Warning: The following story may contain graphic descriptions of sex between consenting adult males. If you are underage or do not wish to read such material, or if reading this sort of material is illegal in your jurisdiction, then read no further. 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.
A special acknowledgement to David from the Lakeview area of Chicago and Brad from Denver for providing diligent proofing and editing of the story, to Carey for being a patient teacher, and to Drew for helping to expand my boundaries.
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Part 10, DIGGING FOR TREASURE
The next two weeks accelerated to warp speed. The Monday planning lunch at the Union League Club went well. I alerted Mr. McDonald and Bill that we wanted to concentrate on an early review and inspection of accounting and the controller's office. I requested permission to connect the company computers to a modem port that would give our accounting team access 24/7. We also requested internal access to American Foundry's email system. It was agreed that our technicians would accomplish the installation the next weekend.
It was a relief that Bill could separate the project from a personal life: A personal life that was involving me on a regular basis. Here were two members of the "over the hill gang" that found each meeting more intense than the last. That Saturday night ended in a diet of cheese and delicious male flavors. The next morning, he became hysterical when he saw me cooking breakfast wearing only a jock strap. It was that kind of weekend. Mature silliness.
Tuesday afternoon at three was the big announcement day at American Foundry. All of the key executives and department heads gathered in the company cafeteria. It was the only space big enough for the 50 key staff members. Cookies, pastries, fruit and various soft drinks were provided. The staff gathered, and Bill stood by the podium and mike.
"Ladies, gentlemen...fellow staff members," Bill began. "I want to share with you an exciting new chapter in our company's history. It's no secret that our competitive strength and profitability have been slipping recently. Mr. McDonald has decided to be aggressive and bring American Foundry back into the game as a leader." There was polite applause. "Mr. McDonald, would you give us your insight of the challenges ahead?"
The applause became more robust as George McDonald moved to the podium. "Thank you, Bill. The challenges are indeed immense. But I'm not backing away. Over the next two months, we have invited Martin Consulting to overview our company and the way we do business." He gave a detailed outline of what was to be accomplished. Joe and I were introduced. We stood, and I stepped to the podium.
Surveying the crowd of executives, I judged many were just waiting for pension time to arrive. The younger managers sat on the outer boundaries of the chair arrangement. I noticed the intense 'who the fuck are you' look from one senior executive. That was Harold Atkins, vice president and controller for the company.
After a more modest sound of applause stopped, I said, "Mr. McDonald is looking to the future. A future that includes all of you seated here. Over the next 60 days, my associates and I will be seeking the best way for your company to rise to the challenges put forth earlier. We won't get in your way. We want to be friends and help find solutions to the issues of being more competitive in this coming decade. If you have any questions, please address them to Bill Saunders. Each will be answered." As I sat down, the applause was brief and low-key.
Afterwards, I asked Bill, "How do you think it went? I didn't sense a lot of excitement in the room."
"They need their cages rattled. The comfort level is too secure."
"If I wanted to rattle your cage, what would you suggest?" I smiled, looking into his eyes.
"I would suggest coming over to my place for spaghetti and cheap vino."
"Throw in garlic bread, and you've got a date."
"I'll be there." He winked and we said goodbye. I could have fucked him on the spot. I called Alice at the office and told her that I wouldn't be back. It was already 4:30 p.m. I decided to visit the East Bank for a light workout and massage. I spotted Joe in another office. I caught his eye, and Joe excused himself to join me in a spare office set aside for Martin.
"Joe, I'm about to shove off. Any thoughts about how this afternoon went?"
"Yeah, a lot of nervousness from Mr. Atkins, the financial VP. He's a negative leader."
"Who has something to hide?"
"Something like that. I get very bad vibes, Jerry."
"So do I. Check in with the bean counters. See what they've come up with."
"I'll get right on it. See you tomorrow?"
"Right," I said, with a determined smile, and nodded.
I arrived just before seven at the beautiful, near-north Lakeside neighborhood where Bill lived. The early August heat was not too noticeable by the lake with the light breezes. The large, leafy, oak trees of Lincoln Park provided ample shade. Bill's condo loomed into the sky as a beacon amongst low-rise, older buildings in a neighborhood that had been "yuppyfied" and "guppyfied" years ago. Homes that had been weathered, lower middle-class in the fifties were now high-end townhouses that were well over the million-dollar value. A mere, one bedroom condo couldn't be touched for less than $400,000. Newer condo towers sat back from the lake.
After I found street parking, I left the tie and suit jacket in the locked Trailblazer and walked to 2800. Ever thankful of the family business, we all drove Chevrolets. While I would have loved a Lexus SUV, we all knew where our 'bread was buttered'. The 'Vette was only driven occasionally where there was a valet attendant and security.
With a bottle of "cheap vino" in hand - although I'd hardly call Antinori Chianti Classico cheap - I rode up the elevator after being announced by the front desk. Bill heard me in the hallway and opened the door before I had a chance to knock. "Hey, Jerry. Welcome to Casa Saunders."
"Thanks for the invite. I'm starved." I walked up and gave him my 'better than close friends' kiss. Looking around, I approved of the taupe colors covering the walls and the darker, upholstered furnishings, as well as the dramatic skyline views, as we moved beyond to the large kitchen and 'family' room. Bill had changed into shorts and a polo shirt. I admired the trim silhouette and firm backside as I followed him.
"Bill, I can't believe how large this place is. I've been in other units but nothing this large."
"I had the opportunity to buy the two-bedroom next to my two-bedroom a couple of years ago. It was kind of a wreck, and I got a good deal. With approval from the condo board, I broke through the wall and created this kitchen, open dining area and family room, plus an over-sized master bedroom and an obscene bath."
"Feels like a house. Well, a house that's up in the sky," I replied with a wink.
"Almost 3,000 square feet. I don't think I could afford to do this at current real estate prices."
"Same here," I replied. "Timing's everything."
The smells were therapeutic. The robust, basil-thyme-oregano seasoned tomato sauce simmering on the range mingled with the garlic bread warming in the oven. He took the bottle from me and opened it. "Let's save this for the spaghetti. I've started with a Soave." He poured me a glass of this uncomplicated white Italian wine. After Bill placed the pasta in boiling water, we went over to an informal dining area and a large table that sat close to a large window, and the expanse outside.
"Great. Starting with a glass of cold, white wine is just what I needed." I sat down and Bill came up behind me.
After placing two more wine glasses on the table with the red wine, he massaged my shoulders and said, "Good to be with you, after hours." He took a seat and passed a platter with prosciutto ham wrapped around honeydew melon.
"I could get used to this, babe," I said, before taking a bite, feeling his stares. Looking up, he was grinning.
"Jerry, I hope you're just not saying that to be nice 'cause I'd like to talk about where this friendship is heading."
"It's heading nice and slowly to a place beyond being buddies." I grabbed his hand and continued, "Just for the record, I'm not dating anyone else but you."
"Same here. I'm not going to push, Jerry. Just know the interest is there, big time."
"I appreciate that. Getting over being dumped by 'you know who' has taken me a period of adjustment. I'm distancing myself from him." I started laughing. "That he's trying to get it up for this woman from Darien cracks me up."
Bill joined in, seeing the humor. "Yeah, I guess we both know what he likes."
"Seriously, I don't think about him any more. It's you, buddy, that's in my mind. Let's get this business project completed first. In the meantime, evenings like this are terrific."
He went around to the range and finished the dinner preparations. Talking over the island counter, he said, "Two minutes of shop talk, and I'll change topics."
"My timer is on, counselor."
Draining the pasta into a colander, he poured the sauce into a bowl. "What's your reaction to Atkins?"
"Mean little fuck, isn't he? And very nervous."
Returning to the table with the food, he replied, "We've always been cordial but distant. However, I've been picking up some negative vibes since your arrival." He portioned out the spaghetti on our two plates and ladled the naturally thickened sauce.
"We all have. He was almost belligerent in his glares towards me today. Let's put it this way, Bill. I've got an extra fact-finding team reviewing your books. By the end of the week, I may be asking for additional funds to engage a private investigation team."
"Oh, really?" His eyebrow arched questioningly.
"I'm not going to go any further until all the documentation is completed. But I think I'll be able to back up my suspicions soon."
Grating some fresh romano cheese for both plates, he said, "Okay. End of discussion. "But, let me know what's happening as soon as you can."
"Count on it." I poured the chianti while he got the garlic bread.
The evening was perfect. Staying away from any further business, we lamented another shitty season for the Cubs. There were a couple of movies that had been reviewed we wanted to see soon. Together. Just friendly banter among close friends. I invited him to Steve and Allen's monthly Friday night dinner in two weeks.
"If you've digested the dinner, I'd love for us to continue the conversation in the bedroom, Jerry." He moved closer to me and started nibbling on my earlobe. It was around 9:00 p.m.
I turned and initiated an anticipated kiss. After the aggressive lip lock, I replied lustfully, "You lead the way." With that we adjourned up to his master bedroom. We had been together several times and concluded that we were both versatile. Tonight I offered my eager bottom to him: a pleasant, relatively new attitude that I planned on expanding. 'I should send Sammy a thank you note,' I thought with a smile.
The middle of August, three weeks into the project, seemed to be a turning point. Around 2:00 p.m. on Monday, Dad called me into his office. The relationship developing between the two of us was the closest it had been in years. I couldn't be happier.
"Hi, Dad, wassup?" I asked. He stood and warmly shook my hand.
"Sit down over here," he said, leading me over to the couch. "How about a Coke?" I nodded and he went to the wet bar. Returning with two sodas, he continued, "Son, I couldn't be more pleased with the thorough work you're producing for Bill and the Martin guys. I'm proud of you."
We both took a sip. "I'm happy that we are working together. That you've allowed me to be part of this is very important."
"We're family, kiddo. Always will be." He put his hand on my shoulder. "I love you, son. I want you to know that I support you completely. When you find the right person, I want to meet him."
Getting a little misty eyed, I gulped and replied, "And I love you too." We just looked at each other for a while. I noticed a single tear on his cheek. I picked up his use of the gender, 'him'.
"What I'm not happy about are some accounting irregularities that have been brought to my attention. Do you know what I'm talking about?"
"Only that Bill is suspicious about some unusual financial aspects of the company from a meeting with Jerry. I've been primarily working with Joe on re-organization and marketing."
"Well, tonight you are going to be brought up to speed. You, Bill and myself are meeting the Martin team at Jerry's home. He thought it best, so we didn't arouse any suspicion or interest in a meeting of this scope."
"Wow. Sounds serious. What do you want me to do?"
"I'm going to cancel the car service tonight and hitch a ride with you. It will appear that we're going out for a father-son casual dinner. You know where Jerry lives?"
"Yeah, I've been there," I said, smiling.
"Great. Get back to Joe and your work. By the way, do I sense a little more than professional interest in the Jenrette boy?" he asked with a grin.
"Dad, if there is, you'll be the first to know."
I thought Dad was going to have a stroke as we weaved in and out of the expressway traffic in my Wrangler. But he bravely said nothing, and we arrived just before seven. I noticed Bill's BMW as I drove up Astor Street to find parking. Jerry met us as the door.
"George, Sammy, come on in. I've got a deli setup in the kitchen. Grab some food and join everyone at the dining room table." Walking back to the kitchen, I noticed two unfamiliar faces in addition to Joe and Bill and said 'hi' to the group.
"Jerry, it looks like you've got every sandwich meat available. This is quite a spread," my Dad remarked. Could I trouble you for a martini? I have the feeling that I could use a little libation."
"Ketel One or Stoli?"
"Stoli on the rocks with just a splash. Thanks."
"Dad, I'll put together a couple of sandwiches for us if you want to join Jerry." He nodded and walked off. I decided on turkey, tomato and lettuce for both of us with cole slaw and pasta salad. Grabbing a beer, I returned to the dining room table and sat down between Joe and Bill. "Looks like a little drama developing?" I put Dad's plate at the last open seat.
"You have no idea," Bill said. Just then, Jerry returned with Dad.
With everyone seated except Jerry, he got everyone's attention and said, "I first want to introduce two new faces. Nat Shapiro and Jack Navarro represent Martin's top auditing team from New York. After our brief dinner, they will join us with a confidential presentation for you to consider."
For the next 20 minutes, polite conversation prevailed. We all knew something big was going down. The tension was obvious. After all the plates, silver and napkins were removed, Jerry got down to business.
"What Nat and Jack have discovered is disturbing, to say the least. Nat, would you pass around a copy of your conclusions so that we can read together?" Nat nodded and gave each of us a fifty-page presentation and took over the meeting.
"What you have been given is a brief outline of our findings concerning some serious mishandling of funds." There was a low murmur around the table.
Jerry interjected, "Because of the seriousness of the allegations, I had decided, with George McDonald's approval, not to reveal the exact nature of the situation until Auditing had proved the case. Tonight we have the proof."
For the next half hour Nat walked us through the documents. He and Jack, without hesitation, charged that the controller's office, and Harold Atkins specifically, along with two other parties had been systematically siphoning off a substantial amount of money over the past three years. The final total of 3.5 million dollars got everyone's attention.
Joe asked the obvious question. "Who are the other parties involved?"
Jack answered, "We've identified Rafferty in Purchasing and your Receiving Superintendent."
"George and Bill authorized additional funding for private investigators when we first stumbled on this," Jerry added. 'This' was a dummy vendor, selling non-existent ingot material to American Foundry. In classic fashion, each point of 'checks and balances' had been circumvented.
Nat continued, "The dummy company - Allied Metals - is nothing more than a mailbox address in Gary, Indiana. The photos in the documents show a woman retrieving mail from the box. She is Rafferty's wife."
"The investigators traced the paper trail from a payment last week to Allied," Jerry said. "Mrs. Rafferty was followed from Gary to a small bank in South Chicago. She was photographed at the bank depositing the check." The team was glued to the presentation. "With permission of George and Bill, I contacted the FBI with our findings. Monday, they put a R.I.C.O. task force on alert for a thorough investigation."
Bill commandeered the discussion at this point. "American Foundry, its reputation and future rest on complete confidentiality. Nothing you've heard tonight will be repeated outside this room. All document presentations you have on the table will be returned and shredded here. Tomorrow, business goes on as usual. Any questions?"
"What is the timing on arrests?" I asked.
"The FBI considers this a priority case. It is an attack on a key American industry. It also doesn't hurt that your dad is friendly with the Administration." There were murmurs of agreement. "My guess is that indictments will be ready next week. Tomorrow, business goes on as usual. And as far as anyone is concerned, Martin's involvement is one of reorganization and marketing only. We don't want to tip our hand."
Dad stood up and looked at each person intently. "Gentlemen, thank you for giving up this evening so we could meet. I'm not happy about the findings of this investigation. But I'm pleased that we have found the vermin in our company. I can assure you that they will pay for the illegal assault on us. And now, if you don't mind, I've got to prepare myself for the ride back to Evanston in Sammy's Jeep." Everyone laughed at the appropriate conclusion.
George McDonald capped off the evening with a positive message. As the participants left, I motioned to Bill to join me in the kitchen. I was busily wrapping up the leftover meats and cheeses. I would donate them to a food bank in the morning.
"All the cats are away," Bill said in a low voice. "Time for us to play." He spun me around and we embraced. "Ah, fuck, babe, I want to get dirty and nasty." I was defenseless, being attacked by his mouth and tongue.
Looking at his leering expression, I asked, "Do I get to clean up this place, or do you plan on fucking me right on the kitchen floor?"
"I'll take you any place you want." Considering his earlier jest, he added, "But maybe we should clean and go upstairs?" We both laughed as he helped me get the kitchen tidy. I turned off the lights as we ventured back to the stairway and the bedroom.
"Bill, thanks for staying behind and helping me tonight," I said in the privacy of my room. "And for being supportive in these difficult decisions concerning your company." We both started undressing.
"Aside from the brilliant job your company is doing, I find myself completely under the power of you, personally." We were both down to briefs. "Jerry, I wouldn't be completely honest with you if I didn't say that my feelings for you are growing daily."
I shoved down my briefs and kicked them aside before helping him out of his last remaining piece of clothing. I noticed that it was damp at the crotch. "Same here. I had hoped this would happen. Bill, I'm falling for you in a way I haven't felt for a long time." We walked over to the bed and got in.
"I know now that what Matt and I originally had together vanished a long time ago. It's been pretty barren the past year or so." Lying on our sides, we nuzzled and gave each other a series of quick kisses while grinding our crotches into each other.
With his breath becoming quicker, Bill replied, "Is it possible for the two of us to go forward with all this emotional baggage?"
Whispering in his ear, I said, "I'm willing to check the baggage if you are?" Positioning him on his back, I moved his legs apart to give my knees room as I rose over him. Caressing his hard dick, I started a jacking motion. His eyes conveyed a loving, caring emotion. I leaned down and gave him another tender kiss as our cocks were welded together by the co-mingling of pre-cum.
Looking at me intently, he softly said, "I want you in me. Only you, and nothing else. My sex life has been zero for quite a while. And you've told me about your activity. We're both negative by choice. I trust you. If you trust me, let's proceed without caution."
"Babe, I haven't exactly been celibate. I've let my dick lead me astray recently." 'No reason to let him know who seduced me,' I reasoned. "And while I can almost guarantee no problem, I'd feel better if I was tested first. Are you okay with that?"
"Yeah, I can wait. In fact, I'll officially get tested too. In the meantime, wrap your gorgeous cock in latex. I need you bad."
TO BE CONTINUED