"I'm not opposed to discussing this. I performed in 'Little Theater' productions at the 92nd Street 'Y' for several years. It was fun. And I was in some drama workshops at Columbia. After the Navy, I plan on going to school out here and get a degree."
"If you're patient, I can get you jobs that shoot around your school year. If I'm correct, the only problem you'll have is trying to attend classes while your name is above the title two blocks away at the Fox in Westwood."
I laughed nervously. "Sam, if you have a game plan, I would love to know it."
"Okay, but this isn't the time to lay out everything. After we have successfully taken care of this weekend, I'm going to find a drama coach in Memphis who can prep you for some acting jobs. When you get out here next year, I want you to hit the bricks running." With that, he brought his hand out of the water to offer it for a handshake. "I can draw up some contracts for you to look over."
"Obviously, I don't know you very well. But if you're anything like your dad, a handshake is all that is needed."
Sam nodded and added, "One final thought. In your escort job, be extra-discreet. Above all, do not be in any casual photos that may crop up later to embarrass you."
"I understand completely. From what we've talked about, it's probably wise for me to think about retiring."
Seeing Abe and the other guys coming over to the Jacuzzi, Sam said, "Wise decision. I'll call you next week."
Saturday, after midnight supper and another successful role-playing session with the princes, we returned to the Peninsula in the early afternoon. Chuck told us that he would be back around seven. But, because there would be six of us, we'd use a limousine rather that the Bimmer. There was a friendly but respectful attitude from Chuck. 'Sam has obviously confided to him the success of last night.' I concluded.
We both booked massages at the hotel spa. Okay, maybe this was going a little overboard, but we deserved it. Our bodies needed to be finely tuned for the rest of the weekend. About 3:30 p.m., we returned to the suite and crashed in the nearest bed. All we wanted to do was snuggle and sleep.
At five, the wake up service called. We turned on the local news and listened, semi-awake. Brent rolled over and tweaked my nipple.
"Ouch, Babe. That hurt." I replied with an exaggerated, pouty expression.
"Not as much as I'd like to make it hurt...if we weren't on this assignment." We both knew that we needed to save our 'goods' for the clients. We kissed and went into the shower. Even with some groping and allowing a finger to occasionally venture into the 'dark' places, we were dressed and ready to leave by 6:45 p.m.
Drinking Pellegrino water, we looked at each other and smiled. We looked sharp in our Armani wardrobes and we knew it.
"After we get this gig behind us, will you be ready to meet my folks?"
"Babe, I'm ready if you are."
"I spoke with mom before we left Memphis. She says dad is cool with it."
"Not exactly in those words," I replied with a chuckle. "She told me that he figured out I was probably gay back when I was in college. Apparently I had left some magazines in the pickup I drove. One day he had to borrow my truck and voila. Funny, I vaguely remember missing those magazines. With all the sucking and fucking photographs, dad must have gotten a real education."
As requested, we went down to the lobby and auto entrance just before seven. Almost on the dot, a long, black Mercedes Limousine pulled up. I noticed the personalized plates "CAM." As the Peninsula doorman opened the door, we got into this elegant vehicle.
Up front, there was a professional driver and in the comfortable rear, we were among our new friends. All of us - Sam, Chuck, Abe, Fred, Brent and me - were dressed in variations on a theme of jackets, open-collared shirts, slacks, and slip-on shoes sans socks.
"Did you two get a little shut eye?" Sam asked.
"Absolutely. We're ready for later tonight." Brent was the up-front guy tonight. I noticed that he subtly squeezed Abe's thigh. Sitting next to Fred, I casually kneaded his neck and kissed his cheek. Sam and Chuck smiled.
It didn't take us long to arrive at Spago. This had been a favorite haunt of the Hollywood crowd for the past ten years. As we walked in, celebrities who were sitting at various tables in the restaurant turned and nodded in Sam's direction. Michael, the Maitre d', immediately brought us to the corner table for ten, overlooking Sunset Boulevard. This was the pinnacle point of the room. Already seated were four beautiful women, all represented by CAM.
We were all introduced. Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow had just completed the smash first season of a new hit sit-com on NBC called Friends. Teri Hatcher was Lois on the current Superman series. As the house mom of the group, a large but lovely Kirstie Alley rounded out the party. She was still looking for her next role since Cheers. I noticed Kirk Douglas and his party, Susanne Pleshette and a date, David Hyde Pierce with a cute blond guy, and Dick Clark with two businessmen. But we were the focal point for the evening.
Through the course of the dinner, the conversation sparkled. Abe and Fred looked as if they were watching a tennis match while following the discussion. I was proud of my man. The women were clearly intrigued with this new face...but, thank God, he was my partner.
Over the next 36 hours, Doug and I literally worked the two Arabs' butts off. They relished our games in bed - our master to their submissive. And they enjoyed our company at the informal social occasions. On Monday morning, we each embraced our mate from the weekend - as friends. There was no emotional attachment on Abe's part but I was curious at the way Fred looked caringly at Doug. They had obviously really enjoyed our company, and Sam was pleased. Very pleased.
Before departing for the hotel, Sam gave me all of his personal numbers and the name of an acting coach in Memphis. Not only was he thrilled about Doug and my roles in this successful weekend, he repeated that he saw something in me that he wanted to draw out professionally. And I had a gut feeling that doors would open for Doug at the proper time.
Back at the suite, we both were ready to return to our normal roles. Doug was going to have lunch with his folks. If all went well, I would join them at Muse on Beverly Boulevard for an early dinner. I smiled at his selection: this hot restaurant was a popular spot for a 'mixed' crowd of young celebrities and wannabes. We got out of our 'working' clothes post haste.
Lying down, we assumed a cuddle position, typically enjoyed by two males who are very familiar with each other. It was still morning. With Doug soon on his back, and me lying on my stomach, I straddled one of his legs with one of mine. Very naturally, I nuzzled my head in his armpit and shoulder while draping my arm over his chest. I started licking his armpit and surrounding areas.
Guttural purring was the best description of the sound Doug was making. I replaced the licking with some gentle biting. At the same time, I brought down my free hand to caress his not so soft dick. In the process, he achieved the hardness that I now associated with my lover and best friend.
"Uhhh, oh babe, this is terrific." I started massaging his balls. "What are you doing...Ahhh."
"Just giving you a little pleasure that I managed to keep from those Arabs."
"This has been an intense weekend. Very profitable, however."
Doug had no idea how profitable. 'For him, for sure,' I thought, 'me? We'll see.'
"Just rest and get your second breath. You are expected at Casa DiMarco in about an hour. How do you feel?"
"Like a guy who's about to enter a new relationship with his family. However, I think everything will work out," Doug replied somewhat wistfully.
"Babe, it'll work out. I've got good feelings about this."
After cleaning up, he left by cab to journey to his home and lunch with his folks. I had instructions to go over to Robinson's department store, located behind the Beverly Hilton, and buy some inexpensive luggage so we could pack our expanded wardrobe.
The trip to my childhood home on 6th Street off San Vicente didn't take long. I rolled up at noon. After paying the cab driver, I walked up to the front door of this familiar stucco structure. While ringing the bell, I looked up to the second floor window that had been my bedroom. I somehow felt uncomfortable walking in unannounced.
The door slowly opened and I was suddenly looking into the smiling, warm face of the woman who had been 'ma' or 'mom' to me all my life. She raised her hands to my face and pulled me down for a big kiss.
"Dougie, it's been too long," she said as she released me.
I entered the hallway and put my arms around her and gave her a gentle squeeze. "Two years. Yeah, it has been too long." I had not been home since entering the Navy on active status and had even missed my brother's wedding. Being the junior officer, I pulled duty on almost every weekend and holiday during my first year. And my extra job took most of my spare time after that.
As we walked out to the kitchen, she said, "Your father will be here in a few minutes. He had a few details at the office to iron out."
"Sit. Do you want some coffee?" In her kitchen, there was a perpetual coffee pot going.
"Being in the Navy has taught me to never turn down a good cup of coffee. Black."
She poured two cups and joined me. Looking at the bubbles in her cup she said, "Do I get to make a wish?"
"If the wish is for Brent's and my happiness, please." I smiled sincerely with a determined look on my face.
"Actually that's what I was going to do." She brought the cup to her lips and took a short sip while she studied me. "I'm not going to lie and tell you that I was completely happy when you told me. But I've had time to consider what you said. You're still our son and you've never done anything to make us feel anything but pride. Your other brother and sisters will be marrying someday and we'll be blessed with many grandchildren. Your dad and I will try very hard to accept this man into our lives as, what, another son?"
I placed my hand over hers. "Thanks, Mom. That'll do just fine and you won't be disappointed." The phrase, 'another son', sounded great.
"So, we're going to meet your Brent at dinner?"
"Yes. I made early reservations at a nice restaurant not too far from here because I know Dad needs to be at the market early. I made reservations for 6:00 p.m."
"Did I hear something about reservations at six?" The voice from the hallway announced the arrival of my father. I stood as he entered the kitchen and offered my hand for a shake. He would have none of that. He embraced me in the manner the DiMarco men have shown male affection for as long as I can remember.
"Hey, Dad." Urmph. This guy was still a powerhouse.
After kissing me on my cheeks, he said, "Doug, it's so good to see you home. We've both missed you," Dad concluded as we sat down.
Mom had already poured another cup of coffee.
"Dougie and I were just discussing the schedule for this evening. His...do you call him your boyfriend?"
"Brent is my partner. That's probably the best way to describe it."
"Anyway, Doug wants us to meet his partner, Brent, for an early dinner. Where are we going?"
"Muse. It's on Beverly just before La Brea."
Dad added, "I know Muse. We sell them all their produce."
"Great. Some brownie points for DiMarco Produce. I made a good decision."
"I'll bring a flat of strawberries for the owner. Seriously, I want to know all about your partner, Brent. Brent Williams. Where does he come from?"
"He's from New York. Brent's mom died when he was very young, and his dad was a baseball player for the Yankees until he had a serious sports injury." I could see my Dad's mind at work feverishly. He had a memory for detail when it came to baseball. He was a true blue Dodger fan.
"Williams? Ty Williams. Good RBI average. A shortstop who got clobbered when someone was stealing a base from 2nd to 3rd. Real nasty when they collided. That had to be 12 or 13 years ago? Ended his career."
"You'll have to ask Brent about this at dinner. He doesn't get into many details where his dad is involved," I replied with a smile.
"Why is that?" Mom had a very curious expression on her face.
"What we are discussing today never went well with Brent and his dad. When Mr. Williams found out that Brent was gay, he threw him out of the house and cut him off financially." I didn't want to go into how his dad found out Brent was gay.
Dad put his large calloused paws on top of mine and said, "That will never happen in this household. We don't want to lose you. And it sounds like Brent may need a family. He's more than welcome."
"Thanks," I replied quietly. I noticed that a few tears were forming all around the table...me included. "How about the rest of the family?"
"Let me work on them. We'll get them together for a family conference very soon. I don't expect any problems."
"Just why are you out here, Doug? It's nice to see you and meet Brent, but you said you are here on business."
'Okay,' I thought. 'Hope my nose doesn't grow longer.' "As you know, I'll be out of the Navy in less than six months. I'm out here interviewing with some potential job leads. I thought this would be a good time to see you and introduce you to Brent."
"Any success?" Dad was always a no-nonsense guy.
"I think so. I had an interesting interview this weekend." 'If Brent was in the room, he would have burst into laughter,' I thought, with an innocent smile.
The rest of the afternoon was very pleasant. Whatever worries I had went out the window. Except for some edits, I gave mom and dad a rundown of my last couple of years. Dad asked me to come down to the warehouse and say hello to all the staff who were still there. He also wanted to hand-select the strawberries for tonight.
We arrived back at the house around five. Mom had taken the time to outfit herself in a terrific dinner dress. I was all ready to go and dad just wanted to freshen up a tad. For him, that meant splashing some cold water on his face and changing shirts. We all convened in the living room, a room that was full of many memories. She opened a bottle of champagne, poured three glasses and then we toasted.
Dad said, "To you, to Brent, to us." Wow. We clinked the glasses and drank the sparkling wine.
Not hearing anything to the contrary, I took a taxi to Muse for our dinner. Walking into this trendy, white-on-white interior, I was impressed by the martini bar just inside the entrance. The menu had endless selections. I ordered a Cosmopolitan. I'm not much for cocktails, but the vodka, triple sec and cranberry juice sounded great.
Looking around, it seemed that the crowd was Spago, 20 years removed. These were younger movers and shakers. I recognized a few younger guys at the bar from some lame TV shows I had seen on Fox and the WB. It was interesting to watch these young actors. They were very hungry for attention. And they all had the same look, with a variation of designer tees, jeans, and sunglasses pushed above their foreheads. I'd worn my old casual clothes: A polo shirt and chinos.
Hearing my name, I turned to see the man of my universe enter the bar with this very attractive matronly woman, dressed to the 'nines,' and an older man - looking very much like a DiMarco - carrying some sort of box. Strawberries? 'What's his dad doing giving strawberries to the manager?' I wondered. As Doug and his folks approached, I stood and smiled.
"Brent. I want you to meet my parents. Mom. Dad. This is Brent Williams."
Mr. DiMarco grabbed my hand while Mrs. DiMarco kissed me on the cheek.
"First of all, Brent," Mrs. DiMarco led off with, "my name is Sophie and my husband of 27 years is Louie." With that said, she gave me a big hug.
"Well, I'm overwhelmed. Your welcome tonight is more than I expected."
"Brent, when someone joins our family we demonstrate with passion. It's an Italian thing." Sophie had a way of stating the obvious. "I hope you'll think of us as another mother and father."
"And, Son," Louie added, "you are going to be a part of our family."
Aw shit, was I going to cry? At that point, the manager came over to us and said that our table was ready.
"Mr. DiMarco, the chef asked me to thank you for the strawberries. He's going to use them for a special dessert tonight."
The rest of the evening was upbeat. They were curious about my goals. When Louie asked about my dad, I was very sketchy. I did verify, however, that Ty Williams was my father. About 8:00 p.m. we finished dinner. The manager had sent over a complimentary dessert - featuring strawberries, of course - and cognac.
"A good brandy deserves a good toast, boys," offered Louie DiMarco. "Doug, your mother and I had a long discussion after lunch today. Every question we had about this man in your life has been answered tonight."
"Louie and I are absolutely delighted that you are in Doug's life. Any fears I had about my son's well-being have disappeared," added Sophie.
"Your mother and I raise the glasses high and wish you both many happy years together. Our hearts are open to you both. Our home will always be a safe harbor and our family will always be your rock. Count on us. Cheers," Mr. DiMarco said in conclusion as everyone sipped the brandy.
"Thanks...Dad...Mom," I replied. "I happily accept your kindness." A rush of tingling emotions spread through my body. Happiness.
We said our 'good-byes' at the restaurant. The senior DiMarco couple got into their car and the junior DiMarco couple took a taxi back to the Peninsula.
In the suite, we both took stock of what had happened this weekend as we packed and figured out what to wear on the trip back to Memphis. The success of our assignment was completely overshadowed by the past few hours with Doug's mom and dad.
"You are so lucky to have parents like that," I said as we lay in bed. There would be a wake-up call at 6:30 a.m.
"I...no, we are lucky. You've been marked as one of their own. Trust me. Life as you know it will be different. You are now very much part of the DiMarco family."
I couldn't help but feel tremendous pride swelling inside me. "I like that, babe," I whispered in his ear before sticking my tongue in it. Oh, fuck, I was crying.
Doug looked at me and wiped away the tears. "Okay?"
"Just so happy tonight with you and my new family." With that I moved my lips and tongue to his for some deep tongue-dueling action.
After getting aroused, he said, "Let's get a little rest and continue this back in Memphis tomorrow."
"Sounds good to me." I turned out the lights and eased into our traditional spoon cuddle with my chest pressed against his back. I held him with my arm around his chest. "You're the most important person in my life." He squeezed my hand, and with that, we drifted off to sleep.