Coming Into His Own Ch. 01byPhantomOp©
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Tom Crawford inherits a ring from his grandfather on his 21st birthday.
LEGALESE: Don't read this if you are underage, if it is illegal in your area, if it is offensive to you, or if you cannot distinguish fiction from reality.
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"Hey, sleepyhead, wake up! Are you really going to sleep through your birthday?" Tom groaned at the overly cheerful sound of his mother's voice. Birthdays were always a little bittersweet to him, since his father had died on his sixth birthday. The insurance settlement from the railroad made life financially comfortable for Tom and his mother, but nothing could remove the sadness that he came to associate with his birthday.
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
"Jesus, Mom, can't a guy sleep in once in a while?" Tom grumbled. By now, Tom knew that there was no way he was getting back to sleep, so he grudgingly started to get up as the door swung open. Thank God he has worn his boxers to bed -- it would have been awkward to start his morning having his mother walk in on him nude and sporting morning wood.
Julie Crawford entered her son's room, carrying a package that had arrived in the mail for him yesterday. She was curious about its contents, as the small box seemed to be much heavier than its size would suggest. "Well, aren't you going to open it?" she asked her son as he sat there, still in the process of waking himself up completely.
"OK, Mom, just give me a second to go to the bathroom first, will ya?" he yawned. Tom sounded a bit surly, but he really couldn't be mad at his mother. She had always been the sunny center of his world, with an easy smile and a kind word for every one she met.
Tom washed his hands and face, looking at his reflection in the mirror. At 6'3", he was taller than most of his friends, with dark brown hair and ice blue eyes. He never really thought of himself as being good looking, but he was clearly a very handsome young man. He pulled a t-shirt from the shelf in the bathroom, pulled it on over his muscular frame, and returned to find his mother waiting, somewhat impatiently, for his return. Tom assumed that the package had something to do with his trust fund, but the postmark was from the U.K., and the handwriting on the address label looked far too ornate to be a package from any law office.
As he opened the package, he heard a faint humming noise growing. Tom assumed that it was his mother, trying to build the suspense as she waited, but when he looked at her, he noticed that she was sitting with her hands folded in her lap, a blank expression on her face. This struck Tom as strange, since she had just been pestering him to open the package.
The package contained a small jewelry box, a packet of papers, and a letter written on vellum in the same ornate script as was found on the label.
"My Dearest Thomas,
Allow me to wish you all the best on your twenty-first birthday. As the solicitor entrusted with handling your late grandfather's estate, I have awaited this day for some time. Enclosed you will find a ring that belonged to Ethan Crawford, your grandfather. That, and the portfolio of his business dealings, is now bequeathed to you, as you have reached the age prescribed by him for the transference of his assets.
Your grandfather had two requests regarding your inheritance. First, that you wear the ring always. Second, that you do me the honour of coming to London, where we might have a proper reckoning of your accounts.
I have taken the liberty of purchasing a round-trip ticket, first class, for Monday the 7th of May. This ticket is open-ended, so if the date I selected is not feasible, you can easily change it as you need.
Until we meet I remain,
Your Humble Servant,
Alexander Wallis Browne III
MD, Browne, Holt, Banks and Simmons"
Tom stared at the letter, stunned. He knew that his grandfather had moved to London after his father's death, but other than the yearly cards at Christmas and on his birthday, Tom had not had much contact. Tom toyed with the letter for a bit, then set it down and opened the jewelry box. The ring was gold, heavy, and bore the Crawford family crest on it, with the motto Fortes fortuna iuvat. After examining the ring for any engravings, Tom slipped it on the middle finger of his left hand, the only finger it would fit properly.
"Well, aren't you going to -- oh, you've opened it already!"
Tom was startled by his mother's sudden return to her normally animated self. He was also a bit surprised that she did not seem at all curious about the ring, considering that she was usually a very inquisitive sort of person.
"What did you get in the package, Tommy?" Tom groaned inwardly at the nickname, thinking "I wish she would just call me Tom, or Thomas, even. I liked the sound of 'Thomas' in the letter that came with the ring." As he was thinking this, the packet of papers fell from his lap to the floor. Julie leaned over to pick them up, glancing at the outside as she handed the packet back. "Oh, Thomas, that's wonderful! A first class ticket to London! I know you have said you always wanted to see Europe, and this might be a great place to start."
Tom went from being aggravated at the nickname, to being completely floored by his mother calling him Thomas. Was that just a coincidence? It must have been, I didn't say anything out loud. he wondered. "Yeah, I guess someone other than you thinks I should get out and see the world," said Tom as he browsed through the packet of papers. "Wow, there's also a reservation at Dukes Hotel -- this should be an amazing trip!" The balance of the packet was an envelope sealed with wax, imprinted with the same crest that graced the ring he wore.
Tom had a sudden flash of curiosity -- Did this ring make the imprint on the sealing wax? -- and decided to test his theory by pressing the ring to the wax. The instant the ring made contact with the seal, the humming sound grew even louder in his ears, and a tingle went up his spine and through his scalp. "OK, that was extremely strange...." Tom muttered under his breath before noticing that his mother once again was sitting quietly, the same blank expression on her face as earlier.
"Hellooooo, Earth to Mom!" Tom waved his hand in front of her eyes, snapped his fingers by her ear, and even shook her by the shoulder. Nothing he did elicited a response. Only her steady breathing and an occasional blink of her eyes gave evidence of her being alive. Everything else about Julie Crawford had the appearance of suspended animation, or becoming a living statue.
Tom's panic level was escalating rapidly, so it was something of a minor miracle that he noticed the writing on the front of the wax-sealed envelope -- IN CASE OF EXTREME ANXIETY OPEN THIS ENVELOPE. Breaking the seal and withdrawing the folded sheet, Tom became aware of the tremor in his hands, and thought, I'd say this meets the criteria for extreme fucking anxiety! The single sheet in the envelope was of the same high quality vellum as the letter from the lawyer. Tom managed to still his hands long enough to read the few lines typed on the page:
You are not experiencing a psychotic break with reality. Those around you have been "put on hold", in a manner of speaking, so that I can communicate with you in privacy. I am sure that you have now concluded that the ring you wear is no ordinary bit of jewelry. Please follow the solicitor's directions and wear it always. It will never cause you harm, and may in fact save you from grief in the future.
I cannot say more about the ring's properties now. All will be made clear when you travel to London, though I suspect a young man as bright as you will learn a few tidbits before then. I wish I had been able to deliver the ring to you personally, but the fact that you are reading this letter says that things did not go as planned. Always remember that I love you, dear boy.
Tom reread the letter, trying to make sense of all that it said. After a third reading, he felt like he had a tenuous grasp on some of what the letter hinted, but still found it hard to believe. After all, weren't magic rings things that only appeared in fantasy stories? Still, Tom could not offer any better explanation for the changes in his mother's behavior. "I guess I better put all of this away and get ready for class," Tom said softly as he stood up and placed everything back into the package.
"Dukes Hotel, isn't that one of the top hotels in London? Sounds like you will have a fantastic time." Tom was again surprised at his mother's resumed conversation, with no apparent awareness that more than fifteen minutes had passed since she last spoke. "Well, Thomas, you had best get ready for class. Breakfast will be on the table by the time you finish showering and dressing." "OK, Mom," he said as he headed back into the bathroom.
Tom turned the hot water on full strength, holding his hand under the stream to gauge the temperature. When it was warm enough, he stripped off his boxers and stepped in, quickly washing and rinsing his body, then shampooing his hair. As he stood under the scalding flow of water, Tom's mind raced in circles over the package and the letter from his grandfather. So the ring is not ordinary -- just how "not ordinary" is it? he thought. Tom continued to ponder what was happening to his mother until he noticed that the water was running cold. He got out of the shower, turned off the water, dried, shaved, brushed his hair, and got dressed in short order.
Bounding down the stairs, Tom came to a quick stop as he realized that his car was on empty, and that he had no time to stop for gas if he wanted to be on time for his first class. "Shit! I wish I had thought about that last night, instead of hurrying home to catch the basketball game on pay-per-view," he exclaimed to himself. Tom made his way to the kitchen, where his mother had a cup of coffee and a plate of bacon and eggs ready for him. Julie looked up from the stove to smile at her son and said "Thomas, why don't you take my car today? I think I will have your car detailed for you, and perhaps get that new stereo installed as well."
Tom paused with his fork half way to his mouth. His mother had always been very kind and generous, but one thing she had never allowed him to do was drive her Mercedes. It wasn't a new car, but it was always well maintained. Tom figured the reason his mother never let him drive the car before was that it had been his father's luxury car, and it held emotional symbolism for her. "Mom, when did you decide to get my car detailed?" he asked, almost afraid to hear her answer. "Well, honey, I had been thinking about giving you a gift certificate to take it to Platinum Auto Care, but as you were coming down the stairs I thought that it might be nicer for you if I just took it there myself."
This was almost more than Tom could mentally absorb. I thought about her calling me Tommy, and she changed. I thought about being out of gas, and she offered me the use of her car. It seems like there is a pattern here. Let's see if I am right. Tom imagined how scratchy the lace collar on his mother's blouse looked, and sat dumfounded as she brought her hand up to her throat, adjusted the collar, and lightly rubbed at her neck. "I never really understood what the big deal was about all these frills on clothing, they may look pretty, but they are awfully itchy. I'm going to go upstairs and change my blouse. Thomas, the keys to the Mercedes are on the counter." With that, Julie turned off the stove, walked over to the table and kissed her son on the cheek, and headed up the stairs, a "Happy Birthday, Thomas" floating back down to him.
Having achieved full freak-out status in the last thirty seconds, Tom decided he'd better get the hell out of there and get to school. "Maybe I'm just imagining this, maybe not, but I can't stay any longer," he said to himself. Grabbing the car keys, he quickly left before his mother came back downstairs, got in the car, and began driving to Weiss Hall. Tom knew that if he arrived late for his class with Dr. Portillo, there would be hell to pay. Dr. Gary Portillo, co-chair of the university's psychology program, was a fair but strict educator. He tolerated no tardiness to class, and had in fact been known to assign late students to test subject positions for his Direct Application of Behavioral Principles course. Tom chuckled to himself as he recalled how Sheri Thorpe, one of his fellow undergrads, had to re-enact the classic "mouse in a maze" experiment, with Sheri playing the role of the mouse.
Traffic was relatively light, so Tom was able to make it to the university in less than half an hour. He parked, locked the car, and ran to get to his class on time, arriving five minutes early. Taking his seat, he saw that upon the blackboard Dr. Portillo had written IN CLASS ESSAY TO BE GIVEN TODAY. While Tom was an above average student, earning a 3.80 GPA and many commendations from his instructors, essay writing had to be his least favorite academic task. The fact that it was a timed essay made matters worse.
Promptly at 8:00 am, Dr. Portillo entered the classroom as stepped up to the lectern. "Class, before we begin, are there any brief questions about the subject material we covered last week?" Dr. Portillo looked across the sea of faces gazing back at him, not expecting any questions to be presented. "Dr. Portillo?" Tom said as he raised his hand, "We don't really need to do the in class essay today, do we?" The silence in the classroom was palpable. None of the other students would have ever dared to ask that question, even though that very thought was foremost in their minds. In for a penny, in for a pound. I'll either learn something about this ring, or I will be the next victim in one of Doc Portillo's class experiments.
Dr. Portillo looked at Tom thoughtfully for a moment, and then said, "No, I suppose the essay isn't really necessary. Since that was all I had planned for today's class, I will dismiss you early. Those of you that scored below 80% on the last quiz would be wise to use this free time to study the relevant material in your textbook, How To Think Like A Behavior Analyst." The room filled with the sounds of students gathering books and belongings, the scraping of chairs against the floor, and low conversation among the students.
"I can't believe it! Doc P never lets an in class essay slide!"
"I thought he was gonna have a stroke when Tom asked him about the essay."
"When did Tom grow such a big set? He's a nice guy and all, but I never would have expected him to stick his neck out like that."
"Isn't Dr. P his faculty advisor? Man, I bet that's going to be one interesting discussion the next time Tom sees him."
Tom heard his classmates talking, but none of it actually sank in. I can't believe that actually happened! he thought. The implications of his interaction with Dr. Portillo were truly boggling to Tom. If he could sway people's choices this easily, he could do nearly anything he wanted. Thoughts of business successes, political office, wealth, and sexual conquest all flashed through his mind. On the heels of those thoughts came another, more sobering thought. Just because I can do it, doesn't mean I should.
The rest of Tom's day went fairly uneventfully, and he had almost forgotten about the ring and the incidents that happened, until he bumped into Sheri Thorpe on his way out of his last class. Sheri was a statuesque girl with honey blonde hair that fell to below her shoulders. Tom had flirted with Sheri for over a year, but had never made the move to date her. She was a pretty girl, with a sweet smile and an outgoing, welcoming personality. The first time that Tom saw her as more than just a classmate was the day she did the "mouse in a maze" experiment.
Sheri was a good sport about her punishment, feeling that it was fair since she had been late. Unlike other students that had to run this maze, Sheri chose to traverse it at mouse's level, moving about the maze on her hands and knees. Tom could not tear his gaze away from her, especially when her short skirt rode up on her hips and exposed the tiny lace thong she was wearing. Of course, all the male observers, including Tom, were a bit disappointed when Dr. Portillo ended the experiment early. Sheri had been mortified when Dr. Portillo took her aside and explained why he cut the experiment short. Tom has never teased her about it, but he often thought about the look of her stunning ass as she crawled about the maze.
"Hey, Tom! Wow that was some trick you managed in Doc P's class today!" Sheri smiled as she looked up at him. "I wish I could thank you enough for that. I was so unprepared for an essay, I'm afraid I would have really blown my grade," she continued.
I can think of a way that you could properly thank me for it... Tom thought lustfully. As Sheri continued to talk about how she needed a good grade to keep her scholarship intact, Tom noticed her face becoming flushed.
Sheri took him by the hand, saying, "Well, maybe there is some way I can thank you for getting us out of the essay." She led Tom to one of the labs that was unused at this time of day, pulled him inside, and shut the door. "I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner," Sheri said softly, as she began to unbutton her blouse and shrug out of it. "Tom, why haven't you ever asked me out? Do you think I'm not pretty enough?" she said as she unclasped her bra, releasing her ample breasts, the areolas crinkling in the cool air and the nipples stiffening.
Tom could only stand there in mute amazement as Sheri began to move towards him. He had fantasized about Sheri, but this went beyond anything he had imagined. "Oooooh, it looks like somebody likes what he sees," she cooed as she cupped the bulge in his crotch, her slender fingers tracing the outline of his cock through his pants. "Is this for me?" Sheri said huskily.
Tom tried to think this through clearly, a difficult proposition as all the blood that should be powering his brain was currently headed south of his belt. "Are you sure you want to do thi-UHHHNNNNNNNNNN..." Tom tried to say more, but his capacity for speech was derailed by Sheri's unzipping his fly, pulling out his cock, and engulfing it with her warm, wet mouth.
Tom grabbed Sheri, one hand entwined in her hair. Sheri let out a surprised "UHHH" that was quickly muffled by his cock sliding into her mouth, the head bumping the back of her throat. Sheri's eyes opened wide as her sounds became a moan of enjoyment. She started sucking him greedily, making sure to get Tom's dick as wet as possible, to make it easier to take it into her throat. Both of his hands were in Sheri's hair now, as he began fucking her face. Tom let out a small moan, which only served to fuel Sheri's passionate cocksucking.
As she got into the rhythm of sucking Tom's cock, each stroke became deeper and deeper, until his pubic hair tickled her nose. With Tom's hands pulling on her hair, Sheri's left hand moved to his hips, guiding him as he fucked her mouth in long, deep strokes. Her right hand had slipped between her thighs, fingers pushing aside the thong she was wearing, so that she could finger her cunt in time to the face fucking Tom was giving her.
Before long, Sheri felt the throbbing that could only mean Tom was going to cum. He tightened his grip on her hair, as Sheri took a deep breath before pulling his hips forward, impaling her mouth and throat with his cock. Tom grunted out, "Oh fuck, I'm CUMMING!" at the same time that he tightened his fists in her hair. As he filled Sheri's throat up with his hot cum, her own orgasm washed over her, causing her to moan around his cock, driving him further along. Spent, Tom uncurled his fingers from Sheri's hair and looked down at her shining eyes as his cock slipped out of her mouth. What the FUCK just happened? Is she going to file rape charges against me? he thought. Sheri sat back on her heels, swallowing this cum, and then smiled up at him seductively as she said, "I hope that's a good enough thank you."