A Trail West

Book III: Golden Gate

by: Richard

This is a work of fiction and in no way draws on the lives of any specific person or persons. If there is any similarity to any real persons or events it is entirely coincidental. Some license has been taken with places as well.

The work is copy righted (c) by the author and may not be reproduced in any form without the specific written permission of 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.

Thanks to Rob (in Atlanta) a note: "... In chapter 2, which is set in 1833, it mentions Atlanta. Atlanta did not exist, yet. It might have existed as a little railroad village called Terminus.In the 1840s, as it began to grow due to the railroads, it was named Marthasville. Later in the 1850s, it was renamed Atlanta. It wasn't much of a town until the 1850s. Even during the Civil War, it was smaller than Savannah."

Thanks to RC a note (re: Chapter 7): "Saratoga wagons? Maybe you meant Conestoga wagons...." I was referring to the "covered wagons".

I want to thank all of you who have written to me about the story. Your comments are greatly appreciated. I hope that I haven't missed writing back to any of you. Here is the final chapter of this historical story.

Chapter 10

In the next weeks Byron puzzled over the dilemma which had developed. He was going to have to decide sometime soon which of the two men he was going to live with. It was further complicated by the fact that he was already living with one of them, namely Peter.

With Peter it was pure unadulterated lust, and who could argue that when it comes to sex, that lust is not what it's all about? On the other hand, when one employs a person, and then has sex with them, how can one be sure of the affections of that person?

Nathan was a different story, he had been taken with Byron, so he claimed, from the first time he saw him. And had waited until now to make his affection known. Nathan was a dear person, but his hesitancy in approaching him, seemed to Byron, to show lack of passion. The picture that Byron got was of a very submissive person, one not willing to take a chance now and again.Still, Byron thought, He did come to me that first night.

Byron tried to keep the question to the back of his mind. There was time, he told himself. Perhaps when they all return home, things would be different.

Both men seemed to find the occasional meeting with Byron sufficient. And both had excuses for either seeing him or not seeing him as they chose. And neither suspected that Byron was seeing anyone else, and since neither asked, Byron did not tell them.

As the troupe moved from place to place, working its way back to San Francisco, there were occasions when it was not possible for Byron to be with either of them.

When they arrived home in San Francisco, all were glad to be back. Peter because he had something to do besides just making sure that Byron had the clothes that he needed. Nathan because he had friends he wished to see. And Byron because he was just plain tired of traveling.

Nathan, who had been staying with Byron, went off to visit with friends, and said that he would be gone several weeks.

Peter set out to clean the house, and put the yard back into shape. He was quite discouraged when he viewed the weeds which had grown up in his flower beds. While the grass had been cared for, the flower beds had not.

Byron visited his bank, and met with the producer and director regarding the new season.

One afternoon Byron was walking along the docks where the ships tied up upon arriving from the East. It was a pleasant day, the weather fair and rather cool for September. He wasn't paying much attention to where he was going to what he was seeing.

"Byron!" A voice called, "Byron Harper!"

He turned to see who was calling his name. Down the street from where he'd come, a tall dark haired man was waving at him. He stopped and waited. The man hurried to catch up with him.

When the man approached Byron was certain that he recalled the face, but no name would come to mind. He would just have to wait.

The man was rather plain looking, nothing to make one notice him in a crowd, not until one looked into his eyes. His gaze was intense and his eyes dark and sparkling. A hint of mustache traced across his upper lip in stark contrast to his fair skin.

"You are Byron Harper, aren't you?" the man said as he extended his hand to Byron.

"Yes, Sir, I am," Byron replied extending his hand also, "I know that I should know your name, but I can not recall it for the life of me."

"Evers, Jason Evers," Jason replied, "Atlanta Georgia."

"Of course, Jason," Byron now recalled. He'd been in classes with Jason, among others, and had visited at his home on one occasion.

"What are you doing in California?" Byron asked smiling.

"Seeking my fortune," Jason laughed, "And you how long have you been here?"

"It's been near two years now," Byron replied. "Did you just arrive?"

"Yes, just yesterday," Jason said, "I've been looking for a place to stay while I get set up."

"Have any luck?"

"Not really," Jason frowned, "I do have a room at some run-down hotel, nothing fancy. I guess it'll do."

"Well," Byron said, "You must come and stay with me then. I've got plenty of room." It wasn't quite true, but there was an empty room, beside the one which Nathan used.

"Thank you, Byron," Jason smiled, "I'd be delighted. Where are you headed now?"

"No where in particular. Just out for a stroll. I had a meeting down town earlier. Lunch always makes me sleepy and so I walk until I feel better."

"You're looking quite well, Byron," Jason said, "As thin as ever, I see."

"You're looking fit too, no extra pounds there," Byron pointed and tapped on Jason's stomach. "What ever became of Joel and the others you used to pal around with?"

"Joel went to New York, and is in the theater there. He always was such a character. John Pillar is in business with his father in Charleston. Paul Mason still lives in Atlanta, last I heard he was working in a bank. And Billy Paxton, you remember him, the short rather stocky guy. Last time I saw him I'll be he weighed over two hundred pounds. Owns a restaurant, lucky thing, the way he likes to eat. And Jimmy Kent, did you know him? Well, he was killed in an accident, rather a strange affair. No one knows exactly how it happened."

"I didn't know Jimmy, at least I can't recall the name," Byron answered, and then said, "So Joel's in the theater. That's interesting, because I am too."

"Is that so? I would never have guessed." Jason looked Byron over once again, as if seeing him for the first time. "You must be doing quite well."

"Well," Byron said, "I have been so far." He didn't want to boast. "So, where are you headed now?" he asked.

"I just came down to get some of my things from the ship, and take them to my room."

"Well, let's go back to my place and get the carriage, we can move them to my place, that is if you have decided to accept my invitation."

"Of course, I'd be delighted." They turned away from the docks and headed up the long hill, talking as they walked. Jason filled him in on his family, and Byron talked about the trip overland with the wagon trail.

"I wanted to come that way, but Mother wouldn't hear of it. She was opposed to my coming in the first place, but to travel by wagon, as she put it, was too, too much." They laughed.

"How did you come to decide on California?" Byron asked.

"It was something I read in the paper a year or so ago. My father's bank is doing so well, and he's decided that he wants to expand. When I suggested California, he went along with it. So here I am."

"Well, we're almost there," Byron pointed, "There at the top, the one with the fireplace chimney in front, that's mine."

Jason looked, and saw the two story house with a vague hint of Colonial Style architecture.

"Say," Jason said, "You are doing well!"

Byron didn't respond, but was pleased. Once inside, Byron asked Peter to hitch up the team, and while they were gone to fix up the spare room for Jason.

Peter first fixed them tall cool drinks, and then headed out to get the carriage ready. Byron showed Jason around the house, and took him up to show him the room. By the time they finished the tour, Peter had returned from the stable.

"The carriage is ready, Mister Byron," Peter said quite formally.

"Thank you, Peter."

"Whatever happened to Charles, I believe his name was, your man while you were in Atlanta?" Jason asked.

"We lost him during the trip," Byron said, a vision of the storm appeared briefly in his mind. "A bad storm in the mountains and he died of pneumonia."

"Oh, I am sorry to hear that. He seemed quite a nice man."

"Yes, he was." Byron paused, "Well, if you're ready, we can go get your things."

"I'm ready!" Jason answered smiling. Byron wondered as he drove carefully down the steep hill, whether inviting Jason to stay was such a good idea. "Oh well," he thought, "He'll be just staying for a while. It can't hurt."

Later that evening as he and Jason were relaxing in the library after dinner, he began to feel more comfortable with Jason. He was a pleasant, agreeable sort. Maybe that's what he needed in his life, a wider variety of people.

"And you've never married?" Jason asked.

"No," Byron tensed, "Just never got around to it, I guess."

"Me neither. I never could get the hang of women, so to speak. Never could figure out what it was they were interested in."

Byron looked puzzled, A strange way of putting! he thought. "I guess," Byron said, testing, "I know what interests them most are two things," he paused, "Money, and this!" He put his hand on his own crotch.

Jason blushed, "I suppose."

Byron regretted momentarily having made the remark he had, until he sensed a certain look in Jason's face, a look which told him something he hadn't known before. He decided to find out for sure.

"You knew Joel quite well, didn't you?" Byron asked.

"I suppose you might say that we were close. Why do you ask?" Jason blushed again.

"Oh, I was just curious. It was something he said one time." Byron was fishing, and he hoped that Jason wouldn't catch on.

"Was it about the time of the party?" Jason was flustered, and couldn't figure out what Joel could have said.

"I think it was later," Byron answered calmly.

"That Joel," Jason said, "He was always starting something!"

"In what way?"

"Well," Jason said, "You remember the night of the party? When you and he went upstairs?"

"Yes, only too well," Byron laughed, "Spilled his drink on me, and then on the pretext of getting the stain out, took me upstairs where he tried to get me into bed."

"He did the same thing to me the first time we met," said Jason.

"So that's why everybody looked at us funny when we came down," Byron knew already that that was true.

"Yeah," Jason blushed, and added, "But he wouldn't tell us anything about you when we asked later, after you had gone."

"What did you ask?" Byron was teasing.

Jason was a bit unsettled by the conversation, not sure where it was going. He still wasn't certain whether what everyone had suspected was true, whether Byron was one of them.

"Oh, you know, the usual."

"I see, and he wouldn't tell you?"

"No, and Paul was quite upset."

"I recall that Joel had said something later, regarding Paul, but I don't recall what it was exactly."

"Paul was the one that got us all together, as group," Jason said. "He was by far, the most outrageous of the group."

"Really? I should have thought it was Joel."

"Oh no," Jason said, "It was just with you, he knew at once, that Joel wanted you, and would have done anything to have his way. It was well understood, even before the party that night.

"If Paul had tried anything with you, Joel would have destroyed him. Literally. He would have, that's the way Joel was, and Paul knew it."

Byron was amazed at the frankness which Jason was revealing to him now that the ice had been broken.

"So Joel never told you about what between us?"

"Not that night he didn't. But later, after the other party, at my parents house, he did admit that you had gone to his place, and had stayed quite a while. But he never gave any details on you. That was strange too, because he was always quite free with the details on others he was with."

"I'm glad," Byron said looking at Jason and smiling.

Jason smiled back, "It makes it so much more interesting, if you find out for yourself."

"Shall we go up?" Byron asked.

"But of course," Jason smiled.

"You go ahead, I'll come to your room. I must speak with Peter about tomorrow." Byron said. Jason went up the stairs, and Byron walked into the kitchen where he assumed he'd find Peter.

Peter wasn't anywhere to be found, down stairs, so Byron went up the stairs and walked down the hall to Peter's room. He knocked softly, and opened the door.

By the light from the gaslight on the wall by the door, Byron could see Peter was in bed. But he was not alone. It was Nathan!

They both sat up and looked at him.

"Excuse me," Byron said, and he quietly closed the door. He walked quickly to his room and slipped into his robe. He was about to leave when they was a knock at the door.

He opened it, it was Peter.

"Mister Byron," Peter looked remorseful, "I sorry you find us together."

"It's alright, Peter," Byron said.

"It not alright, Master," Peter was in tears now. "I should not bring him here, and should not sleep with him."

"It's okay, Peter. Really it is," Byron was surprised, of course, but he wasn't angry or upset. He sort of half expected that the two would eventually get together. He had been surprised that it hadn't happened sooner. Perhaps it had and he just never saw it.

There was another knock at the open door, it was Nathan. He was dressed.

"I'm sorry, Byron," he said. "I'm leaving now."

"Nathan, wait," Byron said. "There's no need for you to leave. You've done nothing wrong, neither of you have.

"Please," he said, "Go back to bed, we'll talk in the morning." He hoped that his tone of voice would convince them that he was sincere in what he said.

"You're sure?" Nathan asked.

"I'm sure," Byron smiled. Peter and Nathan left and went back to Peter's room. Byron waited a moment and then walked the other direction down to Jason's room, which was at the end of the hall next to Nathan's room.


Jason was anxious as he waited for Byron to join him. While he waited he unpacked a few things which he would need for his short stay. He put on a lightweight robe he had found in one case. For the trip he'd used his heavier robe all of the time.

He sensed that something had delayed Byron and wondered what it might be. He picked up his diary and began writing in it. He'd started keeping the diary when he left Atlanta on his trip here, telling all about the voyage so that he would have something to write to his parents after he got here. Now he found he was going to include things from after his arrival as well.

October 17th, 1845: Ran into an old school chum, Byron Harper this afternoon. He's invited me to stay with him while I look for a place of my own. He's perfectly delightful, and even more handsome than I remembered him. Strangely enough, he is in the theater. Although he's into the business end of it as well as being onstage. I must send a letter to Joel to let him know. Joel will be perfectly livid with jealousy when he learns that I am staying with Byron.

Byron's man is cute, tall and Black as was Charles, who died on their trek across the mountains. It must have been awful. It took from April until October to travel the distance. While it took us more than that, we had a lot further distance to travel.

Byron and I are developing an understanding, as it were. Tonight we will sleep together for the first time. I can hardly wait. More.

He quickly put the diary away, as he didn't want Byron to see him writing in it.

Byron knocked on the door as he arrived at the spare room.

Jason hurriedly opened the door. He had barely closed the door when Byron took him without a word and began kissing him. Jason responded eagerly, but was surprised by the suddenness and vigor which Byron exhibited. He had pictured Byron more as the kind of person who had to be convinced that it was all right to do what they had intended.

They soon found themselves on the bed, their robes on the floor embracing in fiery passion. Byron lay back on the bed after a moment, as if to say, "You go first."

Jason looked down at the handsome body before him. His eyes were drawn immediately to the tall thick cock poised before him. He had never seen anything like in all his days. He'd thought that Joel was impressive, but Byron exceeded him in all ways possible. "No wonder Joel never told us about him," he said to himself.

Byron sensed Jason's apprehension, and whispered softly, "Don't worry, I won't hurt you."

Jason lay on the bed between Byron's legs. He fondled the giant cock with both hands while his tongue licked at the balls which hung loosely below. Byron's body was virtually hairless, only a small reddish patch around his cock.

Byron moaned in delight as Jason began tracing the shaft with his tongue, fingering the large balls with one hand while tickling Byron's ass with a finger of the other.

Jason at last reached the tip of the cock and ran his tongue inside the foreskin which brought Byron's hips up forcing the end of the cock into Jason's warm moist mouth. Jason soon knew that he could never take all of the cock into his throat, but he worked as much of it into his mouth as he could, barely achieving one half of it.

He sensed that Byron would climax if he continued, and he wished to postpone that as long as possible. He moved so that he lay beside him and they kissed. Byron rolled Jason onto his back and began licking this chest and nipples with his tongue. He worked slowly down to Jason's hot which pulsed wildly, nearly exploding. Byron felt it and completely covered it with his mouth taking the long thick shaft deeply into his throat. Jason gasped a he felt himself give way, and explode in violent climax sending wave after wave of hot liquid into Byron's throat. Byron gulped, his throat constricting tightly on Jason's cock evoking moans of pleasure from Jason's chest as he continued to expelled his load of cum.

When Jason began to relax and his cock drooped as it softened, Byron's tongue bathed Jason's balls working down to the quivering opening below. Jason spread his legs and lifted his knees to allow Byron to reach deeper and deeper into him. He moan and shuddered as the long hot tongue prodded his ass.

When Jason could no longer stand the sensation he looked up and whispered, "Fuck me, Byron, please."

Byron leaned over and kissed him hotly on the lips, and leaned back. He lifted Jason's legs above his shoulders and opened his lips allowing saliva to drip on his hot cock. With one hand he reached down and moistened the head and shaft, and aimed the eager cock toward its goal. Slowly he began pushing it into the resisting opening. He paused and smiled down at Jason, his eyes closed his lips parted and breathing rapidly.

"Relax," Byron said softly and tenderly, "Relax." Jason smiled. Byron once again pushed gently. This time the sphincter eased open and Byron slowly pushed his cock fully into Jason's cavity. Jason's shuddered and gasped as he felt the fiery shaft slicing into him. Byron stopped pushing and relax the tension. Jason's breathing slowed again. For a moment Byron remained still, and then began his inexorable quest, withdrawing nearly out and then pounding back to the limit. Moments later Jason felt Byron stiffen as he was poised to climax. He felt two more thundering blows and Byron's cock thickened to the maximum and spewed forth its fiery load. Jason gasped and clenched tightly upon the foaming pole extracting wave after wave into himself. A moment later Byron collapsed above him exhausted and lay motionless.

Jason could feel the huge cock pulsing spasmodically for minutes afterward, and his ass grasped it tighter as Byron's shaft began to shrink. At last Byron rolled to one side and lay there as the hot cum leaked out from around him. They kissed and lay quietly neither speaking for fear of breaking the spell.

It was Byron who at last spoke, "I must leave. I don't want Peter to think that you're that kind of person."

"I don't care what he thinks, please stay," Jason pleaded.

"No, I must go. But," he added, "I'll be back tomorrow night." Byron kissed him tenderly and grabbed his robe and left.

Jason lay for a moment on the bed relishing the feelings he was experiencing. He got up and went to his case where he put his diary.

Later: I believe that I was transport to heaven, or to hell, I can not say. If I were describe all the I have seen or felt, no one would believe me. All I will say is, if it was heaven then let me die quickly and return. If it was hell, the let me burn forever! I shall never leave this place. I have found HIM at last!

While Jason slept in the morning Byron spoke to Peter as he had said he would the night before.

"Peter," he asked, "Are you in love with Nathan?"

"Honestly, Mister Byron, I don't know what that means." Peter was frightened.

"I gather you like sleeping with him?"

"Yes, Sir."

"You like to do things with him, go places, be with him?"

"Yes, Sir."

"If someone tried to hurt him, what would you do?"

"I'd stop them," Peter said firmly. "No one can hurt him!"

"Would you like to live with him, if he lived somewhere besides here?" Byron asked.

"Yes, Sir," Peter frowned, "But I like working here too."

"Very good, Peter," Byron said, "You may fix breakfast now. I'll speak with Nathan and see how he feels, okay?"

"Yes, Sir." Peter nodded and hurried off to prepare breakfast.

Byron climbed the stairs and walked first to Peter's room. He knocked and waited for Nathan to open the door.

Nathan was fully dressed, apparently he knew that Byron would come to him.

"I'm sorry, Byron," he said when he saw that it was him, "I truly am."

"Don't be, Nathan. Peter is very special. If you like him, there's no reason you shouldn't be with him. And you're special too, and he likes you," Byron said calmly.

"Byron," Nathan said, "I'm in love with him. I want him to live with me."

"I gathered as much, and I think he loves you too."

"But," Nathan said, "There's a problem."

"What's that?"

"If he moves in with me, and doesn't work, there won't be enough money."

"Don't worry, Nathan," Byron smiled, "He can live with you and still work for me."

"You mean you'd keep him on, even after all this?"

Of course," Byron said, "He's a good worker, so why should I let him go. I don't need someone to sit with me at night, I'm a big boy now."

Nathan laughed and hugged Byron. Byron returned the gesture of friendship. They been through a lot together, there was no reason to destroy a friendship for no real reason.

"If you want to find a larger place, Nathan," Byron said as he was about to leave, "I help you get it."

"Thank you, Byron," Nathan smiled, "Thank you so very much."

"Oh by the way, breakfast will be ready soon, and there's someone I want you to meet."

"I'll stay then," Nathan said.

"Peter will call you, if you're not down when it's ready."

Byron hurried to the other end of the hallway, and awakened Jason with more than a kiss.


Jason moved his things from the small spare bedroom to the much larger room which Nathan had used. Nathan and Peter found a larger apartment and moved in together. Byron threw a large open-house party for them, and many of the people from the theater came to wish them well.

Byron continued to do well in the theater, both on stage and off. Jason bought a building at the corner of Sutter and Market and opened a branch bank which carried his family name, Evers' National. The new year was ushered in with the traditional fanfare.

The play which opened on New Year's Eve did not do well, and closed after one week. Byron was not surprised, as he had told the producer that it wasn't going to work. The producer fired Byron from the company when the play closed, said that he was responsible for the failure.

Jason couldn't have been happier. He didn't like the prospect of Byron being gone all summer.

1846 was a long dull year for Byron, who couldn't find anything that he was interested in since he wasn't involved with the theater any more. He was glad to the end of the year roll around.

After much hunting around, plotting and looking, Byron found a building which was suitable for a small theater. He began the task of remodeling and furbishing it to his tastes. He found several cast members from the other troupe who wanted a change. Many of the production company as well planned to move over once he was ready for them.

In June of 1847 the newly redecorated Harper's Palace opened with a rousing production of "The Lady's Revenge", a farce in which Byron starred. Both the production and the theater were a big hit with the city, and business was booming. The Evers' Bank underwrote the renovation of the building, at Jason's insistence. Byron had enough money to do it alone, but Jason felt that he should be a part of it too.

Byron brought something new to San Francisco, summer theater. With the other theater closed Byron figured that he could cash in on being the only theater open. It turned out that he was right, business was better than in the winter. His theater was full all the time.

When summer was over he gave his cast and crew a month off, and let the other theater have the month of September all to themselves. A long hot month brought disaster to the other company, the theater was so hot, nobody wanted to go. With no real male star to open the season, the first three plays they tried failed.

When Byron's Harper Theater opened in October, his competition folded. A month later the Curran Theater reopened under new management. Byron bought the building and the company, and brought back the play he'd starred in originally two years before. It was once again a hit.

Byron had big plans for New Year's Eve this year. He'd written to Joel in New York, and worked out a way to have the whole company from the play that Joel was staring in to come to San Francisco to stay for a full season, during their repertoire of ten plays. He managed to keep it a secret until just before Christmas when the ship arrived carrying the cast and the sets.

The whole town was talking about the special event. It was always a sellout, but because of the demand for tickets was so great, there would be two performances New Year's Eve, one early at seven, and the regular time at ten.

1848 was off brand new hit, and another new star Joel Devine, as he was known on stage, to his friend Joel Johnson. Tall, extremely blonde, and handsome. The play was a musical of sorts, and Joel's voice was superb. The crowd loved him, and he loved the crowd.

It looked as if Byron had lost his star billing at the Curran, but he really didn't care. It was more fun to watch Joel on stage than to be there himself. He felt he'd gotten into it quite by accident, and after three full years, he had grown tired of the strain of appearing night after night. With the additional stress involved with managing the theater and producing as well, had begun to take its toll on him. When he received word that Joel was coming, at least for one season, he told Jason that he was going to retire, at least for a year from acting. There was no announcement made to the theater crowd, he just wasn't going to appear anymore, at least for awhile.

With Joel's arrival on the theater scene, Byron was scarcely missed. There were some of the regular crowd, who asked him when he was coming back, but he would just laugh and say to them, "When 'The Jewel of San Francisco' leaves I will return." That was the way Joel was referred to in the press.

Jason had been worried about Joel's coming to the city, and the effect it might have on Byron, seeing him again. But he needn't have worried.

"I've found the man I was looking for," Byron told him,

"I couldn't be happier. Besides, I understand that Joel's married." And it was true, Joel was content in his relationship with one of the members of the crew, Joshua Tuchino, a petite dark eyed, dark haired young man recently arrived from Italy.

Much to Byron's surprise, it was Joel who told him privately that the man rivaled Byron in size. This was on the first night that Joel had come to dinner at Byron and Jason's, and before any of them had seen Joshua.

Byron blushed when Joel told him this, and replied, "You are twice blessed, Joel. To have a man like that, and an imagination to match." Byron had said it in jest. He should have known that to a person like Joel, that was a challenge.

Byron had completely forgotten about it, and would never have thought about it again, had it not been for a remark which Joel overheard one of the regular stage hands make one evening when no one that that Joel was around, or anyone else for that matter.

That night after dinner, Joel who had been drinking more than he was used to, said, "You won't believe what I heard at the theater tonight."

Byron laughed, "I shouldn't be surprised at anything you might hear there, at night or any other time."

"Well," Joel huffed, "This person who claimed to be in the know, as they say, said that it was well known about the theater that you've got the biggest wang in all the West Coast."

Byron blushed. Jason spoke up, "Who told you that?"

"I didn't say anyone told me, I said I heard it," Joel replied haughtily.

Byron laughed, "Is possible that you heard it, Joel, but that hardly makes it true."

"Well," said Joel grinning, "It's certainly not true now!"

"Well," Byron said casually, "It's not likely provable in any case. I'm certainly not going to attempt to prove or disprove it."

"I wouldn't be to sure of that," Joel hooted, "You might just have to." And he began to giggle uncontrollably.

Byron stood up, "Joel, I believe it's time to get to bed. Tomorrow's an early day, and you'll need all the sleep you can get."

Joel didn't object, he did feel tired after the long day. Peter showed him to his room, and he fell asleep quickly.

Not so in the master bedroom down the hall. Jason was quite upset.

"Who do you suppose could have said such a thing?" he asked.

"I'm sure what he heard, is something he wanted to hear. And it probably bare little resemblance to what was actually said," Byron reassured him.

"But still," Jason started.

"But nothing," Byron returned. "It's nothing at all to be concerned about, whether he heard it or not makes very little difference. Besides," Byron laughed, "Who cares?"

And of course, Byron was right, "Who cared?" The conversation was forgotten in the hustle and bustle of the opening.

But later that spring, when the novelty was beginning to wear off, Joel began drinking more than he was used to, and quite a bit more than he should have.

"Joshua, my love," he said as they were getting ready for bed one night.

"Si." Joshua replied.

"Come here and let me look at your gorgeous wang."

"Why?" he asked.

"Because I want to see if it's a big as Byron's."

Joshua was taken aback. "You sleep with Senor Byron?" he asked.

"Oh yes, sometime ago," Joel said forgetting that Joshua did not understand all the nuances of English. Joshua said nothing, and did as he was bid.

Later that same night, after Joel was asleep, Joshua left the room he shared with Joel at the Grande Hotel. He had been to Byron's home with Joel several times, so he knew where it was. He climbed the hill quickly and was soon banging on the door. Since Peter did not stay at the house at night, there was no one to answer the door late at night, except Byron or Jason.

Jason had just gone upstairs and was undressed, while Byron was just locking up, and putting out the lights when he heard the loud knocking at the door. He hurried from the kitchen where he was, and opened the door.

Seeing that it was Joshua, and that he was out of breath, thought immediately that there was something wrong with Joel.

"What's wrong, Joshua?" he asked.

And before Byron could even take a step, Joshua hit him full in the face with a strong right hand, knocking him to the floor.

"Get up you, you coward!" Joshua shouted at Byron, coward being the only English word which even came close to what he wanted to say.

Byron stunned from the blow, although not seriously injured, kept his position trying to decide what the best course of action was. When he sufficiently recovered from the blow, so that he could defend himself should he need to, slowly got up from the floor.

Joshua was prepared to hit him again, but Byron was ready for him. Being as short and small as he was, it was fairly easy for Byron to pin his arms to his sides and over power him with his strength.

"Joshua," Byron said, "What is it?"

"Joel," he said, still trying to get away, "Say you sleeping with him."

"What?" Byron exclaimed. "Joshua, no!"

"No? Then why he say so? You never sleep with him?" Joshua asked.

"Joshua, listen. Will not try to hit me? I'll let you go, and we can talk."

"Okay, I listen," Joshua stopped his struggling and Byron released his hold on him.

"Come," Byron said, "Let's go sit down and talk like gentleman."

"I gentleman," Joshua said, and he followed Byron to the library.

Normally, Byron would have offered his visitor a drink, but he though better of it. When the door was closed, and they were seated in front of the fireplace in facing chairs, Byron asked, "Now tell me, what did Joel say?"

"Like I tell you, he say he sleep with you sometimes ago." Joshua repeated what he had heard.

"I see, I see. Now I understand," Byron paused and began to explain, "English is a difficult language, and you speak it quite well," he paused, "But there are some words which sound the same as other words, and they don't mean the same thing.

"What Joel said was 'sometime ago', which is like a long time ago, many years."

"Is true? Many years ago?" Joshua asked.

"Yes, Joshua, many years ago."

"I much sorry, Senor Byron, for to hit you." Joshua got up and extended his hand to Byron.

Byron took his hand and they shook vigorously.

"Please to hit me now," Joshua said.

"No, Joshua, I won't hit you," Byron said, "You are my friend."

"I glad you are my friend," Joshua said smiling. He hugged Byron firmly, and then without warning groped him.

Byron was so startled he nearly fell over backwards.

"Why did you do that?" Byron asked his face glowing, almost in anger.

"Joel say you have bigger wang than I," Joshua answered, and then he smiled. "I want to see for myself, so I touch."

"So?" Byron was curious.

"So, I think so, maybe, can't tell for sure," he grinned.

Byron smiled. "If you promise not to tell, not even Joel, I'll let you see." He liked the kid's honesty. It didn't matter to him, but if it matter to Joshua, why not?

"I no tell nobody. I no want nobody to know which it true, you or me." He quickly unbuttoned his pants and pulled out his cock and commenced stroking it.

Byron did the same. It would be close, he thought, very close. When both had achieved as hard a cock was it would get before climax they moved close together putting them side by side as they faced each other.

Joshua beamed, "We are the same."

"We are the same," Byron agreed.

Byron was just about to put his back when Joshua asked, "May I just this once?"

Byron knew what Joshua was asking and he knew that he could, but somehow it didn't seem right.

"No, Joshua," he said looking at Joshua in the eyes was deep affection. "Not tonight. Maybe some day," he wanted to say. Instead he said, "I have a friend waiting upstairs. I give to him."

Joshua understood, and when they were ready to leave and hugged Byron again, and said, "Senor Byron, you are good friend. Much good friend. I like you very much."

"Good night, Joshua. Be careful going home." He let Joshua out and bolted the door. He hurried upstairs to Jason who was waiting. Jason received the benefit of Joshua's doing, but not knowing was pleased that he had such a man as Byron.

When asked about the mark on his chin the next day Byron lied, a small white lie, "I ran into the Italian hardwood." A reference to the tall buffet which stood around the corner in the kitchen.

"Forgot to leave the door open so you could see, huh?" Jason asked, and quickly forgot the incident.


Jason may have forgotten, and Joel never remembered, and even Byron may had forgotten too, but Joshua never forgot. In many ways, he was like Peter, a bit of a dreamer. Joel would have been disappointed if he had known how many times the Joshua was dreaming of Byron when he made love to Joel.

Joshua never mentioned the late night visit, and Byron did not either. It was a secret they would share, a long with the comparison which they had made that night. Joshua kept his word. And from that day on, whenever Joel mention his size, he would say only, "I think maybe," and let it go at that.

The theater season ended all too quickly for everyone. Byron had tried in vain to get the owners in New York to extend the contract, but they refused. And so it was on May 30th, 1849 that the New York group boarded ship once again bound for for Manhattan Island.

Jason and Byron, along with half the city, it seemed, waved good bye to Joel and company. The theater had closed for one month for painting and refurbishing while the regular cast prepared for a new opening.

Jason and Byron sat quietly in the library after dinner, sipping on a sherry. They'd let Peter go early, and so they were alone when a knock came at the door, and Jason who was just getting up went to answer.

He opened the door. "Joshua!" Jason exclaimed, "What happened to you!"

At the sound of Jason's loud voice, Byron bound for the door.

It was indeed Joshua, and he was half frozen and his clothes soaking wet, but he smiling.

"I no go back," he said weakly, "I stay work for you."

And he collapsed on the floor.

It was two days before he recovered from the shock of the cold bay water and was able to talk much again. When the ship had cleared the Gate, he jumped off from the ship and swam to shore.

Jason remained puzzled by the event, and Byron could not enlighten him, and their household staff now included Joshua living in the room Peter had used, and Peter who lived with Nathan. Jason wrote in his diary less frequently now, but made an entry the night after Joshua arrived.

May 31, 1849: A strange event occurred late evening. Joshua arrived at our door cold and wet. He will survive. We think that he jumped off the ship bound for New York, for he was on it when we bade farewell to Joel, with whom Joshua lived.

I can not understand why he would do this, Byron says that he does not know either, though I sense that he has not told all that he does know.

Only time will tell whether I have suspicioned against Byron wrongly. I could not bare it if he is untrue to me. I think that I should die.

Byron sent a letter to Joel, letting him know that Joshua was not dead, as they would have rightly supposed. He did not explain any more than that Joshua had arrived half dead, able to say more than he wanted to stay.

There was great activity in the city now that the news of the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill near Sacramento had reached the East. Goods poured in by ship, and people came overland in the great wagons. There was even talk of building a railroad.

With all the commerce in the city, Jason was busy at the bank. A new season was beginning at the Harper's and Curran Theaters. Byron was staying off the stages again this year. He could find anything that really interested him, nothing he felt worth the effort. He didn't lack for work in any case.

Joshua was working out well as an employee. He worked hard and learned fast. Jason made an entry in his diary a few weeks after Joshua arrived.

June 20, 1849: I would have assumed the Joshua would want to work at the theater, as he did when he was with Joel. But he insists that he does not want to, but is content to do the gardening around the house, and to serve us meals. God knows we can use the help, with Peter gone in the evenings. It is so tiresome to be without a house servant.

Byron came home one night for dinner and found Jason weeping. On the table was a letter. When Byron asked him what was wrong, he handed him the dark parchment.

March 1, 1849. Dearest Jason, Your dear father has died of a heart attack. I don't know what I shall do. You must come home as soon as possible. . . . Love, Mommy.

"I am so sorry, Jason," Byron said putting his arm around his friend.

"What am I to do, Byron?" he wept.

"You must leave on the next ship," Byron said.

"I know," Jason cried, "I know. But I don't want to leave you. I need you so."

"I love you too, Jason," Byron said, "But your mother needs you now."

"Come with me, Byron. We can go together," He said, his tears stopped.

"No, Jason," Byron said, "You know how people are back there. Besides, someone has to look after your bank here."

"I suppose you're right," Jason was beginning to accept the fact. He had known from the start, that this would happen someday, but had put it from his mind.

With the sailing of the next Savannah bound ship, Jason and all his things were packed for the journey. And as he wrote in his diary that night,

July 14, 1849: I waved goodbye to another page in my life. I don't know how either of us will go on. Someday, soon, I hope, I will come back.

The night Byron sat in the library sipping a brandy. It was Sunday and the theater was closed. He was contemplating his life. Fate seemed determined that he live alone, he thought.

There was a soft knock at the door before it opened. "I bring you something?" It was Joshua. His eyes mirrored the sadness in Byron's.

"No thank you, Joshua. I'll be going up soon," Byron tried to smile and pretend that all was well. Joshua could find no other reason to stay, and he closed the door quietly.

Byron sat for a moment, then walked up the stair to the room he had shared, first with Ty and then Jason. He was tired. He threw off is clothes and lay down in the soft bed. Sleep came easily and he drifted off to the place beyond waking.

He stirred only a little as the small dark figure crept silently into his bed and warmed him.


It was as if he'd been reborn. Byron awakened feeling strangely refreshed, sunlight pouring in through the open window, the warm salt air filling the room. A wonderful dream, of floating in a warm sea, the waters closing in around him. The fragrance of fresh blossoms thrilled his senses. The caressing breeze softly touching his body.

The soft knock at the door returned him to his room.

"Good morning, Senor," It was Joshua, "Ready for bath?"

"Yes, good morning, Joshua. I'm ready." He stretched and yawned.

Joshua turned to leave, then looked around asking, "You sleep good?"

"Yes. It was a wonderful sleep."

"That good," Joshua smiled and hurried off to ready the bath.

Byron went to the bank to check on how the operation was going. Jason had set up a system of management which only needed someone to watch over it occasionally. His procedures were simply and well devised. Everyone knew his job, and only the senior vice president and Byron had authority to do anything out of the ordinary, and they both had to know, and both had to sign. In reality, the vice president ran the bank, and Byron made the decisions, based on his recommendations.

His next stop was his office at the Curran. No one had expected that he would be in so early, and were surprised to see him so cheerful and full of energy.

The entire day was like the morning, and when he arrived home for dinner at six he was still feeling refreshed. He invited Joshua to join him in the dining-room for dinner. Like most people, he did not like eating alone.

After dinner, he returned to the theater to see to the performance. All went well, and he returned home just before midnight. The house was quiet, Joshua it seemed was already in bed. Byron climbed the stairs to his room.

When he opened the door he was startled to see Joshua sitting in his bed and smiling.

"Joshua?" Byron said, not knowing what question to ask, if any.

"I here to bring you good sleep again tonight." Then Byron understood his feeling, and the dream.

"Joshua," he said softly and hurried to the bed and embraced him.

"I not forget," Joshua said. "You help me once, and now I help you."

Later as they lay quietly, Byron said to him, "How did you come to be with Joel?"

"At home in Italy," he began, "No work, much hunger where I live. Big ship come. They need boy to serve Captain, I go.

"In New York, I get off ship and no go back. Captain not happy with me. For three days I walk around the city alone, no speak English so good, no money. Just like back home, no work, no money, much hunger.

"Next day I walking down a street not looking where I walk, I run into tall blonde man. It Joel, he knock me down because he not see me either.

"He help me up. Right away I see he like me, so I ask him for money for food. He give me money and he paper from where he work, say come there at night. I go eat and then I go wait for him. He like me and take me home with him. I stay, come to California with him. I no go back."

"You didn't like Joel?" Byron was puzzled.

"Joel, nice guy. But only like me for bed, like Captain. I no like just bed."

"But why did you come to my bed last night?" Byron asked.

"Because you need me. I like you."

"I like you too, Joshua," he replied smiling at the eager face of this curly haired youth. "How do you know that I won't like you just for bed too?"

"Because," Joshua explained, "When you could have taken me that one night long time ago, you say it not good. So I know you good man. I wait. Jason go away now, so you need someone to be with. I be with you for long time."

Joshua was right, Byron did need someone to be with him. He would always need someone. Now that he had Joshua he could go on, he could be happy again. His life was once again complete.

Byron was thirty-two years old. A handsome man by any standard, rich in money and power. He had friends who loved him, and a lover to make his bed heaven at night: a youth who was loved him and served him well, no older than a son he might have had. If there is more in life than this, Byron could never have imagined what it could be. He was free, and happy, and content. He might not have it all, but of what there was, he had the best.

He leaned down and kissed the tender hot lips beside him.

"I love you, Joshua," he said, "I love you with all that I am."

The End ---

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