by TA (Terry)
Jamie Blair, David's principal London partner, turned out to be a tall, trim, good looking guy with dark brown hair that he was constantly brushing off of his forehead. His father was English, his mother American - and Jamie had lived for ten years in the states, which of course was when he met David.
I knew of Jamie's ability to coax millions of pounds out of England's population of matrons and meeting him now I could understand how… the guy was pure charm. I knew from David that there was a sharp mind behind the charm, but the charm was a palpable thing. Waiters, cab drivers, bellhops, everyone seemed to just naturally rush to accommodate the man. This guy could pull out a cigarette in a rowboat in the middle of the English channel and somebody would show up with a lighter.
Jamie had just picked me up at Heathrow and was navigating his black Audi through heavy traffic on his way to central London. "Mark, honestly, I can't tell you how happy I am to finally meet you. David talks of you all the time. I was beginning to think that he was making you up, but I see now that he wasn't exaggerating."
I laughed. "He loves me, it clouds his judgement. But I've been anxious to meet you too. David speaks of you so often I feel that I already know you."
"Actually, for some time now I've wanted to thank you. To thank you for what you've done for David." Jamie brushed the hair out of his eyes for the tenth time. "No one on this earth deserves to be happy more than David, and I was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to happen." He smiled at me broadly. "Then you showed up… the cavalry as it were."
"I really didn't do anything, Jamie, other than fall in love."
"Oh, Mark, you've done more than you know. In a very real sense we owe everything to you." He swept his hand back and forth. "Everything we have now… the company, it all happened because you freed David, gave him the secure base he needed to let that fertile mind of his roam."
"Jamie, I think you're giving me more credit than I deserve, but I do agree about David's fertile mind. He's about the smartest person I know, but ya know it's more than just smart, it's his whole personality."
Jamie laughed. "You should have seen him in college. Oh God, that dorm room of his! How the devil the man ever got any sleep is beyond me. Truly, you could walk into David's room in the morning and find ten other people there, sleeping, talking, anything you can imagine. And you know, I think he keeps in touch with every person he's ever met."
"Jamie, you can't imagine, or maybe you can, how many emails he gets and answers in a day. He spends probably two hours in the morning and another hour in the evening just on email."
"You're at Clairidge's aren't you, Mark?"
"Yep, Frank must be going dottie in his old age, but that's where he's got me booked into."
"Well, you'll love the hotel, we can have dinner there tonight, and we have friends there."
"David's made an obscene amount of money for the group's managing director."
It suddenly hit me that David and Frank had negotiated an agreement. It was exactly what they both would have done, after all, they thought almost the same on everything. Apparently, David would stop having me followed if Frank arranged for me to stay in places where David felt I was safe. I was too amazed at the perfection of the agreement to be angry at being manipulated, at least for the moment.
"Huhh? Oh! Duh, the company of course." I laughed. "Must be jet lag." I turned slightly in the seat. "So, he's a client of yours? The managing director."
Jamie smiled. "Well, actually we started with his wife. She comes from a bit of money herself and well, we started managing her personal money and then well, she was pleased; then he came aboard too." He laughed again. "Word of mouth. English ladies," he sighed, "well, I guess all ladies like to think that their money is theirs and your money is theirs too."
"Jamie, there is an alternative, if you don't mind changing the habits of a lifetime."
Jamie laughed out loud. "That's what David keeps saying. Alas, I'm afraid that I'm stuck playing for this team. And now that we've got a new baby… well, Lord, you've got Alex, so you know."
Just the thought of Alex made me homesick and practically brought tears to my eyes.
"How old is the baby, Jamie?"
"David will be, and yes, we did name him for you know who, six months old in three days and as you can probably tell from the sound of my voice, he's the center of my universe."
"Jamie, I know what you mean. I kinda wish we'd had Alex when he was a baby, so we could've had that experience. We didn't get him until he was almost four, well within a few months."
Jamie was patting himself down, searching for something. "Mark, would you totally hate it if I smoked? I'll open the window a bit to draw it out."
"Not at all, feel free. I won't even lecture you."
Jamie laughed. "Well, thank all the gods for that! Amanda, my wife, does plenty of that. The only way that I can smoke at home is if I go outside." Jamie got a very serious look on his face. "I do know that I must quit, especially for the baby. I mean it wouldn't do for him to grow up seeing his dad smoking. Might decide to try it himself."
We were turning onto Bayswater Road and if memory served me, we were nearing the hotel.
"Jamie, you'll be able to come to dinner tonight?"
"Yes, Mark, certainly, but it'd be great if you could come out to the house for dinner instead."
"I'd love to, Jamie, but my business here is going to take the whole day, and tomorrow we'll be leaving early for one of your military air fields."
That evening with Jamie was a study in how to handle people. From the moment Jamie entered the restaurant until the time we left, the staff lavished attention on him and also on me because I was with him. Jamie never made a demand, instead he found something to compliment everyone on, he had an instinct for saying exactly what everyone needed most to hear and he was adored for it. Frank was right, if this guy ever decided to do things illegally at some point in his life, the good guys will be in trouble.
The next morning General Shetland picked me up at the hotel and we drove together to a small airfield where we grabbed a British Puma helicopter for a hop to a much larger base, where we could watch the Tornado's handling some of our more sophisticated armaments.
The weird thing is the way that General Shetland treated me for the whole trip. I mean, we've always had a pretty good relationship, but now it was like we were best buds. It was anything that I wanted, every joke that I told was funny, my every point of view was the right one. Even the British generals and businessmen seemed to treat me like they knew something that I didn't. Something was up! I wondered if it had anything to do with David, but I sure couldn't see how. David had clout in financial circles, but surely that didn't extend to the military and certainly not of another country, did it?
Well anyway, the major disappointment of the trip came the day before I thought we'd be heading home and General Shetland told me we needed to go to Germany and basically repeat the performance. The Germans weren't as friendly as the Brits. It wasn't that they were hostile, more that they were, well for lack of a better word, formal. It was definitely chilly.
Finally, on the 19th of December, six days before Christmas, we boarded a United Airlines flight for the long flight home, stopping first in Washington where the general would get off and then on to Chicago. Then after a plane change, a quick hop to Milwaukee.
I felt horrible; not physically horrible but emotionally horrible for having left David and Alex by themselves for the couple of weeks preceding Christmas. While I had been flying around England and Germany talking about ways to blowup installations hundreds of feet underground efficiently, David was home putting up a Christmas tree and walking with Alex through crowded, holiday lit, department stores. I missed Alex and my need for David was a steady ache, being without him for two weeks left a gap in me, like an emotional artery had been blocked off, draining me of my strength. While traveling through England and Germany and in meetings with generals and businessmen I would find myself thinking of David, the feel of his trim body pressed to mine, his lips, his eyes. The thought of holding his face in my hands while I gently kissed his eyes, his nose, his lips, well… it was driving me crazy.
I missed the half hour before Alex went to bed, when he'd crawl up on my lap dressed in his flannel pajamas and I'd read to him. Either David or I would have washed Alex's face and combed his hair and he would exude a clean little boy smell, as David said, the smell of innocence. I missed David and me walking him to his bedroom with each of us holding a hand, Alex sometimes swinging between us, tucking him into bed, his arms around my neck as he kissed first me goodnight and then David. And watching David's face as he kissed Alex goodnight, seeing the goodness there, the love in his eyes, and behind that the fundamental decency of the man.
I stepped off of the ramp from the plane into the terminal and heard Alex screaming. "Dad! Dad! We're over here! Dad!" He was bundled up in a winter coat, but was holding his red knit cap in his hand, his hair was statically charged from having the woolen cap on and his blond hair was standing straight up, like he'd been plugged in. David was holding him in his arms and looking up at him, laughing from the pure joy of watching him. People were turning to look at Alex and smiling at this handsome little blond boy who was yelling to his dad.
The guy next to me said. "Guess your kid's glad to see ya."
I just nodded and said. "Yep, looks like he is."
Alex was going ballistic in David's arms. It almost seemed like he was trying to fly. I couldn't imagine how David was holding him. I dropped my briefcase and plucked him out of David's arms.
"Daddy, we bought your present today!" Alex was almost screaming. Then he lowered his voice in an almost conspiratorial way. "But Dad, Santa is still gonna bring you a present, we're just helping. Cause, Dad, Santa has got so many houses to stop at he needs us to help."
I was trying to listen intently to Alex without laughing, he was holding my face in his hands so that my attention couldn't be diverted. "Alex, don't I get a kiss hello?" He gave me a huge kiss on the cheek.
I looked at David, put my hand behind his head and pulled him to me. We tilted our heads and met in a kiss. I could see some stares out of the corner of my eye, but thought. "Fuck em!"
I looked at David. "God, I missed you!"
"Did you miss me too, Dad? Cause I missed you!" Alex was turning my head again with his hands.
"I sure did miss you, sweetheart. I thought about you all the time. Were you a good boy while I was gone?"
"I sure was, Dad. I was the best boy ever!"
I slowly lowered Alex to the floor. "You're getting too heavy for me, Alex."
I looked at David. "Why does he seem to have no fear of heights?"
David laughed and ruffled Alex's hair. "Cause he's half monkey."
Alex was walking between us and occasionally pulling himself up so that he could lift his legs up and swing.
"David, this is going to take forever. Why don't you take my briefcase and I'll give Alex a piggy back ride?"
David smiled at me. "You're braver than I am."
Alex was going wild and shrieked when I swung him up onto my shoulders. "Okay, Alex, watch your head and make sure that I don't walk you into something. Can you do that?"
"Yeah, Dad, I can. Wow, it's scary this high."
"Is it too high, Alex? You can come down if you want."
"No, Dad! This is great!" While we were on the moving walkway Alex played airplane, holding his arms out and banking right and left.
Waiting for my bags to come in from the plane, Alex kept up a steady flow of conversation about shopping in the mall, Joe's lack of enthusiasm for Christmas, daycare and how much he sometimes loves it and sometimes hates it, and it went on and on. David and I talk on the phone a couple of times a day when I'm away on a trip, not to mention emails, so there isn't too much that he has to fill me in on when I get back.
The one thing that we can't deal with by cell phone or email is being physically together. Sometimes I think that if I ever somehow lost David and was never able to touch him again I would die. The touch of his body, waking up next to him, wrapping my arms around him while he sleeps, these are the things that give me life, without them what would be the point, how could I ever live without that?
We both know that no matter how tired I may be from the trip, when we get home and after Alex goes to bed, we're going to have sex. Actually, the foreplay began the moment I stepped into the terminal and our eyes met. I've mentioned David's eyes many times before, but it's almost impossible to overstate them. His hair is very black, his skin in winter very pale, and then those emerald green eyes. The very first time I looked into them I almost had an orgasm and not much has changed. When David looks at me and the full force of those eyes hit me, I usually forget what I was going to say and just seem to fall into them.
We're standing next to each other waiting for the luggage, David and I keep bumping into each other casually, our hands touching for a second. Sometimes I'd step behind him for something just so that I could look at his beautiful ass. He doesn't wear tight pants, but they always seem to form perfectly to his butt, a butt that's rock hard and perfectly rounded. Sometimes at moments like this, I find my hand reaching out for him, just wanting to touch him, not sexually, just as a connection. Usually I catch myself and pull my hand back, at least when we're in public, and sometimes he'll see my hand and ask if there was something I wanted and then I just get a stupid look on my face and make some lame excuse, when all I really wanted was for us to be one, at least for a moment.
"Mark, that's your bag, isn't it?" David was pointing at a garment bag with an Army decal on it.
"I'll get it, Dad!" Alex was standing in front of me, my hands on his shoulders.
"No, sweetheart, you let daddy get that, it's gonna be too heavy for you." When it came around I swung it off the turntable and we were on our way.
With Alex strapped in the back seat and David driving, we pulled slowly out into traffic, the snow that fell the day before crunching under the tires.
"Have you been oppingshay orfay istmasChray?"
David laughed. "Esyay. Actually, I'm about done. But I thought that it would be great if you and I could go out together shopping alooooone for at least one evening. Maybe we can get Mrs. Meurer or Joan to watch Alex." David glanced in the back seat. "He's asleep, thank God! He's been goin crazy today with you coming home and Christmas too, it's just got him wound tighter than a drum.
"Anyway," David continued, "we need to buy for Frank and Marcy, and we really oughta get a little something for Chris and Jason - and maybe something cute for Mike and Ted. What about your mom and dad?"
I groaned. "Can't I just send them gift certificates? Like for some store that isn't in Milwuakee. I don't wanna do anything that will bring them in to see us. I especially don't want my dad around Alex. I don't want Alex exposed to that hateful old bast…" I turned to make sure Alex was asleep, "… to that guy. Hey, I know… Fruit of the Month Club, it's a great gift and the name will drive him crazy."
David laughed. "You know, that's not bad."
As we were pulling into our driveway, a taupe colored Joe was jumping up and down in the diningroom window, turning his head occasionally as if looking for someone to alert.
Inside the house for the first sixty seconds, Joe was trying to make himself airborne, flinging himself into the air and emitting a canine whining bark. Amazingly, Alex didn't even stir in David's arms. I kissed a sleeping Alex goodnight before David carried him into his bed. In the meantime, I knelt down and talked to Joe, who seemed desperately to want to tell me something if only he could find the words. How frustrating it must be to know what you want to say, but be unable to say it. He finally settled down to a state of canine quivering as I spoke quietly to him and gently stroked his head and ears, the nails on his paws clicking impatiently on the tile.
David came back out of Alex's room and grabbed my garment bag. I pulled him to me and kissed him deeply, shoving my tongue as far into his mouth as I could get it. "Babe, I feel so grubby, I'm gonna take a bath, my back is a little sore too."
David kissed me again. "Go ahead, I'll bring you a drink."
I had just lowered myself into the hot bath when David walked into the bathroom carrying two small scotches on the rocks. Our bathroom is huge and the tub and shower are separate. The bathtub is really large, with those jet things in the side of it that shoot out water and bubbles if you want.
David set the drinks down on the side of the tub and began to take his clothes off. He pulled the sweatshirt and his tee shirt off over his head at the same time and dropped them down the laundry shute. He sat down on the edge of the platform that has the tub in it and took off his shoes and socks. He also tossed the socks into the laundry shute.
He took a sip of his drink and then smiled at me. "We're havin sex, right?"
I grinned at him. "You can't see cause of the bubbles, but I've already started."
David bent down and kissed me. "Well, don't get too far ahead. I've been saving myself." He pulled off his pants and underwear together and his hardon slapped up against his stomach. I took a sip of my drink and watched as David climbed into the tub and then sat down straddling my waist, trapping my cock between his butt and my stomach.
He lifted himself off of me for a moment. "Wet your hair. I'll give ya a shampoo."
I ducked the back of my head under the water and then David sat back down on my lap and started lathering my hair. I'm not sure that David realized it or not, but as he shampooed my hair he moved his butt back and forth over my cock.
There's something very erotic about having someone wash your hair, not that I really needed anything more than seeing David's butt to get me going, but feeling his knees against the sides of my thighs as he worked my hair into a lather really did it to me.
He lifted himself up again. "Okay, rinse." I ducked my head down again and rinsed the shampoo out.
When I wiped the water out of my eyes, David was sitting lower on my legs and slowly lathering up my cock, gently and slowly jerking me off. "I don't want you getting any ideas about getting off this way. I'd like to get fucked in the shower… that is, unless you've got your heart set on the bedroom."
I started to rub his legs and forearms. "Why the shower? I mean, yeah, that's fine."
David leaned forward and stretched his legs out behind himself so that he was lying on me, his head directly over my heart. "I was reading a story where the guy gets fucked in the shower. Actually, I wanna use that steam thing we've got. I want us both to be steamy and sweaty."
I whispered in his ear. "If you don't quit hunching me, I'm gonna shoot between us right here."
"Nope. We can't have that." David lifted himself up and pulled my cock so that it was pointing straight up then he lowered himself again, leaving my cock trapped between his thighs, pointing straight up with the top side of it pressed against his perineum.
I kissed the top of his head. "Oh right, that's an improvement! For God's sake, don't clench your ass, David!
He laughed and got up on his hands and knees. "You're so easy!"
"I'm fucking horny!"
David got quickly out of the tub and went over and turned the steam on in the shower. Then he came back and held out his hand. I took it and he pulled me up and over to the shower. Inside it was intensely tropical, the steam was heavy and David turned on the shower for a while to warm the floor. Then he lay down on the floor and pulled me down with him.
I wrapped him in my arms and kissed him deeply, caressing his back and shoulders. I finally broke the kiss and looked into his eyes. "I missed you. I know that I told you that already, but somehow this time it was worse than usual. Maybe cause I was so far away." David was lying between my legs with his head on my chest. The steam was softly hissing and the condensation was running down the tile sides of the shower and the glass door.
I tugged gently on his arms until David moved up and straddled my hips. I moved my dick into position underneath him and kissed him as he lowered himself onto it.
Later, after I rolled over onto my back gasping for air. "Steam and sex… heart attack."
David crawled over to me. "So, when ya gonna be ready to go again?"
My head was under the pillow to try and keep out the light. Why was it light? Then something was jumping on the bed. I reached out for David, Joe started licking my hand.
"Dad! Dad! You gotta get up."
I pulled the pillow off of my head and laid my head on it. "What time is it, Alex?"
"It's late, Dad! You got jetlag, that's how come you slept so late."
I sat up and leaned against the headboard. Joe was lying where David usually did and Alex was bouncing in the middle of the bed. "Where's David, Alex?"
"He's getting our coats, we gotta go to the store."
I looked at the clock, ten o'clock. I rubbed my eyes. "You guys shoulda woke me up."
Alex sat down straddling my waist. "You need your sleep, Dad."
David walked in. "Hey, you're up. We're goin to the store. You'll be okay?"
"Yeah, I'm good, just not used to sleeping this late."
David smiled. "All that flying… and steam. Come on, Alex, let's get goin.
As they were going into the garage I was walking to the shower.
When I answered the door, Frank was standing there dressed in a parka and carrying two department store bags full of wrapped presents. Behind him the snow that had started an hour before as a gentle fall had now become almost horizontal with the pick up of the wind.
"Frank! Come on in."
"Well, Marky, I see that you survived the Brits." Frank was unbundling himself, which turned out to be quite a job.
"Frank, did Marcy wrap you for shipment to the north pole or something?"
Frank looked at his galoshes. "The woman is nuts. But she's pretty and has a nice disposition." I helped Frank off with his boots and got him into the family room near the fireplace.
Frank stretched his legs out, put an unlit cigar in his mouth, and clasped his hands over his gut. "Did you notice, Marky, that you can get great buys on scotch at Heathrow?" He was looking around the room.
"So, Frank, what you're tryin to tell me is that you want some Black Label on the rocks?"
"You got it, kiddo. Nice tree. You do that?"
Frank was referring to our Christmas tree that I hadn't seen until the evening before. "Frank, I'm lucky I can tie my shoes. You think I could do a tree like that?" I poured Frank's drink and handed it to him. "No, that's David's doing, he wants things to be especially nice for Alex. They went to get more tinsel, should be back in a few minutes."
Frank held up his drink in salute. "Cheers" Then after a long sip of scotch. "Shetland was thrilled. I still can't believe that asshole called me at four in the morning. I mean just because he's used to getting up before the sun doesn't mean he should disturb normal people."
I sat on the sofa with Frank, but perpendicular to him with my legs crossed under me. Frank looked at me like I was hanging from the ceiling, so I asked, "You gonna tell me what Shetland wants and what you've probably already agreed to?"
"You know, Marky, you have a very suspicious nature. I'd be deeply offended if you weren't right." Then gesturing with his glass at the decorations in the room. "David really did a nice job with this room."
I smiled grimly at Frank. "I'm not even gonna bring up the deal that I have a feeling you struck with David."
"He wants you to go with him to the hill." Frank's tone became serious. "You don't seem to be aware of it, Mark, but you have a way with people." He smiled. "I must admit that this supposed quality of yours sometimes eludes me, but who am I to argue with the powers that be. Anyway, that, combined with your ability to explain some of these complicated systems makes you someone that Shetland feels can help him with the politicians and the DOD, and I think he's right.
"Remember, Shetland has been doing this for quite awhile and he's no dummy. He likes you, but that prick never did anything for anybody because he liked them. He needs you or someone like you.
"The whole nature of warfare is changing and that means, as you know, there's some educating to be done. It's not just a case of 'send more bullets'." He patted my knee. "Trust my judgement, Mark. People like you, and you explain things like a normal person. Those are qualities that are rarer than you may think."
He paused and then smiled at me. "As far as the David deal goes, my thinking was simply that if David's happy, you'll be happy; and for that matter, we both have to admit that he's right a hell of a lot more than he's wrong."
"Well," I scratched the back of my head, "I guess that I agree with you. I don't want him worried." I threw my head back and groaned. "When does Shetland want me in Washington?"
"Middle of January, Marky, you've got all the time in the world." He smiled and took an imaginary puff on his cigar. "I'll have to check the list, but I think you're booked into the Watergate… great restaurant there."
"Santa's coming tonight, right?" Alex looked seriously from David to me.
I touched his hair with my fingers. "Yep, sweetheart, he's coming tonight." I pulled his blanket up to his chin.
"So when I get up in the morning he will have come and left presents for everybody?"
David kissed Alex's forehead. "That's the way it works, sweetheart."
"And Joe gets stuff too, right?"
We both nodded, yes. "But you have to go to sleep or it isn't gonna happen."
He yawned. "Okay, but he won't scare me or anything?"
"Nope, Santa never scares little kids. You go to sleep now, Alex."
"He's right here, Alex, at the end of the bed. Joe needs to sleep too."
We both kissed Alex again. "Night, son."
I took David by the hand and walked with him to the family room. I lay down on the sofa and pulled him down with me, his back against my chest and his head on my right upper arm. The room was lit only by the Christmas tree and a large red candle on the coffee table. The snow would hit the sliding glass doors from one direction, form a little tornado on the patio, dissolve and then hit the doors from another direction. I pushed my left leg in between his legs.
"Mrs. Meurer bringing dinner tomorrow?" I kissed David lightly below the ear.
"Mmmm, she should be here about nine. Then she's going to her son's house." David put his left arm over my right and pulled it up against his chest.
"Nice, just lying here."
"You weren't mad about the hotel thing?"
I laughed. "No, I know how you are. Oh, I have to go to Washington next month."
"It'll be a good thing."
I started to ask David how he knew that, but decided against it. "Think he's asleep yet?"
David lifted his head and saw Joe standing by the kitchen door. "Yep, he's asleep."
"Then I guess we'd better play Santa." We went to the basement, got the presents and laid them beneath the tree.
As David was arranging the presents under the tree I was watching his butt, the way the muscles moved, how thin his waist was, and how it flaired upward to his shoulders.
When he was finished, I asked him. "You suppose that Santa ever has sex, David?"
David turned off the lights on the tree and then took my hand. "He does tonight."