Catalina Cherries
by Joe Butterman

 

Chapter 12: Luncheon

We were still having breakfast when an excited Gary arrived at my house. He had a proposal: since he would soon be going to Japan, and since summer was almost over, could I spend the night with him tonight; he had already put up a tent in the backyard and his Mom was all for it if it was okay with my Grandparents – Miss Jean had steaks and everything for us to eat. This proposal was delivered with breathless enthusiasm and was addressed to my Grandparents and not to me; my agreement was apparently taken for granted. I think this mode of delivery greatly amused Grand Belle, for she had no objections to offer and beamed at Gary the entire time. My Grandfather, however, was no push over, “Will Master MacCrimmon be there?”

“Nossir! He’s been grounded for drinkin’ and fightin’,” Gary replied the picture of innocence. “The tent’s already up and everything,” he concluded as if they might have missed this important detail the first time around.

“And there will be no liquor, is that correct?” My Grandfather was really concerned about this and I was not envying Johnny the talking-to he was going to receive on this issue. Gary was a picture of dignified affront, “My Dad would kill me if anything like that happened,” he assured my grandfather, who, with the tiniest hint of a smile, decided that the proposed adventure would be “fine by me”.

“Great,” Gary enthused and was off to Roberto’s to obtain permission for him to join us. We finished breakfast.

Grand Belle and I were just finishing the dishes when Roberto and Gary arrived to collect me. Gary had arrived there during breakfast and had joined them for some huevos rancheros for his second breakfast of the morning. Roberto also had permission to join us.

We were on time to Emily’s; we had dressed in our usual outfit because Mr. Smith had suggested it; we would after all, be eating at his home. Emily’s Buick was waiting in the driveway and we were told to put our bikes in the backyard, Victoria was concerned they might be stolen if they were left in the front; I rather doubted that they were in any danger, but if you concede on little issues, it’s sometimes easier to make progress on matters that are important.

The ladies, quite correctly, took the front seat, and I intentionally maneuvered into the middle in the back, so one hand could wander over Roberto, while the other could play on Gary. The drive was long as we wound into the low hills that some of the locals actually called “mountains.” It was a beautiful drive and all of the windows of the Buick were down so we had a warm breeze on us throughout. I complimented Emily on her driving which was really pretty good for a girl. Victoria and Gary exchanged information about his trip. She didn’t have much to say about Japan, but was very familiar with Hawaii and the Philippines. I asked Emily about the people at the Art Gallery, who seemed a little odd to me. She said that the lady was very nice and was trying to become an artist, but she didn’t care much for shirtsleeves either, and reminded me to avoid photographers. The way she said this seemed to mean that I should beware of shirtsleeves, so I filed him away with asshole Dave and would now feel free to be rude to him. Roberto seemed a little uneasy about our current adventure; I suggested that there was a world waiting out there for us to conquer, “Mi tesoro.” He smiled and pecked me on the cheek.

At length, we pulled into a drive in front of an imposing house. A tall fence stretched away from the house and the garage. It was a huge lot, but it looked to mostly enclose the natural growth of the hill: manzanita, red oak, millions of California poppies, and assorted wild grasses that were brown, now, from the summer. The house didn’t have a proper lawn; instead there was a mass of ivy, surrounded by a low brick retaining wall, where the lawn should have been. Sprinkler heads stuck-up through the ivy every few feet. All in all, it was really ugly.

“Whadda’ ya think about this ivy?” I asked Roberto. We stood together and regarded it.

“Well,” he considered it, “I don’t think it’s somethin’ I’d plant for a front yard.” We followed everyone up the brick walkway that led to the front doors.

“What do these guys do?” I inquired of Emily.

“Mr. Smith is an investment banker, and Mr. St. Clair is an attorney. I’m sure you’ll love their art collection,” she told me reassuringly. She rang the doorbell.

The door was opened almost instantly by a young man, who stepped back as he opened wide the door, as for expected guests. He was really quite handsome.

“Good morning, Joshua,” Emily greeted him.

“Miss Covington, Miss Willoughby,” he replied. I was looking forward to being introduced and had been studying him covertly. He was about Dave’s age, possibly a little more, he had beautiful thick blond hair, with a high part, that permitted it to fall in waves on both sides of his face; his eyebrows were light and arched over his blue eyes, his nose was slender and finely shaped, and his lips were absolutely beautiful. He was wearing a little white jacket that buttoned up to his throat, white shorts, and no shoes. The most striking feature, though, were his freckles, which really enhanced his beauty and made him seem impish. We weren’t introduced.

“The gentlemen are on the veranda,” he remarked, as he led us through the house, taking the ladies bags and putting them on a table near the dining room. As we got to the veranda, I saw the lunch table, and pulled Roberto back to me and whispered, “They’ve got more silver on that table than the law’ll allow. Don’t touch anything until you see which one I pick-up.” He nodded.

The gentlemen had risen to greet us; they shook hands with the ladies and Emily introduced Gary to them, then Roberto and I shook hands with them. Mr. Smith was wearing cream-colored slacks and a summer shirt of a very light green. He had another one of his stupid little scarves on, though the color was right. Mr. St. Clair was clearly in an ebullient mood; he was comfortably attired in white shorts, a multi-colored summer shirt, and light moccasins. Both of them were drinking what appeared to be white wine in very tall, stemmed glasses. I sniffed with disapproval, but only Roberto saw me and I didn’t say anything. There was a bottle in a silver ice bucket on a small table between their chairs on the veranda. Victoria joined them with a glass of wine, Joshua brought iced tea for Emily, Roberto and I selected cokes and Gary had a Seven Up. I pointedly thanked Joshua for my drink and made eye contact with him. Beautiful eyes, a beautiful young man.

I then made a point of admiring the back yard. Unlike the front, this was beautifully done, and there was a huge and glorious swimming pool just down from the veranda. It had a diving board, there appeared to be a dressing house beside it, and there were statues of nude men all along one side of the pool. I thought one of them was of the Jewish king that my Grandfather though so poorly of. Mr. St. Clair came up behind me and asked if I’d like to see the pool. I agreed at once, Roberto and I followed him down the steps to the pool. Gary was deep in conversation with Mr. Smith on matters maritime, Mr. Smith had made several crossings of the Atlantic on various liners and was trying to establish this as common grounds with the son of a destroyer captain. Mr. St. Clair introduced us to the statues. He hastened to assure us that they were not antiques, but had been done for them by an artist they knew in Los Angeles. He introduced us to Hadrian, bearded and ferocious, naked save for a cloak over his shoulders, holding a scabbarded sword in one hand, hilt to the front, an Emperor of Rome; next was Antinous, a beautiful boy with flowing hair, similar to Roberto’s, he too was naked. Mr. St. Clair explained that Antinous was Hadrian’s lover, that Hadrian had been one of the best of the Roman Emperors, but the world didn’t like to hear about Antinous. Next was the beautiful David (I would never again refer to him as that “Jewish king”) preparing to fight Goliath. Last was another handsome young man with a cloak over one arm, otherwise bare, who was introduced as Alcibiades, a great soldier and sailor, beloved of the great philosopher Socrates, this romance, too being downplayed by history.

I was strangely moved by these men, looking across the ages; they had all moved their world, and they had all loved men. For the first time, I think, I was distinctly aware that I was not a man made for women. I was not the first such man, and I wouldn’t be the last. That part of me which is practical noted that Gary had been right. None of them were circumcised. Joshua came by and silently communicated to Mr. St. Clair that it was time for lunch.

“Let’s go to lunch,” he smiled pleasantly, and off we went.

“Did David love men too Mr. St. Clair,” I wondered as we climbed the steps; I knew that Bobbin didn’t care for him much – could that be the reason?

“You’d make me happy if you’d call me ‘Tony’, Carlos, Roberto. I don’t know the answer to that. It’s certainly possible, he got around a lot; but it doesn’t seem too likely, after all, he sent another woman’s husband into the front line of battle, then left him there, where he knew he’d be killed, so that he could chase his wife, who had just become a widow. But the sculptor who did the original statue, Michelangelo, certainly was, and that’s what’s of real importance.” I pondered this.

At table, Mr. Smith had become “Walt” to Gary and that was good enough for me to call him that too. They were still having a wonderful time failing to communicate on nautical affairs. Walt couldn’t remember exactly how many miles the Queen Mary had transited on a given day, so Gary was unable to compute the average speed of the liner. Strangely vital was this information.

The first course was cold potato soup. I was chatting with Tony about Alcibiades and missed the name when Victoria complemented our hosts on “how lovely” it was; this was of little import, as I doubt I’ll ever be ordering it. Somehow, cold soup lacks legitimacy to me. The soupspoon was no problem for Roberto among the serried ranks of silver. Then there was a wonderful shrimp cocktail with the lemon wedges in their own diapers. Alcibiades was in big trouble in Syracuse and Roberto had the right fork. Alcibiades seemed long on war and short on romance, so I asked about Hadrian and Antinous. This was a much better story. A spinach salad appeared and I toyed with my salad fork until Roberto had picked-up his. Hadrian was already the emperor, and didn’t like his wife at all; then he met Antinous and they fell in love and went touring all around the empire together. The main course was veal alla Marsala with asparagus tips as the vegetable. I just had to touch the entrée fork and Roberto was on it. Hadrian and Antinous were hunting a ferocious lion; Antinous slew the lion and saved the emperor as the veal disappeared. This was an enchanting lunch and the food was good too. An interesting cake appeared for dessert, it was a golden brown and was identified as “ricotta cake.” I insisted on coffee, so of course Roberto and Gary had to have it too. The cake was perfection, rich and light at the same time. I sipped my coffee black, but decided that was going to take some work and added cream and sugar. So did Roberto and Gary. While all of this was going on, Hadrian and Antinous had gone to Egypt, where Antinous had drowned in the Nile under very suspicious circumstances. This was horrible. Hadrian grieved desperately and never fully recovered. But the Imperial astronomers named a star in the sky for Antinous, so he shines on us to this day.

As Joshua cleared the table, Walt asked us if we would like to go swimming. The three of us looked at him as if he were mad. In the silence, and given our looks, he seemed unsure of himself, “It’s a beautiful day.” He obviously didn’t understand.

“We’d love to swim, but we can’t just yet, thank you,” I explained matter-of-factly. Now they all seemed confused.

“It’s not time yet,” Gary elaborated, “has ta be an hour after eating.” This seemed to mystify rather than clarify. It was time to begin at the beginning.

“You hafta wait a half hour or so after eating before swimming,” I began.

“Miss Jean says an hour,” Gary interjected.

“Else we’ll get cramps and drown, or maybe even polio,” I carried on. Then, to Gary, “But the Commander says a half hour for us cuz we digest fast.” I looked gravely at Tony, “Do you suppose that’s what happened to Antinous?” He smiled and thought that was as good a possibility as any other, then he asked, “Perhaps you’d like to see some of our other art while you digest?” I thought this was an excellent idea. As we got up, I noted that we’d only used about forty percent of the silverware that had been arrayed for lunch. Apparently, full service was the proper service regardless of the menu.

Walt stayed with Victoria and Emily on the veranda, signaling Joshua for more drinks; the rest of us followed Tony into the house. He led us to a huge living room that was very comfortably furnished, but was crammed. Sculpture was scattered throughout the room, on the floor, on stands, on tables; there were pictures on most of the available wall space. One wall was mostly doors and windows that opened onto the veranda with a great view of the pool and the backyard. There were oriental rugs on the tiled floor. One hung on a wall with clear pride of place; it was patterned in birds and grapevines. I noticed a grandfather clock on one wall and checked the time; I really did want to swim. My attention was immediately drawn to a bronze sculpture in the center of the room on an ornate table. A young boy was attempting to control a fractious horse. I noticed first that the boy was naked; then I noticed that the horse was a stallion. I couldn’t even imagine trying to deal with an angry stallion while naked, but the sculpture was superb, somehow capturing the calm determination of the boy, and the fear and frustration of the stallion.

“Do you like it,” Tony wondered.

“Very much. It’s beautiful. Is it telling a story?”

“Yes, actually, and a true one. The boy is Alexander and the horse is Boukephalos,” as if that explained everything. I looked the question.

“Ah,” began Tony. “Alexander the Third, known as the Great. Have you heard of him?”

“Just a little, and I think there’s a picture of him in my old Book of Knowledge, but that’s all.”

“Well, let me tell you a little bit,” he gathered himself looking at the sculpture. “This is about Alexander and his horse. The horse was brought for his Father, the king, to buy as a warhorse; but it had been mistreated or something and would let no one near him, his Father would have none of it, and Alexander asked to try. His Father finally agreed thinking that Alexander would get thrown and learn a lesson; but Alexander talked to the horse, maybe not with words, but somehow, and Boukephalos let him ride him. Alexander loved this horse, and rode him in battle and took care of him all his life. When Boukephalos finally died, Alexander named a city for him and buried him with all the honor due a great friend.” This was the greatest story yet. If you’ve ever loved a horse, you know what a great story it is. Roberto and Gary were wandering around looking at stuff, so I called them over and had Tony tell the story again. They were enchanted too. Then Tony went on to tell us of Hephaistion, who was Alexander’s friend and lover from boyhood until death.

“And it’s all true?” I was beyond enthralled; it seemed much too good to be true.

“Oh yes,” Tony assured us, “we have lost some of the detail, but the basic truth is as I’ve told you.”

“Do you have anything else with Alexander or Hephaistion?” I wanted more of the story and more imagery to go with it. Tony said he had a few coins, and he showed them to us in a small velvet-lined case. They all showed a profile of Alexander and he was a handsome young man.

“What of Hephaistion?”

“No, certainly no coins, only the King was on the coins. But they were supposed to look very much alike. When they captured the Persian King’s mother, she bowed to Hephaistion first, and Alexander said it was okay, because ‘he’s Alexander too’.” Gary thought this was all great, but it was time to go swimming now. I followed them out, more slowly, my mind still grappling with the greatness of Alexander. I caught Tony on the edge of the veranda, you should have a picture of Alexander and Hephaistion.”

When I got down to the pool, Gary was already naked and on the diving board testing its spring. Roberto was no where to be seen and I assumed he was in the dressing room, I headed in that direction; Gary did a nice dive, but he splashed a lot more than was usual, he didn’t have the spring of the board quite figured out yet. Roberto emerged from the dressing room and entered the pool with a clean racing dive and I was in the pool only moments later. We did some laps on the surface and some underwater. Gary continued to work on his dive until he was making it as cleanly as he would in his own pool. I dragged Roberto onto the board and taught him how to jump into the water from a sinking ship; he practiced this several times between Gary’s dives. Gary also did a very nice jack knife, but I thought the swan dive the more sensual. I picked a recliner on the side of the pool and relaxed to enjoy the view. Tony and Walt were watching the swimming from their veranda; I couldn’t see the ladies. They were probably further back in the shade.

Joshua appeared beside me to inquire if I’d like something to drink.

“Hi Joshua, I’m Carlos,” I replied, “I suppose we’re not to shake hands or anything, is that right?”

He nodded, “Mainly because the ladies are here. They like me to be ‘proper’ when they have guests. I mean, ya know, ladies. Otherwise, they’d just as soon I’m naked just like you guys.”

“That’s neat,” I observed. Roberto came-up dripping and pulled another recliner close.

“Roberto, Joshua can’t shake hands cuz he’s s’posed to be ‘proper’ when girls are here.” Roberto smiled.

“I’m gonna get you guys some iced teas, if that’s okay, then we can chat some more,” and Joshua went toward the house. Gary was still diving, though he was trying a new dive now that I didn’t recognize.

When Joshua came back, he had three iced teas on a tray, with another silver ice bucket that had two cokes and two Seven Ups on ice. I asked Joshua if he “liked working here?” He said it was great, he lived here and had his own room, he had the use of the station wagon; he was taking two college courses; he had Wednesday off, but could get other time off when needed. Tony and Walt paid for his college, he didn’t have any other real expenses and they paid him fifty dollars a week. All this information came from one rather simple question; I would never have asked him how much money he made.

“What all else do ya hafta do?” Roberto had been digesting this flood of information and was, I guess, curious.

“Not much, I usually fix breakfast and have coffee ready every morning; I do some neatening-up and stuff, but they have a maid who does all the real cleaning once a week.” It sounded great. Gary came up and Joshua opened and gave him the requested Seven Up and we brought him up to date on Joshua’s circumstances.

Roberto wasn’t finished, “Ya said they like for ya to be naked. What else do ya hafta do?”

Joshua grinned hugely. “The sex is just fun. Sometimes we all go to bed together; but mostly they do it with each other; sometimes one of them will blow me, and sometimes I blow them. They’re really good guys. They’re sweet and generous and there’s no rough stuff at all.” We began to digest all of this, knowing it was a whole new world.

“We should all go to the beach sometime,” Gary suggested. We all agreed that this was a good idea and Gary gave him his phone number and told him how to get through Miss Jean, who would almost certainly answer the phone, Joshua gave Gary his phone number, too. I had a zillion more questions for Joshua, but the girls were calling from the veranda, it was time to go.

We thanked Walt and Tony for a wonderful lunch; they asked us to come and visit them again. Tony wanted to know about the jump that I’d been showing to Roberto on the diving board. I told him that was the Navy way to jump off a sinking ship.

“Gary taught me. You never know, ya know.” I asked if he knew more of the story of Alexander and Hephaistion, or if he knew any good books about them that I should be on the lookout for. He said he would give it some thought, and hoped to see me again before the end of the summer. I smiled goodbye to Joshua.

On the drive home, I told the girls about the art collection I’d just discovered, and told them that I suggested that they needed a picture of Alexander and Hephaistion. Emily thought it was wonderful that I was helping Tony realize there were some gaps in his collection. She said he’d asked her if she had any experience painting horses. I told her all about Alexander, Boukephalos, and Hephaistion. Roberto ran his hand up the leg of my shorts and played with me while I was sharing all this information. But we were very discreet. In order to give Roberto more room to play in my shorts, I put my other leg firmly up against Gary and kept it there for most of the drive.

As we were biking towards Gary’s, I thought it would be a good idea to stop at my Grandparent’s to assure them that we were back from “helping” Roberto and the ladies, and would be on our way to Gary’s as agreed. Roberto thought this a good idea, so I told Gary we’d be there in a few minutes and we peeled-off. When we got to Gary’s he was practicing his dives’ Miss Jean was busy in the kitchen, and the Commander was at her desk in the living room with a stack of papers. I asked her if her patients never let her rest, and she smiled and said it wasn’t the patients, it was “administration.” Roberto and I joined Gary in the pool. We only swam for a few minutes and then gathered on chairs and loungers beside the pool. I wanted to talk about what to do when Johnny was free on Sunday. I felt that his Mom was going to want to keep tabs on him and I thought maybe we could arrange to camp out in his backyard a few times, so that she knew where everyone was, but he was with us. Roberto also thought that the Astimendi’s house might be useful. Johnny could help him out a little, and there would be his sister there, and it was next door to my house where Grand Belle usually was. We needed for his Mom to think that everything was under control so she didn’t send him away. We decided we’d better include Johnny in our conversations as soon as we could.

Then it was time for dinner. We were, of course, required to get dressed for this meal. It was quite good: steak, baked potatoes with all the toppings, tossed green salad, apple pie a la mode for dessert. Miss Jean dined with us and the talk was largely of Gary’s pending departure, which was scheduled for a week from Saturday. Miss Jean left to catch a bus for a visit with her sister after dinner and the rest of us went out by the pool to enjoy the sunset and the early evening.

The Commander thought that we would probably want to go for a nighttime swim and told us to be sure to turn the light on, when we were in the pool, and off when we were done; she told us that we were to go to sleep at a reasonable hour, she thought 2200 hours (ten pm) would be fine. She did not say this with any great determination, but did tell us that we would be up for breakfast. She went back to administration. Gary turned the pool light on and the effect was great: the pool gleamed greenish gold in contrast to the darkness all around and seemed every bit as inviting at night as in the day. We swam for a few minutes, but we were all ready for bed, if not necessarily for sleep. We make a show of bidding the Commander good night clad in the pajama bottoms that Gary had provided.

In the tent, the bottoms came off, and we sat in a circle, kissing and caressing one another. Gary had an idea: he thought it would be swell if we all fucked at the same time and, since it was his idea, he wanted to be in the middle. I grabbed the lotion and appointed myself applier of lotion. I made Gary kneel in the middle of the tent and licked his boner and his balls, I smeared lotion all over them and rubbed it in, I’d massaged him so thoroughly, that a lot of the lotion was absorbed, so I had to put great gobs more on him. I applied the lotion to his butt and stuck my finger a little way into him as a sort of preparation. Roberto was kneeling too, and I gave him the same careful treatment; he was hot and hard and I thoroughly enjoyed this process. Gary lay on his side and Roberto lay behind him and gently spooned into him. Gary gasped with pleasure and murmured as Roberto entered him. I knelt where they could see my butt, and liberally applied the lotion to me; I kinda made a big production of this, looking over my shoulder at them as I did it, but it was pretty dim in the tent and I don’t think they really paid me too much attention, so I lay down, scooted up against Gary, and helped him enter me. Gary was trying to thrust, but he couldn’t move very far or he would lose Roberto, so I had great control of how he entered me, and this was super. First I only let the tip of his boner into me, then I would slide back a little, taking a little more of him, and so on. I was luxuriating in all of these sensations as he moved deeper within me. He felt great up there and both he and Roberto were clutching me to them. I pressed Gary all the way into me and tried to slow him down by tightening my grip on him. I could hear Roberto moaning softly too. I really didn’t want this to end. Gary, I think, was being overwhelmed by having Roberto fucking him, while he was deep in me, and he started shuddering, cuming, gasping, “yes! Yes! Yes!” as he stiffened with passion between us. He was still moving slightly against me, even when he was stiff and still having just cum, because Roberto was still thrusting into him with a steady rhythm. Normally, I would have left him in me until he was almost soft enough to slip out; but I was hard, hot, and jutting fiercely. I kept him in me for a little longer as I applied lotion to my boner; I gave him a few more squeezes with my butt, and then slipped out of him and around behind Roberto so that I could enter him. As Roberto moved in Gary, I slid into position and matched my movement to him, just sliding in his crack for several thrusts, but he reached around to grab my cock and I let him insert me in him, then I moved with him and slid deeper and deeper into him. I pumped in unison with Roberto, then picked up the tempo as I heard him gasp and felt him shudder with release into Gary. It was my turn to grasp the two of them to me as strongly as I could with one arm. “Te amo mi tesoro,” I panted into Roberto’s ear as I thrust, and pulled, and thrust again. I wanted to slow down and prolong it, but the heat got the better of me and I came way too fast. Now we were all ready to relax in that great tranquility that follows the fire of passion. I slid my hand down between Roberto and Gary and hugged him to me. I nuzzled his neck, glowed in his warmth, savored his smell, and the silken touch of his back, with the light film of perspiration and lotion all that was between us. “Angel…mi amor,” I whispered in his ear.

I thought it was all pretty magical. When first I met, almost instantly I started calling him “Berto.” But then I fell in love with him, and “Berto” would no longer do. I started calling him “Roberto” again. A mix, I guess, of love and respect. Growing slowly softer, deep within him, surrounded by love, I fell asleep.

 

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