This story is posted for the exclusive enjoyment of readers of the Nifty Archive. While you are free to make a personal copy, no copy of this manuscript may be published, copied, posted to another web site, or otherwise disseminated without express permission from the author.

The contents of this story are fictional. Any resemblance of characters to living or lived persons is strictly coincidental. Certain characters engage in sexual acts which may or may not be legal in the state or country in which a reader may reside. Any reader with objections to graphic descriptions of sexual encounters between males who may not have reached the legal age of consent, or whose local, regional, state or national jurisprudence prohibits such descriptions, should not read further.

As I was saying, there I was, stuck in this city on my own, my connecting flight from Buenos Aires having arrived twenty minutes after the flight to LA had departed, and no flights for the rest of the day headed anywhere close to where I wanted to go, which was home to Boulder.
I speak minimal Spanish, so I couldn't even ask the guy across the park what time the park shut for the night. It was summer, and the days were long. I had absolutely no desire to return to my hotel, the one the airline sent me to downtown, with curtains stained from too many flies crushed against the windows, the noise of the streets coming through the thin glass as if it was perforated.

I'd seen the guy as soon as I sat on the little bench. He was reading a paper, but looking over the top of it at me every time he thought I wasn't observing him. He was nice looking, maybe twenty-four, twenty-five, with that lovely warm honey colored skin so many in Chile have. His hair was russet brown, his legs slim. He wore slacks and street shoes, a brilliant white loose shirt, no jewelry. Casual elegance.

He got up and walked down the path away from me, and I admired the view as his slim and elegant body, gorgeous buns and all, turned the path and disappeared. I sighed in frustration. How do you meet somebody when you don't speak their language, and haven't got any clothes but the ones you wore on the plane, which are not at all designed to be worn casually?

I'd worked with my client that morning in Buenos Aires before boarding the SAS DC-8 to Santiago. In other words, I was in a suit and tie, dress shirt and shoes, and stood out like a neon sign in a state park.

Well, it was getting on towards the dinner hour, so I started thinking about going back to the hotel, which had a restaurant on the ground floor that looked okay, and had air conditioning. My mind wandered as I tried to remember what had been on the dinner menu. It was printed in French, so at least I could understand it. That was something that pissed Rob off, that I'm fluent in French. I'm not sure why. It just pissed him off.

Rob confronted me the day before I left on this two-week ball buster trip to Sao Paulo, Montevideo, and Buenos Aires to help a client renegotiate his distributor agreements.

I can't say I was completely taken by surprise when he told me that by the time I got back, he would have moved out of our condo. All the tell-tale signs were there, the late nights he had to work (every Tuesday and Thursday), coming home smelling of more than printer's ink, too tired to make love, needing a shower before he could talk.

We made love on a different level, far below that we'd had at the beginning. It was like making love to someone who wasn't really there half the time. He would achieve an orgasm while I was inside him, but his eyes said he was just taking a piss while getting an enema. I tried to talk with him about it, but he said there was nothing wrong, he was just having trouble at work. He made love to me only once since Christmas, and it was wonderful, I came like a fire hose, after he was out and took me in his mouth. But he ruined it for me when he went into his funk about him being too small to satisfy me, his dick being only “average” length or maybe a little less, when mine was almost nine and a half inches.

Christ, he was the only guy that ever screwed me, the only guy I ever loved, only the second guy I ever had sex with, the only guy I ever wanted. The first guy just gave me a blow job in the toilet on the train from New York to Washington, in my Junior year in college, a month before I met Rob and fell in love. Rob would have satisfied me with a four inch dick, for God's sake!

His trouble was a new warehouse guy with a long dick and a body built by Nautilus, but whose brains were more than a little fried by the coke he snorted. I didn't find all that out until later, and I'm sure you don't need to hear about that little trip!

I was too numb to think on the Denver-Miami leg. I cried on the plane to Rio, though. It was a night flight out of Miami, so I guess nobody noticed. I ran out of tears somewhere over the Amazon. I stopped feeling like suicide was a real option after I got the deal done in Sao Paulo, and actually enjoyed my stay in Uruguay. I started noticing the Argentine hunks from the first day I got into BA, and was as horny as a goat from then on. And, of course, I had no opportunity whatever to do anything about it.

“Excuse me,” said a voice from my right. Above me. I looked at the place the voice came from, and surprise, surprise, it was the guy from across the way. He was far more attractive up close. His long, angular face and patrician nose, high cheekbones and sparkling black eyes, lit by a smile of Chicklets teeth as white as computer paper, reminded me a little of Rob.

“Uh . . . Hello,” I said.

“Are you American?” said this beautiful mouth at me, the hypnotic eyes drilling into mine. His nose wasn't patrician. It had a little button tip. He had a five o'clock shadow that made his jaw look even more square than it already was. No moustache. I hate moustaches. They make my lips sore. Rob wore one once in a while – I got cold sores every time he did.

“Uh . . . yes,” I said. “Is that a problem?”

“Oh, no,” he said with a great smile. ”I've never . . . met . . . an American here!”

He was saying something more than what was on the surface.

“And I've never met a Chilean,” I said. “Until now.”

“Would you like to . . . talk with me?” he asked. “I don't speak English as well as I would like. I would like to spend as much time with you as you might concede me. I find you very appealing to speak with. I am Juan Serrago y Carras”

I almost laughed. His English was perfect so far, if a little accented with a sexy trilling of the “r” and a very seductive Latin sibilance. His pickup line was as neat as a pin. I wondered if it was rehearsed. Nah!

“I'm flattered that you would find me interesting,” I said without thinking. “I'm Jon Carter.” We shook hands, and it was the kind of handshake that gives you complete confidence in the other person. Not too strong, not weak, big hands warm and dry, good and masculine fit.

“Oh, I find you very . . . how do you say . . . seductive.” He sat gingerly on the bench next to me, his hand a few millimeters from mine. There were fine black hairs growing from the skin between the knuckles, accentuating the elegant length of his fingers, at once delicate and strong. I wanted to touch them, but held back.

It didn't sound at all insincere, what he said. Not even insouciant, just direct and uncompromising.

“I saw you over there,” I said, gesturing to the bench on the other side of the flower bed. “I was afraid you had left.”

“I wanted to meet you,” he said. “I was afraid you might be the police.”

“Why afraid?” I asked in ignorance.

“We are illegal here in Chile,” he said.

“Why?” I asked stupidly. “Who are we hurting? What do they do?”

“We disappear,” he said.


“The stadium,” he said. I recalled something about what happened after Allende, when Pinochet took power, when the communists were taken to the football stadium for interrogation. Just like the Democrats had been taken to the stadium by the Allende regime, their voices never again to be heard.

“Can we talk safely here?” I said. I looked nervously around the park for a soldier or policeman.

“Yes,” he said, “but I would rather talk with you in private.” His hand brushed against mine, and I felt a shock of desire course through my arm.

“Me, too,” I said. “My hotel is over there.” I nodded at the squat reddish granite building.

“What room number?”


“I will meet you there in ten minutes,” he said, and his finger traced the side of my palm, almost as if by accident, as he rose from the bench. “You have a wonderful smile.” He walked away from me, purposefully, his back ramrod straight, his arms swinging loosely, naturally, very masculine, full of confidence.

I stared vacantly after him, wondering that I had let him pick me up, just like that.

I stood, stretched for the audience, as it were, and walked in the opposite direction, towards the gate that was closest to the Hotel entrance. I looked about the park, pretending to notice the flower beds, but looking to see if there was anyone who might have witnessed the assignation just accomplished. There was only a pair of teens, walking hand-in-hand as they swam in their own little pond of affection. I felt the usual twinge of envy, that they could show others how they felt, but Rob and I could not. Or could not have shown, back when we felt so strongly for one another.

As I walked, I wondered for the hundredth time if gay relationships might be more stable if society was more supportive. Think about it. Grandmothers smile when a boy and girl hold hands in the park, and nod as if expecting grandchildren to pop out of the grass. They scream obscenities if their grandson holds the hand of a handsome boy, and cluck-cluck if their granddaughter walks arm-in-arm with a girlfriend. What if everyone approved of love and screamed at bigotry, hatred, inhumanity and greed?

I crossed the street at the light, then went up the little side street to the hotel entrance. I managed to get into the lobby through the revolving door without touching the sides. I approached the concièrge, a fragile looking young man, just days past being a boy, dressed up as an adult. When I tried to say “three-two-seven” in Spanish, no doubt butchering the words without mercy, I just got a torrent of words and a smile. The key to my room was already extended. The boy had hairs on his fingers just like . . . Juan.

I realized suddenly that I had invited a total stranger back to my hotel room, in a country where violence had not yet become a distant memory. Ridiculous! No . . . I wanted . . . an adventure. I wanted to see him . . .

I took the old “lift” up to the fourth floor. For some reason, the second floor was called the first floor, and the third floor was the second, and the elevator was called a lift. Even in Spanish. The worn carpet in the hall led me to my room at the end of the corridor, and I used the old key to open the door. He wasn't there, of course, but I half expected him to be already inside. He had a way of insinuating himself in my thoughts.

I closed the door behind me, and kicked off my shoes as I shrugged out of the jacket, slightly moist from the heat outdoors. I hung it on the sole hangar in the closet, and went to the tiny toilet to dig inside my flight bag for my dopp kit and the toothpaste and brush inside it. I learned early on that it is safest to keep a pair of clean underwear and my Dopp kit with me on planes. On my very first flight, when I was no more than six or seven, our bags got lost when we flew from Atlanta to Cincinnati on a propeller plane, a DC-7B, I think. Delta. My dad had his shaving kit, and my mom her makeup bag, and they carried a pair of my underwear, too. Our bags didn't show up for two days, but we survived.

I had just rinsed my mouth when the soft rap came on the door. I turned off the water and took the three steps to the door.

He was taller than I thought, perhaps six three to my six and a quarter. There were hairs in the hollow of his neck. I wanted to lick them . . .

“Come in,” I said almost formally. I was suddenly nervous.

He walked into the room, and it was as if he'd brought some current, some static electricity into the room, making my hairs stand on end, my ears itch on the inside.

I closed the door behind him, and turned right into his arms, moulding myself to his body without question or second thought, tipping my head up for the kiss that was already escaping from his lips, threatening to evaporate before I caught it. His arms wrapped around me, drew me to him, his body at once hard and supple against mine. I felt the swelling between his legs, hard against the swelling in my own crotch.

We both moaned, as his tongue separated my lips, my teeth, moved between my tongue and the roof of my mouth, began the dance with my tongue.

He “walked” me towards the bed, carefully but confidently, his hands somehow already against the bare skin of my back, the fingertips caressing the small of my back, my backbone, my shoulder blades.

His shirt came undone in front, by whose hand I couldn't tell you, and I felt the hair of his chest against my hairless chest, my shirt somehow gone as well. The unimportant details simply didn't register. His torso was tight, finely muscled, the hairs short and neatly patterned in swirls around his musculature, circling around his nipples, headed southward when they reached the center of his chest, almost acting as a directional signal to the treasure trove below.

Our pants fell to the floor, and I stepped out of mine as he stepped from his. His underpants were skimpy, like short boxers made of jersey, barely able to hide his pubic region from view. I felt his hardness press against my groin, right at the juncture of the hipbone, and my jockeys evaporated to my knees, then my ankles, and I kicked them away. His hands went nearly around my waist, as he lifted me on to the bed and followed me down, out teeth clinking ever so slightly as the bed bounced under our weight.

I felt his penis against my groin, hard, long. Slippery, and I reached down between us to touch him, explore him. He was big, much bigger than Rob, maybe even bigger than me, especially his balls, too big both to fit inside my hand. They hung loosely inside his sac, soft as the finest kidskin. He rolled to his back, and I followed with my lips bonded to his, my hand around his dick, finding that he was not circumcised, that there was more skin than I had ever seen on another man.

I had to look, and reluctantly took my lips from him, letting them follow my eyes and nose down to his dick, already drooling with desire. It was as beautiful as he, the same honey colour, the hairs short and straight, hiding nothing of the column of flesh. It was shaped for action, much narrower at the base than the head, as if perspective had been messed up by the painter. The head was as big as a kiwi fruit, yet didn't look at all out of proportion with the rest of his dick. Perhaps the extra skin made it look less . . . like a lollipop. It was much longer than I had at first thought, extending well above his navel. I was no judge of these things, but realized it was surely more than ten inches long.

I kissed the tip, peeking out from the mantle of skin, and just as I did, a drop of lubricant appeared, moistening my lips. There was nothing more natural than to keep my lips pursed in the kiss, to push down on his dick, the head coming through the mantle into my mouth, the sweet taste of him coming through my nose as well as my mouth. As I pushed farther down, my lips opened wider and wider, and I had to stretch my mouth to keep my teeth from scraping him at the back of his knob, until it was inside my mouth all the way, and my lips closed over the shaft, which was, indeed, much smaller in diameter than the head, like the lollipop I'd pictured.

He groaned and sat up a little, spreading his legs, thrusting slightly into my mouth, and I felt my lips making a smaller and smaller circle as more of his dick went towards my throat.

“Stop,” he whispered. “It will come too quickly.”

I backed away, amazed that he was ready to shoot so soon, without so much as a single complete stroke. It was an effort to open my mouth wide enough to let him out. It felt – bigger than when I had put the head into my mouth.

“You are so close?” I said.

“I have not been with anyone yet this year,” he said. “I do not masturbate. I am too full of need.” It was late summer, March, and he had yet to have sex. I marveled at the self-discipline. We were both whispering.

My hand caressed his balls, and I looked again at his dick. It was as long as mine and then some, but the base was noticeably smaller than mine, the head nearly twice my size. I wondered if he was able to get it inside his partner without pain, and as I thought it, realized that I would enjoy trying it.

I moved my head up to kiss his soft lips some more, and he wrapped me in his arms and pulled me on top of him, his legs wrapping themselves around mine, pulling me down to him, my dick between his legs, scraping against the bedspread.

“You will fuck me?” he asked. “It is better for me to be fucked first and to come that way with you still inside me before to fuck you and make you come with me.” He showed no hesitation at all in telling me this, setting out his wishes, his parameters.

I nodded my assent, and caressed his cheek as my tongue went deep in his mouth. His arms went all the way around me, so that his left hand tickled inside my left armpit, and his right hand was between us, rubbing my right nipple.

He lifted his legs as I kneeled back a little to lift the head of my dick up the crack of his ass. I was on my elbows, holding his head between both hands, kissing him with a passion I'd forgot I had once had with Rob, and his left hand went down and pressed the head of my dick to his hole. I pushed as he gently pulled on me with his hand and his heels in the small of my back, and he gave a start as I popped through the ring of his anus, letting out a little cry in the back of his throat.

I pulled away from his mouth to ask if I should pull out, but he grabbed the back of my head with his right hand and pulled my face back to his, saying “go slow. It is good, but I am dry, so go slow.”

Somehow, I managed to gradually get a quarter inch farther into him by rocking a little on the bed, and then he lifted his hips up and sort of swallowed another inch or so, rocked back pulling me down, then hunched up again, taking another inch of me. In a minute, I was buried completely inside him, and I wasn't sure if I was fucking him, or he was fucking himself on me, but it felt fantastic no matter. The heat of his entrails was at once comforting and impassioning, and I could not hold myself back from beginning to fuck him, gently at first, then with increased length of stroke and speed as our lubricants mixed and made entry less difficult.

I expected him to start jacking himself as I plunged, but instead he undulated his stomach, so that the head was fucking the tight space between our bellies as I fucked him, even though there was a lot of space between the base of his dick and my groin. He held my chest tightly to him with his arm, keeping the head of his dick trapped between us. It felt strangely erotic to have the big head moving back and forth under the top of my stomach. His left hand guided my hips back and forth.

I tried to hold back as long as I could, but got lost in the maelstrom of passion, and felt myself gathering steam for the orgasm of the month, feeling my balls tingling. I must have given some sign, because he reached under to me and took my balls and the base of my cock in his fingers, kneading, urging, massaging the tube underneath, and tipping me right over the edge.

I felt my first contraction begin, and he pressed down on my dick just in front of my anus with his finger somehow, making me see stars. Then his insides grabbed at the base of my dick, and he was coming, too -- I felt the warm jets of his seed gush between us. I was amazed. Rob and I had never had sex so satisfactorily, so together, in all our years together, and here I was a million miles from home, with a perfect stranger, having the best orgasm of my life.

Juan let me take only two or three strokes before pulling me down into him as far as my dick would reach, and whispered in my ear “yes, put it deep inside me, fill me.” I did my best, the roar of my beating heart, the ragged breaths from my lungs notwithstanding.

“It is good?” he asked, before I had a chance to come down from the mountain top. I murmured something, ready to cuddle and perhaps take a short nap, wanting the tenderness more then the sleep.

Juan had another plan. He put his legs down, which made my dick pull out from him nearly all the way, and shrugged me out of him, then rolled us on to our sides, then me onto my back, his legs between mine, my legs somehow under his elbows, lifting me up, lifting my ass towards the plum of his dick. I was too numb to object, too relaxed to protest, and suddenly there was a searing pain as he plunged the head of his dick inside my ring. That sharp knife-like pain of a muscle suddenly stretched beyond its normal span. I gasped for air, and Juan leaned down to kiss me, and breathed out from his mouth, forcing air into my lungs. His fingers pinched my nose shut, and there was no place for the air to go but into me.

I tried to push him out with my internal pressure, but he just stayed in place. In fact, I think he was farther in than before.

“Shhhh!” he said softly, pulling away from my mouth. “It will be easier to take out once I have come inside you.”

I reached around to feel him, and was amazed to feel that at least a quarter of him was inside me, and that it was going in deeper all the time, without any feeling of him pushing on it at all. He was slick with his cum, and the pain was subsiding rapidly.

“It will not hurt when I am farther in,” he said, as if he knew what I was thinking. “You will pull me into you until I hit the first bottom.”

I had no idea what he meant, but no matter, the pain was almost gone, replaced by a feeling of fullness and an itching that wanted scratching, somewhere inside me.

He leaned down and kissed me some more, and I relaxed, the pain now all gone. There was another sharp stab of pain from inside me for a second, but that went away quickly as well, and then he was completely in me. My anus was right against the base of his groin, and it hurt only a little, somewhere inside.

He began a gentle fucking motion, no more than an inch at a time, and the inside pains disappeared completely. Then he started longer strokes, and when he got to the point that he was almost half way out, the knob of his dick hit my nut, sending waves of shivery sensation through my body. Instead of plunging back inside me, he let my body pull him back into me, and it was the weirdest sensation I had ever had. It was as if there was a vacuum inside me that grabbed at him, so that he was making more effort to pull out than to push in.

More to the point, the massage he was giving my nut was unbelievable. Every time the head passed over – no, under – it, more shivers went through my body, and despite the fact that I had just had the best orgasm of my life not five minutes before, I was getting aroused.

Normally, when Rob fucked me, my dick would go soft, and simply sleep through the loving. I loved having Rob fuck me, don't get me wrong at all. But I never got sexually aroused when he was inside me, I just got the enormous satisfaction of feeling his masculinity, his loving, his throbbing inside me as he orgasmed.

Juan was eliciting an entirely different response. My dick was almost hard, drooling pre cum in quantities I had no idea existed inside me, and I could feel the distant drums of . . . could it be that he was going to make me come? My God! Yes! Yes!

It built inside me somewhere, under my tailbone, I think, and as we moaned and moved, our tongues making love, his hand under my butt, holding me in place, it gradually filled me, moving up the spine, centering under my heart.

He pulled his mouth away a little and whispered that he loved me, loved the baby we were making together, loved my sweet ass, my big dick, wanted me inside him again, making another baby, but first this one, it was going to be a boy, it would have my magnificent eyes and beautiful body.

I was so engrossed in the experience, it didn't sound even slightly foolish. I said “Yes! Yes! Give me more, give it to me! Make it happen! Take me, Juan! Take me!”

His mouth covered mine again, and the pace picked up a little more. His back was moist under my fingers, his balls wet with the sweat from the heat of out lovemaking. His dick was like ironwood, ropy and muscled, and his stomach was pressed against my dick, the remnants of his come from his first orgasm lubricating me, the pressure building.

Then he slowed a little, and I felt him getting somehow even bigger inside me, the pressure too much to bear. My orgasm roared into life, ripping my heart from its moorings as it rushed towards the tip of my dick, which went into override overload, sending forth an impossible load of my jism, one jet reaching all the way to my Adams apple. I shouted my need into his mouth, and he came inside me, the first spasm of his dick making my hand swell under his balls, as he plunged as deeply into me as any man had ever been or ever will be. There was a sharp pain for a second, overwhelmed by another blast of my orgasm, then he just squeezed me to him, not moving any longer, pumping his seed into me. I felt the contractions of his dick – there were at least six of them.

“Don't move,” he said. “Stay while it goes down.”

I had no intention of moving – I was in nirvana, totally drained and fully satisfied for the first time in . . . in my life.

He made gentle love to me, kissing me everywhere, as I did to him, for at least another half hour, before I felt the pressure inside me from his dick gradually diminish. He pulled slowly out of me, and I looked down as he came out, expecting to see the giant lollipop head that had wedged into me gone, disappeared, shrunken into a small remnant of what it had been.

But I was wrong. It came out soft, easily, but it was stretched, and once it was out, it took shape again, now the size of an apple, the foreskin completely unable to cover it, glistening, slightly red, fascinating, huge. I was flabbergasted.

“It does that all the time?” I asked, touching it gingerly. It was soft, flabby, and even as I watched, it deflated a little more.

“Yes,” he said, “but only if I reach coming first and get inside my man right away. If I wait, the swelling makes it too hard to get inside, and we have to start all over again a few hour later.”

“Wow,” I said. I wasn't sure I believed him. “Aren't you afraid you might . . . hurt someone?”

“I have only been with three men this way,” he said to me through long lashes and half-closed eyes. “I know when it will be right.”

“You've only had sex with three men?” I asked. This guy was amazing. The sex we'd just had was lovemaking that it takes years to perfect.

“No,” he said. “I have had sex with seven men, but this way with only three.” He looked at me with a strange expression. “The first was my Julio,” he said. “We were together for three years, when the Allendists denounced him, and he was taken to the Stadium.”

“He never came back?”

“No,”  he said sadly. “Two years later, I fell into loving with a soldier of Allende who lived in my village,” he continued. “His father turned us in to the Pinochet Army as Allende supporters, because he did not want his son to live any more as my mate and bring shame on his family.”

“His own father wished him dead?”

“Yes, and when his wish was granted, God punished him for Eternity, because He called him to Him the next day after the body came back to the village to be buried.”

“How did you . . . escape?”

“I was always in the anti-Allende underground,” Juan said. “I did never support Pinochet to take away all our freedoms, but the Army knew I was not for the Communists.”

“Why me?” I wondered aloud.

“You are my destiny.” He said softly. “As am I yours.”

I didn't want to hurt him, so I said nothing. There was no way I could live in Chile, no way he could come to the U.S. I would never pull that infamous trick of dropping everything and moving halfway around the world to live with a man in probable total poverty, just because we had a good fuck. I'm far too bright, organized, disciplined for that.

“I am taking a plane home tomorrow morning,” I said.

“You will be back for me,” he said.

I was amused at the total confidence of this strange man.

“Now, you must get sleep, and so I must.” Juan said softly, and he got off the bed and went to the toilet for a pee. When he came back, his dick was back to “normal.”

He bent down and took his under shorts, slipping them up his hips in a single graceful motion.

“You're leaving?”

“The hotel security will arrest me if I stay after curfew,” he said. “They know I come to your room. The camera will show.”

I hadn't seen any cameras.

“But how will we . . .”

“Here will I leave you my coordinates,” he said, taking a card out of his shirt. “You will leave me yours?”

“Of course,” I said without doubt that the cards would languish a while, perhaps find their ways into scrapbooks, eventually be tossed out with the accumulated junk as life's journey became complete.

The next five minutes were a swirl of confusion. The one night stand was only a one evening stand, he was fully dressed and I was in the grey bathrobe of the hotel, we kissed almost chastely good-bye, and he left, my eyes following his broad and tapered back down the hall to the lift and away before the afterglow of sex was fully dissipated.

Well, David, that's the story, I guess. You know the rest, or at least most of it. I came home to Boulder the next morning, thinking more of Juan than of anything or anyone else. The orchid arrived at my condo half an hour after I did, and of course, I reciprocated. Only the proper thing to do, right?

Two days later, I made my decision about the job offer, and put the condo on the market. I always wanted to live here in northern california, and being CFO of the winery was a real challenge, especially since I was only twenty-eight. The partners at the firm were disappointed, but there are so many CPAs around, it came as no real surprise. I'm sure they forgot my name in a week.

When I got to Napa, I first had a few minutes with Frank Chappell, the president until he died in that awful plane crash last year. He apologized for not being free to take me to dinner that night. There was some industry function that he had to attend.

“I've made reservations for you at the little restaurant down the street from the guest house,” he said. “I hope you don't mind.”

“Of course not,” I said. “I appreciate the thoughtfulness.”

I met with most of the management team during the afternoon. Naturally, I already knew most of them from the extensive interviews I'd had in February, but now I was part of the team, and we quickly established the beginnings of a solid rapport. They knew they really needed a good CFO, and I knew that I knew very little about producing quality wine, even if I did have a solid grounding in spirits.

John Fazio, who was then our General Manager, gave me directions to the guest residence the parent company had, with two big suites. Mine was the Sonoma suite. He apologized that he, too had to go to the charity function.

 “By the way,” he said, even more apologetically. “Our new cellar master may arrive tonight. He's supposed to have the other suite in the house until he gets settled, but his plane was delayed in Dallas. If he makes it in, would you offer to take him to dinner with you?”

“Of course, Frank,” I said. “What's his name?”

When Frank told me, it was all I could do to keep on my feet. I never made it to dinner.

Juan and I celebrated our twentieth last year with a trip to Santiago. The hotel is gone, replaced by another one of those awful international hotels, all giant bouquets and over-plush rooms. We stayed in Room 327 anyway, and relived our first loving. Naturally, we left the boys at home. They're both in their teens now, and perfectly able to fend for themselves. I'm glad we decided to stop at two.

Raising a family when both parents are career people is no easy task, let me tell you. There were times in the first three years after we opened out own operation that I thought we'd never give the boys a proper home, but they seem to have turned out all right.

Don't be ridiculous, of course they're adopted. I don't care if they both look like Juan with my ears.

I'm not going to discuss that. Their privates are their own business.