This story may occasionally include explicit depictions of sexual acts between consenting adult males. If you are underage or it is illegal to view this for any reason, consider yourself warned. If you find this material offensive, please leave.
This story is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to people, living or dead, is entire a coincidence. As the author, I retain all rights to this story, and it cannot be reproduced or published without explicit consent from me. This work is copyright © 2015 by Steven Wells.
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John's Journey Forward
"Chris," George said excitedly as we boarded the plane for our return flight back to Chicago on Thursday afternoon. George looked a little nervous. "I received two e-mails right before we boarded the airplane. One was a reservation at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Boston for two nights to the tune of about $1,800. The other was for L'Espalier for two on Saturday night. Both are guaranteed on the company American Express Card. What's happening?"
"Ah!" Chris began to explain. "I was going to explain when we were in the air. I heard you mention you wanted to celebrate Jorge's new job. So, I took the liberty of booking two nights at the Mandarin Oriental on Friday and Saturday as well as Saturday night dinner at L'Espalier. You and Jorge will have a great time, I am certain."
"But, I can't afford an $1,800 hotel bill," George continued. "I'm not certain I can afford to breath at L'Espalier."
"It's taken care of, George," Chris explained. "Just make certain Jorge is free Friday evening through Sunday afternoon. You will have a great time."
"I can't let you pay for all of this," George replied.
"You're not letting me pay for it, George," Chris said with a smile. "I already did. There is no turning back unless Jorge doesn't have the time off."
As we took our seats to await take off, George called Jorge. "Jorge! We will be back in Boston in about two hours."
I could hear Jorge through George's phone. "I have plans for you tonight, sweetie."
"I can't wait," George responded. "Can you get Friday evening through Sunday afternoon off?"
"Sure," Jorge replied. "I just need to switch with Jim. He owes me one. Why?"
"I will explain when I see you," George replied. "Just know we will have a wonderful time celebrating your new job. I need to run. We are getting ready for takeoff."
"I can't wait to see you!" Jorge responded before the call was ended.
After we were airborne and the fasten seat belt light went off, Chris gathered around our team's seats. He was in the aisle. "Guys," Chris began. "I just want to let you all know I am very proud of you for your work this week. I see something in your eyes: excitement. And, I believe we are going to have one hell of a good team for this work. I talked to Aron a few hours ago. We have two new clients as of this morning. Digital production and distribution of custom video. Starting on Monday morning, the five of you designers plus you, Bobby, will share in the profits of this business group. I believe we will all make significant money. However, please keep this among yourselves. I want this to be a quiet venture until we can prove our worth to the company. If the next 12 months continue as I believe they will, you will be our first partners of eSquare Web Solutions. Enjoy your weekend."
Chapter 15: Maybe We Should Go Out Dancing Tonight
It had been a month since our business trip to Chicago. Our team—Sandy, Ralph, Serge, George, and me—met Chris in one of our conference rooms.
"Thank you for joining me, guys," Chris began. "I am extremely pleased with the progress of the work on the Norman project as well as the two other projects we landed recently. According to the progress reports on all three projects, we are hitting our major milestone points ahead of schedule. So, here are your bonuses for this month."
Chris handed each of us an envelope. "All of your bonuses are the same. You are equal partners in this team. The bonuses represent 20 percent of the profits this month on these projects split between the five of you. You can open the envelopes if you want."
"Holy shit!" Sandy gasped as he looked at the check inside his envelope.
The rest of us just silently starred at the $3,000 bonus checks Chris had given us.
"I can safely say the bonuses will only get larger as the year progresses," Chris explained. "And, the other bit of good news is Aron has two more signed contracts for this team. Which means we have a lot more work to do. With the help of a recruiting firm here in Boston, we have 10 design candidates coming in over the next two weeks. We need to hire at least four of them. One will be assigned to work for each of the team members except Sandy. He will still need to deal with the whole team. Do any of you have questions?"
"You said one will be assigned to each of us," Ralph began. "Sandy will still be the person's supervisor, right?"
"Nope," Chris replied. "You will each become a new hire's supervisor. You will be responsible for monitoring your team member's work progress and quality. If you need help or have questions about certain matters, you can speak with Sandy. And, don't forget your bonuses will be tied to the new staff member's performance as well as your own. You all have a vested interest in getting quality work from your team member who is reporting to you. And, in case you are wondering, the new hires will not be included in the bonus structure... At least for now. If you have no more questions, you are free to get back to your work."
All five of us, still stunned from the amount of our first bonus check, filtered out of the conference room and back to our work area. Sandy sat near my workstation.
"John," Sandy began. "You look a little bewildered. Can I help with something?"
"I am feeling overwhelmed," I admitted. "I haven't even been here a year, and I am getting a bonus check the same as everyone else on this team. Isn't the arrangement a little upsetting to the rest of you?"
"Nope," Sandy explained. "You may be the newest person on our team, but you do damn good work—and rather efficiently, I might add. You have tackled some exceedingly complex work assignments with the same energy and fervor as the rest of us. Anything else?"
"Finishing my degree," I replied. "I am barely getting everything done at school as it is. I have no idea how the rest of my work at MIT will be impacted by the additional work here."
"I thought you might be having issues with getting your degree," Sandy continued. "Chris and I have talked about you and your progress here as well as your work at MIT. You might be able to use some of the work here to count for coursework credit if you talk with your advisor. Chris and I would be eager to talk with your advisor if you'd like. We could explain exactly what you are working on."
"Do you think it might be possible?" I asked.
"It depends on your advisor, but Chris and I both believe you could apply some of your work to course credits," Sandy replied. "It's worth a shot."
The day flew by as I began working on my project. I was totally oblivious to anything around me when I heard a voice from behind me.
"Aren't you going home, John," Chris asked as he stepped in front of my workstation.
"I guess I lost track of time," I said to Chris as I noticed it was 6:30. "I was supposed to meet Noel at Starbucks just about now."
"I can give you a lift," Chris said with a smile. "You don't want to piss off your boyfriend."
"Thanks, Chris!" I responded as I slide some work into my backpack. "Noel is patient to a degree. And, you are right. I do NOT was to piss him off. I don't like sleeping alone."
We continued to chat until Chris pulled in front of Starbucks.
"We should talk tomorrow about MIT, John," Chris suggested as I got out of the car.
"Okay," I replied. "Just let me know when you are fee to chat. Thanks for everything, Chris."
"Thank you," Chris said as I shut the door.
I walked into Starbucks. Noel was sitting in the window seat.
"Sorry I'm late, Noel," I said as I gave him a peck on the cheek. "I lost track of time."
"Not a problem," Noel responded. "I was finishing up a writing project for work. How was your day?"
"Let me get coffee and I will explain," I replied.
Once I returned with my large dark roast, I sat next to Noel.
"This will be a day to remember," I began. "Chris called our team into his office. He gave everyone on our team one of these."
I handed the envelope to Noel who peeked inside.
"What the fuck is this for?" Noel asked.
"Monthly bonus based on profitability of our projects for the month," I explained.
"You already make $60 thousand a year," Noel whispered to me. "Will this be a regular thing?"
"According to Chris's statements today, yes," I replied. "We are hiring four more people to work in our group. We have two more clients than we did last week. It's awesome to be on the right side of a business like this. I am, as you can imagine, stoked."
"I am so fucking proud of you, John," Noel said as a big smile spread across his face. "What do you want to do to celebrate?"
"Take you home," I replied.
"Then?" Noel asked.
"Get naked," I continued.
"Then?" Noel asked.
"Play with your body," I explained.
"Why are we sitting here?" Noel asked as he stuffed his laptop into his backpack.
I grabbed my back pack and Noel and I headed home. When we arrived, we began shedding clothing. By the time we reached our bedroom, we were both naked and hard.
Noel and I were sitting in Starbucks on the Saturday afternoon following Chris's announcement about our bonus.
"Noel," I said after we had settled in with our coffee. "I was thinking we should put some money away for a down payment on a condo or house."
"Okay, moneybags," Noel replied. "How much would we need to set aside each month?"
"I don't know exactly, but I was thinking about putting my entire bonus check each month into a savings account," I suggested.
"But, if we relied only on your bonus checks, I wouldn't be contributing anything," Noel replied.
"We don't need to worry about who contributed what," I explained. "What's mine is ours. What's yours is ours. So, we would be totally even."
"How much would we need to buy a nice condo?" Noel asked.
"If we had enough in the bank after two years to put down 10 percent, we could possibly afford a $700,000 place," I explained. "Of course, we may need to move out of Cambridge if we can only spend $700,000."
"Unless we win the lottery," Noel added with a smile. "We need to explore the market. Maybe it will take three or four years before we are able to afford to buy something we really want."
"I saw an open house sign on Green Street at a new condo development," I explained. "It's tomorrow between 1 pm and 4 pm. Do you want to go check out the place?"
"Love to," Noel replied. "It will give us something to fantasize about."
"The only fantasy I will be having is getting you naked in bed," I added.
"I thought you were studying for one of your classes," Noel pointed out. "Classes before sex. We made an agreement."
"I don't like the agreement," I pouted.
"I don't either, John," Noel continued. "However, if you don't get your fucking degree, I am going to dump you for some other IT hotshot."
"You wouldn't... Would you?" I asked.
"No," Noel replied quickly. "But, a deal is a deal. We agreed our priorities would be getting you a degree so you can make even more money."
"Okay," I pouted. "Now, back to the condo. What do you want?"
"Easy," Noel began. "Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, big living room/dining room, nice kitchen, washer and dryer, and room to park a car."
"We don't have a car," I interjected.
"We might someday," Noel replied. "Then, if we don't have a parking space, we would need to move. I'm not keen on moving. I like putting down roots. What about you?"
"Same as you," I replied. "Maybe we could have space for an office."
"What about a pool?" Noel asked.
"Noel," I began. "We live in the Boston area. We are not far from the beaches at the Ocean. Where would you rather be? Sitting beside the pool or sitting on the beach?"
"Beach," Noel replied. "So, we can skip the pool."
"Where would you like to live?" I asked.
"Cambridge or Boston," Noel replied. "And, I know what you are about to say. We could get a nicer place away from Boston or Cambridge. But, do you really want to be a suburbanite?"
"No," I replied. "We will know more after we hit the open house tomorrow. Now, can I go play with your body?"
"Have you finished your classwork?" Noel asked.
"Almost," I replied.
"So, you haven't finished," Noel added. At least he was smiling. "No sex until you finish your classwork for next week."
"I will be forced to rape you then," I whispered into Noel's ear.
"Kinky!" Noel whispered back.
I dove back into my studying. We both retrieved a coffee refill. As we sat down, I looked Noel in the eyes. Noel noticed.
"Is something wrong, John?" Noel asked.
"Nope," I replied. "Just looking at my handsome boyfriend."
"You are just trying to wear me down so I will consent to have sex with you," Noel surmised.
"Maybe," I replied. I continued to work on my laptop. Suddenly, something hit me. "Noel."
"Yes, John?" Noel replied not looking up from his computer.
"Will you marry me?" I asked.
I suddenly had Noel's attention. "What?"
"I asked you if you would consider marrying me," I said quietly.
Noel sat with his mouth slightly open.
"Noel?" I asked to get his attention.
"I... I... Yes, I will marry you," Noel sputtered. "When?"
"We can decide on a date later," I said as I pulled a still shocked Noel closer to me so I could give him a kiss.
"No," Noel continued after the kiss. "When did you decide to ask me?"
"Just now," I replied. "I sat here looking at you for several moments. I saw one of the most gentle, humble, energetic, loving, and empathetic hunk of a man in the entire universe. I can't for the life of me imagine going through life without you. So, I decided to ask you to marry me. We need to find rings."
"Do you remember what I said about no sex before you finished your coursework?" Noel asked.
"Yes," I replied.
"I don't think our agreement mentioned anything about you making mad passionate love to me," Noel added with a smile.
"Let's get the fuck out of here," I said as both Noel and I shoved our laptops into our backpacks.
Noel and I were sitting at the table during our Sunday morning brunch. It was Manuel and Kerry's turn to host. George and Jorge sat across from Noel and me.
Manuel raised his glass of wine to propose a toast, "Here is to family, good fortune, happiness, and good health."
We all clinked our glasses. Noel decided it was time for him to speak. "Ahm... John and I want to explain something to you. We wanted you to be the first to know."
"You're pregnant?" Jorge asked as he smirked at Noel.
"No, dipshit," Noel continued and blurted out the news without pausing. "John asked me to marry him yesterday afternoon, and I accepted his proposal."
"Congratulations!" Kerry said. "This is terrific news!"
"Yea! Congratulations!" Jorge effused.
George and Manuel were equally enthusiastic about our news.
"We haven't even thought about a time and place," I added. "But, we are going ring shopping next weekend."
"Our wedding could be several years away," Noel said with a smile. "We need to save some money for the wedding as well as a condo somewhere."
"John," George began. "Did you tell anyone other than Noel about our newest work arrangement?"
"Just Noel," I replied. "You?"
"Just Jorge," George added.
"Manuel, Kerry," Noel began. "John came home last Friday with his first monthly bonus check. I almost had a heart attack when I saw it. The guy who owns the web company John and George work for is pushing some of the profits to the team members for the great work they have been doing."
"And, John," George explained. "I saw the proposal and budget for the two new projects Chris told us about. The two companies are paying the firm MAJOR bucks, and eSquare will make MAJOR profits on the work."
"And, we are hiring four new people for our team," I further explained.
"Congratulations, guys," Manuel said to George and me. "It is nice to hear about companies who value their employees work."
"And compensate their employees for the work they do," Kerry added. "How's MIT, John?"
"Terrific," I replied. "Sometimes I feel overwhelmed, but I slug on. Noel is a big time pain in the ass and pushes me to get the school work done. I don't tell him, but I do appreciate his tenacity."
"Now, it is our turn," Manuel began. "Kerry and I are having a baby."
On Monday morning after Noel and I had become engaged, my phone rang around 11. It was Noel.
"Hello, Noel," I said. Noel usually doesn't call me during the day. "What's up?"
"John," Noel excitedly began. "Are you free for lunch today?"
"Sure," I replied. "Is everything okay?"
"Better than okay," Noel replied. "I will explain when I see you. I will be at your office around 12:15."
"I can't wait," I added. "Love you."
"Love you, too," Noel said as he ended the call.
I resumed working on my project for several minutes after I finished talking with Noel. Chris suddenly appeared beside my workstation. He had his `cat that ate the canary' look.
"Did you hear from Noel?" Chris asked.
"Yea," I replied. "But, he didn't tell me why he wanted to meet for lunch."
"Why don't you take him to the Italian place around the corner?" Chris asked. "I'll ask Janis to make reservations for you at 12:30."
"Okay," I replied.
"Take extra time if you need to," Chris continued. "Put lunch on the company American Express card. We will consider this as a business lunch. Oh! I almost forgot. Congratulations on your engagement."
Chris disappeared as suddenly as he appeared. I was still trying to understand what was going on.
"Why didn't you tell us you and Noel are engaged?" Sandy asked.
"It just happened over the weekend," I replied.
"Not an excuse," Sandy said with a smile. "But, congratulations anyway."
"Yea, John," Ralph added. "Congratulations!"
"Congrats, John," Serge added. "You and Noel are good together."
"Thanks, guys," I replied to all of them.
I continued working on my project and kept looking at the clock. I was eager to find out what Noel wanted to tell me. At 12:15, I looked up and saw Noel stepping out of the elevator. He had a definite look of excitement.
After all of my team members congratulated Noel and me on our engagement, Noel and I headed to lunch.
When we passed the receptionist's desk, Janis spoke up, "The reservation is in your name, John. And, congratulations on your engagement."
"Thank you, Janis," I replied as we stepped into the elevator.
There were four other people in the elevator, so I had to restrain myself from attacking Noel. Once we were seated at the restaurant, our talk began.
"So, Noel," I began. "What big news do you have for me?"
"Gavin called me into his office around 9 am," Noel began. "I wondered what I had done wrong. I got especially nervous when Gavin's boss was in his office. I thought for certain they were going to fire me for some unknown dereliction of duties. But, fortunately, it was something different."
"Are you going to torment me by describing every last detail of your meeting?" I asked with a smile.
"Sorry," Noel continued. "You are looking at the newest Account Executive for Haney Dawson!"
"Noel!" I exclaimed. "Congratulations! I am so proud of you! Tell me more!"
"I have three accounts to manage at this point," Noel explained. "All of the accounts are new to Haney Dawson, so I have a lot of work ahead of me. But, I am excited."
We paused our conversation while we gave the waiter our orders.
"What new perks come with the new job?" I asked after our waiter finished taking our order.
"Gavin and I are going to discuss the details this afternoon," Noel continued. "But, the position comes with a $20 thousand salary increase—not to mention the commission I will be earning on ad placements."
"A private office?" I asked.
"How did you know?" Noel asked with a smile. "The five other Account Executives that work for Gavin and I share an assistant."
"How did your colleagues react to the news?" I asked.
"We haven't announced it yet," Noel replied. "Gavin was considering four others, but he chose me. So, I am hoping my promotion will not generate any ill feelings in the group."
"When will this take effect?" I asked.
"Officially today," Noel replied. "Gavin and I will meet the three clients later this week at their offices. And, I need to speak with Gavin about this, but I may need to upgrade my wardrobe."
"We will find our friend Jason at Macy's if necessary," I said. "What do you want to do to celebrate your promotion?"
"I haven't really thought much about it," Noel replied. "This is celebration enough—just being alone with you."
"We can talk about celebrating when you get home tonight," I suggested. "When are you going to tell your brothers?"
"I will call them tonight," Noel said as we left the restaurant. "Tell George not to spill the beans until I talk to Jorge. Now, I need to get back to the office. Gavin and I are supposed to have our chat around 2 this afternoon. Do you want to meet at home or at Starbucks after work?"
"Home," I said as I leered at my future husband.
"Good choice, stud," Noel said. We hugged and kissed quickly and went our separate ways.
"What's the good news?" George asked as I returned after lunch with Noel.
"Noel was promoted to Account Executive at Haney Dawson," I said with pride. "This is his dream job. He is extremely excited, to say the least."
"According to my sources at Haney Dawson," Chris said as he joined our group for a few moments. "This is just the beginning for Noel. Just don't tell him I mentioned it."
"I won't," I replied.
"Unless you let it slip while you and Noel are going at it," George added.
"Shut up, George," Sandy added.
I feverishly worked on my project until it was time to leave work and meet Noel at home. I needed to keep myself busy. My mind kept wandering as I thought about seeing Noel in bed and naked.
Finally, it was time. I shut off my laptop, grabbed my back pack and headed home. I picked up a bottle of already chilled champagne. Noel came through the door minutes after I did.
I grabbed Noel and pulled him in for a kiss. "How was the rest of your day?" I asked after we both came up for air.
"Terrific," Noel replied. "I will explain the financial implications of my promotion later."
"Was everyone surprised at your promotion?" I asked.
"Everyone was extremely happy for me," Noel began. "Except Natalie Gomez. She was pissed she didn't get the promotion. She asked me who I had to sleep with to get the job. I told her my future husband. I thought she was going to throw a desk at me."
"She will get over it," I replied.
"No she won't," Noel explained. "She is not known as being a team player. She also was not considered for the position. Her attitude sucked before I was promoted. It was even worse after Gavin announced I was promoted to Account Executive. She may not be employed at Haney Dawson for long."
"What do you want to do now, Noel?" I asked.
"I want you to help me out of this suit," Noel said in his sexiest voice. "I had a difficult time concentrating. My mind kept drifting off. I kept thinking of getting you naked all afternoon."
"You know, it's funny," I began. "I had the same thoughts about you."
We were lounging around the apartment on Saturday morning after Noel was promoted to Account Executive. Noel's phone began to ring.
"Shit," Noel exclaimed. "It's my mother. Hello, mom. What do I owe this unexpected pleasure of a call from you?"
Noel immediately switched to the phone to speaker.
"I heard you were given a big promotion at the cushy ad agency you work for," Noel's mother immediately said.
"And, you know this how?" Noel asked.
"My friend Rita's daughter works in your office," Noel's mother explained.
"Oh really!" Noel effused. "What does she do at Haney Dawson?"
"I'm not sure, but she knows everything happening there," Noel's mother responded. "Her name is Susan Valdez."
"I don't know her. So, is this a call to congratulate me?" Noel pointedly asked.
"Yes and no," Noel's mother continued. "I hope with this new promotion you will come to your senses and stop living with that horrible man."
"What horrible man?" Noel asked.
"Your boyfriend," Noel's mother responded.
"Just to let you know, Mom," Noel continued. "John is sitting here in our living room listening to this conversation. And, we are engaged to be married."
"What!" Noel's mother screamed. "You will both burn in Hell. Marriage is between one man and one woman."
"Sorry, Mom," Noel continued. "I don't believe in the same God as you. The God I know is a welcoming God. A God who would NOT keep two people who love one another from marrying. John and I are extremely happy together. Is there any other information I can provide you today?"
"How much are you making in this new job?" Noel's mother asked.
"Why do you ask?" Noel answered his mother's question with another question.
"Because," Noel's mother explained. "I might need help in my old age, and I need to know how much help financially my sons can provide."
"I will guarantee, Mom, you will have exactly what you deserve from me," Noel said trying not to start yelling. "It will be absolutely nothing until I hear an apology from you. You have insulted my future husband... You have insulted me... You have insulted Jorge... And you have insulted Manuel! We ALL need apologies from you. Until you are ready to apologize, do NOT call me EVER again!"
Noel hung up the phone. His face was red. His breathing was heavy. He was shaking.
I crossed the room and pulled my man in for a hug. "I want you to know, Noel. I am very proud of you for standing up to your mother. If I had been in the same situation, I may not have been so gracious. People would hear me in Starbucks several blocks away. Don't change for anyone. And, don't forget. I love you. Jorge loves you. George loves you. Manuel and Kerry love you. We are in this together, Noel. We are a team."
"Thanks, my sweet man," Noel said as he pulled slightly away from me. "Could I buy you a cup of coffee at Starbucks? I think we need a diversion."
"If I agree to go to Starbucks with you, can I tempt you to get naked when we get home and play with one another's bodies?" I asked
"Yes," Noel replied.
Once we were settled at Starbucks, Noel's phone began to ring again. "It is Manuel. Hello, bro. What's happening?"
There was a pause. I could hear Manuel's voice raising.
"Let's face it, Manuel," Noel replied. "Our mother is a nutcase. She has no filters. If she weren't our mother, I think you, Jorge, and I would say she is dangerous."
"We should get together and form a plan to avoid her," Noel replied. "She had the audacity to ask how much money I am making. I honestly believe she wants a cut."
As Noel continued to talk with Manuel on the phone, George and Jorge arrived. Jorge was seething.
"I assume Noel is talking with our older brother," Jorge said as he and George took seats at the table.
"Yup," I replied. "Did your mother call you?"
"Yup," Jorge replied. "I told her to go fuck herself."
"I'll bet that went over well," I said with a smile.
"John," Jorge explained. "She smells money. She wants money. And, she will do whatever is in her power to get it."
Noel finally joined our conversation. "So, I take it our mother talked to you, too."
"Yup," Jorge explained. "She heard I have another job."
"Why did she call Manuel?" I asked.
"She screamed at him because he didn't tell her Jorge and I have new positions," Noel replied. "Let's just forget this happened. We need to move forward not backward."
"Maybe we should go out dancing tonight," George suggested. He was smiling.
To be continued...
I hope you liked the direction that "John's Journey Forward" is taking. I would like to hear from anyone who reads this story.
I would enjoy hearing your comments about this story. You can write to me at MaWriterBoy@yahoo.com.
This is my 15th posting of my third story on Nifty.org. Please also see:
Sam and Chris in the College section.
Jeffery Comes Home also in the Beginnings section.
Life With Tim in the Authoritarian section (Please note, this story is not for everyone because there are several scenes depicting Master/slave and BDSM relationships. So, if you are not interested in this activity, please, please do not read this story.)
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