No Remedy for Love Ch. 06bypodga©
Robert was already sitting a table when we arrived. He was most decidedly not happy to see me, and he made that very clear from the first instant he saw us.
"This table only seats two," he said by way of greeting his son in person for the first time in years.
"Well, let's move to another one, then," Thomas said, turning away from him to look for the hostess.
"This is between you and me," Robert said. "He has no place here."
"Thomas-" I started to intervene, because in a way Robert was right and I wasn't going to stand in the way of a reconciliation or let Robert use me as an excuse for anything, but Thomas shook his head at me and turned back to his father.
"Look, I'm here because you have something you want to say to me. So either say it or don't; I don't really give a shit. But Scott stays."
"Fine," Robert ground out.
We spent an awkward two or three minutes waiting silently for the hostess to re-seat us and then trying to decide how to sit around three sides of a square table, since any arrangement put somebody either next to and/or across from someone they didn't want. We finally ended up with Thomas sitting across his father and me on his right. At least whenever I looked up from my plate, I could see the tasteful breakfast buffet setup, rather than somebody glaring at me. But I didn't look up from my plate a whole lot during the entire excruciating meal. Which didn't last long enough for me to even get through my first cup of coffee.
When Thomas flung his napkin on the table and stood up to leave, I trailed after him, neither of us saying goodbye to Robert.
"What the fuck was that?" Thomas repeated wildly two or three times in the elevator, running his fingers through his hair and almost pulling on it, while two women unfortunate enough to be sharing the ride down with us tried not to stare openly and cowered against the wall as far away from him as possible.
"It's okay," I murmured, putting my hand on his arm in an effort to calm him down, but he almost flung it off, causing the women to exchange open looks of alarm.
"No, it's not fucking okay! Senile old bastard."
The doors slid open on the ground floor and all four of us made our escape. The Ren Cen is a confusing circular hub and we got a little lost trying to find the exit (and obviously I was no help, given my sense of direction). Thomas grew more and more frustrated, and he stalked by the exit we wanted twice before finally noticing it.
"Fucking asshole," Thomas continued his rant as we stood waiting for a cab. "But it's not his fault. It's mine. As if I didn't fucking know better."
Despite the situation, I was fascinated and almost amused by his reaction. I had never, ever seen Thomas express anger so openly before, not even during our final weeks together, and now it was almost like watching a mediocre actor, the gestures and actions all just a little bit off, not because the emotion wasn't genuine, but because Thomas had always been taught to repress everything and simply had no practice in throwing a temper tantrum.
He threw himself into the cab, crossed his arms and glared ahead of him, lips pressed into a thin white line, so it was left up to me to give the name of our hotel. On the plane yesterday, he'd mentioned perhaps visiting the Motown Museum or the Detroit Institute of Arts after finishing up with his father, but somehow I didn't think this was the right time to check if he still felt like doing something.
During the short drive back I sat next to Thomas feeling absolutely useless and brooding on the meeting. It had gone much as I'd expected it to, though I'd fervently hoped otherwise and, in my wildest imaginings, couldn't have anticipated Robert's gall. He had magnanimously decided to give Thomas one last chance, provided Thomas changed his ways. He acknowledged that Thomas perhaps couldn't overcome his "unnatural tendencies" or might "continue making sick choices." However, Thomas was his only child, and he would prefer that his assets (much diminished after GM's Chapter 11 reorganization, he explained in a brief but heartfelt aside, glaring at me as I was somehow to blame for that, as well) remain within the family. Therefore, Robert was prepared to consider not leaving everything to his alma mater (which, had Thomas only attended it, might have made a real man out of him), provided Thomas agreed to immediately move back to the house in Grosse Pointe, where Robert could monitor him, and...
I didn't get to hear the rest, because that's when Thomas, who hadn't said a single word since we'd sat down, got up and walked out. And even though I'd witnessed the entire thing, I still couldn't quite believe it. I'd thought I'd understood the environment Thomas had grown up in, but now that I'd finally met his father, I realized that I'd really had no idea.
I didn't think I could have helped Thomas work through this even if we had still been together, let alone now, unless it was to show him how to throw a real hissy fit, including punching the wall, thus breaking the two middle knuckles of his right hand, and then drinking himself into a stupor. Not that I'd ever done that myself, nor walked around with a cast for the following four weeks.
"Do you want to do anything later?" I asked him once we'd reached our hotel, finally deciding that if I can't help him, I might, at least, distract him. My door came first as we walked down the hallway from the elevator, and instead of going to his own door, he followed me into my room. He stood at the desk and started re-arranging the brochures again.
"No. We might as well see if there's an earlier flight back home that we can catch. I'm sorry I ruined your weekend."
He sounded so defeated. I preferred the anger.
"You didn't, Tommy. I wish I could have helped."
He sighed. "I was a fool to expect more, right? What, that he'd change his mind about us after all these years?" He laughed, a small bitter sound. "I did, though. I thought, I don't know, that he maybe had a near-death experience or something, and that maybe he realized he had some regrets or that he should make amends. Fucking idiot."
I knew the last was addressed at himself, not Robert.
"I'd have felt the same way. Don't beat yourself up about it."
He turned around to face me.
"How could he even think I'd leave you after all these years?" he almost yelled at me.
"But Thomas..." I floundered for a response.
He went white as a sheet, when he realized what he'd said. He turned on his heel and walked through the connecting door between our rooms. This time he closed it firmly behind him, though I didn't hear him slide the bolt.
I followed him and reached out for the door knob, even put my hand on it, but in the end I didn't know if I could turn it.
About three months after Thomas arrived in New York, Kevin decided to move in permanently with his girlfriend. I took it for granted that Thomas would want to move in with me; he'd found and was living in an apartment in Alphabet City, but hated both it and his roommate. So I was surprised when he refused.
"Why the hell not? I thought you can move on at any point." There was no contract, since Thomas was subletting illegally and paying his roommate rent under the table.
"I can. I just don't think it's a good idea, our living together."
"But why?" I whined, and hated myself for it.
He flushed and shrugged. He wouldn't meet my eyes.
"Thomas, come on. What's the problem? We're close to the subway, the heating works, the water pressure's great. Not to mention the other benefits."
I saw his mouth lift slightly at that, a ghost of a smile, but he still wouldn't look at me.
"What?" I asked again.
"I just think we'd be making a mistake."
"What are we going to do, Scott? Live together in Hell's Kitchen forever, because there's no better alternative?"
Yes, was my automatic response, but I didn't say that. "Who said anything about forever? I'm planning on moving to the Upper East Side the moment I make my first million. Fifth Avenue penthouse, right across from the Park."
"Yeah, good luck with that," Thomas said dryly.
"You can move in with me there, too. Saving the world might be emotionally rewarding, but it sure doesn't put money in your pocket."
"I do okay," Thomas answered nonchalantly. And of course I knew he had the security blanket of his family's money. At one point, I believed that Thomas wouldn't have been so committed to volunteerism and working for NGOs and not-for-profit organizations for shit money, if he'd grown up in the same financial conditions as me. Then one day he'd said as much himself (though he hadn't used my family or me as the reference point) and I became ashamed of my thoughts, even though he'd basically agreed with them, because to concentrate on the fact that Thomas didn't have to worry about living in squalor unless he wanted to was to ignore just how much he really did care, the difficult and often heart-breaking conditions he worked in, and how beautiful his idealism made him.
"Thomas, come on. I'd really like you to think about it. Seriously."
He looked at me then.
"Well, because. I told you." A winning and coherent argument, if I'd ever uttered one.
Strangely enough, it didn't seem to convince Thomas. But how could I tell him the real reasons? That I didn't want us to be apart, even though we saw each other two to three times a week. That I wanted to find him there when I returned home, and watch TV and share meals with him. That I wanted us to be able to sleep together and not have to worry about who might hear us or walk in on us. That I wanted us to wake up together. That, as far as I could understand it, I wanted what Kevin and his girlfriend had, even though most of my friends scoffed at that type of lifestyle. These were the late eighties, when Big Swinging Dicks ruled Wall Street and greed was good and right, when you worked hard and partied harder. And there I was, in the middle of everything, on my way up, and I was dreaming of domesticity. With Thomas. Some things you just don't admit to, especially if you're a guy barely 25 years old and life hasn't knocked you on your ass yet.
"Please, Thomas. I just... Please. At least think about it. I can't afford the apartment on my own. I don't want to have to move or to put up an ad just to end up with some deadbeat weirdo roommate."
We'd been wandering through the Village and were now seated on a bench on Washington Square, watching some kids breakdancing and freezing our asses off.
Thomas bumped my shoulder with his. "Aw, that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me."
"Well, you implied I'm not a deadbeat weirdo."
"I think you inferred that."
"No, I'm pretty sure you implied it."
"Whatever. Stop fishing for compliments. Will you think about it?"
"Jeez, you just don't let up when you want something, do you?" he grumbled.
"No." That didn't mean I was necessarily honest about the reasons I wanted it.
He got up and I followed him as he made his way to the subway.
"You heading back?" I asked.
"No. I figured I'd come over and check out my new room."
"Yeah?" I grinned.
"Probably easier than you pestering me to death," he shrugged, then leaned over and added in a low voice: "But I might need some more convincing. I wouldn't like to live in an apartment, where there's a crack in the kitchen sink or where the bathroom door is lopsided and sticks."
Thomas had stayed with us for two and a half weeks, and he'd been in and out of the apartment at least once a week since then. He knew it well.
"Everything's in tip-top shape," I assured him straight-faced.
"We'll see," he muttered darkly.
Half an hour later, I was prostituting myself for the price of one cracked kitchen sink, one sticky bathroom door and one non-existent closet rod, because Kevin had removed it and taken it with him, the cheap bastard.
"But I can buy you another closet rod," I assured Thomas, even as I was hurriedly stripping.
"Nope. The way I figure it, you owe me one back rub, three blow jobs, and sixty-two and a half hours, where I can have my way with you any way I like."
"That seems rather steep."
"Starting right now. Take off everything except for your socks."
I was ahead of him by two socks, and momentarily wondered if he actually expected me to put them on again. "You're not serious."
He folded his arms across his chest and looked stern. "I am so."
"There's no way in hell I'm putting just my socks on. Jesus." I glared at him. What the fuck?
"But they do it in porn movies and it really turns me on," he pouted, his voice wavering, then lost it, laughing so hard he was almost crying. "Oh, God, your face..." he gasped when he could finally talk, and that started him off again.
I could slug him, or I could take advantage of the fact that he was flopping around like a fish and in no condition to put up a fight to get rid of his clothes. I opted for the second. Socks included.
"Asshole," I muttered, once I held him lying naked and giggling in my arms. "Weirdo deadbeat asshole."
He linked his hands behind my neck and made valiant, though unsuccessful, efforts to get his mouth in the right shape to kiss me.
"Ah, shut up. It isn't that funny," I growled.
Apparently it was, so I decided diversion was required. I flipped him onto his back, then kneeled over his chest facing his feet, grabbed his thighs and pulled his hips up towards me. He was soft, but I wasn't interested in his dick at that precise moment anyway. Well, I was, but I had other priorities and a man has to occasionally choose. I bent forward and mouthed his balls.
"Awwww, fuck," he whispered and I felt his hands clutch at my hips. It didn't sound like he was laughing any more.
I licked the wrinkled skin, then tugged at first one orb and then the other with my lips. Thomas was still whispering curses behind my back; we'd learned to make love quietly in the dorms, and we never lost the habit. As always, I took my queues elsewhere: from the way his cock stiffened and started leaking, from the musky smell of his arousal, from the whispered exclamations and stifled moans, from the way he touched me, always going for that full body contact, raising his shoulders and head so that he could kiss my back, spreading and folding his legs in an attempt to hug my sides. No matter how we started out, I never stayed in control with Thomas, even the few times I was topping. I was always led by his pleasure, so attentive to it that I lost myself in it.
"I want you to sit on my face," he gasped, and my gut clenched at the words and at the way his hands tugged at my hips. I crawled backward until my knees were tucked in his armpits, then lowered myself, my heart thudding, while he slowly palmed my ass and spread it. "Sweet," he muttered, rubbing one thumb lightly against my hole. Then his tongue was there, wet, strong, lapping at me, pushing into me, and his lips, and I fell forward on my elbows, burying my face in his crotch, frenziedly licking his belly, the nest of curls at the root of his cock. I heard his guttural groan, felt it against me, and I nuzzled his cock. He arched his hips up, and I took him in my mouth, took him so deep I gagged, then again. And again.
I had to stop when he jammed three fingers into me, the burn and pleasure too much for me. "Jesus, Tommy," I mumbled into the downy skin of his stomach, then rested my sweating forehead against his thigh and rocked with the motion of his fingers, my cock dripping on his chest every time he hit my prostate. "Oh, Jesus."
He knew me so well. He could it make it last for hours, holding me right on the edge, or he could bring me off in two seconds flat, he could be gentle or he could be rough, and I never knew what he'd choose, but somehow it was always what I wanted, what I needed. This time it was rough and hard, and when he bumped his hips upward, I knew he wanted my mouth on him again, and I let him fuck my face, just as he was fucking my ass, so turned on that I wished we could last for hours even though I didn't think I could take another minute. I came first, spurting on his chest and stomach, and he followed me a split second later.
It took a while for me to untangle myself from Thomas and lie down next to him, flat on my back, still gasping for breath. He propped himself on one elbow and brushed my hair off my forehead.
"Five blow jobs and ninety-eight hours of fucking left to go," he announced, and I was pretty sure there was something off about the math there, but hell, he was going to move in, so I was willing to pay the increasing price.
If I really had to.
But no socks.