[DISCLAIMER: If you're not of legal age to read stories of male-to-male intimacy, or if it is illegal to do so where you are, right now, this very second ... then please ... leave, and return ONLY when and where it is legal for you to do so. If reading about sexual intimacy, feelings, yearnings and the like, between people of the same sex offends you, the author asks that you, too, leave and find expressions to your likings elsewhere. And remember ... "Judge not, that ye be not judged." Comments, both pro and con, including constructive criticism, are welcomed.]
THE PAPERHANGER'S SURPRISE
By Zeke Housemann ( email@example.com )
CHAPTER THREE (of four)
¯Oh, what a beautiful mornin' ¯
¯Oh, what a beautiful day. ¯
¯I've got a beautiful feelin' ¯
¯Ev'rything's goin' my way. ¯
(fromRodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma)
It was Friday morning. The golden sun disk was just beginning to peak over the distant mountains to the east. Slowly its golden brilliance washed down the steep, rocky slopes of the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains to the west and south. As its intense rays penetrated the garden-courtyard, I was just finishing my laps in the pool. The fifty laps per day had become a ritual, a habit, and I didn't have to think about coordinating strokes with breaths and with kicks. But during the exercise, which seemed to have been in slow motion, I reminisced about the last few hours.
* * *
After removing Ted's condom, I sucked and savored the delicious contents, before swallowing them. Then I bathed his cock with my tongue and lips. Ummmmm. He tasted sooooo good!
"Come on," I said, taking his hand and leading toward the master bath, "join me in the shower." My arm around his shoulder, his arm around the back of my waist, I ushered us into the travertined-and-mirrored vanity area, and discarded the used but now empty condom into a trash receptacle (remember ... I care about the environment; condoms are not biodegradable, so I don't just flush them).
At the far end of the vanity was the opening to the shower itself. A circular room floored in polished beige travertine marble, walls tiled in blue, red, gray and green slate, and the ceiling covered in peach colored mirror. Yes ... the ceiling was mirrored. Diffused lighting came from the FlexiBrite LED tube lighting that was attached to the corner space where the walls met the ceiling, and cast no shadows. Four curved benches made of the same travertine were placed in a broken circle with an eleven-foot diameter. In the center of that circle was the water drain for the entire room, and directly above it was a solitary shower head suspended from the mirrored ceiling above.
Behind each of the benches was a curved half-wall, also covered in the same slate. Each of the walls, six-inches thick and four feet high, with individual control knobs on the top ... one for the overhead nozzle, one each for hot and cold water, and one for the three recessed shower heads which sprayed water straight out of each half-wall itself. The entire bathing area could easily accommodate eight people ... who were on intimate terms with each other ... and had upon occasion, been a focal point of orgiastic frolicking, once even with wine, grapes and attendant male "slaves."
Ted once more was flabbergasted; never had he seen such a shower as this. I simply touched one of the tiles just inside the entry and activated the master controls. A gentle spray, quite warm but not uncomfortably hot, came from each of the thirteen showerheads. We entered into the very center, embraced, and stood there kissing as the gentle streams of water bathed us, pleasured us, from all directions. It felt as if hundreds of tiny fingers were stimulating us everywhere at once.
When we entered, we were both at half-mast, or there abouts. But with the total stimulation, we were quickly at firm attention, sliding and rubbing against each other and adding our own pre-orgasmic secretions to the drain with all the other liquid falling from us.
Ted drew his head back, closed his eyes and let the overhead water fall onto his face. "Under a waterfall, in the rain, with a warm and gentle mist caressing us, and our arms around each other -- I've never felt so wonderful before," he said just before slowly going down onto his knees. As I moaned in pleasure, his tongue had roamed back and forth across my chest and had traveled down the damp trail to my pulsing, leaking cock. He kissed the tip of the cut, bullet-shaped head, savoring beads of my pre-cum, and ran his tongue around the edge of the greater flange; then slid his lips up and down the full length of my hard, quaking shaft – top, bottom, left side, right side. And suddenly, his lips surrounded the entirety of that sensitive, reddish-brown head and began their erotic descent down the six inches of my throbbing manhood.
His willingness to please, satisfied my lustful longing. Not wanting to cum just yet, I reached down and pulled him back up to me. "Not yet," I pleaded; "so wonderful, but not yet."
We kissed, and we hugged ... so tightly my thighs could feel the pulse in his thighs, my cock could feel the pulse in his cock; our breaths became as one – when he breathed out, I breathed in; when I breathed out, he breathed in. I had never experienced the stimulated state of peacefulness that I was in at that moment. I didn't want it to end, but I knew it had to.
I stepped on a pressure sensitive shiny steel ring that surrounded the drain in the center of the floor. Dozens of tiny jets of dancing waters rose from tiny holes in the sandstone floor, tickling our nether regions with sensations undeniably erotic.
"Turn around," I told Ted as I released my hold on him. His brief hesitation made me think that he thought I was either going to wrap my arms around him from his back side, or else, pursue another activity. Slowly he turned, and then I turned, our backs to each other. "Now, let's step back so that our butts and shoulders are touching." We did. "And now, let's lock arms together and interlock our fingers," I continued, as I leaned my head back to rest on his right shoulder. Again, we did, and in following, Ted laid his head back on my right shoulder. There was no urgency to couple ... only the joy of sharing ... togetherness.
I began swaying, just ever so slightly. Ted joined and went with the flow. I felt his breathing, and when he exhaled, I heard soft little sounds of contented pleasure welling up from deep within him. I let my own sounds join his. We nuzzled our heads more tightly together. The inner sounds grew louder, more verbal. The rocking, the swaying, continued. Our fingers gripped each other more tensely. Our locked arms were stiffening, stretching out, away from us. Our breathing was becoming more shallow, more rapid. We were being stimulated from above, from in front of us, from below, and from the quivering, the quaking, the strained tautness of each other's body. We were yet swaying, but now it was more pronounced. I felt my balls, my nuts, my testicles tightening and rising, recognizing the on-coming signs of sexual release.
"Ah ah ah ah ahhh ahhhhh AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhh," both in shaky unison. My legs nearly gave way, as I felt Ted experiencing the same reaction. We turned back to each other, holding on for dear life. Cocks were releasing the last of their offerings from our pleasure.
"Whewwwww!" I exhaled aloud.
"God; that was intense," Ted remarked.
Another kiss. Breaths returning to normal. I took his hand and led us back into the vanity area where we silently, sensually toweled each other dry, losing ourselves in the depths of each other's eyes.
We returned to the cool, gray satin sheets of the queen-size bed. It wasn't long before we were wrapped in each other's arms, not with wild, abandoned passion, but with tender, caring intimacies -- a touch here, a rub there; a nuzzle to the neck, a nibble on an earlobe; an Eskimo kiss, a butterfly kiss; a deep tongue kiss, a lover's gentle good-night kiss on the lips.
I pulled the sheet over us as I turned away and then slid back into his curved body, spooning us into each other. His semi-erect man-tool pulsed once as it slid into place between my ass cheeks. To me, it felt as if it belonged there.
We drifted toward sleep; his left arm under my neck; his right arm wrapped across my chest, and a finger drawing slow circles around my left nipple. I don't remember when he stopped drawing those circles.
I dreamed of Ted ... of his being mine alone ... of my being his alone ... of our belongingness ... of a greater love than I had ever known.
* * *
¯Oh, what a beautiful mornin' ¯
¯Oh, what a beautiful day. ¯
¯I've got a beautiful feelin' ¯
¯Ev'rything's goin' my way. ¯
I stepped out of the pool, grabbed the white towel off the back of the nearest patio chair, and began drying off.
"Here, let me do that for you," said Ted, walking toward me, having just waked up.
"Well, good morning, sleepy head. As you can see, I went ahead without you. Thoughtcha might enjoy sleeping in."
"Thanks, I did; but it was lonely in there withoutcha," he replied as he took the towel and wrapped it and his arms around my chest, arms and back, making it impossible for me to hug him back. He kissed me, and our tongues began to do morning battle with each other. What had shrunken to almost nothing from the coolness of the pool, began expanding, lengthening and hardening, reaching out and touching his, which was playing copycat.
He brought the towel down to dry my abs and on down to my crotch. That didn't help matters much as I was steadily getting harder. He knelt down and began drying first one leg then the other, and in one svelte move, plunged all the way down on my hot staff.
"Alright kiddo, no time for this now. I promised you breakfast, but I didn't mean this kind."
"Awwwwwww," he whimpered as he ceased with his affections. He stood up, turned me around and began his drying assault on my backside. I could get used to this kind of treatment.
"And you gotta go to work," I affirmed.
He pushed my back so that I was bent at the waist, as he knelt behind me. Dropping the towel, he spread my ass cheeks and quickly ran his tongue up my own Valley of Secrets. "Ummmmm," he resounded; "Sweet! Never thought I'd do that to another guy, but I kinda like it."
Quickly I turned around, pulled him up, kissed the tip of his nose, and stood eyeball to eyeball. "Well, my Sweet, we can let you practice your newfound pleasures later ... at least I hope we can ... but for now," I turned him around, planted a swat on his butt, and sent him toward the bedroom. "... go get dressed while I make us some breakfast. What would you like?"
"You! I'd like to stay here and have you for breakfast and brunch and lunch and ...," he said as he turned and started walking back to me.
"My, my!" I interrupted, "Aren't we getting bold and adventuresome this morning?" I pointed to the bedroom and glared at him. "GIT!" I demanded. He hung his head and slowly turned and started back toward the bedroom, making more whimpering sounds like a puppy-dog. Pitifully he looked over his shoulder at me, and we both broke into laughter.
"Right away, Master Zeke," he imitated Lurch. More laughter from us both.
"What kind of breakfast do you usually have?" I asked.
"Coffee and toast is all I ever have, if that's all right."
"English muffin OK?"
He nodded. I pointed. "Feel free to use anything in the bathroom and vanity, if you want," I hollered after him. He held up his hand with fingers giving the 'OK' sign as he went into the bedroom and I went into the kitchen.
Ten or fifteen minutes later, I had the coffee carafe, creamer, sugar bowl, cups, saucers, place mats, napkins, silverware, plates, muffins and marmalade on the outdoor dining table by the pool. As I sat and poured a cup of coffee for myself, Ted came out and joined me. "Ummmm, looks good enough to eat," he said, winking at me.
"Oh, it was nothing, really," I played along.
"I was talking about you," he shot back.
"I know. Keep that up and I'll make you eat your words," I countered. He grinned and started pulling off his shirt. "STOP THAT! EAT!" I snarled, then growled like an angry dog.
We laughed. I poured his coffee. Muffins were buttered and jellied and cut in half. It was good to share the early morning with someone once again, particularly someone for whom I felt myself falling head-over-heels, even knowing that there was Beckie, his wife, to consider. <Big Sigh!> This can't be happening. It IS happening. How? Love at first sight? That's an old wives' tale ... a fairy tale (no pun intended) I want him! But Beckie has him. They play together. Could I do it? Could I join them? Could I play with them just to be near HIM? I wondered. Would that be enough?
"When will Beckie be back?" I asked, needing conversation ... and information.
Staring into his cup of black coffee, no telltale expression on his face at all, he answered, "She should be back around one or two, this afternoon."
"What are you thinking?" I asked of him, silently. "Are you feeling the same things I'm feeling?" I hoped beyond all hope. "Y'all have any plans for this evening?"
"No, I don't think so. We'll pro'bly go out somewhere and get a bite to eat. Then, knowing her, she'll want to work on her books, and I'll watch some TV."
"On a Friday evening? Hell, no! Y'all can't do that!" He looked surprised at my exuberance, as he was toying with his spoon. "No way! Listen ..." I calmed down, planning my strategy. "As soon as you get home from work, ..." I placed my hand on top of his and gently squeezed, "... and doing whatever the two of you have to do together ... tell her about our meeting, about your coming up here to see the place, and my offer to you both about possibly becoming my tenants. Then call me. Let me know what she thinks, and if everything's OK, bring her up, and afterwards I'll take you both out to dinner. OK? Is that a plan?" I was hopefully excited.
"Sounds like a plan to me," he happily answered. I could see the wheels turning. He was smiling. He was happy. Maybe he, too, was hopeful!
Ted finished his English muffin and drained his cup. "O.K. Master Zeke ..." he again mimicked Lurch, "... while I've still got the cool morning, I'll head off to work, and do what I can. God! I hate working in this summer heat with no air conditioning!"
"Well, knowing first hand how you DO work without AC, LOCK THE DOORS! I don't want anyone else walking in on ya!"
"Ummmmm, claiming territory, huh?"
¯"Could be; who knows?"¯
I sang the line from West Side Story as we walked to the front gate. Somewhere between sending him to get dressed, and sitting down to eat, I had donned a white terrycloth robe. We took a moment for a full-body hug and a passionate kiss, and as he walked to his van, he hollered over his shoulder, "I'll call ya right after I see Beckie."
"Great! I'll be waiting." I waved. He waved as he backed down the driveway, turned, headed down the hill and disappeared from view. Damn, Ted! You've really gotten under my skin! Shit! No chance in hell I can claim you for my own. What IS it that's drawn me to you so intensely and so fast? God only knows. ... Oh, well, I'll just play it out; see what happens; go with the flow. At least, maybe we CAN be tenant and landlord.
The rest of the morning I hardly got anything done. Loaded the morning's few dishes and stuff in the dishwasher with last night's stuff, and started that going. Threw some dirty clothes in the washer, including the robe I had been wearing and did all that stuff. Sat nude by the pool; told Lurch to close the sun screen overhead; lit a fag (you know, a cigarette); thought about Ted and last night; gazed into the calm, clear water, waiting for the Water Sprites to speak and tell me what to do – but they remained silent!
I dusted and swept the house; lit another cig (I'm beginning to think that that's a better word than "fag" ... considering the meaning); thought about Ted some more, about Ted and us (if there could ever be an us), about Ted and Beckie, about Ted and us AND Beckie. Damn! I had it bad!
Made sure that one of the guest rooms was neat and clean; made sure that there were clean, fresh bed and bath linens everywhere, and wiped down some cobwebs in a couple of the corners. Stood there hugging one of the bed-posts and resting my head against it, and envisioning Ted and Beckie in that bed together, with me just across the courtyard by myself. Could I handle that? Did I really want them as full-time renters?
By then, it was lunchtime. Went to the kitchen. Opened a can of sardines in mustard and oil; opened a can of Vienna sausages; got one of those tall, skinny packages of saltine crackers, and a cold can of pre-sweetened ice tea. Carried them out to the poolside table, sat down, propped my feet up in another chair, lit another cig and picked at the food. Sipped some tea. Thought some more. About Ted. About us. IS there an US? Could there ever BE an US? I must have dozed off.
The phone rang. I hesitated. They're not coming. Beckie doesn't want to come up.
It rang again. Maybe it's a new wallpaper client. I ran to the kitchen and as it rang for the third time, I answered, "Hung Right Wallcovering Services, this is Zeke. How may ..."
"Oh, hi, Ted. What's happening, Buddy?" I nervously asked.
"Yeah? ... And ..." My excitement grew a bit.
"She wants to come up and see the place?" Oh, Thank you, Lord!
"What's that, Ted?"
"Oh! ... OK ... I see ... Yeah ... Oh, don't worry about that. The more, the merrier! ... A girlfriend, huh? ...Yeah, I'm still buying ... No you are not! Tonight is on me, ya hear? ... 'Cause I said so; that's why! ... OK, you can pay the tip ... In this heat, in the desert? It's always casual ... We'll all discuss it when you get here; OK? ... In about an hour? Yeah, that'll be great. What time is it now? I must have dozed off ... OK, we'll see ya about 4:30 then ... Nooo. No one's here but me; why? ... Oh ... 'WE' – that's me, myself and I – 'WE!' ... I think ... Do I hear jealousy in your voice? ... You're whispering now, aren't you? ... I love it! ... Yeah, I'm grinning ... You can hear it in my voice? ... Oh, shit! ... Yeah, I'm getting very horny ... We'll discuss THAT later ... OK. Let me go shower and get some clothes on ... sandals, shorts, light polo shirt, that's all ... What would you prefer? ... OK. Commando, it is! I like that better than what I was planning, anyway, babe ... You do, and I'll lay you across my knees and paddle that cute, sweet little butt of yours! ... Tender and untouched, huh? ... In that case, I'll just have to be prepared to lick and kiss the soreness away ... Yeah, yeah, OK, OK already! ... See ya soon ... Yeah, I know – WIFEY and friend are close by ... Yeah, OK. Kiss kiss ... Uh huh. On down the road, par'dner ... I'll 'splain it to ya later ... ciao" <Click>
Like a schoolgirl who's just been asked to the prom, I hugged my arms around myself and danced all around the kitchen and family room. It's gonna work. It's GOTTA work!
Double checking that everything around the house was neat, clean and in its place, I busied myself while whistling:
¯You are the sunshine of my life ¯
¯That's why I'll always be around, ¯
¯You are the apple of my eye ¯
¯Forever you'll stay in my heart. ¯
¯I feel like this is the beginning, ¯
¯Though I've loved you for a million years. ¯
(By Stevie Wonder)
Fresh clean sheets on the bed in the master suite, but this time, rather than the gray, I decided on red ... red sexy, sensual, slippery, stimulating satin. Then I replaced the lightweight summer spread with soft, fluffy, white Alpaca hides, normally used as area rugs. Whether on the floor or covering beds, the hides give a nice masculine aura to the space. I wanted to scatter red rose petals over the white fur, but thought that to be a bit much, and so decided against the idea.
The hour flew by, and right at 4:30, I heard a car pull into the drive. Going out to welcome my prospective tenants and guest, I found the car to be a newer model Lexus, desert beige in color. If this were Beckie's car, it was nothing ostentatious – just pure Class with a capital "C", particularly for an Interior Designer living in the desert.
"Hiya, Ted," I said as all three exited the car. "I see you remembered all the twists and turns to get up here."
"Yes," he replied, "it's not all that hard to find," he accentuated the word and winked and smiled at me as the two ladies came up from behind him and stood at either side of him. "I'd like to introduce my wife..." he started, but I interrupted him.
"You must be Beckie," I said with a smile as I extended my hand to take hers. She gave me her hand and I held it for a moment. Turning my head toward Ted but never letting my eyes leave Beckie's face, I said to him, "Ted, my friend, your description and Beckie's photo do her absolutely no justice at all." I turned my head back to join my eyes toward this ravishing beauty. "Beckie, you are absolutely beautiful. I am very pleased to meet you."
I looked quickly at Tim, and in a deeper voice said, "You lucky dog!" just before I raised her hand and kissed the back of it.
Beckie gave a little chuckle and said, "Why thank you, Mister ..."
"Zeke, please," I interrupted her. "I hope we become good friends," I continued as I openly winked at Ted. He just smiled.
"Well, thank you, Zeke," continued Beckie. "Thank you for the lovely compliment, and I must say, you are quite the gentleman. That's not seen often enough these days."
"No, I agree," I replied. "Some of my ways may appear to be a little old fashioned, I know, but I'm comfortable with it. And YOU must be ..." I continued, turning my attention to the gorgeous woman standing at the other side of Ted.
Ted started to introduce her, but Becky cut him off, leaving his mouth hanging open. Oh, those soft lips, that sexy mouth. I want to kiss you right now. Down, Omar, down, boy! <sigh> A-Ten-HUT! Get back to the business at hand.
"... my best girlfriend, Sheilagh (pronounced SHE-lah) Monohan, originally from Dublin, but now living in both Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Vail, Colorado.
"How do ya do, Mis... uhhh ...Zeke?
"How do you do, my dear?" I likewise took her hand, raised it to my lips, and kissed the back of it. Sheilagh seemed to blush. How delightful!
Beginning to walk backwards toward the entry gate, I summoned with both hands, "Come, come. Come on inside. Welcome to Casa Cielo, as I call her, my little house in the sky."
"But it's not so little, as you'll see," Ted joined into the conversation. I took a double-take at him, and with the tip of my right index finger, I brushed away the spit on my upturned lips, as he, slightly behind the girls, licked his, and winked at me. He was enjoying this. I was getting turned-on. And the girls were ooo-ing and ahh-ing over everything from a distance.
"Oh! I forgot something," I said, primarily to the girls. Then, turning toward the center of the garden / courtyard, I said in a stronger voice, "Lurch?"
"Yes, Master Zeke?"
"Wha..." asked the girls in unison as they looked to Ted for some answer. He started laughing.
Fighting to control my own laughter, I continued, "Everything but lights!"
"Right away, Master." The little boy statue began peeing into the lily pond. The Jacuzzi bubbles were activated. The misting system began its cooling work. And Cirque du Soleil's Quidam began to surround our senses.
"OH ... MY ... GOD! How ...?
Ted began to explain, "It's V.Aaaaaaaaaa ... V.A. what, Zeke?"
"Yeah, that's it. V.A.C.C., Voice Activated Computer Control," Ted took over for the moment. "You've seen that little shop on El Paseo called ... uhhh ... Creative Electronics, haven't you, Beckie?" She nodded. "Well, Kyle ...?" he looked to me for help.
"Yeah, Kyle Taylor," he began again, directing his attention to Beckie, "he's the owner of the company. And he and Zeke are pals, and Zeke tells him what he wants, and Kyle does the computer programming and then the actual installation itself. Don'tcha just love it?"
"Let me interrupt just a moment," I jumped into Ted's explanation. Let's all go in the house and get something to drink." We headed toward the kitchen.
"This is gorgeous, Zeke," Sheilagh said. "How long have you had it?"
"About fourteen years," I answered. "It was a wreck when I got it. I've done most of the remodeling myself, and I'm kinda proud of it. What does everyone want? Cocktail? Beer? Wine? Soda? Lemonade? Sun tea? I've got a good stock of everything."
Ted jokingly asked, "Coffee, tea or ... me?" as he looked around at us three.
The girls looked at Ted; then at each other; and then at me. I froze for a second, stunned, then looked at Ted, frowned, and pensively answered, "I'll have to think about that for a bit." Then I looked at the girls quickly, shrugged my shoulders, put a stupid, crooked smile on my face, and laughed. They laughed. Ted laughed. We all laughed.
Beckie and Ted wanted Sun Tea. Sheilagh asked for Lemonade, and I took a Corona from the 'fridge. I placed the sugar bowl between the two Sun teas.
They were sitting on the stools at the breakfast counter, and I was standing at the other side of the counter in the kitchen.
"Sooooooo," Beckie began, "is the entire house under ... uhhh ... V...A...C...C...?"
"Oh, no," Ted jumped in again, "Just the courtyard for right now, but eventually everything will be computerized. Zeke and Kyle are working on that right now."
"I see," replied Beckie as she quizzically searched Sheilagh's face. Sheilagh shrugged ignorance, then Beckie redirected to me, "but it's a great concept, Zeke. I'd like to meet and talk with this 'Kyle', to learn what I can about VACC, and then suggest it to a few of my affluent, more eccentric clients. I know two who would love it!"
"And I have some clients in Vail who would go absolutely ba-NAH-nas over the idea," added Sheilagh; "... particularly in their 'PLAYroom' as they call it. AC-tually it's their DUNgeon which takes up the enTIRE second sub-level of the house underground, but we won't tell ANYone around there about it." Looking straight at me, Sheilagh winked, and kept that one eyelid closed for about three seconds, and then smiled at me. I got the feeling that this rather quiet, seemingly somewhat timid, extraordinarily beautiful young lady, ... had ... my ... number!
Clearing my throat, I asked, "Dungeon???"
"But of COURSE, darling! Variety IS the spice of life, you know?"
"So I've heard. So I've heard," I grinned, not knowing where this conversation was leading. Sheilagh was coming alive. I surely didn't expect what she said next ...
"What say, I go out to the car, get my valise, and my black leather dominatrix outfit with bull whip and spiked boots, and show you what pleasures can be derived from a 'dungeon' atmosphere? What say, huh, toots?"
I didn't know what to say, and in my hesitation, Ted spoke up, "I don't think Zeke's into all that, Sheilagh; OK?" Evidently, Ted knew what she was referring to. So did I. I just didn't want to let on that I understood. Not with a dominatrix! No way in hell! Now if it had been Ted asking as a dominate male wearing a black leather harness, black leather cod piece, black leather motorcycle boots and whip, I would have jumped at the opportunity to fulfill a life-long fantasy! Oh yeah! Oh well! Shit happens!
But back to Ted and Beckie and Sheilagh and Zeke! Oh, yeah! We won't even think about Kyle – no, that's another story entirely! What a shocker HE is! (pun INtended!)
Straightening up from standing stooped over at the counter, I stretched, cleared my throat again, took a deep breath, and acted as if the last segment of the conversation hadn't happened, and asked, "So, Sheilagh, you mentioned clients. Are you an Interior Decorator?"
"No, Zeke," she coldly replied. "I'm an A.S.I.D. Interior Designer. There's a big difference between the two."
"Zeke, that's one of Sheilagh's biggest pet peeves. We met in design school in New York nine years ago." Sitting between Ted and Sheilagh, Beckie reached over, squeezed Sheilagh's hand, and kept her own hand there as she continued, "and then we were both accepted into the prestigious American Society of Interior Designers, two years later." I noticed her hand was still on top of Sheilagh's. "That's when she was offered a position with a firm in Denver ..." Her hand then moved to gently, soothingly rub Sheilagh's back, as she continued yet again, "... and I was offered a position with a design firm in L.A."
I also noticed that Ted, who was sitting at the end of the counter, had his elbows on the counter and his chin anchored in his hands. He was staring into his glass of tea and only occasionally would he look up. Each time, it was at me, and then quickly back into his glass. I moved around behind him and began massaging his shoulders and said, "And what about you, big guy? When did you and Beckie get together?"
Ted raised his head to answer, but Beckie said, "It was just a couple of months after I came to L.A. We were both at a ... uhhh ... a party up in Laurel Canyon in the Hollywood Hills; isn't that right, Teddy?"
Ted turned and looked sharply at her. Then she added, "He always hates it when I call him that, don'tcha, lover boy?" She tickled him under the chin; I could feel him tense up, tighten his muscles, and stop his breathing for just a few seconds. Beckie, totally ignorant of his feelings, continued while turning to Sheilagh. "We had had a little bit to drink, a little bit to smoke, a few different colored pills, I was wearing my black lea... I was wearing a skimpy little outfit. Teddy and I got totally like ... turned on, tuned in and fell madly, passionately in love that night, didn't we, honey?" She reached over and placed her hand high on the inside of his thigh and squeezed a couple of times.
"I haven't been a very good host. Refill, anyone? I know, for one, I'm empty."
"No," from Sheilagh. "No, thank you," from Beckie. "I'm fine," mumbled Ted. I decided against another beer.
"It's about 5:30 now, and while it's still light, why don't I show you around the house, Beckie? I guess Ted told you we met yesterday, I invited him up to see the place, and after hearing about the bungalow where you live and the kids and all, I suggested that y'all might like to rent here for awhile. I don't need all this space for myself. You could have one or two bedrooms, a separate office and each of the rooms with a separate bath; full access to everything but the master suite. Let me show it to you."
We, all four of us, walked through the entire house, I pointed out different little "selling" points about each room or area, and finished the little tour back in the family / entertainment room. "So whata ya think?"
"Well, if I weren't living in Wyoming and Colorado, I'd love a place here, Zeke. It's beautiful with everything so carefully detailed out." Sheilagh seemed genuinely taken with the amenities, but I wasn't offering her a place to rent.
Beckie looked around the room, shaking her head, I suppose, in disbelief. "Nearly everything I've ever dreamed of is right here in this house. But I've got to think about it for a couple of days, and discuss it with Teddy, of course."
"Of course; but what's missing? I noticed you said 'NEARLY everything...' so, what else would you want, Beckie.
"Ownership, rather than tenancy."
"Oh," I chuckled. "Yeah, I see whatcha mean. So, Ted, my man, now that you've been through the tour twice, whata you think?"
"You know what I'd like, Zeke; I've already told you I'd love to live up here," he said, directing his whole body-language to me so the girls couldn't see his face as he closed his eyes dreamily and mouthed a tiny kiss toward me.
"Yeah, I know that's what you said last ni... last evening; just wondered if you still felt the same way."
"Yeah, I still feel the same way. It's quieter up here, cooler up here, and the lights at night in the valley down there – I still can't get over the beauty of it. I love it up here!"
"Well, good! I'd love to have you up here – BOTH of you. Now take as long as you want to decide. I don't want to pressure you." Like hell, I don't want to pressure you, Ted. I wanna pressure you, and I want you to pressure me, like neither of us has ever been pressured before. His eyes got as big as saucers and he had a shit-eating grin on his face. I'd swear that he'd just heard my thoughts!
"What are YOU grinning like a Cheshire Cat for, Ted?" asked Beckie as she looked at Sheilagh and back to Ted.
Happily chuckling while speaking, he answered, "Oh, nothing. Oh, I don't know. It's like ... like ... suddenly I got the craziest sensation, the craziest feeling that everything's going to work out; that somehow ... I ... uhhhh ..." (he looked straight into my eyes) "... WE ...yes! ... WE ... are going to be living up here. Yeah, it's gonna work out. This is gonna be HOME! I feel lucky tonight, everybody. I feel really lucky! Where were you planning for us to go for dinner tonight, Zeke?"
"Well, I WAS going to ask if y'all'd ever been to the Agua Caliente Casino for dinner? It's the one out at the junction of Bob Hope Drive, Ramon Road and the Interstate #10 Freeway." All three shook their heads and said "no" at the same time. "Well, in that case, and seein' that my new buddy, Ted, here, feels so damned lucky tonight, I'm gonna insist that we go out there. They have a great Buffet dinner of ... uhhh ... let's see ... uhhh ... Mexican, Asian, American and Italian foods, plus a beautiful salad bar, and the most sinfully delicious desert bar anywhere around. AND it's quite reasonable."
"Sounds great to me, Zeke," Ted chimed in.
"Sounds like fun," Beckie said.
"Count me in," said Sheilagh.