The rest of July was a daily grind of trying to survive Tennessee's hot, humid days and tepid nights. Doug gave me the highlights of the L.A. trip in regards to his folk's acceptance of Brent. I was really happy for the guys. At some point, I'd have to make a trip to Chicago and give mom the rundown on my life...the changes, and the addition of Dave. With dad, I really didn't give a shit. Maybe I could get extra leave in September and take a side-trip to Chicago with Dave after the long weekend at his cabin in Minnesota.
On July 30th, I received an early call from the X.O. - executive officer; number two at the Naval Air Station. He asked that I set up the ballroom for a NAS officer conference to be conducted by the C.O. at 1500 that afternoon. I was expected to be in attendance as a participant as well as the club manager.
The room was set up theater-style. On one side was a long draped table with an ample supply of coffee, iced tea, lemonade, bottled waters and assorted cookies. Just before 1500, the NAS officers were assembled in the room, clustered in small groups. We were all concerned because this meeting had been called for the same day. 'Something's going to be announced,' I felt, 'that's heavy duty.'
Doug and I were together. He said, "We know something's up. I can only guess what's going down."
"Sounds like maybe some bad news concerning the base." In the back of my mind, I could hear lyrics of an old Everly Brothers classic, Bye Bye Love, 'Bye bye happiness, hello loneliness, I think I'm-a gonna cry-y.' It seemed appropriate.
"My money's on that...like 'gonesville'. The Special Services budget requests for facility improvements have been sitting on the C.O.'s desk for two months."
A couple of the guys from the BOQ joined us. As I saw the Executive Officer step up to the podium, I excused myself. Nodding to the X.O., I tested the PA system and gave him a thumbs-up.
"Gentlemen, thanks for coming on such short notice. Captain..." the X.O. announced as he stepped back.
We stopped talking and stood in silent respect as the 'old man' approached the podium.
"Thanks, Henry. Please be seated," Captain Campbell said.
There were a few moments of shuffling as the 100 plus officers found seats. I stood at the side in case I was needed to be of assistance.
"I spent this morning with Admiral Clifton. We have just been informed by the CNO's office that effective 31 December, 1995, the Naval Air Station will be downgraded to a Support Facility." There was a low murmur throughout the room. "And, the Naval Air Training Facility will be permanently transferred to NAS Pensacola." This time there was an audible gasp.
'Oh shit,' I thought, 'the first shoe has dropped.' As I had suspected, it looked like this was going to be a blood bath.
Turning to me, the Captain said, "Mike, would you help pass out the handouts?" He pointed to a large box at the entrance.
"Yes, Sir." I motioned to Doug and two others to come up and help me. After finishing the task, I returned to my standing post.
"Thanks. Now let's review the material."
Over the next hour, Captain Campbell gave us the rundown. The base, as it was functioning today, would cease at the end of the year. Personnel would have new orders of reassignment by mid-fall. I was surprised to find that Admiral Clifton's office would not be moving. The Admiral in Pensacola was to absorb the training operation. Between January 1 and early spring, the base would be dramatically downsized. The Reserve units would continue to fly out of Memphis until late summer next year.
'Wow, talk about lives being changed drastically.' I left the room momentarily and asked Marge to contact the opening bartenders to get over here ASAP. I also asked that the third on-call bartender be brought in. 'The bar is going to do brisk business after this meeting,' I thought as I quietly returned to the ballroom. At the end of the presentation, the C.O. took questions from the floor. I had portable mikes ready.
"Captain Campbell, what exactly does this mean for my family?" a Supply Corps Commander asked, "I have three kids in school. How do I plan?"
"Stanley, I don't have the answer to that. We know that NAS will be an active base through December. After that, a planned wind-down period will phase out most of the base. With some guessing on my part, I'm sure that the senior officers will be able to live on base through next spring so the dependents can finish out the school year. However, most of your support enlisted men and junior officers will be gone. You'll be relying on the civilian staff."
'Hmmm, be gone,' I pondered.
The rest of the meeting pretty much plodded along the same way: much trepidation concerning the lives and future of all the Naval Air Station's men, women and dependents. Afterwards, the bar was hit pretty hard. We were prepared. Later, I joined my group at the BOQ Bar. A while after that, Doug and I sat together.
"You're in good shape. You get out of the Navy at the end of the year."
"Yeah. But, I wonder what Brent is going to do. It sounds like the Admiral will retire here."
"If I know Brent, I would bet that he is already angling to have some West Coast orders cut."
'Holy fuck,' I plotted, 'what is my next plan?' The Admiral's aide had held a staff meeting late morning to discuss our future.
After the meeting, I sat down with the Master Chief Yeoman. "Chief, can I seek out some advice?"
"Sure, Brent. What's on your mind? As if I have to guess."
"I have one more year in the Navy. What are the chances of getting transferred to one of the bases in San Diego?"
"Why San Diego?"
"I have someone very special in L.A. It's important that I'm close."
"Sounds like someone's in love."
"Yeah, something like that."
"Brent, you're one of the good guys. I'm going to make a few calls in the Admiral's name and see what comes up. You realize that our office will be kaput at the end of the year?"
"Yes. That's why I need your help."
"I'll see what comes up. Don't plan on knowing anything for the next month or so."
"Chief, I really appreciate it." With that, I stood and warmly shook his hand. We had covered each other's butts on numerous occasions and I hoped he could come through for me one more time.
I had just returned to the barracks from the pool. It was strange that Mike had not appeared that afternoon. Stranger still...Brent was home.
"Hey," I announced when I entered our room. "What's happening?" Brent was stripped down to his briefs and was staring at the ceiling as he lay on his bunk. 'Jeez, this guy should be arrested for being so hot,' I observed, 'and I should be arrested for perving on my roomie.'
"Dave, 'hi'." He got up and swung his legs around to sit. "What do you think about the news?"
"News? I don't know what you're talking about." I started stripping out of my dungarees. I tossed all my clothes into the dirty laundry bag and found a pair of gym shorts. Although I was aware I was being watched, I had no reason for modesty. We were like brothers at this point.
"Well, they announced that the base and the training facility are being phased out by the end of the year. All hell is breaking loose."
"Oh shit. What about you?" I also worried about Mike.
"I've got my Chief working on a transfer out to San Diego."
"He can do that?"
"Oh yeah. These senior Navy Chiefs are really wired. The officers only think they run the place."
"Okay, let me ask you a favor. Is there anything you can do to get Mike transferred out to San Diego, too?"
"Mike? Shit, I don't know. But for you, buddy, I'll start placing a few inquiries tomorrow."
I moved over to his bunk and placed my arm around his shoulder. "Brent, if you can do something for the man I love, I'll owe you big time." I looked into his beautiful face and eyes.
"If I do swing it, you'll hafta buy me a few beers up in Minnesota when we visit in September."
"Deal." With that, I kissed him on the cheek. "If we weren't 'brothers,' I can think of a few other places I would rather kiss you." I snickered as he gently elbowed my side.
"If we weren't 'brothers,' I could too." We both collapsed in laughter.
A couple of weeks later, in the middle of August, Dave and I were at the apartment. We were planning on cooking in and joining Phil and Beth later to see a movie. We had spent the early afternoon at the pool with a few of the other neighbors. By 1400, we were ready for a 'nap'.
And nap we did...afterwards.
About an hour later, we started stirring. I felt Dave's lips on my forehead and cheeks.
"You're awake and rested?" I asked.
"Considering that I just blew my ballast about an hour ago, I'd say I'm in good shape," Dave replied with a laugh.
"That might explain why we're sticking together. We need a shower. If you can pry yourself loose, why don't you start and we'll play tag-team." He kissed me and got out of bed. Wow. I was always amazed when I saw him walking nude with his gorgeous dick swaying from side to side.
After we both got dressed, we began the late afternoon ritual of getting dinner started. The movie, "Batman Forever," starring Val Kilmer and Jim Carrey, was showing at 1930. Phil and Beth would meet us at the apartment at 1900.
"I don't know about Val Kilmer, but Carrey just cracks me up," I said while making the salad. Tonight we were having simple spaghetti with a Bolognese sauce, mixed greens, and an inexpensive Chilean merlot.
"It'll be fun. Are we all set for the trip up to the Lakes?" Dave asked.
"Let's talk about that. Doug and Brent are ready. And, so am I. We'll meet at the Airport early Friday morning and take an 0730 Northwest flight, arriving in Minneapolis around 0940. I've made car rental arrangements at the airport for us. I studied the maps - if everything goes well, we should be at the cabin by 1300 after stopping somewhere for lunch. How am I doing so far?"
With an approving glance, Dave nodded and replied, " Good research. I've called ahead to have the place straightened up and provisioned. Sounds like we've got everything under control."
"Well, to a point. On Monday, rather than returning to Memphis, I want you to join me and travel to Chicago, so I can introduce you to my mom, brother and sister. We can return Tuesday."
He turned the sauce down to simmer and approached me. "Do you mean it? You want me to meet your family?"
"Yeah, babe. I think it's about time."
"This is a big step for you, Mike."
I kissed him tenderly. Dave was valiantly trying, without success, to hold back tears.
"Big, but necessary." I hoped the sauce wouldn't burn as I embraced him.
After sufficient time to allow his tears to dry, I said, "Let's talk some more about this long weekend up in the wilds of Minnesota. What kind of cabin are we going to? Doug and Brent are pretty adventurous, but I'm just curious about how much roughing it I should expect. Do we need sleeping bags...stuff like that?"
Dave let out a huge laugh. After a moment, he said, "Sorry, Hon. I guess we haven't talked very much about this part of my past."
"What part is that?" I asked with a questioning look in my eyes.
"The part where I tell you a little more about my family. The place we're going to has been in my dad's family for three generations. Dad inherited it from my granddad. That's why I couldn't get rid of it. And mom did her design magic on it to bring the cabin into the 20th century."
"Okay, Dave. What kind of cabin are we talking about?" I was getting a little nervous. We had never held anything back, but he seemed to be slow to reveal anything of substance.
"Cabin? Maybe that is a little bit of a stretch."
"Gull Lake is where we're located - about 120 miles northwest of St. Paul. I've got great shoreline property that granddad developed."
"Let's go back to 'stretch.' What exactly will we find when we get there?"
"Basically, about a 3,000 square foot, three-bedroom home, with log siding, looking over the greatest morning view of the lake as the sun comes up. It's rustic as hell and really neat."
"3,000 square feet?"
"Yeah, roughly. The three bedrooms are on the second floor. A great room, den and large kitchen are on the first floor. Mom really did a great job decorating it. The back porch that looks down at the dock and lake is spectacular."
"And a vintage mahogany 18-foot Chris Craft speedboat that we can use. It goes back to granddad's time but it runs great. It's maintained and stored over at the marina."
I started laughing. "Babe, you continue to amaze me. This sounds perfect for us. Doug and Brent will love it."
"I haven't been too vague? You're not pissed at me?" He looked concerned.
"Pissed. Never. But just for the record, what kind of 'rainy day' money are we talking about? You seem to have a thing for understating facts." I remembered my questions about his free spending earlier this year.
"Enough. Enough so that we don't have to worry about next month's rent." He grabbed me in a passionate kiss.
"No, seriously. We're equals in everything, but I have limited means." I looked at him sincerely.
"I don't think too much about what mom and dad left me. Most of the inheritance is managed by one of dad's former business partners. Except for three grand a month that is goes into my checking account, everything else is re-invested. I figured I would deal with everything after I got out of the Navy."
That explained how he was able to handle his expenses. I knew that the paltry enlisted E-3 income couldn't do it. "Do you mind telling me what you were left? I'm not being nosy. Just want to understand you better, love."
"I guess 'comfortable' is the best way to describe my inheritance. It started at around three million and I suppose that it's grown since then. The guy in Minneapolis is very shrewd and I haven't asked what the value is." He grabbed my left hand with both of his. "This isn't going to be a problem, is it?"
"No...and let's not let it." I had to smile and think about my swabby lover being a closeted millionaire.
"I should have mentioned this before...I just didn't think it was important."
"It really isn't," I replied.
"Then let's not talk about it again. Just know that if we need any resources for anything, I'm ready to help." He stepped forward and pulled me into a tight embrace.
"Whoa. Better check out the sauce to make sure it's not burning." We broke away to check out any damage. Fortunately, the sauce was simmering as planned.
"Okay, Dave, I can live with that. Are there any more surprises?"
"I don't think so." He moved back in for another kiss.
I did not refuse.
The long L.A. business and personal weekend had thrown my recruiting and training of Trevor Winston for a curve. After the Carnival weekend, we did have that meeting at Backstreet. I found out about his life growing up in Nashville. He didn't have the grades to get into Vanderbilt, so the University of Memphis was his second choice. And since his dad had limited means to support college, Trev was working part-time for a telemarketer. He hated it.
"Ummm. Doug?" I looked at his classic Anglican face and raised an eyebrow. "I'd like to know you...ah...better. But, I've got a roommate at my place."
"I'd like that, too." Good positive first step. "I've got a place not too far from here. Let's go over there."
"Super." He smiled and we both finished the dregs of our almost warm beer. I suggested that he follow me in his car.
The evening was pleasant for me, acting as the target, judge and jury. I let him continue his assertiveness. He didn't really know exactly what was happening. As Trev moved forward in my 'seduction', I thought about the trust that had developed between Brent and me over the past month. My lover understood that this was all strictly business for me.
Once we were in the bedroom, with my stage-set lighting, I let him undress me completely before I did the same to him.
Standing before each other, our hard cocks ready for action, I was pleased with his overall package. In addition to a charming, Southern accent and sense of humor, he was physically just right. At about 5' 10", Trev had a naturally trim body with smooth skin and no blemishes. His dark brown hair was trimmed short, which accentuated his preppy bearing.
As I cupped his low-hanging balls with one hand, I playfully poked his throbbing member with my thumb. Reaching up, I felt the pretty average six-inches of hard meat that was accented by an amazing mushroom head.
"Doug, I want to be in you so bad." He rose up slightly and kissed me. As I opened my mouth, his serpentine-like tongue entered and started probing and darting. I greedily sucked it.
"I won't object." With that, he roughly pulled back the covers. I took the cue and eased onto the bed, pulling him down with me. He thoughtfully landed on his knees and proceeded to expertly ready us.
He found the lube and condom when I subtly reached over and pulled open the top drawer of the side stand. "You ready for some fucking action, stud?" he asked with his hardness knocking at my backdoor.
"Ease in slowly," I suggested as I relaxed my muscles and pushed out. I closed my eyes and imagined it was Brent.
And fuck we did. He was pretty quiet except for some nice endearing comments. After cleaning up, we spent a half hour sharing a beer in the living room. I didn't want to mislead Trev, so I had to push the agenda a bit.
"Listen, I'm going to be in Memphis Saturday night. You wanna grab an early dinner?"
"Yeah. That would be great," he replied with enthusiasm.
"I've got a business idea that might appeal to you. It would certainly allow you to get out of telemarketing."
"Fuck, Doug. I'd do about anything to get out of that crap job."
"Okay. We'll see what happens Saturday."
I had no doubt that the business dinner would be a success. And it was. Jeez, between my growing love of Brent, the two jobs and training my recruits, it was a busy time. I brought in Brent to train Trev, so I could focus on Jim Weiss, my young Navy stud-in-the-making.
The rest of August was just shitty. Hot, humid, and uncomfortable as hell. Brent and I worked on a more selective basis. Word had traveled about our success in L.A. and our fees were at a premium. However, Brent let Tan Man know that he would be leaving Memphis in a few months. Brent put in his retirement notice and the two agreed upon a November termination date. Tan Man was pleased that our replacements would be in place soon, once the training phase was over.
Jim Weiss was moving along well. I trusted him to work on his own with some of the repeat clients who I knew. He already knew his part as we stepped up the final weeks of training. I had not introduced him to Brent, yet. In Memphis, my preppy pal, Trev, was a champ. While he was hungry for money, he also understood the need for moderation and tempering greed. He was turning into one hot fucker. Brent told me that Trev could get his dick up for anyone. The Southern gentleman would be soloing soon.
As September arrived, it would only be a matter of days before we ventured up North for a well-anticipated rest with our friends.
Thursday, Brent and I would spend the evening in the apartment. We would meet Mike and Dave at the airport the next morning and both of us were packed for roughing it in the wilds. However, we had been assured that we'd have a bedroom and indoor plumbing.
Being the first to arrive, I was in charge of the music. Being a closet drama queen, I put on Mahler's 1st in the CD player. This was going to be an all-Mahler evening. After removing my traveling clothes from Millington, I put on my terry robe. While heating up some hot hors d' oeuvres, I poured a glass of chardonnay. I heard a key slide into the door. As it opened, I had a glass of Mondavi Reserve and a kiss ready when my man walked through the doorway.
"Hi, sugar." Brent kissed me with a nice, husbandly peck that I eagerly returned.
"Thanks," he said as I gave him a glass of wine. "Something smells good."
"Just some bacon-wrapped water chestnuts and skewered Thai chicken that you like. I stopped by the deli and picked up some cold salads for dinner."
"Aren't you becoming a domestic diva," he replied with a wink and giggle. "I love it." He kissed me again.
"Go ahead and change into something casual. I'll get the food ready." While he was gone, I set out the hot food on the coffee table and the salads in bowls on the dining table. When he returned, my blond beauty was in a matching robe. Walking over to the couch, he sat down and poured refills of the wine.
"It's ours, babe. 'T' sent over a couple cases of Mondavi Reserve as a little token of thanks for the successful L.A. mission." We laughed and toasted each other.
We nibbled at the appetizers before moving over to the table for the salads. Mahler's 2nd was just starting. I loved Solti's powerful conducting interpretation of the Resurrection as he led a bold, confident Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
"Speaking of L.A., Sam called me yesterday. He wants me to start some acting lessons next week. Thinks I should become an actor when I get out of the Navy." Brent took a first bite of the curried beef and pasta and looked at me for my reaction.
"Oh really?" I pondered his comment. "Is this something you want?"
"Well, it worked out pretty well for mom," Brent replied with a soulful expression that I had come to expect whenever he thought about his family. "I don't want anything that will conflict with going to school. That comes first. Along with you, of course."
"Who's the teacher?" I was warming up to the idea. I served myself some marinated grilled vegetables and dug in.
"Some respected, older actor who runs a theater here. He's coaching Cybill Shepherd. She lives in Memphis."
"So, what's Sam's plan?" 'Hmmm, a hot actor in the family?' I considered.
"He wants me to take lessons once a week through the fall. Then, after the first of the year, I'll come out to Hollywood for a week, so that Sam can ease me into a tiny role in a movie that will be in production. He doesn't want to expose me on TV right away."
"Sounds like Sam has big plans for you. If you're happy...so am I." I squeezed his hand and wistfully smiled.
"He mentioned this when we were in L.A. However, at the time it seemed like Hollywood B.S. so I didn't bother mentioning it to you."
"Sam can move mountains," I replied, "and it sounds like he's decided to move a few for you. Congratulations."
"I think that I have other news that will make you even happier." Still holding my hand, he leaned over and kissed my cheek.
"Other than what's between your legs?" I squeezed his hand harder for emphasis before releasing it.
"Well, yeah...that too." He studied me before continuing. "I'm not supposed to tell you - ha, ha, ha - but Sam is going to contact you next week about the possibility of working on his new film when you get out in December - the film Abe and Fred are financing.
"Holy shit! Are you serious?" My heart started racing a mile a minute.
"Dead serious. Apparently Fred asked Sam to find a spot for you. I hope that Fred doesn't think that he can have his way with you, now."
"Naw. We discussed that in L.A. I told him that I was with someone I was deeply in love with." I paused and winked at my partner with a cockeyed smile. I got an air kiss in return. "He's okay with that. I think that Abe and Fred would like to be friends, however. Do you have any problem with that?"
"No. They're nice guys. Just as long as we're only friends, babe."
"So what does Sam have up his sleeve?" Yeah, my curiosity was piqued and I could feel my heart pounding.
"That is all I know. And, when Sam calls, ya' gotta act completely surprised."
"Apparently the film, something called Hollywood or L.A. Confidential, will start production by mid-summer. He's going to hire you to be a production assistant starting in January and help the producer on all the detail work."
"You mean gofer? I can handle that with no problem. It's a great learning job."
"That's what Sam said. By summer, when filming actually starts, he's going to suggest that you become an 'assistant' to the director and the assistant director. I have a feeling that when Sam suggests, it happens."
I excitedly started talking fast, babbling I'm sure. "Oh shit, Brent, this is exactly what I need to realize my dreams. A foot in the door. I couldn't have wished this in my wildest imagination. Oh man, this is great!" I almost leaped out of my chair and danced around to Brent, hugging him while he was still seated in his chair.
"I'm very happy for you," Brent replied grinning, as he brought me into his strong arms. After a long hug, we returned to finishing our dinner. I had a million questions that would have to be on hold until Sam called next week.
Later that night, we expressed our love for each other and climaxed as Solti's brass and percussion sections advanced the orchestra to the powerful finale of Mahler's 8th. We cleaned up and I whispered into Brent's ear, "See you at the Academy Awards in five years." We lay sated and content before drifting off. The early wake-up alarm would come soon enough.