Places: Natchez
By John Yager

Some time ago I posted a series of four very short pieces under the collective title Seasons.

Many readers have since written to ask if I would do further such little vignettes. What follows is one such piece, part of a series titled Places, based on my own memories of some of my favorite cities and locations around the world, and the people I met while visiting them.

Andrew, thank you again for so much help, for good advice, for proofing and editing and, most of all, for making me look so much better than I am.

This work is copyrighted © by the author, 2004 and may not be reproduced in any form without specific written permission from the author. It is assigned to the Nifty Archives under the terms of their submission agreement but it may not be copied or archived on any other site without the written permission of the author.

"Why not come home with me?"  Blain Bude said. "We have five days."

"Okay,"? I responded on a whim.

I didn't know him all that well, but I had known him casually for over a year, since the beginning of our freshman year. Blain was an interesting guy, and there was no doubt about it, he was one very hot dude.

He had a neat, hard body, smooth and well defined, a runner's body. But what was most amazing about his appearance was his coloring.

Blain was tawny, like a jungle cat. His hair and skin were almost exactly the same color, the color of caramel or pale honey and his hair was short and wavy. His eyes almost matched the color of his hair and skin.

The spring break had started the previous Friday but Blain and I had both stayed on campus, needing to get a jump on a research projects.

Now, Tuesday afternoon, we'd both done all we intended, and done it much more rapidly than I, at least, thought possible. I had no reason to stay on campus for the rest of our break, but all my friends had headed out for Pascagoula or Pensacola and I was left behind with no plans.

I made a couple of calls, letting my folks know where I'd be, and we left the next day, driving south in Blain's Thunderbird.

We skirted Jackson, stopping at Vicksburg for lunch at a little river front tavern he knew. The place was old and had probably begun life as a less than respectable hostelry for river boat crews.  Now, however, it has been deemed historical and gentrified to serve the Yankee tourists and other assorted travelers.

The food was good but the service was slow. As we waited for our lunch to be served Blain told me a little more about his family and asked me questions about mine. It was odd, I realized, to be going off to spend several days at the home of a guy I hardly knew.

South of Vicksburg, Blain left the main road.  "We'll drive down the Natchez Trace," he said.

The Trace, the old road, which once led from Natchez all the way north into Tennessee, was then being restored. It was beautiful then, but even more beautiful now, more than four hundred miles of landscaped parkway maintained by the National Park Service.

We drove through dense woods and by old historic settlements. The Trace is a treasure of southern history and pride.

At four o'clock, just northeast of the old town of Natchez, we drove through imposing gates, by a discreet sign which said Bude Grove, and up a gravel drive between old bearded oaks and blooming Dogwood.

The house took me completely by surprise. Having grown up in a typical middle class home, I tended to forget there were other kinds of people in the world.

"The rich are different from you and me," F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, with good reason.

On campus Blain Bude didn't seem all that unlike the rest of us, but at home, surrounded by the trappings of old money and an old family name, it was clear he was very different from me.

He parked his car in front of the two story colonnaded house, in the broad gravel arrival area, and we got our bags out of the trunk. The air, I realized, was heavy and hot.

Blain's room, which he'd told me we'd share, was on the northeast corner of the upper floor. It had white louvered shutters hiding three big French windows, one facing the front of the house, and two facing the north side. The walls were pale gray and the floor was carpeted with tightly woven carpeting the same pale color as the walls. With a minimum of light filtering through the louvers, the room was dim and the air was cool.

Blain's bedroom was long and seemed to run back nearly half the depth of the house. There was a big bed at the back end and a setting area at the front. I looked at the bed with interest, assuming we'd be sharing it.

I put my bag on the big dresser and Blain said, "let's swim."

"Great," I said, digging into my duffle for a swimming suit as I got out of my clothes.

"You don't need a swimming suit," he called from the bathroom. "There's nobody around but us."


"Dad's in New York but you'll meet him Friday night. There's Mazy in the kitchen, I guess, but she's seen all before."

 I knew from what little Blain had told me about his family that he was an only child and that his mother had been dead for twelve years. "I hardly remember her," he'd told me.  "Like I said, there's nobody around."

"What about me," I heard a guy's voice from behind me say, and turned to see a kid our age, but several shades darker, coming in through the French windows from the balcony beyond. "Don't I count as somebody?"

"Hell, no, Tyler you don't count," Blain called with a laugh.  "John, that cocky piece of shit is Tyler Moore, Mazy's son and the bane of my existence."

Tyler and Blain seemed to be a sort of matching of opposites. Tyler was darker, about the color of café au lait, with black, kinky hair, compared with Blain's golden skin and golden hair. But apart from their coloring, they could have been cousins, if not brothers.

"Hi, Tyler," I said, trying to extend him a hand while I wrestled my jockeys over my left foot. As Tyler took my hand, his black eyes traveled down the length of my naked body, lingering at the level of my crotch.

"My, my, Blain," Tyler said with a broad grin, "you sure landed yourself one pretty fish this time."

"Why, thank you, Tyler," Blain said, as he walked naked from the bathroom.  "You and I do usually agree on matters of taste."

"Taste, for sure," Tyler laughed, as he released my hand from his warm grip and let me get out of my jocks without falling on my ass or into his arms.

"You coming swimming with us?" Blain asked.

"If I'm invited, hell, yes."

The pool was at the south side of the huge house, hidden from the font lawns by a low building which serves as a cabaña.

Blain had walked naked through the house and out onto the patio by the sparkling pool. I'd wrapped the towel he'd tossed me around my middle, and Tyler came along, still dressed in white shorts and matching polo shirt, which contrasted dramatically with his milk chocolate skin.

At the pool Blain dove in without hesitation, sending out circles of little waves as his slender body knifed into the calm water.

I tossed my towel onto a handy chair and followed my host as Tyler shed his clothes and joined us.

Within seconds a major naval battle had begun. We were splashing, ducking, grabbing, using the water fight as an excuse to fondle and explore.

Finally, winded and obviously aroused, the three of us pulled ourselves up onto the side of the pool and sat, side by side, Blain in the middle, our legs dangling in the cool water, and joyful in our youth.

"The pool looks immaculate, Tyler," Blain said when he'd caught his breath.

"Why, thank you mas'er," Tyler laughed, feigning an exaggerated accent.

"Tyler is our jack of all trades," Blain said to me by way of explanation. "He is also the resident wise ass."

Tyler laughed, but didn't contradict Blain's  assessment.

"So you and your mother both live and work here?"  I asked, trying to gain some understanding of the household.

"Yes, mama has worked here since she was my age. I do some odd jobs when I'm home from school."

"Do you go to school near by?"

"In Jackson," he said.  "Jackson State."

"So are you on spring break, too."

"Yep, but I get home most weekend anyway. It's a lot closer for me than for you white boys driving all the way from Oxford."

"You do know the University of Mississippi has been integrated for years, Tyler. You could have gone there if you'd chosen," Blain said.

"I'm quite happy were I am," Tyler said, giving Blain a friendly jab on his bare left thigh.

"What are you studying, Tyler?" I asked.

"Business,"  he said with a grin. "I figure I may end up running this place if that lazy friend of yours doesn't get his ass in gear and earn a degree in something more useful than writing and lit."

"That would please daddy on end," Blain laughed.

"You bet your white ass it would," Tyler chuckled.

Even though we were setting side by side, it was clear a good deal of mutual `checking-out' had been going on.

Both Blain and Tyler were a little shorter than me and both seemed to weigh a little less. They weren't as bulked as me, but they both had nice, smooth bodies and very credible equipment.

Blain's cock hung long and soft over his plump balls, which rested on the stone coping of the pool. Looking past him I could see that Tyler's cock was a darker version of Blain's, both of whom, like me, were circumcised.

"I was wondering," I said, deciding to ask one of the less forward of several obvious questions I'd been pondering, "did your mother name you Tyler for any particular reason?"

"Sure as hell," Tyler laughed as Blain guffawed. "If I'd been a girl, I'd be Mary. Mama is one big fan."

Tyler discreetly disappeared after the swim, saying he had some things to see to.

Blain and I went back to his room, where we pulled on shorts and knit sport shirts. Shoes at Bude Grove, I learned meant sandals, at least when Blain's father was away.

We ate dinner that evening on the patio by the pool, and it was there that I finally met Mazy. She was a strikingly handsome woman. I figured she had to be in her mid to late thirties but she looked younger.

It occurred to me that she would have been our age or younger when Tyler was born. Her skin was the color of her son's and she had the baring of a queen.

Mazy didn't just serve dinner, she presented it. Each dish was an obvious labor of love and she accepted our frequent compliments with dignity and grace.

"You can't imagine how much I miss your cooking, Mazy," Blain said several times, and I knew he was speaking the truth."

After dinner, as the evening came on and the air became cooler, Blain took me on a long walk around the place.

Beyond the wide lawns which surrounded the magnificent old house, were fields and stables and barns. Some distance north along a winding lane we came to a cluster of cottages were, Blain explained, the farm workers lived.

"How big is this place?" I asked in awe as its scale dawned on me.

"Not all that large," Blain said, "just over three hundred acres, but we own three larger farms east of here, between Eddiceton and Bude, but most of the workers live here."

"There's a town named Bude?"

"Yes, it was founded by my great, great grandfather. But the family has lived here at Bude Grove since 1856. In addition to the farms, we have several business interests here in Natchez."

"I guess some of the people who work here are the decedents of slaves," I said, not knowing if I was venturing into thorny terrain.

"I'd say most of them are," Blain responded. There was no sense of apology or embarrassment in his reply.

"Is that true of Mazy and Tyler?"

"Certainly, it is. Mazy's family have lived and worked here at Bude Grove as long as the house has existed."

"Your family has been in this part of the state for a long time."

"Yes, well over a hundred years. The first Bude in Mississippi came here in 1841 from England. He came from a town on the Cornwell coast which is also called Bude. I guess the history of the family there can be traced back to the Norman Conquest or before."

"I couldn't tell you much about my family history further back than my grandparents. Maybe my folks know more, but it isn't a topic we've ever discussed," I said as we turned back toward the house.

"Did you ever consider you might be lucky?"

"I never really thought about it, but knowing so much about your family history is really amazing," I said.

"A blessing and a curse," Blain said with a chuckle. "There are sure more dark closets, and every one with a skeleton hiding in it."

The last light of the spring evening illuminated the imposing house as we approached, walking across the lawns toward the rear of Bude Grove.

From that angle I saw that the house was square, about sixty feet on each side, and surrounded by a two story colonnade. An elevated porch ran around the lower floor and a gallery of the same width surrounded the house on the upper floor. Huge Ionic columns, eight on each side, formed the outer facade of the imposing structure.

The house had a pyramidal roof which in turn was crowned by a tasteful cupola. To the sides and rear of the house, other smaller free standing buildings had been added, completing the complex.

"It's a beautiful house, Blain," I said as we walked across the last hundred feet of manicured lawn.

"Yes," he said, and despite his earlier sarcasm, I could tell he loved the place. "Bude Grove is in the registry of national landmarks. We open the house for public tours during the Natchez Pilgrimages."

I'd heard people refer to the Natchez Pilgrimages. In fact, I remember my mother came down a few years earlier for the house and garden tours with a group from our church. It was odd to think she'd probably seen the place were I was now a house guest.

"It is exquisite, really exquisite," I said.

"It's considered one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in America," he added.

Back in Blain's room he suggested we shower again. We were both sweaty after our walk and it seemed like a good idea.

"Go ahead," he said as I was pulling off my shirt and shorts.  "I'll join you in a minute."

I wasn't sure what he meant by `join,' but I adjusted the water temperature and stepped into the big glass shower stall. A few moments later, as the warm water poured into my face, I heard the door open and Blain step in.

"Hand me the soap," he said. "I'll wash your back."

I did as he said, bracing myself against the tile wall, as his well lathered hands worked their way down my back and over my hips. I wasn't surprised when his fingers invaded the crack of my ass and then gently probed my pucker.

We'd not discussed having sex, but I realized it had become an unspoken assumption that we'd be sharing each others bodies, just as we would share Blain's big bed.  "Turn around," he said when he was satisfied that my backside was completely clean.

I turned, leaning back against the wet wall of the shower, as he washed my chest and legs with care.

Then, as a final step, he lathered his hands and grasped my balls and cock, gently soaping them and rinsing them and then repeating the process a second time.

I was hard before he finished, but he made no effort to bring me to climax. That, I knew, would come.

When he finished, he handed me the soap and, without a word, turned his back to me, bracing himself against the tile wall, as I'd done.

I washed him as thoroughly as he'd washed me, working my one finger deep into his ass, as he'd done with mine. He moaned when my finger prodded the hard knot of his prostate and, when I finished with his back and he turned so I could wash his front, he was already fully erect.

His cock arched up in a gentle curve, the head pointing toward his hard belly.

My own cock was straight, but equally hard.  When we'd dried ourselves and each other and gone naked back to the bedroom, I saw the reason for his delay in joining me in the shower.

Blain had lit half a dozen candles and placed them on the bed stand and dresser and the end table by the sofa in the setting area. There was no other light and the candles flickered softly on the ceiling and walls. The bed had been turned back, revealing immaculate white sheets.

"Which side do you prefer?" Blain asked, always the consummate host.

"No preference," I said, boldly taking him in my arms and kissing his soft, full lips.

"Um, nice," he said when our lips parted. "Now, let's get in bed."

We rolled over the sheets in a tangle of limbs, finally coming to rest in the very center of the big bed, Blain on his back and me lying on him, or bodies pressed together from lips to crotch. His legs, first spread in welcome, came up to lock around my hips, binding us together.

I quickly discovered that the boy was a great kisser and an animated lover. Being naked and in bed with him was not unlike erotic wrestling. It was clear he enjoyed plying his strength against mine, first testing, then capitulating to my holds.

It wasn't long before the room was filled with the odors of male sweat as we grappled and tussled in the big bed. We'd tossed and rolled together for at least half an hour, me on top of him and then him on top of me. But in the end, my slight weight advantage told the tale and I pinned him on his back, in almost the same position in which we'd begun.

"Fuck me," he said, breathing hard, his chest heaving against mine.

"Got lube?"

"Yeah," he said, "in the drawer."

When I rolled off of him to find the partially used tube, he made no effort to escape, lying immobile on his back .

I lifted his legs up, resting them on my shoulders, and I worked my fingers into his tight ass.

It yielded quickly. It was clear he'd done this before.

I ran my well lubed hand over the length of my hard cock and positioned myself to enter him.

He emitted a long, slow sigh as I sank in full length.

"Yes," he hissed as my cock slid into him.

His ass was so hot I felt as if my cock had entered a furnace, a smooth, wet sweltering.

I held still, letting him adjust, which didn't take much time at all. He nudged me with his heals, pressing into my buttocks and at the same time, said, "yeah."

"Yeah?" I responded, teasing him, making him beg.

"Yes, damn it," he growled, "fuck me as hard as you can."

Smiling slightly, my eyes fixed on his, I pulled back, almost out, than slammed forward again.

"Yeah," he groaned and I knew he really meant it. He wanted a hard, rough fuck and it looked like he could take all I had to offer.

I drew back again and pistoned in. He didn't flinch and I did it again.

His eyes opened wide and he groaned. "Yeah, yeah."

On the in-stroke his ass clinched around my cock, sending a jolt of pleasure up my spine.

I had the rhythm going, the hard, driving rhythm of no-holds-bared male sex. I pounded his talented ass as he bucked and thrust his body to receive each stroke.

I don't know how long I fucked him but it seemed to go on and on. The room was steamy hot and our bodies dripped with sweat.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw the candle on bed stand sputter in its pool of melted wax and go out with an almost reptilian hiss.

I was almost at that moment when the world stops spinning and time stands still, when I felt, before I heard, a movement behind me in the darkening room.

I felt my body jolt in surprise, suddenly aware that someone was behind me, and then relax a second later when I recognized Tyler's voice say, "oh, what a pretty sight."

"God damn it, Ty," Blain groaned.

A second later his cock exploded, dappling his chest.

His ass clinched one more time and I erupted, too, filling him with my spunk.

I collapsed onto Blain's heaving chest as we both fought for air.

Tyler came around to the bed and sat down at our side with all the familiarity of a doctor making house calls.

"How fucking long have you been there," Blain said eventually when he was breathing more normally.

I'd rolled off him to the other side. My cock was still hard, wet and dripping but I made no attempt to hide it from Tyler's interested stare.

"Oh, my, I don't know," Tyler crooned, his eyes still fixed on my cock. "John already had his what-its in your whose-its when I arrived."

We lay there for a few minutes longer, our hearts still pounding from the exertion, when Blain rolled over toward Tyler and said, "if you intend to crash this party, you need to conform to the acceptable dress code."

"I take that to be bare ass naked," Tyler chortled, standing up and pulling off his clothes.

"You got it, mister," Blain laughed as the third man joined the festivities.

Tyler lay down beside Blain and it was clear his own cock was getting hard. A moment later he sat up and made an awful face. 

"My goodness, you boys stink!" he said, swinging his butt around so he was setting on the side of the bed, his feet on the carpeted floor.

"Come on," he said, gripping Blain's hand. "Shower time."

"We did shower," Blain protested.

"Well, you need to shower again. You smell like shit."

"I thought you liked the smell of shit," Blain laughed as we grudgingly got up off the big bed.

"I do, in moderation," Tyler said, as he grabbed the sheets and rolled them into a bundle which he proceeded to carry into the bathroom ahead of us. He lifted the top of a big wicker hamper and tossed them in. "You two start scouring your selves while I get some clean sheets on that squalor you call a bed."

We were too tired to be very energetic, but I had washed Blain and he'd begun to wash me before Tyler returned. He opened the glass door and joined us, which made for a bit of crowding in the stall, but we weren't complaining.

The warm water rolled over our bodies, soothing tired  muscles and rinsing away the residue of our energetic sex.  Blain soaped Tyler, washing him as thoroughly as he'd washed me during our earlier shower.

"I think we all pass inspection," Blain finally said, reaching out for fresh towels.  It was cramped, trying to dry in the shower, so as each of us blotted the worst of the drips, we stepped out of the stall and finished the process in the larger space of the bathroom; three horny boys, two light, one dark.

The bed was fresh and the candles had all burned out. The room was cool and dark with only a soft light filtering in from the bathroom.

Blain was again in the middle, Tyler on his left and me on his right.

"That really was amazing," Tyler eventually said as the three of us fondled and stroked.

"John and me?" Blain said.

"Yessssss," Tyler crooned.

"Ah, shucks," Blain laughed, "we was just fucking.

"Is that what that was?" Tyler twittered. "I sure wish I could get myself some of that fucking."

"I suspect that could be arranged," Blain laughed.

"Speak for yourself," I put in. "I'm worn out."

"Your pee pee doesn't look warn out," Tyler giggled, rising up just a little and looking over Blain's torso to stair again at my cock.

He was right. My cock was hard, as were theirs.

"Blain, you trade places with me," Tyler said. "I want to get a good taste of Johnny's cute ass."

They did some sort of duck and roll and suddenly Tyler was on his back between us. 

"Now, come here," he said, taking my arm and pulling me toward him.

"You just as well give in," Blain laughed. "Tyler has a will of his own."

I sat up, trying to figure out what position he wanted me in.

"Just put your knees on either side of my chest," Tyler said. "No, not facing me, turn the other way."

I did as he said, kneeling over him, facing the foot of the bed, as Blain came around to kneel between Tyler's widespread legs, facing me.

Tyler grasped my hips and drew me back a little.

"Now, just lower that cute ass."

"Like this?" I said, lowering my buttocks.

"Yeasss, set on my face, boy," Tyler groaned.

I did as he said and his wet lips locked over the pucker of my ass and his talented tongue began to lick and probe.

I'd been rimmed a couple of times before but nothing like this. Tyler was slobbering and licking and probing all at the same time and within seconds I felt the stiff point of his tongue thrusting into my ass.

Blain, watching my face, laughed. I guess my eyes popped open and my mouth spring wide in amazement.

"That boy loves to eat ass," Blain said as he moved forward toward me, straddling Tyler's lower body in the process. He reached down and grasped my cock, moving it so he could hold it and his side by side in his hands and stroke them together.

As soon as he had the mechanics of that maneuver working, he leaned forward and pressed his lips to mine. It as an amazing sensation, Tyler's tongue in my ass, Blain's tongue in my mouth, and stroking our cocks in his already wet, sticky hands.

We were groaning and I could feel my juices rising when Tyler loosened his mouth from my ass just long enough to utter a few words.

"Blain, don't you dare get John off again. I want his load in my booty so don't go stealing what's mine."

Blain and I giggled through our joined lips, but he did slow down on our cocks.

"I bet if he came now, he could fuck you in half an hour," Blain said, backing off my lips for a moment.

"Is that right, John?" Tyler said. His voice was muffled and sounded as if he was a long way off.

"Probably," I said. "Yeah."

"Well, okay then," Tyler said, and moved his mouth back to engulf my ass. Soon his tongue was deeper in me than I'd ever thought a tongue could go.  He spread the cheeks of my ass with his strong fingers, giving himself greater access, and pushed further in.

With his left hand, Blain was reaching behind himself and I got the feeling he was playing with Tyler's cock.  He rose up a little, breaking away from our kiss and I stared at him with a questioning look.

"I'm getting Tyler's cock in my ass," he said, sliding down slowly with a satisfied moan.

"Is he in you?" I asked in amazement.

"Yeah, I just sat on his cock and slid down all the way. He's in me as far as he can go."

"Oh, gees," I growled, "that's so fucking hot."

He leaned forward and we kissed again. His right hand abandoned our cocks, which were happy, just the same, pressed between his hard belly and mine.

Blain's now free right hand came up to caress the back of my neck. His fingers twisted through my hair and he pressed my head forward, deepening our kiss.

I reached around him, stroking his back, then, on a whim, moved my right hand down over his rear until I could feel Tyler's cock.  I ran one finger up the shaft, felling the stretched pucker of Blain's ass as Tyler's hard cock moved slowly in and out of it.

It was amazing how we managed to get a rhythm going which allowed all three of us to participate in our threesome to maximum effect. But somehow we did.

Tyler's tongue fucked my ass as his cock fucked Blain's. The movement of our bodies pressed and stroked Blain's cock and mine and it wasn't long before I knew I was about to come.

As I felt my second climax of the night hit me, a growl escaped my lips and was joined by equally intense roars from both Blain and Tyler.

I don't know what was going on with them, but my cock erupted as Tyler gave an especially deep thrust of his amazing tongue into the dark recesses of my ass.  My jazz spurted up across my belly and then ran back down again, coating my cock and matting in my pubic hair.

Blain and I rolled to the side, taking Tyler with us, and the three of us ending up in one amazing tangle of limps.

The bed, needless to say, was again a royal mess.

I did fuck Tyler, but that came later.

Over the next few days the three of us did about everything three horny young guys can do together. Tyler was often, but not always, a part of our games. Blain and I did have a few periods of very hot sex with just the two of us together.

I never did really understand how and when Tyler considered himself welcome.  I guess really, he always felt free to join in our fun if he didn't have other things he needed to do.

Eventually the truth about their similar looks came out. 

"Tyler is my cousin,"  Blain said, "but my father would never admit it publicly."

"Cousin?" I asked. "Not half brother?"

"No, daddy would never have gotten over his hang-ups and had a sexual relationship with one of the help."

We were laying naked on his bed on Friday afternoon. The room was cool and we were more or less played out, at least I was.  I'd begun to think Blain was insatiable were sex was concerned and it looked as if Tyler had inherited the same stamina.

"Is that because of some racial attitude on his part?"  I asked, realizing that I was venturing into delicate territory.

"Probably, but he'd never admit it,"  Blain said, then added, "no, it was my Uncle Jared, daddy's younger brother, who fathered Tyler. Then, just a month before Mazy's son was born, Jared had the gall to wrap his Corvette around a tree down toward Baton Rouge."

"As in fatally wrap?"

"Very fatal. That was all before my time so all I know is what I've been told.  I heard the whole story from Bemis, Mazy's older brother.  Daddy never talks about it, but he has taken responsibility for Tyler, being sure he's gotten an education.  I'm sure he'll offer Tyler a job with Bude and Company, if he wants it.

"It sounded from what Tyler said about eventually running things if you don't step in, that he'd love to work his way up the ladder."

"More power to him," Blain said with a smile and then turned his attention to my nearly exhausted cock.

Later that afternoon Blain's father got home.  I didn't actually meet him until dinner that evening, for which Blain said we'd be expected to wear jackets and ties.

"Didn't bring either," I informed him.

"You can wear anything of mine that fits."

I managed in a dark blue blazer, which was a little tight in the shoulders and chest, but okay if I didn't button it.  With the rest of the outfit, white shirt, gray slacks, a University of Mississippi tie and a pair of Blain's black loafers, I guess I passed muster.

There were two other men and one woman at dinner, which for the first time was served in the big, rather oppressive dinning room.

The other guests were business associates and the talk was mostly about the meetings in New York from which they'd all just returned.  The senior Mr. Bude was not exactly what I'd expected.  He was clearly a citizen of the 'New South,'  progressive and broadminded, on the surface, at least.  I suspected that he was more complicated than was apparent at first meeting, but one thing was sure; he was one cold fish.

Blain and I made polite conversation but as soon as the others went into the library for brandy and coffee, we excused ourselves on the pretext of watching a tennis match on television. I only saw Mr. Bude one other time during that visit and that was to say my formal thank you and good bye on Sunday before Blain and I left to head back to the university.

"Pleased you came, John,"  he said, looking up from his paper, which I noticed was the New York Sunday Times.  "You're always welcome.  Do come to see us again."

I felt it was what he said to any friend his son brought home.

"Does your father know you're gay?  I asked Blain as we headed back north on I-55.

"Probably," Blain smiled. "If he knows, he doesn't care."

"Doesn't he mind not having grandchildren to carry on the family line?"

"Oh, I didn't say that.  In fact, he'll get his grand kids.  He's made that clear from the time I was old enough to understand."

"He expects you to get married and have children?"

"Yes, by the time I'm twenty-five."

"How do you feel about that?"

"Well, if it's just for breeding, it's fine with me.  Daddy will choose an appropriate filly and I'll do my part.  It's a fact of life, if you're a Bude."

The end.