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My Fair Laddie
by Ryan Field

Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
Description: Young Wilbur Munroe doesn't know a soup spoon from a salad fork. And although he makes his living working as a manual laborer for wealthy people in Savannah, he dreams about a much better life than what he's known. Dr. Harlan Henderson is a world-famous teacher of applied linguistics. And in his spare time he enjoys the company of rough, working class bi-sexual men who never put emotional demands on him. At thirty-nine years old, the last thing he's looking for is a life partner. But when young Wilbur trips over an urn at one of Harlan's infamous Savannah parties and spills his pomegranate martini on a Georgia senator, Harlan's life changes forever. Though his first instinct is to fire Wilbur, he's mesmerized by Wilbur's wretched accent and his bold spirit. When Wilbur returns the next day to ask Harlan to teach him to speak well and turn him into a perfect gentleman, Harlan is willing to take on the challenge. He moves Wilbur into his home, works with him night and day, and refuses to stop until he sees results. Only he doesn't notice Wilbur is falling in love with him. And by the time he does, it just might be too late...
eBook Publisher: Ravenous Romance/Ravenous Romance, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: September 2010

eBookeBook

13 Reader Ratings:
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Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [226 KB]
Words: 54070
Reading time: 154-216 min.


Chapter One

Harlan Henderson threw two huge parties a year. One was in late springtime, where his historic Greek revival, located on an elegant Savannah square, was filled with fresh exotic flowers and the swimming pool overflowed with handsome young men in skimpy bathing suits. The other fell at Christmastime, where there was a fully decorated Christmas tree in every room and a lit candle placed in the middle of every windowsill.

Harlan came from an old, respected Savannah family. Aside from his Aunt Margaret, who spent most of her time in New York, he was the only one left.

The spring party always sported a different theme. One year it was roses. The entire house had been filled with roses in every size, shade, and variety. Another year it was purple ribbons, with aubergine silk flowing from every window, sconce, and chandelier. But the year Harlan chose a pomegranate theme was probably the springtime party Harlan would remember, in detail, for the rest of his life. It was the party that would change his life in ways he never could have predicted.

Though most of the pomegranate-theme party hadn't been much different from his other spring parties, the last fifteen minutes made Harlan's eyes cross and his face turn red. While he was standing at the front door saying goodnight to the last of his guests, he moved a large cache pot filled with pomegranates, away from the wall to show one of his guests it was an important Asian antique that had been in his family for years. He forgot to move it back against the wall when he was finished explaining, and an awkward young waiter carrying a tray of empty martini glasses tripped over it on his way from the dining room to the kitchen. The waiter lurched forward; the martini tray flew up in the air. Then the waiter pressed both palms to Harlan's back and the tray landed on Harlan's most important guest of the evening: a female senator from Georgia. Though for the most part the martini glasses had been empty, there had been remnants of pomegranate martini in a few of them.

When Harlan looked up and saw his distinguished guest had two small spots of watered-down pomegranate martini on her beige cocktail dress, he clenched his fists and glared at the young waiter. He didn't bother to notice the waiter had spilled more pomegranate martini on his own white shirt, and he didn't bother to ask if the young waiter had hurt himself during the fall.

Harlan turned to the senator and said, "I'm so sorry. Please send me the bill for the dress. I can't seem to find good help anywhere these days." Then he sent the young waiter a seething glance.

Harlan had seen this guy working around the house. Usually, he was working outside with the other landscapers, but Harlan had never actually met him.

The senator wiped the drops of pomegranate with her palm and smiled at the waiter. "I'm fine," she said. "I'm sure my dry cleaner can remove them. Don't give it a second thought."

The waiter regained his balance and stepped forward. He appeared large and awkward and gangly. His pants too short and too tight and his white shirt so large the shoulder seams drooped down his arm. "I'm sorry, ma'am. I been on my feet all night and didn't see them red fruits down there in that there big ole pot. I know they wasn't there before. Someone musta moved'em." He pointed at them and looked up at Harlan . "Them things is dangerous. Ya'll ought to get 'em out of the way before a person falls and breaks somethin' important."

Harlan's eyes bugged and his jaw dropped. He kicked the cache pot into the wall and said, mocking, "Them things is only dangerous when there are idiots in the room." This guy had the worst backwater drawl Harlan had ever heard. It brought chills to his spine and pain to his eardrums. And Harlan knew all about dialects. He'd been studying two distinct aspects of dialect all of his adult life: regional and social class. He not only had a doctorate in applied linguistics, he'd also written textbooks and given lectures about the differences between regional and social class dialects. This waiter, as far as he was concerned, had the worst combined regional and lower-class dialect he'd ever heard in the entire country. There was something unusual about it that didn't make sense.

The senator smiled and shook Harlan's hand. She pointed to a section of her dress, down near the hem, where the drops of pomegranate martini had landed and said, "Look, no harm done. You can hardly see anything now."

"I'm so sorry, ma'am," the waiter said. "I like to die when that tray went over, I did."

Harlan smiled, thanked the senator for attending his party, and watched her walk down the front path. By the time Harlan turned around, his closest academic associate, Dr. Fritz Griffin, an older professor who had once been Harlan's teacher, was grinning at him.

"Calm down, old boy," Fritz said. "No harm done. I saw it from across the hall. The lad tripped over the fish bowl because it was in the middle of the room. It wasn't his fault."

"See?" the waiter said. "I told ya it weren't my fault." Then he smiled at Fritz and said, "Thanks all the same, but I ain't no lad. Just turned twenty last week."

Fritz smiled and bowed. "My apologies then, young man."

But Harlan wasn't smiling. He raised an eyebrow and glared at the waiter who was now down on the floor on his hands and knees, picking up pomegranates two at a time and placing them back in the cache pot.

He looked up and said, "Ya'll are getting all worked up over nuthin' when the lady already went and said them little drops weren't botherin' her. You couldn't hardly seen 'em."

His drawl was so thick it was difficult to understand most of his sentences. There was an unusual hint of British cockney mixed in with the drawl. He dropped all g's, usually ignored h's, misused most verbs, and didn't have a clue when it came to the differences between words like them and those. It was almost as if he were speaking a completely different language.

"She was being gracious, you little fool," Harlan said. "The woman is a senator and her campaign depends on large donations from people like me. She is probably in her car, right now, cursing me, not to mention my party. I've never been so mortified."

The young guy plopped the last pomegranate into the cache pot and stood up. He put his hands on his hips and frowned. "Who you callin' a fool? I like to die when them funny lookin' apples damn near knocked me into the next room. If ya'll axes me, ya'll are the fool for leavin them there things out in plain sight where a person could kill hisself."

"Where on Earth did you go to school? I'd like to meet your first-grade teacher and club her. I've never heard such a bastardization of the English language. You, my dear boy, are the reason refined and educated Southern people get a bad reputation all the time. You make the rest of us look bad."

The waiter blinked. Though he seemed clueless, Harlan could tell he knew Harlan was insulting him. "I'm a good kid, I am," the waiter said. "Never got messed up with no drugs and don't even drink no beer likes the rest a them kids I know. Ya'll got some nerve talkin' to me as if I'm some kinda trash."

Harlan gave Fritz a look. "Did you hear that? He used quadruple negative in the same sentence. And that was the best part of what he just said. I've never heard such rubbish in my life." He bit his bottom lip and his entire body shuddered.

"Who you callin' rubbish?" the boy asked, squaring his shoulders. "I'm a good kid, I am. I work my ass off at this place since I started here. Why, this mornin' I hauled, pruned, trimmed, and cleaned. And I been a workin' all night and ain't slept more an a few hours last night, helpin' to git ready for this here party."

"Was one of your parents British?" Harlan asked, ignoring his complaints. Though it wasn't too pronounced, he couldn't help wondering where the hint of cockney in his accent came from.

"Me father is from England," he said. "And me mother from Arkansas."

Harlan pressed his index finger to his bottom lip. "Well, that explains the cockney I'm hearing."

Fritz smiled and patted Harlan on the back. "You worry too much about linguistics. He seems like a nice young man. Don't be so hard on him, Harlan. He has an innocent, adorable quality you don't see often." Then he looked the waiter up and down and rubbed his jaw.

Harlan pressed his lips together and folded his arms across his chest. Fritz, he knew, was an old chicken hawk. He had a soft spot in his heart, and his sixty-year-old groin, for helpless young men like this wretched little waiter. And the fact that this waiter had a slim, hard body, thick dark brown hair, and an ample bulge in his ill-fitted black pants certainly worked to his advantage.

"Yeah," the waiter said. "And besides, I done got most of the red stuff on my own white shirt anyways." He extended his arm and pointed to a long red splotch on his white cotton dress shirt. The cuffs and collar were frayed; the cuffs rested on the middle of his hand. "I don't have near the money to just go out and git me a new one."

Harlan lifted his arms and shrugged. "Who is this kid? Jethro Clampet?"

"My name ain't Jethro," the waiter said. "It's Wilbur Munroe. And where I comes from, them that does the insultin' whilst they thinks they's right is usually them that don't know nuthin' about nuthin'."

Fritz gazed down at Wilbur Munroe's crotch and blotted his lips. Then he rubbed his palms together and said, "He certainly is a spunky little fellow. I've never met anyone with such spirit. I think he's absolutely delightful."

"You would," Harlan said.

"Is that another shot?" Wilbur asked Harlan. "Because if it is, I might just have to give this heer job up. Lord knows I needs the money bad. But I ain't takin no abuse from no one. I try to do right. I got me a good work ethical, I do."

Before Harlan could reply, another young man, this one in his late twenties, came into the hallway and said, "Are we going upstairs soon, babycakes? I'm tired. I told my wife I'd take her shopping for a new sixty-inch plasma TV tomorrow. You promised me you'd give me the money after the party." Though his voice was deep, it took on a whiny quality whenever he asked Harlan for something.

When he called Harlan "babycakes," young Wilbur Munroe's jaw dropped and he blinked.

Harlan closed the front door and smiled at the young man. The last guest had just left the party, and Fritz knew all about the young man talking to Harlan (he didn't care what Wilbur thought). Fritz and Harlan weren't just academic associates. Fritz knew all about Harlan's passion for dangerous young men, and he lived to hear Harlan's risque stories. And this young man had provided Fritz with some great entertainment. His name was Vince Jones and he'd been sleeping with Harlan for the past six months. Though they didn't live together, he often spent the night with Harlan. In the mornings, Vince would go back to the trailer park to his young wife, with a few less condoms in his wallet and a handful of crisp, fresh cash.

Fritz laughed and winked at Harlan. "I guess I should be leaving, Harlan. Looks like you have a few extremely important matters to take care of upstairs with young Vince here." He reached for the doorknob and said, "I'll call you tomorrow."

"Don't be sarcastic," Harlan said.

Fritz smiled. "I'm not," he said. "I'm being sardonic this time." He patted Harlan on the back and left the house.

When Fritz was gone, Harlan turned to Vince and smiled. "Let's go up now. I'm tired, too." Though Vince wasn't refined or educated and he spoke almost as poorly as Wilbur, he did have those dark, rough looks that had always made Harlan's heart beat faster. Vince also had thick dark hair that fell to the right side of his forehead in a thick shock, tattoos on his biceps, and the kind of hairy legs that make gentile forty-year-old gay men like Harlan pull out their credit cards and drool. But more than that, Vince was the quintessential top man in bed. He had the biggest dick Harlan had ever sucked. It took two weeks for Harlan to learn how to accommodate his girth and length, and another two to take it all without experiencing the kind of pain that made his back teeth ache.

"What about my shirt?" Wilbur asked. He'd been standing on the sidelines, watching Harlan flirt with Vince.

Vince cocked his thumb and tipped it toward Wilbur. "Who's the bigmouthed kid?"

"He's nobody, handsome," Harlan said, staring at the heavy five o'clock shadow on Vince's face that seemed to have darkened since the party began. He couldn't wait to get upstairs in bed and rub his face against it. He couldn't wait for Vince to spread his legs and pound him into the headboard.

"Who you callin' nobody, babycakes?" Wilbur said. "I told you I was a good kid. I been workin' hard for you for almost near a year now and you never even paid me no mind. Not even a good morning nod when you walk me by. And now I just ruined my best white shirt 'cause you put a pot of red fruits in the middle of the hall."

Harlan ignored young Wilbur and shrugged his shoulders. Under normal circumstances, he would have fired Wilbur for calling him babycakes. But thinking about Vince's bull-sized testicles softened his mood. "Let go upstairs now, Vince. It's late and we don't want to lose what little time we have together."

"Do I get the money for the new sixty-inch plasma TV in the morning?" Vince asked. This seemed to be a prerequisite for going upstairs.

Harlan smiled. "It all depends on how hard you work tonight."

"I'm ready," Vince said. "I've been working out all day at the gym." He lifted his right arm and flexed his bicep.

"How come he's gittin' money for a new TV and I cain't even git a new shirt outta ya? Don't seem fair to me," Wilbur said. "He don't even talk much better'n I does."

Harlan almost laughed in his face. Though Wilbur didn't know an adverb from a noun, he wasn't a complete idiot. So Harlan started walking to the staircase. He took Vince's arm and squeezed his large, tattooed bicep through the fabric of his dark jacket. Without turning to look at Wilbur, he smiled and said, "Vince has something you don't have, young man, and it has nothing to do with spirit."

"What's that?" Wilbur asked.

"You're too young and it would take too much time to explain," Harlan said, with a dismissive tone. "Just trust me on this."

"Ya'll think I'm jess some hick, don't you?" Wilbur said. "I know what yer up to tonight, I do. I got a boy cousin tried somethin' like that with me once and I set him right. I might not talk too good, but I'm a good kid and I know who I is."

With the arrogance of someone who never had to work hard to survive, Harlan pulled two twenty-dollar bills out of his pocket and dropped them on the gray and white marble floor. "Here's forty dollars for a new shirt, kid. Now be a good boy and go help the others clean up." Now that Vince was there, looking so rugged and dangerous, Harlan felt a sting of forgiveness. He realized he'd caused the waiter to trip by leaving the cache pot in the middle of the floor and he wanted to clear his head from any guilt.

Wilbur went down on his knees and scooped up the two twenty-dollar bills. He turned them back and forth twice, then said, "Hell. I kin git me ten new white shirts at the secondhand store with this."

But Harlan didn't hear him. He was already at the top of the stairs, and Vince was sliding his large callused hand down the back of his pants.

* * * *

Chapter Two

In bed, there were several unique positions for which Harlan had a fondness. But the one position which made him wild with desire beyond words wasn't always easy to obtain. He needed a strong young man with solid legs and enough strength to balance Harlan's entire body. Not just any guy would do. Though Harlan still had the tight, hard body of a twenty-five-year-old, and he still had a thirty-two-inch waist, he was almost six feet tall and packed with neat, defined muscles. There weren't many young men who could satisfy Harlan's desire to be in this position, and when Harlan found one with enough brut strength, he took advantage of a good situation for as long as he could.

So when Vince woke the next morning at dawn and said, "Can I have the money to buy the new plasma TV now?" Harlan responded with a yawn and said, "After we do it one more time in my favorite position."

"But you promised me the money," Vince said. "I tagged you for two hours last night and my legs are sore. You're wearin' me out, man."

Harlan reached under the covers and grabbed Vince's cock. He stroked the shaft a few times, rubbed the head with the pad of his thumb, and said, "Just one more time, in my favorite position, and then I'll give you the money you need." He didn't want to overwork the guy. But if they didn't do this now, Harlan would wind up thinking about it all day.

Vince rubbed his eyes and stretched his beefy legs. "You're wearing me out. I've never met anyone who likes to get fucked as much as you do. You're worse than my wife was the first year we were together. But I was eighteen years old then. I'm twenty-eight now."

"That's nonsense," Harlan said, pulling the covers back. "You're a strong young man, filled with testosterone. Having a lot of sex is actually good for you. It makes you even stronger. It's like a vitamin, so to speak."

"Really?"

"I know it's a fact," Harlan said. "I read all about it in a magazine once." He had no idea what he was talking about. But it sounded logical and Vince seemed to believe him.

"Okay," Vince said. "But just one more time, in your favorite position. After that, you give me the money."

"It's a deal."

"Get me hard first," Vince said. "Then put a condom on my dick and I'll stand up at the edge of the bed so you can get into position."

Vince rested his head on the pillow and spread his legs for Harlan. Harlan sat up, leaned over Vince's torso, and started stroking his semi-erect penis. Even when it wasn't fully erect, Harlan marveled at the way the thick hunk of flesh filled his palm. When he opened his mouth as wide as it could go and started sucking, he almost whimpered. Then he closed his eyes and inhaled the strong masculine aroma between Vince's legs.

While Harlan's right hand explored Vince's hard abdominal muscles, his left hand rested against the soft, dark hair on Vince's thigh. Though Harlan always primped and shaved his body, Harlan preferred to be with men who didn't shave their bodies. He always used a light touch with Vince; he knew Vince preferred it. And this morning it didn't take long for Vince's dick to reach a full erection. Harlan had felt it expanding in girth and length inside his mouth the entire time he'd been sucking.

"I think you're ready now," Harlan said, looking up at Vince's face. He was holding the shaft with his left hand and the head was resting on his bottom lip. "Give me the condom on the nightstand."

Vince tossed him the condom and groaned. "I guess I was hornier than I thought I was. This feels good."

"You're a strong, virile guy," Harlan said. "You have needs." He was bullshitting him again. He knew stroking Vince's ego worked just as well as stroking his dick. If Vince had any brains at all, they weren't in his head. They were between his legs.

"Put the condom on real slow," Vince said. "Do it with your mouth the way I like it."

"Whatever you want," Harlan said.

After Harlan gently covered Vince's dick, Vince sat up and climbed out of bed. While he braced his legs against the side of the mattress, Harlan went down on his back, lifted his legs, and spread them apart. Then Vince bent his knees and pressed the head of his cock to Harlan's opening. He poked around, for a second or two, then plunged to the bottom of Harlan's hole with one quick thrust. The condom was pre-lubricated. Harlan's head went back and he gasped for air. His toes curled down and the small of his back arched up. Though entry always hurt in the beginning with Vince--the man was donkey huge--and Harlan always had to concentrate hard to get past this pain, it never took longer than a moment or two to accommodate him.

When he was inside Harlan as far as he could go, Vince leaned forward and slipped his arms beneath Harlan's knees, and Harlan lifted his upper body as much as he could and laced his fingers behind Vince's wide neck.

"Are you ready?" Vince asked. "I'm going to hoist you up now."

Harlan nodded yes, with a groan.

"Hold on tight," Vince said. Then he lifted Harlan up and took a few steps backward, staggering for a moment to keep his balance, searching for a solid stance.

"Ah yes," Harlan said, adjusting his position. "This is wonderful." His legs were spread and dangling over both Vince's arms, his dick was up against Vince's torso, and his arms were wrapped around Vince's wide shoulders. Best of all, Vince's huge cock was still buried inside his body. This was the ultimate position. Vince's dick hit his g-spot in just the right way.

"I'm ready," Vince said.

"Are you sure?"

Before Vince had a chance to nod yes, Harlan started riding his cock. He used Vince's shoulders for support and pointed his toes. As he arched his back, spread his legs until his groin muscles pulled, and went up and down on Vince's dick, Vince held him in place. While he rode, Vince secured his two large palms on the bottom of Harlan's ass for additional support and just stood there balancing all of Harlan's weight. Harlan didn't feel an ounce of guilt because he knew Vince liked this position, too. Whenever they fucked this way, Vince's entire body trembled with pleasure and he always wound up filling the condom with a larger load than usual.

Ten minutes later, Harlan's head went back and his mouth opened wide. "I'm getting close." His face had turned red and there were beads of sweat dripping from his temples. He was still riding, only much faster now. When he was in this position, he never had to touch his own cock to climax.

"Slap my ass now. Slap it as hard as you can." Harlan gasped for air.

"I'm close, too," Vince said. "Don't stop. I'm gonna come soon."

When Vince began slapping his ass with loud, even cracks, Harlan tightened his sphincter muscle and tossed his head back. On the third slap, Harlan's body jerked. On the fourth, his body went rigid, his feet went up, and he came all over Vince's torso.

Vince slapped his ass two more times, then filled the condom. After that, he slowly lowered Harlan back down to the bed and pulled out just as fast as he'd entered. There were no kisses; neither said thank you. Vince just left Harlan on his back, with his legs wide open and his chest heaving, and removed the condom. This was all fine with Harlan. At nearly forty years old, Harlan had had his share of love and romance, all with bad endings. Now he wanted nothing more than a strong young man like Vince to satisfy his physical needs and desires.

When Vince tossed the condom into a trash can beside the bed, he looked down at Harlan and laughed. Harlan's legs were still in the air and he was wiping sweat from his forehead.

"Why are you laughing?" Harlan asked. He had trouble speaking.

"I just never saw no one who liked getting fucked as much as you do, is all," Vince said. "You look like you're ready to take on ten more guys."

Harlan smiled and spread his legs wider. Too bad there weren't a few more guys in the room. It was true: he would have taken them on. He stretched his arms and said, "Should I apologize because I know what I like?"

Vince shrugged. "I don't give a shit," he said. "I'll fuck you all you want. I just want the money for my TV now."

"I'll give it to you before you leave," Harlan said. "Let's take a quick shower together first and get dressed. I'll soap you up the way you like it. Unless you're in hurry today."

Vince looked at him and said, "I'm not in a hurry. We can take a shower."

Like most alpha bisexual men Harlan had been with, Vince loved being pampered and babied. When they took showers together, Vince stood there with his back against the tile and his eyes closed, moaning, while Harlan rubbed soap around between his legs. "You go in and get the water ready, I'll be there in a minute."

Vince nodded and crossed to the bathroom. Harlan sat up and watched his tight little ass move with each step he took. At this particular moment, there was nothing else Harlan needed in life.

As usual, Harlan's housekeeper, an older woman with a tight gray bun and a large, round middle, made a tray of coffee and a few light breakfast foods that included fresh scones. Her name was Mildred and she'd been working for Dylan's family since Harlan was a child. Now that he was the only one left in his family, she catered to him as if he were her own son, without crossing the line and becoming too familiar. When she brought the tray into the library that morning, Harlan was standing next to his desk and Vince was standing in front of the window. She said good morning to Harlan and rested the tray on his desk without acknowledging Vince.

"Thank you, Mildred," Harlan said. He noticed she'd brought enough coffee and food for Vince as well. Harlan and Mildred had never discussed his young male friends aloud. But Mildred knew all about them and had learned how to plan ahead without asking any Harlan any awkward questions. Once in a while Mildred, without overstepping her boundaries, would make light references about Harlan meeting someone nice and settling down. She never said whether it should be a man or a woman. She just generalized about how nice it would be if Harlan had someone permanent.

Mildred scowled at Vince and told Harlan, "Dr. Griffin just pulled up and he's on his way inside. I placed three cups on the tray. One of the landscapers said he wanted to talk to you this morning. He said it was extremely important."

He knew his friend, Fritz, would just come into the library and make himself at home. They often shared coffee together in the early mornings this time of year. But he wasn't sure about the landscaper. "Did the landscaper say what this is in reference to, Mildred?"

When she shrugged, her large sagging breasts went up. "He didn't, Dr. Henderson. Should I tell him you'll see him?"

"You'd better," Harlan said. "It could be something important about one of the gardens." Harlan liked the outside of his home to be just as perfect as the inside. "Go tell him I'll see him in fifteen minutes."

A minute after Mildred walked out, Fritz entered the room with a huge grin on his round face. He was wearing his brown tweed with a cream-colored vest and a stained yellow necktie. "Good morning, Harlan," he said. Then he turned to Vince and looked him up and down. "Good morning to you, young man." His face was red and there was a trace of giddiness in his voice--it always happened when he was around Vince.

"Hey," Vince said, without looking at him. He was watching a bird in a willow tree outside the window. Harlan wondered what, if anything, was going through his gorgeous head.

"Good morning, Fritz," Harlan said, pouring three cups of coffee.

"You're both looking well," Fritz said.

"Thanks, man," Vince said. Then he faced Harlan. "Can I have my money now? I want to get to TV City while it's still early to avoid the crowds." He didn't seem to have any shame whatsoever about taking money from Harlan. The fact that Fritz was there didn't seem to mean anything to him.

"Calm down," Harlan said. "It's only nine. The stores don't even open until ten. Have some coffee." He liked watching the way Fritz gaped at Vince as much as he enjoyed making Vince wait for his money.

Vince lowered his head and pouted. He walked to the desk and took a cup of black coffee.

"You're buying a new TV?" Fritz asked, reaching for his coffee with his right hand and resting his left on his large belly.

Vince's eyes lit up and he smiled. "I'm getting one of them new 3D sixty-inch plasma flatscreens, with Blu-ray and all. When football season comes around this year, I'll be the most popular dude down at Applejack's bar."

"Indeed." Fritz gave Harlan a look and smiled. "They must be very expensive."

"I'm helping him with the payments," Harlan said. "In return, he's helping me out with some very important things around the house." He knew where Fritz was going and he didn't like it. Though Fritz often joked around about Harlan's young lovers, Harlan didn't like it when he went too far. Vince wasn't bright, and he was taking money for sexual favors, but he wasn't a bad guy either. In fact, Vince was probably the most decent casual lover Harlan had ever had and he didn't want Fritz making a fool out of him.

Before Fritz could reply, Mildred knocked on the library door and said, "The landscaper is here to see you now."

While she was still speaking, Wilbur Munroe burst into the room and said, "Mornin,' Dr. Henderson. I came by to talk about somethin important." He didn't pronounce the h in Henderson.


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