I wondered what he could tell about me that no one at home or the office—at least I hoped and always had thought—knew. He had introduced himself as Hal when he'd appeared beside me in Business Class and I'd stood from my aisle seat so that he could get over to the window. He'd had a friendly smile, and if I hadn't been busy during the first two hours over the Atlantic from New York going over the papers for my discussion in Birmingham at Smythe and Withers the next day, I'm sure that he would have wanted to chat.
I didn't like to work on business matters while I was flying, but there were hundreds of millions of dollars at stake in this bid we were making for providing a revolutionary model of catalytic converters to the British automobile manufacturers. Smythe and Withers were the manufacturer's agents, and my company was bidding against a French firm with a design of its own. We were well versed in the automobile industry, but almost nothing had been able to be gleaned about Smythe and Withers. I was my company's premier negotiator, but I didn't like to go into talks knowing so little about those I was negotiating with. As soon as I could use my laptop, I got busy trying to pull something more up from the Internet on that firm than I already had.
It was a frustrating hour and a half, and I perhaps had at least one more drink from the accommodating stewardesses and stewards than I normally would have if I wasn't distracted. Finding nothing new, though, I sighed with frustration and closed my laptop with a click.
"Working on an important presentation?" I looked over to the window seat. I had lost all realization that there was someone else there.
"Yes. One that's both important and frustrating," I answered. For the first time I focused on him. He was a few years older than I was and considerably better put together. We hadn't exchanged much in the way of a conversation, but he had one of those upper-crust British accents that companies like mine liked to have their chief operating officers to have to fool their stockholders into thinking they knew what they were doing and would do it every so civilly. He was debonair, perfectly groomed, and designer dressed. His face was tanned and Hollywood-star chiseled, with those distinguished, precisely trimmed gray sideburns that spelled casual wealth and near-effortless success at anything he endeavored to do. He certainly seemed to exude self-confidence.
And there was that big smile he gave me whenever I looked his way.
Almost as a flood of revelation, three awarenesses hit me at once that took me away from business, which only served to show how focused I'd been before in finding out whatever else I could about this Smythe and Withers firm. But I could afford a side diversion now; there wasn't anything else I could do up here at altitude. I knew everything that was needed to know about the French firm, and I felt good about their end of the negotiations. They always sent the pompous ass, Jean Claude Dupre, to such bidding wars—and he always seemed to screw up his presentations and upset the very people he was pitching. I wondered what sort of power he had in that company not to have been shunted aside already—although, since "Dupre" was in the company title, I could guess at his leverage.
The first awareness was that increasingly my drinks were being delivered by a flouncy steward with dark eyes and hair flopping disingenuously over one eyebrow. The other one had a silver ring in it. But when he was serving me, all of his attention was planted on my seatmate, Hal, who rewarded him with the same warm smile I was getting.
The second revelation came as I followed the steward's gaze over to Hal's lowered seat tray, where the steward was placing a fresh martini and taking an empty martini glass away. There were two other objects on the tray that almost took my breath away—and seemed to be what was twitterpating the steward as well. One was a paperback novel, with a familiar screaming title on the cover in gray and scarlet letters. I'm sure that most people had no idea what was inside the covers of John Rechy's City of the Night, but I had every reason to believe that it was a classic—and explicit—gay novel. And my seatmate, Hal, had it sitting out in plain sight.
And not only that. He also had a foil condom packet sitting there and was fondling it—that's the only appropriate verb I could use for the play of his long, sensuous, manicured fingers as they played with the packet.
It was obvious that Hal was projecting a clear message. I assumed it was for the steward, who was almost beside himself with interest, but, when Hal turned his smile on me and when I noticed that his thigh was right up against mine when there was more than enough room for us to be separated in our seats, I couldn't be sure it was the steward he was signaling or that I could resist his suggestion.
And the reason I couldn't be sure was that Hal was just the sort of man I melted to. But secretly. It was something I'd never shared with either my family or my company. I led the perfect trophy blonde wife and two preciously beautiful children wealthy suburban life. And my company was perhaps one of the most conservative in the United States when it came to anything close to gender bending.
But I was instantly interested in Hal—perhaps even more than the steward who was virtually drooling over him was. What I found shocking was that Hal seemed to know that I was. I wondered, almost in panic, what had given me away.
But when Hal climbed—none too quickly—over me when the plane's interior lights had been dimmed and people had gone quiet and spoke in hushed tones to the steward in the aisle and both disappeared for nearly a half hour, I worked hard at convincing myself that it wasn't me that Hal had set his net for, but the steward. This impression was helped along when I noted that the condom packet no longer was on Hal's tray and didn't resurface for the rest of the flight.
The swishy steward's back pressed against the wall over the toilet in the confining Business Class toilet, his bare knees pressed into Hal's chest and his head bent forward by the curve of the plane's fuselage. His tongue is hanging out and he's making little yip, yip sounds as Hal, expensive trousers and briefs around his ankles holds the little bleach blond against the wall and thrusts a manly cock up into a tight hole. Again and again and again. A side-angle camera angle that shouldn't have been possible in the space showing the long, ribbed-condomed cock pulling nearly all the way out and then slamming home again. Repeating. The blond steward shuddering with each thrust. The camera focuses to the floor at Hal's feet, picking out the torn, now-empty, condom packet. Welcome to the mile-high club.
I shook my head, realizing that I had dozed off, if only momentarily, in a reverie. It had been long enough, however, for me to go hard. When Hall returned, his zipper was at half staff and his shirt wasn't tucked in as neatly as it had been when he'd left.
In Birmingham, as I struggled, half groggy from the effects of the trans-Atlantic flight, out to the taxi queue, I was completely disarmed and flummoxed when the rear passenger door to a black limousine opened in front of me, Hal leaned out of the door, and I heard him say, in a rich baritone, "Shall I give you a lift to your hotel room, then?"
* * * *
Hal proved to be an expert lover. He seemed to understand instinctively what I wanted—to be dominated and driven hard, but expertly. He took the initiative in everything, which was exactly how I liked to have my sex with men.
It started in the back of his limousine. As soon as my luggage was stowed in the trunk and I'd entered the back of the car, Hal pulled me close to him. He called out for his driver to take the long route to the hotel I identified as the one I was booked in, the Radisson Blu Hotel, and only then turned toward me.
"You don't mind that we take the long way, do you?"
"No," I said, breathlessly, hoping that this meant what I was taking it to mean.
"And you understand why I offered you the ride?"
"Yes," I answered in a tight voice.
"Which means I'm going to fuck you. I've wanted to do that all across the Atlantic."
It wasn't a question. He already had an arm around me and the other hand working my belt buckle.
"Yes," I managed to croak.
He didn't bother to do more than unzip himself and I was squatting in front of him and sucking his meaty cock erect. I just flipped the split foil condom wrapper on the floor of the car—with a vision of the one I'd imagined on the floor of the airplane toilet—after I'd rolled the disc down over his cock. Then, jacket, trousers, and briefs off, shirt unbuttoned, and tie being used as reins as Hal wished, I rode his cock. I first faced him, with the two of us kissing and him working my nipples with his mouth. Then I faced the front seat with him arching my torso back to him by pulling on my reversed tie and his other hand snaking around and milking my cock.
A second opened condom packet lay next to the first on the limo's rear seat floor. A spent condom, thick as a slug with the cum inside it, lay between the packets.
In the hotel room, after we had both taken a quick shower, him first, he took me again, hard, doggy style on the carpet before we'd reached the bed. We were both naked this time. His body was magnificent for his age. His cocksmanship—stroking vigor, staying power, and reload ability—was superb. Triple A in all departments. And a hunk on top of all of that. He brought a briefcase up with him, which he placed on the desk by the bed and opened to reveal a pile of condom packets, tubes of lubricant, and various toys, including a plow belt.
"From your responses in the car, I think you know what this is for," he said.
I didn't answer. I well knew what a plow belt was for. I had started to tremble in anticipation the moment he'd taken it out of the briefcase. He whipped the strip of black leather with hand holds at each end over my head, upending me on my belly, and proved that he could support my whole weight with his hand grips on the handles of the plow belt as he thrust his cock into me from the read and moved my channel on his cock.
He played me like a rag doll, totally dominating me, giving me exactly what I loved from a man.
I had no idea how he knew I'd let him fuck me let alone what I wanted in a fuck partner—but the experience was just too glorious for me to question. I probably should have questioned more, been more cautious in acquiescing to what he wanted to take from me, to give to me.
I slept, exhausted, after he'd pounded my ass for a third time on the bed. And when I woke, he was gone. There were no notes or any other indication of who he was or where he was. I doubted then that his name even was Hal. But that was OK. I'd been fucked well—and all of the tension of the coming negotiations for the catalytic converter bid had melted away.
Well, most of it.
* * * *
I wasn't picked up for the meeting at Smythe and Withers until the next, Friday, afternoon, which was meant to provide me sleep time. But its only real effect was to give me time to sharpen my nerves again over the coming meeting. I just wasn't used to knowing so little about those I was negotiating with. I had found references to the firm, and they did have a Web site, but they obviously were one of those old staid British firms that hid behind the doors of their exclusive gentlemen clubs. At least that gave me the clue that I'd best dress and act ultraconservatively.
I wondered what they would think if they knew that I'd let a stranger I'd barely met on an airplane into my hotel room to fuck my lights out with a plow belt immediately upon arrival in Birmingham. I almost was reduced to nervous giggles by that thought.
A vintage black Rolls Royce sedan with a stern-looking uniformed chauffeur met me at the hotel door to whisk me away to what proved to be not more than a four-block ride into a garage under a modern steel and glass high-rise building. It wasn't at all what I expected the building would be like that housed the Smythe and Withers offices.
The chauffeur parked in a remote, barely lit recess of the garage and waved me toward the distant elevator doors with the comment that I could find the offices I was looking for on the thirty-third floor. I wondered if it was a Britisher's way of putting an upstart American in his place by not letting me off at the elevator doors, but I was too preoccupied with the order of my presentation to take umbrage.
I almost was too preoccupied to notice the tableau I passed en route to the elevator doors.
If the ceiling light hadn't been on in the interior of the sleek forest-green Jaguar I was passing, I probably wouldn't have looked over at the automobile. And if I hadn't looked over there, I would have missed why the interior light was on. The passenger door was open, and with slight difficulty I discerned a pair of bare, pale legs, ending on argyle socks and tan loafers with tassels waving in the air, trying to find purchase on the door frame or to wrap themselves over the shoulders of the man who was hunched between them, fully suited in a black and gray silk pinstriped suit—obviously very expensively cut—and obviously fucking the young man lying on the small of his back across the bucket seat. The receiver's white knuckled fists were scrabbling at the upper reaches of the door frame, evidently attempting to keep his back from being bruised by the gear shift between the seats.
The bottom was being very vocal. But not in English. It sounded like French to me.
I lingered momentarily, watching, my mind connecting this taking with what I had gloriously experienced the previous evening and wishing that it was me being fucked. I liked everything that was assailing my senses with this encounter—the passionate cries of the bottom, the richness of both the automobile and the suit-clad taker, even the element of danger in the public nature of the sexual act and the incongruity of the dark garage and the lit Jaguar interior.
It was with a heavy sigh that I turned and walked toward the elevator doors. When I heard the cry of the bottom that he was coming, ejaculated in language that even I could understand, I turned and saw the man fucking the bottom tense and then fall on top of the other man, who hugged his assailants back closely with his bare legs, the tassels of his shoes swaying in air.
Again, as I waited for the elevator doors to hiss open, I wished that it had been me on the small of my back in the Jaguar. What I'd experienced when I arrived in Birmingham was still making me horny. In fact, with the difficult negotiations imminently facing me, I wished I was anywhere else, doing anything else.
I was kept cooling my heels in a mahogany-paneled reception room that could have come out of a seventeenth-century English castle for nearly an hour and then for twenty more minutes in a conference room with floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking downtown Birmingham after I had been introduced to a clutch of sour-looking old goats, as conservatively dressed as I had imagined, at the other end of the table from where I had been told to sit. I didn't remember all of the names, but I made sure that I latched into the two oldest goats of the lot, Robert Smythe and Halston Withers, who obviously were owners of the name on the door.
Neither one of the patriarchs seemed pleased at the delay. But it wasn't my delay. We obviously were waiting for something else to happen.
And then it happened.
The first "happening" was the appearance, wearing a silk black and gray pinstriped suit that was expensively cut but perhaps a bit rumpled today, of the Hal of my airplane flight followed by my dance on the clouds. I went numb but not numb enough not to catch him being introduced as Halston Withers Junior, who, to my terror, was going to handle the project contract negotiations for Smythe and Withers.
The second "happening" descended as Hal was apologizing for being late because he had been late in gathering up the negotiator for the French firm, Sean Dupre, who entered the conference room in Hal's wake. This quite obviously was not the sloven Jean Claude Dupre I had faced—and easily bested—in negotiations before. It was his very young, willowy, and handsome, in a sultry, Lord Byronish way, son, Sean. My eyes went automatically to his feet and my greatest fears were realized when I saw the tan tasseled loafers with the argyle socks peeking out below his trousers hem.
The greatest consternation of all was that Hal didn't even flutter an eyelash when he was introduced to me. He had known who I was all along.
My fears were confirmed after the two presentations were taken and hard questions asked of both but no indication was given of which one they favored. Darkness had already fallen on the city of Birmingham and the night lights had flickered on when Hal declared that we would resume discussions on Monday—that he was off to his country home for the weekend and, most alarming of all, that he was taking Sean Dupre with him.
I was half-heartedly invited to weekend with one of the junior partners, but he seemed relieved when I said I really should spend the time consulting with my company on the answers to some of the questions the negotiating firm had shot at me.
"May I see you for a moment before you leave," Hal Withers Junior said to me as the others were jacking themselves out of their chairs to the tune of more than one letting gas and milling about waiting for the session to dissolve.
I didn't know what to expect when Hal took me to his office. What I wanted was for him to lay me on his desk and fuck me to ecstasy. But that's not what happened.
"I personally find your proposal the better of the two—although neither is acceptable yet," Hal told me when we were alone.
"Hal . . ." I started to say, wanting to talk about something else entirely.
"Over the weekend I'd like you to reconsider all of your figures, Doug," he continued, very businesslike.
"It's a fair offer, Hal," I said. "Better than the French one if you look at the whole package."
He wasn't looking at me. He was fanning photographs out on the top of his desk. My heart nearly stopped when I leaned over and looked at them. They were of Hal and me doing our sexual exercises in my hotel room the previous night. The briefcase. The one he'd put on the desk. It had had a camera in it.
"I understand you work for a very conservative firm," Hal was saying, although I was too numb to pay too much attention to what he was saying. "And you have a lovely family—two children, I'm told."
That was like a dagger slipped between my ribs.
"You knew who I was on the plane, didn't you? And you meant for me to see what happened down in the garage, didn't you?" I asked in a strangled voice.
"But of course. That's what good negotiators do—scope out and use their counterpart's vulnerabilities. Luckily for you, Doug, the negotiations are still open. I am still working on Sean Dupre's vulnerabilities."
I wanted him to say more—to say something that validated our time together. But when he did speak again, he was still focused on the negotiations.
"Monday morning, Doug. I think you can come up with a lot better deal by then."
And then he was gone.
* * * *
What stung the most was not Hal's failure to tell me that I was the best he'd ever had in the sack—or even that he had targeted me for sex. It was a fetish of mine to be dominated by a tinge of cruelty. No, what hurt the most was his suggestion that I was an inferior negotiator. I was the pride of my company in negotiations.
I would not take this laying down, I thought. But then I laughed. I certainly so far had taken it laying down—with my legs open and begging for it.