New York City, 1969
When I saw him coming toward me, I knew immediately that it was going to be an interesting evening. If, of course, I decided to go along. I don't allow myself to get involved in any rough stuff. I've got a job to do, but there are limits. No whips, no chains, no handcuffs. Usually, though, it's not a problem. I manage to make a pretty decent living and still maintain my standards. And most of the time you can tell from a guy's expression what he's angling for. If not, I lay it on the line up front, before things even get started.
Anyway, this guy wasn't the type. As to whether he was my type, that depended on the thickness of his wallet. Though I had to admit, as he came close enough for me to get a good look at him, here was a man capable of appealing to me on a nonprofessional basis as well. In the white glow of the streetlight, I feasted my eyes on broad shoulders; strong hands; a well defined face with a mouth that looked willing to give as good as it got; and deep, dark eyes that were busy appraising me from head to toe. Even through my clothes, I could feel the heat of that gaze. I wondered what it would be like without them.
There are times when I positively adore my work.
Those eyes didn't stay on me, though. They roamed up and down the street, restless, wary, taking in the passersby, the men slipping into the porn theater across the street, the other boys leaning against walls with their backs arched and their lips pouting. I wondered if he was concerned about being seen in this neighborhood or if it was just his nature to be observant. He looked as if he'd seen and done plenty in his time, not all of it pleasant. I liked that. It gets tiresome, breaking in skittish novices who've never ventured further out of suburbia than the occasional furtive feel-up at a public toilet.
As he came to a stop in front of me, the eyes ceased their wandering and fixed themselves on mine. I smiled encouragingly. Not that he seemed to need much encouragement.
"Doing anything this evening?" he asked. His voice was soft and rich, wrapping the words in velvet. The brown eyes were velvety, too. I could feel my palms start to sweat. Silly, of course. Still, there was no rule that said hustling had to be a miserable experience.
"If I went home with you, I would be." I traced his mouth with a finger.
The lips curved under my touch before he caught my hand and lowered it.
"What sort of, ah, recompense would you expect for your efforts?"
Since he looked well heeled enough, I suspected the question was perfunctory. I smiled again, charmingly I hoped.
"What do you think I'm worth?"
His eyes raked over me again, and despite myself, my breathing became a little labored. I glanced quickly up and down the street, and seeing no unwelcome gazes directed at us, I took his hand and placed it over my crotch. I heard him catch his breath. Then he squeezed gently, and I caught my breath. He grinned at that, almost maliciously. The hand left too soon and moved up to my face, where he took hold of my chin and turned my head back and forth. His eyes had a searching, hungry expression as they studied my face. I wondered what he was looking for.
"I'd say you're worth a man's soul, Blue Eyes," he murmured. "However, I'm afraid I've already parted with that. One hundred." He suited the action to the words, producing a bill of that denomination from a black leather wallet.
This was a very interesting evening. I hoped my face didn't register my surprise.
"That sounds fair." I took the hundred and stuffed it into my jeans pocket.
"Then let's be on our way. To your place. I assume it's nearby?"
I nodded. "Come on."
We had gone a block down the street when a thought struck me. "What's the going rate for a soul?"
He looked sharply at me, then glanced away.
"Not nearly enough. I'm afraid it's a buyer's market."
My place is a third-floor walkup just west of Times Square. It's the kind of place where the landlord couldn't care less what his tenants do with their time as long as they pay their rent and don't attract too much attention from the police while doing whatever it is that earns them then money. So far I haven't had any trouble on that score, but I've known a couple of guys who've wound up in jail for plying our mutual trade in this building. It's made me a little nervous, but you don't often find a trick who'll take you to his own place. A lot of them have wives and kids. This evening's Prince Charming never mentioned it. I noticed he wasn't wearing a ring, but maybe he had a guy at home who might object to my presence. Or who might want to share me. That turns some guys on, of course. You never know.
Anyway, he didn't seem too impressed by my little den of iniquity. I'll admit it's not much, just an efficiency with one window, a tiny kitchen and a tinier bathroom, but I do keep it clean. Maybe his impression of it was colored by the not so clean exterior of the building, and by the junkie we saw nodding on the stairs on the way up.
I always try to be a good host. I offered him coffee, tea or something stronger, but he declined. I offered him a smoke, legal or otherwise, but he just brushed it off impatiently and said, "We both know why we're here, so let's just get on with it, shall we?"
Well, it was his money. And the idea of just getting on with it, with him, wasn't such a disagreeable one anyway. I turned off the overhead light, leaving the room lit dimly by the streetlight outside the window. The blinking sign across the street—"Nick's Bar & Grill"—cast neon flashes across the bed at regular intervals. I really should get some heavier curtains.
Since he seemed to be the take-charge type, I just stood there passively and waited to see what he would do. As I said before, it's always kind of a relief to pick up a guy who knows the score and has no qualms about what he's doing. It takes the onus off you. I'm not naturally an aggressive person, and I know how to enjoy being dominated by someone bigger and stronger than myself. If that's what they want, it's all right with me, as long as there's no real violence involved.
I'm not really sure what I expected from him, but it surprised me a little when he came toward me, took my face between his hands, and kissed me. His lips were warm and soft at first, then harder and hungrier when I kissed him back. He tasted good. His tongue licked at mine, and I heard myself moan. He drew back a little, sucking at my lower lip, then finally ending the kiss. I couldn't help leaning into him a bit as he pulled away. He was a hell of a kisser.
He ran his fingers through my hair. "I forgot to ask you how old you are."
I grinned. "Old enough. Want to see my driver's license?"
"I'd hate to be accused of corrupting our nation's youth." He smiled a bit. "If they can still be corrupted, these days."
"Well, this one can't. I've been doing this since I was sixteen. For money, I mean. That was three years ago, if you really want to know."
He stroked through my hair again. A lot of older men nowadays are fascinated by boys with long hair. Maybe it makes it easier for them to pretend we're girls while they're fucking us. Maybe that's what they have to do if they can't handle what it is they really want. But somehow, I don't think that was this guy's hang-up. He didn't seem nervous or ashamed like so many of my customers do. I think he knew exactly what he wanted and didn't give a damn what I thought of him.
His fingers stopped moving and he gave me a hard look. Then he said softly, "I've heard they have more fun."
I touched his own hair, short, dark, and carefully groomed. "They do if they're with me, but then so do brunets."
He grinned suddenly. "Cocky little bastard, aren't you?" His silky murmur made the harsh word sound like a caress. "I have a longstanding weakness for cocky little bastards."
"I thought we were going to get on with it." I smiled at him and reached for the knot of his tie, but he batted my hands away.
"I'll do that," he said, a bit sharply I thought. "You take care of yourself."
I shrugged and started to strip. Busy, I took my eyes off him for a moment. When I looked back, he was draping his jacket carefully over the back of my couch. He was wearing a white shirt, and even in the dim light I could see the black outline of a holster and gun over his ribs.
He saw me staring and followed my gaze. "That's my security blanket," he explained. "Don't worry, this isn't a sting."
The sight of the gun made me uneasy. I don't like guns. I was relieved when he took off the shoulder holster and laid it on the couch, then alarmed when he put the gun itself down on the nightstand by the bed.
"Do you have to leave it there?"
His voice was quiet. "Yes, if not closer." He touched my face, more gently than I would have expected. "I won't hurt you."
I swallowed and nodded. Even though this guy's whole appearance and manner broadcast the fact that he could hurt me if he felt like it, I really didn't think he would.
He was looking me over now, the way he had before on the street, only now I was naked and his eyes were hotter. I was anxious to see him too, and was glad when he pulled his gaze away from me and continued undressing. When his shirt came off, I stifled a gasp. I'd assumed from his gun that he was some kind of policeman, but now I wondered if he was a professional soldier or a hit man or something. Scars crisscrossed his back and several more stood out on his chest and belly. Strangely, the sight didn't repulse me. In an odd sort of way they made him seem more exciting.
I lay down on the bed and watched him. He had a strong, healthy body that looked as if it received plenty of hard exercise. His cock was long and thick and half-erect. It would be a pleasure giving him his money's worth. I closed my eyes for a moment and stroked myself a little.
He came to me, sat down on the edge of the bed and ran his fingers down my inner thigh. Then he moved up a little and took hold of my cock, squeezing it slightly. I felt it harden to its fullest in his grip. My legs moved apart a little more, involuntarily, and I spoke quickly because I was afraid I couldn't get the words out if I waited any longer.
"Is there anything special you want me to do?" My breath caught in my throat as his fingers slipped down to my balls and began fondling them. I was amazed at the gentleness of his touch. Very few tricks have any particular interest in gentleness or in giving pleasure to a whore. There's pleasure to be had, often, but it's usually incidental. We're there to give them a good time, after all.
I struggled on, trying to ignore the heat spreading through me. "I mean, I can say anything you want me to say, or I can pretend to be somebody else if you—"
He cut me off. "You don't need to pretend anything." His eyes took on a distant expression. "Believe me, I have enough imagination for both of us."
For a moment he seemed so distracted by whatever he was thinking about that his hand stopped its delicious movements between my legs. Without thinking, I thrust up toward him, wanting it back and forgetting that I had no right to demand anything of him. That drew his attention back to me and he smiled.
"So you like that, do you?" he whispered, and resumed his caresses. "Tell me how much you like it."
"I—very much," I gasped. "You—you know you don't have to do that. You paid for me—"
"I paid for you and it was a perfectly exorbitant price and now I'll do what I want with you. And this is what I want."
Without taking his hand from my balls, he lowered his head and began laying tiny, teasing kisses along my throat and collarbone. His tongue was wonderfully warm and wet, and when it slowly circled my nipples I couldn't keep myself from sighing and clutching at his shoulders to steady myself. My cock twitched against him and he laughed softly.
"I keep forgetting how young you are. Wouldn't want you to lose interest too soon." With that, he took his hand away and, ignoring my whimper of protest, used both hands to pin my arms to the bed while he continued kissing and licking his way down my body, covering every inch of skin with that incredible mouth.
I couldn't remember the last time anyone had done that for me. Maybe nobody ever had; not quite that way, at least. I didn't know why he was doing it, but I wasn't about to argue. His mouth felt so good, I almost didn't miss his hand. Almost. Then his head moved lower and he drew his tongue slowly up the whole length of my cock, ending at the head, which he licked so gently it hurt.
I started to say something—please, or don't stop, or oh Jesus—and with a lightning movement he placed one hand over my mouth before I could.
"Don't talk," he said, and though he spoke quietly, there was steel in his voice. His eyes had that faraway look again and I knew he wasn't really seeing me. "From now on, don't say anything in words. Make noise if you have to, but don't talk."
I nodded wildly. I was willing to agree to anything he said, no matter how crazy it sounded, if he would just go back to what he had been doing. I looked down at him and saw his eyes were squeezed shut and sweat was standing out on his forehead. He looked as though he were concentrating hard on something and trying not to let himself be distracted from it. Maybe that was why he didn't want me to talk. I didn't, but I couldn't stop myself from moving under him beseechingly and trying to pull his head back to my cock.
He evaded my hands, pushing them back down to my sides again and holding them there while he licked slowly at my inner thighs. I could feel his warm breath stirring the hairs. My cock was pulsing so hard I almost sobbed with frustration, but I bit back the pleading words that rose to my lips and simply pushed against him in desperation, praying that he would take the hint and finish me.
Finally, finally he slid his mouth down over my erection. At the same time, he began stroking my balls with one hand and cupping my ass with the other. He lifted me toward his mouth, pulling me in deep until I felt myself touch the back of his throat. My mind was screaming. I tasted blood on my lower lip, and realized somewhere at the edge of my consciousness that I must have bitten too hard on it in my attempt to keep the words back. As for the incoherent animal sounds issuing from my throat, I couldn't have silenced them if I'd tried.
He had stopped his teasing now and was simply sucking at me hungrily, as though trying to swallow me whole. His hands never stopped—caressing my balls to unbearable tightness, stroking my ass erotically, slipping a careful finger inside me. This last action was too much. I thrashed about, frantic with not knowing which I wanted more—to push myself further down onto that invading finger, or to thrust upward violently, again and again, into the hot, wet mouth. Just as I thought I would go insane from the torturous pleasure, I felt the churning in my balls build past the point of no return. I came so hard I nearly lost consciousness.
He held me steady until the spasms died away, taking every drop I had. When it was over I collapsed and just lay there, trying to get my breath. He moved up on the bed and put his arms around me, saying nothing but staring intently into my eyes and brushing my sweat-soaked bangs off my forehead. When I could, I reached to kiss him, wanting to taste myself in his mouth. It seemed to surprise him, but he didn't pull back. I felt my slowing heart begin to speed up again at the taste of his sweet tongue mingled with my salty bitterness.
As we kissed, I felt his arms tighten around me. Then he shifted on the bed, rising up a little. I smiled, sure that I knew what he wanted. Nothing had gone at all as I had expected so far, but now we seemed to be approaching familiar ground. I reached under the pillow and handed him the tube I kept there, then turned over on my stomach and spread my legs.
A strong hand gripped my shoulder and I felt myself being rolled over. He was looking down at me with that same serious, searching look on his face. His eyes bored into mine.
"I want to see your face," he said. "I want to watch you."
I nodded slowly. This one was just full of surprises.
He smiled and circled my tired cock with his hand. "At our age, you must have some to spare."
Right then I was so wrung out I didn't think I could come again until I'd had a good night's sleep and a big oyster dinner, but that hand was magic. I could already feel myself stirring under its touch.
I watched him spread the lube over his beautiful cock. Then he knelt between my legs and carefully loosened me with slippery fingers. I sighed and relaxed, letting him in deep, until his fingers found the sweet spot and I gasped and bucked up against him in delight. He smiled again and repeated the motion, scraping over my prostate twice more while I shuddered and tried to stay quiet. Finally he withdrew and I felt my knees being raised to rest over his shoulders.
He pushed in slowly, gently, until my own motions told him I was ready. Then he slid deeper, all the way into me, and we both gasped as his balls touched my ass. He felt wonderful inside me, the fullness making me twist and arch to adjust to it. In the dimness, I could see his eyes above me, slitted in pleasure, but still watching me. I wiggled encouragement, and he closed his eyes and groaned softly, a word I didn't quite catch, a name maybe. I couldn't concentrate on it; I couldn't think about anything but the way he was making me feel.
H started to move then, rocking me back and forth slowly, then faster. His head was thrown back and I could see his throat muscles move as he called that name again, if it was a name. I was moaning too, and as the need built I grabbed my cock and began working it in time to his thrusts. I felt his hand cover mine and in a few more seconds I climaxed, pouring out over us both. I was still lost in it when I felt him stop suddenly and then cry out. His own seed filled me, warm and wet and good.
He collapsed onto me, burying his face against my shoulder, murmuring unintelligibly. I ran my shaking hands over his back and shoulders, soothing him, loving the feel of his warm weight holding me motionless. He was bigger and heavier that I was, and it felt good to be held down by him.
At last, he gave a deep sigh and rolled off me, his softening cock leaving me bereft. I sighed too, disappointed that it was over. It had been a long time since I'd felt that way after sex with a trick.
I expected him to get up, get dressed and leave. Instead he simply lay on his back, staring up at the ceiling. I noticed the sticky wetness I'd left on his belly and chest when I came the second time, and reached for the towel I kept on the nightstand. He seemed like such a neat and tidy type I thought he might appreciate being cleaned up. He didn't even seem to notice when I slid out of bed and padded into the bathroom. He didn't pay much attention when I moved the wet towel over him, either, just flinching slightly at the sudden coolness of it, then ignoring it and continuing to stare upward. I wondered what he was seeing.
I swiped the towel over myself a couple of times, then dropped it on the floor and lay back down beside him. He didn't seem to care what I did, and it was my bed, after all. When he still made no move to leave, I pulled the sheets up over us. At that, he turned suddenly to look at me. I smiled, and gingerly slid closer to him, wondering if he would push me away. He didn't, so I curled up against him and laid my head on his shoulder. After a moment he put his arm around me like he had the first time, after I came in his mouth. I almost laughed, it was so much like being lovers.
A thought struck me. "Is this why you were willing to pay so much?"
I remembered suddenly that he'd wanted me to stay silent. "I'm sorry, do you still want me to be quiet?"
He didn't answer at first. When he did, his voice was expressionless. "No, it's over now. It doesn't matter anymore."
He paid no attention to my first question, so I restated it. "Were you willing to pay so much for a fantasy?"
He turned his head to stare at me, his eyes unreadable.
"I mean, a hundred's a lot more than I usually get, even for the works. And I didn't ask for it, you volunteered it. And then—well, you've been good to me." I grinned. "Very good. I just thought maybe you were trying to believe in something that wasn't true."
He looked back up at the ceiling. "A lot of guys do that, do they?"
I hesitated. "Well, no, not very often. Just sometimes. But they usually want me to act it out for them, call them something special, let them call me something special, pretend to be a girl, something like that. All you wanted me to do was not talk. That's a new one."
There was just the faintest suggestion of a smile on his lips. "I'm glad to hear I'm unique."
We were quiet for a while, with no sound but the traffic on the street and our own breathing. My hand was resting on his chest, and I could feel his heart beating against it. It was such a soothing sensation I almost fell asleep. Then he shifted his position slightly, and the sudden movement roused me. I yawned and remembered something.
"What was that you were saying before?"
He looked at me uncomprehendingly.
"While you were fucking me. You said something I didn't understand, twice. It sounded like a name, or like you were speaking a foreign language." I didn't know why I was asking him all these questions. He didn't have to answer any of them, of course. But he was so different. I was curious about him.
He looked away from me again and stayed silent for such a long time I decided he wasn't going to answer. After all, it was none of my business anyway.
Then he said softly, "Illya." A pause. "I didn't realize I'd said it out loud."
Something about the way he pronounced the word, the gentleness in his tone, told me it was a person's name. "I never heard that name before."
"It's a Russian name."
"Oh." I remembered his close scrutiny of me on the street. "I guess I look like him, don't I? Is that why you wanted me and not any of the other boys down there?"
I half expected him to tell me to shut up or to just grab his clothes and leave, but by this time I didn't care. I really wanted to know.
He closed his eyes. "Yes, that's why."
"Russian...I'll bet he has an accent, too, doesn't he? That's why you didn't want me to talk, because I wouldn't have sounded like him! It would have ruined the illusion." I felt pretty proud of myself for figuring it out.
He didn't reply, just kept his eyes shut. I realized suddenly that he looked very tired and very sad. I felt sorry for him. Maybe this Illya had been his lover and they'd just broken up.
"Do you want to spend the night here?" I asked gently. "I mean, you look awfully tired, and I don't have to work any more tonight, thanks to your generosity. If you want to sleep here with me, it's all right."
After a moment he said, "No, thanks. I'll get up in a minute." He didn't open his eyes.
I thought he might fall asleep anyway, but I was wrong. He lay next to me quietly for a little while longer, and then sighed and moved off the bed. I watched while he put his clothes on. It startled me when I saw him pick up the gun from the nightstand. I'd forgotten all about it.
When he was dressed he came back over to the bed and looked down at me. Then he reached out and ruffled my hair again, drawing his fingers down my cheek when he finished. He was one of the best-looking customers I'd ever had, and he'd certainly shown me the best time. I liked him.
"You should consider a career change," he said softly. "This is no way to live, you know. You're sharp enough to do anything."
I smiled and replied lightly, "I won't do it for much longer. Then maybe I could get into your line of work." I still didn't know what his line of work was, but it was something to say.
He dropped his hand from my face. "No, don't do that." His voice was abruptly cold. "Maybe you're better off here, after all."
I didn't know what he was talking about, but I nodded. Then I reached out and caught his hand, feeling that I needed to say something more before he left.
"Thanks for—for being so nice to me. I had a really good time." He smiled just a bit and I struggled on. "I hope you got what you paid for. I mean, I hope I was as much like your lover as you wanted me to be."
He drew in a sharp breath and stepped back, freeing my hand from his grip. His eyes left mine and moved to stare at the window, through the thin curtain that let in the light from the street below.
"He wasn't my lover. I was in love with him but I never had the balls to tell him. Sometimes I thought he felt the same way, but I never knew for sure. It scared the hell out of me. Not because he was a man; I'd slept with other men. I just didn't want to love anybody that much again. It's too damn dangerous. You lose all perspective, all control, when you feel that way. You can't protect yourself because you have no defenses. I wasn't brave enough for that. I couldn't stop the way I felt, but I didn't have to do anything about it, so I never told him."
He was silent for a moment, his gaze far away. I was amazed at the sudden outpouring of words. But if his Illya was with someone else now, maybe he had no one else to talk to. Maybe he just couldn't keep it inside anymore and had to spill to somebody. If that was it, I was probably the safest person he could spill to. I didn't know anything about him and I couldn't pass judgment.
I spoke hesitantly. "Well, maybe—maybe it's not too late. If there's a chance he feels the same way—"
"He's dead." He said it without looking at me, as if he'd forgotten I was listening. "He died because of me, because I made a stupid mistake. We thought they were after me, so we used him as bait, to draw them into a trap. They were supposed to follow him to me. I didn't like it, didn't want to do it, but I'm an organization man. I let myself be persuaded. We didn't know it was personal, that they were after him because of something he'd done a long time ago. He didn't know it either. They shot him down, from cover." An odd note of pride crept into the bitter voice. "They didn't dare meet him face to face."
I stared at him. He sounded as though he were relating the plot of a movie he'd just seen. But the desolation on his face was real.
He continued as though it were the most ordinary thing in the world. "When I found them, I killed them. But it wasn't enough."
I was suddenly so cold I shook.
After a moment he turned away, toward the door. When he reached it, he put one hand on the knob and hesitated. He spoke without turning around.
"Take care of yourself. Don't let your soul get away from you."
Then he was gone. I heard his footsteps receding down the stairs.
I lay back on the bed and closed my eyes. The traffic down below roared and rumbled as usual. The neon sign at Nick's mingled its red with the white glare of the streetlight, pouring through the curtain and across the bed. Everything was just the way it always was. But it was hours before I could get to sleep.