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The Gold Chain
I would not be having any kind of mid-life crisis anytime soon. What was a mid-life crisis anyway? Some kind of age through time associated awareness that your life has no meaning or that unless you get that next promotion from mid-management to upper management, that your career as well as your life has been some kind of waste of time?
Besides, in my line of work, I had no boss, I was the boss, I always had been, so that as I approached my fifth decade, there was only one thing or rather person that I had lacked, a significant other, a.k.a. boyfriend, lover; but not husband. Yes, I was gay, but so what? Even if I had been heterosexual, I would have remained single my entire life. I was neither the marrying kind nor the settling-down kind.
I had my sexual dalliances now and again, always with men younger than myself, always on the road and never in the city that I called home. I guess in many ways I was shy of romance, afraid that if I fell in love, real love, that if I lost that person, that love, I could not survive the trauma.
I had plenty of friends who had done that. Very noble I suppose to have had real love and then had it jerked from your arms unceremoniously. The subsequent public and private displays of sympathy and empathy for your loss notwithstanding could never possibly make up for the lonely nights, alone and without respite. No thanks, not my cup of tea.
* * * * * * * * * *
I stood impatiently on the tarmac of Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington near to the twin engine King with my sparse baggage at my side waiting for the pilots. This was a hurry-up job in Las Vegas, Nevada. My client, a large national banking corporation, had discovered a critical security flaw and wanted it fixed, pronto.
My job was to analyze and repair, no more, no less. I should be back home inside of 48 hours, that was not the problem. The problem was my client's impatience and my desire to please them with fast expert service.
Finally, two men appeared, one considerably younger than the other. The charter service had never failed me; I had used them many times and recognized the older pilot, a guy by name of Henry. Funny, the grayer the hair and the older the name, the more I tended to trust the pilot.
"Henry, good to see you again," I said shaking the older pilot's hand.
"Richard, this is Vince, Vince Keller. He'll be captaining the ship to Las Vegas this afternoon; Vince, this is Richard Moss."
As I said before, I like young men both as sex partners and for eye candy. Vince fit the bill easily for the latter, but I thought he looked a bit young to be flying left seat in a King charter,
"Sitting 'em a bit young for the left side are we Henry?"
Henry chuckled a little, but Vince looked entirely confident and unperturbed by my comment. Confidence is very important (and sexy) to a guy like me.
"Vince is just twenty-one, but a true pilot prodigy Rich, we'll be just fine."
If Vince was OK with Henry, then he was OK with me at any age. I extended my hand both to apologize for my comment and to study his face and especially his eyes a bit closer. Eyes, green, very attractive. His face was not as soft as one would think for his young years.
"Sorry Vince, I didn't mean to imply anything about your ability in the sky," and shook his hand. His handshake was very firm, but not too firm; again, a sign of confidence at such a young age.
"No problem Mr. Moss, I get that all the time," Vince replied.
Vince's handshake lasted about two seconds longer than it usually should have. Funny how such a very short span of time can make an impression. I felt a strange but pleasant shudder or was it just from the freshening breeze of ocean air coming off the Puget Sound?
In any case, we boarded the King, the pilots in their place, mine in the cabin, alone. Yes, the corporation had rented the aircraft just for me, just for this trip, that's how important the service was to them.
It didn't dawn on me until during our final approach to McCarran International just aside the Las Vegas Strip that landing any aircraft, much less a smallish one like a twin engine prop can be tricky at Nevada airports. Massive amounts of heat billowing up from the overheated blacktop can cause some very disturbing turbulence just at the surface that can cause even a veteran pilot to really earn his keep just to touch an aircraft safely down.
I felt my hands anxiously clutch onto the armrests as we neared touchdown on the runway. So far so good, but that's the way it always seems until all hell can break loose. I knew Vince was the pilot and as such Henry was there just for back-up. I wondered how many landings Vince had accomplished in Nevada and in what conditions.
Too late for all of that concern now! Then it hit, the turbulence that is. The plane started to juke and jump, up and down and side to side sometimes as much as three feet at a time! If the pilot didn't handle the plane just right, we could end up flipped over or worse!
I held my breath and felt this rush of adrenalin that did not help things much either. Up and down, side to side, the plane yawing as if we were going to land sideways. What the hell! I didn't like this! I hated this! And then … two bumps later, the plane was down, no hops, skips or hesitation. Vince had pinned the landing like a pro. Wow, I was very impressed and told my stomach that it could settle back into its place and not hug my heart so closely.
"Nice landing kid," I said trying to act very cool as we debarked the plane and my pulse was finally normalizing.
"My pleasure Mr. Moss," Vince replied as if he had done it a hundred times. Who knew, maybe he had.
I had no time for any more pleasantries and headed over the tarmac with my baggage for an awaiting town car to go to work in downtown Las Vegas.
* * * * * * * * * *
Short and sweet, that's how I like to work. The security flaw in my client's system was repaired. I felt a rush of pride as I always did and returned to my hotel without incident and far before I thought I would. Good, I could kick back and relax, stay the night and return home up north in the morning.
I always stayed at the Rio in Las Vegas for one reason, well several. The place was top-notch and off the Strip, had great rooms, fantastic food and the best part, the Voodoo Lounge. I would stay up into the wee hours, drink my fill, maybe hit the dance floor a bit, yes with women, not men.
This night would seem no different to start. The Lounge was uncharacteristically vacant of the usual crowds of youngish Las Vegas revelers. I sat at the bar as Charlene, my bartender, fed me the most delicious Mojito cocktails that a man could desire.
I think I had downed two drinks when I looked to my left and next to me plopped none other than Vince Keller, my young pilot.
"Vince?" I said.
"Ah! Mr. Moss! Funny seeing you here!" he grinned.
One of my weaknesses in such social situations is the impulse to cruise men and offer then drinks when I think it feels right. Doing that with Vince would not seem appropriate however,
"May I buy you a drink?" came flying out of my mouth.
He smiled, "Sure, I don't know what to order, I'm barely legal here."
That got Charlene's attention, "Let me see your I.D. sugar, you look like you're at least nineteen anyway."
Charlene was right. Maybe dressed in work clothing, a pilot's uniform made Vince look like his legal age, but not casual dark slacks, an open button down shirt and sports jacket. Vince's I.D. confirmed his legality and I ordered Vince what I was drinking.
"Umm … delicious, wouldn't mind to keep those coming," Vince replied after just one sip.
Very strange. Mojitos are not considered very charming or chic and the taste is definitely acquired.
Alcohol being a very good social lubricant, we started to talk. I learned that Vince lived alone in Arizona just outside of Phoenix having moved from Indiana about a year before.
His father had died and left him a trust fund years before that and Vince had wisely parlayed the money into flight school and into his present gig. He had his instructor's license and taught flying lessons on the side; unusually smart kid for his age. His passions included water and snow skiing and boarding as well as wind-surfing. Very nice!
"Care to dance fellas?" the female voices came from behind us.
I am no prude, nor do I care who the gender is when I'm ready to dance, so we did, Vince and I and the two lovely ladies in a tight foursome on the Lounge dance floor, the music hard, pounding and easy to get into.
I am a prude who I sleep with, however. Naturally, the ladies were brimming with alcohol and horny. I was horny as well, but not for female company. Dancing so closely to Vince as I was had my mind wishing and hoping for something that I realized was not likely there.
The ladies asked us if we wanted to go their room. I politely declined, pretty damn sure that Vince would love to have a threesome with them. When Vince declined, saying,
"Thanks for asking ladies, but I'm gonna stay put," I felt the same very pleasant shudder that I had on the tarmac back in Seattle.
The ladies departed, Vince did not. I gulped and kept dancing, my heart starting to pound from more than just the aerobic workout on the dance floor. Vince slid in front of me,
"I'm pretty sure the Voodoo Lounge isn't too interested in two men grinding it out on their dance floor Mr. Moss. Why don't you take me to your room and let's see what can happen there, huh?"
I just gawked at Vince for a moment. He grinned and slid in closer to me,
"It's OK. Henry told me about you Mr. Moss. I like older men and you fit the bill just fine."
I felt my dick harden in my slacks and nodded, "Let's go."
I never question the fates or how one thing leads to another or like now, how I happened to luck out and my twenty-one year old pilot is also gay, confident and knows what he likes. I just accept it and go with it full bore and we did.
Clothes started to fly off of our bodies after I closed and locked the door. I was boned up from the get-go and so was he.
"I like it hard and rough Mr. Moss, anything you like!" he offered.
Good, I could up the ante and go into dominant mode without hesitation and did. I strode up to him, hands on his shoulders and turning him around, pressed his body into the nearest wall. I pressed my nakedness into his jutting buttocks, my erection into the crack of his ass.
"Hard enough?" I asked and felt his butt cheeks caressing my dick.
"Very! Are you gonna take me now, just like this!?" he asked kind of excitedly.
"No, not until I say so!" I responded and moved my steel rod up and down through his strong cheeks.
"That's more like it, more please!" he moaned enjoying the moment with me.
I reached around and started to rub his nips, then squeezed them just right
"Oh GOD! That hurts and feels great!" Vince said, his erection proving his words and then he whirled himself around and we hugged.
Our mouths met and we kissed. He knew what he was doing, I could tell. No sexually inexperienced man of any age knows what to do with his tongue unless he's had time to use it.
I pulled him away from the wall and stared intently, "I want to fuck your brains out!"
"You're gonna have to work for it!" he replied with a devilish grin.
The "dance" over to my oversized bed was more like wrestling. Vince was playful in a way that I liked, confident, but knowing when to give in. When and with whom had he learned to be like this? Or was this just another layer of an extraordinarily talented young man?
"You behave now!" I warned and he continued to resist my efforts, moving this way and that, darting across the room, me chasing him. I had never known a man to be so physically playful, I loved it!
I finally subdued Vince or he let me, I'm not sure which and it doesn't matter. I even twisted his arm up a bit, but only playfully,
"There, you gonna behave now?" I said wanting to do so much more.
"Only if you make love to me, please?" he asked with a kind of boyish innocence that completely changed the mood.
I leaned over to kiss him, "Then let's make love, Vince!"
And we did. We moved up to the large pillows and lay down side by side, hands exploring and our mouths meeting again. We rolled over and over, him on top, then me on top, our dicks pressing and rubbing.
Vince slid down to my crotch and started to give me head and I lay back wondering how all this had come about from a simple and rather last minute job in Las Vegas, but it had.
I maneuvered Vince's hot ass over my face and he knew to lower it to my mouth. Rimming a hot young hole is a favorite of mine and apparently for Vince as well. He moaned and was distracted of sucking my dick,
"Let's 69 that!" he shouted, so we did.
Most younger men know nothing of the pleasures of oral-anal. Vince did and it was instantly addictive. HE was addictive and let's just say that after a good hour of wonderful foreplay is when Vince finally moaned,
"Please Mr. Moss, FUCK ME!"
So I did. I rolled Vince over and probed his hole with my dick. He pushed up against me, "Slow please," he asked and slow it was, very slow and very gentle.
I slid my whole body over his and as I entered his backdoor, I slipped my tongue into his mouth and we kissed and we fucked for a good hour after that. I had Vince on his side and his back and filled him up with my seed twice that night. I sucked him off twice as well, but that was not the best part of the night.
After we fucked, he lay his head on my chest in the bed and we did nothing but talk. Not about anything important, just talk, the way I could imagine a couple talking as if they had been together and in love for years. I was in love, I knew that much, but I could not say that to Vince, it felt too soon and even though I wanted to. We fell asleep together, his head just under my chin.
* * * * * * * * * *
When I startled awake in the hotel bed, there was harsh light coming in from the hotel room windows. I was alone, Vince was gone and for a moment, I thought that I had been swept up in a one night stand and usually would not have thought twice about it. This seemed different or maybe I just duped myself that Vince was different.
In any case, I quickly breathed a sigh a relief. I spied a note on top of a small gift box on the bedside table, the envelope with my name on it. I sat at the bed side and read the note,
"Sorry I had to rush out. My pager went off. My employer needed me to ferry the King back to Seattle early this AM. Unexpected. Didn't want to wake you and say good-bye, because this isn't good-bye. I want to see you again, I want us to meet again. Call me (phone number given). A token of my love for you in the box!"
My heart felt strange. Love? He was in love with me? No way, not that quickly, that never happens to me, totally ignoring the fact that I felt the same way about him.
I opened the box and out plopped a beautiful herring bone patterned gold chain and by the looks of it, very expensive. Curious, I later found out that he had purchased the chain for $2000.00 at the Rio's jewelry shop. This was insane. He gifted me a two-thousand dollar gold chain? Was he serious, really that serious?
When shortly after I got back to Seattle and was finally able to get to talk to him on the phone and chided him about the expense of the chain he said,
"Oh come on Mr. Moss, it's just money and I have it to give. I hope you are wearing it."
I gave into it, "Call me Rich and thank you Vince, the chain is beautiful, just like you. Yes, it's around my neck right now."
"Good," he replied.
For the next few weeks, my work went nuts, so did his. Vince was flying clients all over the west coast and even back east on a special business jet charter gig he landed, good for him. We talked on the phone and he drove me nuts with phone sex on several occasions. I hated phone sex and refused to do it with anyone else before Vince. Phone sex was great with Vince.
But there was more than that. He wanted me to meet his Mom and sister in Indiana. He wanted us to meet up at his place in Arizona and when we had the time, he wanted us to travel and eventually live together and he made my heart and head spin.
I knew I was in love now, maybe for the first time and yet when we talked on the phone, the word never came up between us. Did it have to? I don't know. I knew nothing about the realities of real love to that point in my life other than the feeling and doubted that he did. When we met up again, I promised myself to talk to him about that and say the words, in person.
Two more weeks passed and then three and no word from Vince. I left message after message and no replies. I was a man and knew that men could be fast and promise things and then disappear.
Maybe Vince had changed his mind about us. If he had, that would be OK. Maybe he found another man of any age to be with. Maybe the gold chain was a down payment, a good intention that simply did not happen.
I still wore the gold chain and chalked fit all up to experience. Whoever got to be with Vince would be a lucky guy.
Then another two weeks later found me back at Boeing Field and off to Reno this time. Maybe Vince would show up or maybe not. I could be gracious and let him go. He was a damn fine pilot and if that is all he could do for me, then I could accept that.
When I saw my old friend Henry approach the King with another man of similar age as he and not with Vince, I figured that Vince had moved on and simply didn't wish to tell me about it. Henry approached,
"I see you found a co-pilot a little older than the last one Henry!" I smiled. Henry did not smile.
"Then you didn't hear." Henry said with a sad face.
My bones chilled and this time the shudder was neither the breeze from the Puget Sound nor pleasant in any way.
"Vince was killed in a water skiing accident nearly a month ago in Arizona. Hit by a boat while he was in the water."
My stomach clenched, my heart fell so far down that my knees got weak.
Apparently my eyes reddened so badly, Henry said, "You OK Rich? I know it's a shock, he was a great kid, a great pilot too."
* * * * * * * * * *
I was a professional. I would do my job first in Reno and then find out what happened to Vince. I knew Henry well and knew that what he told me was the truth, but I had to find out for myself and did. Vince had been killed in a boating accident in a lake not far from his Arizona home. He was water-skiing with friends and it was simply a tragic accident and fatality.
I located where Vince Keller had been buried, back at his childhood home in Indiana. I wasn't sure that I should pay my respects to his mother and sister. Maybe they knew about Vince, maybe they didn't, so I didn't. I did locate the cemetery and his grave marker, not yet with a final upright stone.
I just stood there, looking down, tears running down my face. I reached into my jacket and brought out the gold chain, back in its original gift box. I don't know why, but I wanted to give it back to Vince somehow, return a gift of love back to the one who had given it to me in love.
Maybe I thought it would somehow seal what I now knew was a love between us for an eternity. Hell, I didn't know what to do at that moment, I was so torn up inside, so deeply lost in grief that I fell to my knees and started to sob, laying the box at the base of the marker.
I covered my face and for a moment, I could have been happy just dying when I felt a soft touch on my shoulder. I looked up and a female voice said,
"Are you OK? Did you know Vince? Are you … Mr. Moss?"
I stood up and this kindly older lady looked at me with a sad face. I knew it was Vince's mother.
"Yes, I'm Richard Moss."
"Oh my, Vince told me and his sister about you Mr. Moss .. I think I remember him saying that he had met you on one of his charter flights and he wanted you to meet us. I didn't know how to reach you to attend the funeral, I'm sorry."
Then it had been all true. Vince's intensions had been genuine and it made my heart sink even further,
"That's OK mam," I said and then she started to sob and I started to sob and we embraced for a few long moments aside Vince's grave.
When we parted, I reached down and picked up the gold chain box and handed it to Mrs. Keller,
"Vince gave me this the morning after the night we met. I didn't know what I should do with it."
"You should keep it! He loved you Mr. Moss, I could tell. A mother can always tell."
"Then you knew about Vince," I said as a statement.
"OH yes, since he was a young boy. And he came out to us several years ago. Frankly, I was glad that he met an older man. Younger gay men can be so capricious you know, but not Vince. Vince was much older in soul and spirit than most."
I nodded and knew at that moment that I would have to let go of Vince in some meaningful way and go on with my life and refused to take the expensive chain back,
"I need to give it to you Mrs. Keller. I think a mother needs to know that her son was loved as much in return as he loved. You deserve that."
She nodded, "I understand … let's … would you like to come back with me and see Vince's home?"
My mind considered the offer, but I couldn't do it, "Maybe … another time, thank you Mrs. Keller."
She understood. I took a short stroll away from the grave as Mrs. Keller spent a few moments alone and placed the flowers she had brought at the stone marker. After she left, I went back over, admired the flowers and knelt down.
I put my palm on the grassy surface where I thought Vince's now silenced heart was and finally whispered the words,
"I love you Vince Keller, I'll always love you," and then I stood up and departed the site. I never visited it again, never saw Mrs. Keller again.
* * * * * * * * * *
Everyone wants love to last, a lifetime if possible and if it does, you are very lucky or fortunate or blessed or however one thinks of those things. My love started as a one night stand and lasted a bare fraction of the time that even I think is fair. Then again, to have had Vince Keller's love for just a few moments seemed like a lifetime blessing.
I never did return to the Rio when I worked in Las Vegas, never did set foot again in the Voodoo Lounge where we met. As for the gold chain, there were moments when I wished I had not given it to Vince's mother, but more moments when I knew that it was best that I had, at least as a material thing. After all, the gold chain of Vince Keller's love would remain wrapped around my heart for an eternity.
© Copyright PJ Franklin September 14, 2010
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Last updated: September 14, 2010