“Are we sure we want to sell the house? It’s in a great location and it should be scarfed right up. There won’t be second thoughts to be had about it. Sales in Mystic are booming.”
Daren Peters was standing at a window at the back of the house, taking a break with a cup of coffee, while his older sister, Peggy, chattered on as she continued packing boxes to send back to California.
She was getting all of the good stuff, but that was fine with Daren. Once he’d left Mystic, he hadn’t come back—even during college. There’d always been an away tennis match to go to or prepare for. And he had no place to put the stuff now anyway. As of the previous weekend, he had no place at all. Walking out on Tony in a gigantic blowout—the blowouts having increased in intensity the last few months—and getting the phone call from Mystic almost before he’d hit the street had both contributed to very bad timing.
His mother’s health had been declining for some time, so her death didn’t come as a surprise. They’d kept in touch over the past fourteen years, but he hadn’t been back to Mystic since he’d taken off for his first year at the University of Connecticut. His mother had visited him often at the university but never had insisted that he come home. On some level, Daren had always thought his mother knew why Daren wasn’t coming home and was content with letting it be. She, of course, didn’t know that what he’d done in Mystic could almost as easily be done in Storrs, home to U.Conn.
After he graduated and took a job she regularly visited him in New York City, as well, as had Peggy, from her California movie studio job—over 3,000 miles and a whole universe away. His father had died when Daren was a toddler, lost at sea in the Gulf of Aqaba, when the naval ship he captained had gone down in a freak missile firing. Daren had gone fatherless until he found a substitute on his own. There were some who would say that would help explain some things in his life.
“I think so, Peg,” he answered, although his attention was split between his sister’s chattering—a false cheerfulness, he knew, as they were mere hours back from the funeral and Peggy had been very close to their mother—and the spread next door, where a young man was getting tennis instruction from an older one on a tennis court behind the neighboring house. “There’s no way you’re going to be lured back to Connecticut from the West Coast, I know, and this place is too large for me.” And too many memories too, he thought.
“You never seemed to be content here,” Peggy said.
“No. Those were frustrating years.”
“But, still. It all worked out for you. Well, once . . . you know?”
“Once I accepted that I was gay and settled down with that notion, you mean?”
“Well . . . yes, I guess.”
Peggy had been a brick about that. Both she and their mother had. Of course, it had been easier for Peggy. She’d been four years gone when Daren had been coming of age and was struggling with his sexual identity. And she was in the movie business in L.A. She no doubt had seen it all and learned to accept it all.
His mother had accepted it in a more tentative and on-edge way, going from wondering out loud where she’d gone wrong—while accepting that it was so—to continually being oversensitive and indulgent about it. She’d never said a peep about it being Tony’s apartment she visited in New York or that Tony and Daren slept in the same bed.
“How is Tony, by the way?” Peggy asked, snapping Daren’s attention back into the room, Peggy sounding so much like his mother that, for a second, the death and funeral were both swept away. But his own form of grief rushed right back in.
“I’m sure Tony is fine,” he answered. At some point Peggy would get the point—that there wasn’t a Tony anymore. That once more Daren was on his own.
“Of course New York isn’t that far away. And you can do your work right here. You could bring the paintings back here to restore them, couldn’t you? There are so many rooms in this house that you wouldn’t have any trouble setting up a studio. But then Tony’s work traps him in the city, doesn’t it?”
She was fishing. She finally was on the beam and was fishing for a finish.
“Yes, Tony’s work keeps him in New York. And I don’t think I ever could come back to this house.”
His eyes were back on the tennis court of the house next door. The tennis lesson seemed to be coming to a halt. The two were at the side of the court, toweling off, both with their shirts off. Both in great condition, even the older man. The two were chatting amicably. Daren wondered if . . . but it wasn’t his business to wonder.
“I see that Stan Waller still lives next door,” he said.
“Does he? I didn’t know. I wonder if he’s still playing on the pro circuit,” Peggy said absentmindedly. “Are you sure you don’t want this crystal bowl? It came down through Dad’s family, and you’re the boy. You have the family name.”
“No, it’s fine. I don’t want the bowl. And, no, Stan isn’t playing pro tennis anymore. He must be over fifty. Well, no, not quite fifty, I guess. But tennis players don’t play very far into their thirties. He’s coaching now, I know. I see him occasionally on TV during coverage of the Opens. Sitting in the coach’s box.”
“Do you? I didn’t realize you had kept up with him.” Did her voice have a sad edge to it when she said that? Daren didn’t have time to think about that, as she continued to talk. “I wonder if this table runner is worth shipping.”
Daren looked around to where Peggy was holding up a crocheted piece of material. “I think Grandmother Karen made that.”
“Ah, well, to California it goes then. Maybe dry cleaning will brighten it up. I was thinking of going down to the harbor for lunch. Maybe Mystic Pizza isn’t overwhelmed with tourists today. Do you want to come?”
“I think not. I see that Stan has ended a tennis lesson. I think I’ll go over and talk with him.” And indeed, the session next door appeared to be ending with the tennis student walking down to the driveway and a Mustang convertible and Stan entering the back porch of his house.
“Do you really think that’s wise?” Peggy asked, her voice a little tight. “It’s been how long? Fifteen years?”
“Only eleven.” He paused at that. He should have said ‘only thirteen,’ but Peggy hadn’t caught the gaff. He quickly continued talking. “I’m not sure that anything in life is wise,” Daren said. “Go ahead down to the waterfront for lunch. You need a long break from this. Perhaps we can go back there for dinner tonight. I’ll probably be leaving tomorrow.”
But where would he go when he left? He couldn’t go back to Tony’s apartment in the city. And even his art restoration studio was attached to Tony’s import house. Daren hadn’t thought about tomorrow. He hadn’t even thought of coming here to see if there was anything he wanted from the house. He certainly hadn’t thought about spying on Stan Waller giving a tennis lesson next door. He hadn’t thought about any future at all beyond his mother’s funeral earlier that day.
He looked intensely at the roof of the screened porch next door to see whether Stan Waller would come out of his house again.
* * * *
“Can I come up?”
Stan swiveled his head around to take in Daren Peters standing at the bottom of the steps up to the screened porch on the back of Stan’s house.
“Yes, of course, Daren, please do. I was hoping you would come over. I was sorry to hear about your mother. I didn’t feel it right to come to the funeral, though.”
“I understand,” Daren said as he entered the porch. Stan Waller was sitting in a wicker chair. There was another one near it, with a side table between. Four cans of frosted beer sat on the table.
Stan gestured to the empty chair. “Take a load off. Care for a beer?”
“You were going to drink four beers?” Daren asked, as he settled into the wicker chair and took a beer. He was turned toward Stan when he did. Still shirtless, Stan didn’t look to Daren like he was forty-nine years old. In physique he wasn’t much less well-muscled than he’d been fourteen years ago when Daren turned eighteen.
“I’d hoped you would come over and join me. I saw you in the window of your mother’s house, watching the tennis lesson. It’s why I sent Brian on his way. I was hoping you would come down.”
“I would have taken him into the house, yes. A lot has changed in the last twenty years, Daren. Not that.”
“Is Ken still—?”
“Ken died two years ago. He never made it far up into the rankings, so I guess his death in an auto accident didn’t make the headlines. His career was essentially over anyway.”
“So am I. It gave me some stability in my life. You know, I’m surprised I never saw your name in the rankings. You showed great promise. An intercollegiate champ from U.Conn.”
“You kept track.”
“Yes, of course I did. You were one of my young men.”
“Just one of them? The high school seniors mowing your lawn in exchange for tennis lessons.”
“Yes, but you were the best. You always were my best.”
“My interests drifted off into something else. You did that for me as well.”
“The artwork you collected in your world travels on the circuit. The Shunga prints. The collection of old masters in oils—and in the basement, your Roberts prints in that room you set up out of the Arabian Nights. You still have that room?”
“Yes, but I don’t understand about—”
“The artworks. You helped turn my interests toward art. Not painting it, although it started off there. Restoring it. It became a good profession for me. I work out of New York.”
“Ah, I’m glad to have had a beneficial effect on you in some way.”
“Your effect on me was beneficial in every way, Stan,” Daren said, as he reached for his second beer and looked directly into Stan’s eyes. “It wasn’t always clear at the time, but it clarified my life for me. I have few regrets there.”
“And are you living with someone now?”
“No, not as of five days ago.”
“Ah. You are looking good, Daren. Really good. You can’t be keeping in shape by restoring artworks.”
“I’m still playing tennis, and spending time in the gym. But thanks, you’re looking great too. You’ve hardly changed since back then, when I’d just turned eighteen.”
“Yes, when you turned eighteen. Do you remember that corny line, ‘Want to come up and see my etchings?'” Stan asked, as he crushed the empty of his second beer can in the strong grip of his big hand. “To think it led to a career for you.”
“It led to a lot, and yes, I had been dying to see your etchings.”
“You asked about the Arabian Nights room.” This said in a low, hoarse voice. “Would you like to come in and see my Arabian Nights room again?”
“Yes, Stan, I would like that very much.”
* * * *
They fucked with abandon on a stack of silk pillows in a windowless basement room with red gauze-covered walls to simulate a tent. They fucked like they’d been hungry for each other for years, which they had been. They fucked like they’d been “perfect fit” lovers for years, which for three years—one right here and two in motel rooms near the U.Conn. campus—they had been.
Before he rolled Daren over on his belly, encircled his waist to bring him up on all fours, and furiously fucked him to completion like a dog, Stan held the younger, moaning man in a side split, embracing him from behind, an arm around Daren’s neck, bowing the younger man’s back, and turning Daren’s face to his for a deep, possessive, prolonged kiss. The hand of his other arm was pulling Daren’s left leg back over on top of his thighs, as Stan strained to get his cock inside Daren as deeply as he could, which was deeper than any other man had been.
They rocked against each other’s bodies, murmuring whenever they came up for air about how long it had been, how good it still was, how much they had missed each other, how tragic it was they’d let the time go by. The two of them panting, breathing heavily, grunting and groaning at the straining to merge their bodies into one hungry, powerful fucking machine. Daren crying out in passion as Stan dug deeper, thrust harder, pistoned faster.
“I’m going to come!” Daren called out in a strangled voice. Stan rolled off to the side, gripping the back of Daren’s neck with one hand and bringing the other down to push two fingers into Daren’s ass to gyrate the tips of his fingers on Daren’s prostate, as Daren stroked his cock and sent an arc of cum up his belly. Immediately, Stan turned and pulled Daren’s back into his chest, grabbed Daren’s left leg and raised it in the air, and rolled his pelvis into Daren’s buttocks. Daren arched his back and gave a little cry, as Stan’s cock slid home again and started to pump.
They collapsed in a heap as the end approached, with Stan rising up on his knees beside Daren’s trembling, prone body, stripping the condom off, shooting off on Daren’s cheek, and Daren opening his mouth to the cock to clean it off. Just like the old days.
Stan reached down and cupped, distended, and rolled Daren’s balls, as, arching his backing and grimacing in intense concentration, Daren stroked his own cock to another completion.
Collapsing beside him and pulling him into his embrace, Stan whispered, “As good as it ever was. You always were my best boy. You’ve lost none of your flexibility. Hole’s not as tight, of course, but that’s to be expected. Opens to me faster now.”
“Nor has your sexual prowess diminished. And you still are my best man,” Daren murmured. The heat and sexual acrobatics had brought the realization to Daren’s mind that Tony hadn’t been coming close to satisfying him in bed—and to the understanding as well that being satisfied in bed was important to him. They had drifted into being a vanilla married couple—although they’d never gotten around to marrying, thank God. Stan was more than satisfying in bed—and in a chair and on the floor and on top of a table. He always had been; he still was. The biggest, thickest, most vigorous cock Daren had ever taken. He had ached for it as an eighteen-year-old. He ached for it now. He ached to have it again.
As if tuned into Daren’s thoughts, Stan asked, perhaps a bit nervously, “Neither one of us is young enough to go all night as we used to. Have you had enough?”
“We can take a break, and then do you want to see my old masters again?”
“You’ll never be old to me; you’ll always be my master.”
“I mean the paintings upstairs.” Stan laughed.
“I knew what you meant. I wanted to make the other perfectly clear, though. And how can you say old? You’re hard again.”
“Why, yes I am. I’m so glad you noticed.” He already had another condom packet in his hand and was splitting it open. “I’ll stop, though, if you want me to.”
In answer, Daren reached down to roll the condom onto Stan’s cock.
Daren cried out in passion and surrender, as Stan, on his back, his knees raised, with Daren’s chest resting against his thighs, pulled Daren’s now wide-open passage down on the cock, embraced Daren’s chest in his arms, pulling his shoulder blades back into Stan’s pecs, lacing his legs through Daren’s and raising and spreading them, and, showing that he still was an athlete, started to pump hard up into Daren’s hole. Making Daren scream across the top of the clouds like he hadn’t done for eleven years.
Restoring Daren’s sense of need for it.
* * * *
“Tell me,” Daren asked as he sat on a stool across a kitchen island from Stan, who was leaning on the counter, supported on spread arms, “the rumors have always been that you were secretly working for U.S. Intelligence as you traveled the pro tennis circuit. I think they’re called NOCs—nonofficial cover, I think that’s what the acronym means. Is it true?”
Both men were naked still. Both had half hards. Both knew this was just an interlude to more fucking. Once started, Stan never took his men just once. Stan had always been virile and vigorous. He liked fucking men multiple times in a session, to exhaustion. Daren had every reason to know that.
“I couldn’t say. I could say that when I graduated from the Naval Academy and then did my Marines stint, I worked a year in naval intelligence before going with tennis. I think that’s where the rumors started. I went on the pro tennis circuit too late.”
“Not too late to have gathered all of these valuable paintings with your winnings,” Daren said. He’d gone hard just in walking around the first floor of the house and looking at the oil paintings Stan had.
“Well, it helps to have two incomes,” Stan said, with a wink.
“You’re a complex man, Stan. And there is much more to you than most see.”
“Correct. Most don’t see my cock.” Stan laughed.
“That’s the truth. It’s the biggest and best cock I’ve ever had.”
“Thank you. I aim to serve.”
“There’s certainly nothing wrong with your aim—or your serve.”
“I meant it when I said you were my best boy,” Stan said, suddenly more serious. “You could be my boy again, you know. I want to be your daddy again.”
“Hard to think in those terms when I’m thirty-two.”
“You know,” Stan countered, “that age isn’t an issue in a daddy and sub relationship. You know what I mean when I say I want to be your daddy—what I’d do with you and what you’d do for me. I know you. You want to be my boy. Age isn’t the issue—as long as I can get it up and use it.”
“You really messed up my teen years,” Daren said, sliding off the issue Stan raised, something that had been germinating in the back of his mind as well. “I wanted you since I was fifteen. There were three years of maximum frustration there. It made my life hell. But you made me wait until I was eighteen.” Stan had been the father figure Daren hadn’t had for a good five years as he came into his teens and then, from age eighteen, had been his daddy in an entirely different sense. More recently, Tony, of the same general age as Stan, had been employed as a substitute father figure in both of those senses. But Daren realized now that this relationship hadn’t cut it.
“Did you make all of your young men wait, Stan?” he continued. It had been an agonizing period of confusion, guilt, and frustration for Daren.
“All of them, yes. I wouldn’t get into the shit of fucking anyone underage. I didn’t need to. I didn’t see any guy’s desirability in terms of being his age.”
He paused and looked away, but then turned back and continued. “There were no others that I had to take cold showers to stay away from when they were fifteen, like I did you. I didn’t want you because you were fifteen; I wanted you because you were you. I was as anxious and frustrated at holding off as you were. And you teased and tortured me, noting from your seventeenth birthday how many days there were before your eighteenth birthday.”
“And then on the morning of my eighteenth birthday I came over for a tennis lesson . . .”
“. . . and we never made it to the court. I asked you that corny question about seeing my etchings, brought you in here, and fucked the hell out of you.”
“It was a nightmare at first—even though I ached for it and for some time.”
“You screamed like a stuck pig, but you insisted you didn’t want me to stop. You’d teased me into a fury. I lost control, I never was more sorry.”
“But after that first time, I begged for it again and again, and you fucked me again and again—and then it was all I imagined it could be. Just like today, down in the basement.”
“God, I’ve missed you, Daren.”
“You pulled away from me after those two years at U.Conn.”
“Motel rooms became so tawdry. And the press was nosing around. I could only admit to so much—for both our sakes. You were gaining a reputation in intercollegiate tennis. And you were too good for me. I didn’t want you to be in my shadow and I would never have been happy in yours. Ken came along. He was content to let me stand in the light. I settled down. You know, after Ken came along, it was just him. Then one was enough. One could be enough again, Daren.”
“Do you really think so? That student you were teaching this morning. Brian, did you say his name was? Not more than nineteen, and cute as a button.”
“I would have brought him inside and fucked his lights out if I hadn’t seen you in the window. I’ll admit to that. He was willing. I’d done it before. He begged for it. But I don’t need young men anymore, Daren. I need experienced men. Maybe one man. Maybe a thirty-two-year-old man. Maybe a man named Daren Peters. There’s a building out back, by the tennis court. It could easily be made into a studio where you could do your restorations. We aren’t far from New York. Or Boston. You could do business from here.”
“Do you still have the collection of homoerotic Shunga art upstairs?” Daren asked. “The ancient sex art of Japan.”
“Yes, of course.”
“I think I’d like to go upstairs and see your Shunga art now.”
Stan fucked him missionary at the foot of the king-sized master room bed, Daren’s ankles on Stan’s shoulders, Stan hunched over Daren’s torso and alternating lip work with chewing on Daren’s nipples and pounding, pounding Daren’s ass.
Imitating one of the Shunga prints on the bedroom wall, Daren sat on the cock in Stan’s lap, as Stan sat on the foot of the bed. Daren was facing Stan, with his feet planted on Stan’s pecs and gripping Stan’s forearms, as Stan grasped Daren’s waist and pulled him on and off the cock. In keeping with yet another one of the prints, Daren’s shoulder blade were on the carpet and his legs hooked on the standing cock master’s hips, as Stan jack hammered down into Daren’s passage.
Fingers inside Daren’s passage almost up to the knuckles and leaning over a prone Daren and possessing Daren’s mouth, a spent Stan used the digits to worry Daren’s prostrate while the younger man stroked his cock to a final ejaculation.
Tony would never have dreamed these positions were possible, let alone do them with Daren.
* * * *
“Sorry I didn’t make dinner on the waterfront. I hope you went anyway.”
“I did,” Peggy answered.
She had gotten far with her packing while Daren was gone.
“I was next door.”
“I knew you would be,” Peggy said. It was said with a sigh, but it didn’t sound to Daren like an exasperated one. Peggy had always understood.
“I think I might be staying in Mystic after all, Peggy. But not in this house.”
“Next door, with Stan?”
“I think I always knew you would if you stopped avoiding coming back here. It certainly took you a long time to realize you would, though. I’m happy for you. Make the most of it.”
“I will. I already have.”
“Yes, I can see that,” she said. She was smiling. “Your shorts are turned the wrong way.”