Sindustry--Making a Buck the Hard Way, vol 2. A Dreamspinner Press Anthology
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by Connie Bailey, Maria Albert, GS Wiley
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Gay-Lesbian Erotica
Description: Rentboys, strippers, hookers, and porn stars--these men are making a buck the hard way. This is Sindustry, where a quick fuck is more likely than a romantic kiss. But while they face the harsh light of reality every day, unexpected love finds them in all sorts of crazy ways. Take a look at Sindustry from the outside in, because for these guys, happily ever after is just around the corner. Package Boy by Connie Bailey When your clients include the most powerful mobsters in Jersey, discretion is a way of life--but for escort Celino Sansone, falling in love with Jacky Niccolo, heir apparent to the deCavalcante crime family, could be deadly for them both. Lino has made up his mind to let Jacky go for his own good when he overhears a client ordering a hit on his lover, and only help from a most unexpected source will get them both out alive. Dance for Me by Maria Albert Former marine Michael Carrick is working as a bouncer at a gay erotic dance club when he rescues a young man from an abusive leather daddy. Carlo insists he can earn his way at the club as a dancer, but the attraction that sparks between them may be too much like the past he's struggling to escape. Unorthodox Utopia by G.S. Wiley Chicago stylist Steve is having trouble making ends meet at his new salon, Utopia, so he takes a second job as a hair and makeup artist for a low-budget Internet pornography operation. Against his better judgement, he develops a crush on one of the actors. When Jeff confides in Steve about an abusive boyfriend, Steve makes it his mission to save Jeff from both the relationship and the porn industry. Leather Dancer by Andrew Grey Denny's been admiring the hot guy in his apartment building from afar, until a chance meeting at the Gay Erotic Expo reveals even more of Robbie than he'd imagined in his fantasies. Despite his friend Kye's encouragement and Robbie's job as a dancer in a leather club, Denny is determined to take things slow, convinced that Robbie could be much more than just a quick hookup. Corona & Lime by Sonia Devereaux When James, a quiet, mid-20-something who hasn't been in a relationship in nearly a year, says he doesn't want to be set up anymore, overzealous friend Kyle devises a foolproof plan to help James regain his confidence. Dragging him to a gay sports bar, Kyle arranges for a gorgeous younger man, Race, to hit on James and seduce him. Though James leaves with Race, he realizes that sleeping with a stranger won't solve anything. But Race isn't used to being turned down--especially not when he's been paid for his company. Sunshine by J.L. Merrow Everyone has secrets. For Rob, it's wanting to get closer to the rent boy he sees every night on his way home from work. But for Daniel, earnng money the only way he can, it's something far more serious. Night Moves by Patric Michael A cocky, self assured hustler discovers much more in life than just turning tricks when he goes on a date--a real date--with the shy, soft-spoken driver of the black pickup that's often cruised by his corner but never stopped. Until tonight. Wanting More by Cari Z. After a late-night rendezvous is interrupted by the partner of the man who hired him, stripper and high-end escort Alex Kidman can't get James Fitzgerald out of his head. So when James comes to watch him dance a few weeks later, Alex knows it's time to make his move--but James isn't comfortable with him if he isn't paying for his time. The Cowboy and the Movie Star by Kate Roman Cowboy Jake Ryder is unimpressed when his boss rents the ranch out to an adult movie crew, but that changes when he meets the angelic, delicate and lonely Matthew Dove. Jake can't get Matthew out of his mind, and a late-night encounter proves Matthew feels the same way. But the next morning, Matthew's back on the set, and Jake feels like an idiot. Can Matthew convince Jake that he wants to quit the business, or will Jake's cowboy stubbornness get in the way? The Meaning of Perfection by Taylor Lochland Felix and his friend Jack are male escorts who need a discreet place to bring their clients. Hotel owner Julian offers them a discount on rooms in return for Jack servicing him once a week, but it's Felix who wants that honor--he's fallen for Julian. See Me, Feel Me by Zahra Owens Demme's only dream was to be a professional dancer, but a back injury put an end to that. Kip is a massage therapist who gives great back rubs... and to Demme's considerable surprise, admits to rubbing other parts of his clients' anatomy as well. Exposure by Marguerite Labbe & Fae Sutherland Sebastian Case has been photographing naked male models for years, but he's never had a reaction like the one he does when Angelo "Angel" Ferrara steps onto his calendar shoot. Sassy and flirtatious, the young man was made to be in front of Sebastian's camera and under his control. Angel loves everything about modeling, from following the commands to being naked and naughty for the camera. And as the camera snaps, sparks between them ignite the set, adding a whole new angle to their lives.
eBook Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Dreamspinner Press, 2009 2009
eBookwise Release Date: August 2009
33 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [526 KB]
Reading time: 349-489 min.
* * * *
The overcast sky began to drizzle, darkening the granite of the gravestone. The man at the graveside rose and brushed off the knees of his uniform. Donning his hat, he gazed out from under the brim, taking a last look at the dates carved in the stone. Six years ago today, his love had died in this city, leaving him to trudge down the long gray tunnel of the future alone. He tried to keep busy, to fill his time so there was no room for the crushing loneliness; he had his work and he devoted himself to it. His job required a professional demeanor, which suited him fine. Having severed connections with his traitor emotions, it was a relief to let his expression mirror his lack of involvement with this unjust world.
His watch beeped and he said goodbye one more time before walking to the car. The sleek, elongated lines of the diamond-black limousine gleamed wetly in the diffuse sunlight and he was careful not to scratch the wax as he opened the door. The car looked perfect. He could see his reflection in the mirror-bright finish. He looked perfect. It was time to go to work.
* * * *
"You've got Lino on the line," Celino Sansone answered his phone cheerfully.
"Hello, gorgeous. How's my best boy?"
"Zia Marda!" Celino greeted his manager. "What's shakin'?"
"I know it's a day off for you, but I just got a call from a man who used to be a preferred client. He's back in town for a visit, and I'd really like to impress him."
"Anything for you."
"I hoped you'd say that, but it's a real favor. I'll make sure you're taken care of ... large."
Celino grinned. Large meant a bonus of several thousand deposited into his bank account, over and above the normal hefty fee. "You've been nothin' but good to me. Where do I meet him?"
Marda gave Celino the details. "Thank you," she said. "I really appreciate it." After a brief pause, she spoke again. "I know you're used to handling big shots, honey, but this guy is really big. I don't have to remind you of the rules, right?"
"No, ma'am." When dealing with Marda Accardo's clients there were many rules, but chief among them was keep your mouth shut. You never talked later about what a client said or did. Gossiping was a good way to lose your job or much more. "Don't sweat it. I'll do you proud."
"Thanks again, gorgeous. Call me later."
Celino took his time getting ready and evaluated his appearance before leaving for his appointment. His fair hair, vivid blue eyes, and classic profile were the legacy of a great-grandmother from northern Italy and he thanked her every time he passed a mirror. Looking good was a huge asset in his profession and he never left the house looking anything but his best. He earned enough that he could afford the most expensive salons and he didn't stint when it came to a haircut or a day at the spa. People always assumed he was a model, and he rarely corrected them; it was none of their business what he did to pay the rent.
As he walked the hall to the elevator and crossed the lobby, he appreciated his surroundings. He wasn't exactly uptown yet, but he was upwardly mobile and this apartment building reflected his success. Since being plucked from grueling solo work by Zia Marda and joining her stable of hand-picked escorts, he'd earned more in one year than the three previous added together. He had a nice place, money in a savings account, and enough left over to indulge his love of fine clothes and good food. Mrs. Accardo never took more than the agreed-upon commission and took a very maternal position when it came to "her boys". While it was understood that her particular clients were partial to a little rough stuff, anything more than black-and-blue marks on one of her employees resulted in blacklisting. A patron who got carried away found himself shut out the next time he called for some compliant company.
Celino crossed himself as he left the building and took a half-step to avoid a crack on his way to the waiting car. He'd never had any real bad luck, but it didn't hurt to hedge your bets. If things continued on the same track, he'd have a decent retirement fund in two years. If he resisted buying that pair of Ferragamo ostrich boots. If he didn't take a cruise this summer. If he stopped falling in love with Jacky.
Celino sighed as he sat back and watched the city flow by the limo window. Giacomo "Jacky Nic" Niccolo, with the body of a Greco-Roman wrestler under a sleek business suit, sly green eyes glinting like tropical waters, white teeth gleaming in a scimitar-shaped grin, thick black hair that sprang back when stroked, long thick cock that sprang back when stroked.... Celino glanced up and met the driver's eyes in the rearview mirror. He nodded cordially, wondering if he'd said or done something foolish while daydreaming about Jacky. The driver nodded back, a courteous professional, and turned his attention back to the road. Celino made an effort to do the same, but Jacky was never far from his thoughts these days.
It had been all fun and games in the beginning, when Celino was Zia Marda's fresh new star and the don's favorite grandson had made a discreet call. Jacky Nic was the only child of the only child of Il Papa's beloved first wife, an only child herself who died giving birth. The don doted on Jacky, and from infancy, it was taken for granted that the boy would hold a place of power one day. At twenty-six, Jacky was sharp, handsome, the youngest underboss of the powerful deCavalcante family and engaged to the niece of the don's consigliere, the old man's right hand. There was only one fly in the pasta fagioli, but it was a big one. Jacky Nic wasn't just dabbling on the down-low, indulging a preference for the back entrance, or getting off on dominating another man. Jacky Nic was gay and while the other bosses might wink at a kink, they'd never take orders from a bona fide fagola, as he put it.
Celino didn't mind at first. For once, the client was his age and attractive and it was fun meeting clandestinely, feeling the rush of forbidden passion. But that was before he fell for Jacky. Now he worried every time Jacky left his arms that it would be for the last time. He was afraid that someone would get wise to their budding relationship and inform the don. Celino knew he should be concentrating on earning enough money to get out of the life, but life without Jacky wouldn't be much of a life at all. Celino sighed again. It had been stupid to let himself care for a customer, knowing that nothing could ever come of it. Jacky would marry the Sicilian princess and run the family empire in Jersey while Celino would grow old and lonely somewhere down in Florida with a little dog to keep him company if he was lucky.
"We're here, sir," the driver said, halting the downward spiral of Celino's thoughts.
"Thanks," Celino said, as an attendant came forward to open the car door. As he stepped from the limousine, he gave the driver a wave and gave himself a quick pep talk. No one was going to find out about him and Jacky. Somehow, they'd find a way to be together, even if it was only for a few days or a few hours at a time. Other men had mistresses; no one had to know that Jacky's side-slice was a guy. Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad life.
* * * *
Celino's client was on the top floor of the luxury hotel in one of four penthouse suites. The foyer was guarded by two muscular men in tailored suits that disguised the lines of their shoulder holsters. Celino gave up his phone and stood docilely through the pat-down. When the soldiers were sure he wasn't concealing any weapons, he was passed into the suite.
"Who the hell is that, Joey?" someone bellowed as soon as the doors closed.
The dapper man walking toward Celino put his cell phone away and called over his shoulder. "Mrs. Accardo sent someone over to entertain you while you're waiting."
"Oh yeah, the package boy. Well, tell him to come in. I've got a delivery for him."
Celino kept his expression pleasant as he was introduced to the client, but Alberto "Big Bones" Bonaventura repelled him on sight. This was going to be one of those rare times when he didn't enjoy his job, but the thought of Marda's bonus should get him through it. Whatever Bonaventura's age, shape, or degree of piggishness, he was just another man who wanted to get his pipes cleaned and was willing to pay well for the service. It was just a couple of hours out of Celino's life and then he could go home, take a shower, and call Jacky, not necessarily in that order. He'd just cruise on autopilot until it was done. "It's an honor to meet you," he said.
"Mind if I call you Lino?" Bonaventura set his empty shot glass down in a spray of crumbs next to a half-finished plate of calamari. "I like blonds, Lino."
"That's probably why Mrs. Accardo sent me." Celino smiled. "She wants you to be impressed."
The out-of-town capo smiled back, the slabs of his cheeks grudgingly giving way. "You're a little cocky; I like that too. So, you want a drink, Lino? You hungry or do you want to get right to it?"
"I'm ready when you are, Mr. Bonaventura."
"Joey! Make sure nobody comes in."
"You got it, Mr. B," Joey said, giving Celino a hard look. "And before package boy leaves, I'll make sure he knows what'll happen if he ever mentions your name."
"You don't have to worry about me. I know the rules."
"You hear that, Joey?" Bonaventura rose and put a hand on the back of Celino's neck. "He knows the rules."
Joey shrugged. "If you say so, Mr. B. I might have a little talk with him anyway."
"Do what you gotta do," Bonaventura said. "Come on, Lino. The bedroom's this way."
* * * *
"Jesus H!" Bonaventura panted. He looked down at the top of Celino's head, broad shoulders, and muscular back and a hot rush of pleasure fizzed along his nerve endings. The sight of his hard cock stretching the virile young man's mouth made him feel like a king. "You got a tongue like an electric eel."
Celino sucked Bonaventura's foreskin into his mouth, nibbling delicately as he darted his tongue around the sensitive tip. His fingers were busy stroking and rubbing, using every trick he knew to speed things along. He was relieved when Bonaventura took hold of his head and began thrusting eagerly. Celino drew air through his nose and sucked hard, working the underside of the thick cock. The visiting don might not have the longest dick in the world, but he made up for it in circumference, and he was the sort that got off on causing discomfort. Having someone choke on his meat was probably a fantasy of Bonaventura's, something he'd brag about. On the next stroke, Celino put his palms against Bonaventura's thighs and pushed. Feeling the resistance, Bonaventura tightened his grip and thrust harder. Celino put up a token struggle, gazing up at the other man in a plea for mercy.
"What's a matter, ragazzo? Too much for you?"
Celino nodded emphatically and Bonaventura groaned his pleasure, fingertips digging into Celino's scalp as he pushed deeper. Ignoring the tickle of wiry hair against his nose, Celino swallowed hard as he strained against the other man's hold. Bonaventura came abruptly, squirting a briny load down the young man's throat. Slowly, the don's grip relaxed and his labored breathing slowed. Stepping back, he pulled out of Celino's mouth and patted him on the cheek.
"You did good, bel ragazzo. I gotta go to a meeting, but when I come back, we'll go another round and take our time."
"I'm glad you enjoyed it, Mr. Bonaventura. Should I wait for you here?"
"Here? Hell, no. I'll be takin' all my boys with me and I ain't leavin' you here alone. After you freshen up and get dressed, the limo will take you wherever you want to go and someone will call when I want you again."
Celino nodded as he picked up his clothes. "It's okay if I use your bathroom?"
Bonaventura pointed without looking, already on the phone. Celino nodded his thanks and closed the bathroom door behind him. Flipping on the light, he dropped his clothes and went to the sink. Not until he'd rinsed his mouth did he put on his briefs and trousers. As he buttoned his shirt, he shook his head at his reflection. Celino liked sex a lot and he was usually able to separate the emotional from the physical while he was working. He'd convinced himself he could keep doing this until he had enough money to start his own business, but the past five minutes had changed his mind. Everything was different now that he loved Jacky. Now, he wasn't just earning a living, he was betraying his lover for mere money. It sure wasn't because he found Bonaventura irresistible.
Celino spit in the sink again. There was no getting around the fact that he'd let someone he didn't know and didn't even like use him like an appliance, something he swore he'd never do again after he got off the streets. It took all the joy out of the job and when the fun was gone, it was time to move on.
Pushing away from the marble counter, he tried not to imagine what Zia Marda was going to say when he told her he couldn't play the second half of the gig. He could say goodbye to his bonus for sure, and probably his job, but he couldn't do this for another minute. Anyway, Celino's anxiety over her reaction was nothing compared to his fear of how Jacky would take the news. Celino didn't think the young underboss would be too happy about the insult to a guest of the deCavalcante family. No matter how sweet Jacky was when they were alone, there was no way he'd take the side of a callboy on a matter of family honor. Celino wasn't looking forward to the next couple of hours, but he couldn't stay in Bonaventura's bathroom forever. He opened the door, heard voices, and closed it again, but it was too late. He'd already heard Jacky's name. Dropping to the floor, he put his ear to the crack and strained to hear what the two men were saying.
"Niccolo's a punk," Bonaventura growled. "I got no problem with offing him."
"Me neither, Mr. B," Joey answered. "But why do we gotta do it? Why can't one a their own guys take care a the prick?"
"You don't gotta do it, Joey. Just make sure it gets done."
"Consider it done." Joey paused. "This ain't a sanctioned hit, is it?"
"Not at the moment. This meeting's important because I wanna look him in the eye and hear him say he wants Jacky Nic dead. If he ever crosses me, I'll have somethin' on him."
"Excuse me, boss, but big fuckin' deal."
Bonaventura laughed. "You're a practical guy and you know I like that about you, but it will be a big fuckin' deal when Il Papa croaks and Chuckles is head of the deCavalcante family."
Celino blinked, fighting the shock that wanted to paralyze him. Someone wanted Jacky out of the way and Celino had to warn him. Fading back from the door, he flushed the toilet, washed his hands, and walked out as if the room was empty. His racing heart went into overdrive when Joey spoke from his right.
"Mr. B already went downstairs. I hung around to remind you not to say anything about what happened here."
"What happened where?" Celino repeated in a perplexed tone.
"I don't care if you're a smartass. What I care about is Mr. B's reputation. He wouldn't appreciate anybody knowin' he was playin' hide the salami with a guy."
"I understand. Really."
"You better. If I ever find out you blabbed anything to anybody, I'll kill you. I'll kill Mrs. Accardo. I'll kill your family, your neighbors, and any stray cat that wanders by. You understand that, pretty boy?"
"Yes, I understand." Celino forced himself to meet Joey's eyes, black as ripe olives. "Can I have my cell phone back now?"
"Sure, kid." Joey handed Celino his phone. "Let's go; your car's waiting."
Celino controlled the impulse to jerk his arm away when Joey took hold of his biceps and steered him toward the door. The soldier didn't speak again as the elevator descended, spending the time combing his hair and straightening his tie. As Joey opened the limo door and gestured to Celino to get in, he flashed a blade in front of the young man's eyes. Putting a finger to his lips, he banged a fist on the roof of the car and the driver pulled away. Celino looked back as he turned his cell phone on and Joey held up the knife in a final warning.
"Where to, sir?" the driver asked.
"Uh," Celino faced front. "I'm not sure yet. Can you just drive for a few minutes?"
Celino started to dial Jacky's number, but thought better of it. The aloof driver would no doubt report everything Celino said or did. "I should've taken a leak before we left."
"Are you picky about where?" the driver asked.
"The nearest gas station will do."
"Sure thing. I could use the john myself."
Celino was afraid he wouldn't be able to pee when the driver went into the men's room with him. To his relief, he produced a stream and went to wash up. "I'm going to grab a coffee in the convenience store," he said over his shoulder, as the driver zipped up. "Can I get you anything?"
"Thanks. I could use a coffee. Black is fine."
"See you at the car." Celino hurried out the door, pulling his phone from his pocket as he rounded the corner of the old-style gas station. He punched Jacky's number and put the phone to his ear as he entered the small store. Holding the cell awkwardly between his head and his shoulder, he poured two large coffees and found the lids for them. The voice mail message came on as Celino was adding cream to his cup.
Jacky's warm baritone swaggered from the speaker and made Celino's groin throb. Shaking off the sultry spell, Celino spoke quickly after the beep. "I can't explain everything right now, but you're in trouble. Meet me at Zia's spa. Be really careful and don't let anyone see you." Celino bit his lip, trying to think of what else he could say to get his message across. "I love you," he ended impulsively, as the driver came into the store. Dropping the phone into his pocket, he handed a Styrofoam cup to the other man. "Black, right?"
The driver's expression finally lightened. "As a matter of fact, I am Black. Rob Black."
"Celino Sansone. Everyone calls me Lino."
"Yeah, I already knew that," Rob Black said as he paid for the gas and coffees. "I keep a log of my passengers."
"Well, at least there'll be some record if I'm never seen again after tonight," Celino said as they walked to the car.
"Just a bad joke, Rob. Would you mind taking me by Spa Roma so I can pick up a couple of things Mr. Bonaventura asked for?"
* * * *
"I'll probably be a few minutes," Celino said as they pulled into the parking structure. "Do you want to come inside and wait?"
"Thanks, but I'll be fine here."
"Aren't you supposed to be keeping an eye on me?"
"I'm just driving you around."
"Then why did you come into the bathroom with me?"
"I wanted a look at your package." Rob grinned. "Just kidding. I had to take a piss."
"I must sound completely paranoid."
"It's probably a good idea to be paranoid if you're going to hang around with men like Big Bones Bonaventura."
"Point taken." Celino got out of the car. "I'll be back as quick as I can."
"I'll be here." Rob gave Celino a mock salute before he rolled up the window.
As Celino neared the garage elevator, a man stepped from the shadows and grabbed him from behind. He recognized Jacky's cologne and relaxed into the embrace before he remembered the driver. By that time, Jacky was nuzzling aggressively at his neck and squeezing his crotch. Throwing out a hand, Celino hit the elevator call button and tried to discourage Jacky. It might have worked better if he'd really wanted Jacky to stop what he was doing. "Ahhh, damn it, you can get me so hot so fast," Celino moaned. "But somebody might be watching us, so cool it until we get out of sight, okay?"
"I'll try, but it's torture being this close to you without touching you."
The lift doors slid open and Celino slipped inside with Jacky on his ass. As soon as the doors closed again, Jacky pressed Celino into the corner and took his mouth in a ravenous kiss. Celino responded eagerly, pulling Jacky close and squeezing him tight.
"God damn, I can never get enough of you, Chel," Jacky breathed as their lips parted. He slid his hands from Celino's shoulders, down his arms to twine their fingers together. "Thanks for meeting me."
"I have to talk to you," Celino said, "but not here."
"That doesn't sound good. You droppin' me, baby?"
"Of course not. I'll explain as soon as we have more privacy."
When they reached the second floor, Jacky waited by the elevators while Celino went into the boutique spa that fronted for Marda's real business. Celino got the key to a massage room and let Jacky in at the employee entrance. He barely got the door locked when Jacky lifted him off his feet and laid him out on the table. "You look a little tense," Celino's lover said. "Let me work on you a little."
"We need to talk."
"Talk while we're doin' it," Jacky suggested as he squeezed Celino's reliable hard-on.
"I overheard Alberto Bonaventura talking about a hit on you."
Jacky froze. "What?"
Celino pushed Jacky's hand off his crotch and sat up. "Zia Marda sent me over to his hotel. While I was in the bathroom, I heard him talking about it to a guy named Joey."
"That's what your message was about? Swear to God, I thought you were leading up to giving me the brush-off. Then you said...."
"I was nervous," Celino interrupted. "I don't hear hits ordered every day and then I didn't know how much I should say when it was being recorded, you know?"
Jacky nodded. "But why would Big Bones want me dead?"
"It's not him; it's someone he called Chuckles."
"Bullshit! The only Chuckles I know is my Uncle Carlo and only the family calls him that."
"I'm just telling you what I heard."
"You must've heard wrong."
"I know what they said, Jacky. I'm not deaf or stupid."
"Sorry, baby. It's a shock."
"What should we do?"
"This is my problem. I don't want you anywhere near it."
"I'm already near it. If Bonaventura finds out I told you...."
"What? What did that pig say to you? No, wait. Don't tell me. If you tell me he threatened you, I'll have to kill him."
Celino rested his hand over Jacky's heart. "That means a lot to me, but be real for a second. You can't whack a visiting boss. Your family would disown you."
"Yeah, they would at that; they'd have to." Jacky chewed his lower lip. "I need to think about this for a minute."
"What if you told your grandfather?"
"He'd probably take my word, but to get permission to hit Bonaventura, he'd have to show proof that Bonaventura was planning an illegal hit on me."
"Otherwise, the reprisals will start and the next thing you know, you got a war on your hands."
"That's right, baby." Jacky looked into Celino's eyes. "You're worth it though, like that Greek chick, Helena Troy."
"Come on, Jacky. You can drop the Romeo routine now."
"You know: the extravagant compliments and presents, all the cuddling and rose petals between the sheets, the texts at odd times just to let me know you're thinking about me. It's really sweet of you, but you don't have to keep the act up twenty-four seven." Celino sighed. "I don't have any illusions about the reality of our relationship; I know you pay for my time."
"Well ... a little more than your time." Jacky grinned as he regained his equilibrium. "So you think you're just a piece of expensive ass to me? Is that right?"
"It's okay. I'm used to being wanted for my body."
"It's quite a body," Jacky agreed. "Perfect proportions and not an inch on you that isn't toned and tanned. You're what I think of when I hear the words 'golden boy'."
"I can't believe you're teasing me at a time like this."
"I like teasing you. I thought you liked being teased." Jacky paused. "I also thought you liked my gifts and the flowers and the cuddling; I sure enjoyed providing them."
"I didn't say I didn't like the way you treat me. I just said that you didn't have to keep up the pretense, especially while we have more important things to think about. Like your life."
"Baby, stop." Jacky took Celino's hands. "There's no pretense. I treat you like I do because that's what you deserve."
"I love you, Jacky Nic, but you're you and I'm me and it just isn't going to happen."
Jacky ducked his head and kissed Celino. "I coulda swore you said you loved me just before you hung up, and I couldn't wait to get here and show you how much I love you and convince you to stay with me."
"Your full-frontal assault always works."
"Is that what's buggin' you? Do I come at you too hard?"
Celino chuckled despite his resolve to remain serious. "Too hard? What's that?"
"That's my baby," Jacky said, playfully slapping the other man's cheek. "This is the Celino I love, spunky and funny and ready for anything. Let me make a quick call to my Aunt Sylvia to clear something up and we'll continue this conversation."
"Did I mention our time is limited?"
Jacky put a finger to Celino's full lips as his call was answered. "Ciao, Zia Syllie! Si, va bene. Can I talk to Uncle Carlo for a minute? He is? No, nothing urgent, but would you give him a message when he gets home? Grazie. Please tell him I met Mr. Bonaventura's guy and I know exactly what he wants. Si, grazie. Of course, I'll see you Sunday." Jacky broke the connection and met Celino's eyes. "I'll be damned; my uncle is at a meeting with a VIP from out of town. Chuckles wants me dead."
"I told you."
"Yeah, you did. Thanks. Now, I gotta figure out the best way to break this to Il Papa. You want to go with me to see him?"
"There's a driver waiting to take me back to Bonaventura's hotel."
"I wasn't intending to go," Celino said.
"You nearly gave me an aneurysm."
"Well, relax. I said I'm not going. In fact, I'm quitting the business."
"Are you serious?"
"I know it's an inconvenience, but--"
"Inconvenience? Baby, I've been waiting for you to say something like this forever."
"You're happy about this?" Consternation took up a small tuck between Celino's eyebrows. "But ... if you wanted me to quit, why didn't you say something?"
"Because you always talked about how happy you were and how much money you were making. I thought you'd be insulted if I insisted you quit your job and let me support you."
"I don't want you to support me and it's too big a risk for you anyway."
"Because I'm me?" Jacky guessed.
"That's right. You're Jacky Nic, the Prince of Newark, heir apparent to the deCavalcante crown. You'll be the most powerful man in the city some day and you know the rule: don't get caught with a dead girl or a live boy. We may not be breaking up today, but it has to end sometime."
"So you're saying that if I become don, I can't have you?"
"Isn't it obvious?"
"Then all our problems are solved."
"How do you figure that?"
"If I'm out of the running for head of the family, there's no need to kill me. It's that simple."
"I must be missing something here. You're Il Papa's favorite. What could take you out of the running, other than a bullet?"
"You'd walk away?"
"Only if you're comin' with me."
"I'm a little surprised."
"You don't believe me?"
"Well, look at it from my point of view. It's a little hard to believe that you'd give up so much wealth and power for a, you know, male escort."
"How do I make you believe I love you?" Jacky clenched his hands into fists. "I'm offering to give up my family, my livelihood, and my honor for you. I'm telling you that instead of going after Bonaventura like I'm achin' to do, I'll swallow my pride and leave town. I'm promising that I'll start an entirely new life with you anywhere you choose. If there's something else I can do, just tell me."
"Give me a second to absorb, okay?"
"Absorb what? You're shocked that I care so much? What did you think I was trying to say with all the expensive presents and romantic weekends?"
"I thought you were saying the same thing that all the other guys say: that you think I'm hot and you want to nail me."
"Well, I can't deny that, but I was also letting you know how much you mean to me, or so I thought."
Celino laughed abruptly. "All this time I was falling in love with you and afraid to say anything. I was sure you'd evaporate if I started talking heavy about feelings and stuff."
Jacky smiled. "Do you feel as pazzo as I do?"
Celino thought about it for a minute. "It is crazy, but actually, I'm thrilled, or would be if I wasn't so worried."
"I thought I just took care of all that."
"We still have to get out of town."
"Oh yeah." Jacky made a circuit of the massage table and stopped in front of Celino. "Bonaventura is at the meeting right now, right? Nobody but you and me and the people at that meeting know about the hit, right? So, we're gonna get in my car and head in whatever direction feels right. I'm gonna get on the phone and transfer another chunk of cash to a savings account that isn't connected to the family."
"You keep surprising me. I thought you left all the details to the accountants."
Jacky shrugged. "I always had this wild idea about runnin' away with you, and I knew we'd need money."
"It's one thing to have a fantasy, but--"
"A guy can dream, can't he?" Jacky interrupted.
"Where's your car?" Celino answered without missing a beat.
"Yeah, that might be a problem. I'm not sure we can get to it without your driver seeing us."
"He's not my driver. Well ... he is my driver, but he's not my.... You know what I mean."
"Glad to hear it. You ever seen him before?"
"No. I'm familiar with the guys that work for the car service Marda uses, so I assume Rob works for Bonaventura."
"On a first-name basis already, huh?"
"Cut it out, Jacky. What if we just walk out of here, get a cab to the airport, and buy a car later?"
"I like it, baby. Now, we have a plan. Just one question." Jacky grinned. "Do we have time for a quickie?"
"Why don't we wait until we can join the Mile High Club?"
"You're killin' me, Chel, but I'll try to keep it in my pants 'til we're off the ground."
"Just try keeping in mind that someone wants to kill you and I'll be happy." Celino paused. "That didn't come out right, but you know what I mean."
"I'll try to worry more. Can I have one kiss to hold me over?"
Celino grabbed Jacky by the ears and yanked him forward, bringing their mouths together with bruising force. Into the brief, fierce caress, he poured all of the passion he felt for this man.
"Whoa," Jacky breathed when Celino broke off the kiss. Greedily, he pulled his lover back, but Celino wasn't having it.
"There's plenty more where that came from," Celino said, as he shoved Jacky away for the first time since they'd met. "And you can have it as soon as I know we're safe."
"Now, that's what I call incentive. Let's roll."
Celino opened the door of the private room in time to see Rob Black straighten up from the water fountain. The chauffeur turned and looked directly at Celino.
"Thought you got lost. I got thirsty and decided to see what I could find to drink."
Celino's stretched nerves had had enough. "Nothing in the limo's mini-bar appealed to you?"
Rob blinked at his passenger's tone. "Sorry to intrude." His gaze flicked to Jacky. "Should I go back to the car and wait?"
"Yeah, do that," Jacky spoke up. "Your services are no longer needed."
"That's not your call," Rob answered. "Sir."
Celino spoke before Jacky could reply. "Rob, what would you say if I asked you to drive me and my friend to the airport?"
"Sure thing. Which airport?"
"I'd rather take my car," Jacky said as they exited the elevator in the parking structure.
The driver shrugged. "Suit yourself, Mr. Niccolo, but your Ferrari ain't exactly low profile."
"So you know who I am." Jacky squared his shoulders. "So what?"
"Getting pissed off wouldn't be the wisest move right now," Rob said. "If you don't trust me, and God knows you got no reason to, then you drive the limo to the airport."
"He's right," Celino said. "I love your car, Jacky, but it's eye-catching."
"That's why I bought it."
Rob held out the keys. "You're a man who appreciates the finer things, Mr. Niccolo," he said, glancing at Celino. "I hope you have a long life to enjoy them."
"Hey, Rob," Celino said, as he opened the passenger door. "Are you going to be in a lot of trouble for letting us take the car?"
"Oh yeah," Rob said with feeling.
"It's okay," Jacky said. "He offered, baby."
"I don't like to think about what Bonaventura's boys might do to him. They're going to want to talk to him when I don't show up and you go missing."
"Madonna!" Jacky cursed mildly. "What do you suggest we do with him?"
"At the least, he deserves to know what kind of shit is going to descend on him." Celino raised his voice again as he leaned on the door. "Do you know why we're going to the airport?"
"Because Mr. Niccolo has made the unprecedented decision to start a new life?"
"Yeah!" Celino was startled. "Do you know why?"
"Because his uncle secretly ordered a hit on him?"
"You must listen at a lot of keyholes," Jacky said.
"No, I'm the talent."
Jacky reached into his jacket, but Rob was already holding a gun pointed at him. "Easy," Jacky said holding his hands where the hit man could see them.
"You're kidding," Celino said. "You're the hitter? I should have seen this coming. I finally decide to quit the life. I find out my boyfriend really loves me. We're on our way into the sunset, so of course you're a hit man."
"Calm down," Rob said, lowering his weapon. "I only pulled mine out because he was about to. I'm not going to shoot anybody. For one thing, I don't have a contract yet."
Jacky lowered his arms. "So, you gonna babysit us until you hear from your boss, or what?"
"If you want me to, but I was serious when I gave you the keys. Get the hell out of here."
"Why?" Celino asked. "Why bring all this trouble on yourself? You must have a reason."
"Mr. Bonaventura will be very angry with me, but since neither he nor his co-conspirator can talk about this situation, it won't be hard to blackmail either of them into dropping the matter. So there won't be any damage to my reputation. I don't need money, so I don't mind losing the fee. I'm out of pocket for the airline ticket, the hotel, and the limo rental, but I've always wanted to wear a chauffeur's uniform at least once. I'm not really losing anything by letting you go, so why not?"
Jacky made a rude noise that clearly expressed his opinion of Rob's speech.
"I could just go ahead and kill you," Rob said.
"Come on," Celino said. "Just tell me the truth."
"If I do, will you leave?"
Celino crossed his heart.
"I watched you while I was driving you around," Rob said. "In hindsight, that was a mistake. See, Joey the Patch told me I'd be pulling a double today; Bonaventura's so paranoid about his visit that he planned on offing you too, just to be on the safe side."
"That's it!" Jacky exclaimed, slamming the limo door. "I'm gonna kill him."
"No, you're not." Celino grabbed Jacky's arm. "We've got a golden opportunity and we're going to take it." He turned to Rob. "Or am I wrong?"
"You're not wrong. Say the word and I'll tell Big Bones that I killed you both and compacted you in your car."
"You're not really gonna crush my Ferrari, are you?" Jacky said.
Rob shook his head. "I'm taking your wheels in lieu of my fee."
"Treat her good, okay?" Jacky glanced at Celino. "I know it's just a car, but...."
"I wouldn't disrespect a fine piece of craftsmanship," Rob said. "And to finish answering your question, Lino: I simply don't want to kill you. You're a decent guy who was going to die just because an evil, horny old man got nervous and gave an order. Normally, I would've put two in the back of your head without thinking twice, but today, I need a better reason."
"Why?" Celino persisted.
"Because you're in love and you have a chance at a life with the person you love. I can't take that away just on somebody's say-so. I'm still human, after all."
"Thank you," Celino said.
"You're welcome. Seeing the two of you turn over new leaves has got me thinking."
"Do me one more favor?"
"Call Zia Marda for me? Tell her whatever you think you should tell her and that I'll call her when I feel safe."
"Sure thing. I'll make sure Mrs. Accardo knows what she needs to."
Celino smiled, imagining Marda's reaction to the news that a client had planned to do away with one of her boys. "Thanks again."
"I said you're welcome. Now get out of here before a group hug breaks out."
Jacky started the engine and Celino slid into the passenger seat. With a wave to Rob, they pulled out of the oversized parking space and headed for the exit. The lights were with them and they made good time to the airport. Several impulsive decisions later, they were airborne without incident.
* * * *
Jacky opened the door of the airplane toilet when Celino knocked. "Are they makin' these things smaller now?" he complained.
Celino managed to wedge himself into the small space without anyone noticing and shut the door. He wrapped his arms around Jacky, nuzzling at his ear. Jacky was uncharacteristically unresponsive.
"Honest to God, Chel. I'm not sure we can do it in here."
"We can," Celino assured him.
"How?" Jacky looked around. "Seriously, how? If I get my dick out, one of us is going to have to leave."
Celino hopped up onto the miniature stainless steel sink and put a foot on the metal toilet ring. Deftly, he unbuttoned his trousers and worked them down over his round butt. Jacky stopped griping as his tongue came out to wet his lips. He reached for Celino's cock, pulling it out of the fly of his briefs. Squeezing firmly, Jacky shuttled his hand up and down a few times.
"Ah, yeah," Celino breathed as he peeled Jacky's suit jacket down his shoulders. "I love the way you touch me like you just can't wait."
"I'll touch you all you want." Jacky let the expensive garment fall to the floor and took hold of Celino's dick again. He managed to bend far enough to get his mouth on the head and Celino gasped with pleasure.
"Thanks for doing this."
"No need to thank me." Jacky left off licking his way around the tip of Celino's hard-on. "I love doing this."
"I meant.... Oh, man, that feels good. I meant thanks for doing it here. For giving up everything and being here with me."
"I'm trying not to think too hard about it and just do it. Once the shit hits the fan there'll be no going back. You know what?" Jacky straightened to kiss Celino and it was a while before he finished his thought. "I'm glad Uncle Carlo tried to get me out of the way."
"You're kidding me. Ooh, do that again. Yeah, that. Oh God, you're going to turn me into quivering guy goo."
"Guy goo?" Jacky made a face as he circled a fingertip around Celino's lower opening.
Celino grinned. "Would you rather I said man gravy?"
Jacky grinned back. "I love you," he said, as naturally as sneezing when something tickles your nose.
Celino leaned forward and kissed Jacky, a soft kiss that he didn't need his tongue for. "I love you too," he murmured against Jacky's lips. "This is almost too good to be true."
"I'm not gonna back out or let you down, baby."
"Will be fine without me. What do I wanna be a gangster for? I'd rather lie around on a beach somewhere with you."
The sound of Celino swallowing was audible in the small space. "I'm sorry I never took you seriously."
"That's okay, baby. We're startin' fresh, remember?"
"I knew I loved you, but now I realize just how much. I'll never sell you short again."
"I'll do my best to make you proud of me."
"Shit! I'm going to cry."
Jacky leaned in and took Celino's mouth in a deep, lingering kiss. "Let me give you something to cry about," he murmured.
Celino laughed softly as his lover pulled out a single-serve packet of lubricant. Reaching down, he found Jacky's zipper and freed his hard cock. Awkwardly, he stroked the suede-skinned rod of flesh while Jacky eased a finger into him. "Oh, God, yes! You know just how to push my buttons. I don't think I can wait to feel you inside me."
"Not to mention the fact that somebody else might need the bathroom."
Celino laughed again. "I'm waitin' on you."
Jacky flattened the foil of lubricant, extruding all the contents. He stroked his cock, slathering the slippery gel from tip to root, as Celino watched avidly.
"Good," Celino said. "This is going to be awkward as hell, but I know we can do it."
"My mouth's dry," Jacky said, as he seated his cock.
"I'm excited too, but don't go too fast. Slower. Slower. Ahhhhh, shit. Shit!"
Jacky stopped and looked into Celino's eyes. "What? Should I take it back out?"
Celino flexed, squeezing Jacky's cock just behind the tip. "Only if you want to."
Jacky sucked in a breath through his teeth. "I think I'm hurtin' you."
"It does hurt some, but not so much that I want you to stop. Go ahead; we'll have the rest of our lives to take it slow."
Tiny pearls of sweat formed at Jacky's hairline as he eased into Celino a millimeter at a time. Celino assured him he could go faster, but Jacky had his own ideas about pacing. Not even Celino's warning that someone could knock at any second could goad Jacky into speeding things up. "Damn, this feels so good," he groaned.
Celino clutched at Jacky's shoulders. "Pull back a little and push in again."
"Oh, hell yeah. Oh God!" Celino's words deteriorated in a drawn-out moan.
Jacky continued to thrust in shallow strokes, triggering that wonderful sound from his lover. "Is this good?" he asked.
"Couldn't be better. You doin' all right?"
"Baby, you got no idea. If I could only do one thing for the rest of my life, this would be it."
"Yeah, me too. Just somewhere more comfortable."
Jacky chuckled as he took hold of Celino's cock again. Leaning forward, he thrust in abbreviated strokes as he licked at Celino's taut nipples. Celino made a whining noise deep in his throat just before he came, dappling his belly with glistening cum. Grabbing Jacky's head between his hands, Celino welded their mouths together and pressed a heel into Jacky's back, urging him deeper. Jacky leaned in, forging up the narrow channel until he was on tiptoe. Celino groaned into Jacky's mouth as the long cock filled him completely, drawing out his orgasm.
"Good. So good," Celino breathed, as their mouths parted. "Now take me like you want to."
Jacky bit his bottom lip in momentary indecision before leaning back and withdrawing slightly. Without room to thrust, he pulsed the muscles of his buttocks, churning his rod in the tight heat that clenched and relaxed unpredictably. His excitement mounting to dizzying heights, Jacky claimed Celino's mouth again as he shot off, his cock firing like a hand cannon. Leaning hard against Celino as his seed unfurled, Jacky burrowed his face into the curve of his lover's shoulder. "Madonna!" he panted. "I feel like I'm going to pass out."
Celino kissed the top of Jacky's head, hugging him fiercely. "I love you so much."
"Not as much as I love you."
"I loved you first."
"I love you best," Jacky retorted.
A rap at the door broke up the giddy game of one-upmanship. "Excuse me."
"Answer," Celino hissed.
No, Jacky mouthed, shaking his head.
"Is someone in there?"
"If you don't answer, they're comin' in."
"What is it?" Jacky called out.
"Sorry to disturb you, sir, but the return to seats sign has been on for some time."
"I ... I ... I've got a touch of the stomach flu," Jacky stammered.
"I'm sorry, sir, do.... "The attendant paused as Celino embellished Jacky's story with a loud barfing noise. "Do you need help?"
Celino's silent laughter pushed Jacky's rapidly wilting cock from his sheath and then it was Jacky's turn to fight the giggles. "No, thanks," he gasped. "I'm feeling better now."
Celino wrangled his leg from over Jacky's shoulder and flushed the toilet with his foot.
"All right," the attendant said. "Please return to your seat as soon as you can. We'll be starting final descent soon."
Jacky captured the foot Celino was tickling him with and tucked it under his arm. "Thank you, ma'am. I'll be right out."
The attendant walked away and Jacky and Celino exited the bathroom, but not before sharing a kiss in pledge of all the good things they had in store for each other. And they kept that vow.
* * * *
The driver put down the phone and eased the car through the ironwork gates of the cemetery. He was not surprised, or particularly worried, by the fact that two powerful Cosa Nostra bosses were pissed off at him. As soon as Mrs. Accardo spoke with Il Papa, he would bet that neither man would be a worry to anyone anymore. Matters here were nearly wrapped up; just one last visit and he could be on his way.
As he approached the grave, a jet passed over, leaving its mark across a sky as blue as Celino Sansone's eyes. A slight smile curved his lips as he knelt and placed a small bunch of flowers in the marble vase. In small and broken words, he explained what he'd done and why and that he would not be coming around as much as he used to, that he had a sudden yearning to travel somewhere he'd never been, to see places and people he'd never seen. He knew his love approved and when he rose to go, he felt the familiar sadness, but this time a settled serenity bloomed in its wake. He'd done the right thing.
Sliding into the driver's seat of the flashy Ferrari, he wished Jacky and Celino the best of luck. I should be so lucky, he thought as he pulled onto the road. Rapidly, he shifted up through the gears for the sheer joy of acceleration as he headed out of the city with no destination in mind. Who knew? Maybe he would get lucky.