Tuesday, July 21, 2015


    Price Kingsbury strode down the hallway at a leisurely pace. It was his day off, and he'd planned on working out and then... perhaps a drive out to the Hamptons? Even on his day off... even though he was dressed in workout clothes... Price always managed to look... regal. His raven-black hair swept back Mad Men-style, Price wore an expensive green sleeveless v-neck Dartmouth sports shirt that showed off his impressive shoulders and hairy pecs, along with silky white medium length shorts and top-of-the-line sneakers. Even his mid-calf length black workout socks were of the highest quality. A Kingsbury always dressed to impress, and Price was certainly no exception.  However, as he neared the basement stairs, he was puzzled by the sound of... hammering? Who would be doing such a thing in the gym... especially when he was planning on working out? That was damned inconsiderate, to say the least!
    As he descended the stairs, his irritation softened as he saw that Brad was the source of the hammering noise. Brad, who lately was becoming somewhat of a friend to Price, was crouched at the bottom of the stairs, hammering nails into what appeared to be a newly constructed wooden wall frame of some sort. He wore a navy blue t-shirt, khaki cargo shorts, and workboots with short white socks. His short blond hair was tousled and unstyled, and beads of sweat appeared on his brow and muscular arms.
    "What's all the hammering about?" Price inquired as he stepped off the bottom stair onto the concrete floor.
    "Didn't Kyle tell you?" Brad answered in his somewhat gruff Long Island accent, his focus squarely on the nail he was pounding into the crossbeam in front of him. "I'm buildin' two new guestrooms. Kyle n' I figured out if I... whatchamacallit," he paused, searching for the correct word, "...consolidated all the exercise equipment, there'd be enough room down here on the lower level to add two new guestrooms. Considerin' how full the house has been lately, we definitely need 'em."
    Price surveyed the room. Brad was right; the gym equipment certainly didn't need to be spread out the way it had been previously. By consolidating it all into one half of the large space, Brad had cleared enough room to build two medium-sized guestrooms, which he'd already framed out roughly with beams of fresh lumber.
    "Hmm... a wise business move on Kyle's part, " Price observed, thinking of how two new guestrooms could potentially  increase Kyle's rental income by 120 percent. "How can I help you?"
    Brad stopped hammering and stood up, a smile forming on his face, his blue eyes crinkling. "You... wanna' help me?" Brad laughed, incredulously. "Haha... seriously, Price?"
    Price placed his hands on his hips, decidedly unamused. "Why does that strike you as humorous?" he said sharply. "I helped you once with yardwork, didn't I?" He recalled the sunny Fall day when he and Brad had raked the entire lawn together, which perhaps had been the beginning of what Price thought was a budding friendship. Only now...
    "Yeah, but..." Brad countered, "...construction work's a lot different. Did you ever even lift a hammer down on the Kentucky mansion?"
    Price winced. So many times in his life he'd been teased, admonished, criticized, judged, and simply insulted because of his family's moneyed status. But Brad had never taken him to task for that. Brad had always been different. Accepting. Until now.
    "If you don't want my help, just say so. You don't need to ridicule me, " Price said defensively in his light Kentucky accent, his blue eyes like lasers boring into Brad's. "I thought we were becoming friends. My mistake."
    Brad put the hammer down and walked over to Price, placing his arm around Price's broad shoulders. He hadn't meant to hurt Price, and now he could see that he had. "Hey, Price.... I was just bustin' on you. That's what friends do, " he said, softly.
    Price would normally have been put off by a sweaty construction worker placing his hands on his expensive clothing, but this wasn't just any sweaty construction worker. This was Brad. And maybe... just maybe he was a friend to him after all. Whatever he was... it felt good having the blond man's muscular arm encircling him warmly.
    "C'mon... I'd be glad to have your help, " Brad continued, sincerely. "Why don't you grab a coupla' those two-by-fours?"
     Price stared around the room blankly as Brad released him and knelt down to continue hammering.
    "What's a two-by four?" Price asked.
    Brad smiled. "Haha... good one, " he laughed, impressed by Price's quick display of sarcasm.
    "No, really," Price said, without a trace of laughter. "What's a two-by four?"
    Brad rolled his eyes. "Holy Crap," he muttered. It was going to be a long day...

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


    There was a light breeze blowing as the three figures sat on the deck overlooking the harbor, finishing their breakfast. Lance Powers...handsome, African-American, 30-ish... crisply attired in tailored business wear. Drew Danvers, his boyfriend... Alabama-born, blue-eyed, medium-brown windblown hair with a neatly trimmed beard, in his mid-twenties... what some would call a "muscle bear" ... also wearing a shirt and tie, although his clothing not nearly as expensive as that of his boyfriend Lance. And finally, Morgan St. Cloud... transgender, of undetermined age, wearing a full-length, flowing bright red ensemble with a matching hat, her face made up with artfully applied cosmetics.
     Drew stood up. "Well, it was real nice meetin' ya' Morgan, " he said, placing his napkin on the table. "But I gotta' get to work."
    "Oh, must you, Drew?" Morgan protested. Like just about everyone else at the B&B, she'd been quickly enchanted by Drew's rugged southern charm.
    "'Fraid so, " he replied. "How long are ya' in town for?"
    "Only for the weekend," she said, regretfully. "I need to be back at the London office by Monday morning." She'd been away in London for months, and was realizing how many things she'd missed at the B&B while she'd been gone. Not the least of which was the fact that Lance Powers, of all people, now had a boyfriend. And an incredibly captivating one, at that.
    "'Kay, then, " Drew said, caressing her shoulder gently with his strong hands. "We gotta' take ya' line dancin' on Saturday night."
    "Ooooh....I'll be there with spangles on!" she purred, enthusiastically. She wasn't sure which astounded her more; the fact she was going to be going country line-dancing with a real cowboy the following night... or the fact that Lance Powers was actually dating a real cowboy who liked to go country line-dancing. And who'd somehow wrangled him into going, too.
    As soon as Drew had kissed Lance goodbye and was off to brush his teeth, Morgan leaned forward to give her assessment. "Lance, he's wonderful. But then... I'd expect no less of any man capable of enticing Lance Powers into an actual relationship."
    Lance smirked. "I suppose it had to happen eventually."
    "I'm happy for you. Truly. Although..." Morgan hesitated, before continuing. "I know you well enough that I need to ask."
    "Ask what?" Lance said, sipping his coffee.
    "How does he tolerate your sleeping around?"
     Lance raised his eyebrows. "Who says I'm sleeping around?"
    "You mean--" Morgan began, incredulously.
    "We're monogamous. For now," Lance said, nonchalantly. "And out agreement is to remain that way... until either one of us feels the need to renegotiate those terms."
    "That all sounds rather formalized," Morgan said, still reeling from that fact that Lance had even uttered the "M" word, let alone was in a relationship that was supposedly characterized as such.
    "It needs to be," Lance continued. "At heart, Drew's a somewhat traditional Alabama Christian boy... who requires assurance of my fidelity. And I need to know I have an out... should circumstances change."
    "Oh, Lance," Morgan said, wistfully. "I just hope you don't go breaking that hairy-chested cowboy's heart."
    Lance frowned. "How do you know he has a hairy chest?"
   "Richard e-mailed me some  photos," Morgan answered, smiling, recalling the unexpectedly explicit set of black & white nude photos that Richard had surprised her with several months ago. Pictures Drew apparently posed for while in college, for some sort of art project, that showed off every detail, every single orifice of the boy's body in graphic detail. Those photos had certainly warmed her up on a cold, wintry London afternoon!
    Lance sighed. "Of course he did," making a mental note to have a talk with Richard about discretion. And realizing that his boyfriend's body was always going to be subject to leering and ogling as long as those pictures were out there.