Protecting David-Christopher Grows Up 1
It’s been four and a half years since we left Chris and Nick moving into their first real home together, David and Mark's original home in Milwaukee. Chris has graduated from college with a BA, and Nick is now heading all of First Colorado Corporation’s holdings in the Midwest, which have become sizable.
The twins are on summer break. Aiden is in Denver working as an intern at the charitable trust, and Andrew is in Chris’s kitchen drinking coffee in his boxers. Andrew has an appointment to tour Northwestern University near Chicago later in the week, and he still wants to be a doctor. In the last few years, the house in Milwaukee has become an extension of the twins’ world, albeit one that’s a two-hour plane ride away, and it’s not unusual for them to just show up.
Alex has urged Chris to open an office for himself to handle the paperwork from the business in Italy, and the small company in Madison that he started with friends of Michael’s. The fact is the office probably isn’t needed, but it will give Chris someplace to go during the day. Chris originally thought it would be in the bank building where Nick works, but Alex talked him out of it, by telling him that Nick didn’t need his boyfriend showing up every five minutes while he was trying to run a business.
Nick came out of the bathroom freshly scrubbed and buttoning a pale blue dress shirt. He crossed the room and knelt by our bed, leaned forward, kissed me, and said softly, “You know you’ve gotta get up. You told me last night not to let you fall back asleep.”
I was exhausted, but I opened one eye and mumbled, “Lemme suck your dick again.”
He laughed and said, “I don’t actually do that for a living, you know. And speaking of earning a living, I got meetings up the ass this morning. And you’ve gotta meet Connie’s plane. Rumor has it, she brought someone with her.” Connie was coming in from Denver to help me hire the people that would be setting up and running my new office.
“The thing is you’ve only got an hour to clean up, eat breakfast, and get to the airport.”
I gave him a sleepy grin and murmured, “Then just lemme look at it.”
Nick sighed and stood up; he was wearing a pair of white boxer briefs that bulged obscenely in the front. He cupped his junk lewdly with his hand and squeezed it. “You’ll get it tonight. But right now, you’ve got work to do. Besides, I don’t want you getting tired of it.” The fact was I was just being greedy. We’d been having half-asleep sex since four o’clock or so, and the feeling of him having been in me was still pulsing in my butt.
Nick disappeared into our closet for a second, and came out wearing navy blue slacks and carrying a handful of ties. He held them out to me. “I’m wearing the Navy suit, gimme your thoughts on a tie.” Nick doesn’t trust his own judgment when it comes to clothes; even though, in my opinion, he has better taste than I do. I picked out a Charvet tie in a miraculous blend of blue and green that I’d bought for him. “This one.”
He stepped into our big closet again, and came out pulling on his suit coat and shrugging his shoulders to get it to sit right.
He hunkered down next to me, slid his right hand gently behind my neck, and kissed me slowly and deeply. He pulled back and grinned. “If you hurry, you can have breakfast with your brother.”
After Nick left, I reached down, grabbed my briefs, pulled them on, rolled out of bed, and stumbled towards the smell of coffee in the kitchen.
Andrew was standing in his pale blue boxers at the stove cooking eggs. He was no longer one of my skinny little brothers. Like both of the twins, he was tall and muscular with sandy blond hair, and he’d begun to look like an adult man.
He turned his head to me, looked me up and down, smiled and said, “Morning, bro, we’re gonna have eggs.” Mrs. Colby had spent a lot of time making sure we all knew how to cook some basic things.
He turned back to the stove, shook his head slightly, and added with a smile, “You’re gonna kill that man, you know.”
He laughed. “You keep waking Nick up at four in the morning to fuck you, and you’re gonna wear him out. You’re moaning even woke me up… at like what, four, five o’clock?”
I was a little flabbergasted, and started stammering. “You… me… you…”
Andrew turned to me. “Dude, you got no idea how loud you are.”
I sighed and laid my head on the counter. This was so embarrassing, and I groaned. “I didn’t think we were that loud.” But weirdly, there was also something satisfying about this situation.
Andrew shoved a plate of scrambled eggs and toast in front of me. “Don’t sweat it. After a while, I kinda got into it and whacked off.”
I groaned again, and rolled my face against the cool counter top to cool my embarrassment. “That doesn’t make it better. Actually, it just means you’re a perv too.”
Andrew laughed and rubbed my back. “Relax, Chris, as a potential, some day doctor, I can tell you that enjoying sex is not a bad thing. I mean, it’s not like you were torturing puppies or anything. Although, for a minute there it did kinda sound like it.”
I started to calm down, and pretty soon the lure of scrambled eggs and toast got to me. I wrapped my hand around a hot cup of coffee and started shoveling food into my mouth.
“What’s Aiden up to?”
Andrew swallowed some coffee and said, “Sorting shit. They got em doing grunt work. You know how the dads are… you gotta learn it from the ground up.” He shook his head. “At least we’re not broke anymore.”
It was true, the dads had reinstated their allowances and more, actually much more. It was weird, but somewhere between the twins’ junior and senior years in high school, they grew up. It was almost like one day they were the oversexed, irritating little shits they had been their whole lives, then suddenly they weren’t. I can still remember Alex and Larry looking at the twins when they first started making non-penis oriented decisions, then looking at each other and shaking their heads. It was indeed amazing.
Andrew smeared blackberry preserves on a piece of whole wheat toast, took a bite and said, “So, what’s Connie coming for?”
I sighed. “My office. Alex is determined that I’m gonna learn business, and he’s kinda pushing me in that direction.”
Andrew stared at me for a second and said, “Bullshit! You love it. I saw how you got when you were putting together the whole Italian thing. Even Nick said you did it as well as he could have.”
“That’s because I went whining to him with every problem. Basically, all the solutions were his. Anyway, that’s what Connie’s coming for. She’s got some guy she wants me to hire, and there’s people bringing furniture and shit... the whole nine yards. I was thinking I could run everything from the office here at home, but there’s no way they’re gonna let that happen.”
He grinned at me. “Of course not, you little shit! And you shouldn’t want to. Run it like you mean it. Besides, whether you want to deal with it or not, there’s basically no way you can fail, because there’s no way Alex would let that happen. So relax and enjoy it.”
“I just have this image of myself sitting in an office and staring at the walls.”
Andrew got up, put his dishes in the sink, then walked over and draped an arm across my shoulders. Both of the twins have a slight ‘electrical’ smell. That sounds like it’d be bad, but it’s actually insanely masculine. They both know that of course… and use it. I’ve seen girls react dramatically to it - and frankly, I do too.
“If that happens, you lock your office door, bring up some porn on the ole laptop and beat off.” Then he kissed the top of my head. Well, I guess it would be one solution - the image of Nick in his boxer briefs immediately popped into my head.
Normally, I’m a shorts, tee shirt, and flip-flops kinda guy in the summer, but I can’t wear that to pick up Connie. I mean she’s practically my grandmother. Well, not really, but I’ve known her my whole life, and it seems like she was always the person I went to when I wasn’t sure how my dads would react to whatever dumbass thing I’d just done. I could always talk to her, and she’d run interference for me. And even now, I just don’t want to disappoint her. So, I ended up with light tan khaki pants, a light blue button-down shirt, and tan loafers.
I showed it to my security guy, Jeff. “You think this looks okay?”
He looked me up and down, grinned and said, “Why not add that light brown sport jacket, the silk one with the blue in it?” A good idea.
I hate it when someone says that someone else is not as young as they used to be; because, what the hell, nobody is as young as they used to be, but it was what I was thinking when I saw Connie walk down the steps of my dad’s plane. I guess she always seemed kind of old to me, but in the last two years, she’d begun to really look old, but she was still sharp as a tack, which is another thing everyone always says.
Another good thing about Connie is I’m actually taller than she is by about two inches. I wrapped my arms around her and kind of air kissed the side of her head. She was dressed in a cream-colored silk pants suit and, aside from the age thing, she looked great. Connie is one of those people who have a look about them. My grandpa David has that look too. It’s like you can just tell by looking at them that you don’t want to fuck with them. I guess Mark has that look, too; but it’s for a different reason. With Mark, you can sense the violence, and it warns you away. Not that he’s ever been violent towards me or anyone really, but I have seen men take one look at him and stop dead in their tracks. I guess Larry has a little bit of that, too. He’s aggressive, and when he’s around the right person, it’s almost like he can’t wait for some sort of contest. But with Larry, that mostly gets worked out in a courtroom. And now that I think of it, the twins and Nick have that look, too. Like if they had a choice of talking it out or fighting it out, they’d pick the latter. Shit! Am I the only person on the planet without that look?
Connie pulled her head back from our embrace, and her gold earrings flashed in the morning sun. She laughed and said, “I miss you so much!” She squeezed my upper arms. “I have no one to mother anymore.”
“You’ve got the twins! They need a mother.”
She laughed. “I’m not so sure the twins need anyone beyond each other.” It was easy to get that feeling with the twins; but I knew that deep down, they did need other people.
She said, “They need you, Chris. In a way, you’re their mother.”
I sighed. “I guess, in a way.”
Then I must have caught movement out of the corner of my eye and glanced up the stairs to the door of the plane. A man was standing there; he looked about thirty or so, and was dressed in a light tan summer suit - and he had light brown hair that was combed in a normal, adult male way. He seemed so calm in that moment, so relaxed and sure of himself, but then everyone seemed that way to me… everyone except me. Everyone else always seemed to know exactly what they wanted and how to get it – I was the only Gordian knot of self-doubt of whom I was aware.
Connie turned and said, “Jack, this is Christopher Bending.” Then to me, “Chris, this is the man I’d like you to meet, Jack McFarland.” The man did two things at once, he smiled with his mouth, but his eyes seemed to crinkle up in a type of worry, but only for the slightest fraction of a second, then he loped quickly down the stairs in the athletic way that some men do.
When he hit the ground, we shook hands. His hand was warm, dry, and strong… stronger than I would have guessed. He was wearing those small rectangular wire glasses and looked like a young college professor. He smelled faintly of soap, and of the hair spray that he must have used this morning, but his hair was short and perfectly trimmed.
He grinned at me and said, “It’s great to meet you, Mr. Bending. Connie has been telling me what you’d like to accomplish with your new company, and I’d like to help.” Me? Accomplish? New company?
I glanced quickly at Connie, but she just smiled slightly, pursed her lips and shifted her weight from one foot to the other.
She touched my arm and said, “Let’s take a look and see how far along they’ve gotten with the offices.” She hooked her hand in my arm as we turned and said, “Jack knows everything about running complex offices. He was the office manager at Dillon, Kohl and Ritter…right here in Milwaukee.”
“Oh, okay, but who…?”
She glanced at me quickly. “The biggest law firm in the city, Chris. And he has connections.” She sighed. “But we can talk about all that later.”
The office building was about four miles away, and ended up taking twenty minutes. It was a ten story building right across from a big enclosed shopping mall, but fortunately its parking was totally separate. My office was on the sixth floor. This wasn’t the first time I’d been here; but before, there had been nothing here, just concrete floors and steel beams. All that was changed now, and walls had been put up. There were electricians running wires, carpet layers laying carpet, a crew of guys putting up wood paneling, and a team of what appeared to be decorators staring at a blank wall.
Connie pulled me over to an office in the corner of the building. “This is your office. Of course, the decorators haven’t been here yet.” She gripped my arm. “The thing is, Chris, you need to take more space than this. This will grow, and by then you won’t be able to get more space without moving. I’d double what you’re thinking.”
Jack had wandered over to where the men were working, probably so Connie could talk to me alone. He looks so neat in that suit - I should have worn a suit.
I shoved my hands into my pockets and sighed. “Connie, I dunno what I’m thinking. Actually, I’m not thinking anything. Do you guys really think I can make doing all this worthwhile? You know, that Italian thing was my one good idea, and it wasn’t even my idea, it was Mrs. Colby’s.”
She looked at me hard for a split second, then smiled. “Chris, this is nickels and dimes. It doesn’t matter what this costs. But the thing is I think you’re selling yourself short. But let’s say, just for the moment, that you’re right. So what? So you come here in the morning and think. How does that hurt anyone? Call your friend Michael, maybe he’s got some ideas.”
When Connie had wandered off to yell at the interior decorators, Jack sauntered casually over to me, looked me in the eye, smiled and said, “I left that law firm because they were driving me crazy. You have no idea what being around three hundred lawyers all day can do to you.” He glanced quickly downward, then back up. “The thing is I’ve got three kids that I never saw, because there was always something that needed to be done at eight o’clock at night, or four o’clock on Saturday morning. I couldn’t take it anymore. Anyway,” he grinned a little sheepishly, “the point of me telling you that… well, really there’s two points. First, you need to know it. I wouldn’t let you hire someone without me first knowing that stuff. The second point is nobody is as good as they think they should be. Everyone is just a person, doing what they can. Connie didn’t tell me all that much, but I can pretty much get what they want you to do, or try to do, and the thing is it’s not that difficult. The money is the hard part, and you’ve got that. The rest… well, it’s really just thinking things through, then putting one foot in front of the other…one step at a time.”
I said softly, “Tell me about your kids.”
His face lit up and he sighed, then smiled and said, “Three beautiful little girls, eight, seven and three.” He laughed and shook his head. “They drive me crazy, too. But in an amazing way.”
I took a deep breath and waved around at the chaos. “Connie says I should double the amount of space we’ve got.”
He nodded. “At least, but things can be arranged with the building owners; but yes, she’s right.”
I said, “Could you get all this organized?”
He said softly, “Yes. It’s not as complicated as it may look.”
I held out my hand and said, “When can you start?” I mean, what was the point of waiting? I knew that Connie would have investigated the guy as totally as possible, and there was something there, something I was sensing, maybe a goodness to him.