Cal picked up the cell phone and dialed Marjory Stewart's telephone number. After the third ring, Marjory answered.
"Hi, Marjory, this is Cal. Sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner, I was out of town and have just retrieved my messages."
"Thank God, my prayers have been answered. I hated to bother you, Cal, but you're the only friend I can turn to. Ian is in very serious trouble."
He could hear the panic in Marjory's voice. "Take a few deep breaths and start from the beginning, Marjory. What kind of trouble has Ian gotten himself into that has upset you so?"
"Ian was arrested for drug possession and is being held in the DeKalb County Jail. He has been in jail for over two days."
"Have you retained a lawyer to handle this?"
"Jim Morgan has been handling this so far. Jim is a good friend, but he's already told me that this type of case is over his head. He has recommended two excellent criminal lawyers that specialize in this kind of case."
"Who have you decided to go with?"
"John Grayson would be my first choice, if I had the means to hire him. I simply can't afford him. He requires a $10,000 retainer before he will even consider the case. I haven't got that kind of money, Cal."
"You'll need the best lawyers available when you're dealing with drug charges," Cal said. "Look, don't worry about the lawyer's fees, Marjory. I'll take care of that. Give me John Grayson's telephone number and I'll speak to him. Leave everything to me from here on, I'll take care of Ian."
"That's kind of you, Cal; I don't know how to thank you. I've been meaning to speak to you about Ian for some time now. I'm at the end of my rope with him, frankly, we don't communicate anymore. He refuses to listen to me, and our conversations always end up going nowhere. I hate to impose on you, knowing how busy you are, but no matter what he's done, he's my son, and he is all I have left."
"I'm sorry you didn't call me sooner, Marjory. Maybe all this could have been avoided. After I've had a chat with John Grayson, I'll get back to you and let you know what he had to say. Don't be surprised if it takes a couple of days to get back to you. You know how these high-priced lawyers are. They don't like being disturbed on the weekend."
Cal's next call was to Hal Brewster, the head of his legal department, for his input.
"Hey, Cal, you're supposed to be on vacation. What's up?"
Cal explained the reason for his call. Hal agreed that Grayson was the best man in Atlanta to handle this case.
"I need to talk to him today, Hal. Do you have his home number?"
"John won't conduct business at home unless he knows you," Hal said. "Let me get in touch with him, and then have you talk to him. How's that for service?"
"Thanks, Hal, let's do lunch next week. It looks like I'll be in Atlanta next week to see this thing through and to hold Marjory's hand."
"You're on, Cal."
Later that afternoon Cal received a telephone call from John Grayson. "Mr. Campbell, this is John Grayson, Hal Brewster told me that you wanted to retain me to defend Ian Stewart. After a brief chat with Hal, I called the District Attorney and have arranged to meet with him on Monday. I should know how he plans to charge the boy after our meeting. Hal told me that this young man is Ian Stewart's son. Ian and I were classmates at Harvard. I understand that you are also an alumnus of Harvard."
"That's correct, Mr. Grayson. Ian Stewart was one of my Law professors and mentors while I was in Law School. He was a brilliant teacher and helped me get through some difficult times. That's the reason I feel obligated to help his son. Will you take this case, Mr. Grayson?"
"Absolutely, I would be glad to represent the boy. I was shocked when I learned that Ian had died. What a shame; he was a good man. Cancer is tough to beat."
"It was a shock to everyone, including his wife," Cal said. "Since we were such good friends for many years, I've volunteered to handle everything for her, including your fee and any additional costs you may incur. You can send your invoices to my Atlanta office. My offices are in the Gaslight Towers at Peachtree Center."
"You're kidding," Grayson said, "My offices are in the Tower across from you. Wait a minute! You wouldn't happen to be Calvin R. Campbell, Chairman of Campbell Industries, are you?"
"I am, and please call me Cal."
"Well, for God's sake, it's a small world. You know, up to this minute, I didn't make the connection."
"I plan to be in my Atlanta offices all of next week. If you're free, perhaps we could get together sometime on Monday. I usually spend most of my time here at my Campbell Trace Farm. When this is all over, I'd like to invite you and your family out for a visit one weekend. I'm sure you'll enjoy it."
"I'd like that," John said.
"Hi, Cal, this is John. Well, I've had a long talk with the Assistant DA, and we've got trouble in River City. When is the last time you saw Ian, Jr.?"
"Three years ago."
"Well, junior is some piece of work. He is characterized as a trouble maker by the police, and one rather large pain in the butt. He is a member of ACT UP and has been seriously brainwashed by the group. He looks like a punk rocker with one of those Mohawk type haircuts. You must have seen that style before. They cut off all the hair and leave a three- inch strip down the center of their skull. In Ian's case it's tinted purple along with the usual rings in his ear, nose and tongue. I'm told he's racked up quite an impressive record of disorderly conduct charges in the past two years. Nothing serious, but it sure doesn't help his case at all. He doesn't have an impressive record at Georgia State, either. The DA wants him off the streets for a while and intends to make an example of him. He had several arrests for indecent exposure and he is, according to the DA, one big pain in the butt."
"What did he have to say for himself?" Cal asked.
"Not much, he is not a happy camper right now since the drugs have worn off. He wants to know how soon I can get him out on bail. That's all that's on his mind right now."
"What's your next step?"
"I want to see what the blood work-up reveals and what the shrink has to say after he examines Ian. One thing's for sure, we don't want him out on bail until we know what we're up against."
"Why don't you get back to me after you've had time to gather all the information you need? I'm sure you'll need time to sort everything out."
"The next time I call, I'll have all the answers for you, Cal."
Cal called Marjory Stewart and related the conversation he had with the lawyer. "What happened to Ian, Marjory? This just doesn't sound like the Ian I knew. When did he start acting like a delinquent?"
Marjory sighed, than took a deep breath and began to recount the events that led up to Ian's arrest. "I began noticing a dramatic personality change in Ian after his father died. But much earlier, when he was a junior in high school, we told him we were separating. That's when his father moved in with you. Ian and his father were very close, as you know, and we both attributed his behavior to our separation. His father and I tried to draw him out, but he wouldn't confide in us. He claimed he was okay with the separation, and that everything would be fine after he adjusted to the new living arrangements. Well, they weren't fine. Ian became more despondent and withdrawn. His grades began to drop and he dropped most of his friends, including two of his closest friends."
"After he was suspended from school for fighting for the fourth time, we decided to seek professional help for him. That last time, he was beaten up by a bunch of his classmates on his way home from school one evening after practice. The beating was so severe that he ended up in the hospital. His face was a mess. The doctor told me that his attackers had ripped his clothes off and had written over his chest and back, the words, queer and fag, with magic markers. After that incident, he admitted that he was gay. It seems that one of his classmates caught Ian and his boyfriend, Chuck Williams, making out in the woods near the high school one afternoon, and told one of the football jocks, Chip Bentley. Chip spied on them and set a trap for Ian and Chuck. One Friday afternoon, they sprung their trap and caught them in the act."
"Naturally, the attackers were wearing ski masks, so we couldn't prove anything, but, both Ian and Chuck recognized Chip Bentley's voice. That wasn't enough to go on, according to the DA. The Police Department did follow up and questioned Chip, but the boy was not charged. He had several waitresses that swore that he was with them at the time of the attack. The high school athletic department was uncooperative and downright hostile toward the police in order to protect Chip and his pals on the football team. The Athletic Department administrator threw both Ian and Chuck off the soccer and swimming teams. They were also excused from any PE classes because he felt that he could not control the feelings of the other boys in the school. There was no way he could guarantee their safety."
"That's when both families met to discuss the incident and to make sure the boys were going to be safe attending that high school any longer. After talking it over with the boys, it was decided that we would place them under the care of a psychologist. The boys willingly agreed to this, as they weren't prepared to discuss this openly with us. We all agreed, since our main concern was the safety and happiness of our sons. We also wanted to be sure that the boys were really homosexuals and that they were not just experiencing the normal sexual experimentation most teenagers their age engage in."
"Their life wasn't pleasant after their return to school. The word was out that they were a couple of fags. Not only were they ostracized by their classmates, but were taunted unmercifully by members of the football team. The Williams family did not take this lightly. They are a very prominent family in our community. When Chuck told his dad the harassment he and Ian were experiencing, his father had his lawyers fire off letters to the Board of Education, the School Board and the Principal of the High School informing them of the action he was prepared to take if the school didn't put an immediate stop to the harassment his son and Ian were experiencing. Chuck Williams insisted that all team sports be canceled unless the high school could guarantee the safety of every student that played sports. Instead they could use the funds to instruct the students on an anti-hate awareness program."
"The school administration came to attention and immediately took action to address the issue of student harassment. The Board of Education and the School Board came down hard on the Athletic Department, and sent in a counselor to advise the department how to cope with the problem. The administrator of the department let it be known to his department coaches that he would go through the motions to placate the powers that be, but, no way was he going to allow two queers to play on his teams and upset the morale of the rest of his players. These two queers could contaminate the teams and establish a precedent that would encourage other gay players to infiltrate future teams. He felt that the school would suffer and become the laughing stock of the county."
"Naturally, his coaches agreed with him and his views filtered down to the players. The Athletic director let it be known, off the record of course, that maybe their problem would end if the two queers weren't around to cause trouble. With this tongue-in-cheek backing by the top man, the jocks felt they were being supported from above and continued their harassment. Although the rest of the student body became more tolerant towards the boys, the members of the athletic teams keep up the pressure. Chuck and Ian thought they turned the corner, and things started to improve. Little by little their friends began to come back; they felt better about themselves."
"It wasn't long after that, that Ian was waylaid in the lavatory and brutally beaten once again. After he was found, he was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. He was in the ICU for three days. It was two weeks before he was released from the hospital. The beating was so brutal that the doctors thought he would never regain the use of his left hand. He had two broken ribs, a ruptured kidney, and his knee cap was smashed with a baseball bat. He also sustained a broken jaw and a brain concussion from the fractured skull he received at the hands of his attackers. The Williams family went ballistic; they felt that Chuck would be next. Not only did they hire a staff of lawyers to handle the case but they also hired the top detective agency in the area to handle the investigation."
"Fortunately, Ian recovered and was able to recall the attack that day. He named the jocks that had forced him into the lavatory and the one that swung the bat, before he blacked out."
"The town was shocked when the Williams family lawyers filed lawsuits in civil court several weeks later. The family suits added up to one hundred million dollars. They sued the Board of Education, the High School, and the school's Athletic Department. Individual suits were filed against the High School principal, the athletic director and the football coaches. Separate suits were filed against the individual players of the team responsible for the beating, and all the department heads, coaches in the Athletic department, as well as all the rest of the players as co-conspirators. The DA also filed criminal assault charges against Ian's attackers themselves."
"Chuck never left Ian's side the entire time he was in the hospital. They told us that they had been in love since grammar school, and were a couple since they started high school. We were resigned to their orientation and agreed to accept them as a couple. The Williams enrolled them into the Bentley School, which is an exclusive prep-school. This was a unique school that accepted gay students without reservations. The boys had their own suite and the help they needed to make up for the time they lost in their old high school. The Williams' paid for everything. We couldn't possible afford to send our Ian to Bentley. The tuition was $20 thousand per student a year."
"After the boys made the change to Bentley their lives improved. They both became involved in sports once again and were back on the honor roll. The fathers encouraged both boys to join the local Gay and Lesbian support group. Ian, Junior insisted that all the parents enroll in the parents' support group, which we all never regretted. I began to understand the emotional problems young gay men and women faced. It was a devastating blow that struck them when they was rejected by their friends. It's not easy to swim against the tide, and that's exactly what the boys did when they were outed in high school."
"Ian and Chuck attended the group meetings, and were able to talk about their problems with the group. They learned the realities of what being gay meant. Chuck was a wonderful, outgoing, handsome young man. Their time at Bentley drew them even closer together as couple. They were deeply in love and felt comfortable with their marriage and their orientation. The trials they experienced in high school bonded them for life. Chuck's family accepted the boys as a couple and treated Ian as a son."
"The love between the boys became stronger as time passed. They were delighted when they were both accepted to Harvard. Chuck's parents' graduation gift was a two bedroom condo in a new high-rise building close to the University. The Williams insisted that Ian and Chuck spend their summers with them on Martha's Vineyard every year. Of course, I was thrilled for my son. Ian was finally happy, he had found his soul mate, a person he deeply loved and who loved him in return. They both worked hard in their freshman year at Harvard and their grades showed it. They were both on the Dean's list. As a reward, Chuck's parents sent them off on a two month vacation to Europe. The boys considered that trip as their honeymoon present."
"Of course, I was not prepared for the devastating news about my husband. I don't think anyone is prepared when you hear the word Cancer. No matter how the doctor softens the blow, it is still frightening to hear that you have cancer. But with medical breakthroughs, it does not always mean a death sentence; it's like good and bad cholesterol. In my husband's case, the doctors assured me that the survival rate with his type of Leukemia was good. With the proper medication and treatment, Ian could live a long and productive life."
"We both decided to keep this news from our son. Ian also told me that under the circumstances he did not want a divorce. He felt we should continue as we were, unless I found a new partner. In that case he would give me a divorce. Although my husband never admitted to an affair, I felt he had found someone to share his life with. Since he never insisted on a divorce, I assumed that his lover wasn't free to marry either. Ian was an attractive man. Even when I met him in college, he looked at least ten years younger than his age. It was easy to see why his students threw themselves at him. It's common knowledge that some professors have affairs with their students. As it turned out, Ian wasn't any different. When he first began teaching he used to share the gossip about the budding romances that his colleagues were involved in. He used to tell me stories about the crushes his own students had on him, and showed me the letters he received. Some of the young women were downright aggressive. We felt sorry for some of these young people, they were so lonely."
Cal said, "What made you suspect that Ian was having an affair?"
"Oddly enough, it wasn't any one thing that caused me to be suspicious. It was actually a very subtle change in his everyday routine over a period of time. You don't live with a person for over twenty years and not become aware of a change in attitude and character, no matter how subtle and gradual that change may be. At first I attributed it to a change-of-life crisis. Suddenly, he became more fashion conscience in his wardrobe. He began spending more time away from home, and attending more out of town conferences. He showed more affection to Ian and me. However, that phase didn't last. We gradually drew apart. Gone, were our convivial hours together over dinner, or in the evenings in the den discussing the events of the day. I knew that our marriage was over, and that Ian had found someone else to share his life with."
"That's when I decided to resume my career in nursing. It wasn't long after that we agreed to separate. By that time, I was making a good salary and I didn't need his financial support any longer. Quite frankly, Cal, I became disenchanted with academia, whereas Ian thrived in that environment. We finally told Ian, Jr. of our decision when he returned from vacation. He accepted it with good grace, but was a little disappointed. He loved us both, but he felt we were losing that family bond that he was used to."
"As you may recall, Ian's illness took a turn for the worse, and he was confined to the hospital for several weeks. Our son was shocked when he learned that his father had cancer. He was very disappointed that we hadn't told him at the time. He and his dad were very close and felt that he could have been more supportive while he was going through that ordeal. My husband's condition had stabilized with the new medication that they gave him, allowing him to return to work once again. After Ian was rushed to the hospital the second time, both Chuck and Ian, Jr. rushed home to be at his side. Again, the doctors stabilized the disease and his condition improved once more. Chuck and Ian were scheduled to spend their spring break in St. Thomas with the Williams family. But, Ian canceled the trip because he did not want to leave his father. He insisted that Chuck go on vacation with his family. It was the first time they had been separated since they had become a couple. They were so cute, Chuck called him every day."
"After three days, Chuck couldn't bear being separated from Ian. He cut his vacation short and flew back home to be with Ian. On the way home from the airport the cab he was riding in was hit by a truck, killing Chuck instantly. Ian was devastated when he heard the news. He became completely withdrawn and was confined to a private sanatorium for six months. The Williams were absolutely wonderful throughout the whole thing. Not only did they pay for all of Ian's hospital bills, but they made sure that he was well taken care of financially. They set up a trust fund for Ian to take care of the rest of his time at Harvard, and one that would take care of him for the rest of his life. Ian never set foot in the condo again. Instead, he moved into the dormitory on campus after his release from the hospital."
"Brad Williams, Chuck's older brother, and I had the sad duty of emptying their apartment and selling the condo for Ian. It was left exactly the way it was the night Chuck died. Brad and I were not prepared for the scene when we walked into the condo. Not a thing was out of place. The mail was neatly stacked on the table in the entrance foyer, and the ice bucket with an unopened bottle of champagne and two glasses were still sitting on the coffee table in the living room. The dining table was still set in celebration of Chuck's return. The dead roses were still in the vases. Brad found a small gift-wrapped package addressed to Chuck, from Ian. Brad, and I both cried after seeing that. After we had a good cry, we cleaned out the condo and packed all their personal effects in boxes."
"Brad told me later that he had lost two brothers, now that Ian had cut himself off from any contact with the Williams family. Ian was so heart broken that he couldn't face the family without breaking down. I didn't know that Ian had told the Williams he was too heart broken to remain in Cambridge."
"After Ian was released from the Sanatorium, he enrolled at the University of Georgia. He had to get away from the Northeast. Too many things reminded him of his life with Chuck. Shortly after that Ian was dealt a second blow, his father entered the hospital again for the last time. He had lost the two men in his life that he loved. I encouraged him to go back into therapy, but he never did. I'm convinced that is one of the reasons he became involved with that radical hate group. I think he was angry at the world at that point in his life."
"That explains a lot," Cal said. "Marjory, why didn't you come to me? You should have known I would have been more than happy to help you and Ian."
"I wanted to, but Ian would have resented my meddling in his affairs."
"Look, Marjory, I want to help Ian, and I would like you to give me a free hand in dealing with him. I'll see to it that he has the best possible treatment. My thinking at this point, is to have him move in with me on the farm until he is back on his feet again."
"That would be wonderful, Cal. My poor baby is really a good person, and I love him so much. He has gone through one tragedy after another since high school. Every time he is about to recover, another door is slammed in his face. You have my blessing to do whatever you can to help my baby."
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"Sorry it took so long to get back to you, Cal, but it couldn't be helped," John said. "Ian's case is not top priority on the DA's list. Marjory Stewart called earlier today about her decision to let you take care of Ian from now on. To tell you the truth, I think she has made a wise decision. I'd rather have it this way. It makes my job a lot easier. Let me tell you where we stand so far. The DA is under pressure to make an example of Ian. The DeKalb County Police Department wants Ian out of their hair. He and his little group of delinquents have caused the department a lot of grief over the past two years. They want him nailed to the cross. The DA feels, if he throws the book at Ian, the other members of his group will fall into line. So, my friend, the bottom line is the kid could face a minimum of five years. Most likely the judge will give him two years in prison. Personally, I feel that the kid is getting a raw deal. If Ian cooperates with the DA, we may be able to plea bargain. It's going to take a lot of clout and an ironclad guarantee agreement to convince the DA and the judge to go easy on Ian. In any event, he will probably have to spend six months in a Federal detox facility."
"The shrink that examined Ian said that he will require counseling for some time. One thing that surprised the hell out of me is that Ian is a homosexual. I would have never guessed that in a million years. The shrink said Ian is a bomb with a short fuse. That's one of the reasons he gets into so much trouble. His blood test came back normal except for some traces of drugs."
"For what it's worth, Cal, the young man is not that bad a guy. In fact, I like him, he is really a decent person, once he drops that negative attitude of his. Ian is like so many young men his age. He's confused and feels he's out there all alone. I would hate to see him locked up in a hard-core federal prison. Do you have any idea what those bastards would do to a nice young man like Ian?"
"I can imagine," Cal replied, "but that's not going to happen to Ian. I'm flying into Atlanta a little later today, I'll be staying at my apartment at the Summit. I would like to meet you in your office tomorrow around 9 AM. I've a plan that should settle this whole issue. As I told you, I owe a big debt to Ian's father and I'm not going to let them railroad his son. I have a lot of friends in high places that can put pressure on the DA and the police. This whole thing will be handled out of court, and I'm counting on you're expertise to unlock the doors. I would like you to make arrangements for me to visit Ian tomorrow. He must agree to my plan, or we are just wasting our time. Like they said in the God Father, 'I'll make him an offer he won't refuse.' I fully expect to take Ian home with me by the end of this week. I can assure you that Ian is not going to get away with what he did. By the time I'm finished with him, he is going to be a model citizen and a credit to society. I already have a team in place that will monitor Ian 24 hours a day for the next five years."
"This should be an interesting case, Cal. I'm going to enjoy being in the driver's seat dealing with the DA and his minions. Would you mind letting me see the list of the movers and shakers you plan to contact?"
Cal chuckled, "Not at all. I can see I've piqued your interest."
"You've got that right, my friend."
"OK, I'll see you tomorrow morning."
Kim walked into the library where Cal was working. "Sorry to bother you, boss, but John Grayson is on the line. He said it's urgent."
"Thank-you, Kim." Cal picked up the phone. "What's up, John? You're kidding. Can I see him now? Kim and I will meet you at the reception area in a half hour."
Ian hung up the phone and turned to Kim, "Ian tried to commit suicide earlier this evening. According to the guard, he almost succeeded. I'm going to change into something more practical. It looks like we're in for a long night."
Cal's Mercedes limo pulled up to the DeKalb County Detention Center off Memorial Drive. Kim followed Cal into the reception room. They walked up to the reception window and Cal asked for John Grayson.
The guard asked, "Are you Mr. Campbell?"
"Please have a seat, sir; Mr. Grayson will be with you in a few minutes."
"Thank you," Cal said. He and Kim found a seat and waited. Cal opened his laptop computer and continued to read the report he had been working on. Twenty minutes later John walked over to Cal. "Sorry to keep you waiting, but they had to find the DA to get permission for you to see Ian."
"How is he doing?" Cal asked.
"If it wasn't for his cell mate in the bottom bunk, Ian would not be with us," John said. "Ian slit his wrists then wrapped his shirt around them to absorb the blood. Only there was too much blood and it dripped down on his bunkmate. They were able to stop the bleeding and patch him up. He is conscious and stabilized now. If you're ready, we can see him."
"Thanks, John, let's go," Cal said. He handed Kim his laptop, "I won't be long."
The ward they were holding Ian in was a large room with ten beds lined up along either side. It reminded Cal of a military ward he visited years ago. The guard led them over to Ian's bed. Ian was the only patient on left-hand side of the room. There were six men in the beds on other side of the room. Ian was restrained with a special sheet. His arms were spread out with large bandages around each wrist. There were intravenous needles stuck into each arm. Cal could see that they also had him catheterized. He was sleeping as they approached the bed. "Ian," the guard said, "you've got visitors."
Ian opened his eyes. "Hello, Cal, it's been a long time, how good of you to come. They shouldn't have bothered you. I'm sorry you have to see me like this." The tears began to run down his cheeks. "It seems I am incapable of doing anything right."
Cal took out his handkerchief and wiped the tears from Ian's cheeks, "Thank God for that. You're alive, that's all I care about right now. We'll have plenty of time to talk about this after you're out of here. Look, Ian, I hate to play hard ball with you under the circumstances, but we don't have a lot of time to talk right now. So I'm going to get right to the point, okay?"
"Sure, go ahead, Cal."
"The DA wants to nail your butt to the wall. They want you off the street and locked away in prison. John said the DA is trying for a two- year prison term with probation for another three years. That the worst case scenario. Now I want you consider my version. I can fix it so you walk out of this place and eventually have all charges dismissed. In return, you become my protégé for the next five years. During that period, I will manage your life and make sure you finish your education. After that, you are free to pursue any career you wish. If you stay with me beyond that, and you like my business, I will groom you to be an executive in my corporation. If you agree to my contract, you walk out of this place as soon as you are able to travel."
"Why are you doing this for me?"
"Because of a debt I owed your father. He helped me out when I was going through a rough time. Beside which, your father was a good friend and my mentor. And lastly, and most importantly, because I like you, and have always thought of you as an intelligent young man."
"I've changed a lot since you knew me as a teenager, Cal. Are you sure you want to get involved with a loser like me?"
"You're not a loser so stop feeling sorry for yourself. You've gotten sidetracked and ran into some bad luck. Look at it this way, that's all behind you now. You've hit bottom and the only place for you now is up."
"Where am I going to live, if I agree to your offer?"
"You'll be living with me at my farm here in Georgia until you're able to travel. After that, you'll travel with me. We must get that brain of yours moving in the right path once again."
"You let John know your decision before Wednesday. I don't think the DA will let me see you again before your arraignment on Friday. John had to pull a few strings to get me in here tonight."
"You can have my answer right now, Cal, I accept your offer."
"I'm glad you see it my way, Ian. You'll never regret your decision, I promise you that." Cal smiled; "Try to get a good night's sleep and don't go wandering off anywhere."
Ian smiled; "God will get you for that."
"Goodnight, Tiger." Cal leaned down and kissed Ian on the forehead; he smiled and gently patted Ian on the cheek. "See you in a few days."
"Thanks, Cal, I appreciate what you're trying to do for me. I just hope you can get me out of here."
"One thing you'll learn about me, Ian, I usually get what I want. Come on, John, let's get out of here so Ian can get some rest." The guard was waiting by the door to let them out. Cal reached into his pocket and palmed a folded bill. He slipped a bill into the guard's hand as they shook hands. "Keep an eye on my boy," Cal said.
The guard smiled as he looked at the 100-dollar bill in his palm. "Yes, sir, I'll make sure we take good care of him."
They returned to the reception area. "Can I drop you off anywhere, John?"
"No, thanks, I drove in my own car. We have a lot of ground to cover; why don't we meet at my office tomorrow at 9AM?
"Great, I'll see you tomorrow morning."
Cal was seated in John's spacious office. "Thanks for being here so early, John," Cal said. "I know you lawyers like to sleep in the morning." Cal opened his brief case, took out a file folder and handed it to John. "Why don't you take a few minutes to read through my plan before we go any further." John opened the folder and saw the $20,000.00 check made out to him. "That's for your retainer," Cal said. "Where is your men's room?"
"That door to your right," John said. "Thanks for the check."
Cal returned to the office as John finishing reading the document. "My God, you've thought of everything," John said.
"I had help. I figured the only way the DA was going to buy this plan was if it made sense, and he was convinced in his own mind that this proposal would not come back to haunt him. The most important point here is to see that Ian is put back on the right track. You were right when you said that Ian is basically a decent person. When I knew him, he was a bright, intelligent young teenager that showed great promise. It's hard to believe that he's hit bottom. I'm serious about helping him find his way back on the right path. I intend to stick to my end of the deal."
"I believe you, Cal, and I feel the DA may just go along with us on this. Jesus, I would, after looking at the impressive list of people you put down as references."
Cal laughed, "I thought you would be impressed. I spoke to the National Chairmen of both the Republican and Democratic Parties last night. They assured me that they would make a few calls this morning to smooth the way for Ian. I thought a friendly call to the right people would help."
John laughed, "Yes, sir, as I said before, I'm going to have some fun with this one. Now, let's head over to the DA's office."
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
"Good news, Cal. The judge gave Ian a suspended sentence and is placing him in your custody. If you can keep him out of trouble for two years, his file would be purged," John said. "All the necessary paperwork is being processed. You can pick up Ian tomorrow morning after 9AM. The doctor at the Detention center said that Ian was strong enough to travel, but he is still weak. I think you'll need some help getting him to the farm."
"Not to worry, John. Dr. Duff is flying in with two paramedics to transfer Ian from the jail to my private jet. We'll be home thirty minutes thereafter."
The orderly wheeled Ian down to the reception area at 8:45, Thursday morning. Ian's head was still in a daze. Cal wasted no time in getting him out of there. Ian still couldn't believe it. Cal had said Ian would out of there by Friday, and here he was waiting to be picked up. Strangely, he felt very safe with him. He never really knew Cal that well; that's why it was hard to believe that Cal would stick his neck out for him. As many times as he visited his dad at Cal's Cambridge home, Cal was never around, he was always away on some trip.
Ian looked up as Cal walked in the front door with two strapping men on each side of him. Cal waved when he saw Ian in the wheel chair waiting for him, and smiled as he walked over.
"Are you ready for a ride, Ian?" He patted him on the back. "Ian, I'd like to introduce my security team, Kim Chang and Ali Soto." The security guys wheeled him out to the entrance ramp where a Mercedes stretch-limo sat waiting. The chauffeur opened the rear door as they approached. Cal got in first, while Kim and Ali helped Ian out of the wheelchair and into the back seat next to Cal. Kim adjusted the seat belt and sat on his right side. Ali sat in the front with the chauffeur. They pulled away from the jail, headed toward the expressway.
Thirty minutes later, the limo pulled up next to a twin engine Lear Jet. The chauffeur opened Cal's door and carried his brief case and overnight bags to the jet, handing them to Riley Brown, the pilot. Ali and Kim helped Ian out of the limo and into the aircraft. Cal walked forward to the cockpit and sat in the left hand seat and began going through his preflight check list. Riley entered the cockpit and strapped himself into the right seat. "Everything is secure, Cal, and I've already filed a flight plan." He began his portion of the preflight and set the radios. Cal started the engines, completed his checklist and notified the control tower. Ten minutes later they were airborne.
Cal landed at the Campbell Farms private airstrip 30 minutes later. He taxied to the apron in front of the hanger and cut the engines. Cal secured the aircraft and followed Riley back to the passenger cabin. Kim and Ali had left the aircraft to pick up the van and unload the baggage. Cal sat across from Ian. "You look tired. How are you feeling?"
"I'm exhausted. I feel as if I could sleep for a week," Ian said. "Doctor Duff said it would be a while before I regain my strength. Not only did I loose a lot of blood, but I'm in a rundown condition on top of that. He has already given me a dose of B-12 mixed with liver and iron. He also said he is putting me on a high protein diet."
"Good, we'll have you back on your feet in no time," Cal said. You follow my orders, and everything will be fine. Now, once we get you settled into your own room, you can sleep until lunchtime. You just relax and Kim and Ali will see to everything. Oh, by the way, Allen Gains is waiting for you up at the house. He will be your nurse until you are able to take care of yourself."
Cal reached into his pocket and pulled out a compact miniature phone. "From now on, keep this telephone with you at all times. If you ever need me open this phone and push the button marked 'C'. I'll either answer or the computer will find me and patch me through. If you push the button marked 'K', Kim or one of the security men will answer." Cal reached over and put the device into Ian's shirt pocket. He smiled at Ian; "Think you can handle that, Tiger?"
Ian smiled and nodded his head; "I think I can manage that."
Kim and Ali returned. "Were ready boss," Kim said.
"Go ahead and help Ian into the van."
They drove the van through a wooded section until they reached the drive that lead up to the main house which sat on the crest of a hill. It was a modern two story stone and glass structure. The building looked like two circular buildings merged together. The larger circle was twice the size of the other circle. The design allowed a 360-degree, unobstructed view of the surrounding landscape. The circular drive led up to the large main entrance. The grounds were beautiful landscaped and well maintained. Off to the rear and to the left of the house, in the distance one could see the tennis courts and swimming pool. "What's in that large modern circular building next to the tennis courts?" Ian asked.
"That is my latest addition to the estate," Cal said. "It is quite a unique building, I might add. It started out to be my indoor swimming pool and tennis court, but I thought it would be such a waste to use the building for our short winter season. So, I sat down with architects and make it more functional. They really came up with a great design concept. The building can be converted into a ballroom, or meeting hall, in a matter of minutes. The glassed domed ceiling panels can be opened to let in the sunlight and fresh air. The pool and the court are designed so that they can be completely covered with sliding floor panels that are recessed in the decking that surrounds them. I can change the two floor surfaces from marble, to carpeting. I've used the building for more meetings and sit down dinner parties than I have for tennis." Cal smiled, "I'm sure you will be using it every day once your Internist and the physical fitness trainer work out your program."
"My God," Ian exclaimed, "how absolutely beautiful. What a wonderful touch, combining the old and the modern. I assume the mansion off to the right is the original manor house?"
"That's right; my great, great, great-grandfather built that in 1850. We are sitting in the center of the property. When you're up to it, I'll take you up in the helicopter and show you the entire estate. It really is a working farm. We raise poultry, produce, cattle and quarter horses. We grow our own grain and hay to feed the livestock."
The van pulled around to the rear entrance to the mansion and drove into the underground garage. Kim and Ali helped Ian out of the van. Allen, his nurse, was standing by with the wheelchair for Ian. Cal made the introductions as they walked to the elevator. Only Allen accompanied Cal and Ian to the second floor. The elevator opened onto the middle of a circular corridor. In the center of the circle was the atrium that ran from the ground floor to the glass enclosed domed roof. The corridor was completely enclosed with an intricately designed ornamental brass and glass railing. It was bright and spacious. They stopped at the second set of doors.
"This is your suite, Ian, mine is just next door," Cal said. The sitting room was decorated in Danish Modern. The colors were warm earth tones and there was a large stone fireplace on the inner wall. The floors were burnished teakwood. The concaved glass panels on the outside walls ran from floor to ceiling and were covered with okra-tinted sheer curtains. The draperies were of Navajo Indian design.
The bedroom was decorated in similar tones and wall coverings. Beyond the bedroom, were the dressing room and the bathroom, with its Jacuzzi tub, walk-in shower and sauna.
"If you're not happy with this room, you can select one of the others," Cal said. "I thought this suite would be more to your taste than the more formal suites on this floor. Of course the other advantage is that we have connecting suites. This way you won't feel so isolated and it will make it more convenient when we start working together in the future."
"This suite is fantastic," Ian said. "I can see why my Dad moved in with you."
Cal smiled; "Unfortunately, your dad never saw this house. It was built after he died. He rarely visited this farm and when he did, he would stay in the Manor house. Your father really didn't care for the country. He preferred living in my home in Cambridge. This house was completed last summer."
"You look exhausted, Ian, and here I am chattering away. You've had enough excitement for one morning. Allen, I think you should put your patient to bed for a nap. Doctor Duff wants him to have plenty of rest. I'll check back on you later today."
"Thanks, Cal, I am a little tired. I'd better get as much rest as I can before you get me started on this ambitious health program you're planning for me, in addition to everything else."
Cal turned Ian around so they were face to face. He placed his hands on Ian's shoulders and stared into his eyes. "You've got that right, my man," Cal said. "By this time next year you'll be healthier and stronger that ever. By the time your five years are up, you'll be a new person and will be ready to take on the world. I know it's going to be rough on you in the beginning. You're going to curse me for pushing you. But, at the end of the day you'll fall into bed tired, yet satisfied with your accomplishments, and sleep the night through. You'll awake the next morning refreshed and ready to face a new day. In time, you will find that inner peace, and begin to realize what an intelligent and decent person you are. I want this for you, Ian. You've had a string of bad luck, but that's over now. I've never failed with anything I've taken on, and you are now my pet project. I don't intend to fail. You mean too much to me, and I won't allow you to throw your life away."
Ian couldn't take his eyes from Cal's. He felt as if Cal's eyes were staring into his soul. At first he was skeptical, then as the expression in those eyes changed to one of compassion, he could feel strength flowing into his body, and it felt good. He knew that Cal was genuine in his desire to see him succeed. From that moment, Ian knew he found someone that believed in him and would not allow him to wallow in self pity. Ian was not going to disappoint him. Cal placed his arm around Ian's waist and led him over to the bed. "I'll have Allen get you ready for your nap. See you later, Tiger."
Later, when Cal stopped by to visit with Ian, he was seated in one of the lounge chairs in his sitting room. "Well, you look rested after your nap," Cal said. "Feeling any better?"
"Much better, thank you. I'm sorry I've taken up so much of your time, Cal. Kim said I've thrown a wrench into your schedule."
"Screw the schedule; you're more important than any schedule." Cal smiled, "Don't worry, I expect you to pay me back. The way I figure it, any time I spend with you is a good investment that will pay off in the future. Don't you agree?"
"Absolutely," Ian replied.
"I'm leaving for New York later this afternoon. I may be gone for a while. I'm in the final stages for the purchase of a large pharmaceutical company. If the deal goes through, I'll have to dump one of my other companies to come up with the dollars. That will mean I have to be commuting between New York and Boston to hold hands with the big boys. I'm sorry I have to leave you on such short notice. I really wanted to stick around with you longer, but my feeling is that you will have your hands full just getting back on your feet. We will have plenty of time to get to know each other. Do me a favor, Ian; let my hair stylist take care of your hair from now on?"
Ian chuckled, "If that's what you want; anything else?"
"Don't leave the farm ,and follow the program my experts have laid out for you. Work on regaining your health," Cal said. "Would you like to see your mother?"
"Not now, I'll call her tomorrow to let her know I'm okay. I would rather deal with her visit when I'm feeling better."
"I understand; I'll stop in to see her while I'm in Boston. Show me your phone."
Ian smiled, and pulled the telephone from his pocket. "I only need to be told something once."
"Good man, you looked a little groggy on the plane earlier, I'm just checking. Once again, if you don't like something, or you want to talk, push 'C', okay?"
"I'll be a good little bunny, I promise."
"That's my Tiger," Cal said. "I'll call you in a few days. Oh, incidentally, that phone will reach me anywhere in the world. If you want to talk to me any time of the day or night don't hesitate to call. Remember that you're mine now, and I intend to take good care of you." Cal smiled and patted Ian on the cheek.
Cal's business dealings keep him away from the farm for over two months. The buyout became much more involved than anyone anticipated. The principals were secretly negotiating with a French company, which made him very angry. Here they were, bending over backward to come up with a fair package, and those guys were leading them down the garden path. No way were they going to win at that game. So Cal put together a joint venture deal with a Japanese conglomerate and purchased the parent company, then fired all the conniving executives that were playing games with them. In the end they had a better deal and they cleaned house at same time. Like his daddy once told him, 'Don't get mad, get even.' Those men weren't worthy to be in a position of trust.
Of course, Cal spoke to Ian every day to keep up his spirits, and received a weekly report from his team leaders. From all reports, Ian was doing well, both mentally and physically. Cal could detect a more positive attitude in Ian's voice in their daily conversations, plus the fact that Ian was becoming more open with him every day.
Cal flew into the farm late Friday night and didn't see Ian until the next morning. Cal was not prepared for the dramatic change in him. He couldn't take my eyes off him; as he now looked the picture of health. His father had been a handsome man, but Ian was an absolute knockout. His features were much finer, with his dark brown curly hair and large brown eyes; he was gorgeous. He had a classic profile with a straight nose and full lips. He was tall and well proportioned. His skin was without a blemish and he had a golden tan on his face and arms. "My God, Ian, you look absolutely fantastic."
Ian smiled, "Thanks, you've made my day. So, you like the new me?"
"Very much," Cal said. "We must do something about your clothes, they've got to go."
"That's a long story, and mainly my fault. The clothes my roommate sent me from my dorm in Athens were a mishmash of clothes the other guys packed for me. I'm sure that they went through my stuff and sent me their discards. I think we'd better donate this stuff to Goodwill and buy a new wardrobe. That is, when I'm able to leave the farm."
Cal chuckled; "Did you have anything planned for the rest of the day?"
"Nothing that can't be changed; I was hoping you might take me up in the helicopter and show me the farm."
"I'll do better than that. Have you had breakfast yet?" Cal asked.
"No, I was waiting for you."
"Let's eat, I'm starved." They walked into the dining room for breakfast. Cal pulled out his phone and pushed K. "Kim, Ian and I will be flying up to Atlanta after breakfast. Will you tell Riley to have the plane ready to leave in an hour? Also, call the housekeeper at the Peachtree Penthouse and tell her we'll be spending the night in Atlanta."
Ian had a big smile on his face, "I didn't know I could leave the farm."
"As long as you're with me, baby, you can go anywhere I go. By the way, is your passport current?"
"As far as I know, my passport is still valid. I'll have to go through my boxes from my condo. I'm not ready for that yet; those boxes are from my Cambridge condo. I've tried a couple of times to go through the stuff, and I still get choked up, and end up in tears. Some of Chuck's things are mixed in with my stuff and I just lose it."
"Never mind, I don't want to put you through that." Cal picked up the telephone and called Kim again. "Kim, have one of you men search the boxes in the store room for Ian's passport. Make sure to reseal the boxes again."
They finished lunch and went back to their suites to change. "Ian, don't bother taking a toilet kit," Cal said. "You'll find everything you'll need in your bedroom in Atlanta. The same is true at all of my homes. The only thing you'll need is your medications."
"You're kidding; how come?" Ian asked.
"Because you are my protégée, Kim notified every housekeeper the day you started living with me."
"Wow, it looks as if I made the big time," Ian said. "Incidentally, the only medication I'm on now is a multi-vitamin."
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
The limo met Cal's jet at Charley Brown Airport in Atlanta. "Take us to Phipps Shopping Plaza in Buckhead," Cal told his driver.
"We'll start at Saks Fifth Avenue," Cal said. "If you see anything, you like, let me know. This is your day, Ian. Shop till you drop." They walked into the men's department. Cal asked for the department manager.
"Good afternoon, gentlemen," the manager said. "How may help I you?"
"Good afternoon," Cal said. "I'm Cal Campbell, and this is my associate, Ian Stewart. He needs a complete new wardrobe, including winter and summer tuxedos, the works. When Ian has decided on a suit, I want you to select the accessories that will match. And please, no off the wall crap. We want the clothes that the stylish young executives are wearing today. I would like to look at the suits and sport jackets first."
"Yes, Mr. Campbell," the manager said. "Do you know your size, Mr. Stewart?
"I'm a 42-regular, at least that what I was," Ian said.
"If you will come with me, I'll show you what we available in your size." Ian selected six suits and three sport coats and four pairs of dress slacks.
"Why don't you get have the tailor start measuring you for this lot, Ian," Cal said. "I want to look at some of the leisure suits for myself. Call me if you need anything."
Kim followed Cal into the accessories section of the men's department. "What do you think of these lounging suits, Kim?"
"They're nice, boss, I like the burgundy and the dark brown myself, but the lighter colors would look better on Ian with his dark complexion and brown hair. These only come in small medium, large and extra-large."
A salesman came over to him. "Can I help you, sir?"
"You sure can. Here, Kim, try on this large size one for me," Cal said. Kim tried it on. "I think the medium will be fine for Ian." Cal turned to the salesman. "I want these six colors in medium and the burgundy and dark brown and blue in large. Wrap up the large and give them to my friend here," Cal said.
"Kim smiled and shook his head, "Thanks, boss."
"Anything else, sir?" the salesman asked.
"You just stay with me," Cal said. "We need to look at sweaters and underwear, socks, and casual sport shirts. I'd like a dozen of the CK briefs in assorted colors. A dozen of the Tommy white socks, and a dozen of cashmere sweaters in light pastel colors. Okay, now show me your best casual shirts. Very nice," Cal said. Cal selected a dozen of the shirts he liked and ordered in his size and in medium. "Can you think of anything else I've forgotten, Kim?
"How about pajamas, lounging robes, slippers and belts," Kim said.
"Right you are," Cal said. He turned to the salesman. "You know the drill by now, however in this case well stop at a half dozen of assorted pairs of each. If Ian doesn't care for anything we'll return it. Well, I think that should take care of Ian for this season." He handed the salesman his Saks Charge card, "You may as well start ringing up everything. Kim, will you stay with him until he finishes up this lot and sign the sales slips. Also make arrangements for them to be delivered to the penthouse."
Cal said to the salesman, "My associate, Kim Chang, will sign for me. Please make sure you give him the card when you're finished."
"It has been a pleasure serving you, Mr. Campbell; thank you."
"You're welcome," Cal said. "Kim, I'll be in the fitting room with Ian."
"It's really a pleasure to wait on a southern gentleman," the salesman said. "It's refreshing to serve a customer that doesn't treat me like a dumb clerk."
"You're right about Mr. Campbell; he is a super guy, and a gentleman, and a super boss as well."
"Do you mind me asking who Mr. Campbell is," the salesman asked. "I've seen his face somewhere before, but I can't place him."
"He owns Campbell Industries. If you have access to the Internet look up his web page: www.CampbellInd.com. His name and picture have been in the Business section for the past two months. He just purchased Hudson-McCormack Pharmaceuticals."
"Oh for God's sake, that's where I've seen his face before," the salesman said. "You know, this is the first time I've ever met a celebrity in person."
Kim smiled, "I'll give you a little tip," Kim said. "If you have any money saved, invest in Campbell Industry stock and stick with it, you'll never be sorry you made the investment."
The salesman finished ringing up the purchases and handed the card and receipts to Kim. He handed Kim a claim check. "Thank you, Mr. Chang, we will have your merchandise delivered this afternoon; here is my card and your package. It was a pleasure serving you; please allow me to serve you the next time you're in Saks."
He found Ian and Cal in the fitting room and handed Cal the credit card. "Were almost finished here," Cal said. "The tailor has already made the alterations on his blazer and two pairs of casual slacks; I'll have the driver pick them up in an hour. Look, we have a few more stores to hit yet, so he will have the time to pick them up. The alterations won't be ready for two weeks so it looks like we'll be back again in two weeks. Next time, I'll get some tickets for a show, and we'll hit some of the jazz clubs. Ian, do you like Italian food?"
"It's one of my favorites," Ian said.
"You know where were going to dinner tonight, Kim?"
Kim chuckled; "Let me guess, Czar's Table?"
"Right on, Kim." Cal pulled out his phone and made the reservation for 8PM.
"Well, he sure doesn't look, or act like the same person I took home two months ago, does he, Kim?"
"No, sir, he sure doesn't."
"When I saw him this morning, I thought I was looking at a ghost. It really shook me. I've seen pictures of his father when he was that age, only Ian is really a handsome young man."
Kim looked around before he spoke, "You're attracted to him, aren't you, boss?
Cal nodded his head, "I knew that the minute I laid eyes on him in that hospital ward two months ago."
"I hate to see you get hurt again, boss, you're finally getting over his father. No question about Ian, he grows on you. He is a charming and intelligent young man. According to his teachers, he has the potential to make something of himself, but his shrink reports he still is carrying a lot of baggage, and is not out of the woods yet. Personally, I like the guy and I think he's going to be fine. Look at him, who wouldn't love a hunk like that. I've never seen him this happy since he came to live with you. He is really enjoying himself."
"I have to keep my emotions in check around him," Cal said. "When his shrink thinks he's ready, I want him to attend Mercer University. He needs to be around people his own age. It was never my intention to keep him isolated from people."
"Ian doesn't know how lucky he is to have you in his corner, boss. If it wasn't for you, he would be washing floors in some Federal prison right now. I shudder to think what might have happened to a nice guy like him. Those misfits in jail would've destroyed his mind forever. Ian will do just fine. He's no dummy and I know he likes the farm. If he is unhappy, I know he would turn to you. It's obvious that he trusts you. I hope it will work out between you because you need each other."
Ian walked over to Cal and Kim, "Well, I'm finished. They are packing up the clothes that are ready now. They'll just need your credit card and signature."
Cal signed the sales slips and they walked out into the mall. "Let's see what Gucci and Abercrombie have to offer. Saks shoe selection is too conservative for you, Ian. I think we'll find a better selection in Gucci," Cal said. "Anyway, you'll need a good set of matched luggage. I can't have my future assistant traveling around with me with that old beat up luggage of yours."
"Cal, let's slow down," Ian said. "I don't know how much is in my bank account; at the moment, I'm on a fixed income. Anyway, where will I have the chance to wear all these clothes?"
"Believe me, you will wear these clothes, and more. Now, that the Hudson-McCormack merger is in the bag, I'll have the time to begin entertaining my clients once again. I'm so far behind, that it will take several months to catch up. Now that I have the time, I plan to resume entertaining my friends and customers once again. We can't neglect our social obligations, can we? We owe John Gardner and his family, in addition to all the people that cooperated in springing you from the slammer. We'll begin in three weeks. Is there anyone that you would care to invite, Ian?"
"I'd like to invite my mother and the Bentley family one weekend. They were my spouse's parents. I have not seen them since Chuck died. I think I'm ready for that."
"If you feel you're up to it, I will be happy to have them for a weekend, but I don't think it would be a good idea for them to be included to this party. I wouldn't want you embarrassed if anyone mentioned the incident in Atlanta. If anyone asks why you are living here, I want you to tell them the truth. The truth is that you had to get away from Boston because you were depressed. You could not shake the deep state of depression you felt because of the devastating loss of both your closest friend and your father. Let them know that I've been a close family friend for many years. If you wish, you can also tell them that you are my protégée, and you are being groomed for a management position at Campbell Industries."
"You're right, it could be dicey inviting them to the next party, and I'll leave that up to you. You pick the time."
"Tell you what, why don't we invite them down to my annual harvest party. That is really a great time and the weather is absolutely great. It's an old fashioned down-home country party with hay rides, barn dancing, rodeo and all kinds of contests. There is usually quite a turnout of the local farmers. I think the Bentley's will enjoy that. I know Brad Bentley well, we were in Harvard together."
Ian chuckled, "You're full of surprises. I'm sure they'll enjoy spending a weekend here. Please let me help in any small way I can with your party, if that's okay?"
"Your offer is accepted. I fully expect you to become involved with the planning and organization of these social events."
"That would be terrific. I'd really enjoy that and I'd feel that I was doing something worthwhile to earn my keep."
"Good, I'll make sure my social director includes you in every phase of the operation. Oh, and Ian, you are forbidden to spend a penny of your money as long you are living with me. I consider you as my ward and my friend. I'm a very rich man and it will give me a great deal of satisfaction it you allow me to take care of you until you are back on your feet again. I also plan to put you on the payroll starting next month."
Ian had a big smile on his face as they walked out of Gucci. "I had a fantastic rush in there, Cal. Thank you for everything. I cannot believe you spent over 20- thousand dollars on me in there. If we weren't' in public I'd give you a big hug."
"Don't let that stop you," Cal said.
With that, Ian pulled Cal into his arms and hugged him. "You're a great guy," Ian said. He kissed him on the cheek. "You know I could get used to this kind of living. You better pay me a good salary if you expect me to afford these expensive things."
Cal smiled, "Don't worry I intend to."
"Cal, would you mind telling me about the Hudson-McCormick purchase. I want to learn how these deals are put together from the very start. From what you've said, it sounds fascinating."
"My pleasure, is tomorrow soon enough?"
"That works for me."
"Would you like to see the Ricky Martin concert in two weeks?"
"I'd love to, Cal, but according to the newspapers, tickets to his show were sold out the week after the concert was announced."
"I thought we could come up Friday afternoon, do your Saks thing, have an early dinner and see his show that night. We can do a little sightseeing on Saturday, have an early dinner and take in the Mozart concert, then catch the show at Comedy Club afterward. Sunday we can do brunch at Minuci's and fly down to Savannah for dinner at the Quarter Deck, then back home Sunday night. Ali and Kim will be along with us on this trip, because I'm sure my picture will be plastered in all the newspapers next week."
"It sounds wonderful; do you really think you can get four tickets this late in the game?
"Trust me, Tiger, we'll have the best seats in the house. Let's have lunch at the Pheasant and go back to the penthouse so you can have a nap before dinner."
"You know, I really don't know much about you, Cal. My Dad told me that you were wealthy and you kept him around as a confidant and advisor. In return you allowed him to live rent free at your homes in Boston and New York. How wealthy are you anyway, or am I out of line asking you that?"
"You can ask me any question you want, Ian, whether or not I choose to answer you is another matter. To answer you question, I'm very wealthy, now that I've purchased Hudson-McCormick, I'm worth more. If I were to spend a million dollars a day for the rest of my life, there would still be billions of dollars left after I'm gone. That's why I can afford to have homes all over the world in addition to my own fleet of aircraft. I can afford to buy anything I want, except my freedom. Now that you appear to be serious in getting your life back on track, I intend to confide more about myself and my plans for your future. Of course you're smart enough to realize that anything I tell you is for your ears only."
"Thank you for a wonderful evening. That dinner was fantastic, I love Italian food," Ian said. "You've been so generous; I can't thank you enough for my new wardrobe and all the expensive things you given me. But, it's getting late, and I'm not used to these late hours. If you don't mind I'm going to call it a night. Do you have anything planned for tomorrow morning?"
Before Cal could answer, the housekeeper entered the living room, "Excuse me, sir. Mr. Thatcher is on the line. Would you like to take the call?"
"Not now, tell him I return his call later," Cal said. "To answer your question, Ian, I thought we'd have brunch at the Peachtree Plaza and head back to the farm afterwards," Cal said. "Is there anything special you wanted to do tomorrow?"
"I thought I would like to go to Church tomorrow morning. I try to catch the 8 o'clock Mass. I should be back in plenty of time for brunch. One thing though, this is embarrassing, I don't have any cash, would you mind loaning me twenty dollars for church and cab fare? I'll pay you back as soon as you take me into town to open a bank account."
"Sure, that's no problem." Cal opened his wallet and handed him a fifty and five ten dollar bills. "It's always good to have money in your pocket. We'll take care of that bank business next week. See you in the morning. Ian, I'd feel much better if you use the limo if you have to go anywhere."
"That's fine with me. Good night, Cal, and thanks for everything."
"That was a smooth flight, Cal," Ian said. "I think the drive to the airport took longer than the actual flying time to the farm."
"You're right, the traffic in Savannah is a drag. It gets worse every year," Cal said as they pulled into the underground parking area behind the house.
"Cal, what is that large, low concrete structure to the left of the parking area?"
"That is our underground tornado shelter. I'm sorry I didn't have time before I left to show you around. I've never given you a proper tour of the farm; you should know your way around in case we do have a tornado warning. We've been lucky that none have touched down near the farm, but a few have touched down close to town. Would you like to see the shelter?"
"Sure, if you can spare the time?"
Cal led him back through the entrance to the lower level. They followed the short corridor to the end and turned to the right. The passage looked like a tunnel that angled downward. He saw a wide door at the far end of the tunnel. The door was open and was made of thick steel, similar to one on a bank vault. In fact, it had one of those large spoked wheels in the center. Cal told him the door was completely automatic, and operated from a separate electrical circuit from the rest of the house. Ian was to learn that the entire complex had it's own emergency generating plant. Directly ahead there was a second steel door the same at the entrance door. To the left and right there were two smaller escape tunnels. Beyond the second door was the main area of the shelter. They entered what was a large family room. The room was tastefully decorated in Danish Modern, with comfortable leather-covered chairs scattered in groupings about the room. One wall was lined with wooden shelves that housed the entertainment center. The electronic equipment included a wide screen TV and a digital stereo system. To the left of the room was a large modern kitchen with a dining area. The pantry off the kitchen was well stocked with enough food to feed 40 people for three weeks. The sleeping areas themselves were compact yet comfortable, similar to the sleeping compartments you find in airports around the world. There were dressing rooms with lockers and four separate bathrooms with showers.
"This shelter is for the use of my guests, staff, and security guards," Cal said. "It is completely soundproof and is self contained. We have direct communication via satellite with the second shelter that is located next to the administration building on the other side of the farm. That shelter is larger and can accommodate as many as 80 people. Some of my department managers and their families live on the property. We also have on site housing for the key staff employees and low cost housing for our regular employees if they wish to live in the housing area. It's really a nice area. How would you like to take a helicopter ride and see my farm?"
"I'd like that," Ian said.
"Then I'll take you around to each farming unit and introduce you to my group managers. If you're interested, they can take you on a detailed tour of their operation. Then you will see first hand what we're up to on this farm."
"Hello Brad, this is Ian. I know it's been almost a year since I've seen you, but I will be in Boston next week on business and I thought it would be great if we could get together for the day. I feel I'm strong enough to visit Chuck's grave and I hoped you would go with me?"
"Gosh, I'd love to see you again Ian. It's so good to hear from you again. I'll be happy to spend the Saturday with you, but I must be back home by six that evening for a previous engagement, if that's okay with you?"
"Super! Let's get an early start on Saturday then. I'm up here with Cal on a business trip, and he wanted to know if you could join us for lunch. He's scheduled to attend some function at Harvard Saturday afternoon."
"Sound like a plan," Brad said. " I pick you up around ten o'clock Saturday morning and we'll head out to the cemetery."
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Ian was standing under the portico of the Campbell mansion when Brad's BMW pulled into the circular drive. Ian walked around the back and got into the passenger side and shook hands with Brad. "You look like a million bucks," Brad said. "What's your formula?"
Ian smiled and released Brad's hand, "It's great to see you, Brad. I wish I could take credit for doing this on my own, but Cal's the one that helped me get on the right path. Plenty of hard work, a lot of exercise and a generous portion of pampering. Do you have room in the trunk for this spray of roses?"
"Why don't you lay them on the back seat, they'll do better there," Brad said as he drove out of the driveway."
"What have you been up to since we last spoke?" Ian asked. "Are you still going steady with Mary Beth?"
"That's one of the reasons I can't be with you this tonight. Mary Beth's folks are giving us a dinner party at the club to announce our engagement. We've set the wedding date for May 15th. "
"Congratulations, you made the right choice; Mary Beth is a lovely woman."
"Thanks, Ian, I think so too. So how are you getting along with you new job?"
"I really love it, there's never a dull moment. Of course Cal is a good teacher and a great boss. He has been training me to become his right hand man for the last two years. He's been turning over more and more projects to me to handle. He is really a genius when it comes to business. I consider myself a lucky guy to have Cal as a boss and mentor."
Brad smiled, "It's a two- way street, Ian. Cal has found a good man in you. If Chuck had not died, you would have made it on your own, anyway."
"Maybe; anything would have been possible with Chuck at my side. You know we had it all. He was a beautiful spirit and we were deeply in love. We were committed life partners. I did not want to live without him. I was heading down the road to destruction and almost succeeded in joining Chuck. Yet each time I was saved. Cal was the one that gave me the will to live. Finally, I got it into my thick skull that Chuck would not have wanted me to destroy my life. It has taken two years of intensive therapy for me to realize that I was hurting the people that loved me and really cared about me. Chuck would not have approved of my behavior; he would have been very disappointed with me. I had to come here today to tell Chuck how foolish I've been and to ask for his forgiveness."
"Jesus, Ian, I never knew things were that bad. I can see why you are so loyal to Cal."
"How are you coming along with you're MBA?" Brad asked.
"I'm doing great, I graduate in six months."
"Here we are, Ian. I walk with you to Chuck's grave and leave you alone. Take as much time as you need." Ian followed Brad over to Chuck's headstone. He took the paper off the flowers and laid them in front of the headstone. Brad patted him on the shoulder and walked back to the car.
"Hello, my love," Ian said softly, "sorry it's taken me so long to get here. I still miss you so much. I would like to feel your warm body when I awake each morning. You will always be in my heart. No one can ever replace you and the love we shared together. I'm comforted with the thought that we will meet again when my time in this life comes to an end. Then we will have all eternity together. Sweetheart, I know we always agreed that if one of us died, the living partner should seek another lover. My shrink keeps telling me that life is for the living and we should live it to the fullest. In my mind, I agree with his logic. Yet, my heart tells me otherwise. I wanted to tell you that Cal has been my salvation. He is a wonderful person and he fills in the lonely hours I've know since you've gone. Lately, my feelings for him have grown stronger. I want more from him that his friendship. I don't know if he feels the same was about me, but I do care for him a lot. I could never love another the way I loved you. Cal is a few years older and is giving me the understanding and tenderness that I need. He is warm and friendly and is genuinely concerned with my well being. I'm terribly lonely without you and I need the companionship he could offer. Well, my love, I don't to keep Brad waiting. I will be back more often now; goodbye for now my love."
Ian walked back to the car and slipped into the passenger seat. "Are you okay?" Brad asked.
"I'm okay, I'll never understand why God took him from me. He was my first and only lover and no one can ever replace him in my heart. His death must be difficult for you, too. I know how close you were. Every person that ever met him loved him. Chuck was that kind of a person. That's the reason it has taken me so long to accept this and let the healing process begin."
"We all miss him, Ian, and we always will. Are you seeing anyone now?"
"No, it's still too soon for me. I'm content with my life as it is right now. Maybe some day I will be able to move on. I still have plenty of time. Anyway, I have three years to go on my contract with Cal. Frankly, I'm not ready to make any changes."
"Cal is a great guy, he's been good for you," Brad said. They returned to Cal's home in time for lunch. Brad told Cal of his good fortune and of his forthcoming marriage and of his promotion to VP in the family business. After lunch Cal took off for his meeting.
"Since it such a beautiful afternoon would you like to take a walk around the park?" Ian asked.
"I'd welcome that, it's either that or I'll fall asleep. Big lunches do that to me lately." They left and crossed the street and began to walk through the park. "Mind if I get personal, Ian?"
Ian laughed, "you've got to be kidding me. Is there anything you don't know about me? You know as much about me as Chuck. What do you want to know?"
"What is your relationship with Cal?"
"I told you, he's a friend who happens to be my employer, that's all."
"You're not sleeping with him?"
"No, why would you even think that?"
"Because it's obvious he is in love with you."
"I think you are imagining things. Cal has never given me any indication that he feels that way."
"How do you really feel about him?" Brad asked. "I want the truth, Ian."
Ian smiled, "I like him a lot, but I'm not ready to get involved right now."
"Look, it obvious Cal has a thing for you, I can read the signs. Remember, I was into the gay scene for a while, as you know. Cal covers himself well, but he slips every once in a while. Cal and I used to run into each when we were cruising the gay spots. But, he dropped out of the scene after he found the love of his life. When did you learn that Cal was gay?"
"He told me shortly after I moved in with him. He felt that we would be able to relate better, on more than one level."
"You and Cal both lost your lover after a short marriage. He was a basket case for a long time after your father died."
"WHAT!!! My Dad and Cal were lovers?"
"Oh God...open mouth, insert foot. I assumed you knew that? I'm sorry, Ian, I am so sorry."
"Don't be sorry. It just comes as a big surprise. I'm glad you told me, it answer a lot of questions. It was all there in front of me, but I just never put it all together. Cal told me that he owed Dad big time. He told me that Dad had helped him when he came out. Cal also knew too many personal things about my father that I didn't even know. These are things that you can only learn by knowing a person intimately. I always thought it strange that Dad moved in with Cal after my folks separated. Dad did tell me before he died, that if I ever needed help I should turn to Cal. It all fits. You're right, they didn't have much time together either. But, you know if Cal loved my dad so much, why wasn't he closer to mom and me after Dad died?"
"Think about that for a while, Ian. Probably for the same reason you moved away after Chuck died."
"I see your point. It was too painful for me to be constantly reminded of Chuck. Cal felt the same way about Dad."
"Is this news going to change your feelings toward Cal in a negative way?"
"No, not at all, but I wonder what Cal sees in me? I'm certainly not in my father's league. Dad was an intellectual and was renowned in his field. He was also a handsome man, at least I thought so."
"Have you taken a good look in the mirror lately, Ian? You are not the confused college kid of three years ago. For what is worth, if I was gay and you were available, I'd make a play for you myself. You've developed into one handsome hunk and anyone in their right mind would jump on your bones given the chance. Open your eyes and take a good long look at yourself. Haven't you noticed how many people give you a second look? You were hot when you were married to Chuck. He told me what a super guy you were and how much he loved you. So wake up and smell the roses and stop putting yourself down. Another thing, if you really like Cal, let him know how you feel. Go talk to your shrink, let him earn his money."
"You know I'm glad I married into your family, Brad. You've all made me feel loved. I hope we can still be good friends. If you ever need my help, let me know."
"You know you are still welcome to join us for dinner at the club tonight. Mary Beth would love to see you again. I'm sure my future brother-in-law would cum in his pants it he knew you are Cal Campbell's executive assistant."
Ian chuckled, "I would love to come, but Mom and my new step-father are joining me for dinner tonight. Look, if you want to score brownie points with you brother-in-law, have him call me next week. If he has something we can use, I'll see that he gets a hearing with the right executive in our organization. After all, that's what family's for."
"You know, you're a sweetheart, Ian."
"By the way, Brad, make sure you send us invitations to your wedding and send us a copy of your gift list. I'll make sure Cal buys you a real nice gift. You know, I bet your dad is delighted that you didn't' turn out to be a fag after all. Now, maybe he'll have a that grandson. That's assuming you have lead in your pencil."
"I take back all the nice things I said about you," Brad said. "Naturally, my dad is pleased that I'm getting married to a female. But, he also wanted to make sure I was marrying for the right reasons. It was not just to give him grandsons. He said my sister's children have just as much right to the family business as my children."
Ian smiled, "Well then, if you don't have to marry Mary Beth, what's to stop you from marrying me? Sort of keep it in the family. I've always thought you were a stud. If you're as good in bed as Chuck, we could make beautiful music together."
Brad laughed, "Look baby, I taught Chuck every thing he knew, and I'm terrific in bed."
Ian laughed, "I'm sure all the hookers tell you that."
"That's it, I'm marrying Mary Beth. You just blew any chances you had."
They both laughed heartily. "I'm serious about the gift list and to ask your future brother-in-law to contact me. I'll give you my card when we get back to the house. In fact we better start heading back there now if you want to be on time for your dinner party."
"This has been like old times, Ian. Let's really make the effort to stay in touch. You've been gone too long. We all love you, don't cut us out of your life."
"I won't, I promise. Now that I'm back on my feet again, I'll make more of an effort to see the family. You and Mary Beth are welcome at the farm any time. Just let me know two weeks in advance, 'cause I never know when Cal decides to whisk me off to solve some company business."
"I'll pick a weekend and bring the whole family down, how does that sound?"
"Way to go, bro."
After saying goodbye to Brad, Ian had the house to himself. His mother and step dad were not expected for another four hours. He had missed three days of piano practice due to his hectic schedule. One advantage to traveling with Cal was there was usually a grand piano in every one of his homes. Ian had gone back to playing the piano again. He found it stimulating and it helped him to relax. The shrink had one placed in his room at the sanatorium. It took his mind off Chuck and forced him to concentrate on the music. He would play several hours every day for the entire time he was there. By the time Ian was released he was playing quite well. Actually, he should be a virtuoso by now. He'd had been playing the piano since he was seven years old. His dad wanted him to major in music, but his love was in finance. Finally, Ian would be graduating from college in four months. He looked forward to be able to concentrate all his efforts on his new job with Cal.
He thought, 'Darn I'm losing my concentration, that's the third mistake I've made. There's no sense in practicing while my mind is in a whirl. This has turned out to be a traumatic day for me. What with seeing Brad after four years and visiting Chuck's grave for the first time. I know I attended the funeral services, but I don't remember a thing. To top it all off, I learned that the guy I'm falling for was my father's lover. That's a fine kettle of fish! I was not about to let Brad know that this definitely changed my feelings for Cal. At this point, I feel that it would be better to put some distance between Cal and myself for the present. Brad is a nice guy and a romantic at heart. He would be delighted if Cal and I became a couple. I'm convinced that Brad is putting his own spin on Cal's feelings toward me. Anyway, I'm not ready to get involved in a relationship with Cal even though I'm attracted to him. Any romance at this point could destroy the good working relationship we have right now.'
What Ian really was looking for was to take on a project where he could have complete control. That was the only way his abilities could be judged. Granted, he'd learned a lot working alongside Cal, but he felt like nothing more than an executive secretary. He saw this as the only way he could grow.
'If I can talk him into letting me run the Agriculture division,' he thought, 'I'm sure I can do a good job. Cal has been so good to me. I'm truly grateful for everything he has given me. I also feel, that I cannot allow myself to fall in love with him. Cal would never respect me as his equal partner in a marriage. I would always be his former lover's son. I'd rather walk away from this rather than get involved in an affair that would end up hurting us both in the end.'
Cal and I did have that meeting before he left again for overseas. He reluctantly agreed to let me manage the operations of Campbell Farm Industries for one year. His hesitation was not because I wasn't qualified for the job, but rather because he wanted me by his side. Cal told me for the first time how much of a load I took off his shoulders, and the main reason he hired me as his assistant was to groom me for an upper-level management position. He never thought of my job as a glorified secretary. Cal was full of surprises. He increased my salary from $50,000 to $100,000 a year with a 30% bonus of any increased profits. That was the first time I had heard mention about a salary at all. Cal had set up a money market account for me and had been contributing $50,000 for every year I've been with him. I felt so small after that meeting. How could I not fall in love with a generous man like Cal?
With my new position, and Cal's heavy travel schedule, we saw very little of each other for months at a time. The new job consumed most of my time. That combined with studies, left very little time for travel or socializing. It was rare that Cal and I spent a weekend together now. Cal did make it home for the monthly weekend parties, but that didn't allow us the quality time together that we enjoyed in the past. Cal was stuck in Paris for my graduation but promised he would make up for it when he returned.
And that he did, in his usual grand style. Cal gave me a surprise birthday party. It was a mixed crowd of business associates, family, and close friends, including the entire Williams family. It was a wonderful party and took me completely by surprise. What was even more shocking was the birthday presents Cal showered on me. He presented me with a red Mercedes convertible. As if that weren't enough, he released me from our contract. I was free to do whatever I wanted, and that made me very happy.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I had the feeling that Cal had found himself a mate. His attitude toward me had not changed in any way, but I felt strongly that someone was waiting in the wings. Cal has always been open about his friends and business associates, but he always failed to mention the one man whose name that kept popping up. His name first came to my attention quite by accident. Cal had certain strict rules. One of which was that he would never take a business call at home or on the weekend. We had returned from dinner on Saturday, and butler told Cal, that Paul Thatcher called and asked him to return his call. I suddenly remembered his name being mentioned on my first visit to the Penthouse in Atlanta years ago. Later when I began working closely with Cal, Paul's name surfaced once again. I remember asking Cal who was Paul Thatcher? His told me that Paul was a business consultant that he uses for special projects.
What bother me was that he was a guest at several of our cocktail parties in Atlanta and he was not on the guest list that I prepared. This bothered me so much, that I asked Brad if he knew the guy. Brad said he never heard of him and would ask around. No one knew anything about him. So, I had Brad hire a private detective agency to find out about this guy. I didn't want to get directly involved with the agency because Cal would be angry if he knew. Brad brought the agency report with him the weekend he and the William's were down for a visit. Since Brad and Mary Beth would be spending a few extra days I didn't have time to read the report.
Cal was leaving for Paris after Sunday brunch and would not be back for at least a month. I was to fly to Paris to spend a week with him and then we would both fly back to the farm.
Cal and I were up early the next morning and took a long walk around the grounds. We stopped at our special spot by the lake and talked for hours. "Ian, I think you've done a fantastic job running the Campbell Farm Industries. You've made some dramatic changes that have streamlined the operation. But, I guess I'm selfish. I want you to reconsider and join me at headquarters as my executive assistant again. I'll make it worth while; I'll make you a staff VP."
"I like my job a lot and I feel that I've made a contribution at Farm Industries. But I do miss the excitement and the challenges working with you at the corporate level. I only have six months to go on this job. But if you really want me back working with you, I'll have to give it some serious thought. I'll give you my answer when I see you in Paris. Is that soon enough?"
"That's fine with me, baby."
"Cal, I do miss the excitement and the globe trotting of my old job, but most of all I miss you the most. We better head back to the house. You have your packing to do, and I have some guests to entertain. I'll come up and say goodbye before you leave."
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
After brunch the family decided to lie around the pool and relax. I followed Cal to the library and helped him to pull his paperwork together. Cal closed his briefcase. "Well that's it, I'm as ready as I'll ever be. You take care of yourself and I'll call you tomorrow from Paris."
I walked over to Cal and hugged him. He put his arms around me and held me tight and I kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you for my great birthday party and your gifts." I walked him to the underground parking ramp and saw him off. I returned to my suite to change into a bathing suit and opened the detective's report. After reading the report, I headed out to the pool to talk to Brad.
"Brad, do you have a few minutes, I need to talk to you in private?" I asked. "Let's walk over to the tennis court, we'll have more privacy there."
"What's up, you have that serious look again?"
"I've read the detective's report and it's not good. Were you serious about a job with William's Industries?"
"Of course any time you're ready you have a job with us. Now, what's in that report that has you so upset."
"Paul Thatcher has had an on-going relationship with Cal for some time. It's all documented in the report, I can no longer remain here under those conditions. I ll need to get away for a while and sort things out. You remember our last conversation about Cal? Well since then my feelings have changed towards him. I had decided yesterday to tell Cal that I was in love with him. With all the activities going on with my birthday party, and with him leaving for Paris, I didn't feel it was the right time to discuss our future life together. Right now his mind is on this new merger. After reading the detective's report, I have decided to terminate my relationship with Cal. I can't live here or work with him any longer. It will take me two weeks to sort everything out here and appoint one of my managers to take over my duties at Campbell Farms."
"You're welcome to stay at my place until you get settled."
"Thanks, Brad, but my plans are to take a few months off and relax. I'm going to head up to the folk's lodge in Highland. It's peaceful up there and it will give me some time to catch up on my reading. I haven't been up there since Dad died. Chuck and I used to spend time up their when we were married."
"Wipe that worried look off your face, Brad. I'm not going to commit suicide, if that's what your thinking. I'm beyond that now. I just need some time to myself to get geared up for my new job. Don't worry, I'll keep in touch."
"Do you need any money?" Brad asked.
"No, I'm fine, thanks anyway."
"I'm sorry it had to end this way, Ian. But, I feel you are making the right decision. You have your whole life ahead of you. You shouldn't have any trouble with your career or your love life for that matter."
"Let's keep this between us. The folks don't need to know about this. Let them enjoy the rest of their holiday, " I said.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
My weekly calls with Cal were difficult because of the strain I was under. I didn't want him to suspect that anything was amiss. Ed Godsoe was my executive VP and was the man I had chosen to run the operation until Cal took over once again. As far as everyone knew, I was starting my vacation two weeks earlier than expected. I left the office early that Friday afternoon to pack my bags and write a letter to Cal. Normally, the mail bag to Paris left early Saturday morning. So by the time Cal read my letter, I would be long gone.
Cal was tied up in meetings that weekend and it wasn't until Sunday afternoon that he opened the mail from home. After reading Ian's letter, he sent for Kim. "What's up, boss, you look like a ghost?"
He handed Kim the letter. "Here, read this," Cal said.
My Dearest Cal,
By the time you read this letter I will be out of your life. It is with deep regret that I find I must resign my position with the Campbell Industries. Ed Godsoe will be running the operation until you decide who you want to replace me. Of course he is not aware that I'm leaving. He still thinks I'm leaving to take my vacation and nothing more.
I have removed the personal things from the house and will make arrangements to remove my wardrobe when I know where I plan to settle down. I'm borrowing the van for the present and will returned it in two months. The keys to the convertible are on my desk along with all my company charge cards and our joint check book. Personally I don't think I'm entitled to such an expensive gift now that I have decided to leave.
This is the most painful decision I have ever had to make, yet it really the most sensible for us. The reason I'm cannot stay is because I have fallen in love with you. Living with you for the last four years has been wonderful. I've suspected from the beginning that you were fond of me. But for some reason, I felt that your feelings for me had intensified and had turned to love. Of course in retrospect, I now realize that I had deluded myself into thinking that we could become a couple.
For a long time, I've had this uncanny feeling about Paul Thatcher. I believed him to be a threat, yet I had no concrete reason to suspect him. You have always told me he was a business associate and I believed you. Oddly enough, my suspicions were confirmed last week when I received the detective's report. Under the circumstances, it will be impossible for me to continue to live, or to work with you.
You can reach me through my email address, email@example.com. I'll be out of circulation for the next two months, but I promise I will contact you in two months to tie up any loose ends that I've forgotten.
You have been the most wonderful person I've ever known. I feel absolutely miserable, almost as bad as I did the night we met over four years ago. I also feel guilty in abandoning you, because you have given me so much and particularly now, after your years of tutoring are showing results. Maybe some day I can make it up to you. I sincerely hope so.
In a way, I'm glad I found out about Paul, before I made a complete fool of myself. You see, I had planned to let you know my true feelings when we met in Paris.
Try to understand why I must leave you before I had paid back my debt to you. I'm thankful for the wonderful years you gave me and I want you to know there will always be a special place for you in my heart. It's ironic when you think about it, I always seem to loose the men I love the most in my life.
As they say, time heals all wounds, maybe in time I'll find happiness this side of the grave.
With all my love, Ian.
PS: Please say good-by to Kim and tell him how much I'll miss him and I appreciate everything he's done for me.
"Holy Jesus, that poor guy, he's got it all wrong. What do you want me to do, Boss?"
"Find him, I don't care what it cost, but you must find him."
"I'll get right on it, you know something is coming back to me now that I've read that letter. Several weeks ago I ran into Rod, one of my old buddies from my CIA days. He has his own detective agency now and we're still good friends. I became suspicious when our paths crossed too many times lately. In this business there is no such thing as a coincident. When I confronted Rod, he was told me that he had Paul under surveillance, but nothing else. It was none of my business to probe any further since it didn't involve your safety. I'll talk to Rod to see if he was working for Ian."
"You do what you have to do to find Ian. In the meantime, I'll make some discreet phone calls to see if anyone knows where he might have gone."
After two weeks of intensive investigating Kim and his people came up empty handed. Ian had covered his tracks well. Kim had his agents checking every place he might be and he was nowhere to be found. Of course Ian didn't respond to his email messages either. Finally, they got a breakthrough from Rod. Kim learned that it wasn't Ian who hired him. It was Brad Williams, of all people. The Williams were the first people I called after I received Ian's letter and they claimed they knew nothing of his whereabouts. Of course, Brad was on his honeymoon and couldn't be reached.. It took me another week before I finally was able to talk Brad.
"After I explained everything to Brad, he told me that Ian was living at his father's lodge in North Carolina.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
"There's your van, boss," Kim said, "we've found him."
"Please stay in the car, Kim. I need to be alone with Ian," Cal said. Cal could hear the sound of a piano as he walked up to the front door of the cabin. The windows of the cottage were wide open. He pulled the screen door open and walked into the large comfortably furnished living room. Ian was seated at the upright piano with his back to the door. "Ian," Cal said softly. Ian stopped playing and turned around.
He smiled, "Cal!! What brings you up here?"
"Oh, I thought I needed to spend some time in the country. I got tired waiting for you in Paris and thought I'd just pop up here to find out why my lover is punishing me?" Cal said. He walked over to Ian and pulled him into his arms and kissed him. "Listen, my beautiful angel, you are the only man I love." He kissed his face and neck. "God, you're so beautiful. I thought I'd lost you. Now, before I lose you again, will you marry me?"
Ian returned his kisses and held him tightly resting his head on Cal's shoulder. "We need to talk first, Cal."
"Fine, but not here, baby, we can do that at home."
Ian smiled, "Okay. You'll have to stick around while I pack and close the cabin up."
Cal kissed him again; "I want to make love to you in the worst way, but definitely not here. All you need is your briefcase and wallet, Ian. Kim's men are on their way up here to pack your things and secure the cabin. They will also drive the van back to the farm. My jet is standing by at the airport to fly us back home. We'll be home in less than an hour, okay?"
Ian smiled, "It won't take me long to pack, I only have two bags."
Cal put his arm around Ian's waist and led him into the bedroom. He picked up Ian's wallet, threw it into the brief case and handed it to Ian. He kissed him on the cheek. "You're packed, do you have to use the bathroom before we leave?"
Ian shook his head and smiled, "No, I'm fine."
"Good, let's go." Cal put his arm around his waist again and led him out to the Bronco. Kim smiled as he opened the door for them and said, "It's good to see you again, Ian." After they were settled in the back seat, Cal put his arm around Ian and pulled him close to him for the ride to the airport.
When they arrived home, Cal took Ian's hand and led him up to his bedroom suite. He closed the doors behind them and led Ian into his bed. Cal took him into his arms and kissed him tenderly. "You are the more important person in my life. I fell in love with you the moment I laid my eyes on you in that hospital ward in Atlanta. I never believed in love-at-first sight but, in your case it was true. I've never told you this because I felt that you were not ready for a relationship. Living with you for these last four years has been the happiest time I've ever known. These past six months, not having you by my side, have been painful for me. I never thought I could miss anyone that much. It took all my powers of concentration to stay focused on my work, because of my obsession for you. You fill my days with happiness. I can't live without you, Ian."
"I should have told you about Paul. I will say he was never my lover" Cal said. "Paul was my sexual release. Believe me, my love. When I was having sex with him, it was your face I saw before me. Paul was a gigolo, until two months ago." Cal unbuttoned Ian's shirt and lifted it over his head. He kissed his neck and down to his nipples. He unbuttoned his jeans and let them fall to his ankles. He kissed his erection through his briefs. Ian moaned and pulled Cal to him. They kissed again.
Ian undressed Cal, then knelt before him and pulled down his briefs. His erection snapped back against his stomach. He helped Cal's out of his shoes and socks and removed his own pants. He licked Cal's testicles and penis. Cal moaned louder as Ian took his engorged penis into his mouth.
Cal pulled Ian up into his arms and ran his hands gently up and down Ian's back resting his hands on his firm buns. Their kisses became more intense. Cal broke the kiss and sat him on the bed. "Lay down on your back in the middle of the bed my love," Cal said. "I've been dreaming of this moment for four long years. Now my love you are mine to savor and to love and I plan to devote the rest of my life to making you happy." He took Ian in his powerful arms and kissed him until he was mewing with desire. Cal kissed and licked his way down his lover's body. Ian was throbbing with passion. "Oh-my-god, Cal," Ian moaned, "please do it, I can't take it any longer, I've waited so long, my love." Cal took him deep into his mouth and within seconds Ian's entire body stiffened. He arched his back trying to thrust deep into Cal's throat. He climaxed and his muscles twitched for several minutes while Cal sucked every last drop from Ian. He moved up next to him and they kissed passionately.
Ian's tear filled eyes were at half mast and glassy. "Sweetheart, are you alright?" Cal whispered. Ian didn't answer. Cal became alarmed; it was taking Ian too long to come around. He wrapped his arms around him and rolled him over until Ian was lying on top of him. He rubbed his back until Ian's breathing returned to normal and his eyes closed. Ian had fallen asleep.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Cal was awakened by Ian's kisses. "Hi, beautiful," Cal said, "are you alright? You had me worried, you freaked out on me."
Ian smiled, "I'm not surprised, that was absolutely mind boggling. That was so intense, you're right, I was spaced out, my love. That was an overwhelming experience of both my mind and body. It was more than the sex; it's hard to explain. I could feel your love flowing into every cell in my body. Just before we climaxed I saw Chuck and my dad standing behind you. They were both smiling as you bent down to kiss me; I saw your three images superimposed on your face. When you broke the kiss, and pulled away, only your beautiful face remained. They are now part of us, my love. At that moment I knew that you are the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. You are my soul mate and lover."
Cal tightened his grip on Ian, "You have made me so happy, my love, I know we will be happy and will have a wonderful life together." The kissed once again.
Ian smiled and gave him a peck on the lips.
Cal wrapped his arms around Ian and held him. "I thank God, for giving me a beautiful loving creature like you." He kissed him tenderly, again.
This time their love making was slow and sensual. After which they feel asleep in each others arms and woke up as the sun was setting. They woke up, showered and dressed for dinner. After dinner they took a long walk around the farm and returned to their bedroom suite. They laid down on the large lounge together with their bodies entwined. "Since you didn't have anything planned for our honeymoon and you were going to take two months off anyway, how would you like to start our honeymoon tomorrow and see your wedding present?" Cal asked.
"What are you are talking about," Ian said. "I know you work fast, but no way could you have gotten me a wedding present that fast. I only gave you my answer four hours ago?"
Cal laughed; "I bought it for you six months ago. I was going to propose to you in Paris, we're off schedule a week. When I received your letter, I almost lost my mind. I couldn't believe that this was happening to us. I made up my mind right there and then that you were the most important thing in my life and if I got you back things were gong to change. I was going to be completely honest with you and that we were going to enjoy life. There is something you should know about that I've been avoiding for a long time. I only hope you will understand when you hear what I have to say."
"Sweetheart, if you're about to tell me that you and my father were lovers, don't bother, I already know the whole story. I'm disappointed that Dad never told me he was a homosexual before he died. We could have shared so much. Yet, I can see his point. I'm glad he had you to comfort him during those trying years of his life. My most troubling concerns were how your relationship with my father would affect our relationship. In the back of my mind I felt that you would be comparing me with my father. Not just in our sexual relationship, but in our every day life. My dad was a scholar with a brilliant mind. He was a fascinating man and so well versed on many subjects. Our house was always filled with interesting people. He was well liked and admired by so many people."
"The one reason that I held back telling you about my feelings for you was because I feared you would not consider me as an equal. The foundation of a healthy and enduring marriage is that each partner must have mutual respect for their partner. Did you think I was that keen on running the Farm Division? I didn't want to leave you for God's sake, I loved you. That was the hardest part for me. But, if we were going to be together for the long hall our marriage had to be one based on mutual trust and understanding. I'm a man that can only be happy in a monogamous relationship. There was no doubt in my own mind that I would be successful at running the Farm Division, even it was for a short period. The point is that I accomplished my objectives. Not only did I earn your respect but I proved to myself that I had the willpower not to sacrifice my principles for a short term gain. Of course, as you know, my big mistake is allowing my feelings for you to cloud my judgment when it came to Paul. I guess my feelings where more disappointment than anything else. Fortunately for us, it didn't ruin our future together."
Cal smiled and shook his head, "I'm a very lucky guy. Tell me the truth, did you figure all of this in that clever brain of yours or did your shrink give you a hand with this?"
"I can see I'm going to have trouble with you right from the beginning. My shrink had nothing to do with my decision. Naturally, I discussed it with him, but he agreed with my decision."
"Look, sweetheart, I'm glad you know about me and your dad, it's still painful to dig up the past again. I want to set you straight about my relationship with your father. You are dead wrong if you think I could compare my love for you with the relationship I shared with your father. You two are like day and night. Granted, as father and son, you share the same genes. Its natural that you bear some of his physical traits, however even there, you differ. You've been blessed with many of his fine qualities. You have shared his good looks, charm, and intelligence. But there the similarity ends. It's true that I loved your father, but it was a different kind of love. We both knew, deep down, that our relationship would never last the test of time. Even if it did endure, it would eventually end up as a platonic relationship. We needed each other at a time in our lives. When I first met your father, I was going through a very emotional time in my personal life. My dad had died as a result of a massive stroke and my mom was in a nursing home with Alzheimer's. My dad and I were close and he left a big hole in my heart. I was an only child and my mother was forty when she had me. My dad was in his 50's when I was born. My dad was grooming me, for as long as I can remember, on how to run the business. Fortunately, I was a smart kid and graduated high school when I was 16 years old. From there I went right to Harvard. I graduated with a BA degree when I turned twenty. I started working for my dad at the same time I was studying for my MBA. My dad died when I was 22 and left me everything. I never realized how much my family had until I sat down with our lawyers. That was when I realized why my dad kept training me to take over the business when he died."
"How much did he leave you?" Ian asked.
"The entire estate was estimated at over 5 billion dollars. That didn't include the billion dollars in cash spread around the world."
Ian kissed Cal, "Well at least I don't have to worry where my next meal is coming from."
Cal laughed heartily, "Sweetheart, you've got it made. You take care of me and you never have to scrub floors again." He pulled Ian's head to his and kissed him lovingly. "God, I'm crazy about you."
"I know your dad loved me in his own way, but we did have some words about the never ending parade of admirers. I didn't want to share him with his entourage every night. However this was his life and the one he wanted. He did compromise somewhat and kept the crowds away during the times I was working late or in town. He tried very hard to take an interest in my pet projects, but I knew he really wasn't interested in business, so after a while I stopped sharing anything with him. We did have a lot of good times together. We traveled all over the world during the times he could break away. Of course, he was free for the summers. That all ended after he became ill. We thought we had it licked a couple of times but in the end he was too weak to fight the disease."
"I'm glad he had you at the end of his life," Ian said. "Dad wouldn't have lived as long as he did without your support and love. Was there anyone after Dad?"
"Not until I met you. The business affairs kept me busy most of the time. There was a long string of Pauls during that period, but that was it."
"Now it's just you and me, my love, and half of everything I have is yours now. We leave tomorrow for Paris for the honeymoon, and spend the next few months planning our future together and deciding how many children we want to raise. We'll need someone to take care of us in our old age."
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