Absolute Convergence: Transformations
By John Yager
This is the third chapter of a new story about Robert Ballinger and William Amsted and their life together.
This story spans five chapters, and while it is being added to the existing Absolute Convergence file, it constitutes an independent, self contained narrative. I've therefore taken the liberty of giving it the subtitle, Transformations, to distinguish it from the original series. While it will be helpful for readers to know the original Absolute Convergence series, in which all the principal characters were introduced, this story should stand on its own merits.
Absolute Convergence made its first appearance in January, 2001, as a series which eventually ran to a total of eighty chapters, the last of which was posted in January, 2004. I never anticipated the series going on for so long and I continue to be amazed by the incredible loyalty of readers who have stayed with me from the beginning. I am also sincerely appreciative for those newer readers who have contacted me from time to time to say that they've discovered the series and ventured through the collected chapters.
I'm always glad to receive comments, questions, criticism and encouragement and hope to continue hearing from you. I try to answer all messages promptly. If I'm slow at times it's only because of the pressures of work.
Andrew has agreed to continue giving me much needed proofing and editorial help. I am sincerely grateful for his help.
This work is copyright Â© 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.
All the stories I've posted on NIFTY can be found by looking under my name in the NIFTY Prolific Authors lists. If you'd like to receive e-mail notification of subsequent postings, previews of upcoming stories, and other bits and pieces, please let me know by sending your request to the e-mail address below.
If the little house off Lake Avenue in Pasadena had been even a little larger, William and I would not have given notice in July, 1977. It was a small "Craft Movement," or "Mission Style" house which satisfied our tastes and certainly complemented the few good pieces of good furniture I'd collected over the years.
I was surprised by the way William also loved the style, but it was after all, identical to, and slightly later than, the Crafts Movement in England. Perhaps it was not all that alien to him after all.
We have continued to collect some wonderful pieces of "Crafts Style" furniture over the intervening years, as well as a few paintings and some wonderful ceramics.
One of the reasons we loved the house in Pasadena, in addition to its warm woods and terra cotta floors, was because of the high windows on either side. Even though neighbors were not all that far away, we felt as if the house was completely private. The windows at the front and rear of the house were larger and lower, but we generally left the drapes closed, making the interior a secluded sanctuary.
The house faced south and from morning to evening the sunlight through the small panes cast an ever-changing pattern of sunlight on the walls and floors.
"We're meeting Peter for lunch, remember," William said as he came back into our bedroom. He was completely naked and his body glowed from the warmth of the shower. Yes, the privacy the house provided did have its advantages.
"Just let me sleep," I groaned.
"Up and at 'um," he laughed as the grabbed my left ankle, which was protruding from under the sheet, and gave it a hard pull.
In the five years William and I had been together his body had developed in an amazing way. He was beautiful when I first met him and he'd always had the rangy physique of a sportsman, but he'd never worked out in any systematic way. As soon as he moved in with me in 1973, I introduced him to the ABS Gym where I was a member. I didn't think at first he'd take to it, but in a matter of two or three months he saw some significant improvement in his body and then he was hooked.
Now, almost twenty six, William had a honed physique and his smooth body never ceased to amaze me.
"Come on, love, get your cute ass out of bed."
I groaned again, but didn't move. Then he really got serious.
He pounced on me, wrestling me to a quick surrender and pinned me to the bed.
"Yeah, you big lunk," I half moaned, half laughed, "have your way with me."
"No way, buster," he laughed. "We're late, and besides, you stink. Get your filthy body in the shower."
"You love it when I stink," I said, trying to hold him on top of me.
"Actually, I do," he admitted, giving me a quick kiss, "but right now I think I'll pass."
He rolled off me, off the bed, and strutted his magnificent naked body out of our bedroom and toward the kitchen.
I groaned again but finally got up
and hit the shower.
When I came into the kitchen half an hour later, showered, shaven and with a towel wrapped more or less modestly around my middle, William was sitting on his usual side of the little built-in breakfast nook, sipping his usual morning tea, and reading the morning paper.
"I hope you didn't go out for the paper like that," I said, noting that he was still naked.
"Sure," he said, giving me a completely blank stare.
"You're kidding, right?"
"There was nobody around," he said, and before I could pursue it, assuming, hoping really, that he was kidding, he went on to say, "there's a long piece about Dex and NSB."
"Really?" I said, pouring myself a cup of the black coffee William always brewed, just for me, knowing I really couldn't get into the British 'start your day with tea' routine.
"Well, it's to be expected, but I am surprised that the LA Times has what looks like some pretty accurate inside information. I'd say it all came from the â€˜bad guys.'"
"The group opposing your father's position?"
"Yes, there's a lot of discussion about how 'some insiders' feel NSB has gotten away from its primary mission, which is film production."
"That could have come from either side," I commented, sliding into the little nook opposite him and making sure my bare legs rubbed up against his bare legs in the process. "Peter said he and his group would probably sell off some NSB assets."
"'Liquidation of non-essential holdings could result in a significant dividend to stockholders.' Does that sound like dad's side?"
"No," I admitted.
"This article alone will probably cause a jump in the price of shares."
"Is that good?" I asked.
"Right now it probably doesn't matter. Eventually, though, we may want to see stock move up, although, as a closely held corporation, it may not matter at all in the long run."
I looked across the little table at him and marveled at his beauty.
This, I repeatedly told myself, was the man I love and, more amazing, the man who loves me.
"What time are we meeting Peter?" I asked, knowing it would be around one o'clock. The Amsteds never seemed to have lunch before one and I'd never known them to have dinner before seven thirty or eight. That schedule worked well, however, for William and me. We both tended to go in late and get home well into the evening. Late dinners meant we had more dinners together.
"He said to meet him at Dex's office by noon. I think he and his buddies are having a morning session and then we are all going to a private room off the commissary for lunch. We're to be in our best bib and tucker, by the way."
"He's showing us off?"
"He's selling us, Mr. Ballinger. It's a meat market and we're the prime cuts."
"Well," I smiled, "this could get interesting."
"Very, I feel as if he's tossed us to the sharks and made us think he's doing us a great favor."
"So you're having second thoughts about his scheme." It was a statement, not a question, and I had to admit the same thoughts were bouncing around in my brain.
"First thought, lover," he smiled. "I got worried when he was explaining it all last night."
"So you're afraid it won't work?"
"I'm almost more afraid it will. It's not Peter's ability to pull this off which worries me, Robert," he said, laying the paper aside and taking my free hand across the table. "I've seen him pull off more complex schemes than this, albeit, in a smaller swimming pool.
"What worries me," he went on, "is how we can handle the jobs he's tossing us into."
"I can't imagine your being anything but a rousing success, William," I said, and I believed it. "What he's proposing for me isn't that big a step from what I'm already doing, although it did occur to me that I should ask if I can have any say over who comes with me."
"You must demand complete control of your team, Robert," he said firmly. "I'll do the same. Peter and the others will expect it."
"Well, what's worrying you, then?"
"I think you may have more control over your new position, at least if you can manage the makeup of your team and have some reasonable say over the projects they assign you.
"I wouldn't worry about dad wanting you to serve as the NSB representative on the Albion board. I know he won't expect or want you to be a 'yes man,' and I doubt if that part of the job turns out to be too demanding."
He paused, toying with the newspaper, and then went on. "In my case, though, I think things will be a lot different. Everyone will know Peter Amsted is positioning his son for something bigger and there will be a lot of people who'd be very happy to see me fail. In fact, I'm sure in a town like this there will be a lot of people trying to be sure things go badly. The crazy part of it is that most of them would be people whom I don't even know, and who don't know me."
"But they'd be getting at Peter through you."
"Yes," he said. They'd be going for Peter and for NSB. If the studio failed, it would mean a bigger piece of the pie for the survivors.
"We need to talk with dad a good bit longer about this. I want some strong assurances of support, not just from him, but from this group he's putting together. I'm talking about contractual support, not just verbal promises."
"That sounds reasonable," I said, stroking his hand.
"Without it, I'd be better off staying were I am and working my way up through the system at a more normal pace."
"With all this going on, do you think Peter would let you stay on the sidelines?"
"Probably not, but I can use the threat to gain a little leverage." He picked up the paper again, which he'd left folded open at the piece he'd been reading. "You know, Robert, unless Peter and his group succeed, I think NSB will probably not survive anyway."
"Couldn't it just go on making films, the way it started, even if the other side won and they sold off the peripheral holdings?"
"The truth of it is, Robert, that those peripheral holdings are what's really keeping NSB afloat."
"Why do you say that, William? The studio's turned out some very successful films in the last few years."
"Yes, some big winners, but a lot of losses, too. If it weren't for the revenues from the TV production units, I don't think we'd make it."
"TV has become that important?" I asked. Working as I did, in the rather isolated world of project development and script development, I had a very limited view of the larger picture.
"TV is essential," William said. He slid out of the nook and stood up, which positioned his naked body just to my left and within easy reach.
I reached out stroked his soft, dangling cock. "I wish we had time for this," I smiled, looking up at him.
"Me, too," he grinned, looking down at me.
"Did you know before last night, we'd gone longer without making love than we'd ever done before?"
"Yes, I certainly noticed," he smiled. "But funerals don't always make for good sex."
"I guess not," I agreed, standing up and kissing his lips gently. "Now, let's get dressed and go sell some meat."
When we arrived at the private dining room where Peter and his group were meeting we were introduced to four other men, two of whom William already knew, but all of whom were complete strangers to me.
"Horst Beck," Peter said, "Marlon Studios, Berlin; Tony Self, Jack In The Box Productions; Allen Cage, Roaring Rock Studios; and Sam Rubin, Ridgeway, GSB."
I knew all the names, of course, but had never met any of these men. I was struck by the fact that they were all men, and all of roughly the same age as Peter Amsted, that is in their mid forties to early fifties. I also knew they represented some of the strongest and most innovative teams in film and television production. All the companies they represented had become part of the larger NSB conglomerate over the last five to ten years under Dexter Cohen's leadership.
"Now, gentlemen," Peter said, clearly
taking the lead, "let's sit down and talk business." Despite his obvious
British accent, he struck me at that moment as the consummate American
I noticed that we all picked at our food as the meal and the meeting continued. The real business at hand was the reorganization of NSB and the election of new directors. Peter was consolidating his position with these men and showing them that their best interests would be served by going along with his plans. They would gain a voice but Peter would exercise control.
By the time William left the meeting at three o'clock the agreement was struck and the future of NSB effectively decided. The emergency meeting of the board was to be held on Thursday, the day after Dex Cohen's memorial service.
Later that afternoon William and I got back to the house on Pasadena and had a little time for ourselves, something we'd begun to suspect would be harder and harder to manage as the pace of events increased.
We were meeting Peter again for dinner at eight o'clock at his suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel and knew he was expecting a few other business associates to join us. For the next two hours, however, we were alone and telephone calls were routed to the answering service.
"I've been missing this," William sighed as he moved languidly in my arms.
"Yes," I agreed, lightly kissing his warm, moist lips.
We'd gotten undressed and into our big bed as soon as we'd arrived home.
I rolled over onto him, letting his muscular body bear the weight of mine, feeling his arms come around me as the depth of our kiss increased.
"Um," he murmured as our lips finally parted. "Are you going to fuck me?"
"Is that what you want?"
We were so accustomed to each other that I knew before he asked, but the verbal consent was always sought, a sort of courtesy between us. I rolled over and took lubricant from the bed stand and within a minute my cock was deep in him.
William curled his legs around me and I looked deeply into his eyes.
"Yes," we sighed together, marveling always at the wonder of our connectedness.
When I fuck William I pay close attention to his eyes. They really are like windows to his soul and in them I seem to see every nuance of emotion and each physical sensation he feels.
I learned early in our relationship that when the head of my cock prods his prostate in a particular way, his eyebrows arch and a look of absolute amazement comes over his handsome face.
At that moment, for a split second, a tiny scar becomes visible between the light hairs of his left eyebrow. At no other time can I see it.
"A childhood injury," he told me when I asked. "I don't remember it but mother told it took a couple of stitches to close."
It's such an odd thing to endear him to be but, each time, I lower my lips to kiss that little scar in his otherwise unblemished face.
"I love you, William," I whispered as my lips grazed his eyes.
"I know," he moaned, "now harder, Peter, fuck me harder."
I don't think he realized what he'd said and I was too close to climax for it to sink in. It was only later that it hit me.
At that moment I just pounded into him with all the force I had, driving into him again and again as he arched his back and lifted his body to meet each stroke. My cock seemed to be on fire and his ass was searing. I felt his sphincter grip my cock and a second later his semen scalded my chest.
"Yes," he hissed and I shot my own seed deep into his bowels.
To be continued.