This is the first of five chapters of a new Absolute Convergence sequel.
While this story is being added to the existing Absolute Convergence file, it constitutes a self-contained narrative. I've given this sequel the subtitle Tahoe Shores for reasons which will become clear as the story unfolds. 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 be enjoyable as an independent story.
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 continuing for so long and I am still amazed by the incredible loyalty of readers who stayed with it, or with me, from the beginning.
I am also appreciative of those newer readers who have contacted me from time to time to say that they've discovered the series and worked their way 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 continues to give me much needed proofing and editorial help for which I am sincerely grateful.
The author holds exclusive copyright (© 2005) to this story. It may not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the author. It is placed in the Nifty Archive under the terms of their submission agreement but it may not be copied or archived on any other site or in any form without the written permission of the author.
All the stories I've assigned to NIFTY Archive 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 news and information, please let me know by sending your request to the e-mail address below.
"Are we going to Peter's party?"
William asked as we lingered over our morning coffee.
"I don't think we really have the option of not going," I said, putting down the LA Times and reaching for the Fortnum and Mason's Marmalade, one of the British addictions I'd acquired from eighteen years as William Amsted's partner. My principal addiction, however, had to be William himself.
It's odd how a relationship builds, develops, transforms itself over time. We don't know many gay couples who have been together as long as William and I have been together but the few we do know all seem to share the same attribute to one degree or another.
William says it has more to do with
the personalities of the two partners, personalities which were formed
before they ever met. But it does seem as if two people merge with time,
become alike in many subtle ways. Even in relationships, where one person
is obviously the dominant partner and the other the subservient one, a
certain rubbing off of traits occurs over time.
Put two pebbles in the same stream and wait. After a few years of tumbling together in their common bed, they begin to look alike. One may be black, the other red, but in form they begin to share the marks of their common experience.
William and I are like that. We were, perhaps, more alike than many couples when we met in England in the summer of 1972. We were less than a year apart in age, very nearly the same height and size, both blond. We were so similar that many took us to be brothers. The fact that we were not brothers became clear when we spoke. My Mississippi accent and William's Oxbridge English made that clear. But over the years even that distinction blurred. Our patterns of speech merged into a common Los Angelese which still held echoes of our roots.
"I guess not going isn't really an option," William continued. "Besides, I want to try to corner Jeremy Irons."
"Still hoping to get him for Crome Yellow?"
"I can dream," William laughed, getting up from the table. "But after winning an Oscar he's going to be in huge demand."
Irons had been awarded the prize for Best Actor for Reversal of Fortune just a few months before.
"I'd think you could tempt him with Hartley."
"Hartley and a wonderful script."
"Thank you," I said as we went off to our bedroom to dress.
Peter Amsted, William's father, and my father-in-law, by his own proclamation, never did anything half way or, as William would say, by halves.
The party that Friday night was in the Crystal Room at the Beverly Hills Hotel, a venerable Hollywood landmark. The ostensible justification for the lavish evening was to celebrate the acquisition by NSB of a small but well regarded tech company called Industrial Illusions, known as II in the trade. But, as is the case with most big Hollywood parties, it was really a celebration of the man behind the deal, who in this case was none other than Peter Amsted himself.
Peter was never a modest man and
as he'd grown older he'd become even more self-possessed. His egotism had
been elevated to new heights by his name appearing on the Queen's Honors
List a year earlier. So it was now Sir Peter who met and greeted us with
his usual reserved enthusiasm as we entered the huge ballroom which had
been fitted out for the occasion.
Amsted, with a few other NSB executives and a couple of Industrial Illusions senior people, formed a sort of informal receiving line, which we navigated as rapidly as possible.
"We are having dinner on Sunday?" Sir Peter asked, giving both William and me quick hugs before we moved off into the crowd.
"Yes, our place," William said.
"I have meetings. Will seven o'clock be all right?"
"Perfect, Peter," William said. He rarely addressed his father in any way other than by his first name.
We mingled, as was expected, and soon found ourselves in a bevy of the Industrial Illusions creative staff who were not at all sure what they were in for now that their cozy little brains trust had been taken over by the Monster.
We introduced ourselves and William was quickly cornered, verbally, if not physically, and bombarded with a steady barrage of questions about his father and what might lie in store for the little fish that had just been swallowed whole by the whale.
"You'll be fine," William told them. "NSB wanted Industrial Illusions for its talent, which is you, so stop worrying. You'll continue doing the same kinds of projects, but now you'll have a lot more money to do them with."
"Read 'Big Dumb Projects,' instead of 'Small Quality Projects,' a woman said with only slightly hidden scorn.
"Not necessarily," William insisted. "I head Starmark and Robert Ballinger here," he gestured toward me, "heads Wordsmiths. They are both small units within NSB but we hold our own."
"You're Peter Amsted's son. That has to make a big difference," the woman said. I turned slightly to look at her. She was about our age, maybe a little older, strikingly handsome and beautifully dressed. There was something about her which seemed familiar but I couldn't place her. "And you two are partners," she went on. "So neither Starmark nor Wordsmiths are what you'd call typical NSB subsidiaries."
"In that sense, perhaps," William said, "but we are still expected to produce quality work."
"But if you lose a few mil here or there daddy probably won't slap your wrist," the woman said. She was a little offensive but it was hard to argue with her. William was the boss's son and I, by virtue of our relationship, was in a favored position as well. "But you're right," she added in a somewhat conciliatory tone, "II is its people, nothing more, but nothing less either."
Who was this woman? I thought again.
"I'm Robert Ballinger," I said, turning to face her squarely. William had told her and the rest of the group my name, but we'd not really been formally introduced.
"You don't remember me, do you Rob?" she said with a sly smile.
"I feel as if I should know you but
I can't remember were we met."
"Try the beach at Gulfport, Spring Break, 1968."
"Dorothy . . . ?" I stammered in amazement, staring at her.
"Yes, Dorothy Bridges," she said. as I'd forgotten her last name. "You were Rob Ballinger in those days."
"I still am, in some circles," I grinned. "William insists on calling me Robert."
"Well, I need to circulate," William said as he prepared to leave us, "and I guess you two need to catch up."
Catch up we did. William and the other II people drifted off. I gave Dorothy the three minute version of my life over the last twenty-odd years and she did the same; degrees from the University of Texas and Tulane, then five or six years in LA working at a variety of film companies, mostly small independent groups doing anything she could find to pay the rent, TV, short documentaries, even commercials.
There had been three or four relationships along the way but none that lasted. One, however, had taken her to San Francisco, where she'd gotten a job with II. It had been the perfect match and she'd risen quickly in the small company, finding her place near the top of its rather intimate ranks.
"What are you working on now?" she asked as we took a third glass of Champagne from the tray being carried through the crowd by a very good looking young man.
"We just finished the script for Crome Yellow," I told her. "We have several more projects in the works."
"Crome Yellow? Hartley?"
"Will your boyfriend produce it?"
William and I had never liked the term boyfriend. He was my spouse and any other term than that or partner seemed to somehow demean our relationship.
"He's my partner, Dorothy," I said, not in an unfriendly way, but with obvious conviction.
"Sorry, Rob. I didn't mean to suggest what you and he have going was anything but permanent."
"I understand. In LA culture most relationships seen to last about two months, if you're lucky. William and I have been together for eighteen years."
"Good for you! Maybe you two should be the poster boys for committed gay relationships."
"We're not looking for public recognition," I laughed, breaking any tension that had been present between us.
"Sometime you'll have to tell me how you met, the whole history, the whole saga."
I laughed again. "You don't want to hear all that. Besides, what can you say after you settle down together? If it's love, it's love. Anything else sounds like a soap opera."
"My flings do read like soap operas, Rob," Dorothy said. There was a note of regret in her deep, resonant voice. "It sounds like you and William have it together."
"I believe we do."
"Well, maybe we can get together for lunch. I'll be here in LA quite a bit until we get this relationship with NSB working."
"I'd like that."
"I also want to hear what's happened with these hot boys you were with in Gulfport in 1968."
"Now that really is a saga. We may need more than one lunch."
"Deal," she laughed. "Now tell me about Crome Yellow. Who is William thinking of for the major rolls?"
"He wants Irons for starters. In fact, he's probably off schmoozing with him now."
"He's too old for the Denis Stone role."
"William wants Irons to play Henry Wimbush."
"Is that a big enough part to tempt him?"
"Yes, the way the script has been developed, the Wimbush role is demanding and a show case for real talent. But it will be an ensemble piece, a real ensemble piece. I know there's a tendency to say that about almost every film these days, but it's true of Crome Yellow. There are several great roles. The challenge is going to be getting the right people, the right mix."
"It sounds very interesting," she
said. "It also sounds like you've really gotten into this project."
"One of the luxuries of heading Wordsmiths is that I don't have to work on anything I'm not enthusiastic about."
"It must have been a difficult book to develop as a film script."
"Yes, it's about ideas, not strong
on action. We'll film it in England, of course, and the settings and atmosphere
will go a long way toward carrying the narrative, but we need a strong
"Who does William want to play the Stone part?"
A young guy named Law. Peter's seen the unedited footage of him in some new British TV series called Families. He thinks the guy is a real comer."
Dorothy was silent for a moment while we each sipped our wine and nibbled tidbits another hot young waiter was serving.
"Rob," she finally said thoughtfully, "is there any chance II might get involved with this project?"
"Possibly," I said. "I know Peter will be looking for something rather important to use you on, you know, a sort of splash to let the world know II is now part of his kingdom."
"I need to read the novel again,
but it seems to me there would be a real need for special effects. II could
do an excellent job."
"Read the novel, but let me send you a copy of the script. It will give you an idea of the direction we are going."
It was at that point that William found us. He was beaming.
"So did it go well?" I asked.
He looked at Dorothy and I knew from his expression that he was unsure how much he wanted to say in front of a total stranger.
"It's okay. Dorothy's on board," I reassured him.
"Yes," William said with a broad smile. "I'm sending Irons a script tomorrow. I think he's hooked."
"I want Dorothy to read it too," I said.
"Yes, II may be a natural. We do need ghosts and a séance or two."
William and I told Dorothy Bridges good-bye with the expectation of meeting for lunch in a few days. Then, after the obligatory round of small talk with Peter and some other studio execs, we were out of there.
"Now we have the rest of the weekend to ourselves," William said as he handed the valet the ticket for his sleek black Porsche, the new one which had just been delivered a week before.
"Don't forget your father is coming for dinner on Sunday."
"I'm not forgetting," William smiled. "But for the next forty-two hours and twenty minutes, you're mine."
"I'm yours anyway," I laughed as we got into the low slung car and headed off into the traffic along Sunset Boulevard.
The rear patio of our house on Corona del Mar in Pacific Palisades faces southwest toward the sea. To the southeast is the vast sweep of LA, curving in a gentle arch. We can see the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice, Marina Del Rey, and further to the south, the perpetual glow of LAX.
We stopped in the bedroom just long enough to shed our clothes. The rear of our house is completely screened and totally private and we have no reservations about being totally naked on the wide patio or in the sunken whirlpool.
"I guess it wasn't too bad, as such evenings go," William said as he joined me. He'd made a quick detour and now carried a tray on which stood a bottle of chilled Duerkheimer Eiswein and two wine glasses.
"Not bad, as such evenings go," I agreed as he poured the wine and settled next to me in the foaming water.
His arm came around me as our naked bodies pressed together, side to side.
"Here's to a good weekend," William said, clinking his glass against mine.
The wine was cold, in sharp contrast to the steaming water of the spa; its flavor was barely sweet, with the fragrance of alpine flowers.
"Very nice," I said, turning to put my glass on the stone coping.
"Yes," William agreed as his hand slid across my thigh and grasped my cock. I wasn't hard but as he stroked me and the hot waters boiled around us, I felt myself quickly becoming erect. I leaned back and closed my eyes, letting William work his magic. His own glass had somehow disappeared and suddenly both of his hands were on me, one on my hard tool, the other exploring my chest and stomach.
When I opened my eyes he was in front of me, half kneeling in the turbulent water as his hands coaxed me toward climax.
"Sit up on the edge," he growled, his voice heavy with lust.
I was able to comply without William losing contact. Once I was sitting on the edge of the hot tub, he bent over me and consumed the full, pulsing length of my cock.
He deep-throated me, taking the pulsing knob of my dick deep into his throat.
I didn't last long and when I came it was sudden and hard.
"Your cum tastes funky laced with chlorine," William grinned as he finished me off and looked up with a self-satisfied expression on his face.
"That was unexpected," I said as my breathing returned to normal. "I didn't expect a quick blow job when we have all weekend ahead of us."
"You're going to fuck me later," he grinned, "and I don't want you coming too soon when you do."
"Ah," I said, understanding the plan
behind his haste, and we did just that.
To be continued.