However, I want you to enjoy the brief time you have here." Dex got in the front passenger seat, closed the door and continued, "Next stop will be the Ritz-Carlton."
Jack eased the SUV away from the curb and merged into the outbound traffic. Because the flight was early, most of the rush hour traffic would be missed. In 15 minutes they were traveling on I-66 towards Washington, D.C.
"This champagne is quite delightful. I appreciate the gesture," Geoff said from the back seat. "And, biologically, this is about the time when I have an early evening libation in London."
"My pleasure." Dex was becoming more relaxed around his client. "Um, except for dinner at the British Embassy tomorrow night, I'm unaware of any other social plans on your schedule."
"I've kept it very light, on purpose. This is primarily business but I would like to get out and see a little of this city where I'm not being watched. I, um, would..."
"I'm aware that you might be up for some excursions at night around Dupont Circle. Just for the record, I'm familiar with most of the gay bars and nightclubs." Dex turned and looked into Geoff's eyes. "In fact, if you're up to it, we could stop tonight for an early cocktail at the bar where I met my partner."
"Ha," Geoff exclaimed, "You certainly know how to separate the chaff from the wheat, so to speak. You've missed your calling, my man. You should have been a barrister."
"As a matter of fact I do have a law degree from Georgetown. Just find this sort of work more interesting," Dex replied with satisfaction.
"You've got more twists than a Rubik's cube. What else should I know about Dexter Tate?"
For the remainder of the trip, Dex gave him a condensed version of his life, including meeting Kyle and their growing relationship. Geoff told Dex that when he had come out after leaving Eton, the senior Timmons, while not totally embracing the news, did not react harshly. He suspected that his dad had had intimate excursions with other lads while he was at Eton, years earlier. And while he would be chairman of the Timmons Bank within ten years, it would be up to one of his two younger brothers to sire the next banking generation.
Dex noticed that they were on M Street and would be at the Georgetown luxury hotel in a few minutes. He looked at the clock on the dashboard; it read 3:05. "Geoff, here's a plan for this evening you might consider. You get checked in and take a little power nap. I could pick you up around six and we get over to JR's for a few cocktails."
"Would I get a chance to meet Kyle?"
"I think that could be arranged. He doesn't have anything planned and you two would hit it off. Wait, I've got even a more sensational idea," Dex said with a grin.
"Oh, god, I hope this isn't too kinky." Geoff chuckled and squeezed Dex's shoulder.
"No, but I think I've got someone else that you should meet, in addition to Kyle. He's the younger brother of a colleague of mine who's visiting D.C. before he travels on to London," Dex said with satisfaction. 'Yeah, this might work.'
"With all due respect, I don't want to be a patriarch to some teen twink on holiday," Geoff said with his nose wrinkled.
"The 'teen twink' is a Stanford graduate, 22, 6' 1" and on his way to 'B' school at Oxford. Oh, by the way, he's gorgeous, charming and gay." Dex gave Geoff a friendly 'don't even try to screw with me' look and smiled. He reached over and extended his hand.
"My humble apologies. I'm learning that it would be wise to trust your judgment." Geoff took the hand in both of his and squeezed.
"No problem. This is just getting together with some new friends."
"What you're offering and doing for me is a relatively new experience. I humbly accept the offer to be part of this foursome tonight. I do, however, have to be back by 10:00 p.m. Tomorrow will be rather strenuous."
"JR's for a couple of drinks and a light dinner at Clyde's. Let me make a few calls." Dex immediately called Chip and found out that Brad was home and had no plans. He next called Chip's home. "Hey, Brad, it's Dex. Chip said you were home and might be up for a little recreation tonight."
~~~ "Man, I'd be up for a little escape. Being uncle to these two little guys really drains your energy."
"I'm entertaining a fellow visiting from London and thought that we could all get together for a few drinks and dinner. It'll be a fairly early night, though."
~~~ "I'm up for anything...within reason. But I don't have any way of getting into town."
"Not a problem. You be ready to go at 4:30 p.m. and look for a gray Range Rover. Jack is the driver and he'll get you over to D.C. Oh, just wear something casual."
~~~ "Sounds great. Tell Jack that I'll be out front of the house at 4:30 p.m."
"Okay, bud. Bye"
"So we are organized for the evening?" Geoff asked as they pulled into the hotel entrance.
"Absolutely. Let's get you checked in and make plans to meet at 6:00 p.m. The more casual dress the better. I'll be wearing a jacket cuz I've got some items that I need to carry that wouldn't be appreciated by the bar management," Dex said with a smile. The SUV stopped at the curb and a doorman immediately opened the passenger and rear doors.
By 6:00 p.m. all the pieces had fallen into place. When Jack - young Lewinthal in tow - arrived at Dex's apartment to pick up Kyle and Dex, Brad was given a brief rundown concerning Geoff Timmons. Brad agreed that it would be bad form to make a big deal of the visitor's prominence.
In the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton, Geoff was introduced to Kyle and Brad Lewinthal. After a few clumsy moments, the four men found common ground and walked out to the SUV. Dex hoped that his combination of black jeans, black tee and a black sports jacket wouldn't look too out of place; the other three had on a variation of khakis and polo shirts. Brad and Kyle got in the front seat and Dex joined Geoff in the back for the short drive from the hotel to Dupont Circle.
"Jack, we've got reservations for dinner at Clyde's at 7:30 p.m.," Dex said as they arrived at JR's. "Unless I call, plan on meeting us here at seven."
"I'll be here, Mr. Tate."
The four men walked into JR's and were immediately scanned by the other patrons. Kyle and Dex waved to a few guys as they squeezed their way over to the bar. The bar was packed at the peak happy hour period and true to form the clientele ranged from preppy college guys to executives and government-types of all ages.
"This is amazing," Geoff chortled. "I've only been in the States a couple of hours and I'm already having more fun than the entire visit last time.
"It's really great to meet someone from London. I'm traveling over next week and know absolutely no one." Brad was beaming at his new acquaintance.
Dex noticed that Geoff was impressed by Brad's presence. When the Brit spoke, he would look fondly at the younger American.
"When you get organized, I must have a small party for you. I know, from experience, that you'll be very occupied with university. However, you'll be able to steal away for a weekend before lectures get too burdensome." Geoff laughed and ordered a round of drinks.
Over the next hour, Dex felt pleased that Geoff was thoroughly enjoying himself. 'If a little matchmaking occurs,' he thought, 'so be it. At the most, Brad may experience an executive suite sleep-over at the Ritz.' The four men told ribald jokes, traded gossip and met a few others at the bar. To the other patrons, Geoff was some English dude who fit in with the D.C. 'guppy' crowd.
"Guys, it's approaching seven. Let's find our way out to the curb. Jack should be there so we can get to Clyde's." Dex paid the tab and shooed the party to the exit.
"Your carriage, Sir." Jack, standing on the sidewalk in front of the SUV, nodded and smiled as the party appeared. He opened the rear door and waited for Geoff and Dex to get inside.
Out of the corner of his eye, Dex sensed rapid movement. His internal defensive alarm immediately sent a jolt throughout his body. "Code Red," he yelled.
Suddenly, six armed men in ski masks appeared and quickly altered the evening's plans. Two of the intruders got into the back seat on either side of the SUV and drew guns. Geoff was too stunned to react and Dex struggled with no affect.
"What the..." Jack barked as he reacted to the alert.
A third man struck Jack from behind with a heavy object...sending him to the ground...while two other men held Kyle and Brad at bay with pointed revolvers. The last man fumbled around Jack's pocket and retrieved the keys to the Range Rover.
"Run, Kyle." Dex knew that his order probably couldn't be heard from the inside of the SUV but concern for his partner overrode rationality. He felt defeat momentarily overwhelm him as he watched Kyle and Brad standing stunned with fear. Dex then started a mental inventory of what had occurred, who these people might be and how to best protect his client.
"On your knees or you will not live," yelled one of the men in a clipped, Middle-East accent to Kyle and Brad. They swiftly obeyed and lowered themselves next to a motionless Jack.
The man who struck Jack jumped into the passenger seat while the other ran around to the driver's side. He started the SUV and sped away as a sparse crowd on the sidewalk began to converge on the scene. Right behind was a dark sedan. It rolled up and the two remaining attackers jumped in and the sedan lurched forward. The entire operation took less than 30 seconds.
Kyle was stunned. As the crowd came nearer he looked down at their driver, who was lying crumpled on his back. Blood was pooling around his head. "Someone call 911. This man is seriously injured," he yelled.
"I just did that," came a voice from the crowd.
"What the fuck..." Brad got up and grabbed Jack's wrist. "He's got a pulse that seems fairly strong."
"Whoever those assholes are were well-rehearsed in this," Kyle said as he looked down at Jack. His eyes were wide open and his jaw was slightly dropped.
"You think they're terrorists?"
"Dunno. But we certainly just observed a dangerous kidnapping. Some group really wanted Geoff Timmons, bad. I just hope that Dex uses his wits," Kyle muttered while his upper-lip quivered.
In the distance, sirens were wailing.
TO BE CONTINUED