15 Solutions

Matt’s mom opened the door and said, “Hello, sweeties,” pulling both of them into a hug. “He’ll be so happy to see you two! Daniel’s upstairs already.”

The boys tromped upstairs to Matt’s room, and found Matt and Daniel sitting in the floor, leaning on Matt’s bed, playing video games. Matt was dominating, of course, because Daniel only ever got to play when he was at a friend’s place, and that was rare enough before Matt.

“You guys want to play?” Matt asked glumly.

Chase just sat down next to the boy and laid his head on Matt’s shoulder. “Are you okay?”

Matt dropped his controller and leaned his head against Chase’s and shook his head as his eyes began to water and his shoulders began to heave. William looked at Daniel and saw the boy’s face boil with emotions—empathy for his friend’s sadness, but also something else. Jealousy?

Catching Daniel’s attention, William cocked his head toward the door, and mouthed, “Let’s go.” Out in the hall, he said, “I think they need some time alone.”

Daniel squirmed uncomfortably as he asked, “Doesn’t it bother you?” Seeing William’s confusion, he added, “How close they are, I mean.”

“Honestly, it could have. But they had what they had a long time before I came along. I’m just lucky they never put two and two together,” William said honestly.

“What do you mean?” Daniel asked.

“As tight as those two are? And they know each other like we barely know ourselves. If things had not been very different, Matt might have wised up and realized he and Chase could really have had something.”

Daniel looked thoughtful for a minute and asked, “Why do you think he didn’t?”

“Matt is a very special person. He’s very protective, and I think he was so busy being ‘big-brother’, it never really occurred to him what they could have. To be honest, if Chase had regained his sight before me, I think things might have been different.”

“But Matt and Amy,” Daniel protested.

“Gay, straight, bi, whatever,” William said. “You know, I always considered myself mostly straight before, but I never really thought about it either. When I saw Chase that morning in the woods, though, I had a change in perspective,” he said with a laugh. “The first time we kissed, it felt like my heart was being pierced.”

William paused for a moment and sighed. “Matt and I are a lot alike, I think. I think Matt is mostly straight, but he’s real comfortable with male affection, and I think for the right person, he could open himself up.” As he said the last, he watched Daniel’s face carefully and it confirmed his suspicions. Daniel had a crush, and Matt was its object.

“But there’s nothing there between them?” Daniel asked.

William laughed. “There will always be something there between them, something that I can’t touch. It’s old and deep and … startling sometimes, but it’s different than what Chase and I share.” William held up his hand and said, “You see these rings we wear? They mean something I can’t explain to you. But believe me when I say, however crazy deep Matt and Chase may be, they both have this infinite reserve of real, maddening love available for someone else. I’m proof of that.”

Daniel smiled and said, “My parents would never let me come over here again if they heard you talking like that.” He laughed sadly and said, “In fact, they would never let me come over here if they knew anything about you and Chase!”

“I hope you don’t have a problem with us?” William asked.

“No, you guys are great. Weird—no, really, really weird—but great. It used to make me uncomfortable how open you guys were,” Daniel added, honestly, “but then again, I still sometimes get weirded out when Matt puts an arm around me or something. In my family, you just don’t do that.”

“Don’t do what?” William asked, confused.

“Touch,” Daniel said simply.

“But I mean,” William started to respond, but Daniel shook his head.

“I don’t remember ever getting a hug, even from my mom,” the boy said softly, looking away, ashamed.

William’s eyes watered and he instantly grabbed the boy and drew him in to a long, warm hug. “I’m so sorry,” he whispered.

Daniel trembled a little at the boy’s embrace, but soon relaxed. But then he tensed up again, and William could sense why. He felt something poking him in the leg, even as he felt Daniel try to pull away.

But William pulled him tight again. “It’s normal, Daniel. It happens to all guys, we can’t help it. It doesn’t mean anything!”

Daniel sobbed a couple of times softly in his arms, and William rubbed his back gently until he calmed down. “Thanks,” the boy whispered, though he was still blushing brightly.

He was still wiping his face, when Chase opened the door and said, “Hey guys!” After a moment’s pause, “Is everything okay? I thought all the emotion was in here!”

“Deep thoughts,” William explained and pulled Daniel back into the room with him. The boy’s played cards on the bed until Daniel had to go home.

Once they were alone, Chase and William also moved to go, since it was a school night. But Matt looked so unhappy, they stayed for another hour, before calling and telling Xavier they’d be spending the night.

As they piled into the bed, William snickered to himself wondering what Daniel would think about all the bare boy flesh in this Matt sandwich. But it sobered him up to think the poor boy had been raised to think of this as a sin. With that, he draped an arm across Matt’s chest and closed his eyes, losing himself in deep thoughts until sleep silenced them.

***

Sebastian had gotten reservations at one of Albany’s most exclusive establishments, asking for a private seating arrangement so they could discuss matters further. He and James pretended to go back to a hotel to change, when in reality they popped back to the house to get some nicer clothes, and returned to Josh’s apartment just after Billy got home.

The young man opened the door and his mouth fell open. “Shit! You guys look awesome, James! You must be Sebastian?”

With a smile and a nod, Sebastian responded, “Billy?”

“Nice to meet you,” Billy responded with a bright smile and ushered them inside.

“I guess this is a really nice restaurant,” Josh asked with a laugh on seeing them.

“You could say that,” Sebastian said with a sly grin.

“Have I ever heard of it?” Billy said, as he stepped into their room to change.

Sebastian raised his voice to answer, “No, I don’t think so. It’s sort of a private club.”

James raised his eyebrows and projected with his mind, ‘Council?’

‘Yes, it’s a private dinner club. Sort of old school with the twist that it’s for professional gay men….’

‘How many of these things do you have?’ James wondered.

‘A lot,’ Sebastian replied with a smile.

Sebastian pulled out his phone and called for a car to pick them up, while the men got ready. When Josh emerged and said, “We might have trouble getting a cab here at this hour,” Sebastian answered, “Taken care of!”

They walked downstairs to find a stretch hummer waiting for them. The driver hopped out and opened the door. “Where to?” he asked Sebastian, tipping James off that this guy was Council, since Sebastian looked to be the youngest of them all.

“The Club,” he said, simply, and the man nodded deferentially.

“This is extravagant,” Billy noted, being still unaware of Sebastian’s full story.

“Not really,” he replied with a cryptic smile, winking at Josh.

“Billy,” Josh laughed, “Sebastian is Sebastian van der Meer: he owns van der Meer Holdings.”

“No shit?” Billy said. “My firm has done some work for your company!”

“Oh?” Sebastian asked, surprised. “You’ll excuse me, but we do business with so many law firms.”

“Of course,” Billy replied, somewhat in awe.

“I’m taking you to my club because I wanted some privacy to discuss some business with you both. I hinted at what we’re going to discuss with Josh earlier, but I wanted to lay it out fully for both of you, and we need privacy for that.”

“We could have stayed in,” Billy said.

Sebastian smiled. “More private than that….” Seeing the look on the man’s face, he said, “People in my line of work have to be cautious, and my presence in town won’t have gone unnoticed. The club has countermeasures against such unwanted observation. I’m sorry to be so cryptic.”

Josh grabbed Billy’s hand and explained, “Someone tracked me down because of my brother…. They threatened me in order to put pressure on Sebastian.”

“For which I’m deeply sorry, Billy,” Sebastian lowered his gaze. “But I hope that you’ll find my plan satisfactory.”

Shortly they pulled up in front of a non-descript building, and the driver came around and held their door. At the building, Sebastian placed his hand on a pad, and an electronic voice said, “Access granted. Welcome Consul van der Meer!” Then he waved his guests to follow him in.

A small army of porters and hosts awaited them just inside, taking their coats. “Can we get drinks for you gentlemen? Or perhaps a cigar from our cigar bar?” a handsome young host, clearly the supervisor, asked, looking Josh up and down surreptitiously.

“A glass of wine, please,” Josh asked. “How bout you, Billy?”

“Same,” the man answered, putting an arm around his husband’s shoulder, making the young host smile and nod.

“Of course, sirs!”

“Consul,” a Council officer who clearly answered to Sebastian emerged shortly. “We’ve prepared a semi-private area in the dining room for you, unless you’d prefer to eat in one of the private rooms?”

“The dining room will be fine, David,” Sebastian said with a smile. “Everything running smoothly?”

“Our profitability remains high, sir,” the man smiled. “It seems even in our day, clientele such as ours value their privacy.”

“I should think so,” Sebastian responded with a smile. “Gentlemen?” he said to his guests, urging them to follow him as he took James’s arm.

“Your clientele?” Billy asked with great curiosity.

“Young men, up and coming professionals who prefer the company of other men, but whose future success is better built on discretion.” Seeing the question that was coming, he added, “This isn’t a place for closeted men, just men who would not be well served by being seen in clubs and bars.”

“I see,” Billy said. “So it’s a gay social club that really is a social club.”

“Exactly,” Sebastian smiled. “And those are as rare as you might imagine. Occasionally we get a man who’ll show up with the wrong image in mind of what goes on here, but we have a well-trained staff to keep everything trouble-free. I’ll show you around later.”

After they ordered drinks and dinner, Sebastian made a signal to their waiter and the young man withdrew from the room. “So, as you may be aware, Billy, I have a vast network of connections, and I have in mind a proposal for you and Josh. On paper, it may seem like a step down for you, but I’d like you to consider it anyway.”

Billy nodded and he continued, “I have a friend in Richmond, Virginia, who owns a consulting firm. His business is to advise, and help save, failing companies. Recently, he has expanded his office, and has a very large new account. This will allow him some new opportunities, because often his clients don’t take his advice, to their own detriment. With the large amount of capital now at his disposal, he’ll be able to acquire certain of those businesses and resurrect them under his client’s ownership.” James had a grin on his face as he shook his head. “Steve is a lawyer, and his new associate is a law student, but I’d like to see both of you working with them. Both of your skills would allow them to expand much faster.”

“Alright,” Josh said. “How is this going to solve our security problems? And it does sound like a step down for Billy….”

“Well, though we do not live in Richmond, we are there quite often and have a large network there. I can offer you a security detail there far superior to anything here. Steve’s family is also quite prominent there,” Sebastian said, passing over THAT detail. “Further, you’d get to see your brother much more,” Sebastian said, looking at Josh. “As for Billy, I’d look at this as an opportunity to build a base for one day opening your own law firm. I know some investors,” Sebastian winked. “Plus, you’d make more money and the cost of living is lower. Less snow, closer to the beach…. What’s not to love?”

“Well, it is the south,” Billy noted with a grin.

“True,” Sebastian nodded. “But it’s a city and things ARE improving. In fact, Steve’s son, Chase and his boyfriend are quite out, and remain quite popular in school.”

Both men looked impressed, and James added, “Why don’t you come down and meet with some of the guys and see what you think?”

“When?” they asked.

“I’d like to leave tonight,” Sebastian said, striking them dumb. “I don’t mean to press you here, but I don’t want to leave town without you. I can have men packing your apartment by morning.”

“Is it really as serious as all that?” Josh asked.

“More than I can easily explain,” Sebastian nodded. “If you are hesitant to move away and give up your careers … I’ve guaranteed you employment with more future than you have now, but if that’s not enough, think about each other. What if you said no, Josh, and something happened to Billy? Or Billy, the reverse?”

James reached over and squeezed his hand, letting him know he should ease up and let the two men think. “Would you like some time alone to talk?” James asked.

Josh looked into Billy’s eyes and he could see them answer each other in the silence of that gaze. “No,” Josh said. “We’ll go. Tonight.”

“Thank you,” Sebastian said, tearing up a little at their devotion to one another. “Thank you.”

“So how do you know this Steve fellow will hire us?” Josh asked.

Sebastian grinned and raised his eyebrows, “Because I’m Sebastian van der Meer of course.” Seeing the look on their faces, he laughed gently and said, “I’m kidding! He’ll hire you because I’m going to guarantee your salary in business for the next five years at least, and he’s a good businessman. But besides that, he’s a good man….”

“I guess, accepting a gay son so easily,” Billy said. Billy’s own experience was perhaps stranger than Josh’s.

“Steve had taken Chase camping last year,” James said. “Chase was blind then—he has since had a miraculous recovery—but they discovered a boy in the woods, hiding from the people who killed his parents. Steve let Chase convince him to bring this boy home and shelter him, even though it would ultimately cause them great trouble. He lets his son’s boyfriend share a room with his sixteen-year-old son….”

“No shit?” Josh asked, now having his turn to get misty eyed. How different everything might have been!

“There is so much more to tell,” Sebastian smiled. “But our friends in Richmond are truly amazing people!”

“Alright!” James exclaimed. “This is so exciting!”

Soon the food arrived, and they all had an enjoyable meal. Afterwards, Sebastian showed them around. “I know you guys are moving, but we have a location in Richmond as well! Perhaps we should throw in a membership?”

“You’ve been more than generous,” Billy said. But Josh grabbed his arm.

“Don’t be hasty! Didn’t you see the indoor pool?” Josh laughed.

“TRUE!” his partner responded.

Afterwards, the car took them straight to the airport, where a jet was waiting to transport them all directly to Richmond, where Sebastian had arranged two rooms at the Jefferson Hotel for the night.

***

When Matt woke up in the morning, he had to slip out from beneath Chase’s arm and then crawl over William. AS he was sliding over the boy, William smiled and said, “Good morning wood to you too,” and winked.

Matt blushed fiercely as his erection was presently pressing against William’s stomach. “You were already awake, weren’t you? Well now you know what you’re missing!”

He let Matt start to walk away and said, “No, NOW I know what I’m missing,” and slapped him hard on the behind.

“I’d say you shouldn’t tease him so,” Chase whispered when Matt was in the bathroom, “but he loves it too much!” William laughed and rolled over, half on top of Chase and kissed him. He felt Chase’s body rise to meet him, Chase’s hands grasping at his back, and he groaned in pleasure.

“Jesus, guys! This is my bed remember? You could at least have waited for me to get back,” he laughed.

Chase threw a pillow at him and shook his head. “Feeling better?”

“Nah, I feel like shit, but I’m glad you guys were here,” he said honestly, one of the traits people loved in him.

“Any time, man,” William said, sliding out of bed and putting his clothes back on. Chase soon followed suit, and William watched appreciatively as the boy bent over and pulled up his pants. And then he smiled to himself, and shook his head, because Matt was watching too, totally oblivious to being observed.

“Have fun at school,” William smiled as Matt walked downstairs in front of them.

“Asshole,” Matt grumbled. “When you guys get back to school, I’m going to make you miserable!”

“You love us,” Chase teased, and Matt was unable to repress his smile.

Out at the car, he thanked them again, and gave them both big hugs before getting in and driving off.

“Do you think he’s going to be okay?” Chase said.

“Eventually,” William smiled. “If there’s anything Daniel can do about it, it’ll be sooner rather than later.”

“What?” Chase laughed in confusion.

“Well, me and Daniel had a really good talk, Chase, and if there is one thing I’m sure of, it’s that Daniel is absolutely in love with Matt,” William explained.

“What?” Chase asked again, dumbfounded. “Matt isn’t….”

“Think about all those years growing up, think about the sleepovers we’ve all had; Matt is totally willing to flaunt himself for us. He’s totally comfortable with us. I don’t think Matt is like you, but I think he might be like me,” William thought out loud.

“I … I guess he does flirt with Edward a lot!” Chase laughed. “And he’s usually the first one out of his clothes.”

“Yep,” William said, unlocking their car.

“Daniel, huh?” Chase asked.

“His parents really screwed him up, but he seemed really interested in whether Matt was ‘like us’ last night,” William said.

“What did you tell him?” Chase asked.

“Basically what I told you,” William reported.

“Do you think that’s a good idea?” Chase wondered.

“If Daniel can work up the guts, Matt won’t reject him. He might not be interested, but he’ll be sweet to Daniel, you know he will,” William said.

“What if things do work out, though? Daniel’s parents,” Chase began.

“If it comes to that, we’ll help,” William smiled.