by TA (Terry)
Frank was pacing the sitting room of our suite in Frankfurt; David was staring out the window at the brightening lights of the mid-evening city, his hands thrust in his pockets; I was sitting on the sofa; and Alex was lying half asleep, his head on my leg, staring at the television. I had been wondering why he seemed to be so interested in German television and then I remembered that he spoke German. Duh!
Frank was puffing on his unlit cigar. "How are you going to approach this, David?"
David shrugged. "I'm really not totally sure yet, Frank. I wanna see their reactions first."
Frank went over to David and waved his cigar. "I'm coming with you!"
David never turned from the window. "No, Frank. First of all, if they knew that you were in the city, it could raise the price of everything… too eager. Besides, I've got my own way of doing this. Emi's working on it already." He turned and smiled at Frank. "Just calm down. I know exactly what you want; and if they've got questions, Mark will be with me."
Frank waved his cigar at me. "How come he gets to go and I don't?"
David turned to Frank. "Frank, they've known all along that Mark was coming. He's my lover… they know that and they're expecting him. The fact that he's affiliated with the company is," David smiled, "a happy coincidence."
David walked over, sat on the sofa and rubbed Alex's back. "Frank, I really need you to be at the hotel in case there's a decision to be made that only you can make."
Now, it was Frank's turn to stare out the window, which he did for several minutes, then he shook his head slowly and said, "They're gonna think this was some kinda accident. You're here to take a look at a company your investors own a lot of and a major officer of our company just happens to be your boyfriend."
David spoke from the sofa. "And as we speak, Emi is planting the idea in their heads that this might be the perfect moment, the perfect time to initiate a deal. Emi is very good at this."
"You know what I want, David?"
"You want to be out of the armaments business, Frank." David looked at me. "I want you to be out of it too." I wondered if that was what I really wanted.
Frank turned from the window. "How good is Emi?"
"Well, Frank, for one thing, Emi is very well educated, he holds two doctorates… one in economics. As you know, that means something over here. And Emi is from a good family, also something that's important over here. The thing that really throws people though are his looks. It's hard for some people to believe that anyone who looks that good can also be smart, but Frank, I can promise you that Emi is very smart, and what's more, he knows how things work."
Frank stuck his unlit cigar in his mouth. "Okay, David, I'll sit in the hotel."
It occurred to me that we had flown thousands of miles on a private jet, stayed in the very best hotels, and eaten the very best food, all because my lover David was arranging a deal that probably only a handful of people could; yet in his spare time he made love to me and took care of Alex and I in every conceivable way. There was no way that I deserved him, no way that I was worthy of the love and attention that he lavished on me. And yet… how could it ever be any different? We were only a few feet from each other and I could feel the electrical connection, the completion of a pair.
Doctor Metz, the Managing Director of Zander Gruppe, was a tall man with a full head of formerly blonde hair and a square, solid face. He was dressed in a navy blue suit with a relatively bold stripe. David and I were dressed a bit more casually, sports coats and slacks. This was after all, supposed to be a casual meeting engineered by someone who represented a fairly substantial block of Zander Gruppe stock and who happened to be in Europe on vacation. Emi was also there and had been deep in a discussion with Doctor Metz, until our arrival interrupted them.
Emi, with more grace than anyone has a right to be in command of, made the introductions and guided us to a small conference table at the other end of the office.
Doctor Metz spoke. "And so, David, we have spoken many, many times on the telephone… and finally we meet. You and Mr. Chauvet are enjoying your holiday?" He nodded towards me and smiled.
David nodded and smiled. "Immensely."
Doctor Metz sat back in his chair. "I have heard many good things about you, Mr. Chauvet. We have, I think, a mutual acquaintance. You have worked with Mr. Montgomery Block?"
I wondered how they knew each other, but then in a way they were the same mirror images, one speaking English and the other German. But I was still amazed at the dropping of Monty's name and it made me wonder what else we didn't know.
"Ahhhh… yes, yes I have. Have you known Monty long?"
"Oh yes, for many years. When you trade around the world there are certain people that it is important to know, people in a position to… ease the way. In Washington, Monty is one of those people."
Emi leaned forward. "Carl, I have spoken to David and Mark about some of the things you would like to accomplish with regard to… well, shall we say, expanding your horizons." Emi was the most exotically handsome man I have ever seen. He looked like one of those fashion model types… but real; and if you didn't hear him speak you would never guess him to be either German as his father is or Spanish like his mother. His accent was German, but there were so many other speech patterns thrown in that what sounded very German one moment sounded vaguely French or Italian the next.
Doctor Metz turned to David. "David, you know us well; and you know that while we have enjoyed great success there are certain markets that have… eluded us. After speaking with Emi, I have come to the conclusion that we are faced with a unique opportunity… if some conditions can be met.
David and I walked into the bar of the hotel where Frank immediately spotted us and started waving us over to his table.
"You guys wanna a drink?"
He didn't wait for an answer, but spoke in rapid-fire German to the waiter, who turned immediately on his heel and headed out to get whatever Frank had just ordered for us.
"You didn't call!" Frank drained the last of his drink. "Is that good or bad?"
David leaned back and shoved his hands in his pockets. "Mmmmm, both I think… gonna depend on your point of view."
Frank said. "David, you know my fucking point of view. Do I think it's good?"
Frank looked at me. "Mark?"
"Frank, the deal is still very… soft, but yeah, you'll think it's good, if we can work out the details."
David leaned forward and put his arms on the table. "Basically, Frank, they've agreed to everything in principle. There's about a zillion things still to work out, but they're desperate to get into this business. However, Metz is no idiot, he realizes that if he's gonna sell armaments to the U.S., he's gotta have the front of the business peopled with Americans. When you boil this all down, he wants you to stay involved, at least as a board member, a name he can point to, and he wants Mark to be the main contact with Washington. Your buddy Monty told Metz how fond he is of Mark. Did you know they knew each other?"
The waiter brought three double Scotches.
Frank took a big swig of his drink. "Makes sense that he'd know Monty, he's the kinda guy you'd need to know. Fuck! I wanted out of this business."
"You would be out, Frank, at least for all intents and purposes. Just attend a couple of board meetings a year and cash the checks."
Frank looked from me to David. "So, why aren't we happy?"
"Cause Mark wanted out too, but now he not only won't be out, he'll be even more in."
Now it was my turn to sit forward. "David… I'm not sure that I mind - I mean, I don't wanna be running to Washington every week like before, because that takes me away from you and Alex more than I can stand; but I don't mind the business." He started to raise his hand, but I put mine over it. "I like the military. I like bein around guys like Shetland. I speak the language, it's something that I understand."
I didn't like the thought that I wouldn't be working for Frank. He'd been my mentor for a long time, but in a way, if he was still on the board, we'd still be working together.
David sat back, a look of disappointment washing over his face, but then he sat forward again quickly. "Well, if you're gonna stay and peddle that shit, then you're gonna have the best fuckin contract they've ever given anyone!"
"I'm gonna have a contract?" I smiled. "Frank never gave me a contract." Frank rolled his eyes.
David looked at me. "I wanna structure this so that you've got a maximum amount of freedom." David rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands, then dropped his hands quickly and turned to Frank.
"Frank, is there any reason that Mark can't start his own rep firm?" David sat up straighter, warming to the idea. "That way, he could even continue to represent what will be the industrial tool business that will remain with your company. Wait, maybe not a repping company, but just consultants. Whadya think, Frank?"
"No reason not, David." Frank sat up and looked around. "What the fuck do we gotta do to get another scotch?"
"Well," Frank said, "Monty and Shetland would be no problem. They wanna keep dealing with Mark. They won't give a fuck if he's an employee or a consultant. But you're right, that board has gotta be loaded with Americans. They're gonna check the company out six ways to Sunday and they're gonna have to be satisfied. But if this guy Metz knows Monty and, more importantly, if Monty trusts him, that's gonna count for a lot."
David laughed and turned to me sliding his foot next to mine as he did it. "Wanna be self-employed?"
Frank couldn't see it, but I wrapped my lower leg around David's "Does it pay well?"
"Better than you could fuckin believe!"
David called Jamie in for a meeting, then had him fly to Franfurt to work with Emi on the deal. He paces when this sort of thing is happening back and forth, hands thrust in pockets, cell phone nearby. Behind the scenes, lawyers, clerks, investment bankers, and tons of executive talent were working eighteen hour days to make things happen. This would all make me a nervous wreck, but it seems to have the opposite affect on David, for David all this activity seems to have a soothing effect. He totally loves it. In his way, he was an artist weaving together many different threads into a new fabric.
"Chauvet & Associates, how does that sound?"
"I have associates?"
"You will… but the name, it's okay?"
"Sounds great. Come and sit on my lap and I'll make you an associate."
"I'm lonely." I did my best to come up with a crooked smile. The kind he can't resist.
"Oh! Oh fuck, I'm sorry, Mark." David walked over and straddled my lap facing me. "Am I being too intense?" He kissed me.
I smiled. "Nope, I just wanted ya to sit on my lap." My arms were wrapped around him and the warmth of his skin was radiating through the fabric of his shirt, warming my hands.
David kissed me again and then laid his head on my shoulder. "There's so fucking much to do. We gotta finish structuring this deal. We gotta get you some office space and do all the shit involved in starting a new business. For one thing, you're gonna need offices in Washington and Milwaukee and people to staff em. You got any ideas for somebody to head the Washington office?" David lifted his head and stared into my eyes. "And don't say you!"
I turned my head and kissed the side of David's neck. "You probably think that I've just been sittin around lookin handsome, but actually I've pretty much got figured out who I want." I moved my hands down and cupped his butt. "I think I can get Ted Olson for Washington. You met him, didn't you?"
"I don't think so." David looked at me and tilted his head. "We can't fuck, Alex is due back any second."
"Who said anything about fucking?"
David buried his face in my neck. "When you do what you're doin now, you're thinking about fucking."
I started sucking lightly on David's earlobe and whispered in his ear. "Such a handsome young guy with such a dirty mind."
"Mark! You're startin something we can't finish, at least not right now."
I wrapped my arms around David's back again. "I know, hun. And by the way, I called the attorneys and they're working up the incorporation papers; and I talked to Frank about office space, he said I can have as much of the seventh floor as I want. Did you know Marcy's family owns that building? That's a freakin twenty story building!"
"I didn't know, but it doesn't surprise me. I suspect there's a lot she owns that we don't know about." David interlaced his fingers behind my neck. "You know, you can't just throw a few desks and chairs into these offices, especially the Washington office, they've got to be done by a designer. They gotta look like something."
"Ugh! How much is that gonna cost?"
"Don't worry about it, they're gonna pay for it, Frank and Zander. I already told Jamie that I want it in the deal. It's gonna be part of your contract. If you don't care one way or the other, I'll have my office find a designer to do the offices. They probably should have a common theme."
"Theme? I gotta have a theme?" I kissed David lightly. "You mad about my staying involved with that stuff?"
"Ohhhh… no, not really. I know how you feel about the military, and as long as you're gonna be home more, that's all that I really care about."
We heard the front door of the suite open and went to greet Alex. It really was a kind of an absurd sight, this little four year old blonde boy flanked by two really huge guys.
I was sitting on the bed pulling on my socks. David and I were meeting Frank for dinner tonight and while it probably wasn't necessary for me to be too well dressed, I didn't think that dress slacks and a sweater was going overboard.
Alex came bounding up onto the bed, got behind me and wrapped his arms around my neck, pulling be backwards.
"I'm tough, Dad! Bet I'm almost as tough as you!"
I let myself be pulled backward until I was lying flat on my back. Alex climbed onto my chest and sat there like he was riding a horse. He was leaning slightly forward, his hands pinning my shoulders to the bed.
I looked up at him. "Did ya have a good time today at the zoo? Get to see all the animals?"
Alex nodded vigorously. "Yep we did, Dad… but Michael doesn't like snakes, so we didn't get to see 'em all. He says you seen one snake you seen 'em all, but I think he just doesn't like lookin at 'em. But they didn't scare me, cept maybe that really big one that squeezes things. Michael says they only squeeze other animals, but I think I'd be afraid that he might think I was an animal and squeeze me. You think they'd do that to a little boy, Dad?"
"Sweetheart, I think they'd take one look at how scrawny you are and figure you wouldn't even make a decent lunch."
Alex sat up straight and said. "Dad, I'm not scrawny." He lifted his arm and to show me his muscle. "See, Dad, I'm getting bigger and stronger all the time."
I closed the fingers of my right hand lightly over his upper arm. "Wow, Alex! You really are gettin big." I smiled up at him and then reached up and touched his hair. Alex's hair is a very pale blonde and it takes on an ethereal quality that seems to draw everyone to it. The poor kid has his hair ruffled like ten times a day.
God, I didn't want him to get big! I mean I did, but I didn't. Sure I wanted him to grow up, get married and have a wonderful life, but wow, how I would mourn the loss of these moments.
Alex folded his hands on my chest and laid his head on them. "Dad, do you think we'll be goin home soon?"
I lightly rubbed his back. "Not the coolest vacation for a kid, is it?"
Alex was mumbling into my chest. "It's all the business junk, Dad. It's like we can't have any fun cause of all the work stuff you guys are doin."
Frank was wearing a pale tan and light caramel colored plaid sport coat, a navy Polo shirt and light brown slacks. He plopped down into the chair opposite David and to my right. He looked aggravated.
"Marcy is pissed that we're hanging around Germany this long. I promised her that we'd leave for France tomorrow. It's not like I'm meeting with Zander myself anyway, so if you need info just call me."
David said. "That's fine, Frank. We've pretty much reached the point where the lawyers will take over anyway." Frank was waving for the waiter and ordering his scotch while the guy was still eight feet away.
I smiled at David. "Alex is bored too. And I think he's missing Joe."
"Shit, you guys are lucky. I'm gonna be stuck with Marcy's sister and that asshole husband of hers for two weeks." Frank looked down at his drink, swirled the ice with his finger, then looked up at David. "Unless of course, you absolutely have to have me come back early." He grinned evilly. "Like if something needs to be signed or something? Use your fucking imagination!"
David reached down to his briefcase lying against his chair and pulled out a folder containing the highlights of the deal we were doing.
"Frank, I know that you're planning a conference call with your other board members. This will give you an outline of the deal as it exists now. Naturally, all of it depends on your approval and theirs. The things that I've highlighted in red are the things that Zander has to have and the things in blue are the things that, if I were you, I wouldn't back down on. Basically, for $1.4 billion you're selling Zander a forty percent interest in the new company that will be created to hold all of the armaments manufacturing and R&D assets that your company owns. The agreement will also give them the right to buy another eleven percent within five years. I've added the proviso and I think they'll accept it, that if they want to buy that eleven percent you can force them to buy all of your remaining interest or any portion of it that you choose above the eleven percent. That allows you to get totally out if you want to at that time. The agreement also makes your company the sole representative for their metal working tools in the U.S. for a period of seven years with a renewal clause based on performance. Anyway, it's all in there. Will the board be a problem?"
Frank took a hefty sip of his drink. "Fuck no! I've already approached them about it, they'll go along." Frank picked his unlit cigar up from the ashtray. "They got the money?"
"Yeah, no problem, they're loaded and Jamie has lined up about $400 million in private money. They're gonna be fine." David glanced quickly at me and smiled. "Mark says the seventh floor is available?"
Frank smiled. "Twenty-two thousand five hundred square feet of it. The old tenant bought their own building out in the burbs." Frank took the cigar out of his mouth and stared at me. "Mark can't possibly need it all."
I started to say no, but David interrupted me. "We'll take it, all of it."
I almost choked on my vodka and tonic. "David!"
Frank tilted his head and smiled. "Can I get that in writing?"
David laughed. "I'm outta space. When I rented that little building my guys are in I never dreamt that we'd get this big." He looked at me. "You mind if I split it with ya?"
My very first thought was that we'd be able find some moment during the work day when we could go into my office, lock the door and fuck. I know, I know, but it was my first thought. "That'd be great David, but what about Alex?"
"I'll keep my office at home. I like working at home, but the guys have gotta have more room and having the offices downtown will look better."
Frank puffed on his unlit cigar. "I don't give a damn how you do it as long as I get the check every month."
Turning to me, Frank said. "Mark, I want you to represent us to the military manufacturers with this new product line. I know that we've got our own reps, but you're gonna be in a much stronger position to sell that particular group."
"Fine with me, Frank, but by the same token, why me?" The side of David's shoe touched mine and I thought of the look on his face that morning when I stepped behind him while he was shaving and gently pulled his towel off and wrapped my arms around his waist as my cock nestled in the warmth between his butt cheeks.
Frank smiled. "Your relationship with Shetland and Monty hasn't gone unnoticed. I don't think you'll have any trouble selling this stuff, and we'll handle the detail crap from our office along with maintenance." Frank paused for a moment and then smiled broadly. "And we still get to have lunch." Out of the corner of my eye I could see the side of David's face as he looked at Frank, his long black eyelashes and that spot just under his jaw that I loved to kiss. Just behind David's ear at the base of his neck his hair ends and feathers out against his much lighter skin. In one part of my mind I could feel those strands of hair and the warmth of his skin as I rubbed that spot with my thumb.
David and I tossed a wave to Frank as we stepped into the elevator to take us to our floor. As soon as we stepped in, a party of six or eight also wanted to get on and we were forced to the back of the elevator.
David was standing to my left and slightly forward of me, but got pushed all the way back; when I felt his hip brush my hand, I reached behind him and cupped his ass while I continued to stare straight ahead.
David turned his head slightly and frowned at me, but when the guy in front of me happened to turn a bit and saw him, he turned it into a smile and friendly nod. I squeezed his ass harder and pressed inward with my middle finger making David blush.
Eventually, we got to our floor and got off, David turned and shook his head slowly. "Like I've said before… just an oversexed little boy."
I grinned at him and then made a grab for him. He tried to dodge away, but I caught him and pressed him laughing up against the wall of the corridor. He was squirming and trying to get away, he's always nervous about doing anything like this in public, but I held him and kissed him.
I kissed the end of his nose. "I thought you liked me being oversexed?"
David tried to look up and down the hallway, but I held his head in my hands so he could only move his eyes.
He was pushing on my chest, but it didn't do him any good. "We're gonna get caught! Some lady with curlers in her hair, wearing a flannel bathrobe is gonna stick her head out and see us necking in the hallway and she's gonna freak!"
"Love me?" My voice was somewhere between teasing and serious.
David glared at me and then smiled. "You know I fucking love you!" He was so warm and alive in my arms.
"I wanna go home! I want us to take our little boy and go home." I pressed my fingers to his lips so that he wouldn't speak. "You can do all of this from home, and we've got a shit load of things to do there." David's expression changed, relaxed actually.
David stared up into my eyes. "What about Italy?"
"Buy it. Let the neighbors harvest the olives and have your guy get someone to fix up the farmhouse. We can rent it out… or not, it doesn't matter, the money doesn't matter, you matter and Alex matters, the rest is noise." I touched my forehead to his and whispered. "If you only knew what you've done to me, what you've become to me." I lifted my head. "I wanna be home. You, me, and Alex in our home."