“It’s about time you two showed up. I was beginning to think one of you got stuck.” Oggie grinned, glancing around to see who might be listening.
Blushing, both boys glanced at each other then at Oggie. “If you’re really interested, we both did.”
It was Oggie’s turn to blush, “La . . . la . . . la . . . la,” he said, covering his ears. “Remind me to thank Jim for that when we get home.”
“So, are you trashed or are we still going to the mall?” Nick said, looking at the three empty beer bottles in front of Oggie and the one in his hand.
“Oh, only two of those are mine. Ran into a very nice young lady, the other two are hers.”
“Oh?” Nick said, perking up a little, his sweet grin now on his face. “So why didn’t you sneak off for a little bit? We would have waited.”
“Uh, not everyone can take care of things as fast as you one minute managers.”
“Hey! We like to take our time with things too! You’re the one in a hurry. You give us an hour, we have an hour to work with. Give us a week . . . we can do that too.” Nick grinned.
“Ya, we may need some Chapstick or something, but we can do it. Want to see?” Ty said, scooting closer to Nick and started to nibble on his ear lobe.
“No, uh no, I believe you. Oh! Look at the time. We better run if we want to make the mall.” Oggie said, putting a finger in the air and looking around for the barmaid.
Nick was giggling under Ty’s administrations and Ty was watching Oggie from the corner of his eye, squirming with some amusement too.
“Right, let’s get you some clothes and a swim suit.”
“Speedos? Dude, everyone will see my wood.”
“Yeah, what’s your point?”
“Well, it’s ok for you and like Oggie, but we’re talking other people who may not be like us. They may be like the bus driver.”
“Fuck them. This one is sexy. Look, snow white against your dark skin, with a red stripe like the Nike logo across your front. What’s not to like? And tight, like a second skin.”
“That’s the part I have a problem with. What happens when I am looking at you and that second skin gets bigger and harder looking at you?”
“Then everyone is envious of me! Simple enough isn’t it? Yes, I think I like this one.”
“Well I think I like the baggy ones. You know you have to think about Oggie. I don’t want to embarrass him.”
“Pa will support us no matter what.”
“Yeah, but why put him in a position to have to defend anybody? He has to make money too, ya know. What if one of these jack-asses is a bus driver? You know what I mean? I don’t think you are thinking about how this makes Oggie look.”
“Maybe your right. Look, we’ll get this one for tomorrow and the white one for when we are alone.”
“Nick, it’s forty-five bucks and when we’re alone I don’t need any!”
“Alright! Then just get your baggies. I don’t care.”
“Yes, you do. Come on now. Don’t be angry, please?” Ty said, moving against him and wrapping his arm around him in the white Speedos and kissing him. Nick turned and pulled him by his perfectly formed boy buns tightly against his own.
“Wow, down boy. We’re in like, a public place, you know? A store where other people are.”
“You knew me when you started this,” Nick said through his grin. “Besides, we aren’t likely to have visitors in the changing room.” Nick rocked his hips forward once letting him feel his hardness against his own and then started making little kisses on the lower part of his neck. Ty squirmed.
“Ok, stop now before you get something started that we have to finish!” Ty stepped back from him, looking down. His young boy cock bulging against the now very tight front. “See!” Ty said, looking down.
Nick smiled when he saw the small wet spot forming from his pre-cum on the front. “Looks like we have a winner! So, should we just take these then, or do you want both pairs?”
“Damn it. You knew it was going to do that.”
“No, but I’m glad it did. Look, just take this one. Forget the baggies. Forget the bus driver. I guarantee that anyone who looks at you in this is going to get hard. Hell, even the ladies would get hard looking at you in this. It is so . . . sexy. My God, you’re hot.”
“Right,” Ty said, opening the door and pushing Nick out. “Now go get yours. And it better not be baggies or you’re a dead man!” He looked down and peeled off the second layer of skin with its wet spot and all. ‘Damn, I hope it’s a guy at the check out.’ Ty thought to himself.
“Wow, that’s our ride? A Hummer?” Ty was beside himself. “Saweeet!”
“I guess so. That’s our driver and he is holding the door open for us so . . . yeah, I think it’s safe to assume that’s what we’re going in.” Oggie grinned
“Shotgun!” Ty hollered, putting his hand up. Oggie laughed as he said, “Over your young, dead, body. Get in the back with the other one. You guys can make whoopee in the back on the way out.”
“We can?” Nick said, grinning.
“No. I just said that so I can ride shotgun.” Oggie laughed at the boys groans as he chivvied them into the back. He climbed into the front seat and was surprised at how little room there was inside. The seats wrapped around you and were really comfortable.
“Okay, ready to go back there? Seat belts on?” the driver asked. “I’m Chuck, so if you need anything, just holler. There is a little fridge back there with snacks and such. Keep your hands off the beer! That’s for your dad. Help yourselves to the soft drinks and snacks. There is a cooler with sandwiches for when we get on site. It’s about a forty-five minute drive, so if we’re all ready, Mr. Castle? Young Castles?”
Oggie proffered his hand to Chuck, “Just call me Oggie and the blonde kid is Nick and the scrawny cute one is . . . Hey kid, what did you say your name was again?”
Nick giggled. “That’s Ty, Chuck. You’ll have to forgive dad, he’s got CRS.”
“CRS?” Chuck inquired.
“Yeah, Can’t Remember Shit!” Nick said through his laugh. A hand reached over the back of the seat and grabbed a knee and began tickling Nick.
“You little shit!” Oggie bellowed as Chuck pulled out onto the street and entered the freeway. They drove a great distance toward the east, away from the beaches. When they exited the freeway, Chuck spoke again. “This is the last stop before the site. If anyone has to use the facilities, then this is the time. After this, you find a tree.” They all filed out and into the convenience store. Chuck stretched and paced slowly while ablutions were carried out.
“You look like something’s bothering you Chuck. Everything alright?” Oggie tested the waters.
“Yeah, it’s just that I had this thing detailed two days ago and it rained out here last night. I’m anticipating another detail job at ninety bucks. And seeing as though I just had one the company isn’t likely to reimburse me for it.”
“Well, if Karen is sending you out there, then she should cover that. If it get’s muddy, I’ll vouch for the fact it was on her gig. No worries.”
“Thanks Oggie. That’s huge.”
“Hey guys, ready to go? Climb in.” Oggie said, getting back into his seat. “Look guys, when we get out there, watch the mud would ya? Chuck just had this thing detailed and it rained out here last night.”
“Sure Pa, no problem. Right Ty?”
“Yeah, no problem Oggie. I mean, come on, we’re not kids ya know.”
Oggie looked at chuck, “Let me apologize in advance. I think you’re screwed.”
The back seat erupted in jeers and complaints. Chuck and Oggie laughed as he turned off the main road onto a dirt drive. A sign by the road said, “Future Home of the Sandburg Gallery.”
Chuck came to a stop. “This is it. I’m supposed to give you this plot so you can see the boundaries of the property,” he said, pulling a folded paper from under the seat. “It’s all you from here. I don’t know anything about reading these things.”
“No problem, this part I got. Come on guys, let’s take a walk. I usually like to walk the perimeter. You know, see what the canvas looks like.”
“What exactly are we looking for pa?”
“Well, we are looking to see what would look good in this spot. You know, a square building with a few windows. A round building all in glass. An odd shaped building with both. It can be anything we dream of, provided of course, we can sell the client on it and fit it into the budget.”
They followed the surveyor’s markings as they entered a corner of the property that was heavily wooded. The sunlight sifted into beams of light by the great tall trees. A small creek formed by the rain the day before trickled along and they saw a bobcat drinking. It saw them and retreated into the brush.
“Did you see that? What was it?”
“It was a bobcat. I didn’t even know they had any of those down this low,” Nick said, going over to look at the prints. “It’s a female, too!”
“How can you tell it was a boy or a girl by looking at its footprint?”
“No claws. A male runs with their claws out, a female with them in.”
“How do you know that?”
“Cheytan told me.” Nick smiled and picked up a stick and made a mark at the end of each toe print. “If it had been a boy then it would have little marks at the end of each toe like this.”
“Shouldn’t we get out of here or something?”
“No, we’re much bigger than it is and as long as she isn’t cornered and we didn’t scare her too bad then we are alright. She’ll go someplace else till we’re gone.”
“She was really beautiful. Did you see the tuffs in her ears?”
“Yeah, they are really beautiful cats. Let’s hope that doesn’t put a halt to the building here.”
“Why would it do that?”
“Well, if this is a place they commonly get water and they aren’t normally found here, then it might raise habitat issues.”
“Oh, then why not make it better by the building being here?”
“What do you mean, how can we do that?”
“Well, if you could make a pool of water here year round, then they could have a steady drink and you could see them too.”
“But if you build a building here they might not come,” Nick said, offhandedly.
“Did you ever see the movie ‘Predator’? I’ll bet if you built the building up high and made it with that kind of mirror you can see through from the back that it would reflect the trees and the bobcat wouldn’t even see it unless they walked into it.”
“You know, you might have something there! Come on, let’s walk the rest of this and see what we’ve got. That’s brilliant!”
Oggie paced off in another direction leaving Ty beaming and Nick wrapping an arm around his shoulder as boys do. “See, I knew that pa knew what he was doing bringing you along. You don’t know anything about buildings, but I’ll bet your idea just built one. Come on and we’ll see what pa comes up with.”
Oggie walked on, glancing up once in a while. He had a focused grin on his face as he surveyed the open meadow and he made his way back towards Chuck. He paused about half way back, to look back where he had just come from. He pulled the plot out of his pocket and made a few lines on it as the boys walked up and looked at his lines on the plot map. He looked at Ty.
“Here’s what I am thinking. See this area right here?” He pointed on the plot map and then pointed to the meadow. “Suppose we built the entry there and put facilities in. You know, really tall and glass opening towards us and the parking off to the right. Now, the upper floors here, we could make offices and storage, restrooms and reception area. Then, from the top floor reception area, we make a wide hallway, again all glass, except the top. We can use that for solar collectors to supplement power. Now the long hallway would open to the featured gallery. We could make it two floors in a gradual spiral. All that Solarcool.”
Ty looked at him, “What’s Solarcool?”
“That’s the mirror glass, you can see out but not in, so the animals will only see more forest. This section can be made like the saucer section on the Enterprise. You know, like ‘Star Trek’?”
“Yeah, cool. But what would hold it up?”
“Well, we don’t want to disturb this anymore than we have to, but we will have to bring a back hoe in to make the pond. So I figure we could have them dig three plinths and have them pre-fabbed with Teflon bearings to allow for building shift. That will make it meet earthquake code and also mean it makes a very small footprint.”
“Okay, I followed most of that, but what’s a plinth?”
“It’s like a pedestal or a column that will be flat on top. See here,” he sketched a little bit on top of his plot down in the corner. “Then we can use steel to put the saucer section on. It can float on top of the three plinths. I’ll bet if we built this modularly and only glazed the bottom before installing, then we could lift it in with a heavy lift helicopter or even a crane. As far as the animals are concerned, it would almost appear overnight. The saucer section will let them see the critters too. Ty, this is brilliant. Can you see it in your head?”
“Yeah, kinda.” He pulled out his pad and started to sketch, looking up a few times. “Show me where you want to make the pool and the plinth things again.” He and Oggie walked off towards the wooded area again. Nick strolled back to the waiting Hummer.
Chuck looked at Nick. “How about a Coke?”
“Why aren’t you going with them?”
“Nah, not my thing. I like to see them when they are being built. Sometimes they’re pretty cool. But right now, I can’t see the things like they do.”
“So why is he spending so much time with Ty on this? I mean, no offense, but how much experience can a young teenager have building stuff?”
“This is his first, but he sees things differently than most people. And he can draw like a camera. He could look around for two minutes and come back out, sit down and have lunch, watch a little TV, walk over and pick up a pad of paper and draw exactly what he saw. I’ll bet he wouldn’t miss a single plant or leaf. He’s like a human camera. So pa is testing him to see if he can draw something he hasn’t seen yet. You know, create it in his head and then put it on paper.”
“Cool, so he’s like a genius or something then?”
“No, he’s just my boyfriend,” Nick said casually, standing on the running board of the Hummer with one hand steadying himself and the other holding his Coke. He watched them walk back across the meadow. They paused a moment, Ty sketching feverishly with Oggie standing beside him talking and pointing to places on the page, his other hand on his shoulder. Nick smiled at the thought that Ty just walked unafraid through the woods without even realizing it. He’d save that for later. Right now, he saw his two favorite men coming towards him. He glanced up at Chuck. “What?”
“He’s your boyfriend?”
Nick paused for a moment, not realizing he had said it. “If I say yes, you gonna make us walk?”
Chuck grinned, “Don’t be silly. Does Oggie know?”
“Of course. He’s my pa and my best friend.”
“I think that’s great. I wish my pa was that open.”
“You gay too?”
“No, but my little brother is. He’s staying with me now ’cause dad went off his rocker when he found out.”
“How old is your little brother?”
“Fourteen. He’s been out for a couple years. He’s handling it, but I know he really misses our dad. Mom sneaks out to visit us now and then, but dad just blew a gasket.”
“Wow, I can’t imagine it. I guess I’m really lucky then.”
“Lil’ dude, you have no idea.”
“He came out pretty early. He must have known early on like I did. Didn’t he think before telling him?”
“Well, caught in the act I’m afraid. He and his bud were doing it in the garage and were so hot and heavy into it they didn’t even notice when dad lifted the door and there they were, pants on the floor and Kenny was bent over the Buick. What really did it though was when he blasted all over the side of the car. Gawd, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the old man so pissed off.”
“Wow, that sucks. Dad caught us too. We had a storm and Ty was scared. Dad brought him in and stuffed him in bed with me. The next morning he came in to wake us up and I guess we were snuggled together. He decided to go back down and start breakfast and when he came back up we were, uh,” Nick blushed, “not sleeping anymore.”
Chuck smiled with complete understanding.
“Wow, look at this place Nick. They’ve got more parking at her house then they had at the prison. And look at all the limos . . . And look at that hot car! Damn! That cost some serious bank.” Oggie cleared his throat.
“Oops. Sorry Oggie, I meant dang!”
“Ooo yeah, that’s a Ferrari,” Nick said. “Look over there at that yellow and black one; I think it’s a Lamborghini!
“Man, if Willie the Slim Jim was here, he’d be sticky all over himself.” Oggie cleared his throat a little louder to try and cover what he knew was a comment about someone in prison. Ty snapped around to Oggie.
Oggie winked, “Come on guys, let’s go try and fit in.”
Chuck came around and opened the doors, then reached in the back and grabbed the back pack that had their swimming suits and handed it to Nick with a wink.
“Thanks Chuck,” Nick said. Looking back, he saw very little dirt in the back and was grateful he didn’t have mud caked on his shoes walking into this mansion. He new Chuck was grateful too. They walked up the steps that seemed to go on forever and approaching the top, a young man held the door open with a gentle smile.
“Mr. Castle, you’re expected.”
“Thank you!” Oggie said, stepping through the open door.
“Oggie, you made it! How wonderful. We were beginning to worry. We thought you may have gotten lost.” Karen was a beautiful woman with brown hair and perfect everything. Her middle aged figure was the best that money could buy. She was wearing a short, stark white robe that covered her barely and her swim attire left nothing to the imagination as she floated into the room. She had a glass of what looked like champagne that she leisurely reached out to her right and released as if she knew it would simply vanish as she let go. The maid standing outside the door received it as it she had practiced it a million times, every time with perfection.
Oggie moved in and leaned over, allowing her to kiss the air on both sides of his face, then, “Sorry Karen, we didn’t mean to hold you up, we just saw the land and were inspired. Let me introduce you to my boys. This is my son, Nick.” He took off his hat and nodded politely, taking her hand and shaking it gingerly. Oggie went on, “And this is Ty.” Ty removed his hat and stepped forward also taking her hand.
“I’m pleased to meet you, Ms. Sandburg.”
“Oh please, Ms Sandburg sounds so old and stuffy, just call me Karen. And you are our little artist! I have some people who are dying to meet you.”
Ty looked perplexed, “To meet me? Why?”
“Oh, he’s so modest, shall we?” she said as a man appeared to take their hats as she led the way back through the doors. “Maurice will take you to a changing room. Just come out when you’re ready and I’ll introduce you around. We can talk about your visit to the site later around the pool.”
Maurice led them down a hall to what looked like a locker room, only it was plush and carpeted. He indicated which way to go when they were changed. Asking if they needed anything else, he left them with a slight nod of his head.
“Oggie, what did she mean about having people to meet me?”
“Well, she is in the art business and I sent her some scans of your drawings to get her opinion of how I can best help you to make the most out of it. You know, schools and stuff. I don’t know myself, so I’m guessing she has a few friends over and they were impressed. I really don’t know. Just get changed and let’s go have some fun. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
The boys slipped into their tight Speedos and Oggie into his baggies. “Hey! Why didn’t you get Speedos too?” Ty said to Oggie.
“Cause my ass isn’t quite as cute as yours, now don’t be funny.”
“Pa, you have a very nice ass and you work out. What are you afraid of?”
“Perhaps filling it to capacity,” Oggie said, pushing them towards the door. They opened it to the pool area and stepped out to find a pool with about a hundred and fifty people. They stood frozen.
Ty looked up, “Oggie, this is more than a few friends? Are these people all here to meet me?”
“No, I’m sure not. The ones who want to meet you are probably lounging around. These are probably just friends. You know how rich people are about those parties. Just go have fun.”
But Karen stepped up, “There you are.” She turned around towards the pool and clapped her hands, “Everyone! This is the young man I have told you all about. This is Ty, and I am sure everyone will recognize this beautiful young man, his name is Nick. And of course, this handsome young man is Oggie. Make them feel welcome.” She turned back to Oggie and the boys as everyone clapped and whooped. “Now, what can I get you to drink?” She motioned with her hand and a young man showed up with a tray of champagne in glasses. “Shall we start with a little champagne?” She handed one to each of them. The boys looked at Oggie. He looked at her. “Oh just this once. After all, it’s a special occasion, right?”
Nick broke the moment, “Uh Karen, what did you mean when you said, ‘I’m sure you will all recognize this young man?”
“Oh! That’s right, you came through the changing room, you didn’t see! Come, you have to see it!” Karen turned and led them around the pool. There were young ladies huddled in groups staring at Nick and whispering through smiles. As they came to a set of doors that opened to a vestibule, Karen stopped.”Oh I am so sorry I didn’t bring you through from the front, it just has so much more impact, but too late for that. She opened the door to a room that was stark white and they went in. Nick froze as he looked up and saw a ten foot poster board with him standing naked with a cowboy hat, belt and boots.
“Holy shit,” Nick whispered. He turned around to see all the other works also blown up and on poster board. Nick turned up the glass.
Ty’s mouth hung open as he walked in and turned around to see his work everywhere. He swallowed and adjusted himself involuntarily as he saw the one he did of Nick laying, facing the wall, a sheet covering his legs up to his knees and his bare boy buns and back exposed. Then, his long, swanlike neck and the wisp of hair that lay on his neck and the profile of his sleeping love. This one was laser etched onto wall paper and ran nearly twelve feet down the wall. It was all in black and white. “Uh, Oggie? I think we’re at the bridge.”
Oggie was speechless.
Karen let them take it all in. She stood smiling in the corner, her hands together with her steepled fingers gently tapping her lips. Ty just stared in disbelief.
Nick took his empty glass over to a waiter who stood with a tray of glasses, some empty, and set it on the tray as the waiter handed him another. He looked at it, looked at the waiter, and treated it the same as the first. The waiter obliged him again, but he didn’t slam this one, he sipped it. Giving his nod of appreciation, he turned to see Oggie looking at him. He couldn’t read his face. Ty walked over and turned him to face him.
“What was it you said at the swimming hole, ‘You guess they’d see boy stuff.’ Well, I guess they have.” He took Nick’s empty hand in his and pulled him up close and kissed him on the lips.
“Yeah, I guess they have.”
“I didn’t know about this.”
“I know you didn’t. It’s alright. They are right, you are awesome. I think I would have been happier if you were awesome with deer and the picture of Cheytan or at least if the pictures of me were, you know, not showing my boner.”
“Hey, I like your boner. I think it’s beautiful.” He leaned in and whispered, “I’ve seen my share too, so I know.”
Oggie turned to Karen, “Karen, how could you do this? You didn’t even mention this to me, to my kids, to us!” Karen was oblivious to his concerns.
“If I had told you, it wouldn’t have been much of a surprise, would it? And let me tell you that it was no little expense either. That wall paper alone cost almost thirteen thousand. They had to fly in special to do it. They had to reprint it three times to get it just right. But I know talent when I see it and this young man has talent.”
“Yes, but my son is standing there naked and he’s only fourteen. These were intimate moments.”
“Shit! You mean he’s not a professional model?”
“No, he’s my son.”
“He’s my boyfriend,” Ty said, stepping in closer, pulling Nick along. “My lover.”
Karen looked at Nick, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know. I thought for sure you were a professional model. I have thirteen requests for sittings. As high as fifteen hundred dollars. I was going to ask who you were signed with.”
Nick’s eyes got big, “Fifteen hundred dollars? To do what?”
“Sit like that for art classes.”
“Fifteen hundred dollars, to sit naked on a stool or something, while people draw me?”
“No, fifteen hundred dollars per hour, silly boy.” Nick turned up his glass.
“Where do I sign?”
“Wait Nick, let’s talk about this.”
“Pa, that’s college money.”
“We’ll talk about it.”
Karen butted in, “And I have requests for commissions from our young artist.”
“Commissions? What’s that mean?” Ty asked.
“That means people want you to draw things for them for money.”
“To draw what?”
“I don’t know, for some it’s a child. For some, a grandmother, husband, wife. I know a painter who was commissioned for seventeen thousand dollars to paint some lady’s dog.”
Ty raised an eyebrow and looked at Oggie. Oggie could see the desire in his eyes.
“We’ll talk about it.”
“Okay, and while you’re talking about it, hold this.” She held out her hand and a well dressed young man handed her an envelope which she handed to Oggie. Oggie opened it to find two checks, one for eight thousand dollars and one for seven thousand dollars.
“What are these for?”
“The one for eight thousand dollars is for the four cowboy prints. The one for seven thousand is from me. It’s for the one of the lady in the slip. Do you have a name for it?”
Ty looked down for a moment and then looked up to Karen. “Yeah, I called that one ‘Mom’.”
Karen saw the pain in his eyes and pulled him into her and kissed the top of his head. “Oh baby, I’m so sorry. I’m sorry to all of you. I thought I was doing something great. I get so wrapped up in what’s art that I forget sometimes that there are people and inspirations.” She turned to the guy in the suit and nodded. He disappeared and returned, bringing a three by five poster board from out front by the entrance. He set it on an easel and walked away.
“Here, I had him remove it from display.”
Ty looked at it for a moment and sniffed, looking up to Karen’s eyes. “Karen, why would you pay so much for this?”
Karen walked over behind Ty and looked at the picture of the woman. “Ty, you’ve managed do something that very few artists ever achieve. You’ve told her story, complete with her emotions, in one still frame of her life. When I look at it, I can see the pain of hopelessness. I can see her desperation and willingness to go on, because there is no other choice. But I also see that she feels she has to go on because there is someone depending on her to do it.”
Ty turned and wrapping his arm around her, he wept and she held him to her like a mother would. Tears flowed from her eyes too. When they broke apart, Ty looked up, then down. “She went on until she was beaten to death. I want you to have it, but I don’t want money for this one. I want you to have it because it means something. Because you can see what I drew, because someone else now cares.”
Karen ran her fingers through his hair. “I’ll tell you what. We’ll call that seven thousand dollars a gift, an investment towards furthering your education. I will keep this one in my private collection and I’ll make a donation of say fifty thousand dollars to the shelter for battered women in your name. Perhaps they can help someone like her and we can keep that from ever happening again.”
Ty hugged her again.
“Now, what about the cowboys? Is it okay to sell the prints?” All eyes went to Oggie. Oggie looked at Ty, “I think this really should be Nick’s choice first, then yours. Nick, keep in mind that these can come back to haunt you. You have no idea where they may end up.”
With the emotions running high and the champagne running low, Nick was feeling pretty good. He smiled his devious smile, “What’s that old saying Pa, if you got it flaunt it? This is pretty huge, pa. Let’s talk about that naked posing stuff some more, can I start now?”
“Boy, how many of those have you had?” Karen glanced over at the waiter. He held up four fingers and grinned.
“Right, well, while he sobers up, let’s set him down out by the pool. There are some fans that want their autographs.”
Nick and Ty’s eyes lit up. “Serious?” they said, simultaneously.
“Serious!” Karen said, escorting them out to a table by poolside. There was a stack of five inch by seven inch postcards of Nick sitting with on knee up, his wrist laying over it and his hat not quite on the floor. A square text box was placed over his most private parts that said Sandberg Galleries.
“Look!” Ty said as a very large throng of girls and a few boys, made their way over to them. Each taking a card and dictating what they wanted it to say. Many wanted to have their picture taken with Nick, but when they asked for numbers, he said, ‘Sorry, I’ve only got one number and it belongs to him.’
Ty leaned over and whispered, “I told you, that you had a sexy grin.” He ran a hand up his leg as Oggie cleared his throat behind them.
Karen walked up to the table. “Ty, would you like to show us how you draw? I understand it is very fast and unusual in the way you do it. How about it everyone, would you like to see Ty draw something?”
“What would you like me to draw for you?”
“Whatever you would like. I understand that you can just glimpse someone and then draw them. Are you up for a challenge?” Ty grinned and turned to Oggie looking for his approval.
Oggie nodded, “Er, as long as Nick keeps his clothes on.” Everyone laughed. “I’ll tell you what, I will get someone you have not seen yet and sit them in a chair in the other room.” Turning to Oggie she added, “With their clothes on. We’ll take you in to have a look and we’ll take a picture at the same time. Then we’ll watch you draw it. What do you say?”
“Alright, but I’ll have to go out to the Hummer and get my pad and pencils.”
Karen put out her hand and a wooden case was handed to her. “Here, will these do?”
Ty took the case from her and opened it to find every color of pencil you could dream of and a large pad of paper was slid on the table. “Well, I’ve never done anything in color at the pr . . . place where I learned, we only did regular pencil. Could I do this test in regular pencil?”
“Of course, but keep these to try at home.” A sheath of drawing pencils and a battery operated sharpener appeared on the table. “Now let me see, who should I get?” Her eyes lit up! “I know just the person. Give me just a moment.” Karen disappeared as people gathered around the table.
Karen emerged from the house, “Alright Ty, are you ready?” Ty stood up as did everyone else and Karen paused. “Hal will take a picture from Ty’s vantage and while Ty is making his drawing, Hal will print the picture he has taken so everyone can see. So have a seat and we’ll be right back.” Oggie stood and went with them. He wasn’t sure he trusted her. Sitting in a chair was Mrs. Wendleton, the cook. She had on her apron and her cook’s hat and a ladle in her hand. She sat stately and unsmiling. Her back at an angle to the wall and a large, gold framed mirror behind her. Ty looked at her for a moment and the flash went off just above his head. Ty smiled and turned around, returning to the table where his pad had sprouted an easel facing the audience. Ty picked up his pencil and started to quickly outline where things were. Nick started to get up, but Ty stopped and without looking at him, placed his hand on Nick’s shoulder as he looked at his canvas. Nick understood and sat back down. Ty resumed his work, feverishly shading and adding things in stunning detail. As he worked, Karen and the audience looked on with subtle whispers. She takes perfect shape, but Ty continues as the onlookers marvel and applaud his work.
“Look, he’s doing something in the mirror!” A girl watching pointed as he drew the figures in the mirror. It was two people in the hall in a passionate embrace.
“Karen? Isn’t that my Michael and your Cory?” Karen came in and looked closer. “Shit,” she whispered. Ty finished up and stepped back. He leaned forward and made a little mark with his pencil.
Nick nudged him. “Sign it! All famous artists sign their work.”
Ty stepped back and turned around. “How’d I do?”
Karen smiled, “You did fantastic Ty. Let me get Mrs. Wendleton. She will be thrilled. Oh Hal, just in time. Here, I’ll take those from you. Would you mind getting Mrs. Wendleton? And if you see Michael and Cory, perhaps you’ll ask them to join us too.” Karen took the stack of prints made from the photo and she looked at the top one and pursed her lips ever so lightly together before handing one to the girl claiming Michael then she passed them out all around. Mrs. Wendleton appeared. Wiping her hands in her apron, she walked up and looked at the picture that Ty stood beside.
“It’s perfect! Every detail. Marvelous, my boy. You are so special.” She leaned over and kissed Ty on the cheek. She took a last look before turning to Karen, “I think I need to sample less, move more.”
Karen laughed, “Nonsense Martha, you look wonderful. He did well, didn’t he? Thank you so much for helping in this little experiment. You can expect a little something extra for your kindness. Oh look, Michael and Cory! Take a look guys, what do you think?”
Michael and Cory stood in front of the picture. “Oh my Gaud! It’s perfect. It looks just like her, doesn’t it Cory?” Michael turned to see Cory frozen in place, a look of terror on his face as his eyes bounced back and forth from Michael’s eyes to the picture. Michael turned back to the picture and looked closer at the mirror as his girlfriend handed him the print from the camera. “Oh shit,” Michael whispered.
“Melissa, I am so sorry. I was going to tell you. I mean, it just happened yesterday. Ya know, we were setting everything up and those pictures, they’re just so . . . so hot. I’m sorry.” Melissa pushed the picture into his chest as she stormed speechlessly away.
Cory placed a hand on Michael’s shoulder and turned him to him and hugged him. “I’m sorry Michael, it’s my fault.”
“No, Cory. I wanted it as much as you did. I just didn’t want to want it.” Michael turned to Karen. “Karen, I’m sorry you found out this way.”
Karen placed a hand on Michael’s face and kissed his cheek. Then pulled Cory to her and lifted his chin to make his eyes meet hers. She smiled and kissed him. “Cory, I’m your mom. I love you. Now stop worrying, but I think we’ll need to talk. But for now, why don’t you and your . . . new boyfriend go do whatever boyfriends do. We’ll talk about this a little later tonight. Michael, I think you ought to call your folks and invite them over.”
“Oh, Karen. Uh no, I don’t think so. I mean, my dad will explode.”
“Well, it’s your decision, but I don’t think they would like to hear it from Melissa. She looked really upset. I need to call her mom. But if you have them come over, we can all talk. Maybe he won’t explode if there are a lot of us around.” She turned to the crowd. “Looks like we just changed this into a coming out party. The buffet is ready so let’s grab a bite to eat and party on!”
Ty tapped them on the shoulder, “Guys, I didn’t know. I thought you were out already or something. I just drew what I saw. I’m sorry I outed you both.” The boys just nodded. Ty added, “But my boyfriend is really hot, isn’t he?”
They both grinned wickedly glancing at Nick. Nick just blushed. “Come on,” Cory said. “We gotta call your folks.”
“Wait!” Ty said quickly and they turned back to him.
“What?” Cory asked, now holding Michael’s hand.
“Which one?” Ty’s face was serious as his eyes bounced back and forth between the two.
“Which one, what?
“You know, which one made you guys, you know?”
They looked at each other. “All of them!” they said together. Then Cory spoke, “But if you are asking which one pushed me over the edge, it was the wallpaper one. He’s just so sexy in it. I mean, he has the most perfect ass I think I’ve ever seen. Well, except for maybe Michael’s.”
Michael blushed, his eyes glancing at Ty and then Nick before looking sheepishly down again, “The one that did it for me was the cowboy one, like on the card.” Giggling lightly, “Except without the ‘Sandberg Galleries’ sign.” Ty glanced back at Nick and winked as Nick went crimson. Cory looked at the picture.
“What are you going to do with it?”
Ty grinned, “I think you get this one Cory. That way, when someone asks you how you came out, you can show them this.”
“Thanks. Hey Michael, let’s put it on an easel and let your dad find out the same way mom did. You know, subtly.”
“I think he ought to hang out and record the face when he sees it.”
Ty grinned, “I think I’ll pass on that one. Thanks.”
“Karen, I think we should probably run along. But I wanted to tell you that we came up with a great concept for the gallery. We’ll do some sketches and get together next week if that’s alright.”
Karen drew a breath and sighed. “Yeah, I guess we have some more pressing matters at the moment.”
“Karen, are you going to be alright through all this?”
“Oh, yes. Gay kids are nothing new in society circles. To tell you the truth, I never liked that snotty little bitch anyways. And Cory and Michael have always been best friends. We’ll get through this. He’s a little embarrassed, but I think a great weight has been lifted off his shoulders. He was scared to death that I’d find out. I think it was making us drift apart. This gives us a chance to get that closeness back.”
“Good. Look, Nick just came out to me too. I’ve done some research and have some sites that might help. I’ll email them to you when I get home.”
“Thanks. About Ty’s schooling. There is a great school in Berkley, but its college level. He could do the work hands down, but the socialization is a bit out of reach for him. But I would like to see what he does in different mediums. I have a friend that I am sure would be delighted to come up to your place for a few weeks and give him some time in multiple mediums. And he’s quite reasonable. Then Ty can see if there are other things that he can see. I mean, there are tons of choices, from clay to marble to oils and watercolors and charcoals. We should see what he likes and what he excels at.”
“That sounds like a great idea. Have him give me a call.”
“But Oggie, make no mistake. I want to do his first showing. And soon. One phone call and he’s on Oprah Winfrey and the world changes for him overnight.”
“Well, there are some things you need to know. I am adopting Ty. He knows I intend to, but has no idea it is going to happen so fast. You should also know that he is with me through the courts. He’s on parole from a juvenile prison. I’ve got a lawyer that is working to get it reversed and sealed. He’s also pretty fragile. As you have probably guessed by the picture, he was pretty abused. So I think it is best if we don’t rush into anything in the way of a showing until at least the adoption is complete.”
“Ok, one step at a time then. How about this? I’ll get hold of my friend and have him contact you to test Ty and let him experience the different types of media. Do you think he will be alright with that?”
“Probably, tell me a bit about your friend.”
“Jean Claude Duval is his name and he is from Belgium; Brussels to be exact. He is about 38 years old and will screw anything with less legs than he has. But he is great at evaluating art. He is supposed to be working with Cory for three weeks as soon as his current assignment is done. He’s supposed to take Cory on a week from Monday.”
“Yeah, I think he will be alright with that. Let’s proceed with that.”
Their conversation was interrupted by a man’s yelling and a boy’s screams. Oggie moved quickly to the door and opened it to find a man that looked like an older version of Michael, holding the boy by the hair and was getting ready to punch him again.
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