There's a girl across the bar
I get the message she's sendin'
Mmm she ain't lookin' to married
And me well honey I'm pretending
Last night I dreamed I held you in my arms
The music was never-ending
We danced as the evening sky faded to black
One step up and two steps back
- “One Step Up”, Bruce Springsteen
Present time . . .
Angus stood in front of the full-length mirror while his valet, Roman, helped him dress. The older man, nondescript as all good English servants should be, had been with Angus since his split from Deetz. He knew what I liked without me saying. He could hear the start of the party and from the window of his spacious bedroom, he could see the royal motorcade winding toward Morganwg.
Tonight was a big deal so why did he feel like shit? “Roman, I said I wanted the red tie, not the maroon!” he barked at the man.
Immediately, Angus felt bad. I’m not like that, I’m not that kind of earl, Angus thought. “I must apologize, Roman. It’s not you and this tie is fine.”
“I’m sorry Your grace is of ill-mood.” Roman finished and bowed before leaving without any acknowledgement of the apology.
Toni took advantage of the servant’s exit to gain entry.
“I hope this isn’t a bad time, er… or place.”
“I was hoping to ask you some questions on background – nothing we’ll publish, just to give me an idea of who you are, how you think.”
Angus waved her in. He finished the Glenlivet in his glass and pour another double shot.
Toni walked around identifying various angles to reflect the surprisingly austere look of the room.
The furnishings looked stolen from the last fantasy novel you read and seemed to be there because they had nowhere else to put it. However, despite the dubious placement, the owner was low to depart with any piece of family history. Even the hygiene products on the dresser had an old-timey flare too them. Toni took a few shots for background then put her camera away and sat on a nearby armchair far from the bed. She took out her legal pad. “I must say, your Grace, you look rather handsome tonight.”
Angus’s vanity circumvented his hostility and he offered Toni a sly grin. “Thank you.”
He chose a nearby plain wood chair to sit across from her with his back to the bed. “So, what deep secrets do you want me to reveal?”
Toni summoned the courage to ask, “Was internalized homophobia at the core of your decision to divorce your husband? Was that marriage some kind of ‘trip on the wild side’ and now you’re ready for ‘real-life’?”
This was an angle Angus hadn’t heard. Once the two men returned home and regular life got underway, the swirl that comes with living within a family and community seemed to put the men in different emotional places. Yeah, the homophobia was thick, as Deetz warned, particularly amongst Angus’s father’s old friends and connections. But he hadn’t heard the resentment from the queer community, as it was drizzled throughout Toni’s questions. If he was honest, these feelings were likely readily there for the reading but, Angus had to admit, he simply didn’t realize the gay mafia would have an opinion too. He downed the remaining scotch and put the glass down with a firm ‘plunk’. The sound of the glass shattering startled both of them. Angus sighed, tired of being angry with Deetz, life, and himself. He reached over and buzzed Simms who appeared immediately and cleaned the mess quickly then disappeared into the ether. “My apologies. I haven’t been myself lately. Must be this wedding business.”
“Of course,” replied a now wide-eyed photojournalist. She popped up and started out the door like someone avoiding an old boyfriend. “Well, I have some other pictures to take before the hall gets too crowded.”
“Do you find me attractive, miss?”
“Huh?” She came back to him cautiously.
Angus got a new glass and promptly refilled it. “It’s a fairly simple question.”
Toni scrunched her nose then frowned. “You were the world’s most eligible bachelor before you got married the first time. So many women were disappointed, some were on suicide watch.”
“I remember. I was there.” Angus sat back down.
Toni came closer to him, her voice hush like a concerned therapist. “Your Grace, I . . .”
“Angus. I’m a photographer who gets paid to spy on people’s inner lives so believe me when I say you don’t love that woman; I’m not sure you even like her.”
Angus shrugged, “For people like me marriage has other functions.”
“Seriously? You’re kidding, right? Last I checked this was the 21st century.”
“You don’t understand.”
“That’s true,” she replied. “Why don’t you explain to me why you left what seemed like a perfectly good relationship for this farce?” Toni sat back down on a well-heeled, but design flawed antique chair.
And you can dance
- “Into the Grove”, Madonna
Four Years Ago . . .
“I’ll put the kettle on,” Deetz said once they were inside.
Angus grabbed the vape pen from the counter.
“We should talk.”
Deetz averted his eyes. “Pretzels? I’ve got some dough ready.”
Angus knew a brush off when he felt one. “Sure,” he replied walking to the couch and turning on the television. “Movie?”
“Of course.” Deetz rinsed out two cups after getting the pretzels in the oven. “It’ll take a few minutes.” He realized how stupid he sounded and felt bad. “I’m sorry. I know that I should say something but frankly, I don’t know what to say.”
“I know,” Angus said as he ran through the streaming service’s guide. “Gosh!
The Caine Mutiny – my favourite Bogie movie!”
Deetz set a timer then came to sit next to Angus on the couch. “I prefer To Have and Have Not.”
“Such the romantic!” teased Angus as he gave Deetz a shove.
About 20 minutes in, the oven timer rang, and Deetz got up to pull out the pretzels. Although he used a potholder, he managed to burn himself on the tray. “Bullocks!”
“You alright?” Angus got up and walked over to Deetz who had the hand under cold water. “Let me look at it.” He examined the wound. “Did some medic work in the Congo.”
“You were in the Congo?”
“It was either VSO or the RAF, my dad said I had to do my duty,” Angus dashed into the bedroom and came back with a worn leather pouch.
“Hold still. This stuff is good, you won’t even have a scar but it’s going to burn like a . . .”
“FUCK!” hollered Deetz as Angus splattered a foul-smelling green ooze over his 7 cm wound.
“Give me a break! It’s not that bad,” Angus chuckled as he wrapped the man’s hand. “There, should I kiss it to make it better?” It got so quiet you could hear Bogart’s sweat fall.
Deetz gave in. “Mate, this is really is your choice. I’m not sure if I believe this spell still holds. But I don’t think I lose either way – lovers or friends with occasional benefits,” he lied.
“Really?” Angus took his words as a challenge. “You mean if I pulled you close like this . . .” He tugged at Deetz’s shirt sides until their pelvises touched. “. . . it won’t matter if I didn’t kiss you.” He tried to push Angus off, but his attempts were fake news at best. What gave Deetz away wasn’t a hard-on but a jagged inhale. As he brushed feathered kisses against the other man’s ear, Angus whispered, “Breath lover; I can’t have you passing out before I have my way with you!”
Angus ran the tip of his tongue across the ridge of Deetz’s ear. The tingles ran up and down Deetz’s spine like lightning against a silver poll. But, Angus couldn’t kiss past the bottom of his prisoner’s neck and he wanted more. Frankly, he wanted him naked so he started unbuttoning Deetz’s shirt.
“Wait,” Deetz hesitated, “we need to set some rules here.” Deetz was light-headed but pushed on. “First, I’m a proud bottom but don’t take the offering of my ass as permission to do what you will. I’m not into pain so when I say stop, I mean immediately. I don’t play around with stupid safe words – I speak plainly enough.”
“This is going to sound politically incorrect but,” Angus wondered, “Are you the same with women?”
“I’m not that evolved – sorry sex police,” Deetz grinned. “And I like the taste and feel of pussy too much!”
“Second, if you like that sound I make, slow and steady wins that race.”
“I wanna taste and touch all of you.”
Deetz shivered but struggled to stutter out, “And . . . and I insist on condoms. No offence but that’s how I fucked my way across the Orient HIV negative. And I intend on staying that way. If we do this again, . . . if this becomes a thing, we can go together to get tested.”
“I’m not insulted and have my own supply with me.”
“Ah, reckoned on getting lucky?”
Angus returned to unbuttoning, “It was on my Google calendar. The second notification should be going off about now.”
Deetz chuckled and enjoyed the warm feeling growing inside him. When Angus got his Deetz’s pants undone, Angus reached inside and squeezed Deetz’s backside, slapping Deetz’s back to reality. “Slow down big boy! This queen has to perform a hygiene update! As a mentor once told me, “’ A clean booty is a well-serviced booty’ and Aunt Bobby has never done me wrong.” Deetz pulled away then headed toward the bathroom.
“You’re going to douche?” Angus said matter-of-factly. He pointed at Deetz’s injured hand then added, “You probably don’t want to get that wet just now. I’d have to apply the cream again.”
“Over my dead body you will!” Deetz was stunned with the prospect of Angus’s participation in what is typically a private meditation. “And ah wow, Wikipedia or gay anal sex for dummies?”
“You’ll need my help.” Angus wrinkled his nose defiantly, “And no – I went old school, the Joy of Gay Sex. Read it on the train coming back home from London last week.” He returned to undressing Deetz as if the man’s clothes were a superfluous ingredient added to a fine piece of wagyu beef. “I guess I needed to know where to start.” Angus pulled off his Deetz’s shirt.
Deetz took Angus’s hand and placed it on his heart. “You only need to listen to this.” Deetz thought, that sounded clichéd, but Angus grinned and nodded affirmingly.
Deetz could almost taste this man’s sincerity from the fingers that started massaging his muscles around his nipples. Angus kissed his nose with an eagerness that was sweet and terribly sincere, like a 3-year-old on Easter Sunday before the egg hunt and a shopping bag full of candy. Despite this insight, Deetz remained hesitant.
As their station in life would unconsciously dictate, Angus dropped his own clothes where he stood and Deetz folded or hung them up in the hallway closet. Angus adjusted the shower water then removed several products from a different leather pouch. When he had the products organized by stage of use, Deetz returned and became rooted to the bathroom doorway. “What’s wrong?” Angus asked.
“It’s going to be tight in here, eh?”
“I’m going to let such an easy opening drop and get back to my question. What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know. Don’t you think this is a bit risky? I mean, we are friends and I’d hate to mare that. Plus, . . . .” Angus was stunning and terribly relaxed with himself – billions of dollars in the bank (isn’t that illegal, owning the bank you keep your fortune in?) and a titled lineage that went back over 400 years are much better than Xanax. But Deetz had to give his anxiety one more chance.
Angus ignored him and turned on Deetz’s playlist from the wall remote. He clicked through some pieces until he found a recording of Charlie Parker playing at the Savoy. After enduring a few more moments of Deetz’s over-intellectualize dribble, he interrupted with “Gorau prinder, prinder geiriau (The best shortage is a shortage of words)." He pulled a startled Deetz into his arms with one hand and kissed him deeply. With his free hand, Angus deftly massaged Deetz’s side just above the hip and was rewarded with a heavy groan. Deetz’s body relaxed some and soon his lips became more pliable, his tongue lapping inside Angus’s mouth like a craven animal.
This time Angus pulled away. He stopped kissing and leaned his forehead against Deetz’s, both of them grinning and out of breath. “Right,” Angus finally said, “I want to get this right, show respect for your rules.”
“Thank you, good man! Cleanliness, Cuddles, and Condoms!”
“Yes, of course!” Angus stepped back to introduce Deetz to his hygiene line-up. “I had my man at Apothecary 87 come up with this special product line for me . . . for this circumstance.” Angus held up a clear, pre-filled bubble syringe. “It’s all-natural herbs and whatnot. Edgar swears by this stuff. He said it doesn’t dry you out like water can if you know what I mean. Step into the shower and get the rest of you wet.”
“Oh, commanding ain’t he?” Deetz teased with hopes of a reaction.
Angus did not respond. Deetz pouted a bit then shrugged and tried to get everything but his bandaged hand wet. Finally, Angus returned to him and he immediately was overwhelmed by emotions. “My G-d Desmond,” said a fully engorged Angus, “my G-d you’re beautiful.”
Deetz thought what do you say to that? “Thanks,” he replied with a sheepish grin. He couldn’t believe this was happening – my handsome prince is going to make love to me, the voice in his head said.
Bubble syringe in one hand and a wash clothe in the other, Angus worked his rubber glove finger between Deetz’s butt cheeks until he found the hole. He looked up at Deetz said, “It’s lubed so it should go in easy. There is enough in the bulb for three piles of washing. Do you think that will be enough?”
“Are you going to be able to finish this?” Deetz pointed at Angus’s hard-on.
“You’re wasting time.” Angus proceeded to clean Deetz inside and out. The internal rinse didn’t take long. Angus was not bothered by it but that didn’t surprise him. He was desire made him extremely focused and determined. Then Angus took to the outside of this man’s body starting with a soap with hints of Egyptian musk. Deetz felt quite pampered, with Angus’s hands alternating between deft massage with his fingers and sudsy cleansing with the loofah. After cleaning everything, including between the toes, Angus dried him off, patting the skin lightly to preserve some moisture.
He grabbed one more Apothecary 87 product. “Most men hate lotion, say it makes them feel greasy. I agree, most don’t have a ph content that matches the needs of man’s skin. You’ll like this.” He applied dollop of lotion in the palm of his hands then applied it in a circular fashion into Deetz’s skin, ensuring the shea butter was well-absorbed. When he was done and his whole body was refreshed, he escorted Deetz from the bathroom, holding the man’s hand like a prom king and queen making an entrance.
“Do you want to shower too?” asked Deetz as he pulled back the bedcovers and laid down.
Angus took a hit from the vape pipe then handed to Deetz.
Then he grabbed a bottle of “Love It Good” lube from off the side table and started to apply a healthy amount to his cock. “You have ten seconds to withdraw consent. Ten, nine, eight . . . .” He put another application on himself then got on the bed between Deetz’s legs. “. . . seven, six, five, . . . .” He put a glob on his finger and lubed the other man’s asshole while looking directly into his eyes. “. . . four, three, . . . .” Angus leaned back, grabbed Deetz’s ankles and yanked him off the headboard to lay flat on the bed. Angus examined the angle like a geometry teacher and determined a pillow was likely going to be a good addition. He took the one from behind Deetz’s head and put it under his ass.
Then Angus got on his knees with his fingers playing with Deetz’s hole. “If you’re going to stop me, now would be good. Otherwise, I promise you, we will be at it for hours.” Angus waited another moment and took his dick in hand, positioning it at a good entry angle. Strangely, they took a cleansing breath simultaneously. “. . . two, one!” Exhale and insert.
The slow, steady pressure, the stutter stop as it eased inside, and fullness was a tease in and of itself, just a hint at things to come. Angus hung back until he couldn’t anymore. He settled on an elongated 4 x 4 rhythm that targeted Deetz’s prostate two different ways – deep, intensive massage going in countered by a quick sweep over the organ coming out. It didn’t take long before Deetz was certain he was having an out-of-body experience. He moved his hips to encourage Angus, although none was needed. But Angus did take the hint and went in deeper.
Deetz was uncertain which one of them cried out the loudest but when he finally opened his eyes, Angus was smiling down at him, panting like a happy dog in the sunshine. “You’re shaking,” Deetz teased.
“So are you.”
“I’ll get a towel.”
“Why? I’m not done yet.” Angus pulled out, dick hard and dripping with cum. He rolled Deetz on his stomach, then put the pillow under his pelvis. “I want to fuck you until you surrender.”
“Yes,” Angus responded. He returned his cock to its proper place. “You’ve done an amazing job making my dick happy. I want more.” He examined Deetz’s brand. It was shimmering green leaves and brown bark. He traced over it, tiny sparks tickled his fingertips. “Your body betrays you, Mate. You’re still holding back. I want to taste everything.” He mounted Deetz, hunched over the man’s back and clinching him around the neck. Angus found Deetz’s tingling hole like a prospector seeks precious metal. He thrust deeper and faster than before. It felt amazing, the firmness and warmth was like smothering in bliss. He whispered in Deetz’s ear, “Mae fy nghalon yn canu ac mae fy enaid yn fodlon (My heart is singing and my soul is content). Ildiwch i mi a byddaf yn eiddo i chi (Surrender to me and I will be yours).”
Those words were a soothing promise that greased the locks around Deetz’s heart. He was suddenly confronted with his deep longing and desire. He wanted to acquiesce, utterly. And Angus’s strokes against his prostate were exciting beyond comprehension. Deetz’s moans got louder and built to a fever pitch until he produced that noise only this time it sounded different – something between a pleading and a relinquishing. This was surrender and the shaking within Deetz’s ass took Angus dick places. Something within him clicked, as if dick was offering revelation. As he thrust one last time, Angus cried out himself. “Desmond! Byddwch gyda mi. Addewid. Oherwydd dwi'n dy garu di (Oh Desmond! Be with me. Promise. For I love you.).”
Present Day . . .
“You never answered my question.”
Toni considered a moment. “You are undeniably handsome by any cultural standard. Maybe that’s why the fact I have yet to see you smile is so tragic.”
He drained his glass and, this time, gently put it on the dresser. “Right, at least you’re honest.” He started to remove his starched shirt. “What do you say we ditch this place and go somewhere and have some fun, eh?” He grabbed clothes from the dresser and went behind the shoji screen. “You’re right you know. I used to be a happy man.” After a few minutes, he came back around wearing long swimming trunks. “The pool is on the other side of the estate and it’s kept warm and ready 24/7.”
“This dress isn’t exactly made for chlorine,” Toni replied.
Angus walked past her to the door, a bit unsteady Toni gathered. “Yeah, but I’d imagine your bra and panties are not made of silk.”
“How do you know I’m wearing panties?”
“A bloke can hope and dream, I reckon.” He gave her a devilish grin that she appreciated as more of an invitation than a fanciful come-on. “There are towels, robe, and flip-flops in the cabana.” He started out the door.
Not a bad way to sell your ass, she thought. “Under one condition!” she called to him.
“You promise to tell me what happened to that love you found in that RV.”
He was starting to slur his words. “Why do you care?”
As she pushed him out the door, she answered, “Just call me nosey.”