Thursday, May 12, 2005

Chapter Three (Complete)

While waiting for the elevator to arrive, Danny sought to regain some degree of decency by trying to zip up his jacket, but without success; a bit of the oil-soaked lining had torn loose from the interior, and several saturated clumps of fine silk thread were hopelessly tangled in the zipper's teeth. There are few things in the world more infuriating than a recalcitrant zipper, and Danny was near to tears with frustration.

The elevator doors opened with a melodic chime, and Danny rushed in, mumbling and swearing, his attention still focused on getting the zip past the Gordian knot of oily silk... but halfway in, he perceived two pairs of feet directly in front of him, one pair in gold-embroidered scarlet and one pair in glossy black patent. He stopped dead in his tracks, looking up to gape at the unfortunate straight couple in furs who were pressed against the back wall, obviously startled by Danny's sudden and unorthodox appearance.

"Oh! Pardon me," Danny gasped out after a long moment of just staring like a deer caught in headlights, and started to back out of the elevator... only to slam up against the now-closed doors. To make matters worse, the elevator started moving upward, rather than down. Worse still, Danny recognized the couple immediately: it was the beautiful A-List pair he'd discussed with Parker Weintraub over lunch while perusing the society pages, the tall red-headed woman wearing a floor-length chinchilla cape and the shorter ash-haired boy in a sable trench-coat.

Danny felt the blood stinging his face and neck as he blushed furiously; mumbling an apology, he quickly spun around to face the button panel and started pushing on the Lobby button repeatedly. These people are going to recognize me any minute now, Danny thought miserably, and if not now, at the next Social function we attend. It will get around that I run loose in luxury apartment buildings half-naked and drenched in oil, and my reputation will be shot to Hell.

And as if he weren't miserably embarrassed enough, Danny soon realized that the wide button-panel was made of smooth, highly reflective brass, and stretched from the carpeted floor to the coffered ceiling of the elevator like a full-length mirror... and he still had an erection that simply would not go down, undisguisably big and perfectly delineated by the thin oil-soaked denim of his jeans, with part of the head peeking over the low razored waist. Attempting ineffectually to cover the thing with his hands, he glanced into the brass panel and confirmed that the couple behind him had (and were taking full advantage of) a clear view of this impressive but humiliating sight.

Wishing he could sink right through the floor, even if it meant falling to his death in an elevator shaft, Danny pushed harder and faster on the Lobby button, hoping to vent his humiliated confusion by taking it out on an inanimate object. The round glass button, however, was unable to withstand so much force and movement; it cracked in half and collapsed inward, catching Danny's finger in forward momentum, dragged a wildly painful cut from the nailbed to the second knuckle, and jammed it into a tangle of sharp broken wires that sent a few hundred volts of electricity running up the iron-rich veins of his arm.

"Fuck!" Danny screamed, jumping backward and falling to the floor, dazzled by the pain of the shock. The little oak-paneled elevator car came to a sudden jolting halt as the fuses controlling its mechanisms shorted out; the lights went out, too, but came on again as the secondary power kicked in; this secondary electrical source, however, only powered the little crystal light-fixture and the dim lights behind the floor-indicator, not the mechanism of the elevator. They were stuck between the tenth and eleventh floors.

"What a tedious cliche," drawled a deep baritone voice over Danny's head. Looking up in surprise, he realized that this masculine sound did not come out of the boy, but rather from the person he had thought was a woman, "trapped in an elevator with a hot shirtless boy. How many porn films contain just such a scene? Cue the cheezy synthetic disco music."

"I've never seen such a film. You must lend one to me sometime," the boy responded in the same stagey drawl, as if it were a well-rehearsed cross-talk act, his boyish voice a third higher than his companion's; then he turned to look into Danny's face with sudden recognition, "Didn't we meet you at the Black & White Ball? And at the Player's Guild last week with Whatsisname the playwright?"

"We didn't meet, but I saw you there," Danny answered sheepishly, taking his injured finger out of his mouth to do so.

"Well, we're meeting now. I'm Baron Valerien de Seguemont, and this is Marquesa Willard-Wilkes," the boy put out his hand and helped Danny to his feet.

"Marcus Daniel Vandervere the Fourth," Danny blurted out, inspired by his confusion to arm himself with the richness of his name in full... something he seldom ever revealed to anyone, yet had just used twice in one hour, "but my friends call me Danny."

"Vandervere? Of the toilet-paper Vanderveres?" Marquesa asked, shaking Danny's hand gingerly, avoiding the oil and blood that dripped from his fingers, "How delightfully Jamesian! The vulgar article of domestic use!"

"What are you talking about?" Valerien frowned at this remark.

"The Ambassadors, that wonderfully reticent conversation about the Newsome fortune," Marquesa explained impatiently, "I know you've read it, Val, it was assigned in junior English."

Valerien shrugged eloquently and rolled his eyes a little. He hadn't liked Henry James and had expunged The Ambassadors from his memory immediately after final exams.

"Most of the people I meet wonder where they've seen the name Vandervere before," Danny enlarged on this, delighted to meet somebody else in the world who had read The Ambassadors, though slightly embarrassed, as Vanderveres tend to be, when talking about the real source of the family fortune, "and they seldom remember they've seen it embossed on the toilet-paper and seat-cover dispensers in public restrooms all across the country. Royal Vandervere is the West Coast's leading producer of commercial-grade bathroom tissues."

"A noble product, supplying an inescapable human need," Marquesa smiled.

"You're bleeding," Valerien gasped when he noticed the blood dripping from Danny's injured finger, and whipped a white handkerchief out of an inside pocket to wrap around the cut.

"It's nothing," Danny answered in a whisper, stunned and excited by the sudden intimacy of holding hands, even if through the membrane of soft French linen, with this beautiful violet-eyed boy. Valerien's face was extremely appealing and pretty without seeming feminine, his squared oval face graced with subtle high cheekbones and a tiny cleft in his chin; his large eyes slanted up toward the center of his face, giving him a questioning expression, and were fringed with a thick brush of silvery brown lashes; he had broad, strongly arching and rather dramatic eyebrows, and his nose was quite long and large, but well-molded and aristocratic, his mouth a small and succulent but very boyish rosebud with adorable little dimples like parentheses at the corners; his pale creamy skin had a delicate strawberry blush and just a hint of freckles over the nose, and his light-brown hair was soft and wavy and gleaming with a silvery sheen, fluffing out around his small delicate ears and the nape of his long but sturdy neck. Danny had a quite vivid urge to pick the young Baron up and either kiss or tickle him.

"These little rooms get hot when they're not moving," Marquesa exclaimed, diverting Danny's attention while shrugging off the magnificent chinchilla cape and letting it drop carelessly to the floor, revealing a shimmering Belle-Époque-styled gown of ruched magenta satin and a dazzling parure of diamonds and rubies that could only be the work of Van Cleef & Arpel.

Danny was unable to quite decide on Marquesa's gender: though the deep baritone voice was distinctly masculine, the beautiful face was completely female — and not just due to clever makeup, being far too delicately-boned for a man, with none of the musculature around the mouth or brow that one expects in a male face. The eyes were enormous, almond-shaped, and a glittering delphinium blue, framed in dramatic false eyelashes and subtle smoky eyeshadow; the fine-drawn eyebrows had a high perfect arch, the nose was elegantly sculpted and a little too small, the vermillion-glossed mouth was austere in shape but softened with plump lips; the lightly rouged cheekbones were graceful and severe, and the jaw was so delicate it looked like one could easily crush it with one hand. The gorgeous curly copper-red hair, which was piled up high in a Regency coiffure held in place with long diamond-studded platinum pins, was too thick and abundant for a man's hair, and the hairline was too soft, with tiny feathery tendrils framing the face.

The other usual giveaways were also absent, no Adam's apple was visible in the long slender throat, the perfectly manicured and brilliantly jeweled hands were long and impossibly slender with narrow white-tipped oval nails varnished to a high gloss, and no hint of incipient stubble marred the perfection of the translucent alabaster skin. The height was rare for a woman, but not impossible, as could be said of the defined musculature of the well-balanced shoulders and graceful arms... but the voice, it was simply too deep, low and rich and reverberant.

Danny was further inclined to think Marquesa male, based solely on the immediate and inescapable attraction he felt toward the glamorous creature; but then again, Danny had developed sex-tinged crushes on exquisitely elegant women before, so even this was no proof. But Danny didn't dare ask, or even try to lead the conversation into giveaway topics, he was too unsure of his standing with these two and the question was too rife with pitfalls... it would have to remain a tantalizing mystery.

"Imagine a Vandervere of the noble toilet-paper Vanderveres coming out of Drayton Marshall's apartment covered in oil," Valerien observed, still holding the handkerchief to Danny's finger and looking up into his eyes with a strangely worshipful expression, "You're not his usual type."

"Does he do this often?" Danny wondered which was worse: to be just one of a nameless multitude to get suckered into Marshall's playpen, or to be the only one foolish enough to fall for it.

"Oh, at least twice a week for the last three months, as far as I can tell," Valerien answered, shrugging off his own coat to reveal a beautifully tailored black shantung dinner suit, and producing a theatre-program from the pocket to fan himself, "You're the third I know of who's come out with the oil still on, one assumes the others are allowed to shower first. Before the oil, I'm told it was chocolate syrup; it must have been hell on his rugs. And before that it was mid-op transsexuals. He seems to pursue kink as a vocation."

"How such a troll got past your co-op board astounds me," Marquesa sighed, rummaging around in a jeweled handbag, "and while I enjoy a good gossip about Drayton Marshall's kinks as much as the next person, don't you think you ought to do something about getting us out of here, Val?"

"He was already here when I moved in, I guess he slipped in on family connections when we weren't looking," Valerien replied, heading over to the broken button-panel and carefully opening a little brass door concealing an old-fashioned black Bakelite telephone, which he picked up and held expectantly to his ear, "Marshall was once a name to conjure with in this city, you know. And since he's managed to keep within the letter of the building's by-laws, and pays his maintenance fees on time, there's nothing I can do to get rid of him, even with the controlling votes and the land deed. One could of course make a by-law about letting hustlers loose in the hallways — not you, Danny, I know you're not a hustler, but Drayton's boys usually are — but then so many of the other residents might balk at the stricture. Where is that damned concierge? Oh, hello, Tuan, this is the Baron de Seguemont. What took you so long? Yes, I see... yes... never mind, Tuan. I'm stuck in the middle elevator with two friends, in between Ten and Eleven. Has Antonio gone home yet? Well then, perhaps you ought to try calling the Fire Department. Thank you, Tuan."

"How long are we going to be stuck in here?" Marquesa asked, flipping open a diamond-paved cigarette case and extracting a silver-tipped mauve cigarette, "You don't mind, do you? I'm a little claustrophobic, and smoking calms me."

"May I have one?" Danny asked, and pulled a cigarette from the offered case, "I don't usually smoke, but I'm claustrophobic, too."

"This elevator doesn't have fire sprinklers, so be careful with your ash," Valerian advised, lighting the two cigarettes with a platinum Dunhill lighter, though he didn't join them, "Unless Tuan lost his head and called 911, I expect it will take fifteen or twenty minutes for the firemen to arrive."

"Too long to just stand around on my heels," Marquesa remarked, kicking the exquisite little Manolo Blahnik sling-back pumps out from under the floor-dusting hem of the dress and blowing a huge cloud of smoke toward the ceiling, "yet not long enough to take this damned gown off and get really comfortable. Val, you should have banquettes installed in these elevators, like I have in my building."

"I'll bring it up at the next co-op meeting," Valerien promised off-handedly, loosening his midnight-blue Chinese silk bowtie and opening the collar of his white boiled shirt, "So tell us, Danny, how in the world did you get ensared in Drayton Marshall's unsavory toils?"

"You'll think I'm terribly stupid, but it started off with this idea I had today at the gym," Danny was surprised to find himself telling these two near-strangers everything that had happened that evening, in his usual vivid and charming narrative style, explaining his initial fantasy about hustlers and his visit to Aunt Tittie, his experience of The Brat and meeting Marshall, and finally a blow-by-blow account of how Marshall had tried clumsily to drug him, had skillfully maneuvered him into the oil, and had almost succeeded in handcuffing him to the playpen; he naturally downplayed his more venal motives in coming home with Marshall, but nevertheless told the story with a delightful air of self-deprecation.

These were all things that he might have hesitated to tell his best friend (if he'd had such a thing as a best friend), but he found himself so at ease with Marquesa and Valerien that the story, with all its sordid and humiliating details, just came spilling out of him.

In fact, although he'd just met these two a few minutes ago, he felt as comfortable with them as if he'd known them all his life. They seemed to accept him as one of their own set, though he had considered himself at least one echelon beneath them, if not two; and despite his unfortunate appearance and the unhappy circumstances of their meeting, they seemed to like him immensely and enjoy his company, which made him feel simply wonderful. The facts that he was still half-naked and half-hard, still covered in oil with a handcuff dangling from his arm, and still stuck in a tiny box of an elevator car that he had himself broken, all faded away from his consciousness as he poured his heart out to a rapt and appreciative audience of two.

He had neared the end of his story and was considering how to explain his final encounter with Marshall, whether or not he could bear to relate how disturbingly violent he'd become, or how he'd vindictively vandalized the man's living-room, when the bronze-grilled elevator doors were pried apart with a huge crowbar and a gust of cool air came rushing into the car.

Two firemen in full kit stood there, one very young and of apparent Italian descent holding the crowbar, and one a little older with a somewhat Slavic aspect carrying an axe, both dashingly handsome as such lifesaving figures tend to be.

"Is anyone injured in there?" the axe-wielding fireman asked with a tone of impatient disbelief, peering up into the car that was suspended three-and-a-half feet from the floor; opening the elevator doors had been absurdly easy, two people of moderate strength could have done it without a crowbar, and he was a little disgusted that neither the hysterical concierge downstairs nor this oddly assorted trio of young people in the elevator had even tried to do it themselves.

"My friend here has a cut on his finger, but nothing serious," Valerien responded, seating himself on the edge of the doorsill and holding out his arms to the older fireman the way a small child would; the fireman, without even questioning the expectation of a grown, if young and smallish, man to be lifted down in this manner, put his hands under Valerien's arms and swung him around to the floor. Once the young Baron was standing upright in the hallway, he called back into the car, "Marquesa, would you throw me my coat?"

Marquesa and Danny both slid out of the elevator on their own power, and soon they were all standing about sheepishly in the hall. Danny held out his finger to be inspected by the younger fireman, who produced a small first-aid kit from one of the pockets of his coat and administered a dollop of salve and an adhesive bandage to the wound.

"You wouldn't happen to have a handcuff key, would you?" Danny asked the young man.

"Handcuffs aren't standard Fire Department equipment," the fireman responded, amused by the drawing-room-comedy situation and fairly turned on by Danny's provocative appearance, and favored him with a lewd wink, "But I just happen to have a little experience with these things."

The young Italianate rescuer produced a little metal tool from underneath the heavy chrome buckle of the wide black leather strap on his right wrist, which had hitherto been concealed by the big coat-sleeve but which marked him as a devotee of the Leather Scene, and he quickly sprung the lock on Danny's handcuffs.

"If you ever want these put back on," the hot fireman whispered to Danny as he pocketed the cuffs and gave Danny's basket a polite grope, "Call me at the firehouse, ask for Tony Franco."

"Thank you so much, gentlemen," Valerien took control of the situation, expertly placing neatly folded bills of large denomination into each of the firemen's hands, despite their protests, "No, I insist! It was stupid of us to call you away from your important work to help us out of this ridiculous old box. You simply must allow me to buy you and your crew a nice dinner and a round of drinks, with my grateful compliments."

The firemen, with mumbled and confused thanks (who the hell tips a fireman?) left them in the hallway and boarded one of the operational elevators.

"And speaking of a drink," Valerien continued, taking Danny's bandaged hand between both his own, "I hope you will join Marquesa and me for a nightcap?"

Looking into Valerien's eyes, then into Marquesa's, and clearly reading the unspoken remainder of that invitation, he squared his shoulders and held out an escorting elbow to each of them, "I would be delighted. But do you mind if we take the stairs?"


It was four steep flights up to Valerien's apartment on the top floor, and the narrow staircase snaked up a windowless shaft without any open space between the rails, creating an even more enclosed atmosphere than in the elevators themselves, but Danny's new friends humored his reluctance to get back on an elevator and trudged with him up the echoing concrete steps.

On reaching the fifteenth floor (actually the fourteenth, since it was an old enough building that it had no floor designated as the thirteenth), Danny breathed a little Wow of appreciation: the hall was much wider and higher than the elevator-halls in the rest of the building, with a beautiful barrel-vaulted ceiling painted in the manner of Fragonard (but with a distinctly homoerotic slant, featuring frock-coated cavaliers flirting with open-bloused shepherds), lit by a gorgeous Russian chandelier and six wall-sconces hung with striated quartz instead of crystal, and dominated by a pair of immense double-doors at one end, elaborately carved and heavily gilded.

"These are eighteenth-century!" Danny marveled, running his bandaged finger over the inlaid heraldic motif of one of the panels.

"From our old house in Paris," Valerien told him while jiggling an old-fashioned bronze key in the antique ormolu lock, "My great-grandfather stripped the building down to the stones before the Nazis could requisition it during the Occupation, and had everything smuggled out in bits and pieces. Most of the fittings and furniture went into our house here in town, but there was enough left over to decorate this apartment, as well. Unfortunately, the lock is eighteenth-century, too, and it sticks a bit. Ah, here we are."

With something of a grand gesture, Valerien invited Danny into the apartment, ushering him and Marquesa first into a circular foyer with a domed ceiling, then through a broad archway like a proscenium and down two steps into an utterly vast grand salon.

"Oh, it's so beautiful!" Danny exclaimed, stupefied with awe, stepping down into the long room and feasting his eyes on the sinuously gilded Louis XIV furniture scattered in asymmetrical groupings around curvaceous modern sofas, the three glittering snowflake-crystal chandeliers lighting the high ceiling painted to imitate a cloud-strewn twilight sky, the four wide and elegantly draped windows filled with the twinkling lights of the city, the fruit-carved brown marble fireplaces at each end with warm gas fires burning behind golden caryatid andirons and embroidered silk firescreens, the huge Limoges vases full of overblown hotel-lobby flower arrangements, the pastel Savonnerie carpets thrown randomly across the inlaid brown-and-cream marble floor, the creamy jaquard satin wall-panels framed in gold laurel-leaves, and the romantically age-dimmed windowpane mirrors on the doors.

"I'm rather proud of it," Valerien preened a bit over the compliment, "especially the paintings."

"They're all Jacky Alvarados, aren't they?" Danny's eyes leapt excitedly from one to another of a dozen large and opulently-framed canvases that he'd assumed at first to be a varied collection of Masters both Old and Modern, but which on closer study showed themselves as the work of one artist in the styles of several others: there were four portraits, one of Valerien in the manner of Ingres and one of Marquesa in imitation of Boucher, as well as a handsome blond man and a striking dark-haired woman after the fashions of Sargent and Leighton, respectively; the rest were male nudes, Danny recognized two fashion models and a couple of circuit beauties in the crowd, sculptured modern bodies erotically posed as classical subjects and painted to look like Caravaggios and Titians, Rembrandts and Vermeers, Watteaus and Poussins.

"I like to think I discovered him," Valerien was impressed that Danny could name the artist, who was still largely unknown and not very well-received by the art world, "and I'm proud to call myself his patron. I gave him a studio and an annuity, and he very kindly paints portraits and commissioned works for me whenever I ask."

"I saw his gallery show a few months ago, though none of these were included. They're so beautiful," Danny moaned again. The colors were glowing and fleshy, the execution photographically perfect beyond the painterly brushtrokes of the particular artists imitated, and the classical subjects were carried out with a wit that was thought-provoking without being ironic. It was then that Danny noticed that all of the fabrics in the room, the draperies and wall-panels and upholstery, were done in the same varied flesh-tones as the paintings, as if the whole gorgeous mis-en-scène were made up of naked men posing as furniture. The eroticism of the room sent the blood teeming back towards Danny's groin; his cock, which was still lying heavily at half-mast, leapt back to full erection.

"We'd better get you cleaned up," Valerien drew Danny away toward the left end of the beautiful salon, through a pair of mirrored double-doors; he had to pull a little to hustle Danny through the heavily opulent black-and-gold bedroom that looked worthy of the Sun King's Versailles, then beyond the lofty state bed into a relatively tiny but exquisitely appointed dressing-room paneled in gold-stamped red leather, where a very small and vaguely simian young man dressed in a black jacket with gold-embroidered stripes down the front bowed silently with his gloved hands clasped as if in prayer. Acknowledging the little man with a nod that was somehow both imperious and gracious, Valerien pushed open another pair of doors into a spacious bathroom done entirely in veined black marble and Venetian etched mirrors, with a large round tub in the center and a little gas fire burning merrily in one corner, "Leave your clothes there on the hearth and my valet will clean them in the morning."

"I expect they're ruined," Danny lamented, peeling the leather jacket off his shoulders and feeling the silk lining tear apart as it separated from his skin.

"Well, I'm sure Henri can salvage the pants and boots, maybe even repair your jacket lining, he's terribly clever with that sort of thing. But if not, I'll send him down the hill to pick something up for you to wear tomorrow... I don't suppose you'd fit anything of mine, you're so tall. Go ahead and get in the shower, or draw a bath if you prefer; if there's anything you need, just call out, I'll be right in the next room."

Danny wrestled his boots and socks off, finding it intensely difficult to do so while standing, but he didn't want to sit down on and besmirch any of the beautifully polished surfaces, and then peeled laboriously out of his jeans and dropped his jewelry into a little crystal dish on the mantel; he couldn't bring himself to leave a mess in the well-ordered jewel-box of a room, so he folded the oily clothes as small and neat as he could and placed them on the right side of the hearthstone, wishing he could just throw them on the flames and be done with them. But he knew that vegetable oil and cured leather don't burn very well, and the little black marble fireplace wasn't big enough for such a smoky conflagration. Besides, he was curious to find out if the little monkey-faced valet could actually save the clothes.

Stepping into the deep shower-stall that stood next to the fireplace, Danny adjusted the ormolu-handled taps until the soft rain of water that poured out of the large golden showerhead was the right temperature (there were also two smaller shower-heads with various attachments on hoses, controlled by separate taps, on either side), then started vigorously soaping up with the bar of pear-scented oatmeal soap he found in the shell-shaped ormolu dish.

It took some scrubbing with a loofah and repeated reapplications of soap before Danny felt that his skin was really clean; he was pleased to find the same brand of shampoo he normally used on the shelf of bottles, though it was so gentle that he had to lather up five times before he got the oil stripped out. After leaving a thick moisturizing conditioner in his tortured curls for several minutes while exploring the wide array of scents and lotions in the glass bottles along the shelf, Danny rinsed thoroughly and was ready to towel off.

"Mind if I join you?" Valerien asked, sliding back the etched glass shower door and dropping a luxurious red silk bathrobe from his shoulders.

"Of course not," Danny replied with a smile, stepping back under the water and taking in Valerien's slim and boyish physique with an appreciative eye. He was almost as hairless as Danny, but his creamy skin was fuzzed with an almost invisible golden down, and there were curly wisps of silvery brown in the center of his smooth chest and around his big silky pink nipples; he was lightly muscled and elegantly proportioned, with a layer of baby-fat under the skin that smoothed out the definition and made him look very soft and very young. His genitals were fully adult, though, his cock rising quickly to erection above his surprisingly large fuzzy balls as he stepped into the shower, not nearly as big as Danny's but quite impressive on his much smaller frame, pale and delicately veined and thickly uncircumsized, with a delightful upward curve that invited caress.

"How can you walk with that bratwurst bobbing around in front of you? Doesn't it ever go down?" Valerien kidded, staring down at Danny's still-hard cock while turning around to adjust the taps on one of the side showers.

"Not with a view like that," Danny laughed, running his fingers lightly over the tops of Valerien's almost spherical buttocks, "You have the most beautiful ass. Let me wash you?"

"Be my guest," Valerien handed over the bar of soap and looked up trustingly, admiringly, lovingly, even submissively into Danny's eyes, making his breath catch and his heart accelerate. Danny took the soap and a sponge and knelt down on the shower floor to begin a thorough exploration of the young baron's body, paying special attention to the crotch but not leaving anything else out, going in between his toes and behind his ears as slowly and carefully as one would clean a fragile Etruscan terracotta figurine.

"I hope you're going to let me fuck you," Danny said while gently slipping a soapy finger into Valerien's rectum.

"Let? I insist that you fuck me," Valerien tried to laugh but Danny pressed on his prostate and he gasped instead, leaning against the wall for support, "I've been thinking about you fucking me ever since you got on that elevator."

"Funny, I've been thinking the same thing," Danny rinsed Valerien off and pressed himself against the smaller man's back, crouching slightly and sliding his cock up and down between those smooth boyish globes, "Do we start here, or go back to your bedroom?"

"I could use a drink, first," Valerien reached around and turned off all the taps, "and Marquesa is probably getting lonely by now."

Danny and Valerien took turns drying each other off with the big, soft, gold-monogrammed black towels, fencing playfully with their hard cocks and giggling riotously while attempting to towel each-other's hair at the same time; Valerien slipped back into his robe, which was floor-length and voluminous, made of scarlet watered silk but lined in undyed terry, picked up some extra towels from a stool by the window, and led the way back to the bedroom, pulling Danny along by the hand.

There was no sign of the valet when they passed through the dressing room and re-entered the bedroom, but Marquesa was sitting composedly in a big throne-like chair by the fire, still fully dressed, smoking a cigarette and sipping from a large balloon of brandy.

"You two look like naughty puppies," Marquesa drawled indulgently, blowing an enormous smoke-ring toward the ceiling.

Danny had an opportunity to look around the room a little more while Valerien poured two more balloons from the drinks tray that had been placed on a round marble-topped table in the very center of the room; it was a huge square space, with three French windows opening out onto a dimly lit terrace, paneled in dark reddish wood that was elaborately gilded and set with gold-latticed mirrors, furnished in a stately and masculine Louis XIV style with massive gilded chairs and gold-embroidered black figured velvet hangings and upholstery, heated by a quite large black marble fireplace; the room was dominated by a shockingly pornographic painting from Valerien's pet artist, showing some two dozen well-known porn-stars, all draped in voluminous fabrics but naked and erect, posed in a lewd facsimile of Raphael's The School of Athens.

"Another piece of the old Hôtel de Seguemont," Valerien explained, following Danny's eye to the heavily carved and gilded ceiling, which featured genuine Fragonard panels and a massive crystal chandelier so dense and heavy-looking that it seemed impossible that it could remain suspended, "this whole room was imported complete. The upholstery is restored from the original pattern, and the mattress and sheets and electricity are new, of course, but the painting is the only addition. It was the King's Bedchamber, from the ground floor. No king ever slept in it, of course; but everyone had a King's Bedchamber in those days, just in case one dropped by unexpectedly. The Palais Royale was right across the river, so I suppose it could have happened."

"It's like music, it's so beautiful," Danny sobbed slightly, taking the balloon of brandy and deeply inhaling its fumes, closing his dazzled eyes and trying but fight back the unexpected tears that were running down his face.

"It is beautiful, yes, but it's never made anyone cry before," Valerien gaped at Danny, amazed by his reaction... the young baron was accustomed to people being impressed with his extremely impressive apartment, accustomed to hearing awe over the generous amounts of gold and marble or envy over the ownership of such perfectly-maintained antiques or disbelief that anyone could actually live in such formal museum-quality rooms — he'd even been lectured on the evils of hoarded aristocratic wealth gained on the backs of peasant labor, and the criminal irresponsibility of putting rare eighteenth-century Savonnerie carpets on the floor where they could be ruined instead of entombing them behind glass frames in climate-controlled vaults — but never had anyone so obviously appreciated the sheer beauty of the place the same way that Valerien himself appreciated it.

"I'm sorry," Danny gasped after a short struggle with his messy emotions, wiping the tears from his face with the back of his hand, "I'm always crying over things... you should see me at the opera."

"You are so adorable!" Valerien laughed, wrapping his arms around Danny's chest and kissing him softly, deeply enamored of his new friend's unusually extreme aesthetic sensitivity, "But we mustn't have you in tears. Come."

Valerien slipped out of his robe and gently pulled Danny up onto the turned-back sheets of the immense bed, arranged him carefully against the high bank of linen-cased pillows while straddling his lap, then began covering him with light and playful kisses.

"Is Marquesa joining us?" Danny whispered, observing with concern the elegantly composed figure watching them intently from across the room.

"She likes to time her entrances for maximum dramatic effect," Valerien whispered back with just a touch of exasperation in his voice, nestling himself between Danny's thighs in order to comfortably attend to Danny's cock.

Danny wasn't entirely sure he was ready to have sex with a woman, if indeed Marquesa turned out to be a woman. He'd had sex with girls in high-school and college, more in the spirit of experimentation than out of any particular desire; but a finished and elegant woman, poised and sophisticated and mysterious, was an entirely different proposition, and Danny felt a little pang of fear for what might be coming. He assumed his erotic infatuation with Valerien would see him through any indifference to female genitalia, yet as a natural people-pleaser, Danny worried that he might not be able to perform to an experienced woman's satisfaction.

But since there was no way of getting out of it, Danny just relaxed against the pillows while Valerien sucked him slowly and delicately, exploring and tasting rather than trying to bring Danny to orgasm. After meticulously extinguishing the cigarette in a big crystal ashtray, Marquesa rose from the chair and moved with deliberate but leisurely steps toward the bed, engaging Danny with a direct eye-to-eye gaze that he found intimidating and thrilling at the same time.

Stopping at the end of the bed, Marquesa reached back and slowly lowered the zipper behind the ruched satin gown, dropping the stiff-boned bodice to reveal a hard masculine chest and abdomen. Danny breathed a sigh of relief, but that relief was short-lived: the dress fell further down Marquesa's narrow hips, pooling in a rustling pile of satin to reveal black thigh-high silk stockings and a black lace g-string stretched to bursting by a phallus so huge that Danny didn't believe at first that it could be real.

Marquesa's slim and graceful body was completely hairless, bare even of pubic hair, with glowing alabaster skin molded perfectly over wiry but beautifully sculpted muscles. The glittering heavy jewelry, exquisite makeup, and shiny semi-sheer stockings looked exotic and surprisingly sexy now that the dress was gone and the powerful whip-cord musculature was visible; the groin was particularly tight, decorated with raised veins and dynamic striations of muscle, with the pelvic girdle sharply chiseled and leading the eye inexorably to the immense horse-cock that was now free of the little scrap of lace and rising slowly and ponderously as Marquesa advanced on Danny. When Marquesa climbed up on the bed and knelt beside Danny, letting the gigantic cock brush against his open mouth, Danny cried out as he was unexpectedly seized by a volcanic orgasm.

"Size queen," Valerien laughed, reaching for a towel to wipe the torrent of semen off his face and Danny's belly, then crawling back to watch Danny and Marquesa together.

Marquesa stayed where he was on his knees, reaching up to pull the pins out of his hair while smiling a triumphant little smile and letting Danny explore the great phallus with hands and mouth. With his body calmed by the orgasmic release of hormones, though his erection did not diminish in the least, Danny was able to assess the monumental organ more thoroughly, caressing the heavy but relatively inconsequential testicles, tracing the delicate blue and pink veins under the smooth translucent skin, studying the slight darkening of color at the circumcision-line, and running his tongue over the shiny pale-mauve head.

It wasn't the biggest cock Danny had ever seen, that honor was held by a Sicilian porn model from New York whom Danny had met at the White Party; but it came in a close Second, edging out Mtombo the Tanzanian masseur in length and thickness by a fair margin. There was also the matter of perspective: the Sicilian had been six-foot-six and rather gangly, and Mtombo was just as tall but broad in the hips and shoulders; however, Marquesa was half a foot shorter and more compactly built, so the cock looked a lot bigger... and since the erotic value of an inhumanly vast cock is mostly mental, the comparative size was quite compelling.

"Do you have any of my condoms here, Val," Marquesa turned to his friend, "or do I have to go get my handbag out of the closet?"

"Of course I do," Valerien slid off the bed and went rummaging around in a nearby cabinet, returning with a dainty golden basket full of different kinds of foil-wrapped condoms and several varieties of lubricant in suggestively-shaped plastic bottles, "Though why you didn't bring them in with you is beyond me."

"Because I didn't know if Danny would let me fuck him," Marquesa answered Valerien but looked into Danny's eyes and ran his fingers through Danny's hair as he did so, "You are going to let me fuck you, aren't you, beautiful boy?"

"Mmm-hmm," Danny responded as best he could with his mouth full, more than a little frightened by the idea of letting something so large into his body, but compelled by lust and vanity to try his best to accomodate it... he knew from his experiences with his Sicilian and Tanzanian friends that he most likely could, but there was still something of the scary allure of Mount Everest in tackling such an immense object: it was so very much there.

For the next two and a half hours, the three young men crawled all over each other, sucking, chewing, rubbing, fucking, enacting one pornographic tableau after another as if in imitation of a favorite film, building up to exhilarating heights of sexual passion and ebbing comfortably down to pleasant sensuality, only to build up again, executing every position possible within the few limitations they set themselves: nobody hit anybody or tried anything rough, and when it came to anal intercourse, Marquesa invariably topped, Valerien always bottomed, and Danny was "Lucky Pierre." But aside from these, there were no stated or discovered boundaries; as contrived as their ballet may have appeared, it all came quite naturally to them, nobody even thought to do anything that the other two weren't completely happy to join in on.

What Danny found peculiar, though, on the few occasions that their passions ebbed enough between orgasms to allow rational thought, was that Marquesa and Valerien were very careful to not touch each other. Though they shared Danny equally between them and frequently worked in concert on his body, apparently at ease with each other and accustomed to such threesomes, and though they would brace themselves against each other and encourage each other with word and gesture, they did not relate to one another sexually... it was very much how Danny assumed two straight men would operate while sharing a woman.

But although Danny found this odd, and filed away a whole series of questions that he wanted to ask about their relationship, he could not but be grateful for this intense double-team focus on himself. It was some of the best sex he'd ever had in his life, and quite definitely the most successful threesome. After three more orgasms in those two and a half hours, he felt not only replete, but complete. It was a satisfaction unlike any he'd ever felt before.

He lay for a long time watching Valerien's wonderful boyish face as he dozed against Danny's shoulder, with Marquesa pressed tight against his back and that enormous cock laying hot and thrilling against his spine.

"He looks like a little angel when he's asleep, doesn't he?" Marquesa breathed into Danny's ear, raising himself up on one elbow to look down at his sleeping friend.

"Don't most people?" Danny wondered, turning over onto his back to look up into Marquesa's dazzling blue eyes, "But they're so far away, too, dreaming their own dreams and cut off from everyone else. I think I like him better when he's awake."

"It's that patented Big Violet Stare," Marquesa laughed and kissed him on the nose, "His eyes cross a little and go all swimmy, and he goggles up at you from under his furry little lashes like you're some great mythical hero, all shy and trusting and vulnerable; and you suddenly feel adored and loved and important, like you're the best and biggest man that ever was, King of the World. It wouldn't work if he weren't so short."

"Five-nine is not short, you pituitary freak," Valerien mumbled without opening his eyes, or apparently even waking up.

"Have you known each other long?" Danny asked, amused by this interchange but slightly wounded by Marquesa's coldly clinical description of the exact feelings Valerien had inspired in him.

"Since we were fifteen... and before you're inspired to ask any indelicate mathematical questions, that was almost twelve years ago."

"Were you ever lovers?" Danny wondered how such obviously close longtime friends could say such unkind things about each other, and thought perhaps there was some unresolved bitterness between them.

"For about a week. When you're fifteen, going to school for the first time (we were both privately educated before that), thrust into this strange little world of people who'd been going to the same exclusive private schools together since kindergarten, and then you find out you have so much in common... both gay, both orphans (more-or-less), both raised by old people, both completely unused to being around kids our own age... well, we had to at least try. But he couldn't take Mister Big here, his ass was too small (though he seems to have grown out of that limitation, judging by the way he took your sausage without a so much as a grunt), and so we became Best Friends instead. I need to take a shower and wash my face before I fall asleep... come keep me company."

Danny carefully extricated his arm from under Valerien's sleeping head and followed Marquesa back into the bathroom, seating himself on the toilet while watching Marquesa take off the fabulous jewelry piece by piece, swearing softly at the safety clasps and dropping it all carelessly onto the vanity countertop. Danny had to pee, but his cock was still too hard, so he moved over to the bidet and washed out his well-reamed backside instead.

"So tell me, Danny," Marquesa called out while scrubbing his face at the sink, "do you date those old men for money, or is it for the attention?"

"What?" Danny was taken very much aback by the bluntness of the question.

"I don't mean to pry, I was just wondering," Marquesa looked over his shoulder and smiled, "I guess that sounded judgemental. What I meant was, do you need money, or are you comfortable? I always see you at those Social dos with some doddering old millionaire, but you don't strike me as particularly mercenary. You seem to like them."

"I do like them. I guess I should be comfortable," Danny tried to think about why he dated so many rich old men, but his mind was muddled with satiety and the continuing vision of Marquesa's huge cock, now swinging soft and heavy but still an amazing eyeful, as he crossed the room and stepped into the shower, "I get a generous allowance, and I have a good deal of property. But I love getting presents. And you can never get enough affection."

"I know what you mean," Marquesa quickly soaped up and rinsed off, then started washing his hair, "I'm rich as Croesus, my father left me a trust fund that would choke a Colombian druglord, but I get the most shameful thrill when my lover gives me something hideously expensive."

Danny was awash in confusion; he had never tried to explain to himself why he felt it so necessary to continue to date the old men after he'd caught up with his credit-cards and was no longer in debt to the Trust. He simply enjoyed getting the presents, he enjoyed being social, he enjoyed the doting affection and interesting conversations of older men, and he enjoyed living a lifestyle that was more expensive than he could afford on his allowance; he simply hadn't given it much thought beyond that. But now, he felt compelled to not only explain himself to Marquesa, but to somehow frame the explanation in a way that Marquesa would find acceptable, perhaps even admirable.

As Marquesa leaned on the partition between the shower and the toilet, he was touched by the sight of Danny sitting on the bidet and struggling with his own mind, his thoughts and emotions clearly readable as they crossed his smooth brow and troubled the liquid depths of his eyes... he'd always teased Valerien for the too-freely-given trust in his eyes, always scoffed at people who cried at movies, always sneered at the weaknesses he saw in others, and was himself always heavily guarded with most everyone he knew, so Marquesa was surprised to find Danny's vulnerability and transparency immediately endearing, appealing to him like a puppy or some other baby animal — and he suddenly wanted to protect that baby animal from harm at all costs.

"Don't look so miserable, darling! Come here," Marquesa beckoned for Danny to join him in the shower, which he did without hesitation, "I'm only asking all these impertinent questions because I really like you and want to know more about you. I'm just a nosy old bitch running off at the mouth, is all."

"You're not nosy," Danny protested.

"But I am an old bitch?" Marquesa drew himself up in mock effrontery.

"No! That's not what I mean..."

"Darling, relax, I'm only teasing," Marquesa hugged him, "I can come off as mean sometimes, and I guess tonight is one of those times. I don't mean anything by it. We'll just call your old men a 'hobby,' and leave it like that. We'll save some mysteries for later."

"I guess it is a hobby, now you mention it. I hadn't thought of it that way before," Danny shook his head and pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes, "I'm just a little confused. I've got a lot of feelings going on, and it's late at night and I'm getting sleepy."

"And you must need to piss by now. If that cock doesn't lay down soon, I'm going to have to take you to the Emergency Room."

"Why?!" Danny was alarmed by the idea of leaving this fairytale apartment for someplace as grimly real as a hospital emergency room.

"Whatever it is you took... Viagra? Cialis?... they always warn you, if the erection lasts four hours or more, to see a doctor."

"I didn't take any Viagra," Danny stood back and looked down at his own cock, finally realizing how strange it was that he'd been hard for so long, even after all those orgasms.

"Marshall must have slipped it to you," Marquesa busied himself soaping Danny's crotch.

"But I didn't drink the martini," Danny protested, searching back in his mind to when he might have eaten or drunk anything Marshall gave him... the only thing he'd taken was the drink in the bar, and there were too many people around for Marshall to have slipped anything into the gin-and-tonic.

"A sleaze like Marshall? He would find a way. He probably put it up your ass," Marquesa rinsed Danny off and stooped to study his cock up close, "Did he put his fingers up your ass at any time?"

"Oh my God," Danny breathed, remembering that Marshall had shoved his index finger all the way up to the prostate when he jumped on Danny in the foyer while taking his coat.

"Probably put it in a suppository, or simply stuck it to his finger with a little spit," Marquesa posited in a matter-of-fact tone, as if it were a mere question of mechanics.

"He could have put anything up there!" Danny wailed, suddenly confronted by the previously uncosidered knowledge of his own peril, flashing over every time in the last two years a total stranger had been allowed to prod into his ass, terrified by how many opportunities he'd given to strangers to drug or poison him, "Anyone I've ever slept with could have put anything up there. I'd never see them do it! Someone could have killed me! Oh, my God!"

"But everyone isn't an asshole like Marshall," Marquesa took Danny in his arms as he dissolved into hysterical tears, "Don't cry, sweetheart, it's okay. I'm sure it was just a Viagra, it won't hurt you. Your erection will go away as soon as you go to sleep; and if not, I'll call my personal physician, he'll see you here and won't ask embarrassing questions."

"I could kill that asshole!" Danny sobbed, thinking of how clever he thought he'd been to notice the powder in the martini, how smart he thought he was in controlling the situation, when all along Marhsall had always had the upper hand, all along Danny had been under the influence of God-knows-what substances introduced rectally without him even feeling it. It was a horrifying realization to know that his stupid hustler game and his overweening confidence in his own intelligence had put his life and his health at such terrible risk.

"It's okay, darling one," Marquesa crooned, pulling Danny down to the shower floor and holding him tight against his chest, patiently rocking back and forth and humming quietly to comfort him, "You'll be okay, my baby boy. Now look, your cock has already gone down. All you needed was a good cry."

"God, I never thought I'd be happy to lose an erection," Danny laughed through his ebbing tears against Marquesa's hard chest, then kissed Marquesa's tiny pink nipple with gratitude, "I'm sorry to carry on like this. I seem to be spending a lot of time crying tonight."

"Don't apologize, my pet. Now let's get you dried off," Marquesa pulled him forcibly to his feet, displaying a great deal of physical strength without showing any strain, "and we'll get a good night's sleep and you'll feel all better in the morning. Do you need to brush your teeth? I can't sleep if I don't brush my teeth."

Marquesa led Danny over to the sinks and rummaged through the drawers looking for spare toothbrushes, which he found in abundance in one of the cupboards. He opened a toothbrush for Danny and put the toothpaste on it, then put it in Danny's mouth for him before preparing another new brush for himself.

Danny brushed his teeth slowly and looked at Marquesa in the mirror, marveling at how different he looked naked, with no jewelry or makeup, his hair wet and dark and bound down into a slick ponytail; he was still exquisitely beautiful, but the femininity was replaced by something rather feline yet inescapably male. His delicate face seemed more tender, with pale auburn lashes around the bright blue eyes and a much softer shape to the unpainted lips, but at the same time more solid, with a firmly opaque quality to the unpowdered skin and a stronger line to the unrouged cheekbones and jaw.

Marquesa winked at him in the mirror when he bent down to spit out the toothpaste, and Danny's heart leapt up into his throat while a frisson of almost terrified joy shivered down his back. The moment stamped itself in his heart with an almost metallic clang, and the cells of his brain buzzed and fluttered excitedly as they rearranged themselves to accomodate a new center of gravity. He didn't realize what was happening to him, he thought he was just sleepy and infatuated and emotionally overwrought; but right that second, with that offhand wink in the mirror, Danny Vandervere fell inextricably in love with Marquesa Willard-Wilkes.

8,990 Words ~ 16 pages