Goodbye, Charlie

A Journey of Discovery

by Greg Bowden

"No, really, Les, I'm not in the mood to go out tonight. I'd planned to stay in and..."

"You always plan to stay in, Dan. You've been staying in for the past... what, year and a half? Well, you're going to dinner with us tonight and we're not taking no for an answer. We'll pick you up at six-thirty so be ready, okay?"

"Okay." It was the path of least resistance. But I really didn't want to go. I was perfectly content to stay at home, have a sandwich and read or watch TV. My life has been very simple since Charlie died. I make myself get out of bed almost every morning and I spend my time in the garden, the one he laid out and planted, or reading the books we loved, or working out in the gym we built in the guestroom. It's a quiet life but it seems to suit me.

Les and Jerry didn't think so. They were constantly trying to make me get out and go places. I guess I enjoyed it when they did get me out but I didn't need it or want it. I just wanted to be left alone with my memories and my space.

They took me to Le Cock which is very good, very quiet and very gay. Charlie hadn't liked the place, too gay he'd said, and we had seldom gone there. I silently thanked them for taking me someplace without memories.

Over dinner we talked about their impending trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and how much fun they would have down there, drinking margaritas and sitting on the beach watching the boys. It sounded very idyllic--for them. When dessert was served they cut to the chase.

"The best part of all, Dan, is that it's your birthday and you're coming with us."

"I'm doing no such thing!"

Les grinned at me. "Oh yes, you are. If we have to drug you and tell the border people that you're retarded."

Jerry chimed in. "Retarded but harmless, of course."

I suddenly became very warm and couldn't catch my breath. `Shit,' I thought, `I'm having a panic attack and they're prattling on about Mexico.'

"You okay, Dan?"

I nodded and fought the panic down. I couldn't go with them. I just couldn't.

But I did. Because they wouldn't take no for an answer. Because they browbeat me. Because, in the end, it was the path of least resistance.

[ [ [ [

We arrived at the Blue Chairs Beach Resort after a harrowing taxi ride from the airport. We checked in, went up to change and met on the beach for lunch. After lunch we had drinks and while waiting for them I noticed Les in deep conversation with tall, well built Mexican boy. I didn't think much about it until he led the boy over to us.

"Dan, I want you to meet Pepper, your special birthday present." I stood and offered my hand but the boy swept me into a hug and whispered in my ear, "Hello, Dan. You are quite handsome."

It hit me. My birthday present? What the hell were they doing, procuring for me?

It turned out they were. They had "engaged" Pepper to be my escort, guide and consort for the duration of our visit.

"Just a damn minute here guys. If you think this... this..."

Jerry held up his hand. "Hold it right there Dan!"

Les took me by the arm and led me down the beach, out of earshot of the other two. "Now look, Dan," he said angrily. "We've put up with this grief thing of yours for just about long enough. You've mourned Charlie for the past year and a half and that's enough. You have got to get over him and begin to live again. This is our way of..."

"I can't, Les. I just can't. Charlie wouldn't... Well, he wouldn't approve. We never did anything with anybody, certainly not with a whore, and I'm not about to start now."

Now he was angry. In a low, menacing voice the said, "Dan, I don't give a good god damn what you do or don't do with that boy but you will be civil to him and you will not insult him by calling him a whore or anything else." He stabbed his finger into my chest. "Now you listen to me. He's been engaged the week and paid for. What you do with that week is up to you but there's no refund and no return. If nothing else you can sit around and tell him all about the sainted Charlie, over and over again. But he's here to stay pal, got it?" His voice hardened and he looked me squarely in the eye. "Got it?"

I nodded. Les and Jerry had been good friends to Charlie and me and now were my best--and almost only--friends. I had to believe they thought they had my best interests at heart, and maybe they did, but they'd put me in a very uncomfortable position. "Okay, Les. He can hang around and get drinks and stuff but I'm not going to..." I couldn't even say it. "Well, you know."

"Up to you." We walked back up the beach, towards the others. "You have to admit, Dan," Les said, "he is a very good looking boy and, if nothing else, decorative to have around."

I stopped. "Just how much of a boy is he, Les. I don't want..."

Les smiled. "He's actually twenty-six. We checked. He's a boy, Dan, not a kid."

Drinks had been brought and we sat, pretending my outburst hadn't happened. Les and Jerry made small talk with the boy while I tried not to sulk. Looking at him I had to admit that he was good looking, and I began to see the man in him, hiding behind the boyish exterior. He was tall, probably over six feet, and solid looking. His curly hair was black, to match his eyes. His skin was light brown and, from what I could see, flawless. When he stood it was obvious that he was a man but not in a showoff way; it was just there. As was he.

Cocktail and dinner arrangements were made and, after a decent interval, Les and Jerry took their leave, saying they were tired and going to have a nap. Pepper and I sat on our lounges, not saying anything for a long time. Finally he stood and extended his hand. "Come. We will go to the bar."

The bar was upstairs, open to the beach. It was deserted except for the bartender who was watching TV. We ordered margaritas. When they had been served Pepper turned to me and smiled. "I'm sorry you don't like me, Dan, and I will do my best to not trouble you. But..."

"No, Pepper. It's not that I don't like you because I do. Really, I find you quite likable. It's just that I lost my partner a little while ago, a wonderful man..." I stopped. I was starting to do just what Les had said I was going to. I started again. "Never mind that. I will enjoy having you around. Maybe we can do some touring and shopping. I'm sure you know all the best places, and maybe we can have lunch together, along with Les and Jerry and cocktails, too." I realized I was babbling so I shut up.

He smiled broadly, almost blinding me with the whiteness of his teeth. "And breakfast, too. I will bring you coffee when we get up."

"Yes, that would be nice. We?"

"Oh yes. You see, I do not get paid if we do not sleep together. It is the rule, always."

"Oh, no, I don't think I... uh, we... No."

He hung his head. "Then I will not be paid." He dug into his pocket and brought up some money which he put on the bar. "So. You will not be annoyed by me." He slipped off his stool and held out his hand. "I go now."

"No. Wait. Maybe, well, maybe we can work something out." I knew Les and Jerry would be furious if the boy left. And to tell the truth I was beginning to enjoy his company myself. "It's a big bed. If you, that is, if we... Well, we sleep. That is all. We just sleep. Will that do to get you paid?"

He grinned, his even, white teeth blinding me again. "Si. I mean, yes. We don't have to do anything with each other, just sleep. Then I get paid."

We ordered another drink and talked. I found out that Pepper was from a small village in Southern Mexico called Mitla. He still had family there, a mother and younger brother. His father had been killed by a robber in Acapulco where he had gone to find work. Pepper sent much of his money, he said, to help his Momicita and his brother. He asked about my life and actually seemed interested when I told him a little about Charlie and me and how I spent my days now that Charlie was gone.

An hour or so before we were to meet Les and Jerry we went to my room to clean up. Pepper registered at the desk, where they seemed to know him and gave him his bag. It appeared he was moving in for the duration. "Everyone staying in this hotel, even for an hour or two, must register," he told me. He also said, with a smile, that there were some who were not allowed in the hotel.

In the room he asked if he might hang a few things in the closet and of course I said yes. Then he unceremoniously stripped naked and looked at me. "We will shower?" He unconsciously tugged his dick which was large, darker than the rest of his skin and natural.

"Uh, yes, but I'll go first." He looked a little disappointed but didn't say anything as I striped to my boxers, went into the bathroom and closed the door. When I came out, towel wrapped around my waist he was still naked, putting some folded things on a shelf in the closet.

"Is it alright?" he asked, pointing to the things. "I used the shelf but I did not get into your drawers."

I nodded and then what he had just said hit me. I began to laugh and couldn't stop. Tears ran down my face and I shook so hard my towel fell to the floor. When I finally calmed down a little I picked it up and dabbed my eyes with it, forgetting to put it back around me.

Pepper was staring at me. "I say something funny?" he asked with a look of concern on his face.

"No, no. It was just... Yes, you did." I slipped into professor mode. "You see, in English the word drawers means those," I pointed to the chest against the wall, "but it also means these," I picked up my boxers and held them out to him. "So you see, you also said that you didn't get into my underpants."

He thought for a moment and then a great smile came over his face and he laughed. "But I didn't do that either, did I?"

We met Les and Jerry at the hotel rooftop bar and had a drink before going to Daiquiri Dick's for dinner. It was one of Les and Jerry's favorite places and it was very good. Afterward we went to Garbo, a very nice jazz bar that Pepper knew. It turned out to be a new favorite. After one drink we decided we were tired and went back to the hotel. I told Pepper that he was welcome to go out on his own if he wanted but he said no, he would rather stay with me. That both flattered me and made me a little uneasy.

In the room Pepper immediately stripped and used the toilet, leaving the bathroom door open. I closed it when it was my turn.

"Which side?" he asked, pointing to the bed, when I came out the bathroom.

"Left." I always slept on the left, Charlie on the right, near the window, telephone and alarm clock.

Pepper pulled back the sheet, the only covering we needed, and stretched out, naked. He patted the other side. "Come. You are tired."

Wearing my boxer shorts I laid down next to him, trying not to touch him. He kissed me on the cheek, turned out the light and turned on his side. I swear, it wasn't three minutes before he was asleep.

It wasn't so easy for me. I hadn't been in the same bed with another man in more than eighteen months, since Charlie. For some reason I couldn't get my attention away from Pepper's deep, regular breathing. Then, on the edge of my consciousness, I found his scent, musky, overlaid with something vaguely sweet, and that overlaid with something I finally identified as the hotel soap. When I found myself becoming erect I turned on my stomach, resolutely looking away from him.

I can't sleep on my stomach so I finally had to turn on my side, facing him. His eyes were open and he was watching me. "You cannot sleep?" he asked, putting his hand on my shoulder.

I jumped. His hand felt like a branding iron.

He sat up, the sheet falling away from him. "You are tense," he said quietly. "You will not sleep that way." He climbed out of bed, got something out of the closet and came to my side of the bed. "Up," he said. "You will get up."

I mumbled that I didn't want to but got out of bed anyway. Path of least resistance, I suppose.

Pepper went into the bathroom and returned with towels. He laid a couple of them on the bed, on my side. "You will lie down," he said. When I started to he took the waistband of my shorts and pulled them off. "You will not need these," he said, "please trust me."

I laid on the bed, on my stomach, and wondered if I had the strength to fight him off. As it turned out, that wasn't necessary.

He started with my feet. He had some kind of oil on his hands and he rubbed them gently over my feet before he started kneading and stretching the muscles there. He forced his fingers between my toes and bent each one before rubbing the arches with his knuckles.

Then my calves, working the tension out of them before moving on to my upper legs. When he got to my buttocks he became very gentle, almost to the point of petting them. I sucked in air when he raked his fingernails lightly over my balls but didn't have time to tense up before he went on to my lower back.

He climbed on the bed and straddled me, sitting on my legs, just below my buttocks. I could feel his dick slide along my crack as he leaned forward to work on the muscles in my back. Then, for my shoulders, he moved forward until he was sitting squarely on my ass.

When he climbed off and told me to turn over, I did, even though I was erect. At that point I was so relaxed that I just didn't care anymore. He made no comment, he simply started on my legs again, working the muscles, turning them to jelly. His rhythm didn't change when he reached my crotch. He oiled his hands and gently massaged my balls, stretching and kneading the sack, examining it's contents with his fingers.

He took hold of my dick and applied pressure to the shaft with his thumbs and forefingers, moving slowly up the length of it. Then he straddled me again, this time my dick riding in his crack. He worked his way up, along my belly and onto my chest, forcing the tension out of the muscles there. He squeezed my nipples when he got to them and I let out a sigh. My nipples are very sensitive and he quickly realized it. Then my face, my nose and ears and finally my scalp.

When he climbed off of me he knelt on the floor at my waist and took my dick in his hand. I tried to protest but he simply shook his head and said, "Yes."

It took no time at all. He seemed to know where all the sensitive parts were and played them like a master musician. When I erupted he kept on until I had to stay his hands. Then he tugged the towels out from under me, cleaned me, kissed me on the cheek and said, "Now you will sleep."

I did. Almost instantly.

When I woke the next morning I was alone. I turned on my back and looked at the dresser, wondering if I should go and see if my wallet was still there. It didn't seem necessary when the door quietly opened and Pepper came in, wearing my boxer shorts from the night before and carrying a tray with cups and coffee. He grinned.

"Did you pee?" I shook my head. "Go. Then we will have café."

I had to go into the bathroom naked because he was wearing my shorts. `Oh, what the hell', I thought, getting out of bed, `after last night there's not much to hide.' I did close the door, though.

When I came back he was sitting up with his pillow behind him, naked. He patted the space beside him. "Come. We will have our café in bed."

We drank the coffee, which was very good, and talked about what to do with the day. We decided on a light breakfast, some exploring and lunch at a place he was sure I'd like. When the coffee was finished he took my cup, laid it on the nightstand and gracefully rolled over to position himself between my legs. When he took my cock into his mouth I patted his cheek and said, "No, I can't do it. Please."

He looked up at me and rolled his eyes. "You could," he said, holding my limp cock in his hand. "If he would let you."

I tried to laugh it off. "But he won't."

We had breakfast on the beach and then he set out to show me the town. We went to the public market which Pepper dismissed as tourist junk, to the surprisingly beautiful church, walked along the promenade and saw the statue of Liz and Dick which stands in front of a bar. "She made the town," he said, "with that movie. Before her no one ever came here."

We had lunch at a place where I was the only one who wasn't speaking Spanish. We had chili rellenos and tacos and I had never had better.

Leaving the restaurant Pepper asked me what I wanted to do that afternoon, "besides a siesta." I told him I thought I wanted to be alone for a while and his face fell. "But I am supposed to..."

"I know, Pepper. But this is something I have to do by myself." I thought for a moment. "But there is something you can do for me." His face brightened. I took money out of my wallet, a couple of hundred dollars in pesos. "I want you to do some shopping for me. I want you to buy yourself a bathing suit. One you really like and want to wear. Then you will buy me a bathing suit, one you think I would like. And last I want you to buy me a bathing suit that you would like me to wear. Okay?"

He considered it. "This is too much money."

"Maybe. But this is not a test, any of it. I don't want to see whatever money is left over. You will send it to Momicita, in Mitla. Now go. I can make my way back to the hotel." He shook his head but he went.

I found my way to the beach and walked along it, my shoes in my hand. I thought about Charlie and what Pepper had said. I thought about our years together and some things we did and some which we didn't. Mostly I thought about our life together and my life now, my life without Charlie. I thought about letting me be me and living my life, not our life. I think I cried a little too, sitting in the damp sand and maybe I prayed but if I did it was to Charlie, not to some god.

Later, as I walked up the beach to the hotel Jerry called down from the bar. "We're up here. Come have a drink."

Pepper was with them. I walked over to him and kissed him for a long time. "Thank you." He looked confused but didn't say anything.

We drank margaritas again and I found their tart-sweetness exactly right for the day. After one drink I took Pepper by the hand and looked at Les and Jerry. "I think we have some things to do so we'll meet you on the roof at six, okay?" They nodded and I led Pepper away, up to our room.

The first thing I did was to undress Pepper. There wasn't much, a tee shirt, short pants and sandals. He told me he never wore underwear and then laughed. "Except for this morning," he said, "when I got into your drawers."

I laughed so hard he had to lay me on the bed to undress me. I was suddenly so proud of him, that he'd understood the idiom and kept it to use.

When we were both naked we went into the shower and washed each other from head to toe. I was surprised at how wiry his hair was, on his head, over his dick and the light dusting under his arms. The rest of him was as smooth as well polished wood although he told me later that when he shaved his face he shaved his balls as well.

In bed he was aggressive but gentle, kissing and licking me everywhere, from my toes to my forehead. He suckled my nipples until I was almost delirious with pleasure. At one point he pulled back and looked in my eyes, smiling. "I heard American boys like that which is good because Mexican boys like to do it." He went back, attacking the other one.

He sucked my dick, too, bringing me to the brink of orgasm twice before he backed off and let me suck on him. Then he reached for a condom on the bedside table. He let me put it on him and I realized how big he really was. I told him I didn't think I could take him but he kissed me and said, "Of course you can. All you have to do is trust me."

Could I? Could I trust him that much? I lost track of the thought when he lifted my legs and applied some cool lubricant to my ass, forcing some of it inside me with his finger. He somehow sensed that it had been a long, long time since I'd done this and he was very gentle, slowly opening me up with his fingers until I was ready for him.

He put the head of his dick against my sphincter and pushed, gently but insistently. I took a deep breath and gave in to him. He slid slowly and easily into me, until I held all of him inside me. He grinned. "See?"

The next hour was a haze of pleasure. He was very slow about it, taking long, unhurried strokes and stopping now and again to fondle my dick or suck on my nipples. I lost any sense of him and myself, letting it all blend together into a single thing of pleasure.

He came when I did and I felt him swell and then pulse, shooting his seed into the condom while mine went up between us in a great gusher. Later, when we had come down to earth, he eased himself out of me and went into the bathroom, returning with a warm, wet towel.

We took another shower and dressed for dinner. When I went to put on my boxers he took them away from me, saying there was no need of them. It did feel good with nothing between the white linen trousers and my skin but when he put his hand on my butt my dick began to react. "I can't go like this," I said. "Everybody will know what you do to me."

"Nonsense," he laughed. "They will simply think you are very big and will be envious of me."

At the roof bar Les looked me up and down and then said, "Well, well. He's changed you. For the better." Pepper simply stood by and grinned.

After dinner we went to Garbo for a nightcap. Pepper slid his chair very close to mine and slipped his hand into the back of my trousers and caressed the skin as far down my ass as he could get. It made me hard almost instantly. After a few moments he leaned over to me and whispered in my ear that we should go. His breath on my ear drove me wild.

"I can't," I said. "I'm... well you know."

"Remember what I told you? It's time they envied me a little."

He stood and I thought, `There'll be envy on both sides.' He pulled me out of the chair and told Les and Jerry that we had to go. Jerry looked at me and raised one eyebrow but didn't say anything. Les looked squarely at our crotches and said, "Yes, I think you'd better."

Back in our room, in bed, we got to playing and I miscalculated and brought him off in my mouth. Pepper then kissed me, tasting himself, and told me I was very good.

"I'm glad you liked it but I didn't mean to do it. I was hoping for... Well, something else."

Pepper laughed. "And this something else? You think now I can't do it?" He pushed me over on my stomach and wedged his knees between my legs. "We shall see."

We did see. Twice.

In the morning Pepper found a clean pair of boxers in a drawer--"Of course. Drawers in the drawer"--and went to find some coffee. When he came back we drank it in bed. "What is your pleasure for today," he said, refilling my cup.

"I don't know. Maybe a little shopping." I suddenly remembered the bathing suits I had asked him to buy. "Can I see the bathing suits you bought?"

Pepper got out of bed and went to the closet, returning with a shopping bag.

"First I want to see the one you bought because you'd like to wear it." The suit he brought out was a work of the tailors art. It was small and red with a white V on the front. The point of the V was a pouch for Pepper's dick. "Put it on. Please?"

It fit him just as his skin did, smooth, unblemished and without a wrinkle. The pouch in front had looked large to me but now that he had it on I saw that the pouch could barely contain him. He was beautiful.

"What did you buy for me, that you think I would like to wear?" He pulled out a pair of loose fitting, full cut, olive drab shorts. They were awful but I knew, deep down inside, that they were exactly what I would have bought for myself.

"And the other? The one you would like me to wear?" It was exactly like the one he'd bought for himself except that where his was red mine was royal blue. He held it out to me. Whatever it was made of was like silk and very thin. Pepper looked at me expectantly.

Could I really wear such a thing? Well, I'd done a lot of things in the past few days that I never could have imagined myself doing, so what the hell. I stepped into it and pulled it up. It felt like a coating of soap on my skin, slick and insubstantial. It also made me hard which delighted Pepper.

"Come," he said. "We go to the beach and be admired." He ran his hand over my ass. "You are very handsome. Others should see also."

So we did. And a lot of guys did look at us. I was very self conscious at first but I got over it. I found I liked being looked at by other men although I was always in danger of getting hard, especially if someone seemed to be focusing of the pouch that held my dick.

When Les and Jerry came across us on the beach Les looked us both up and down and said, "Wow, I didn't realize how much he'd changed you. Have we created a monster?"

We spent much of the day on the beach and then went to our room for a shower and a nap. In the shower I ran my hands over his butt, loving the feel of his smooth skin. About the third time I did that he took my hand away and turned around to look into my eyes. "Sadly, no. It is like these," he said, taking my nipples between his fingers. "American boys like it and Mexican boys like to do it, but not the reverse."

"You mean..." I reached around him and laid my hand on his ass.


He hadn't taken his hands from my nipples and I was now very hard. "Have you ever?"

He laughed and pulled me into a hug. "Yes, when I was much younger. My uncle. I liked it for a while but no longer. You are not too disappointed, are you?"

I kissed him. "No. If I ever want to do it I will just find myself an American boy to do it with."

"Shall I find one for you?"

It was my turn to laugh. "You would, wouldn't you? But no, I am perfectly happy with you and what you do to me." I was, and not only sexually.

"Then shall we?" He gestured towards the bed.

So it went for the next four days, two or three times a day, and, on a couple of days, four. We toured, shopped, ate and drank, but we always ended up in bed. If I could describe it using only one word that word would be bliss.

On our final day, waiting in the lobby for the taxi, I handed Pepper an envelope. "This is for Momicita in Mitla. And this is for you." I reached in my pocket and pulled out a heavy, silver I.D. bracelet. It had a small inset of enamel in the rainbow colors and Pepper engraved on it. On the back it said Thank You.

Pepper looked at it and then at me. "It is very beautiful," he said, putting it on. "As are you."

Later, on the plane I gave similar bracelets to Les and Jerry. "It's a wonderful souvenir," Jerry said. "You should have gotten one for yourself."

I pulled back my sleeve. There, on my arm, was one of the bracelets. Les looked at it and said, "But yours says Pepper. I nodded and took it off, letting him see. On the back was engraved, Who saved my life.

And when you think about it, he had.

Comments and criticisms eagerly received and always answered.

Greg Bowden