The buses pulled in to our hotel at about 7 a.m. and we were shuttled into rooms where we went immediately back to sleep. At ten a.m. the phone rang and I noticed that the message light was on. John was asking if I was awake and I told him that I was because the phone rang, but if he wanted to bring the contracts in, fine. He gave me a couple of minutes to get dressed and then knocked on the door. I gave the contracts a cursory eyeballing, and asked him if anything was different from the original one. He pointed out the changes about concessions and I signed them. He gave me my copy of it and after he left I put it into the Ovation’s case, where I figured it would be safe.
The message was from Mills at BNC. I called him back thinking–gee, from this room, it’s on their tab, sort of. He was in a meeting but his secretary assured me he would get back to me ASAP. I tried Charles River next and got Gail.
“Omigod, Daron! I guess you should talk to Watt about this, but he’s on the other line right now.” Gail was Watt’s significant other (if they were married I wasn’t sure of it) and was the person who really ran the day to day biz at CR.
“Gail, can you at least fill me in on what’s up?”
“You mean you don’t know? And here we’ve been thinking you were snubbing us.” Gail was a tough, chain smoking woman who didn’t wear makeup but always had gorgeously styled hair. Go figure.
I couldn’t tell if she was being sarcastic. “I assure you it’s nothing like that. I’ve been playing phone tag with everyone since yesterday. Has something happened?”
“Oh, here’s Watt now.”
It sounded like she handed the receiver directly to him, and knowing the CR office, she did. I could hear a manual typewriter in the background. “Daron, it’s Watt.”
“Yeah, Watt.” I repeated my question yet again. “What is going on?” I trusted him to give me the scoop. Which he did.
“BNC wants to buy out your contract and, well, they say if we won’t let them, they basically want to buy all of Charles River just to get you.”
“Jeezus fucking Christ.”
“Yeah, that’s what I said. So what have they told you?”
“Nada. All I’ve talked to is voice mail. All I know is we’re doing the Eastern leg of the MNB tour and we cut a deal to be included in the concessions sales for those dates. I was going to check with you first, but…”
“Don’t worry about that, I’m sure it’s fine. But about this recording deal…” Watt was quiet for a moment. “I wish I could talk to you in person.” Watt was an in-person kind of guy. I think half the reason he quit the big corporate scene was because he preferred to have his business meetings in the back of a van or on a loading dock.
“Well, what do you want me… us, to do?”
There was a pause, like he was chewing on his fingernails or something. “I guess you should find out what they have to say, and then we’ll talk again?”
“Do you want us to stay with CR?”
“I don’t know, Daron. I want whatever’s going to be best for all of us. Right now, I can’t say whether getting bought out is a good thing or a bad thing, for you, or us. I mean, it’s hard to say no to a big hunk of money, but on the other hand I kind of like the way things are here now and would like to run with it a couple more years before I cash in, you know?”
“Well, if it’s worth anything to you, Watt, I don’t want to see you get screwed.”
“Thanks, man. Call back after you talk to them.” We talked a bit more after that, about how we wanted to do a video, and such, but a lot of decisions had to wait to see what might happen with BNC.
I tried the mystery number in Boston again. No answer. And Remo wouldn’t be up yet. And I wanted to talk to Mills before I bugged Artie again. I was sitting there with the phone in my hand trying to think of what to do next when someone knocked on the door.
Ziggy stood at the door, freshly showered and dressed. “Morning boss.”
He followed me into the room. “Don’t call me boss,” I said.
“You just have that business look in your eye, Daron.” He sat on the bed across from me. I was looking at the phone. “You sleep okay?”
“I guess. Thanks to Drambuie. You?” When he didn’t answer I didn’t push it. He seemed in a better mood than the night before.
He slid down to the floor and looked up at me. My eyes moved from the phone to his face. He was licking his lips.
He whispered, “I missed you last night.”
His fingers were already at my fly before I could say anything. As he took me into his mouth I thought: I missed you, too. After a few moments he slid his own pants down and pressed his cock up against mine, slicked his hand with his tongue and squeezed them together, pumping slowly.
For a moment my mind was busy. Was sex with him the first sex that I didn’t have to beg someone for, lie to get, pay for, or try to avoid altogether? And then I sank into the sensation of his flesh and mine.
A knock at the door jolted me back to the present. Bart’s voice, muffled. “Hey Daron? You up?” Ziggy’s hand stayed where it was, doing what it was doing.
“I’m on the phone,” I shouted back. “Later!”
Ziggy was smirking. My hips jerked toward him a little as his hand slid off the top and then plunged back down around us both. He pushed me back farther onto the bed and climbed straddlewise on top of me and resumed jerking us both off, his hand getting faster. He was close, I could see it in the way he clenched his teeth and sucked in his breath. “Come on, Daron, let go.” I closed my eyes trying to lose myself in the feeling again, but I couldn’t forget now that the phone could ring any moment, or someone could knock. His hand flew furiously and his face was red. “Come on!”
Now my own teeth were gritted and I clawed at his damp hair, pulling him down on top of me and pressing my cock into his stomach as it spasmed. He ground his hips into me too, his come hot and wet mixing with mine.
When the phone rang, he was in the bathroom wetting a towel. “Hello?” I said, thinking, at last, BNC calls me back.
“Is this Daron Marks?” said a female voice.
“Uh, this is Daron,” I said. Ziggy ran the towel across my stomach and I shivered.
“Hang on one moment.” And then there was a click. “Go ahead, sir.”
“Daron? It’s Digger.”
With the hand that wasn’t holding the phone, I held Ziggy’s wrist. “Digger.”
“You’re a tough one to track down, kid! I just thought I’d call to see how you were doing.”
“Great.” Just great. “Um, I’m doing a gig here.”
“I know. That’s why it was such a bitch to get through to you. Hey, you heard from your Mom at all? Or your sisters?”
“Ah, me neither. Well, hey, I just wanted to let you know where I am so we can be in touch, okay?”
“Okay.” He rattled off a number in New York, and I pretended to write it down. “Two-one-two, you’re in Manhattan?” I asked, surprised in spite of myself.
“Yeah. I’m working for an entertainment agency here. Look, I’m sure you’re busy. I’ll tell you all about it when you get home. Give me a call.” He was using his schmooze voice but mercifully had said everything he wanted to.
When I hung up the phone, Ziggy pulled his hand away and rubbed his wrist. “Who the hell was that?”
“I’m sorry, did I hurt you?”
“Who was it? Ex-boyfriend? You went completely pale.”
“My father.” I blew out a breath and took the towel from him. “Fuck.” I took my jeans off and took a few steps toward the shower. “Fuck,” I said again. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.”
Ziggy didn’t press the issue and I couldn’t think of anything else to say. I really didn’t want to get into a big discussion the ways Digger had wronged me in my youth. It could take hours.
But I couldn’t get in the shower. Whatsisface, Mills, from BNC, was supposed to call. “Fuck,” I said again. “If anyone calls, I’m in the shower.”
“You got it boss.” And he lay down in the spot where he’d had me pinned.