By Lee Mariner

July 2003

DISCLAIMER:  This is the continuing story about the relationship between Lee Michaels and his nephew Mark.  It is a gay fantasy and will depict homosexual acts between men and young men. It is intended for adult readers only. IF YOU ARE NOT OF LEGAL AGE TO BE READING THIS STORY OR YOU FIND SUCH MATERIAL OBJECTIONABLE, PLEASE LEAVE.  All characters are fictional and no relationship is intended with any person or persons living or deceased.


You will find all stories I have written in the Nifty Archives listing of Prolific Authors under the pen name of Lee Mariner.

This work has been edited and proofed by my friend Sean and while you may not see the evidence of his efforts, I do.  Many thanks for your assistance Sean, the story is better because of your work.


If you would like to be notified by e-mail of future episodes of this and/or other stories, please contact me at: 

Chapter #70

The incessant and irritating buzzing of the bedside telephone and Victor's head laying on the bicep of my numb left arm awakened me. He murmured softly and stirred,  snuggling closer as I reached over him for the receiver.

Searching for the digital clock with sleep filled eyes, it registered just before 7AM and I groaned wondering who could be calling me so early. It was Cliff.

"Yeah." I mumbled.

"Lee, Cliff; did I wake you?"

"Oh no Cliff, I just finished running 6 laps around the motel. What in heaven's name do you want this early?"

"I thought maybe you would like to catch breakfast before we go over too William's."

I felt Victor slipping his arm around my waist during the exchange. I felt his hard cock pressing into my groin and his tongue sliding over one of my hard nipples.  I had a difficult time suppressing the groan welling up inside of me.

"Not this morning Cliff, I'll pass." I said, suppressing another groan when Vic bit the tip of my tit. I think Cliff heard the tension in my voice by the way I answered.

"Okay. I'll meet you in the lobby about nine then." He said with a light chuckle.

"See you then Cliff." I said rolling over on top of Victor and hanging the phone up.

He was under me his mouth pressing against my breast and I felt his muffled laughter.

"You vixen." I said, rearing up and sliding down on his hard muscled body until my cock lay beside his.  His blond hair was a mess but he had a smile on his face and his brilliant blue eyes sparkled with excitement.

"Good morning Lee." He said softly extending his thickly muscled arms over his head. Stretching beneath me he spread his legs wide and mine fell between them. Placing his legs over mine, he reached up and putting his arms around my neck he pulled downward gently. I was his prisoner.   I dropped down on my elbows and slid my hands under his shoulders. We kissed.  His mouth  tasted sweet and I felt a passionate excitement building. I could feel  his cock pulsing, pumping pre-seminal fluid and a  feeling of lust and desire swept over me.  We didn't say anything when we broke the kiss but our breathing had become more ragged and a hot passion engulfed us both.  He removed one arm from around my neck and when I felt him trying to slip his hand between us I raised my hips and he pushed my cock down between his legs.  The feeling of my cock sliding over his silky crotch hair caused a surge of electricity through me and I groaned, pressing my forehead to his.

Victor ran the tip of his tongue over my lips and whispered huskily, "fuck me Lee."

Lifting my head, I looked into his blazing lust-filled eyes.  "Fuck me. I want to feel you inside of me."  He said again his voice filled with passion and desire.

He spread his legs wide and I pulled my legs up between his; kneeling I reached for the condoms and lube. When I spread the lube over my hot throbbing cock I thought the lubricant would drip off before I could get the condom on.  Victor's chest was heaving with excitement but he wasn't panting, just breathing heavy as he watched the condom roll over the thick-lubed length of my cock.  He pulled his legs up in anticipation and I teased him a little, spreading lube over his quivering rosebud.  His eyes closed and he moaned softly when I inserted one and then another finger into his tight rectum. I ran my other hand over his broad thick muscled chest and when I pinched his tits his sphincter tightened around my finger with vicelike pressure and I could see the muscles of his chest and stomach tighten. 

"Relax Vic, relax." I cooed while I worked my fingers in his ass and massaged his tight chest and abdominal muscles with my free hand.  

As he slowly relaxed and I pulled my fingers from his gripping sphincter.  He had broken out in a sweat of passion and his magnificent body glistened in the filtered sunlight coming through the  blinds.  When I started to put my arms under his legs to place them on my shoulders, he lifted them up by himself, his thick abdominal muscles swelling  like ropes of steel.  I moved a little closer and slid my cock between his cheeks. My blood-engorged head touched his slick rosebud, his eyes opened and he placed his hands palm down on the bed locking them on mine. I pushed and when the head of my cock slipped inside his love canal his eyes widened and his lips parted slightly. "Oh shit." He whispered softly, his fingers clinching the sheets.

 I felt his sphincter snap tight and I waited, running my hands up and down his smooth muscled thighs until he became used to the invasion of my thick cock. His impressive cock had softened as an initial response to my cock entering his ass. A pool of pre-seminal fluid formed in his inny belly button and it mixed with the sweat flowing down his sculpted chest between his still swollen abdominal muscles. He was breathing heavy but I could see and feel him relaxing.   I put my hands on either side of his chest to support my weight; I straightened my legs out.  An inch or two slipped further inside and his breath caught slightly. Looking up at me hovering over him he smiled softly, "Now Lee, take me, I'm ready."

Closing my eyes, I gave myself over completely to the ecstatic feeling of my throbbing cock sinking into the torrid depths of his still tight ass.  Inch by inch he slowly relaxed as my cock filled his rectal canal until he was completely impaled by it's steel hard length.  His balls rolled upwards from the pressure of my pelvis pushing against his soft perineum and he uttered a long soft sighing "Yesssssss, yes."

I paused enjoying the indescribable feelings of pleasure that washed over me. A hot raging feeling of lust filled me but I didn't want to ravish this magnificent young body that had been surrendered to me. Mark and I always gave ourselves completely to each other and I wanted Victor to enjoy that same feeling. I wanted him to experience those passions that only two men feel when they give to each other the greatest gift they possessed, their bodies.  I didn't want him to feel he was being taken and used in the literal sense, I wanted him to feel and enjoy the sensation of floating, soaring to new heights of sensually carnal passion. I wanted him to know that men other than Terry appreciated him for what he was, a feeling, passionate, loving and virile young man.

Victor dropped his legs around my waist locking me tight between them.  He gripped my forearms tight and I could see his cock was again steel hard.  He was feeling what I felt and I withdrew almost completely until I felt his sphincter clamped tight just behind my blood-engorged cockhead.

My hips thrust downward in a slow piston movement and I let my body control the tempo as our passions increased.  Time stood still as we raced towards the culmination of the needs that raged within us.  Sweat rolled down my back between my straining muscles into the crack of my ass; it literally poured off of his straining body in swift-flowing streams.  His cock jerked each time I brushed his prostate, pre-seminal juices flowing.  The sperm in my testicle sac boiled and I felt it rising with each thrust. Victor was squeezing my biceps and lifting his hips to meet each thrust until dropped his legs from around my waist screaming, "I'm cumming, oh Christ, Christ" he gasped his head thrashing violently from side to side his lips clinched tight.

His cock hardened, swelled and his back arched lifting me as thick streams of his seed gushed out with a cataclysmic force and fell splashing on his chest; his cock pulsed with each spasm as he writhed under me, his sphincter tight around my hardening cock my own seed rushing to explode deep in his bowels.  A loud groan escaped from deep in my chest as my condom sheathed cock filled with scalding hot sperm. I cursed the need for condoms; wishing he could feel my seed filling his bowels. I slammed my cock deep holding its pulsing length inside of him. Each spasm sent shock waves washing over me as my nuts drained into the latex sheath.  We both were panting like raging bulls and I collapsed on his sperm covered chest, my cock slowly softening within the condom.  Vic's sphincter was gripping my softening cock so tight I could feel it slipping from the latex sheathing. I slid my hand between his ass and my pelvis and while I held the rolled end of the condom in place around the base of my cock, I raised my hips withdrawing slowly from the hot depths of his sweating body.  He moaned softly when the head slipped from the clutches of his quivering rose-bud. I lowered my hips letting is softening length press against his soft perineum.

We lay quietly for a few minutes as a soft pleasant sensual afterglow replaced the euphoric sexual feelings of ecstasy.  Taught muscles relaxed and the heaving of our chests slowly receded as our breathing returned to a normal rhythm.  He slowly ran his hands over my back and whispered in my ear, "I'm jealous of Mark."

"Why should you feel jealous of Mark?" I asked lifting my head from beside his.

"Why? I shouldn't have said jealous, I should have said envious.  I've never felt like I do now with anyone else. No one has ever made me feel wanted the way you have."  

"Vic, not everyone is a Terry. There are men who would love being with you. When you get away from here and Terry, you will find that out."  I said running my fingers through his soft flaxen hair.  He lifted his lips to mine and we kissed softly.  

"There seem to be more Terry's than Lee's out there." He said wistfully.

"Wrong attitude Vic." I said rolling to the edge of the bed and sitting up. "You need to do what I have told Mark, be careful whom you choose.  You have too much going for you to get in bed with just any man.  You'll find that out when you get to Pensacola."

Sliding over and sitting up he sat beside me looking down at his feet. "Maybe you're right but it'll be a long time before I get to find out."

I put my arm around his shoulders and hugged him. "I don't know Vic, it might happen sooner than you think, just be patient. Right now we better get cleaned up. Are your clothes in the gym?"

"Yeah, I changed in the locker room before you got there last night. I can put them back on after I shower. I've got to relieve Malcom and I'm late already but it's worth it." He said, his eyes sparkling  with pleasure. 

"Do you want to shower here?" I asked.

"I'd love to." He said with a twinkle in his eyes. "But I better use the showers in the Atrium and that way if anyone sees me they will think I was doing an early morning work out."

There was some logic in what he was saying although I wasn't worried if someone saw him leaving my room.  He had told me Terry wouldn't be back until Tuesday so I couldn't think of anyone else he would be concerned about.  While he went into the living room for his shorts and jockey I went into the bathroom for a towel. He came back into the bedroom when I came out of the bathroom with the towel.

"Here, we better wipe your chest and stomach off before you leave." I said and I wiped his glistening chest and back dry.  When I finished he surprised me by dropping down on one knee, taking my not yet fully flaccid cock in his mouth sucking on it.  My muscles tightened and I sucked air into my lungs as my cock swelled.  He moved his mouth up and down on its hardening length and then just as quickly as he had started he stopped, looking up.

His eyes glistened and smiling he held it tight in his hand, squeezing and kissing me. "I wanted to get that last drop before I left." He whispered, his chest rising and falling rapidly. "Maybe I can see you again before you leave."

"You just might."  I breathed feeling the tension in my loins.

With a quick peck on the cheek he left; I heard the door quietly close.  My cock was as hard as steel and if he had kept it up he would  have had an early breakfast.

                                                             * * * * * * * * *

I needed a cold shower to cool the passion Victor had aroused with his impromptu in-complete blow job but I finished with a nice warm one.  I shaved still dripping wet and since I was thinking about both Mark and Victor my cock only half softened. Two of the most magnificent young men I had ever been with in bed and  I couldn't get either one of them out of my head until I was dressed. Could Victor ever replace Mark? No! But he would come damn close to being a replacement if all I sought was sex with well muscled young men.  I felt good about Victor but he did not hold my heart as did Mark.  My mind was already searching for ways to help Victor.  I knew Mark would approve as he did when I helped his friend Carl.  One way I could help him was to get him out of Louisville and into a different environment.
                                                            * * * * * * * * *

When I finished dressing, I hung my suit coat on the silent butler and checked my reflection in the large mirror.  My dark gray suit with white button-down shirt and a light silver-gray tie were a good combination if William and I had to appear before a Domestic Court Judge.  Not ostentatious, just conservative enough.  William had taught me never to try and impress people with a glaring show.

The clock by the bedside registered 8:15,  I still had plenty of time before meeting Cliff in the lobby. In the suite's living room, I fixed a quick cup of instant coffee and located the Louisville telephone directory in the desk's drawer. Flipping through the yellow pages I found the listings for travel agencies.  Several had business card size ads and I selected one, Stratford Travel, whose hours were from 8:00AM until 5:30PM.

I dialed the number and after a few rings a smooth well-modulated baritone voice answered.  

"Good morning, Stratford Travel, Neal Stratford speaking. How may we help you?"

The voice stimulated the image of a confident and intelligent young man. For just an instant I regretted not driving to the agency instead of calling.

"Good morning Mr. Stratford, Lee Michaels.  I'd like information on flights too Pensacola, Florida."

"Of course Mr. Michaels, what time would you like to leave?  There are several daily flights available. Would you want direct or connecting flights?"

"Direct flight, first class and leaving tomorrow."  I said trying to match my voice with his.

"Tomorrow. . . . . give me just a moment please."  He said and I heard the clicking of computer keys.  

"There are only two direct flights available tomorrow Mr. Michaels. One leaves at 9:15 in the morning and the other at 3:45 in the afternoon.  If those times are not satisfactory there are three others that connect through from Charlotte, North Carolina on through Atlanta and  terminating in Pensacola."

"What airlines are the direct flights?"

"The morning flight is US Airways originating out of Norfolk, Virginia and the afternoon is Delta out of Cincinnati.  The afternoon flight is normally used by business men since it is a turn-around flight the following morning from Pensacola.  They stay overnight in Louisville and catch the return flight the following morning.  The scheduled arrival for that flight in Pensacola is 7:12 in the evening." He said anticipating my next question.

"I think the afternoon flight would be the best.  Would you book the flight in the name of Victor Mullins and I'll pick the ticket up this afternoon?"

"Victor Mullins, one-way or round trip Mr. Michaels?" He said without hesitation at the difference in the names.

"Round trip with an open return date." I said thinking there was no need to limit Victor by a one-way ticket if he should should find the situation with his cousin unsatisfactory and desire to return.

"Yes sir. You do understand that the open return date restricts the use of the ticket to Delta for up too one year? If Mr. Mullins does not use it the option expires after that time and there is no refundable portion of the ticket. The airlines are getting pretty sticky on that point. So many people try to exchange tickets for flights on other airlines."

"That's understandable Mr. Stratford, I fly quite a bit myself. I'll stop by after lunch and give you any further information that you may require. You do accept American Express?"

"After lunch will be fine and yes, we accept all major credit cards.  I'll look forward too meeting you Mr. Michaels and thanks for calling Stratford." He said demurely; my impression improved with his smooth efficient manner.

                                                       * * * * * * * * *

Cliff was sitting and waiting in the lobby when I walked in. I was surprised yo see Victor standing behind the front desk and startled when Terry Anderson walked out of the small rear office.  He smiled and nodded in my direction when he saw me.  Victor told me that he would not be back until Tuesday and his presence puzzled me.  I felt a stab of anger at seeing him beside Victor, remembering what Vic had told me.

I walked over to behind where Cliff was sitting and patted him on the shoulder.  "Morning Cliff, I'll be right with you."

Cliff twisted around and watched me as I walked to the front desk, a puzzled, yet curious, look on his face.

My rising anger subsided by the time I reached the desk and Victor was smiling at me.

"Good morning Lee, I hope you rested well?"

Before I could answer, Anderson snapped at Victor, "Lee," when did we start addressing guests by their Christian names Mullins?"

Victor flinched and stepped sideways away from Anderson but I snapped right back, "since I told Victor he could Mr. Anderson, that's when. Is there a problem with that?" I said coldly, feeling my anger flaring. I turned away from Anderson and looked at Victor.

"I did Vic and I didn't get a chance to thank you for helping me with my workout. Those heavier weights can be risky when you're alone, I really appreciate you being there."  I said breathing a little heavy from the anger I was feeling.

"I'm sorry Mr. Michaels. I didn't know, errr rather Victor hadn't told me. I've been away most of your visit and we haven't had a chance to discuss the weekend."

"That does not give you the right to snap his head off.  I wonder how Mr. Woolford would have reacted hearing you talk to one the the employees like that? He doesn't take abuse of any kind lightly.   I'm sure you remember Coleman your predecessor or do you?" I said evenly and with delight when I saw the flicker of fear in his eyes.

"I'm sorry Mr. Michaels, I apologize.  I assure it won't happen again. I was just a little surprised when Victor addressed you by your given name."  There was no doubt in my mind but that he had a whimper in his voice, his eyes blinking rapidly.

I stared at him coldly without answering.  Turning my head I one again addressed Victor, he was trying to suppress a grin.  "Thanks again Vic." I said, winking at him and I turned away. 

"My pleasure Lee, I enjoyed it" He said, accentuating my name, I caught his double meaning.

When we got into the Jimmy, Cliff snapped his safety belt in place, turned towards me.

"It's none of my business Lee but I couldn't help overhearing your conversation with that guy Anderson. Is there a problem?"

Cliff was right, it was none of his business but being a lawyer his natural adversarial instinct had been aroused and I grinned before answering.

"It's nothing I can't handle Cliff, just a little misunderstanding."

He didn't answer and I knew he wouldn't press anymore but I could see his interest had been peaked.  He would file away that tidbit for possible future use.  Lawyers are like that.

                                                             * * * * * * * * * *

The remainder of the short trip was made in silence.  Charles was polishing the black Lincoln when we drove behind the house. Cliff went on up the steps to the rear entrance while I walked to where Charles was working. He stopped what he was doing when he saw me. 

"Good morning Charles, don't stop what you're doing.  I just wanted to ask how the trip to Cincinnati with the boys went."

"Good morning Mr. Lee.  An uneventful trip for the most part.  Mark and Calvin had their heads together for most of it.  There conversations became a little emotional with a few tears so I closed the interior window to allow them privacy.  Your brother and his wife took too Calvin almost instantly. Mrs. Michaels prepared a light supper for the boys and me before we left.  That's the first time I have met them. I can see where Mark gets his personality and charm, delightful people."

"They really are Charles. Thanks for taking Mark home, it saved me a lot of time."   

"It was my pleasure Mr. Lee. I prepared a mid-morning snack for you and Mr. Adams. William does not need the sweet cakes but he will probably have one or two."  He said, returning to his work.  

It was not a dismissal, Charles had answered my question and there was nothing more to be said. If he had either overheard or seen anything, he would never repeat it. My query was answered with his comment about emotion and tears. More details than that were not necessary.  Mark was home safely and he and Calvin had discussed their differences. Hopefully they had resolved their problems.

William and Cliff were sitting in the kitchen drinking coffee and Charles was correct again; William did have what looked like a strawberry tart before him.  I looked around the kitchen looking for Calvin but he was nowhere to be seen.

"Good morning Uncle Bill." I said while pouring a cup of coffee at the sideboard and surveying the light mid-morning snack Charles had prepared.  It would have fed at least six people.

"Good morning Lee, Calvin will be right down.  He's still dressing."

"A little nervous, is he?" I said sitting at the table.

"Nervous? He has been up since the cock crowed this morning; I think he has showered twice and changed at least three times. Harrison told me he was about to drive him crazy selecting and rejecting what he wanted to wear today." William said with a very obvious note of pride in his voice.

I grinned at that comment, Harrison was one of the calmest sales-managers I had ever met and a perfectionist where the selection of clothing was concerned. He had been with William since the store was established and  William was reflected in his habits.  It had always been William's conviction that clients, he never called anyone customer, never knew what they actually wanted when they were selecting clothing.  It was the task of an impeccably groomed salesperson to steer them in the right direction by being calm and decisive, not flustered .

"Most young people are a tad nervous William when their entire future is about to change."  Cliff said, injecting one of his sage lawyer comments into the conversation.

"You only have to look back and think about that Uncle Bill." I said, glancing at him with twinkle in my eyes.  I had been extremely nervous when John had introduced William and me.  It had always been a surprise that William had put up with me after the first night we slept together.  I had absolutely no conception as to what was expected of me but he had the patience of Job and I learned.

"It wasn't all that bad Lee." He responded with a smile.

A loud harumph from Cliff brought us out of our reverie.  "Gentleman." He said. "If you two are finished complimenting each other, there are a few things we need to go over before we get to the courthouse. Calvin requested that his last name be hyphenated, it will be recorded on the adoption certificate as  Calvin Masters-Woolford. The reason for that was he did not want to lose his connection with his mother. "

"That's understandable Cliff and I agree." William said.

"Good.  I've coached him on what he should say when the judge asks him if he agrees with the adoption and if he is asked about the name change, he should answer forthright and without hesitation that he agrees.  Lee, you may or may not be questioned by the judge  and I don't think I need tell you how you should answer."

He was right, he didn't need to but I didn't say so.  Cliff knew I would have asked for any information I might have thought I would need.  William and I had already discussed the adoption.

"Now then, an adoption usually takes a lot longer than preparing for this one did.  It usually takes the consent of adults to be accomplished, where a minor is involved,  but since Calvin is an adult and his mother has consented the state did not have to do an extensive background investigation.  They will have checked all of the state, city and other records that would be normally checked.  Mrs. Masters consent had been notarized and it with two affidavits have already been recorded with the Clerk of Domestic Court.  In essence William, Calvin is for all intents and purposes your adopted son. The final step is the judge's approval and that is virtually automatic in a case like this."

"One question Cliff. You didn't mention an investigation into Uncle Bill's background. Wouldn't that be needed as well?" I asked.

"Maybe you should have been a lawyer Lee, good point. My investigators did that investigation and it was included with the original petition.  I know William's background is impeccable but by my investigators doing it, it precluded the state from having it done.  The less involvement by the state, the better.  Calvin and his mother's background checks were unavoidable in connection with the petition and that investigation would be automatic."

"You have done a lot of work in a short time Cliff and I appreciate it." William said just as Calvin walked into the kitchen.

"I'm sorry it took me so long Dad but I wanted to be sure I looked right for you."  He said demurely.

William's chest visibly swelled when he heard Calvin address him as "Dad" and his face beamed with pride. I don't think I had ever seen him as happy as he was at that moment. His eyes shone with a father's love for his son.  

While they embraced each other Cliff leaned over and whispered. "It's at times like this when I really enjoy being a lawyer."

I nodded without speaking, Calvin and William made a handsome couple.  Calvin was a stunningly handsome young man.   Cliff shook Calvin's and William's hand but I gave them both a bear grip hug with a kiss on the cheek.  

                                                           * * * * * * * * *

Before noon William and Calvin were father and son.  The procedure went very smoothly with only a few questions from the judge.  My input was minimal and I answered only a few questions attesting to the fact that I knew both of them and the fact that Calvin's mother agreed with the adoption.  The judge asked about Mrs. Masters health and her competency.  Cliff presented the judge with additional sworn affidavits from her doctor's and that must have satisfied his questions.

With a flourish he signed the documents and gave them to his clerk commenting simply, "I wish all of my decisions were this easy. Congratulations Mr. Woolford and you as well young Mr. Woolford. Go with the clerk and she will finish the proper recording of the documents."

After we left the courtroom, the clerk took us to a small ante-room and asked us to wait for a few minutes.  When she returned after what seemed like an interminable length of time, a young man and woman were with her.  Cliff extracted the documents concerning that which I had asked him to do from his attaché case.   Signatures were appended and after the proper identification was attested to, the witnesses signed and the clerk notarized the documents.  

After they left, I asked Cliff about reimbursement for their services and he just grinned.   

"Don't worry Lee, it's all taken care of as you will find out.  Dorothy is very efficient when it comes to the finances of the office and sending out the proper billings."

"Then I had better send her more than just one box of bonbons."

"That will get you nowhere Lee, she can't be bribed."  He answered chuckling.

                                                     * * * * * * * * *

The affection between William and Calvin was obvious from the way they walked side by side to the car and Charles practically glowed with pride as he stood watching them, holding the car door open.  I sat in the front seat with him while Cliff was in the back going over some last few details. I had intended on taking them too lunch at a small family style restaurant but when I mentioned it Charles told me a private luncheon was being held at the residence.

Charles called it a luncheon. It would have been better described as a feast.  The caterers William had engaged, over Charles protests, had prepared a sumptuous luncheon buffet.  The store was closed for the rest of the day and Harridan with the other employees had been invited to attend and celebrate with William and Calvin.  Everyone dined on smoked salmon, roast turkey, beef and ham with an infinite variety of cheese's, breads and light salads.  

A delicious Brut champagne was served and everyone toasted the good health of the Woolford's. William and Calvin were the center of attention for the most part and Cliff and I sneaked off to the library for something a little more substantial than champagne.

After about an hour, Cliff said he had to be leaving since he was scheduled for a court appearance the next morning.  We made our goodbye's and I think Cliff was shocked when Calvin gave him a hug -- at least I think so -- his face turned as red as beet.  I told William I had changed my plans and wouldn't be leaving until Wednesday morning and after Cliff hd left he invited me for dinner at ChoLin's later in the evening. He had a twinkle in his eye  and I knew he was thinking about the Win Brothers, Cho Lin's cousins.  

                                                            * * * * * * * * *

When Cliff and I got back to the motel, Anderson was behind the desk not Victor.  He nodded his head when we approached. "Gentleman, how may I help you." He said with a simpering smile on his face.

"I will be checking out in a few minutes. Would you have my bill ready and any additional charges." Cliff said.

"It has been taken care of Mr. Adams. I do hope you enjoyed your stay with us." Anderson responded, his eyes slightly downcast.

"I did indeed." Cliff answered curtly turning his back on Anderson.

"I'm going to my room for a few minutes Cliff, I'll meet you in the lobby."

"It won't take me a few minutes Lee. Dorothy will give me hell if I'm too late."

When I got back to my room I leafed through the telephone book and found the street address for the Stratford Travel agency. I thought about changing clothes but decided not to since I didn't want to hold Cliff up.   It only took him a few minutes; he was waiting with his luggage when I returned to the lobby.  We shook hands at his car and I watched briefly as he drove away.

It took me about half an hour before I found Commerce St..  The agency was on the first floor of a refurbished Victorian style home.  Just a little too much gingerbread for my taste but the building had been beautifully restored.  When I walked in the door a  well-groomed  young lady greeted me.
"Good afternoon Sir.  May help you?"

"Yes. My name is Lee Michaels. I spoke with Mr. Neal Stratford earlier, is he available?"

"I believe he is with a client right now Mr. Michaels but let me check."

After pushing a button on her desk phone and getting an answer a tall man about my age came through the door of an inner office. He was dressed in a tailored open throated white shirt with the sleeves folded back and what I recognized as dark blue Docker slacks with tasseled Italian loafers on his feet. He had wavy dark brown hair, broad shoulders and was obviously well built.  His smile displayed even white teeth and the closer he approached I saw his eyes were hazel, not unlike Mark's.

"Good afternoon Mr. Michaels. I'm Noll Stratford, you spoke with my brother this morning." He said with the same well-modulated voice I had heard earlier. "Neal is with a client right now but he told me about the particulars of your call, I think I can help you.  Won't you come with me."

The twinge in my groin told me I would have no trouble following him and when he shook my hand, it was a firm grip and he looked directly into my eyes.  

I followed him into a large well-appointed office.  It was obviously a business office as indicated by the various framed travel pictures on the walls.  He sat down behind a large mahogany desk and motioned me to one of the two chairs sitting in front of it.  

"May I offer you something Mr. Michaels, a drink perhaps?"

"Nothing thank you. Did your brother give you all of the information I discussed with him earlier?"

"Yes." He said drawing a manila file folder in front of him. "You asked for an open ended round trip ticket on Delta to Pensacola, Florida with tomorrow afternoon as the departure time. Correct?"

"Yes, in the name of Victor Mullins. Your brother told me you accepted American Express." I said extracting the credit card from my wallet and handing it to him.

"We do. I'll need an address with telephone number where either you or Mr. Mullins may be contacted in case there should be any changes or delays."

Since the ticket was for Tuesday and I wasn't leaving until Wednesday I gave him the address and telephone number of the motel.  After he wrote the information down he excused himself and left the office.  I looked around casually and noticed the picture of a strikingly beautiful woman and small boy on his desk.  The lady was dressed in a yellow chiffon dress and the boy was wearing white pants and a red pullover.  They were standing in front of what appeared to be the type of fence associated with a horse farm since the remainder of the background was open fields with trees in the distance.

When Noll returned with the ticket, I commented on the picture.

"My wife Clarisse and our son Chip, he turned ten last month. That was taken at our family farm outside of Lexington."

"You must be proud of them, you have a beautiful wife and a good looking son." I said standing.

"Thanks, I am. I'm sorry you didn't get to meet Neal but he is tied up with a group travel project. Perhaps, if we can help you again, you'll have a chance to meet him."  

"I'd like that, is he married?" I asked a bit audaciously.

"No Neal is single but he doesn't lack companionship. I'm sure he would enjoy meeting you." He said extending his hand with a twinkle in his eyes.

"Many thanks for your help Noll." I said shaking his hand and digesting the fact that the "companionship" comment was more than necessary in a first meeting between strangers.

He escorted me too the front exit with his hand on my shoulder.  

"Call on us again Lee if we can help you with your travel arrangements or stop in if you are in the area." He said, smiling and opening the door for me.

"I will, thanks again."  I glanced back over my shoulder when I reached the steps and he was still smiling and waving.

"Damned friendly for a married travel agent." I thought to myself.

                                                          * * * * * * * * *

Victor was in the motel lobby when I got back. He was jacket less and moving furniture but when he saw me he looked up and smiled.

"What are you doing moving furniture Vic? Isn't there a maintenance crew for that?" I asked glancing at the front desk, noticing the scowl in Anderson's face.

"Yeah but they are involved with some of the remodeling work and Terry wanted these wooden chairs put in storage and the other furniture re-arranged."

He was breathing a little heavy from the exertion of moving the heavy furniture. The lobby was air-conditioned but he had worked up a sweat and his shirt was plastered to his torso and his pectoral muscles and nipples were clearly outlined under the sweat soaked cloth.  His biceps and forearms bulged stretching the shirts sleeves.  I glanced over at the desk but Anderson had moved from view.

"How long before you finish here?"

"The furniture is finished, I only have to take those two chairs to the storage room and I'm done unless Terry has something else he wants done."

"Lets see if he does Vic." I said softly. Walking to the desk I called for Anderson and he stuck his head out of the inner office door.

"Yes Mr. Michaels."

"I have a favor to ask of you.  I'd like to run though a light work out before I go out for dinner with Mr. Woolford and since Victor has worked up quite a sweat moving the furniture that the maintenance crew should have been moving, I wonder if he might help me in the weight room."

"I' d be happy for him to Mr. Michaels but he is on duty here at the desk."

"It seems you are handling those duties quite well while he is engaged in other things."  I said with an ironic coldness and with a slight touch of menace in my voice.

He was caught in a dilemma and I knew he was afraid of crossing me.  He looked at Victor who was standing behind me and then at me. Drawing himself up as much as he could, he blustered out,  "Oh very well but those chairs have to be  put away first."

"Good, I appreciate that.  Come by my room when you are finished Vic."

"Yes sir." He said snatching the chairs up as if they were paperweights.

"And don't forget to clean up before you come back on the desk. I don't need you all smelly greeting guests."

I don't think Victor heard the last remark as he hurried out of the lobby but I didn't like it. Leaning over the counter I looked Anderson in the eyes.

"Anderson, I was here when Mr. Woolford appointed you too your position as manager. He assumed you were a pretty decent fellow and after Coleman it would have seemed so.  Right now though, I am not so damn sure about that assessment.  Your subordinates are not here for your amusement, they are here to assist in the operation of the motel and that does not include moving furniture in public view in the middle of the day."  I said pausing breathing a little heavy and trying to control my anger.

"But....but." He started to say but I cut him off with a glare.

"There are no buts about it.  You have a maintenance crew for that work and it should be done at night.  If you don't have enough people, I'm sure Mr. Woolford would not object if you hired additional staff.  I've only seen two people on this desk Anderson, Victor and Malcom.  That is not enough and you should know it."

Again the buts and again I cut him off and lowered my voice.

"If you want to keep the position you fell into you had better start staffing this motel with the proper number of people and you better start treating them like employees not your personal servants.  Do we understand each other?"

Anderson was not that old but he aged in front of my eyes, he was wrong and he knew I knew it. All I could think of besides the anger I felt was, "where in the hell do these people come from?"

I didn't wait for his response. Spinning on my heel I went to my room, anger still seething inside of me.

                                                      * * * * * * * * *