Background: Christian Benoit is a 29 year old award winning architect whose wealthy grandfather has died and left a stipulation in his will for his three grandsons to inherit his wealth. For Christian, who confessed his homosexuality to his grandfather five years earlier leaving the two men estranged from one another, the requirement is that he marry and stay married for one full year. The stipulation was meant to force Christian into a heterosexual marriage but with the Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriage gives Christian a better way to meet the challenge.
He advertises for a compatible partner and after a bevy of interviews meets one fellow who is not only compatible but stirs something in Christian that says the union could be successful, even beyond the one-year commitment. There is a problem, the young man, Parker Ryan, a handsome rogue of a man and a year younger than Christian is living with his younger brother and running a small landscape business. He is straight and has never been intimate with any man but desperately needs capital to keep and expand his business and willing to marry for money. They agree to marry and to lie publicly that their marriage is based on true love, and the younger man agrees to public displays of affection but privately they both agree there will be nothing physical between them other than a platonic friendship.
The book does not have a title, the names of the characters are place holders. Suggestions, reviews, tips and comments are solicited and can be sent directly to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The book does not have a title, the names of the characters are place holders. Suggestions, reviews, tips and comments are solicited and can be sent directly to me at: email@example.com
What follows is the chapter entitled "Aftermath" - five days into their marriage, on their honeymoon in Maui when a serious chink in their arrangement unwittingly happens ...
The following morning Christian, naked, woke up alone in the bed. He looked around to find Parker was gone along with his clothes. His head was throbbing from the three bottles of dinner wine and he stumbled to the bathroom to discover the sink, floor and walk-in shower were wet. Parker must have showered then left to get them breakfast and coffee. He eased into the shower and let the warm rich water run over the top of his head soothing the dull pain of his hangover. His mind wandered back to last night and the sex with Parker. Excitement ran through him as scenes of the night rolled through his mind’s eye. Parker holding and kissing him, caressing his body, making love to him hungrily and Parker’s own pleasure when Christian brought him to climax, his body jerking and moaning ending the night by cradling Christian in his arms. The memories seemed more like still frames but there were enough of them to paint a lasting picture and help him bear the throbbing pain in his head.
Ten minutes later he came out of the bathroom, his hands gently rubbing a bath towel over his head. When he looked up there was Parker sitting on the bed, his face ashen and his eyes staring. He looked around to the small kitchen area for breakfast and coffee but there were none.
“Hey...” said Christian walking to the dresser bare assed, tossing the damp towel to the chair and pulling open a drawer and a pair of white briefs. As he leaned forward to stick a leg in he looked up and Parker was still sitting motionless, now with his head in his hands. “You okay?” he asked. Parker shook his head no so he walked over to comfort him. Parker pulled away. “Don’t touch me dammit,” he snarled.
Christian stood in disbelief, the pounding in his head growing stronger. “You tricked me into fucking you last night ...” Parker snapped. “I did no such thing. It was YOU who attacked me the minute we got through that door,” Christian retorted pointing down the hallway to the bungalow door, “and NO ONE fucked anyone last night. I sucked your dick dammit and you loved it, shoved it all the way down my throat and then you came, rolled over and went to sleep.”
Parker could barely remember much of the previous night. He just knew when he work up they were both naked and his head was buried into the back of Christian’s neck, his left arm tingled from loss of blood having been under Christian’s torso. He did, sort of, remember kissing him and the oral sex but little else. Angry, his head pounding, Christian turned around and went back to the dresser tugging at a drawer and pulling out a T-shirt. He looked back at Parker who was staring at him then looked around for his pants. He saw them wadded up across the room and realized they were the dress pants he had worn to dinner and not his Levis. He opened another dresser drawer and grabbed a pair of the jeans and pulled them on.
“What the fuck is wrong with you? Last night you told me you were in love with me, that you couldn’t resist making love to me!” Christian said hurt by Parker’s accusations. Parker had dropped his head back into his hands. “I don’t remember that,” he said. With socks in hand Christian sat down in a chair and put them on.
“Well it’s true. I have no reason to lie to you. I said no several times, reminded you of our agreement but you got the best of me. You’re a damn good kisser but I think you know that.” “But yesterday you said you wanted to jump my bones...” “Hell YES I wanted to jump your bones! I STILL want to jump your damn bones because, Jesus Christ you are a beautiful man and you’re my husband but we HAD AN AGREEMENT! You’re the one who broke it! What did you expect me to do? I was drunk!”
Parker suddenly shot up from the bed and dashed into the bathroom. Christian could hear him wrenching and vomiting and he hoped he was doing it over the toilet and not on the floor. He waited a few moments until he thought Parker had stopped then walked into the bathroom in his stocking feet. Parker was sprawled out on the floor, his head and an arm draped over the toilet. Christian was mad but he also felt sorry for the guy. “What can I do?” he asked but Parker remained silent. He went to the sink and placed a clean wash cloth under the cold water, squeezed the water out and knelt down beside Parker. He pressed it to the back of his neck.
“I’m okay,” said Parker raising up and pulling the cloth from his neck and running it over his face. He looked awful.
“Come on, go lay down for a while until you feel better,” suggested Christian. “What time is it?” he asked and Christian stood up and walked back into the suite and looked at the clock on the dresser. “It’s a little after eight,” he said. Parker placed his arms on the toilet and stood up. He slowly wobbled to the sink and splashed water on his face and turned his mouth into the faucet and spitting it out again and again to clear away the vomit taste. “Oh my God I feel like shit,” he said walking into the bedroom and falling onto the bed.
“You want something to eat? Some coffee maybe?” asked Christian. “Coffee maybe. And aspirin, do we have any aspirin?” He asked like a child. Christian turned to his suitcase and fished through it. He found a bottle of multivitamins and his tin of various pills including aspirin but passed them over picking up a Vicodin tablet. He filled a glass with water brought it to Parker. “Here,” he said opening his palm and displaying the pill. Parker raised up, reached for the water and then the pill. “Only one?” he asked “It’s a Vicodin,” replied Christian. Parker looked up and into his face. “Thank you,” he said grateful for something stronger than an aspirin. He swallowed it down then rested his head back on the pillow and closed his eyes. Christian sat down on the bed and rubbed his chest softly, as you would a sick child. More than anything he wanted to crawl beside him and comfort him in his arms hold him in his arms but fearful it would anger the man. “I’ll go find us some coffee and food. You need breakfast.” Parker kept his eyes closed but he nodded.
Minutes later Christian walked out of a Berger King restaurant not far from the hotel with two black coffees in a cardboard tray and a large bag of take-out breakfast platters that included eggs, muffins, hash browns, ham and bacon and packets of strawberry and grape jams. When he got back Parker had drifted off to sleep so he put the items on the counter in the small kitchen knowing it could be heated up again when Parker awoke. His own head hurt so he went back to his suitcase and with one of the coffees in hand, took a Vicodin for himself and walked out to the Lanai. There he sat down at the cafe table shaded by a huge Banyon tree and tossed it back. It was bright and sunny and warm and another beautiful day in this Hawaiian paradise.
He closed his eyes to listen to the Kukoa birds calling out to one another and a soft morning breeze rolled over him and it felt good. His thoughts went back to last night and the passion they had shared and slowly drifted off to sleep as the throbbing in his head subsided.
The next thing he heard was Parker’s voice and someone shaking his shoulder. When he opened his eyes Parker was standing beside him. “Come on, let’s eat breakfast,” he said having warmed the food in the microwave and spread out on the cafe table. Christian sat up and pulled one of the platters to him looking at Parker who now seemed normal again. “You feelin’ better?” He asked and Parker nodded. They were both hungry and dove into their plates of food mostly in silence.
When they had finished breakfast Parker got up and pulled a pair of swimming jams out of the dresser and turned to Christian. “I’m going to go surfing again today. I know we’re supposed to meet with that couple but I’m just not up to it.” Christian did not want to go back out into that hot sun again, he was already sun burnt enough and he got the impression Parker did not want him to tag along. Christian nodded, “I’ll meet with the Millers. I promised to check out their purchase and give them some design advice.” Parker stripped off his T-shirt then stepped out of his Levis. He turned his back to Christian and pulled the boxers off that he had been wearing then pulled on the jams. “I should go I guess,” he said but it was obvious he wasn’t going. “No, I’ll go. I know you want to learn the flipping business and we’ll just be walking through the property today anyway.” Parker nodded and stepped back out onto the Lanai and past him to pick up one of the two surfboards they had rented. He said nothing else and carrying the board crossed the lawn to the beach and walked into the calm lagoon, climbed on top of the board and paddle away. Christian sat there wishing it had been a better morning. He didn’t regret what they had done last night because for him it was a wonderful but he did regret that Parker felt so guilty about it all. “I didn’t trick him,” he said aloud to himself.
He stood up and hoped Parker had his hotel card on him stuffed somewhere in those jams and sent a text message to Josh Miller asking for the address of their project adding he would call for an Uber car. He worried. This was their second argument in just a matter of five days. If they kept this up they wouldn’t make it three months much less a full year. He knew Parker wanted to get into the housing flipping business and decided to follow through with the visit. Maybe that would make him happy again. He would tell Josh that Parker was too hungover.
Seconds later his phone rang and it was Josh. “How’s the head my friend?” he asked. “Spinning but not as bad as when we woke up.” “I’m not surprised, you two finished off nearly three bottles of good wine last night. How’s Parker?” “Worse than I am, afraid he won’t be joining us today.” Josh paused. “That’s okay although Winnie will be disappointed.” Christian wasn’t sure why Winnie would be disappointed but he wasn’t going to ask why. “Let me pick you up. Winnie left a half hour ago but I can swing by the hotel and you won’t have to call one of those Uber cars.” Christian thought for a second. “Sure, that will be fine. About fifteen minutes?” “Yes, I can be there,” Josh said. “Ok. I’ll be standing out front of the hotel.”
Christian dashed off a quick text to Parker saying he was going out to the project with Josh and would be home later that afternoon. He noted the time, it was a little after ten as he headed out the door to wait in the front of the hotel.
Parker paddled back into the lagoon two hours later, his shoulders and legs sore and blazing red from the sun. He had not put on any sun screen when he left. He stacked his surf board next to the other board and entered the bungalow through the back patio doors. Christian wasn’t there so he must have gone on to the Miller’s place. He was hungry, grabbed a T-shirt, wallet and his phone to check his messages and saw the text from Chris. He was just about to leave when Chipper, one of the guys he had met out on the waves, came floating into the lagoon calling out to him. He came out to greet him as he paddled up to shore. “Yo Parka!” he called with his Boston accent. Chipper Stanyon was a laid back fellow, a bit on the chubby side, wore a buzz cut and was so proud of his Hawaiian puka shells he picked up in his hotel gift shop. He was married to chubby little wife named Judith, “do not Judy,” who Chipper had said earlier, was out shopping and lunching with his sister-in-law. They were all from Boston Massachusetts and had been vacationing on Maui for eight days so far, expecting to return this upcoming Saturday.
“Wow, this is nice,” he said dragging the rented surf board up onto the grass and leaving it there. “My Gawd, you have a bungalow?” he squealed, “You’re not alone here, are ya boy?” he asked. Parker laughed and shook his head no. “So I see a wedding ring, you bring the wife or your mistress?” joked Chip. “My husband. We’re on our honeymoon,”. Chip’s face suddenly went blank. “Did I hear you right?” and Parker nodded. “”You one of those gay couples?” he asked. “That we are Chipper, that we are,” said Parker matter-of-factly. Chipper stared at him. “You fooled me. You don’t look like sissy boy.” “Careful,” said Parker. “I like you Chipper and I hope you’re not a Boston homophobe.” “No no no, not me, to each his own I say,” and the two men stood there for an awkward moment.
“I was just about to go get some lunch, you hungry?” Parker asked and Chip pointed to his board. “I dunno...” “It will be okay, just bring it up here, stand it next to these boards,” Parker said. Chipper walked over and carried his board to the others and stood it up beside them.
They walked through the bungalow and out through the front door and Chipper asked, “Where’s your um... partner?” “He’s an architect and he went off to see a house,” said Parker rather proud that he was married to an architect. “Oh. An architect, huh?” and Parker nodded. “And what do you do?” he asked. “I have a landscaping business back in San Francisco but I’m moving into the house flipping business,” Parker offered. “Is that why you came here to the Islands? To find a house to fix?” Parker shook his head no. “No, like I said, we’re here on our honeymoon.” Chip laughed. “How do two guys have a honeymoon?” he asked as they entered the hotel restaurant. “With caution,” joked Parker.
For the next hour the two men talked on a variety of subjects, mostly sports, while they indulged themselves in a hearty lunch. Parker picked up the check and Chip called his wife and promised to meet her back at their hotel. Outside the restaurant the two men shook hands and agreed to meet on the waves the following day. Parker gave him his phone number when Chip asked if they couldn’t all get together for dinner before he and his wife left the Island. “Yeah, that would be nice,” said Parker and the two parted with Parker heading back to the bungalow.
It was nearing three and he wondered how long Christian would be gone. He went out on the Lanai and called his brother. “Well look who it is, Mr. Ben-waa of Mr. and Mr. Ben-waa! How ya doing bro?” gushed Jackson on the other end of the line. “No, it’s Mr. Ryan of Mr. and Mr. Ryan,” joked Parker. “You’re not bored on your honeymoon, are you?” “Good God no, it is beautiful here and I’ve been surfing all morning and haven’t talked to you in what, five days?, and wondered how you’re doing.” Parker was thrilled to hear Jackson’s voice “Doing fine, really like the job like today they’ve got me hauling tree limbs and grinding them through a shredder the size of a small house but I like it. So what about you? How’s Chris?” he asked.
“Chris is off looking at a ‘fixer upper’ with a couple we met on the plane. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to call and talk to you because this couple have offered to teach me all about the house flipping business and I was wondering if you’d like to partner up with me?” “House flipping? You mean like buying an old house and remodeling it then re-selling it for a profit?” Jackson seemed to like the idea. “Yeah, just like that.” “Hell ya, I’d love to do that but don’t you have to have a realtor’s license and experience in construction?” ‘The realtor’s license is just an exam and in the beginning we could hire small construction teams and learn from them as we go along. You know, guys who specialize in kitchens and bathroom, other guys who do sheet rock and roofing, that kind of stuff.” He could hear Jackson’s mind grinding away. “Yeah, yeah, I could do that but how we gonna buy an old house?” Jackson asked. “Christian said he would help us get the business off the ground. I was supposed to go with him over to see this couple’s new project but I was too hungover this morning - sick as a dog - but he went and should be home any time now. I just wanted to talk to you about it, see if you wanted to go in business together,” Parker said now feeling even better about the idea and wishing he had gone with Christian to see the house. “Hell yes I want to do it with you. We could make some good money, and it would be fun and from what I hear it’s a great business if you do it right, don’t you think?” “Good good money,” assured Parker.
“I am glad you called,” said Jackson. “There was something I wanted to talk to you about too,” Jackson sounded unsure. “What?” “Well ... ahh... now don’t you say anything to Chris about what I’m gonna tell you, you gotta promise me that,” he said to his older brother. “I promise, what is it?” “Last Saturday morning you were off loading up the truck and he cornered me in my room and asked if I was going to get you guys a wedding a present. I told him I wanted to but I didn’t really have any money,” “Okay...” Parker so listening. “So he says he thought it would be nice if, as my gift to you guys, that I had your truck upgraded and customized, you know, new tires, rims, new motor, new paint job, the works!” That caught Parker off-guard. “Holy cow, what did you say?” “Well I said sure, you’d really like that but it was going to be expensive and he said not to worry about the cost then he hands me this card with a custom automotive shop that specializes in older cars and told me to call them. So I did and he must have made some kind of arrangements because they came over, looked the truck over then took it away and said they would have it done next week and I could pick it up on Friday. Now you can’t tell Chris you know anything about this because I’m supposed to bring it to the airport when I come pick you two up,” he said in almost a whisper. “I told you, I won’t tell him,” Parker reiterated, “Well, that’s a nice surprise. The guy is really good to me,” said Parker feeling guilty about blowing up at him that morning. “Well yeah, that and to ask you what color you wanted the truck to be painted. They called me just before noon today and said they had pulled the motor and replaced it, hammered out all the dents and sanded the whole thing down and now it was ready to e painted and what color did I want it painted. I didn’t know what to tell them. What color do you want it?” Jackson asked.
“Make it a blue, a really nice midnight blue, not black but blue with black interior - wouldn’t that be nice?” said Parker thrilled at knowing his truck was being fixed up. “Ok. Midnight blue with black interior - and the bed of the truck black too?” offered Jackson. “Oh yeah, but they’ll probably use a liner, and if they do make sure it is a black liner. Okay?” and Jackson said okay. “Oh my God, I am so excited to see it,” added Parker, his excitement soaring. “Yeah, wait ‘til you see the wheels and new rims. All shiny chrome, deep seated and really nice.”
The two brothers talked for another fifteen minutes until Jackson said his supervisor was looking his way and he had to go back to work. When Parker hung up he was glad he called because Jackson would have picked his favorite color, green, and Parker did not want his truck green. He wondered if it was telepathy that made him want to call Jackson.
Christian walked into the bungalow just after four and he looked beat while Parker was sitting on the bed watching a baseball game on ESPN and smiled warmly, happy to see him. He was hoping Christian wasn’t holding a grudge for the whole sex argument thing. “Hey babe,” he said smiling as Christian stepped in. “How did it go?” Christian was surprised at Parker’s change of mood and felt relieved. He sat down. “It’s a nice little house, two-bedroom, one bath that leaked resulting in black mold under and around the tub.” “What’s black mold?” “Well, it’s toxic and dangerous to humans so they’ll have to get rid of it by tearing out all the tainted flooring and bathroom walls. There is a small room off the living room that was probably used as an office. I suggested they remove the wall that separates the two rooms and another wall separating the kitchen from the living room making it a big open living space and Winnie really liked that. Josh not so much because he was concerned with the cost but overall they liked my suggestions and asked me to draw up a simple set of plans.” “You gonna do it?” asked Parker hopefully and Christian shrugged. “Guess it depends on how you feel about learning their trade. They didn’t say anything about paying me and you know what I’d charge for that kind of design work?” Parker’s face was blank and he didn’t want to ask. “I told them I would on the condition they kept their promise to let you intern with them until you understood the process of buying, remodeling and selling.“ “Really? You would do that?” said Parker beaming. “Well, it does mean we may have to stay here another two weeks. That would give you a full 30 days with them and you could then pick up more when they get back to San Francisco and work on their projects there.” “I dunno, another three weeks in this paradise,” he said reaching forward and pulling Christian into his arms for a good hug. “Thank you. Thank you for all you’ve done. I’m really sorry about this morning, I was just really sick and hungover,” he pleaded. Christian paused soaking up the moment then said, “You mean it’s okay that we had sex?” and Parker still holding him slapped him on the back. “No, that part is NOT okay but I really like being with you, being married to you,” he said. “Okay, well I gave them some other suggestions and then Winnie, geez, the woman drives me nuts, almost came unglued. “Can we do this, can we do that? What do you mean ‘load bearing’?” and then he laughed. “And, of course, she talked about you too much. ‘What would Parker think? Do you think Parker would make the kitchen open like that? I think she’s got the hots for you so I suggest you keep her at a distance,” he joked.
“I told them we would come out tomorrow. Josh is excited to teach what he knows and Winnie, hell she’s just excited to see you.” he laughed. “Were they mad that I didn’t come out today?” Parker pried. Christian shook his head, noting that they too were a little hungover and understood. “I told them we’re not big drinkers.” Christian added. “Oh good. I don’t want to piss them off. I’ll need their advice and guidance down the road,” he said.
They spent the next few minutes talking about the housing flipping business then Parker asked if Christian wanted to go for a swim. Christian had sat down on their bed and was looking out the lagoon. It was late afternoon and it did look inviting but he was worn out. “Naw, you go ahead if you want,” he fell back on the bed and kicked his shoes off. “Let me sleep for an hour then we can go out for dinner, okay?” “You want me to lay here with you until you fall asleep?” Parker’s suggestion was an odd one. “I don’t think that would be a good idea.” said Christian, fearful the two of them laying next to each other might cause Christian to do something dumb and he didn’t want to take the chance.
Christian closed his eyes and began slowing drifting off listening to Parker move about the room and humming to music playing on his computer. He could hear him open a dresser drawer and then his suitcase to get something and eventually walking into the bathroom turning on the water in the sink. He opened his eyes just enough to see Parker standing naked rubbing sun tan lotion all over himself and looking into the mirror, his jams on the counter and suddenly wished he had encouraged Parker to lay there with him. Seeing him naked was always a thrill. It was the last visual Christian had before nodding off. Parker had a beautiful body and he loved looking at it and he felt good again because Parker was no longer mad at him.
End of Chapter
Beta Readers: please send your comments, suggestions and reviews to me here: firstname.lastname@example.org.