Castle Roland

Shifting Sands

by Jack Scribe, of Honored Memory


Chapter 6

Published: 8 Apr 14

The thought of his on-the-house Saturday afternoon 'appointment' and 'test' amused Spence. He drove from his apartment - miraculously pulled together over the previous few days by Kevin and him - to the Mandalay Bay. Brad had referred to the date as a lab practical exam: in this case, a very loyal and prized client was to be entertained by Spence on a complimentary basis. The quid pro quo was that the client would offer feedback about the experience to Brad - it would be a pass or fail situation, nothing in between. 'Another first for me,' he thought. However, there was no doubt in his mind but that he'd succeed.

He'd had fun the previous day, shopping with Brad to upgrade his wardrobe for role-playing images, and felt appropriately 'prepped out' for his debut. The client - referred to as Mr. Blandings - was a 40-ish married man from L.A. He enjoyed articulate college guys who knew how to 'tickle' his fancy. Spence felt very comfortable in his new RL Polo ensemble as the heels of his Cole Hahn slip-ons clicked on the endless acres of marble flooring in the casino. He entered the hotel portion of the gigantic resort and confidently strolled over to the elevator bank. He didn't have to be told that projecting confidence - along with looking compatible with the surroundings - were requisites for successfully blending in. 'It worked for me in Seattle,' he thought, 'but this place makes the downtown Four Seasons back home seem like a quaint bed and breakfast.'

After stepping into the express elevator, Spence inserted the key card he'd been given into a slot marked "PH" and off he went on his 'excellent adventure'. 'Although I doubt that Keanu's character, Ted, had this in mind when he and that Bill dude looked for the time machine,' he thought as the cab whished rapidly on its ascent. The elevator slowed as the "PH" indicator light flashed on and the doors parted to reveal a serene, plush foyer. It wasn't difficult to locate Penthouse One - there were only four doors generously spaced along the hallway. He took a deep breath, steadied himself and knocked twice on the door as he looked at his wristwatch. It was 2:58 p.m.

"Coming," a muffled voice said from behind the door. Moments later, the heavy-paneled door opened and a smiling tanned man, several inches shorter than Spence, appeared. He was wearing only a plush terry robe and aviator sunglasses. "My, my, this promises to be an interesting afternoon."

"Mr. Blandings?" Spence asked without missing a beat. He did a fast visual inventory and liked what he saw. The man appeared years younger than 40 and his head of black hair casually fell about his chiseled face. 'What a hunk,' he decided as he returned the smile, 'and he looks very familiar, even with the sunglasses.'

"Please call me Jim." He moved aside and extended a sweeping hand of welcome. "You're Spence?"

"At your service." Spence winked and entered the foyer of the suite. The door closed and he immediately felt Jim's hands on his waist from behind. When Jim gently kissed him on his neck, Spence let out a sigh and turned around. "I think 'interesting' is an understatement." He cranked up the smile and licked his lips.

The signal was not missed: Jim moved in, took off his sunglasses, and the two men locked lips.

In the middle of Jim's tongue assault, Spence realized he recognized Jim Blandings. In fact, he had seen Jim's latest movie only a month earlier. Mr. Blandings was actually Stone Calder - one of Hollywood's biggest stars for the past 20 years. 'So what I've heard about Stone is true…this stud's one of us.' A vision of a younger Calder, in the role of that hotshot pilot, flashed through Spence's mind. 'If he feels the need…for speed, I'll be happy to oblige.'

"Come into the living room and get comfortable," the man, he now thought of as Stone, said. "Really comfortable."

With Stone's right palm firmly planted on Spence's left glute, they walked into a stylized room that could have been at home on the pages of Architectural Digest. The floor-to-ceiling windows were perfect for the high-perched vista of the Strip.

"How comfortable…Jim?" Spence asked coyly. He saw another terry robe draped over the sofa and knew what was expected. 'The idea of stripping and drilling this star's ass is making me hot,' he thought as he turned to face the movie star. 'And maybe a flip-flop for a finale?' He decided to play dumb and not acknowledge Stone Calder's fame unless he was given permission. 'Might be part of the test.'

"Let me help you with the shirt and we'll go from there." Stone stepped closer and jerked the polo shirt loose from Spence's khakis. As he slowly slid the shirt up Spence's torso - with Spence raising his arms to help - Stone's robe fell open.

Spence looked down at Stone's rather meager dick, surrounded by well-trimmed pubic topiary, and hoped that this moviegoers' heartthrob was a 'grower'. He chuckled to himself as his shirt passed over his head. The thought of Stone's first major movie - a young Stone dancing in a pair of not-so-tighty whities - turned on Spence even more. 'No wonder there wasn't much of a bulge in that rock 'n' roll dance scene.'

While Stone carefully laid the polo on the back of the sofa, Spence suggestively unzipped his fly. 'This dude's not the only actor in the room.' Erotic stripping for clients was a specialty he'd honed in Seattle.

"You do the rest." Stone sat down on the sofa and spread his legs. "I'm going to enjoy this." He casually massaged the head of his awakening penis.

"There's not much left to do," Spence replied. He toed off his shoes and unbuckled his belt.

"Just take it nice and easy."

Stone ran his tongue over his upper lip and squeezed his right nipple as his cock quickly shed its remaining flaccidity. It was rising to the occasion - however modest in length, the girth was impressive and the reddish-purple glans had a deliciously dangerous flare.

Once the waist button was released, Spence wiggled his hips and lowered his pants. He stepped out of the puddled khakis, picked them up and neatly placed them next to his shirt. 'No need to look like a wrinkled whore on the hoof when I leave,' Spence thought as he hooked his thumbs over the waistband of his AussieBum briefs. He raised one eyebrow in a suggestive 'ya-want-it-now' expression and slowly pulled them off. With a wink, he tossed the briefs - purposely worn since the previous day - at Stone.

Not missing a beat, Stone brought the crotch to his nose and deeply inhaled.

"How's the seasoning? Need a little salt?" Spence pulled off his socks and casually tossed them over near his shoes. He smiled and started stroking himself.

"A pinch of salt and a whole lot of cream," Stone replied with a guttural growl. "Come closer. I want to inspect your impressive recipe." He brought his hand and gently tugged at Spence's balls. "Hmmm, Mario didn't lead me astray about the portion size."

They continued to toss out suggestive culinary metaphors - headcheese, beefsteak, earthy bouquet - for the next several moments as each explored the other. Spence cracked up when Stone proclaimed that his precum was akin to a 'musky béchamel.' Later, as the two sated men lay next to each other on the king size bed, Spence knew he had passed his 'oral' examination and prostate-punctuated, 'lengthy' dissertation when Stone - still operating under the guise of 'Jim' - invited him to stay for an early dinner in the suite's dining room.

By the time they had showered, ejaculated again and re-robed, dinner was waiting. An older man, of some sort of Euro-Asian extraction who Stone called Kato, apparently named after the Green Hornet's loyal sidekick and companion, was quietly waiting for them to be seated at the window-side table. The early evening backdrop of Las Vegas' neon brilliance produced one of those postcard panoramas as Kato served the first course: a puff pastry-domed bowl of portobello mushroom soup.

Over the rest of dinner - featuring a simple but flawless roasted tenderloin of beef and a substantial 1992 Diamond Creek Napa cabernet sauvignon - Stone shared his memories of growing up in Pennsylvania. Spence listened avidly until he was invited to reveal his earlier life in Seattle. Without mentioning his escorting experience, Spence was forthcoming about everything else…including his role as guardian to brother Kevin.

Two large balloon glasses of cognac just had been served when Stone, after swirling the amber nectar and inhaling the heady fumes, said, "You're a treasure, you know." It wasn't a question. "I trusted that Mario wouldn't disappoint me with a new man and that trust was not misplaced."

"Thank you, Jim. Then I assume that you're pleased with our meeting?" Like a shameless ego pig, Spence was anxious to hear the celebrity's praise. He was tempted to ask his 'lab professor' if he'd aced the exam, but bit his tongue.

"First, let's knock off the 'Jim' crap," Stone replied with a warm smile. "I'm sure you weren't fooled for more than 20 seconds when we met."

"Guilty as charged."

"But the fact that you played along told me a lot about your integrity. So, if it's okay with you, please call me Stone and we'll keep this meeting just between the two of us."

"Stone, the pleasure's all mine." Spence was proud that a level of trust had been reached and he was interested in knowing the man more deeply…but only as a famous client. He was aware that the actor's need to protect his image was first and foremost…always. That included continually burnishing the hetero image, highlighting a happy wife and young daughter…not to mention the kids from his first marriage. 'I only hope that he doesn't try to recruit me to sample his Hollywood religion.'

"I look forward to getting together again, either here or in L.A., very soon." Stone leaned in and gently kissed Spence.

Cray had been able to avoid Michael for the remainder of the week by making evasive maneuvers: 'LIFO' in classes they shared, off-campus lunches with other classmates who would be attending UNLV in the fall and hanging with his buds. It helped that Michael was playing the redefined role of their relationship with aplomb by pulling a daily disappearing act that rivaled David Copperfield's show at the MGM Grand.

When graduation day arrived, Cray's confidence was on the rebound. Although there was no way the two could avoid each other in this cap and gown grouping, his feeling of being 'fucked over' was on the mend. In fact, at one point in this pre-ceremony frenzy when the group was cutting up to ease the nervousness of their orchestrated departure, Cray grabbed Michael's hand and wished him well in 'whatever.' The response was a sheepish smile, firm hand squeeze and a quiet, 'same here.'

The healing process continued when Cray mingled amongst his fellow, newly-minted Green Valley graduates after the ceremonies. Parents proudly took pictures of various groupings and he found himself posing with several of his good friends. There was even a moment of cordiality when Michael and his dad, Bud Turner, joined Cray's family. Bob and Drew had put business demands aside to be present for the ceremonies and everyone fell into routine small talk for a few minutes. The boys played the game well - however shaded in arranged camaraderie by the fathers - and both teens appeared relieved when they separated to leave the Thomas and Mack Center.

Bob and Drew hosted a small luncheon at their home to celebrate Cray's graduation. The guests for this milestone occasion included the three men who were key to Cray's survival when he first arrived in Las Vegas - Mario Cirillo, Spike Jensen and Mr. Ed - the adult 'rock of Gibraltar' from those early days. Cray was delighted that the major domo of Mario's home had brought along his famous trifle dessert, which he proudly pronounced as the "queen of puddings".

Over lunch and a few glasses of wine, each man shared memories of Cray's arrival on the scene and little anecdotes of his first months in Las Vegas. Noticeably missing from the conversation were the reasons why Cray had left his home in Utah, Mario's nefarious business activities and Spike's former occupation. Cray kept his emotions in check as he listened to the stories concerning humorous aspects of his early Vegas adventures. By the time the trifle was devoured and the last tale told, their friendship had been reinforced 'in spades'. These men were the catalysts and grounding for Cray's successful rebirth - a second chance that was denied to many abused youths.

However, another anchor was missing - Michael. That evening's party would be the big test in accepting a complete absolution of any relationship without regrets.

Cray was a little relieved when he arrived at Benny's house and didn't see Michael's truck. While the earlier polite, forced moments between Michael and him had been brief and manageable in nature, this party would last for several hours. He walked around to the patio in the rear of the Boren McMansion and confirmed that Michael was absent by scanning the crowd - 30 or so of his classmates, typically hanging with their clique groups. 'I'm ready to deal with it when he arrives and move on…like Spike suggested,' Cray thought as he took a second breath of resolve. And any lingering misgivings of going to Benny's party were quickly dissolved when he got swept up in the party atmosphere.

He spotted Bob mingling with the parent chaperones, strategically located in a remote corner of the outdoor lounge by the beehive fireplace. It was a little humorous to see his hunky mentor and co-guardian with the 'real adults', most who looked like they could be Bob's parents. Cray waved when they made eye contact and he wished Drew could have come as well. However, an unexpected VIP 'whale' arrival at the Barcelona had caused his other mentoring best friend to miss the party. Cray made his way over to the other classmates and waded in for a series of 'hi's', backslaps and congratulatory hugs.

The balmy early June was ideal for the casual apparel that both the guys and gals preferred - especially after a graduation day with caps and gowns - and his classmates were wearing the best from their wardrobes. Cray was no exception - he decided to wear his red Dry-FIT Nike pullover tee that accentuated his ridged six-pack, a crotch-hugging pair of American Eagle cargo shorts and flip-flops. 'Let the girls dig it,' he decided with a tongue-in-cheek, mental ego stroke, 'as well as the boys.' He had learned that even the straightest of his male classmates dressed for the approval and acceptance of guys they admired, and Cray wasn't embarrassed to join the rest of the 'strutting peacocks' by the pool. He also admitted to himself that he wanted to look sharp for Michael. 'So he remembers what he's missing.'

He joked with a few of the guys he knew only from school and blatantly flirted - just to get back into practice - with one of the star swimmers who Cray had been told was definitely swinging in the Land of Oz with a teammate. However, the aquatic athlete was so used to adulation that he accepted Cray's comments only as praise from a fan. After he touched base with the committed couples and single women, he noticed Tim and Benny, talking next to the large grill. They beckoned Cray to join them with large, exaggerated, scooping arm motions. He replied with a thumbs-up sign and strolled over to the cooking area.

"Hey, dude," Benny said as he raised his hand and made a fist. "How they hangin'?"

"Loose." Cray bumped fists with Benny and Tim. "Whazzup, guys?" He smiled as he noticed that, per usual, Tim was marching to his own sartorial tune - red Hurley boardshorts, a vintage Pink Floyd shirt and Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers. Benny, however, was wearing one of his tight, sleeveless muscle-tees and white tennis shorts that molded his bubble-butt. Cray recalled Benny had called his posterior 'bodacious buns' one time when the guys were ragging on each other in the locker room. 'Something the chicks really dig,' was Benny's comment at the time as he proudly patted his jockstrap-framed butt. Cray didn't disagree and wondered if his friend tailored all of his pants to achieve that effect.

"I'm gettin' ready to start the grill," Benny replied. "However, Dad's the chef tonight."

"One less thing that you have the chance of screwing up," Tim said with a laugh. He jumped back to avoid a good-natured swat from Benny and threw up his hands in defeat. "Just joking."

"Bite me," Benny said to Tim and stuck out his tongue. He looked at Cray and continued, "Everyone's here except you-know-who."

"He's not my responsibility any more." Cray shrugged and looked around. "But Michael's usually on time, so I'm sure he'll show up." Part of him was a little worried because Michael could be reckless in driving if he was running late. 'Maybe he drove Mr. Turner to work,' Cray decided, 'so he could use the truck.' In their relationship, Cray's trusty Ford Focus had usually been their joint transportation.

The guys continued to joke and gossip while Benny lit the charcoal briquettes and expertly stirred them around until they were uniformly glowing. When Mr. Boren arrived at the grill, Tim and Cray made the requisite polite comments younger men say to adults and all exclaimed their excitement over officially being college guys in a few months. Benny would also be attending UNLV and Cray looked forward to continuing their friendship.

The D.J. arrived, as they could all tell when he blasted out a fanfare and followed it with hearty congrats and the sound of Kayne West singing Heartless. 'What a difference a few years make,' Cray thought as his classmates eagerly coupled up and started dancing. Two years earlier, the girls were frantic to get the guys away from their defensive positions on the opposite side of the gym at the homecoming dance.

"Fellas, I'm going to borrow my son to haul food out from the kitchen," Mr. Boren said.

"You need any help, Sir?" Tim asked.

"No problem. Just have a good time and work up an appetite." Mr. Boren waved and strolled back to the house with Benny.

When the vintage _Let the Good Times Roll _by Sha Na Na started playing, Cray turned to Tim and asked, "Do you mind if I dance with Brenda?" He had noticed Tim was not making any effort to be near his girlfriend.

"Actually, old boy, that would take a little pressure off me."

Cray frowned and tilted his head.

"After we had that talk about Michael - and Brenda going off to a different school than me - I decided it was time to ease myself away from a relationship that is pretty near finished because of geography. I mean, having a steady girl has its benefits, but…"

"Or steady guy," Cray replied with a nod. Michael still hadn't shown up and he now wondered if his 'former steady' had chickened out. 'Is he getting it on with Randy,' he thought, 'and rubbing my nose in it.' That idea stiffened his resolve to find new pastures. 'Maybe I should start looking…even before I start school at UNLV.'

"Go for it. Brenda loves to shake her bootie and she's a good dancer."

"Done." Cray walked over to Brenda, did a few rock moves with his body and pointed his finger at her, then him, and finally at the dance floor.

And he was 'off to the races'. Cray loved to dance at parties and none of his buddies minded if Cray 'worked it out' with their girlfriends - since there was no sexual threat. It also became a mutual aid society in that some of the jocks would rather talk sports with the guys than boogie at a party. Seven songs and seven dance partners later, he decided to take a pass as the D.J. put on Beyoncé and Jay-Z's _Crazy In Love. _He noticed the smoke was thick over by the grill and some were lining up for food. He was about to join the crowd at the grill when he heard a loud, familiar voice. 'Oh-oh,' Cray thought as he turned around, 'he's heeeeeeeeeere.' He recognized Michael's tee shirt as the one he'd worn under his gown that morning. Cutoffs and flip-flops completed the ensemble.

"Hey, fellow cellmates…we're out of that friggin' place," Michael yelled to no one in particular.

'And I think he's completely shitfaced.' Cray moved back into a shadow and watched Michael walk unsteadily to the first group of classmates. There was a general aura of uncomfortableness and manufactured friendliness as Michael spoke to them.

"What beer keg did he fall into?" Tim asked as he joined Cray.

"Beats me," Cray replied with a shake of his head. "This is very odd and not like my…um, Michael." He noticed that Michael's hair was mussed and the tee had a few food stains on the front.

"We better rescue him before the 'rents have a conniption fit."

"Yeah, I 'spose." Cray was reluctant to get involved but several of the guys were giving him a 'this-asshole's-your-responsibility' look.

Tim and Cray started toward Michael when he saw them.

"Bro…we made it." Michael broke away and wobbled in uncertain steps.

"Oh, fuck," Tim said, "I think…"

There was a splash as Michael, missing his footing along the pool, fell in. The music stopped and a hush descended around the patio. Further away, the parents were watching with curiosity.

Cray became alarmed when Michael didn't resurface. He pulled out his wallet, gave it and his new watch to Tim, kicked off his flip-flops and mumbled to himself, "That crazy fuck," before jumping in.

Fortunately, there was only five feet of water in that portion of the pool and Cray was able to easily lift Michael to the surface by hooking his thumbs under Michael's armpits. Michael mixed a few coughs with slobber and a goofy grin as Cray dragged him to the shallow end. When he got to the submerged stairway, two friends - one being the swimming team star - waded in to help lift the dead weight.

Michael snickered with a guttural groan and offered no resistance as he was laid on the poolside deck. He started singing _A Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall, _but didn't make it to ninety-nine. He was out. Cold. For the count.

It became clear this would become lore for the Class of '09 and Green Valley High School. But what was immediately obvious to Cray after Michael passed out was that everyone had suddenly surrounded him - and he was feeling very wet and extremely embarrassed. Part of him felt sorry for Michael; the other part, very pissed off. The crowd parted and he stood as Mr. Boren and Bob arrived.

"Helluva way to arrive," Mr. Boren said. "You okay, Cray?"

"Yeah…yes, Sir." Cray turned to Bob and continued, "I think I better get Michael home and to bed. I don't think he's going anywhere else." He fished into Michael's front pocket and pulled out the truck's keys. 'Please God,' he thought with gritted teeth, 'why the hell am I being pulled back into his life?' Cray realized that he had no choice but to take the lead in cleaning up this 'oops' - for Benny, Mr. Boren, Bob and all of his classmates.

"You're going to need some help," Bob replied.

"No problem." Tim stepped closer and said to everyone at once, "I'll follow in my car, help him put Michael away and we'll get back real soon. No reason to miss the party. Does that work for you, Cray?"

"If a couple of you guys could carry him out to his truck and buckle him in the passenger side, I'd appreciate it." Cray shrugged and gestured for Bob to join him away from the arena of activity. He watched two of the football jocks easily lift Michael by his feet and arms and carry him.

"What can I do?" Bob asked. "Bud's working tonight until eleven."

"Just give him the rundown of what happened and let him know that Michael will be sleeping it off." Cray looked at Tim and gave him a 'one moment' finger sign and added, "Tell him that I'll hide the truck keys behind the cereal in the cupboard…in case Michael has any ideas about going any place else."

"I'll make sure that either Drew or I give Bud a ride home."

"You sure?" Cray asked. "I can…"

"Nonsense. Drew and I can help Bud out. You have a good time with your friends and leave the rest to us."

"Thanks. I'll do just that." Cray hugged Bob, retrieved his flip-flops and joined Tim. "Let's do it."

"You're going to need a change of clothes," Tim said as he handed Cray his wallet and watch.

"Michael's going to 'loan' me some of his shit. And I know just what I want." Cray remembered a great Nat Nast polo that he'd given Michael for Christmas that was a little too large. 'The shirt and one of his cargo shorts will work,' he thought as he walked with Tim to the front of the house. 'With no offense to Native Americans, I'm going to be an Indian-giver."

When they passed the guys who had carried Michael, one of the guys said, "Mission accomplished". On the street, wedged between two of their classmates' cars, was the Turner truck parked at an angle - the front wheel up over the curb. Inside, strapped in as promised, was a slumped over body that was the 'man of the hour'.

"See ya at Turner's house," Cray said as he opened the driver's door of the truck. "I'll need help getting him inside." He slid into the driver's seat, started the F-150 and looked once more at a very peaceful and zonked out Michael. "Helluva lasting impression on the class, asshole," he said as he engaged 'reverse' and carefully backed out onto the street. "You're lucky you didn't wipe out one or more of those cars."

His passenger had no reaction other than a little drool dripping from his open mouth.

The drive to Michael's house was an uneventful ten minutes, with Tim following closely the entire time. Cray's temper was now in check and he wanted to deal with Michael's crash for the night as swiftly as possible. 'I'll be damned if he's going to wreck the evening for me,' he resolved.

With Tim's assistance and Michael's partial mobility - he could walk when supported by the guys - they slowly entered the Turner home and the hallway leading to the bedrooms.

"Let's stop in the bathroom for a minute," Cray said. "I'm afraid he may piss away whatever he drank in his bed if we don't make a pit stop."

"Inspired idea."

They moved Michael in front of the toilet and Cray undid the fly of his cutoffs. "Might as well get these off now," Cray said as he pulled them down.

"And no 'U' trou makes it easier," Tim replied when it became obvious that Michael had gone commando for the day.

"Michael, I'm grabbing your ankles, one at a time. When I lift, you try to disentangle yourself from the shorts. Understand?"

"Uh-huh," Michael replied in a semi-coherent moan.

Tim picked up the cutoffs, once they were free, and laid them across the bathtub ledge. "Is he going to go…ya think?" he asked when he reassumed supporting Michael.

"I'm going to get his attention by grabbing his dick and giving it a few yanks," Cray said. "And don't you dare tell anyone what I did."

"Right, like you've never…"

"Shuddup." Cray grinned and said into Michael's ear, "Time to pee…concentrate." He moved the skin on Michael's shaft back and forth a few times and a few dribbles came out. "Good boy." In a moment, after more physical encouragement, a full force blasted out and Cray concentrated on the aim. He was also aware that Michael was getting hard and this development was not lost on Tim.

"I think I've read in a manual someplace that excessive fondling can cause an erection," Tim said with a muffled chuckle.

"And I understand that you made that discovery personally through a lifetime of playing with yourself."

"But the reward's worth it." Tim wiggled his eyebrows and laughed harder.

Cray smiled and shook away Michael's remaining drops. "Seriously…mum's the word." Everyone knew that he and Michael were sexually active but this was way over the top. He trusted Tim not to gossip.

"Understand, boss. You lead the way to his bedroom cuz I don't trust his pointer."

Cray was going to add that he didn't either anymore, but decided to skip the editorial comments. He grabbed a towel and they got Michael onto the bed and out of his damp tee shirt. Tim pulled back the sheet and they positioned Michael in the middle of the mattress.

"I'll get him settled, put away the truck keys and meet you out in the car," Cray said as he dried off Michael. "Give me five, okay." Cray covered Michael, still at full mast, with the sheet and shrugged. He was relieved that Tim had quietly left the room and the presence of his former lover's now shrouded raging hard on.

"Michael, you hear me?"

With one eye half-opened, Michael said, "Yeah, more or less. Is Tim still around?"

"No, he's not here." Cray was impressed that Michael was aware of Tim's earlier presence.

"Why don't you stay and help me some moooooore." He kicked away the sheet and raised his erection to prominence. "You like to…"

"In your dreams, Turner." Cray always used Michael's last name when he was angry. "That dick, and your heart, belong to someone else. Remember?"

"Aw, puleeze. Just one…"

"For the road?" Cray interrupted with growing annoyance. "Christ, you piss me off…you should be ashamed. Randy and Reno…keep that in mind."

"I know," Michael muttered.

"Go to sleep and forget about this night." Cray knew that no one would let Michael forget it, but let the thought pass. "By the way, I'm borrowing some dry clothes." He didn't wait for a reply and went over to Michael's chest of drawers and found just the clothing he needed. He quickly re-dressed and bundled up his wet clothes.

"Lights off…I'm outta here." He went to the doorway and looked at his former lover one more time. His hand was still firmly wrapped around his dick and there was a dreamy smile turning Michael's lips. 'The guy is definitely out for the count this time,' he thought as he turned off the lights.

The kitchen was a mess with several empty cans of beer strewn on the counter - Cray counted six - but he didn't have the patience to clean them up. 'Let Bud handle it in the morning,' he decided as he hid the truck keys behind a box of granola. 'I'm sure that Michael will have a splitting headache…and maybe a guilty conscience.' One last thing: he remembered to get Michael's wallet out of his wet shorts and carefully spread the soggy contents on the counter to dry.

It suddenly occurred to Cray, as he made sure the front door was locked, that he'd experienced another of life's milestones. Michael's offer of sex, albeit in a drunken haze, had not fazed or tempted him. He wasn't offended either. Emotions ranged from pity to annoyance…with just a tinge of jealousy that Randy was in the picture. Michael was a stud and they'd had great times together. However, over the past several days, he'd managed to mentally untangle himself and the night's reaction was proof he'd survive in L.A.M. - Life After Michael.

"How'd it go?" Tim asked when Cray got in the car, "Is Prince Charming tucked away?"

"Tucked away and deflated…with no help on my part," Cray replied with a laugh.

"Different strokes, ole buddy." Tim joined the laughter and added, "Seriously, if ya want, I'll call Michael tomorrow and make sure he's all right."

"Cool…and let me know on the Q.T. how he is. I know one thing…Mr. Turner's going to be royally pissed." Cray thought it was best to let this latest milestone gather a little distance over the next couple of weeks.

"So true," Tim replied. "It definitely won't be a warm and cuddly father-son moment."

"In the meantime, let's get back to Benny's place and paaaaarty." Cray took a deep breath as he pondered the eruptive actions of Michael over this past week. 'What a fucked up way to finish high school and our relationship.'

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