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 19, THE OTHER SHOE DROPS
The dog days of summer continued into the week after Labor Day. With the merger apparently nearing completion, I kept the staff busy working on all of our open files and contracts.
Mr. Charley and I were back on Astor Street. Having the dimensions of the bedroom that would be my office at Bill's condo - our soon-to-be home - I contacted Ken Walter, surviving partner of Gray and Walter Interior Design, to create the office space as fast as possible. Annie Gray and he had originally designed the coach house shortly before she passed away.
Bill returned to work full-time. George and he were extremely busy with their key executives digesting the Martin report and recommendations. Although Bill's promotion to COO had been announced, implementation of the plan would commence the first week of October. While speaking to each other a couple of times a day, Bill and I agreed to get together at his place Friday for the weekend. He also agreed to receive and store all the Dell equipment that I had ordered.
I met with Joe Jenrette at the East Bank Club and gave him the rundown on Bill's offer of offices. Joe was vaguely aware of spare space and promised to handle the telephone order and hookups. He was very enthusiastic about the partnership. With my earlier permission, Joe told Sammy about the new business and the request that knowledge of this was limited only to Mr. MacDonald and the four of us.
"How did the golfing go with your dad and George?" I asked. Mr. Jenrette was the managing senior partner of the distinguished law firm of Kirkwood, Elliott and Jenrette.
"I was apprehensive at first. My Dad is cool with me. I just didn't know how this new partnership would be received in person. But Mr. McDonald broke the ice by saying how much he approved of the relationship and was anxious to know me better. Dad echoed those sentiments. God, Jerry, I've known the McDonalds forever. We're planning a cookout next month and some joint family things this Christmas."
"That must be a relief. How'd the weekend at the lake go? As well, I trust?"
"There was one ugly situation with Susan McDonald's boyfriend. He's a homophobe I've known since high school. He showed his true, bigoted colors and Susan told him to leave. The rest of the weekend was smooth."
"Good for Susan. You got along alright with the mother?"
"Actually better than 'alright.' Mrs. McDonald gave me a big hug when we arrived and said she'd consider me another son."
"Any problems about sleeping accommodations?"
"They must have discussed it, because Sammy and I were assigned the guest cottage next to the main house. It was kinda neat. And very private." Joe replied with a sly smile.
"Yeah, I can imagine that not being in the same house had its advantages, late at night. No sounds that might prove embarrassing?" I said with a smile and raised eyebrow. I thought about my personal experiences with Sammy.
"You got it, boss. But it was a terrific weekend. I'm seriously in love. Thanks for the introduction." He smiled and extended his hand.
Thursday lunch with my lawyer was busier than usual. I booked a small private dining room at the Union League Club so that we could spread out all the legal documents pertaining to the partnership for review. He raised an eyebrow a couple of times when I related the reasons for leaving my highly lucrative job. A notary was available to witness my signature on endless reams of paper. The partnership would be filed with the State of Illinois Friday.
Friday saw another piece of the new business partnership-planning fall into place. Margie and I met for lunch at RL to go over the rollout details. Since Crickets had closed, RL became the restaurant for the "A List" power lunch. Although I never had a problem getting a table, for Margie, the Maitre d' moved mountains. We sat at 'the' key table. Waiting for her, I noticed several executives waving for my attention. Since Margie had not arrived, I got up and worked the room. Each was supportive of my recent attack, and several asked to speak soon concerning possible projects. To avoid any conflict of interest, I avoided mentioning Martin. Seeing Margie arrive, I excused myself and returned to the table.
"Margie, thanks for getting loose. There are things that just lose translation on the phone." She looked stunning in her simple, red Jill Sanders suit and the flowing, big gray hair that still looked in-style on her. We air-kissed, aware that the room was watching.
"Honey, that press bonanza you handed me has given Korman Communications a lot of visibility. I owe you a couple."
"You ready to represent me on my new business venture?" She turned and took stock of me as my question was digested.
"Good afternoon, Mrs. Korman. Mr. Franklin," the waiter said, greeting us enthusiastically. "What may I bring you for a beverage? The Iron Horse chardonnay is really superb by the glass."
"Jerry, after what you just said, I think that a Cosmopolitan is in order," she answered with a sly smile.
"Make that two. If you have Absolut Mandarin, please pour it." The waiter nodded and left.
Without looking at the menu, Margie said, "Why don't we share a Cobb salad tossed in bleu cheese? I can never finish one by myself."
"Fine by me. Now that you've had a moment to consider the question, what do think? You know that Martin Consulting as we know it will quietly vanish in a couple of weeks."
"Yes. And McKenney is in bed with Burson-Marsteller Public Relations. Those New York guys stick together. But let's get back to you, Jerry. What new venture? I mean, Christ, you're the biggest thing in this town in business consulting."
"Tell that to old man McKenney. His son-in-law is Paul Porter. I'm toast when the merger goes through next week. The 15th, to be exact."
"You mean that asshole...excuse me...is married to McKenney's daughter? Every time I've seen him at an event, he's got some shitska honey on his arm. What's the deal?"
As the waiter served the drinks, I gave Margie the rundown on Porter and his wife and ordered the salad for both of us. Searching absent-mindedly through the breadbasket for something to nibble on, I concluded, "So I'm history, soon. I have no choice but to move on. Will you help me?" I looked at her intently.
"Jerry, It will be my pleasure. You open the new shop, and I will get the word out. What's the time frame?"
"I'm thinking Thursday, September 23rd. Looks like I'll be unemployed the week before."
"Doesn't give us a lot of time, but it's doable. I guarantee you that after the home invasion story, and now the merger, your breakaway will be big news, locally." We raised our cocktail glasses and toasted each other.
"I want to believe your optimism. My butt's on the line. And I've lined up an incredible, small group of Martin associates to join me. I need two things: Credibility and new clients. By dumb luck, I'm featured in the Tribune's Sunday Magazine cover story the weekend after next on the 19th."
"You know the old adage about no matter what the press is, make sure the name is spelled right? I get advance copies of the Sunday Magazine mid-week before the issue comes out. I'll save a couple extras for you."
"Thanks. With my picture on the cover, I know Mom and Dad will love it. Yeah, my name will really be out there. I hope it isn't too much exposure?"
"Well, your press is very positive, and everyone knows your name. It doesn't hurt that thousands of Chicagoans do business with Franklin Chevrolet, not to mention two parents who are prominent physicians. I'm assuming that you're going to use your name in the company title?"
"Franklin Associates. Not too original," I replied wistfully.
"Maybe not, but your name has a magnetic quality because of family, status in the business community, and the recent news. It all works."
"Thanks for the encouragement. I need that right now."
"I'm going to handle this personally. Best that as few as possible are aware of this. I'll use my personal assistant to write copy. You met him. He's sharp and will keep his cute mouth shut. When will you need first proofs?"
"Basically, next week," I replied with an apologetic shrug as our food arrived. We thanked the waiter before digging into the salads.
"Then I'd better get cracking," Margie replied. "First is a corporate logo. Then a website. I can handle all the basics for you. Do you have an address yet?"
"We're temporarily going to use spare office space at American Foundry. But I need a better address."
"How about using my suite address at the Hancock Building? We don't have to say anything more that Franklin Associates and the address. You need some business cards, stationary...everything. I've got someone whom you should talk to about a website. I'll have him secure a URL domicile that is available immediately."
"Margie, you're on a roll. This is great," I replied, grinning.
"Honey, with a timeline starting with being fired next week on the 15th, a major personal profile magazine story on the 19th, and an announcement of a new business on the 23rd, we got to be rolling. All you need is a major scandal to hit the competition," she added. I smiled stoically.
"I feel good about this move, Margie."
"If you've got the budget, why don't we set up a press conference in a private room at the Four Seasons. Do a deli-buffet layout. The writers love upscale, free lunches."
"You're on. You book it and work out the details. I'll write out a deposit check when you say."
We finished our Cosmos and lunch. We promised to meet in one week, and she departed the restaurant while I worked the room one more time.
Back in the office, I reviewed messages. One that piqued my attention was from Petrillo, my private investigator. I punched in the numbers I recognized as Rick's cell phone, and it was answered immediately with a friendly, gruff, "Hey, Jerry, how they hangin', buddy?"
"I don't get any complaints. Hi, Rick. Whatchu got?"
~~~ "This guy Paul Porter is a real snake in the grass. A piece of work."
"I assume you mean more than being a slime ball in business?"
~~~ "It's his personal life. I can't believe the way he treats the handicapped wife of his."
"You've got him under surveillance at his home in Highland Park?"
~~~ "Oh, yeah. A breeze. When the nurse isn't around he constantly verbally belittles her. She's afraid to say or do anything. And I got it all on video tape."
"Wow. That is thorough. Remind me to always be on your friendly side."
~~~ "Not a problem. You've always been good to me. But your pal Porter has a dark side I hadn't counted on."
"If you're telling me he's messing around, that comes at no surprise. He's always got some young honey by his side."
~~~ "Well, he's got one young honey that he's taking care of in a house he rents. The dumb fuck used his real name on the lease. The house is in Highwood, just north of Highland Park."
"I know the area. There's a great restaurant in Highwood called 'Carlos' that my family likes."
~~~ "The babe is 32, blond and gorgeous. What's really twisted is a younger second gal who lives there. She's fucking beautiful. Porter seems to like screwing them and munching down on them both separately and together."
"So he likes three-ways. A little kinky, but hey, 'different strokes.' What's so twisted?"
~~~ "Buddy boy, what's twisted in this picture is that the younger one is blondie's daughter. Porter likes a 'ménage a tois' where one of the trio is 14 fucking years old."
"Holy shit. That's not twisted; that's sick."
~~~ "It's also illegal as hell. And I've got it all on videotape. My guys have got them in four different sessions. What do you want me to do?"
"Make five copies of everything, write a generic background report that can't be traced, and hold on to it. And Rick, I'm paying personally with cash. No invoice, just verbal."
~~~ "You got it. I'll put a number together. Let me know how you want to use this. I have no use for pervs or pedophiles. See ya."
Then I returned the rest of the calls. With Rosh Hashanah starting September 13 and Yom Kippur ending September 25, I was aware from history that new business would really not start taking hold until after the Jewish holidays. I felt good about announcing the new business on Thursday before Yom Kippur, just after the Tribune article. 'That should give the yentas something to talk about at Temple,' I thought, with amusement. I would definitely attend Yom Kippur services with Grandma, Dad and the Franklin family. 'Day of Atonement' had special meaning this year.
I was in early for the Friday morning call from Ben. On the second ring, I picked up and said in unorthodox fashion, "Morning. Is this the center of the universe calling?"
~~~ "Hey, Jerry, you're overtly chipper this morning."
"I'm in love, buddy. What can I tell you? This is for real. So while my business life is going through a crazy time, Bill is the 'Rock of Gibraltar' I need."
~~~ "Well, things have been wacky here. Dad tried to get a severance check for you from the new company, but Mr. McKenney wouldn't budge."
"I guess I'm not surprised. But honest to God, his son-in-law is really a first class shit."
~~~ "I guess that's going to be something I'll have to live with for a while. I'm only on board for one year. After that, who knows? What are your plans, Jerry? It looks like September 15 will be the date the merger is consummated."
"Fortunately, money is not a problem. I'm working on a few things. Maybe we should talk later this fall about a few ideas I have that would get us together down the road?"
~~~ "Works for me. But don't start nibbling into your trust fund. Money will definitely not be a problem after you get the final payout Dad approved yesterday. In addition to the bonus on the billings you've brought in up to and including American Foundry, he threw in an additional $50,000 as a final 'thank you.' You deserve it. If you check your bank balance this morning, I think you'll like the numbers that were transferred to your personal account last night."
"That's absolutely great. Pass on my gratitude. I assume that everything financially is going well with the merger?"
"Clean as a whistle. Come next week, the entire purchase price will be transferred to Dad's account. Very clean. He didn't want to take any stock in the new company. He'll send you the partnership buyout money in a few days."
~~~ "I can use that, too. I think your Dad is doing the right thing by taking cash. Other than the Chicago office, I don't know much about McKenney's inner workings. Just that Porter is a real fuck-up. But, that's just me editorializing. Ben, after this whole thing goes down, how about Megan and you coming out here for a Chicago weekend. I really want you two to meet Bill. And this town is beautiful in October."
"That's great. How about the weekend of the 9th? With Columbus Day that Monday, we can have a long weekend."
"We'll definitely plan on a cookout at Mom and Dad's place. You going to bring the kids?"
~~~ "Naw. My folks will love having them for the weekend. I'm sure they'll all stay in town and take advantage of the city."
"Okay. I'll start planning from this end. There are some good plays at the Goodman and the Steppenwolf, and I'll see check the CSO schedule. I look forward to seeing you guys here."
We spoke about a few business details that would be included in my afternoon report. He thankfully didn't press me on post-Martin plans. The rest of the day was routine. After saying goodbye to the staff as they departed, I sent the weekly email report and called Bill. He would be running a little late with all the re-organization activity. We agreed that I would bring more clothes and Mr. Charley up to his place and would meet at the condo around 6:00 p.m. 'When would I start thinking that the condo is ours?" I wondered.
Arriving around five, I took the cat, two loads of clothes and last minute provisions up to condo. I had stopped by Sam's off Clyborn and picked up a half dozen assorted bottles of red and white: wines that I had been meaning to check out after taking Bill St. John's wine class. Down the street at Whole Foods, I bought two U.S. prime strip steaks for tonight's dinner. Stowing away everything, I readied myself for my lover's arrival.
Right around the appointed hour, I heard a key slide into the door lock. On the CD player, I had selected Michael Bublé's 'Come Fly With Me' album. Playing as Bill entered was 'Can't Help Falling In Love'. He smiled when he saw me only in a robe.
"Hi, baby. A busy day at the shop?" I asked, as I walked over to him and tenderly kissed his full lips.
"Yeah, I'm bushed. But coming home to a welcome like this is great. I can get used to this."
"Plan on it. Barring any problems, you've got me full time as a roomie by the end of October." I smiled at the thought that October was always considered 'moving month' in Chicago by the single residents. Pouring a glass of Pinot Noir, I handed it to him and said, "I think you'll like the Sanford from Santa Barbara."
After checking the color and bouquet, he took a small sip and swirled it around his mouth. He smiled and replied, "I approve." I took my glass, toasted him, and we both took a more substantial sip.
"I hope you approve of my next welcome home for you. I want you to go to the bedroom and strip. We're going to shower together, and then I'm going to give you a special Franklin body massage."
"Looks like you're ahead of me," he said, removing the tie as we walked back to the bedroom. Our bedroom. When he placed the suit jacket on the desk chair back, I started unbuttoning his shirt. He toed off the tassel loafers and proceeded to unfasten and lower his pants. After a few more movements, I tossed off the robe to match his nudeness.
"I like what I see, Bill." We moved close together and embraced each other with passion and zeroed in on an urgent, deep kiss, with mutual tongue probing. I could feel his erection pressing against mine. "Shower time, babe." We silently went into the bathroom, and I turned on the shower while he pressed himself into my butt crack. I wrapped his arms around my chest.
With the temperature regulated, we walked under the multi showerheads and felt the warm water. Once we were both wet, I took soap and a loofah and started scrubbing his body torso vigorously. Avoiding the crotch area, I did the same for his legs and backside. I couldn't resist kissing his hard dick as I kneeled front side.
"Oh, shit, Jerry. I'll pay you whatever you want if I could come home to this every night." I put down the loofah and started soaping the tender parts of his body with my hands. I expertly worked my fingers around his balls and back to his rosebud. I had more plans for that later.
"This is just the beginning." I slowly worked my hand around his nut sac and slowly stroked his cock. Just enough to create some desire for more. Letting the torrents of water wash away the soap, I turned off the shower and took a large bath towel to dry my lover. He stared at me with a smile. After we were both dry, we returned to the bedroom. I had placed a large beach towel on the floor.
"You thought of everything," he said.
"Lie down on the towel on your stomach," I commanded softly. The Erotic Massage 101 website I found said that a table or floor was best for your partner's back.
"Yes, Sir." There was a chuckle in his voice.
Once he was in place, I took a bottle of aromatherapy massage oil and worked the oil into my hands to warm the liquid. Starting with the neck and shoulders, I moved on to the back area and to the buttocks. I only teased his cute, puckered hole. The legs and feet were energetically kneaded before I asked him to turn over.
He smiled dreamily as I worked on his pecs and stomach muscles. Going lower into the thigh area, I started brushing his cock with my forearm almost innocently. When he was at full attention, I leaned down and took him in my mouth. He got the message and allowed me to work it completely.
After release, I scooted up and tenderly kissed him and shared a variety of male flavors. "Thanks, babe. That was terrific," he said with a contented smile. I finished the massage by working on his temples and face.
"My pleasure. Let's relax a few minutes before we get cleaned up and ready for dinner." I slowly lay down and straddled his thigh with my leg and nuzzled into his shoulder.
"What can I do to return this pleasure, Jerry?"
"Later tonight, I've got more plans after dinner," I said, reaching down to playfully scratch his rosebud.
"Got the message. You're on." In the background, Michael Bublé was singing, "You'll Never Know."
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TO BE CONTINUED