Noah's Starship Ch. 17bytarzanacide©
For those of you who asked... character recap: Noah (age 20) is a small, blonde college boy hopelessly in love with his dark, muscled, ex-army boyfriend Navid (27). Navid, a native of Iran, works in trading investment properties for his boss Karim (40), an older version of Navid who was raised by a traditional Persian family and helps Navid reconcile his feelings and his culture. Noah's best friend Erik (20), a tall, outgoing gay boy, is dating Aram (26), Navid's best friend since childhood who came with him from Iran to study here.
++ Noah ++
For the first day of the Fall semester at Tarzana College Navid insisted on wading through the crush of traffic, parking in the overcrowded garage, and walking me to my first class. You might think he was being annoyingly overprotective, but I could tell he missed being on campus with me. It had been his home the past three years.
We'd come the week before to buy my books and see where all my classes were going to be. He seemed sad that he wasn't going to be there anymore. He kept commenting that things were so simple for me.
I got the feeling that the pressure and success of his business was starting to make him nostalgic for his laidback days of class, soccer, and friends. He hadn't played in his league in months. He dropped me at my class and then stayed on campus to meet up with Aram for coffee. Navid had a meeting way out in Ventura that afternoon so Aram would give me a ride home.
He only let me sign up for four courses this semester since they were harder and he wanted me to spend more time at home taking care of things. I'd tried to add a beginner Persian class so I could start to learn his language, but he said that was a waste of time and wouldn't help my degree.
He'd spent the summer working on big business deals and they were picking up speed and size. He was taking on more projects and wanted me to be home more to take care of him. I was glad classes were back in session though. The summer had been lonely and I was anxious to see my friends again.
It wasn't a demand that I stayed home, but I liked being there for him. He needed me there. He said it made him so happy to come home and find dinner cooking and me not overly stressed about school. He said it was his happy place, and I was his happy person, his peace.
Karim and Mike were coming over more often too. Karim and Navid set up their calendar and projects board in the little nook next to the dining table and under the stairs. Mike and I would make dinner while Karim and Navid went over logistics, schemes, finances, business stuff.
The funny thing is that Karim and Mike have a big house with Karim's office, a huge kitchen, and lots of space to relax. But... they seemed to prefer our little townhouse. I asked Mike about it once and he said he didn't understand it either... He told me Karim said they work better here.
I asked Navid about it one night when we were falling asleep and he said Karim liked the "vibe" of our place.
"Our place has vibes?" I asked. I didn't know what that meant.
"Is English word, Noah! You don't know this?" Navid laughed. He loved when he found something I hadn't really heard before. "It means mood. He likes that it is chill here, and you make happy home."
"Their home isn't happy?" I asked and looked up at him with my face against his chest. This was the one time of day when Navid seemed ok with me asking endless questions. He knew his deep, Persian tone soothed me to sleep in his arms.
"That is his business, not ours..." Navid looked down at me with disapproval for prying, but then he continued and told me anyways, "They are having some troubles. Mike does not keep clean the home like you do, and he also stopped working his side jobs... and does not want to work for Karim to help the business. He likes to spend money, but not help earn it or make a nice home... You are opposite. You spend no money and you make perfect home."
"They seem happy when they come over, and Mike helps me clean up the kitchen when we make dinner," I said as Navid rubbed a thumb over my cheek as his hand held my jaw.
"They love each other, and do not want others to get into their relationship. I would feel same with you. We fix our things, they fix theirs," Navid assured with a loud yawn that told me my question time was over.
Friday afternoon Navid texted me that I needed to pack a bag for us with clothes for that night and the next day. He said to put on my swimsuit when I finished. I was finishing homework and about to start making dinner when I got it so I hurried upstairs and grabbed our small travel bag.
"Swimsuits! Party! Big Client!" Navid yelled when he came in. He quickly stripped off his tie and suit as he came up the stairs towards me.
"Pool party?" I asked excitedly.
"Yes! Big Client, Noah! Big money! He invites us! This can be big money if he likes us," Navid said in between big gulps of breath.
"You pack for me too?" Navid asked as he popped into the bathroom and opened the lid to the toilet. He shoved a toothbrush in his mouth and went to pee without waiting for me to answer him.
He washed his hands and then came out completely naked and drying his hands on a towel. It had been a few weeks since he had hit the gym. He'd been working pretty hard, and his stomach had lost that hard ab etching, but it didn't matter. He was still the most handsome man I'd ever seen.
"What? Why the smiles?" Navid asked as he caught me checking him out. He tossed the hand towel on the low dresser and came towards me as his fat, soft cock dangled between his thighs.
"I never get used to seeing you naked," I admitted and held up the pair of swim trunks I'd picked out for him.
"I used to be hot. I don't go to gym like I need to," he said and took the trunks from me.
"Doesn't matter, you'll always be perfect. It's who you are... my perfect love," I said. Navid tossed the trunks aside and pulled me in for a kiss.
"I love you Noah, so much more than you ever will know," he said and held me against his chest. He leaned in to touch his forehead to mine. The way he did that and looked down at me, it was his way of saying I was precious to him, special.
We "noodled around" (That's what Navid calls it when we make-out. I don't know where he got that.) for a few minutes in our half-naked states until we heard the downstairs door open and Karim call up to us that he was waiting.
"Are you two naked up there?" Karim yelled.
Navid yelled something back in Persian and laughed at what must have been his own joke. He quickly slid on the trunks and then stepped into some slip-on shoes I'd put out for him. He grabbed out bag and pulled me by the hand down to Karim.
Mike was waiting in the car and he just gave us a quick hello when we got in the backseat. He seemed annoyed at something, but I didn't want to pry in front of Karim and Navid. It could wait for a time when we could talk privately.
Karim sped off and up to the freeway as Mike looked quietly out the window with his arms crossed. Navid and Karim talked about the man who had invited us to his party. He was a wealthy older gay man who lived with his partner out in the west hills. He had grown tired of his current investment group and wa willing to invest with Karim and transfer his holdings over. They used a lot of technical terms, but it would mean a lot of money for them so I was happy.
Navid held up his phone and pulled me against his chest. He had really been into taking selfie pics of us in close embraces. It seemed odd since he was so cautious about sharing affection in public, but he had a select group of people who saw these pictures and posts.
This one showed his bare chest since he had nothing on but the trunks and shoes. I'd put on a tank top since he always encouraged my modesty. He held me against his chest with big smiles. He adjusted the coloring and brightness and other stuff to make us look better, and then posted it with the caption "Swimtime with the Baby Noah."
"Who sees that stuff?" I asked as Karim zoomed towards an off-ramp.
"Friends and clients," Navid said.
"Pervy old ones who like to see him dominate you," Mike popped up from the front seat. I guess he had been listening to us.
"That's enough. You can be quiet about your foul mood and not spread it," Karim warned him.
Mike started to open his mouth, but then closed it again and turned back towards the window.
"Pervy?" I mouthed soundlessly to Navid. He just shook his head with frustration. He didn't want me exposed to this or getting involved in their fight.
"Of course not! You think I will share my boy like that? You think I want that for you?" Navid asked in a whisper. He brought me in under his arm as I shook my head.
At the party, Navid took our bag in while Karim grabbed his and Mike's. We would share a bedroom with them. There was a bed for two and then a single bed near the window.
"Noah and I will share smaller bed. He sleeps on my chest anyways. We prefer the smaller," Navid said to act as though his boss taking the larger bed was doing him a favor.
"Oh we like to spread out. Karim wouldn't want to accidentally touch me," Mike laughed but there was no humor to his voice. Karim scowled as tension filled the small room.
I didn't know what to say to that, neither did Navid. He set down our bag and then ushered me out of the room and closed the door so they could argue in peace.
Downstairs we found the host. Sure enough, he was an older white guy as Navid had said. His partner was a man who looked Korean and slightly older than Navid. Navid turned on the charm and shoved me in front of him as though to say to the older man, "Look! I brought one of you!"
They were Mark and Allen. I could tell from the looks they gave us that they were more interested in Navid and how nice he looked in the small swim trunks. They were polite enough to me though. Mark asked Navid to step into his office to talk about a few things.
"I'll go get the food ready for the party," Allen said. I offered to help and earned an approving smile from everyone. Karim and Mike were upstairs arguing quietly enough to not disturb the party.
I followed Allen to the kitchen and he showed me the trays of food he had ordered from a catering place. I was helping him unpack and arrange it all onto nice plates when Mike came in and found us. He introduced himself to Allen with a painted smile as though everything was ok.
"What can I help with?" he asked without looking at me. He looked tense and his eyes were a little red. I felt badly for him. He had always been the nicest of anyone I'd met in Navid's circles.
"I was going to have Noah slice the cucumbers and carrots. Could you put the hummus into that bowl on the counter?" Allen offered.
"Noah's not supposed to use knives. He's accident prone. He can do the hummus," Mike said coldly and nudged me away from the cutting board I was about to use. I let it go.
"So Noah, do you help your husband with his work? Mark says he is a rising star in this industry and doing very well," Allen asked me as though he was desperate to lighten the tone.
"Noah's a houseboy. Navid keeps him out of things," Mike pointed the knife towards me.
"Oh... well that's a job. I take care of the house so Mark can focus on business too. I do spend all his money though! I'm sure Navid brings home a lot for you to play with." Allen laughed. He was still trying to lighten the mood though I could feel the tension rising off of Mike.
"I'm in school, but I also take care of the house. Navid's no help at all with that," I laughed.
"He has Noah very well-trained. He keeps everything clean and doesn't spend a dime," Mike said without looking up.
"Oh college! I started studying biology, but never finished. There seemed to be no need when I married Mark. He bought us this place and it was too much work to do both," Allen said. He was ignoring Mike's rude remarks, but I was ready to get away from this.
"I'm hoping to finish. I'm not sure what kind of job I'll do when I graduate, but I hope to write," I said. I put the hummus into a bowl as Mike hacked angrily at a carrot.
"You think Navid will let you work? He doesn't even let you dress yourself," Mike laughed.
"I'm sure you'll find a way to do both! He told Mark how hard you work," Allen insisted.
"It's hard doing both! I try to make a nice place for Navid to come home to. He works so hard and pays for everything so it's the least I can do to help out. He's such a good man," I said.
"I'm sure you take very good care of him. He obviously loves you deeply," Allen kept trying to turn back to pleasant conversation, but Mike wasn't playing along.
"Oh Noah's the perfect houseboy. He cooks, cleans, never argues or spends money, and only opens his mouth when there's a cock in front of it!" Mike pushed the tray towards me and went to the other side of the kitchen.
"That's really... mean... are you mad at me? Did I do something to hurt your feelings?" I asked.
"You do a lot of things... It's hard to live up to perfect Noah," Mike said. He still wouldn't look at me. He started arranging the vegetables on the platter around the bowl I'd filled.
"What did I do? Why are you being mean to me?" I asked with sudden panic. I'm not good at confrontation and I didn't want it with Mike. I felt my eyes on the edge of tears.
The doorbell rang and Allen made a quick exit. I thought I heard him sigh with relief at the chance to get out of there.
As Allen pushed the door of the kitchen, Karim and Navid came in.
"Are you finish, baby? We can go swim!" Navid had a triumphant grin, but it quickly faded when he saw me.
"What's wrong? Why upset?" he asked. He looked between me and Mike then looked to Karim.
"What did you do, Michael? How could you make a scene when we're trying to get business going here? I told you to leave it until we got home!" Karim flashed an accusing glare.
"Me! Of course... It's always my fault! I upset the precious baby!" Mike kept his voice down though it was no less angry.
"Don't be mad at him. He's upset," I said to Karim, still wanting to fix whatever was wrong.
"Noah!" Navid gripped my arm tensely. He didn't want me involved in their business.
"I don't need you defending me. You're the reason..." Mike started to say, but Karim interrupted.
"Michael! I should have left you at home," Karim barked.
"Ok let us calm this. I'll handle my boy, you handle yours?" Navid asked Karim with a faint smile as though we really were children to them and the parents needed to step in to stop this squabble.
"I'd rather handle your boy! Mine is out of control," Karim replied with a small laugh.
"Of course you would. Noah's always compliant and easy. I should just smile and nod my head like an idiot," Mike growled. His arms were crossed tightly against his chest.
"I've had enough of that! You're being a spoiled child! I'm here on important business and you just want to make a scene. This could be money for us. It's not like you bring anything in these days," Karim said with a flash of anger, but quickly lowered his voice.
I went towards him and put my hand on his chest. I felt his heart pounding through his shirt. Karim looked down at me with surprise. He was ready to fight with Mike.
"He's my friend. He's always been kind to me and made me feel welcome. You two love each other and I hope we have that same love when we've been together as long. Fix this, please," I said. Navid pulled me back against his chest. He crossed his arms across my stomach. He was ready to take me out of there.
Karim sighed. He went over to Mike and offered his hand. Mike uncrossed his arms and took it.
"I always want to fix this... I hope you do too," Karim said to him. They interlaced their fingers and Karim brought him in for a hug.
"Let's carry out these trays," Navid said and let go of me. I took the tray of vegetables and Navid carried two trays of finger foods. We left the two men in the kitchen to work things out.
"I don't want you involved. It is not our place," Navid whispered as we pushed out of the kitchen.
"I know... but he's my friend," I said and Navid sighed and nodded for me to walk forward.
"Are you ok? He hurt your feelings?" Navid asked. I just nodded. He leaned in and kissed my cheek.
The guests had arrived en masse. The living room and front room were filled with twenty or so guys of varying ages and ethnicities. Mark and Allen were floating between everyone making happy conversation. Allen saw us with the trays and came to show us where he wanted them.
"Is everything ok?" Allen asked me. "I didn't want to leave you in there with him, but you seemed like you wanted to talk to him."
Navid set the trays down and I heard a small growl escape his chest. He didn't want the hosts, the potential clients, hearing about their troubles. It wouldn't instill confidence in their business.
"Yes, it is fine. Mike wasn't feeling well, but he's better now," Navid assured with a fake smile.
"Good! Mark was looking for you," Allen said to Navid.
Navid kissed my cheek and disappeared into the crowd. I followed Allen to where he wanted the vegetables. He pointed to a small table, but said he had a cloth to set under it. He went to get it while I waited and held the tray like a catering waiter.
"Cucumbers!" a voice said from my side. I turned to see a guy about my size. He was staring me down with his lips turned up into a coy smirk.
He was a handsome Asian guy about my age with eyes that I couldn't help but admire. They were brown and wide with long lashes that gave him a Disney character quality. He was an inch taller than me and nearly as thin. He had on a tight black v-neck shirt that showed decent definition with a hint of point to his nipples.
"I made them!" I said, not sure why my voice sounded so flirty. His eyes lit up at my interest.
"I always thought they just grew in the ground," he laughed. "But you're cute so ok."
"Oh, yes. I mean... I didn't MAKE them, but I... um... cut," I stumbled and blushed.
He took a few slices of cucumber off the tray and ignored the hummus. He chewed them with raised eyebrows like they were a newfound delicacy.
"Not bad. You make good cucumbers. I'm Ryan, by the way." he said and moved in closer.
Allen returned with the cloth and set it on the table. I handed him the tray and looked around for Navid. I had a sudden feeling of guilt for talking to someone I found attractive. Allen set the tray down and then walked off.
With my hands suddenly free, Ryan moved in closer to me. I backed up a step, but hit the wall. I jumped slightly from surprise and got another laugh from him.
"I'm Noah," I said. The slight knot of guilt began to grow larger in me. It wasn't like me to talk to strangers, but something about him just clicked.
"I've seen you before somewhere. I remember staring at those eyes before somewhere. You go to Tarzana?" Ryan asked.
"Yes! You too? I used to go to the lgbt group," I said.
"Small world... I should have said hello the first time," Ryan put his hand on my arm.
I nodded with a dopey smile. His hand felt electric on my skin. It send a little jolt through me.
"I haven't seen you at these parties before. Allen's my uncle," he beamed and leaned into me. He had a light cologne that smelled clean and masculine. He put a hand on the wall behind me to balance himself.
"Oh! You two do look alike," I said.
"No, his brother married my aunt. We all look the same though, right? He's not even Korean," Ryan gave a look of offense.
"Oh," I was horrified. "I... uh..."
"I'm kidding, bro! He's my mom's brother," Ryan laughed and gave my shoulder a light punch.