by Jack Scribe
When we returned to L.A., Brent jumped right into his summer film production, feet first, and I continued my AD gig on American History X - the working title had now been officially changed. I was running his lines with him every night after I got back from the studio. It was crazy, in my opinion, that Brent's director didn't want to rehearse, but several of the big guys worked that way. I was fortunate that the directors I had worked with demanded prep and rehearsal from the actors - this would certainly be my M.O. in filmmaking.
His old Cougar was finally shed in favor of a sensible, dark-green Explorer with heavy window tinting - my ragtop Bimmer and his Explorer were very comfortable parked next to each other in the subterranean garage.
A month later, we had our first houseguests up to celebrate Mr. Swenson's birthday. Dave was turning 23, and the Fab Four were together again. The condo, while not as well furnished as Dave and Mike's San Diego house, got high marks from the guys. The 10th floor condo had a great 'green' view facing north and the Los Angeles Country Club, with Beverly Hills as a backdrop, and was high enough to only faintly hear the Wilshire Boulevard traffic.
Brent and Dave compared notes - they were both close enough in credits to be almost college sophomores. All of Brent's credits from Columbia University were accepted after he was admitted to the fall class and ditto with Dave and his MSU-Mankato credits at UCSD. With luck, they would both be going for the state bar exams in four or five years. I just hoped that Brent's filming schedule, combined with a full college load, wouldn't cause a stressful atmosphere.
"Brent, you have any problem if I invite Billy Forrest and my brother, Louie, to join us for dinner soon?" It was mid-August, and Billy's WB show was back in production. Brent, on the other hand, had completed all the primary scenes for his film. He would be starting school at UCLA in three weeks. The only challenge would be the Friends shoot in September. Brent would be starting another movie in October.
"Naw, if he's cool with being discrete. Billy's career is on the rise, at least on TV, and I don't see him wanting to do anything to jeopardize it. I've spoken with him a couple of times in the commissary. Seems like an okay guy even if he did come on to you. But hell, I did the same thing a couple of years ago," Brent said with a laugh.
"Why don't I ask if he and Louie are available in a couple of weeks. Billy did say that he had a long talk with my brother last month. They had met for dinner in Newport Beach, and from what Billy said, Louie wasn't all that surprised about Billy coming out."
"Let's do it on Saturday night before Labor Day. I'll have wrapped the movie and Billy's show usually does the final scenes on Fridays."
As it turned out, Labor Day was on September 1st and fortunately no one had any plans for the entire weekend. Louie and his wife were going to visit her folks on Monday for a cookout. So the Saturday of the long weekend, Brent and I planned on cooking at the new place for Louie and Billy, while Louie's wife and their baby daughter stayed in Anaheim with her folks. Louie would stay overnight at our place and return to Orange County the next day.
"So, when Artie got his big break with the TV show, I was friggin' amazed. Here's my pal from grammar school, Artie Shapiro, now the new hot stud on Heaven, with this new wasp persona...Billy Forrest. Come on, what's the big deal in a name?" Louie asked, as we waited for his old buddy, Billy to arrive.
"Image build-up, Louie, is everything," Brent interjected. "Billy Forrest creates a certain style. I gotta admit that I still don't react to the name 'Brad' half the time."
"I understand, Brent. It's just that Artie and I go back to when we were kids and I think of him as my good friend from the neighborhood. Like, I think of you as my brother's partner and...since, you're okay with it...my brother-in-law," Louie replied with a smile.
"Brother-in-law, friend, whatever you want to call it, I do look at you as a younger brother, Louie. I'm very lucky to be included in the DiMarco family."
The telephone from the lobby rang, and the doorman announced the arrival of Mr. Forrest.
"I'll get another beer. Who's ready for another?" I asked.
"Since I'm not driving, I'll go for one more," Louie said, almost seeking approval from his older brother. Louie, like Artie slash Billy, was not yet 21.
"Cool. Brent, would you listen for the door?" I asked, walking to the kitchen, "I'll also bring some more cheese and sausages." Tonight was DiMarco Italian food night. Mom had made her famous chicken cacciatore in Chianti sauce and cheese raviolis that I had picked up at her kitchen earlier on my way home. Brent pulled together an impressive green salad and brought home fresh tiramisu from an upscale Italian deli in Beverly Hills.
As I returned to the living room with fresh beers, Brent was opening the front door for our guest.
"Hi, I'm Billy For...fuck, it that you, Brad?" Billy asked, with his mouth flung open.
"Yep, but I prefer Brent. Welcome to Doug's and my home."
"Holy shit, I mean...well, I just didn't expect to see you here," he said, shaking Brent's hand. Looking past my partner, he visually was brought back to reality. "Hey, Louie, how they hanging? Doug, good to see you, too," he concluded with a nod.
"That's something you're probably not going to find out," Louie answered, as he walked over to his childhood friend. They naturally leaned into each other for a hug - in a friendly jock-style manner.
"Billy, glad you could make it," I said, as I handed him and Louie their beer. I tapped Billy's knuckles, and added, "I guess you know Brent?"
"Well, yeah, who doesn't know him at Warner's. We've spoken to each other a couple of times and his work on Friends is the talk of the studio. I'm sorry, ahhh...Brent, I just never put you and Doug together."
"Hey, that's cool, Billy. Or, should I say, Artie?"
"Billy's fine. I'm more used to it, now."
"Doug told me about you guys meeting at a bar in West Hollywood. I hope that Sam Barron's suggestion made sense to you?" Brent asked.
"A lesson learned," Billy answered, "and it's only now that I discover that you're his lover."
"Come on over to the living room, guys, and I'll get a few more snacks. We'll eat in 30 minutes," I said, gesturing everyone to sit down. "Louie, could you help me for a few minutes in the kitchen?"
"Sure, bro." He grabbed his beer and obediently followed me back to the kitchen.
"Basically, Louie, I wanted those two to be together for a few minutes cuz they need to feel comfortable with each other. Hiding your sexual orientation is the shits...but that's the way it is in this business. For the time being, that is, but maybe some day..."
"I understand. Look at Ellen DeGeneres. She came out on her TV show and a lot of people couldn't handle it," Louie replied.
"My point, exactly. Ellen's career is in the dumper and her only chance to pay the bills is to go back on the road or develop some sort of talk show."
"Talk show?" Louie said with a frown. "And go up against someone like Oprah. I don't think so."
"Stranger things have happened. Look at Brent and me." I shook my head and chuckled.
"It cracks me up that Brent and my old buddy are turning the crank for millions of women, and they could care less about the prospects of getting laid on the hour, 24/7."
"Brent and I discussed it...but we couldn't keep it up beyond 12 hours," I said with a laugh.
"Ewww, gross," Louie replied, playfully patting my back. "T.M.I."
"I'm serious when I congratulate you on being so accepting of both Brent and Artie. A lot of straight guys couldn't have done that," I said, looking into his eyes.
"Dougie, I love you, and I'm amused and really impressed that your partner - my brother-in-law - is one of the hottest, new, young actors in Hollywood. Even as a hopeless hetero, I know how fucking sexy he is. And as far as Artie is concerned, we're friends for life. I only hope that he's as lucky finding a man in his life."
"I might just have a guy in mind," I replied, my voice tinged with a touch of suspense.
"Yeah? What's up?"
"An old friend is getting out of the Navy the end of the year and plans on coming out here to go to school - maybe Cal State Northridge where Billy is."
"And, your friend is..."
"Handsome, single, gay and kinda Jewish."
"He told me that his mom is not Jewish and his folks compromised on raising him in the Unitarian Church. Guess it worked for everyone. He's tight with his family but just couldn't bear the thought of returning to Buffalo, New York. So, Brent and I encouraged him to come out here. He's arriving for a visit in October to check out L.A., so maybe I can arrange a little dinner." I wiggled my eyebrows and smiled.
"Hellooo, Artie," Louie said, doing a dreadful Carol Channing impression.
I was amused that Louis remembered music our mom played in the house when we were small. "His name is Jim Weiss. I'll drop a few hints to Billy, later on. Go back to the living room and tell everyone that we're eating in 15 minutes, would ya? I gotta get this dinner show on the road."
"That was fun and I'm ready to broaden our social contacts. Maybe I'll find some friends at school," I said, as we were preparing for bed. Billy went home around 10:00 p.m., and Louie was settled in the guest room.
"Yeah, great. Billy's a nice guy. And I'm really enjoying knowing Louie as an adult," Doug replied. "It's cool that we can relate on an equal footing."
"What's your idea about Billy and Jim Weiss?"
"He's getting out of the Navy in September and Jim promised to finish up with Tan Man at the end of the year. I'm going to call him tomorrow and suggest that he start communicating with Cal State, Northridge. He could handle all the paperwork and start school in January."
"How about you and I do our paperwork and communicate tonight, lover?" We were both down to our briefs. I winked at Doug and slowly slipped my CK's off. Doug did the same and walked up to me.
"You interested in receiving a long distance call?" Doug started his now-familiar tongue bath around my cheeks, neck and ears. I felt us both rising to the occasion.
"Oh yeah I like the word, 'long', and it feels like you're about ready to place that call."
"Get into the phone booth, Brent," he said with a wink.
After pulling down the covers, I crawled into bed and lay on my back. Doug got into bed and brought his body to a position between my thighs. On his knees, he massaged my pecs and rolled my nipples between his fingers.
"You get me turned on when you do that," I growled.
"That's the idea." Doug leaned down and met my willing lips. Our tongues playfully darted around each other and he won out by slipping his tongue into my mouth. Reaching down, he gently stroked my hard cock while continuing to kiss me with forceful passion.
When he pulled away from my lips, I said, "I think I hear the phone, babe."
"This is a service that AT&T doesn't advertise," Doug replied, as he grabbed the bottle of Wet. Slowly, he applied lube to both cocks and his fingers.
At this point in our relationship, it didn't take much to relax our chutes. I knew that Doug would probably be on the receiving end tomorrow night. I raised my legs and helped guide his hard dick. When he was positioned, I wrapped my legs around his waist and felt his familiar, slow entry.
"Oh, fuck, I need you tonight," I whispered. We were both mindful that Louie was in the next room.
"Not as much as I need you. Brent, I love you," he said. He steadily pushed his cock in and didn't stop until I felt his pubes brush against my butt.
"Fuck me." My hands grabbed his biceps and I hung on for a wild ride. He slowly started a long in 'n' out motion that increased with speed and intensity, grazing my prostate on the up-stroke. "Ahhh, shit..." I mumbled, as he started varying the angles and strokes. One minute, he was in a staccato motion; the next he switched to long, deliberate movements. My lover was always considerate to create something fresh and different every time we were together.
"Kee-rist, Brent...uhhh...I'm ready...to..." I felt the forceful hot blast of cum enter my insides and this sent me over the edge. I tightened my sphincter around his almost-spent dick, and shot an initial, powerful volley of cum up to my chest. Doug, leaving his softening dick in me, scooped some cum onto his fingers, brought it to his lips and licked them clean. He repeated the action - this time, offering me his fingers. I eagerly tongued them.
"You amaze me. I never get tired of you."
"And you never will. Nor, will I of you. He leaned back down, and softly kissed my lips.
September came and went in a blur. Brent successfully started the fall semester at UCLA, and when he walked on campus, reverted to the camouflage of a baseball cap and sunglasses. The usual curiosity of having a known celebrity face in the classroom wore off after a week and his classmates treated him as one of the crowd.
Another part of Brent's collegiate transition was intramural sports when he signed up for the Thursday night basketball league as an open player. Within two weeks, one of the teams from the law school asked him to become a regular on their team. Funny, I never knew that Brent loved basketball - my gorgeous lover was also a jock. He was aware that people were taking pictures of him but his attitude was, "What the hell, it makes for a good image."
I was amazed at his discipline in juggling so many things in his life. In addition to class and studies, he had a script to learn for Friends, late afternoon rehearsal and Saturday filming. The principal stars of the show had accepted Brent into their group and didn't whine about working on Saturday to accommodate his schedule. The one thing that hadn't been juggled was our relationship. In addition to sleeping with each other, Brent and I reserved Sunday mornings for snuggle time, a read of the New York and L.A. newspapers, and brunch at the condo.
American History X finished shooting in September and I planned to be occupied with the editing process and a determination if any scenes needed re-shooting. The film was slotted for a late spring release, so we were pressed to have a rough director's cut of everything put together, except for the musical score, by mid-January.
Brent and I were excited about Jim Weiss's visit over the Columbus Day weekend. He had just gotten out of the Navy and, except for his 'work' for Tan Man, had a very flexible schedule. Jim arrived on Thursday night, and insisted on renting a car, so that he could go over to Cal State Northridge on Friday, drive around campus and speak with an admissions counselor.
"This really seems like old times," Jim said. Except for a more mature expression on his face, he was the same hot, athletic stud that we had known from our Navy days.
We sat around the living room with a second cup of coffee Saturday morning before going over to Nate and Al's Deli in Beverly Hills for a late breakfast. Brent, using Brad as his name, had called ahead for reservations.
"I can't believe it's almost two years since we left Memphis," Brent added.
"And now that we'll all be in L.A., Brent and I will help you in any way you need help in getting settled. How'd things go at the school?"
"The admissions counselor said that all of my paperwork and transcripts were in order. The credits from Erie Community College may not be transferable, but my SAT's were accepted. The woman said that I could probably start with a freshman curriculum in January."
"Cool. What about housing?" Brent asked.
"I'm not going back to Memphis until Wednesday, so I figured I'd look around for a studio that might be coming up in January."
"If you want to live in a gay area of town, West Hollywood doesn't get much gayer. But it's somewhat of a commute over to the Valley." I thought the place was a little too gay...but decided to keep this opinion to myself.
"Seems that all I do is drive in this town," Jim replied, "and stop by gas stations to fill-up."
"Yeah, and with gas at a buck and a quarter, it adds up quickly," I said with a shrug. "Think about finding something in Northridge for the spring semester that doesn't require you signing more than a six-month lease. This will give you time to find an apartment for the long haul. If you need to stay with us a couple of weeks when you return, ya got it."
"Thanks, guys. Let me ask you about tonight. You said that you were inviting a guy who is one of your brother's old friends to join us for dinner?"
"Yeah. He's an actor and also attends Cal State Northridge. His name is Billy Forrest. Although when I knew him, he was Artie Shapiro," I said with a shrug.
"He's part of the tribe?" Jim asked with a smile.
"You know, we've never talked about it. I suspect that Billy - that's what he now prefers to be called - is probably about as good a Jew as I am a Catholic." I waved an 'iffy' hand and shrugged.
"Yep...I ran into him at a gay bar this summer. He's a nice guy."
"He's on a TV show called Heaven on the WB," Brent added, "but he really isn't full of himself, like some of us can be." We all laughed.
"You said that you saw Trev this summer?" Jim asked.
"We all got together at Dave Swenson's summer cabin in Minnesota. He's into his first term at graduate school," Brent said. "You two still friends?"
"Oh, yeah. I think that the combination of working together and trying to be a couple just didn't pan out. I saw Trev before he moved to Chicago, and apparently he's become really good friends with an old buddy of Swenson's."
"His name is Russ. They met up at Dave's lake cabin in Minnesota," Brent added.
"We'd better get going to 'Nate and Al's Deli'," I suggested. "We've got reservations at 10:00 a.m. I thought, after breakfast, we'd drive around West Hollywood and show you some of the spots you might want to check out on your own."
"That's super. Sounds like I'm in good hands."
Brent and Doug's hospitality was amazing. Although nothing was said, I was taken aback at the condo my buddies now called home. 'Pretty nice digs,' I thought. Brent had certainly come far from the days when we shared a barracks shower, and with Doug - Mr. DiMarco - to whom I popped salutes among other things. The understated, masculine feel of the place subtly announced the residence of two young men successfully rising in their professions. More impressive was the way that Brent and Doug treated this 'house in the sky'. It was nothing more than the two partners' home - end of story.
It was interesting to watch Brent interact with the crowd at Nate and Al's. This was clearly a local place, catering to an older Beverly Hills crowd with close ties to the film industry. He waved at some of the diners when we entered and walked over to speak with the tables' occupants once we were seated. Occasionally, someone would come over to our table. In each case, he would politely introduce us as close friends. One man smiled when he picked up on my last name and suggested that he had a daughter I should meet. Brent winked at me and explained that I was visiting from Memphis. He said, when we were alone, that several of the men were agents, producers, or writers.
I got my bearings on how to find my way around West Hollywood. With Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards intersecting in Beverly Hills, I could find my way back to the condo on Wilshire. I made mental notes to stop back at Rage, Mickey's, and the Gold Coast on another evening. Before we all returned to the condo to get ready for the dinner party, Doug took us to Farmer's Market. We did a short walk-around checking out the food stalls and inspecting the tourist chotskis.
"Guys, what can I do to help before dinner," I asked. It was around three when we returned to the condo.
"Everything's set. I've got Along Came Mary Catering to drop off dinner at seven and Billy's due at 7:30 p.m. Brent's going to get some study time in, so why don't you go down to the pool or exercise room? We've got great facilities," Doug suggested.
"Could I borrow some gym shorts? I've got everything else and a workout would be great."
"I've got a pair that's a little snug on me and would probably fit you just fine," Brent offered. He went into their bedroom and returned moments later with shorts and a laundered jock.
"Thanks, Brent. Imagine what I could get on eBay if I auctioned off a used jock worn by Brad Williams," I said with a laugh.
"A big swat on your beautiful behind, buddy," Brent replied. "Have a good workout. I'm going to the den and study."
We were just finishing a terrific dinner. The catering company dropped off a standing rib roast, au gratin potatoes, and puree of carrots on top of artichoke bottoms. Doug had made a salad, and for desert Brent had picked up a cheesecake from a place called Paul's over by Marina Del Ray. I smiled, thinking of how many college guys would be entertaining with a catered dinner in a Westwood high-rise tonight.
"If you'd like, I could give you a walking tour of the campus tomorrow? I don't have much doing," Billy said. "We could grab a Chinese chicken salad over at Chin Chin on Sunset Boulevard in the afternoon. It'll be a nice day for eating outside."
"Super," I replied in an upbeat manner, "I can get a good handle on the layout of the school and maybe you could show me some good neighborhoods for housing?"
Aside from Billy being a very attractive young man, he had a natural warmth that didn't seem fabricated. After getting permission from Billy, Doug informed me that we were all batting on the same team.
"Consider it done. Brent, can we help clearing the dishes?" Billy asked.
"Naw, just leave five bucks under the coffee cup," Brent replied with a laugh. "Seriously, I've got waitress duty tonight, and Doug's doing the dishes. Relax and enjoy the rest of the merlot."
As Brent cleared the table, my eyes casually watched Billy as he talked to Doug. 'I wouldn't mind jumping on his bones,' I considered. 'Wonder if he has a boyfriend?' He turned and caught me staring. He smiled and winked.
"Jim, you want to go out tonight and check out a few of the straight clubs in Hollywood? I've got door passes to the best ones, and we can boogie with a few young actresses that'll be there. I think you'll have fun, and it's a good image-builder for me."
"That would be fun. Are my clothes okay?" I said, a little concerned.
"Sure. In Hollywood, anything goes. The gals get a little carried away, but most of the guys will be wearing jeans and shirts. Doug, do you and Brent wanna go?"
"No, us oldsters will just stay home. You kids have fun," Doug replied with a sly smile.
"Kids? Whaduya mean," I said. "I'm 22 and Billy is...what, 21? I hardly consider 27 to be old."
"Who's old?" asked Brent, carrying four plates of cheesecake.
"The guys are going to go clubbing in Hollywood and asked if we wanted to go," Doug replied. "I told them that we'd stay home and let the 'kids' have fun."
"Speak for yourself. I've got all my studying done and it might be fun to get out. Let's do it." Brent said, enthusiastically.
"Okay, stud." Doug answered. "You and Billy can be the chick-magnets."
"I don't think any of us will have any problems," Billy replied, "and we can play in the VIP rooms. We can start out at Forbidden."
"You're the leader. In fact, Billy, if we get some photo ops with some hot women, I'm sure CAM and Sam would approve," Brent suggested.
"Good idea. Let me make a few phone calls. I know of a few actresses that we could hang with...just for a while." Billy smiled and exaggerated a wink.
"Use the phone in the den," Brent suggested.