The room was crowded with family and friends, their eyes red from crying. Joe's family sat in a corner of the room on a velvet couch as well wishes stopped and extended their condolences. There were hugs, tears and even smiles. Mark Hennings watched the family who sat there and he wondered what Joe would think. A picture of him sat on an end table and Mark touched the golden frame and he looked at Joe and smiled. It was picture that he had taken of Joe on a trip to Venice a few years back. Joe would have probably laughed at the fuss that was being made over him and yell out, "what's all this bullshit!" But then, he would have produced this show differently. His mahogany casket sat off in a corner surrounded by flowers but Mark didn't think he could bring himself to take a last look at the man that he had loved for the last twenty years knowing that he would never hear his voice, see him laugh, smile or ever hold him again.
His widow sat looking elegant in a black dress that must have cost a small fortune. She wore no jewelry although Joe said she could stock Tiffany's shelves with what she had in the safe. She was a handsome woman and years ago she must have been beautiful. Now, there was a hardness to her face, too much makeup and one too many face lifts. Her blond hair was coifed so not a hair was out of place. She dabbed her tears with a hankie but making sure her make-up didn't smudge. Joe called her stone face and a hard cookie who knew what she wanted and got it. Now that he was dead, she would soon learn that it was pay back time and the tears she shed would be real ones.
Mark stood there at the fringe of the crowd, dressed in a dark blue suit. He looked handsome as Joe use to say whenever he saw him. "You look so handsome," and he would hug him and hold him tight. Mark felt a tear a the corner of his eye and brushed it away. He walked to the corner where Joe was laid out and stood at the casket to take a final look at his beloved. Joe looked so peaceful as he did when he was relaxed and free from the worries of a new production or when things were going well. Then it was a trip to Paris for the weekend or to house in Nice. Mark was thankful that the undertakers had done such a marvelous job. He wanted to reach into the coffin and kiss Joe, but touched his cold hand instead. Mark wanted to say so many things but never had the chance and now Joe was gone. "May the angels lead you into heaven," Mark said. "And they better warn God that JT is coming and he'd better get ready for bright lights and magic cause you're going to light up heaven." He touched his face gently with his hand. Mark turned and walked out of the funeral home and down the street tears flowing from his eyes.
"Excuse me," he heard a voice and a young man in his late twenties came running up to him. "Can I speak to you for a second."
Mark turned and it was Joe's son. He was a younger version of his dad.
"You were a friend of my father's, weren't you? You're Mark Henning"
Mark smiled weakly. "I was a very good friend of your father."
He ran to Mark and put his arms around him and held him. "I'm so sorry he said. "I knew my father loved you. I didn't know how much until I found some of your letters to him when he was sick. They were among his papers. He wrote this one to you and I'm sorry for reading it but I'm so proud to know you. I have seen everything you've written. If my dad loved you then you must be very special."
"Your father was a wonderful man and he loved you. You're Robert, aren't you? Don't judge him harshly. He was the same man before you found out he was gay and now that he's dead, he would have been the same man."
Robert had Joe's big brown eyes that danced with life. His hair was thick and brown and he was tall and muscular.
"How can I judge my father," he said looking at Mark. "I'm gay also and out of the closet. My dad never, ever did anything to embarrass us. I knew that he was gay since I was a kid. My mother tried to poison us but she failed. He was always there for me when he was needed. My mom knew that he was gay when she married him. He was successful and she wanted to be was the wife of a rich man. And she got her wish and he got his, he fell in love with you. When my dad found happiness with you, she became embittered. Not that she ever loved him. May I call you?"
Mark didn't know what to say but looked into Robert's eyes and knew he had to see him for Joe. "I would like that when you're free and have the time."
He hugged Mark. "I have to get back to the funeral home. "Thank you," he said, "for loving my dad and making him happy." He ran down the street and Mark stood there and began to cry.
Joe Thorthan Miller was larger then life. A big, husky man with broad shoulders and a swagger to his walk. He was a successful theatrical lawyer and producer. He lived live hard, drank harder and took chances when opportunity presented themselves. But for all his toughness and bravado, he was kind and gentle and most of all loving.
Mark was a playwright and JT as he was called was interested in producing his play. It was Mark's first play and he was excited about the possibility of seeing his work produced on the Broadway stage.
It seemed like yesterday that Mark was a young kid out of the Yale drama and like millions of kids before him wanted to be a star on the stage. He came to New York with all the hopes and dreams and learned quickly that talent and looks were sometimes not enough. He made rounds, worked as a waiter and discovered that there were thousands of other talented kids like himself that never got the chance. He struggled to find an acting job, any acting job but in time realized that he was never going to make it. He thought of going to Hollywood but decided he was fooling himself. Then he began to write and wrote a play that sparked interest . He remembered being ushered into Joe Thorthan Miller's office and how scared he was. There was JT sitting at a large modern desk surrounded by plays that covered the glass surface. Phones rang constantly and he ignored them. Fine paintings decorated the walls and oriental carpeting the floor. Posters of all the plays that he had produced filled one wall including two Tony award winners for best drama. JT had on reading glass that sat on the bridge of his nose. It wasn't a perfect nose but it fit his face. He had a strong determined chin. He looked up from what he was doing and gave Mark the once over and asked him to sit down. His shirt was open at the collar and tufts of brown hair peeked through.
"Loved your play," he said in a whiskey voice. "It has balls and is beautifully written. Kid, you have talent." He bit his lower lip, a nervous habit that Mark saw over the ensuing years. "But, I just can't produce it." He looked into Mark's deep blue eyes. "The economy sucks, twelve shows are closing within the next two months and business stinks. I haven't had a hit in two years and need one or my angels will disappear like magic smoke." He snapped his fingers. His hands were large and his fingers manicured. "Much as I loved it, I have to pass."
Mark sat there and then got up. "Thanks anyway for reading it and thanks for liking it. I've always respected the stuff that had your name on it." Mark got up to leave.
"Hold your horses. Where are you going?" he said loudly. "I said I wasn't going to produce it, I didn't say I wasn't going to help you." Joe got up from his desk. He had to be around forty-five at the time. He had a strong, masculine face. There was determination in his eyes and as he stared at Mark he softened. "How old are you?"
"Corn fed, raised in the country. Black hair, blue eyes and he shook his head from side to side. "Leading man type. You probably were an actor judging by your looks. For a creative outlet you turn to writing. It was as if was reading off a list. "You can write and he held up the script. "So I'll tell you what I'm gonna do. I have taken the liberty of sending your play down to a friend in Texas who runs one of the best regional theaters down there in Houston. Lots of money in Houston. He'll produce it and let's see how it plays there. If that's agreeable to you. But, kid," he put his meaty hand on Mark. "I get first rights of refusal." He smiled and it lit up the room. "Now how about me and you going to dinner and talking about you."
That was how Mark met JT. They laughed, talked about the state of the theater and if Mark was writing anything else and Joe wanted to see it right away. Mark found himself enraptured with this big man. That was how it started and a twenty year love affair that spanned the globe. Mark never regretted a second of his time with Joe. JT made Mark rich and famous but most of all gave him the love that he would cherish for the rest of his life.
Two months after their first meeting, they were sitting in the regional theater in Houston watching Mark's play. The seats were small and Mark felt Joe's knee brush against him. Joe sat there with his hands folded across his lap. Mark could feel the warmth emanating and JT kept it there. Mark didn't know why but he was excited. He felt the pressure against his knee and they sat there until the end of the performance. As they were headed back to their rooms that night.
"How about a nightcap to discuss the play? JT asked, checking his watch. "It's not late, the bar's open and I won't be able to sleep. What do you say kid? I have some suggestions that I think will make the second act a hell of a lot stronger. "
Calling Mark kid never offended him. In fact he liked it. It showed that JT liked him.
"Just one. I know you and one turns to two."
"Cross my heart and hope to die." He laughed and it emanated from deep within his belly. "My treat. "
It was always his treat. He was one of those guys that you could never reach for a check in his presence. Mark sensed it had to do with him growing up in an orphanage and doing it his way. He was showing the world that he had made it. They sat at the bar talking about the production.
"Are you gay?' he asked Mark who looked at him.
"Yes, I am. Does it matter?"
"How would you like to go to bed with me?" JT said it so matter of fact that Mark had to laugh. "I know that I'm not one of those handsome twinks but age does have its pleasure. If you say no, I won't be crushed and it won't affect our relationship. I normally don't come on to people that I work with but you're special."
"Now, I'm special. I heard you tell the director that I was a pain in the ass and to forget this artistic crap and cut out the second act speech. You thinks it runs to long. "
"You also have good ears. It does run too long." He reached out and held Marks hand covering it with his massive hand. "Yes, different and special. My marriage sucks and I have been gay as long as I can remember but got married for all the wrong reasons. We've never divorced and she's a bitter bitch but lives the good life since I pay the bills. I've never had what you would call a steady lover because I haven't found anybody that didn't bore me after a while or somebody that excited me that much. So I have one nights stands when I'm not to busy running around the country raising money for putting on my shows. He smiled and his lips were full. He had long lashes. "Don't get me wrong but I love what I'm doing and hearing the applause tonight is the reason why I do it. I also love the money and what it can buy. That's me and I'll ask once and then the subject will never be brought up again," He looked into Mark's blue eyes. "But please say yes."
Mark laughed. "How do I respond. "Most of the guys I've been with have been younger and muscular as you so aptly put it. But," he thought for a second. "I really don't have a type. I prefer my men older then me but age or weight, bald or tattooed is not a problem. Would you be upset if I asked for a rain check? I've had a busy last few days with rewrites and seeing this play get on and I am really beat. Funny, but I liked you from the first day that I was swept into your office and saw you sitting there. You were a powerful man and I'm ambitious. At that time I would have done anything to get ahead. Call me a whore, but I wasn't and didn't sell myself out to get a break. You were kind to me. You didn't need to be but you were. I looked at you and the excellent productions that you were associated with. I learned that you were honest and fair. I also saw a handsome men and wondered if you were gay. I heard stories but stories are just that." He looked into Joe's face. You're a mighty good-looking man and I would be happy to sleep with you because I want to make love to you. But the truth is that I don't want to be a one night stand and another notch on your gun of young guys that you've bedded down. I like you JT. I may be special but I think that you're also special."
"You really think that I'm handsome?" His smile was infectious and he was a master charmer. "Not fat, pompous, opinionated, bossy and a prick. Special. That's a new word to describe me. As for a one night stand. You may find me a dud in bed and be glad that is was only one night." He laughed and it was a rich laugh and then he smiled. "Special. I like that. I'll let you tell me when, how's that?"
"I want to be with you. I have always liked older men, and you fit the bill."
"Can I ask a favor?"
"Make it soon. I'm horny, randy, in heat and a thousand other ways to say I want you. Funny, but I wanted you from the second you walked in the door. I wanted to meet the man who wrote the play I read and who wrote with such feelings that I knew he had to be one passionate son of a bitch. I met the man and wanted him ever since."
"Thank you JT."
you, for not turning me down and wanting me for me and being honest. Most
Mark's play was a huge success and the reviews were brilliant. Champagne flowed and JT was like a mother hen as he watched over Mark who winked when he saw him. They stood on the terrace of the hotel, the city below them and JT, said, " to a long and brilliant career. If tonight was any indication, this show is ready for Broadway." JT looked at Mark. "You look so handsome," he said.
"Are you being nice because you want to produce the show or do you mean it?"
"What do you think?"
"Knowing you, produce the show. You threw in the handsome because you know that I have an inferiority complex."
JT laughed. "I'm proud of you."
"I'm proud of me also, Mark said. I've worked hard. JT, would you take me to my room and make love to me? I believe I want that rain check."
"Are you sure? After tonight's reviews you can have anybody."
"That is probably not true but I want to go home with the man who brought me to the dance."
That night was magic for both of them. JT was one of those men that was good at anything he did and sex was a specialty.
JT always had the last word and they ended up in his suite. The moment they got in the door Mark pinned JT against the wall and kissed him. His tongue tasted of champagne and they held each other in a long embrace.
"Just like you, I've waited for this moment for a long time," Mark said. He took off JT's jacket and threw in on the couch. He opened his shirt and reached in and ran his hand across his beefy chest and felt the silky hair as it ran through his fingers. The hair was soft and beginning to turn gray. His fingers touched JT's nipple and he held it there and rubbed it gently and JT stirred and kissed Mark with tenderness. As Mark applied pressure JT's kisses turned more passionate as the ball of Mark's thumb massaged first one and then the other nipple. He unbuttoned JT's shirt and his nipples were large. His hand cupped his tit and it was soft and fleshy as he massaged it. Mark sucked on the nipple and felt JT moan with pleasure as Mark's warm mouth sucked gently and lovingly. He unbuttoned JT's pants and they dropped to the floor. He stepped out of them and stood in his white briefs. Through the cotton fabric, his erection was poking through. He had a belly that Mark rubbed and it was soft and his hand moved over his body feeling his strong shoulders that held him close. Mark then pulled down JT's shorts and he stepped out of them. He had a nice sized cock and Mark touched it lightly and then held it. He felt JT leaking and rubbed the head and it glistened in his hand. He led JT into the bedroom and Mark undressed and they both lay down. JT looked at Mark's beautiful body and held him close. Mark smelled of cologne that he always wore and JT kissed him long and sensuously. His lips were warm and tender as he parted Mark's mouth and inserted his tongue. They kissed for a long time discovering the joy of just kissing and touching each other. Mark's hand's ran across JT's chest and to his belly where he felt the softness and kissed it with his lips. He wanted to taste JT, to bring him to a climax and to share his love.
They took turns exploring each other, pleasing one another with a touch, a caress or a kiss. They became aware of the other's sensitivities and exploited it making the other squeal with joy as an ear lobe was kissed or the perineum was licked. JT sucked with a mouth of liquid honey as he licked and tongued Mark's cock that had Mark gripping his shoulders as his saliva filled mouth moved with a slowness that teased and pleased. His fingers fondled Mark's balls and his hands were gentle. He tongued the underside of the head of Mark's cock and licked away and Mark knew that Joe was hitting all the right buttons.
JT had rounded buns and wanted Mark to fuck him.
"I want you inside of me. It's something that I've thought about for days. Not too many people have I let get my booty but I want it with you. I don't want you to be a notch on my gun, but a part of my life. I've never said to any man but I am saying it to you. "
He lay on his side. Mark played with his ass and kneaded his cheeks with his fingers as is he was making bread and licked at the sweat that gathered at the base of the crack of his ass. His tongue licked at the cheeks and he placed the head of his cock at JT's ass. He lubricated his dick and then with his finger inserted into JT's ass. He did it gently and it slid in and he felt JT respond and move slowly on Mark's finger. There was no talk as he lay there as Mark worked the finger inside of him getting him prepared. Mark was excited and wanted to see his dick enter Joe's ass. He pushed slowly making sure that he wasn't hurting him and then thrust forward and his dick slid in easily. He slid it in and out slowly and lovingly. Joe moaned in esctacy. They were making love with no rushing, each aware of the other's wants and desire. Mark had his hand around JT's furry belly and felt his heavy breathing as they moved in a rhythm as one. Mark was of average size but he moved within JT and JT moved his hips to take his thrusts. There was no talking or yelling and crying out in passion, but the movement of two bodies as one. He was inside JT making love to his ass, feeling the wetness, his abdominal muscles straining as he made love to him. Mark had never felt this way with a man before. There was lust and desire and he was deep inside JT, massaging his organ with his hand as he made love to his ass. JT rocked his hips from side to side and Mark held onto them and thrust faster and deeper as Joe began to move with him now jerking his own cock with Mark inside of him. How does one describe loving someone so deeply that their pleasure is paramount. Joe's checks were spread as he took Mark and felt his love building, his muscles straining, the sweat dripping onto his bodies as they were united. There was no holding back as Joe clamped down on Mark's cock with his rectum and Mark was ready to cum. Joe felt the thrill as his ass puckered as the tickle of his prostrate got rubbed with each thrust and he knew he was also going to cum. Like magic they both erupted at the same time and Mark felt the joy as he came inside Joe who cried out, Oh, Mark and came. They lay there not moving and then Mark pulled out. He kissed Joe on the neck and held him tight.
"Was it as good for you as it was for me? "JT asked.
"I think better. Can we do it again in the morning?"
"So I wasn't a dud? I think I can get use to that kind of loving on a steady basis."
That was how it started and as the years went by their relationship grew. They both brought something to the relationship; the excitement of youth tempered with the experience of age. Mark's play came to Broadway and it was a huge success and the film rights were bought by a major studio. JT brokered the deal insuring Mark a three picture deal that made him rich. They travelled together whenever they were able and in town shared Mark's apartment. JT kept Mark out of his family life so he didn't get caught up in the bitterness but he knew when JT had been with his wife.
Their love making grew in intensity as they learned from one another. It was give and take and no top or bottom. It was sharing and caring and loving and their love for each other prospered. When Mark learned of JT's illness he was on the coast and raced home. JT knew he was dying and they talked about it. He never felt sorry for himself and smiled and said, "it's been one hell of a ride for me and the best part is that I had a handsome man to share it with me." Within a month JT was dead.
Mark read JT's last letter to him
This will be the last time you hear from me and we both know that even the best shows sometimes have to close and babe, we had quite a run. Sure, I'll miss the bright lights of Broadway but I'll miss my special man who made my life sweet with love. In you, I've found a soul mate, found the only man that I was never bored with. You always kept me interested in life and living. Kid, you made me happy and you're still young enough to find another to make you happy and I want that for you. But never forget that special guy who brought you to the dance and loved you with a love that I didn't think that I was capable of. You brought out the best in me, the caring, sharing and wanting to make someone else happy. Wherever I'm bound, I know that I was one lucky guy to have found you. Take care my handsome one for you were so, so special and I shall always love you.
the letter away and held a picture of JT close to him and knew that the
angels were leading him into heaven.