"Brenton, nice to see you again, how have you been keeping?" a voice behind me asked.
"Mum, nice to see you too, are you enjoying your new house?" I cringed.
"Yes son it's lovely, cost a bomb but you know your father, he's always bought the best, are you still doing the flying thing?"
"Yes mum, we took delivery of a new jet a month or so ago, it’s beautiful," I spluttered out, she had cornered me in the dry cleaners as I was picking up my beautiful suit.
"That’s a nice suit Brenton, did you have it made?" She was being sarcastic.
"Yes mum, my friend Cody Mitchell designed and had it made for me," I replied.
"Yes mum, he makes all my suits, we are mates after all," I tried to explain.
"He lives in Brisbane doesn't he?"
"Yes he does and his house is a showpiece, just spectacular."
Just then my man walked in, he was a bit slow today.
"Mr. Walsh we have to go, you're running late."
"Thank you won’t be a minute mate."
"New boyfriend Brenton?"
"No mum, my bodyguard, he's escorting me to a Foundation meeting."
"What foundation is that son?"
"The Brenton Walsh Foundation mum, I started it and because I'm chairman of the board I have to say goodbye and run, got to be at that meeting."
I left her with her mouth wide open, picking at her old Fletcher Jones plaid skirt.
"Thanks mate, she’s intense," was all I said to my man before we blended into the Chapel street shoppers.
"Brent, I've just had this weird e-mail, it came through the Foundation account and it's asking if we could send out a photo of you, to confirm your identity," Helen said to me as I passed her desk.
"Who's it from?"
"Someone called,'Anna's pre-loved wedding and evening wear shop,'" she replied looking a little puzzled.
"Send them a nice photo of me Helen and write on the bottom, 'Yes, it’s me, remember, your son Brenton.'"
She gave me a strange look and shook her head.
"Long story short, estranged parents wanting to know how much money I have. It might be to their benefit to get to know me again," I explained with a wink.
"Oh the old estranged parent’s routine, I've got it covered. I think I'll put them on the auto donation mailing list," she said winking back.
I loved Helen she had a wicked sense of humor.
The meeting was dull as usual, Ray rattled off a heap of figures I wasn't taking any notice of and by the look on Mary’s face; she wasn't all that interested either.
"Will you both listen to me, it’s boring I know but it has to be related to you both, in short, all’s good, okay?"
We both nodded.
"Have you seen Tony lately Mary?"
"No Brent, haven't heard a word from him but thank you for trying," she answered.
"I'm sorry but I didn't swallow that brick wall story Mary, you are so not as hard as one."
"Well it got you out of your self loathing didn't it?" she laughed.
"He's really nice Brent, I kind of like his philosophy on life, it’s similar to mine but no, he hasn't rung." She looked a bit disappointed.
Later on I excused myself to make a call.
She was just leaving Ray's office so I leaned over and said,
"He's working in Singapore and will be home on the weekend, oh and he lost his phone so I sent him your number again after he begged me for it," I said with a grin.
She also looked like she skipped, out the door.
I was just in time to catch the second half of Con's concert and sat in the front row, transfixed by my man. He spotted me and was playing up again as I got very hot.
When he started doing the two slow numbers, his chair was placed on my side of the stage, he sang,'Us,' and he sang it to me as if I was the only one in the place, his was the only voice I wanted to hear. He opted to drive home with me and we found the car easily, well his four minders found it. I brought him up to date on meeting mum and Helen's message and we talked about it, he thought although they are living in Caulfield she was shopping in Prahran,as it's a better shopping center. I thought she wouldn't be seen dead in the huge shopping mall that was nearer to her home. I can’t go there again, not backwards, I have a wonderful life and I thank God every day for sending Conner to me.
Tom arrived unannounced the next morning and I think he just wanted to check on me. He was concerned I had left so abruptly, I didn't lie to him and we had a big conversation about disassociation, not getting involved and he understood. He had felt the same thing at the center but he looked at it differently than me, he was there to learn not judge.
Couldn't have said it better myself I thought.
"Got a boyfriend yet Tom?" The dreaded Conner appeared.
"No Conner, still looking," he said rolling his eyes.
"Well there’s a little cutie flying with the boys next week we don't know if he's gay or not but he goes to your school and all the signs are there apparently, according to Phil."
"What’s his name?"
Tom went quiet, very quiet and his smile disappeared.
"A Chinese Australian kid, he lives at the flats up the street, about sixteen years old?" he finally said.
"That’s him, do you know him?"
"Yes, why is he flying with you?" He looked at me.
"He's a student in Conner’s music class and he thinks he wants to be a pilot someday, so we have organized for him to sit with the boys once a week, so he can make his mind up," I said then added,
"What’s wrong Tom, you don't look so pleased?"
"No, I’m okay, I hardly know him, he's in the next class up."
"So you want to fly next week and meet him?" Con asked getting a little less enthusiastic as he went.
"No, I don't think so, anyway it's good you're all right, I've got to get to school or I'll be late."
"Come on, I'll drive you." I took my keys kissed Conner and said,
"Won’t be long."
"So you want to talk about it or will I leave it alone?"
"Don't tell anyone Brent but two years ago he bashed me up after school, it wasn't bad, just a lot of bruising, but I kind of liked him, he was a friend I trusted and I thought he liked me up until he did that. I just spend my days avoiding him now, it's easier as our classes are separate."
"Okay, as long as you're alright with it now, we don't want to push you into anything that you don't feel comfortable with, Tom, we really won't you know."
"I know Brent, the thing is I really liked him but he showed me he didn't like me, I can live with that but I don't have to be nice to him anymore." He sounded like he had dealt with it so I let him off the hook.
"Okay, no more said, but there’s usually a reason for something like that to happen. Maybe he just wasn't thinking along the same lines as you were."
"Maybe, but I didn't get that vibe from him."
"Oh, the extra luggage in your underpants vibe?"
"Yes." He blushed.
"Have a great day at school Tom, you know if you need to talk then just ring me."
"I will Brent, and thanks."
He hopped out of the car and ran into the schoolyard.
Upon my return I spoke to Conner about it and he promised he wouldn't bring the matter up again, he was sorry his big mouth opened when it did.
I kissed him and made sure he had everything he needed then I left to play flying games with my boys.
Off to Canberra today to pick up some precious cargo. They were coming down to Melbourne for a week so I was eager to see Grant and Stan again and to get their updates.
"Hi Brenton, fantastic to smell you again, ooooh yes." Stan’s very deep voice moaned in my ear as his lips lightly brushed it.
"I told you, leave the hired help alone, you great pillock."
"Good to see you too Stan, get aboard and we'll get you settled in,hope you enjoy your flight," I said with a smile.
He really shouldn't do that to people because they might get the wrong idea, I hoped he never acted on it... well I did.
"So what’s with all the bags, are you planning a garage sale or something?"
"No," Grant said, "didn't Conner tell you?"
"No, what’s to tell, enlighten me please?" I asked sitting back with Dave and Phil.
"Stan’s now the head man at the British Consulate in Melbourne, it's permanent."
"Wow! Fantastic, that’s great guys, when did this happen?"
"I got the news last week, no more travelling and we get to see you guys as much as possible too," Grant said.
"And the best part Grant?" Stan prompted.
"What?" They leered at me.
"I'm your new shadow, I get to follow you around all day Brent, so we can do some shopping together if you like." He winked.
"Shopping only Grant." Stan was quite firm.
I relaxed for a moment, this is just great, I liked Grant very much and he loved shopping and I didn't, what a team.
I drove them to the embassy in Collins Street; they had a lot to do, and would be chauffeured to their new residence, a sprawling apartment on the Yarra River and within walking distance to the casino. Before I said my goodbyes, I managed to organize two tickets for Conner’s concert the following night through Adam.
I went home and pottered around the place. Ray and John had me in for dinner and I updated them on the boy's arrival. Of course Ray knew about it, he said Conner had specifically asked for him to follow me, because he was the best.
It wasn't long before I was convinced he was worth his weight in gold.
Conner’s shows were coming to an end; he had four weeks left and still hadn't shown signs of faltering. I personally saw ten of them and to me they were perfect but one night while he was rocking away on stage and I was enjoying it from my usual seat, I noticed Con's arm reach out, he pointed to me as there was a tap on my shoulder, it was Grant and he knelt down and said,
"Your parents are here and they are edging their way up to the front, want to go out the back?"
I nodded yes, so he whisked me off to stage left. Obviously Con had noticed them coming. I was a bit ruffled but okay and as Con ran past to get down to the floor lift he shouted,
"I've got your back Brent." I waved, but he didn't see me, as he was too quick.
"I have orders not to let them within fifteen feet of you. Your mum and dad were up the back but they noticed you and when they moved so did I."
"It's okay Grant, I'm fucked if I know what they want from me but it ain't going to happen, they wiped me and I've wiped them."
"Well happy families are not so happy sometimes, just sit the show out here, I will go find them." He called over one of Con's minders and made him stay with me.
After the show Conner pulled me into the dressing room and made everybody leave. Marty wanted to know what was going on, Mr. Manager was at every show and he took great delight in telling Con what words he missed or what mistakes he had made. At the moment he was chomping at the bit about something but Con cleared the room.
"I saw them coming baby, they were heading for the front." He hugged me.
"It's okay Con, they went to a lot of trouble to get to me though. It’s about money Con, I shouldn't have said anything about the Foundation to mum; now they are going to be a pain in the ass."
"I'd like to be your pain in the ass Brent," Con said cheekily.
"You already are Con, in a good way that is."I kissed his puffy lips.
Grant knocked and let himself in.
"They left but they handed this in at the box office to be passed on to you Brent." I opened the note,
'We miss you son, please come around so we can talk.' They wrote their address on the note.I filed it away in my pocket.
"Conner what was the pointing thing you did and you missed the entrance to your third number," he waffled Marty was back.
"I'll try harder tomorrow night Marty," Conner said as he bowed his head and tried to look like a naughty boy.
"Okay what’s going on?" Poor Marty gave up.
"Brent's parents," Grant said.
My next meeting was with Jen.
"Do you really want me to do this Brent, I would love to but what if it backfires?"
"It won’t backfire, Wilson or Walsh the same initials, I won't need to re-do the monogrammed towels and when it's done, I have a very important job for you to do."
"Sounds interesting," Jen said.
"What are you two planning?" Conner asked as he walked by to get little Conner a juice. Baby on his hip and laughing away, it suited him.
"Anniversary present time Con."
"I have to ask him first Jen, can you give us a minute?"
"Sure take your time, I have to hang the wash out anyway."
"Con can I talk to you for a minute?"
"Sure baby, what’s up?" he asked and sat down.
"Well I have come up with a plan to get rid of the annoying parents and in the process I think I got you an anniversary present."
His face lit up.
"What is it?"
"I want to change my name to Wilson,"I said.
He didn't say anything, just looked at me.
"We are married and I have been thinking about it ever since. This is something I haven't taken lightly, it's something I want to do."
"And your parents, what’s it got to do with them?"
"Well with a new surname I will get Jen to send a legal letter to them stating I have changed my surname and forth with they will not refer to me as their son." They will be so pissed off I changed it and tarnished the name Walsh." I grinned.
"I like Brenton Walsh though," he said.
"No, I want to take your name."
"No you don't, you want to get back at your parents." He got up and looked at me, he looked hurt.
"Con I'm sorry, of course I won't change my name, it was just a fun idea that’s all, come on let's forget it."
"No you were serious, if you were really serious you would have spoken to me before the wedding."
"Fuck," I said to myself.
"Con I am sorry, I wasn't thinking," I said softly.
"It's okay Brent, can we go home now?"
"Sure baby, let me say goodbye to Jen and we can be on our way."
I found Jen in the backyard and kissed her goodbye, I said to forget my suggestion, it was childish anyway. She followed me in but Conner was already in the car so she came out and kissed him and we drove away.
"Conner talk to me babe, it was just a childish prank, I wasn't thinking that’s all."
He ignored me.
I drove up to the front of our house; he got out and slammed the door.
I sat there for a good ten minutes trying hard not to cry, I had insulted him.
I opened the door and could see him sitting on the sofa so I sat down to talk to him, I sat next to him but he moved away.
"Why didn't you ask me before the wedding if it was okay to change your name?"
"Well it was never discussed but I thought about it a lot."
"Then if you thought about it a lot, what did you decide?"
"I don't know I figured it wasn't important that's all."
"Then why now?" He stared at me; there were tears in his eyes.
"Con it was something I thought of on the spur of the moment, Jen and I were having a bit of fun at the parent's expense."
"A bit of fun and you want to drag my name into it, you broke your promise Brent, I'm not happy."
"What promise Con? Please come on, let's put this behind us, we don't fight, we never have baby, I love you."
"Promise number two, I promise to always put you first."He looked again like he was going to cry.
I pulled him into me and kissed his lips and neck.
"You are my first priority Con, you always have been and you always will be, I love you so much you have to believe me Con, I wouldn't do anything to hurt you," I cried, it was me that was crying now, fuck it.
"I know but I also know you don't have to change your name as awesome as it is to tell your parents to get fucked." He kissed my neck and he was relaxed thank god.
"How’s that beautiful boy?"
"Brent, at the hospital, before they even sat down, you should have stood up to them and told them to go sit somewhere else, it was as plain as day, they didn't want to sit with us, why did you invite them? In the supermarket you ran out without your groceries, at the dry cleaners you should have pushed past her and ignored her advances, I just don't understand your way of thinking. You went through Marty like a good dose of salts in Europe, Grant in Vegas, my stage manager here but when it comes to you and your problems you don't have the same punch."
"They're my parents, Con."
"Where would I be today if Aunty Beth had said, 'But they’re his parents,' do you think I would have survived?"
"Of course not Con, it's a bit different......"
"No it's not, they are abusing you and have done so for the past ten years and you, a full grown man let them get away with it, tell them to go get fucked."
"Tell them, next time you see them, tell them to fuck off, get lost, get fucked, whatever it takes but tell them every time you see them, then and only then, will you be able to walk down that street out there with your head held high. You're good at looking after me but hopeless at looking after yourself, but don't worry about it, I will get Grant to say it loud and clear but it's got to be said baby, it just has to, you promised to put me first but your using me to play with your parents, well my name anyway. I hate Wilson as a surname, I love Richards and I adore Walsh, I don't want you to have my last name, it means pain to me. I gave you that name the night you found me because I was in pain and I wanted so desperately for you to hug me and love me." His tears flowed.
We held each other all the while I was saying sorry in his ear and kissing his neck.I hadn't realized the name Wilson had this effect on him. Of course if he wants to use Richards he should because that’s his legal name, well that’s how he signs all his papers.
"I'm sorry Brent, you caught me at a weak moment, I was going to give you a anniversary present tonight too."
I smiled and put my hand out.
He kissed me.
"I've got less than three weeks work and I want to take you on a honeymoon to Paris and maybe Bali on the way back," he whispered in my ear.
"Honeymoon, now why didn't I think of that?"
"Because you've been too busy looking after me,that’s why."
"It's because of your big dick Con, I have to look after my toys."
"Want to play with it?"
He unzipped his fly and I nodded.
I wasn't going to worry too much about the parents but Con was right, I should tell them to piss off. I wanted to ring Jen and apologize for our abrupt departure but she got in first. We talked about things for awhile then decided she would go with anything I decided to do and she will visit next time, little Conner is missing us. The opportunity came the following Saturday night, they came over to catch one of Con's concert before they ended. I had the pleasure of babysitting, with everything set up and bottles at the ready I attacked babysitting by myself with my eyes wide open. A bath then cartoons then a cuddle on the couch then my Conner was shaking my arm.
That went quickly, he gently picked little Conner up and kissed his forehead, then he put him in his cot, dummy at the ready.
"What time did you both fall asleep baby?"
"Don't know Con, one minute we were watching Rapunzel next you woke me, it must have been around eight I think."
"Well he will be up early I suspect, we will call you," Bob said with a laugh.
Jen passed around the coffees and started raving on about the show, Conner as usual was his polite self then he looked like he heard something so off he went to check the baby.
"I shoved his dummy in his mouth and he went back to sleep,"Con explained.
"How’s the job Bob, is it working for you?" Con asked.
"Yes Conner it's perfect, I had trouble with two of the drivers but Rob fixed that, he sacked them. He’s bloody good mate, he almost had them believing it was their idea." He laughed.
"He's a nice guy and so is Adam, I will miss them when we are away,"I said.
"Where are you going brother?"
"Paris for our honeymoon sis, then maybe Bali." I smiled at Con.
"It's an anniversary present Jen, wink, wink."
"Awesome, you lucky devil, Paris, oh Bob?"
"No, we have a kid and I won't be dragging him all over Europe thank you very much," Bob firmly said.
No Conner this morning, I guess he couldn't sleep in. I slipped my trakkies on and went to investigate, he was in the family room, with baby, watching the rest of Rapunzel. I made us coffee after a long lasting smooch and sat with them, one little chap went back to sleep and a gorgeous spunk snored his head off on my shoulder.
Well I guess at least I get to actually watch this movie. I made sure Conner was warm by throwing a baby rug over him and of course my Con. I moved his blanket up to his shoulders.Jen came looking a half hour later; she made us both coffees and watched the last ten minutes.
"You know you can babysit anytime Brent, we could do with a night off every now and then but it's not all cutesy and smiles. He’s actually being quite good around you both but some days Brent, I could scream," she warned.
"I'm sure he's a wonderful angel when he's at home, you sure you're not imagining it?"
She punched me.
"He is an angel Brent, well at least I think so anyway," Con moaned under the blanket.
His famous last words, Conner woke and the whining started, my Con just pulled him over and patted his back, an almighty burp left the baby's throat and he settled.
"See Jen, easy peasy," Con said with a giggle.
"Ughhh," she answered.
For the rest of Sunday we planned our trip to Paris although I wasn't looking forward to the flight. I was more concerned about Phil and Dave needing a break from flying so I suggested to Con we take a second crew.
"And you think they are going to let them fly their jet baby?"
"No I suppose not, maybe we can take Stan and Grant, they have to go back to the UK to close up their apartment at some stage don't they?"
"Yes maybe, you can ask Grant tomorrow, maybe when you two are out shopping for a present for me," he grinned.
"Con you have everything you will ever want, believe me it’s hard to buy you something you would like."
"You do okay in my book baby,"he said kissing my head.
"Hungry?" he asked.
"Next door, I smell a roast."
We were out the back door and knocking on Ray and John's door within minutes.
Rick Conner's last concert was a blast, he turned it on for his fans big time, everyone in the audience got to meet him as he walked up the aisles shaking hands and kissing cheeks, his minders not far away and at the ready.When he got to our crowd he kissed each and every one of us on the mouth even Marty, oh, and me.
He whispered in my ear,
"This next one's for you."
Then he ran on stage as the music cranked up,'Rock on Loud,' his first hit was blasting through the showroom. He had just got halfway through the number when twenty buffed muscle guys in black jock straps and leather jackets came dancing onto the stage, the female fans went ape shit as did most of the males. Con played with his jeans as he moved over in front of us,
"Are you ready?" he screamed breaking from the song.
"Yes," the audience screamed back.
The guys surrounded him as his jeans magically were thrown into that void.
He won’t do it I said to myself, he just wouldn’t.
The last two lines of the song were sung and the guys moved aside one by one, the audience laughed there heads off; he had a big pixilated board in front of him.
"There you go Melbourne, Rick Conners naked," he screamed through the speakers.
He had a pair of flesh colored shorts on, behind it, I could see them.
But he did bring the house down as he waved and disappeared into that bloody void again.
He re-appeared for his many standing ovations with everything tucked away in his black hipsters.He blew kisses to everyone then he finally did me and bowed to me, saluted the audience and it was over.
My heartbeat was thumping through my ears, I was so fucking turned on and no it wasn't the muscle men doing it, it was my Conner.
In three weeks we would be soaring into the West again but this time in our jet, it had a longer range than the last one.Grant would come with us as Stan really had to start doing the party circuit being the new kid on the block, four weeks apart is a breeze for them and Grant would be the third pilot so they can take it in turns, to have a break.
We filed into the dressing room, Conner was laughing with one of the jock strap guys who had no shame, his butt crack was on show for everyone to see.
I looked sideways at him and took some of Con's water to cool me down.
"Did you like the finale?"
"I knew you wouldn't do it Rick but it was done well, these guys rocked, where did you find them?"
"The casino gym Brent, it's full of muscle men," he smirked.
"Well I better change gyms then," I smirked back.
He laughed and shook the guy's hand and said thank you and I watched him walk out the door.Conner lightly tapped my shoe with his foot then shook his finger.
Our family was all there except Jen and Bob so as soon as the door was closed everyone started telling him how good the show was and they had got a buzz out of the finale. Con pulled me aside and started.
"You liked those guys didn't you?"
"Yes, they looked good, they complimented you."
"No, you really boned up watching them didn't you?"
"No I boned up watching you Con."
"So why do you want to join that gym Brent?"
"Umm, so I can find out where they buy their jockstraps Con,"I sort of lied.
"Oh, I can help you out there."
He pulled out a drawer and tossed a packet to me.
"I got one each for us."
"Want to go home?"
"Would love to but I have to suck up to fans in the green room."
"Okay I'll go and wait for you."
"No you stay here and wait for me, then we go together." He laughed.
The green room was full of the music industry's elite and some of Melbourne's more notable people, it was buzzing by the time we got there and Con had a hard time to get through all the greetings and slaps on the back he was getting.I overheard one man say to Con,
"Well if the Sydney show is going to be anything like this one then we'll be very happy indeed." He slapped Con on the back, he noticed my face but couldn't get through the people that were blocking the pathway to me.
I didn't mind he was maybe doing the Star City Casino in Sydney but I did mind that most of the time I would be in Melbourne as that’s where my work is. He managed to get through with the help of Grant and his boys then we were shuffled out the exit door into a breezeway, Marty followed.
"I was going to tell you in Paris Brent, don't let this spoil our holiday please," he pleaded.
"When we get back, it's a six week gig, the money is too good Brent."
"Conner you have to go back inside, the meet and greet isn’t finished and people are looking for you," Marty said.
"Go on Con, I'm not mad, just a little disappointed. You know I don't like hearing things secondhand, especially when it concerns us." I looked into his eyes and winked.
"We can talk later okay?"
"Sure we can."
They went back inside and I hung around cursing his job and cursing my need to keep him by my side. If I really want to be honest I am jealous of his talent because it keeps us apart. Why couldn't he be a pilot or an accountant, why somebody that everyone drools over and wants a piece of. Grant had been watching me and he came over and put his arm around my shoulder, then kissed my forehead.
"It’s not the end of the world you know, but I do understand how you feel really,I understand Brent."
We stood there for ages, he held me and I held him.
"Where does this passage lead Grant?"
"If you go that way and turn left you will be in the car park level 2, do you want me to come with you?"
"No thank you, tell Con I've gone home and will wait up for him."
He took out his walkie-talkie and was talking to someone as I walked down the passage. At the other end there were two security guys who showed me to my car. I thanked them both and drove home.
Conner rushed through the door around midnight; I was spread eagled on the bed with my new jock strap on and boned up.
"Your not mad?"
"No of course not."
"Then why did you leave?"
"I had a present to give you."
I looked down at my hardon.
"Give me one minute."
He rushed into the bathroom, a lot of rustling later he appeared in his jock and then he pounced on me.
"You're not really mad babe?"
"No,it’s just that I will miss you,that’s all."
"But we can see each other just about everyday."
"But I will miss this, the closeness at night and the secure feeling I get when we go to sleep."
"Brent you come with me, I can get a temp, it's no big deal."
"No, it's my job and I love it and anyway I will only be hanging around doing nothing, we get to Sydney a lot so maybe Helen can swing a few nights in."
"I already have her working on it. It's funny you know, when I'm up on stage and my fans are screaming I don't feel lonely but when I do my slow numbers I get really lonely out there. It’s the same when I go to bed alone. I did that for years and it's not a good feeling Brent, but we will get it done and hopefully Helen will come up with a plan."
"What does she know about us Con, she’s a lovely lady but she must get curious?"
"She knows, Ray had to tell her the week of the wedding, she just shrugged her shoulders and said she already knew."
"Well if I had known that, I would have invited her."
"Ray did but she had family commitments." He nuzzled into my neck sucking and licking it up and down, fuck that turns me on.
Humping our way through a fully boned up session I was wishing it was being filmed so I could watch it while I was alone.
We drifted off to sleep entwined in our bodies, my heart was full of love and contentment.
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