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The Talon House

If By Chance


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If By Chance

Chapter Four

By Nick

There's something telling about the bottom of a bottle. I think the story might be in the sorrows that one might drown in it. Sometimes, the good times had by those who enjoy the company of others. Of course, it's a different story altogether when the empty bottle becomes part of a growing collection at the foot of somebody's garbage can, a collection that's sure to grow in the days, weeks and months ahead.

I once knew a man who lost his job and drank himself to an unconscious state each and every day. His wife and kids dealt with it, acting like nothing was wrong on the surface, but that only lasted so long. Faced with the option of losing his family or getting sober, he quickly sobered up and hasn't touched a drop of liquor since.

Scotch is my spirit of choice. It goes down smooth, straight or with water. I've had it on the rocks before, but I prefer it at room temperature with an ice cold beer to chase it down. Now, I keep a variety of liquor in my cabinet, mainly for when I have company, but the only bottle I've replaced on a regular basis is the one that bears the name of my old friend, Glen Livet. Aged 12 years in the cellar, aged two weeks behind my bar.

I have a pretty nice set up at home, if I do say so myself. The layout of my first floor is open, with the kitchen, the dining area and the living area all sharing the same four walls and ceiling. Off to the side of it all, between the living area and the dining area is my bar, complete with stools, hanging glasses, a large mirror that sits behind my collection of booze, and carbonated water on tap.

It's rather excessive, I admit, but I couldn't imagine my place without it. I've entertained so many friends and one night stands at that bar, and I think I'd be lost if I ever had to give it up. It's not so much that I'm a heavy drinker, because I'm not. I doubt very much that a fifth of scotch every two weeks constitutes heavy drinking.

I guess I wasn't counting on the amazement that Gerald had the first time he laid eyes on my spread. We walked in to my place the first night we slept together, and I thought his eyes would bug out of his head.

"Now that's nice," he exclaimed. "I want to have something just like that in my house."

"Well with what I'm paying you, I think you can afford it," I said jokingly.

"Ha!" he replied, running his hand over the smooth surface of the top of the bar. "It'll be a long time before I can ever afford something this nice."

"Can I fix you a drink?" I asked, taking my place behind the bar. "What'll you have?"

"Do you serve Hypnotiq?" he asked, and I gawked.

"I might have some Tanqueray," I offered. "I can mix it up with some cranberry juice."

"I'll pass," he said with a grin. "What do you drink?"

"I'm a scotch man," I said, taking a glass down for myself and filling it halfway. "Care for a glass?"

"Maybe just a little," he said cautiously. "I don't really drink a lot."

"Would you feel better with a wine cooler?" I asked, and he smiled and nodded. I chuckled lightly and turned to the small refrigerator sitting in the corner, extracting a Bartle's and James Wild Berry wine cooler, popping the top and handing it to him.

Since then, he's been on a mission to try everything I have behind the bar, and a few things I don't. He brought home a bottle of Jägermeister one night and gagged on every drop of the one shot he took before adding the almost full bottle to my collection. The next evening, it was a bottle of Goldschläger, which he also promptly put away upon throwing back his first shot.

Of course, I was always polite company and accepted his offer to take a shot and share in a toast. I suggested that he might find his spirits much more enjoyable if he had bothered to chase them, but he swore he could take it straight to the head with no help. I just shrugged and followed along, knowing that he was going to find the straight liquor to be too much.

On this night, though, Gerald was drinking something new. Well, it's not new, but it's something I hadn't seen him try before. It wasn't a liquor, though. No, this time he had a tall, frosty mug of Guinness Stout, and I cringed as I watched him bring the mug to his lips for what was supposed to be a long, cool, refreshing drink.

I watched carefully as the confident look of anticipation he was wearing as he lifted his drink to his lips mutated into a horrified, disgusted and overwhelmed look as he almost slammed the mug down on the bar and threw his right hand over his mouth before he took off, running as fast as he could for the kitchen sink.

"Oh my god!" he spat as soon as the beer in his mouth became the beer in the sink. "What the f**k are they trying to do to me?"

"It's stout beer, sweetie pie," I said, opening a drawer and fetching a kitchen towel for him as he turned the water faucet on to wash away the remnants of his latest fiasco. "It's supposed to taste that way."

"Who on Earth drinks this stuff?" he asked in a loud, confused voice as he turned to me with a look that said he needed consolation, and I couldn't resist. I put my arms around his body and drew him close for a hug, then I moved in for a kiss. I felt his tongue invade my mouth, so I quickly reciprocated, engaging him in a long, sensual French kiss.

"Are we going to f**k tonight?" he asked me seductively.

"Sorry, I'm impotent," I joked, prompting him to reach down and grab my stiff package and smile at me.

"Liar," he said with a pouty grin, bringing his arm back up to my shoulder, and hanging on to me as I ran my hands down to the small of his back , where they worked to tug the tail of his shirt out of his slacks. When his shirt was loose, I let my hands slide between it and his back, where I made light contact with his soft skin. I used my fingertips to tickle his spine, then I let my hands travel further down.

I was about to grab his buns when my cell phone rang, eliciting a long sigh from Gerald as I pulled my hands away from his butt and answered.

"Dennis, this Alana," I heard as soon as I said hello, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

"Alana, thank you for calling me back," I said politely. Gerald, who was still holding on to my shoulders, gazed up at me with a puzzled look. I silently shook my head and used my free hand to gently lift his hands off of my shoulders, then I held my finger to my lips and pulled away, turning and walking out onto the back deck so I could talk in private with my boss.

"What's wrong, Dennis?" she asked. "Your message sounded urgent when I got it."

"Unfortunately, this is rather urgent," I told her. "There's something I think you need to know."

The mood in the office was tense to say the least. Peter hadn't been in for three days straight, and Robin was giving me funny looks. I knew something was amiss, but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what was going on.

Now don't get me wrong. I knew what it was about, but I had no idea what it was. All I knew was that one night, I had spoken with Alana on the telephone and told her all I knew and everything that happened, and the next day I came to work as if it were business as usual. The office was in its typically bustling state for the first part of the day, and by the time I got all of the work delegated, everyone quieted down. The next day, it was almost as if a gray hue had settled over the office.

I knew they all knew.

Someone in corporate must have called Robin, and she probably told a few of her assistants. Once they found out, it was most likely a crap shoot as to who they'd tell first. I was a little worried that Gerald was going to hear it from one of the girls in the office and not me, but I had to act ethically. Part of that meant not divulging matters of the company to anyone who didn't need to know about them.

Unfortunately, Gerald was one of those people.

As much as it pained me to say, Gerald was nothing more than an accountant who happened to work under me at the company. Of course, he meant so much more than that to me, but I had to think logically. Especially for a matter like this. He had no need to be involved in anything I was wrapped up in, and as long as I continued to act in the best interests of the company, I was doing the right thing.

That night when we got home, he didn't say a word to me about what was going on at the office. It was almost as if he knew that it was off limits for me to talk to him about the matter. We settled into the tub together for a nice, long, hot soak and some intimate touching, then we made dinner together. After dinner, I got online to check my email and to see how the commodities market did for the day. The success of our company is directly tied to the price of oil and butterfat, so I try to keep a close watch on what's happening on Wall Street and with futures trading.

I smiled when I saw that the cost of a barrel of oil had dropped, and just as I was about to log off, I felt Gerald's soft, loving hands on my shoulders and his fingers stimulating my vertebrae.

"You're so tense," he said gently. "Why don't you let me help you relax?"

"What did you have in mind?" I asked, and he used both of his hands to pull my head back so that I was looking straight up at his smiling face.

"Why don't we go relax upstairs?" he suggested.

"Okay," I agreed, using my mouse to bring up the menu on my PC so I could shut it down. Once I started the shut down process, I turned the monitor off and spun around, holding my hand out and letting Gerald pull me up playfully. We held hands all the way up the stairs and down the hall to the bedroom.

At some point over the last week, it became established that I slept on the left side of the bed and Gerald took the right side. Of course, it didn't really matter who slept on which side, because I always wound up on my side with my arms wrapped tightly around Gerald, who loved to be spooned. Sometimes we slept in the nude, but a lot of times, we didn't. It just depended on our mood, I guess. It was always a silent but mutual decision when we did shed our clothes before bed.

Of course, sleeping in the nude didn't automatically lead to sex, either. There's something special about sleeping in the nude with Gerald. We're warm and safe under the covers, our bodies pressed together and our breathing bringing each other comfort. It's sensual, no doubt, but not sexual.

I don't always need to have sex with Gerald to have the feelings I get after we do have sex. There are times at night when I wake up and revel in the fact that this beautiful person is sleeping in my arms. It's the same afterglow feeling I get from sex, but no sex has taken place.

It's at those times when I take liberties I know I shouldn't. I run my hands all over his body, content to rediscover him. It's not that I forgot anything about him. That would be impossible. No, it's that there's always something new about him. A soft patch of skin I hadn't noticed before. A lock of hair I hadn't caressed. A different sounding yawn than the night before.

I'm always in the verge of tears when I do it, too. Not because I'm sad, or even because I'm happy. I mean, I am happy, but this is something else. It's a feeling of completeness that I don't know how to truly describe, verbally or otherwise. The only way to express the joy and fulfillment in my heart as I'm lying in my bed with Gerald in my arms is with raw, gritty emotion.

Usually the best remedy for me at times like that is to act on my feelings. Not by waking my sleeping angel for sex. Not by shedding tears, either. Instead, I wrap him up even tighter in my embrace and make sure I plant a kiss on his lips or his cheek. Not so that he knows what I'm feeling. I'm sure that somewhere in the land of his dreams, he knows how I feel and what I'm doing.

No, those kisses are for me. They're so I can look back on those moments and have something to smile about. Something to be able to say, yeah, I got it out. If it weren't for those precious nights, I might explode with bottled up feelings.

On this cool October evening, though, Gerald wanted more. I would have been content to just keep him close to me and bask in the feelings of affection I had deep down for him. He crawled in next to me and snuggled up to my chest and neck, where I felt his warm, wet tongue taking long swipes. I closed my eyes and whimpered as his tongue left my neck and traveled up to my ear lobe, which he sucked into his mouth and seductively licked until I could stand no more.

I know I was an animal that night. I normally take my time to make sure that Gerald feels nothing but pleasure when we become one with each other. This time, though, it wasn't meant to be. Instead, I partook of his offering and devoured all he had to give. When I entered him, I didn't stop to think about his comfort. I was already feeling frustrated because I had to stop for protection, so once I was covered, I dominated his body.

His instant moans of pleasure told me that he wasn't in pain. He beckoned me not to stop, and I acquiesced until I knew he was satisfied. Once his body was spent, I allowed mine to do the same. We stayed in each other's embrace for a long, enjoyable amount of time before we got in the shower together. We took our time getting clean, and I made sure that I gingerly washed him from head to toe before handing him the rag and soap so he could do the same for me.

That night, we slept well. At some point, I woke up and found myself in that now familiar spot, with Gerald snuggled close to me, and I once again explored his body with my hands. As they roamed the surface of his firm abdomen, I thought about what I had in Gerald and smiled before I rested my head back down on my pillow and closed my eyes.

"Dennis we need to talk," Peter said over the phone, sending a swirl of butterflies off in my stomach.

"Peter I don't know if that's such a good idea," I told him. "You haven't been in the office and I have no idea what's going on. I think all of our communication needs to happen through Alana."

"Dennis, you're making a mistake," he said desperately. "Please, we need to meet and we have to talk."

I let out a long sigh and put my head back against the cushion of my head rest, closing my eyes as I tried my best to comprehend what was happening around me.

"I don't think we should," I said in a neutral tone. "You shouldn't even be calling me, Peter."

"You've got to hear me out," He pleaded with me. "Just give me fifteen minutes at Carrabba's."

I knew it was a bad idea, but for some reason, I couldn't say no.

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