The Rest of the Story

by Nick Brady

Chapter 7

It was Tuesday morning in Paris and Marco woke up rather early. With his jet-lag behind him, his internal clock was back on track. He felt a bit of anxiety. He was excited about being in Paris but unsure of what to do with himself, alone and in a beautiful but unfamiliar place. He had two days to fill before he could busy himself with the Exhibition. He freshened up and dressed in jeans and a sweater, then remembered his conversation with Henry. There was a lot to see and do here and he should make the best of it.

Marco went down to the hotel lobby and picked up some brochures to look over while he ate his breakfast. There was a bus tour of central Paris that was presented in English and left at a point within walking distance.

When he arrived and bought a ticket, he found that he was only one of about twenty American tourists waiting on the bus. Most were older couples and a middle aged family with three kids, a small girl and two teen aged boys. Marco chuckled to himself and wondered how Sam and Ben would react to a tour bus through historic Paris.

The tour was longer than he expected and two hours later he found himself back at his starting point somewhat overfull of Paris history and architecture. To his surprise, the boys on the bus seemed to enjoy the sights and had several questions for their guide. He made a mental note to try and expose Sam and Ben to more cultural things. It wouldn't hurt them.

Marco stopped for a slice of pizza at a small shop and took his bearings. His friend and art teacher Peter Vandergraff was excited to learn that Marco was going to be in Paris and suggested that he should look for some art supplies while he was there. Marco had several Sennelier watercolor brushes that he treasured. Unfortunately he had always regarded them as too expensive. Peter told him to go to the original Sennelier shop in the old part of Paris. From where he was sitting, it was a fair walk but would give him something to do.

Thirty minutes later Marco found himself in front of an old storefront which looked like it was quite ancient. Inside he was in a narrow but deep old shop with floor to ceiling shelves of art supplies of every kind. There were oil, acrylic, watercolor paints and pastels in every color of the rainbow, and brushes of the highest quality. They were not cheap, but the prices were better than he had seen in American shops. If he were to purchase souvenirs while in Paris, these would be ideal. He spent a good deal of time selecting brushes and paints. He decided that his recent financial success should let him choose on the basis of quality rather than price and began to select his treasures. He set aside a full set of 20 Kolinsky red sable brushes in different sizes, both tapered and flat, and several stitched squirrel hair wash brushes. He selected a full pan of honey-infused Sennelier water color paints and a good assortment of fine watercolor in tubes. He was the kid in the proverbial candy store. The fine papers were tempting, but he was limited to what he could squeeze into his suitcase. The old man keeping the shop looked on him with amusement, but did not interrupt.

When Marco stepped to the counter with his purchases, the old man smiled and asked in accented English, "Will that be all, monsieur? Can I help you find anything?"

"I think this is what I want," Marco replied. "There are so many things here, it is hard to choose."

"You have chosen only the best, I see. Perhaps you are a serious painter?"

Marco smiled. "I am here for an exhibition at the International. I was successful in London, and hope to be here as well. I have always dreamed of coming to your shop. This place is very famous."

"Ah, I see. Yes, this little shop has been in this place for over 125 years. It is quite well known. May I ask, where is your home?"

"I am from Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the United States," Marco replied. "This is my first time in Paris, or in Europe. This is a beautiful city."

"What is your name?" the man asked. "Do I know your work?"

"Oh, I doubt it," Marco said modestly. "I do almost exclusively watercolor, many with a Native American theme. My name is Marco Montgomery."

The man gave a look of recognition, "Ah yes. I read about the exhibition in Le Monde. There were some small photographs of a few of the paintings. One of yours was there. You do ink drawings with color washes, is this not true?"

Surprised, Marco replied, "Yes, that's my usual style. I'm surprised that you remembered it."

"Hmm, it is not an uncommon technique, but seldom done with such quality. You make me see something alive and full of excitement. I plan to attend the exhibition. Perhaps I will see you there?"

"I hope so," Marco said. "I will look forward to that."

"Before you go Monsieur, I see you have selected brushes and paints. Have you looked at our inks and pens? They are very fine. We have an excellent selection of Pitt pens if you like them."

Marco shook his head, "I have used those, but I prefer to make my own. I cut my nibs from goose feathers and dip them in India Ink. I like the slightly scratchy look of those. It seems to fit me better."

"Oh, that is very interesting," the man said. "That is very traditional. Well then, if that will be all?"

Marco gave him his Visa card and did not look at the price when he signed the ticket. "Yes, that's all, thank you."

"Thank you. I look forward to seeing your paintings. Good day Monsieur."

Marco started back to his hotel, still somewhat amazed that the clerk in the Sennelier shop had heard of him. Maybe he was more successful than he realized. Perhaps this was not a dream after all.

As he walked, his cell phone rang. "Hello? This is Henry. "

"Hello, this is Marco. How are you?"

"I'm fine. Would you still like to go out for dinner?

"Sure. What will work for you?"

"Tonight is no good for my girlfriend, but Wednesday night is good. Will that work for you? "

"I have no plans. Can you pick me up?"

"Of course. About seven o'clock?"

"I will look for you, thanks."

"OK, see you then," Henry rang off.

Marco smiled all the way to his hotel. He had found some treasures, been recognized at a famous art store, and now had plans for dinner the next night. He felt a little less lonely.

He carefully put his purchases away, checked for email, and found one from Marty.

"Marco, I'm glad you made a new friend of sorts in Henry. I admit to a twinge of jealousy that I am not able to be with you, but am too happy for your success. I predict that the Paris show will turn out as well as the one in London. We are fine here. Brian was here last night with Lanny. In between working with them on some Scout things, he fixed us a nice dinner. The kid is turning out to be a pretty good cook. You have taught him well. It was good that he did that, as even Sam and Ben are getting tired of pizza. We miss you and look forward to your homecoming. I love you. Marty."

Marco sent a quick reply.

"Marty, I was a tourist today. I took a two hour tour of this beautiful city. I can't describe it. We will need to come here together. I would like to bring Ben and Sam, if we ever do that. We could film our own version of 'Family Vacation'. This afternoon I hiked to a famous art supply shop and picked up some nice things. To my great surprise, the clerk in this historic shop had heard of me and plans to attend the exhibition. I have to admit I felt good about that. Take care of the boys. I am off to bed. I love you, Marco."

He put away his laptop and got ready for bed. He had been gone for over a week now and could tell that his usual needs had not been met. There were so many ways to cheat on his husband and he shook them out of his head. Surely Marty was worth two weeks of abstinence. What was the old saying? 'Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder'? Something like that.

He showered and got ready for bed. His mind wandered to the showers he and Marty enjoyed together. A mutual shower with benefits, followed by what they described as their horizontal Mambo, had always been part of their love life. On this particular evening, Marco was missing Marty even more than usual. He did the sensible thing, which was to carry a box of tissues to bed with him and made good use of them. Sighing, he then fell asleep.

Thursday morning found Marco up early and looking forward to his day. There were far too many things to see in Paris to try and tick them off a list. The one thing he really wanted to do was to visit the Louvre. He decided to go there early and see as much as he could. If there was time left over he might take in other sights.

Using directions Henry had given him he walked the short distance to the grand museum. From a distance it looked like a four-story quadrangle, very massive and handsome. When he entered he saw the large glass pyramid in the center. It looked just like the photographs he had seen. The line for tickets was not terribly long due to the early hour. He paid, waited his turn, then was allowed to enter. There was a long escalator than took him down into the center of the museum. He picked up a catalog and a map, then prepared to spend several hours looking around. Three hours later he had scarcely looked at all the sculptures and realized he was very hungry.

His guidebook listed a number of places to eat within the museum. Since he found himself near the Café Mollien, he went there, approached the counter, ordered a ham and cheese sandwich and a Coke, then found a table. Looking around he had a view of the spectacular interior architecture, and on the other side, a large garden. This was a very beautiful place. The museum itself was a wonder, apart from the art it contained. From his table he could see part of Napoleon's apartments in their ornate splendor.

Marco quickly enjoyed his lunch then set out to see as much as time would allow. He walked through gallery after gallery of magnificent paintings – famous works whose pictures he had seen in magazines but never expected to see in person. Many of them were by the old masters, and were very famous. Most were in oil or egg tempera. They were grand, but Marco had an interest in watercolor. Consulting his guidebook, he located a series of watercolors. Other than Delacroix, he was not familiar with most of the artists.

A common theme in some of these paintings were scenes shrouded in fog, or shimmering with wet pavement. These were a natural for watercolor. As he looked, he realized that his ink drawing with color wash technique was a bit unusual. Most such paintings were really ink sketches only slightly tinted with soft color. The subjects were largely pastoral, and populated with figures that were static. His colors were vivid and the unusual portrayal of powwow dancers swirling around in elaborate regalia were almost certainly unique. Certainly there was nothing like it here in this fine European museum. He allowed himself the fantasy that someday some of his paintings might be hung in this place.

He shuffled through room after room of fine art and lost track of the time. When he looked at his watch he saw that it was almost six o'clock and he was to meet Henry at seven. Reluctantly, he left the museum and started back to his hotel.

Marco decided that he would wear his new clothes. He brushed the pigtail out of his long black hair and let it fall down around his shoulders. Looking at himself in the mirror, he was satisfied with his appearance and sat down to wait for Henry's call.

Just after seven, his cell phone chirped and it was Henry to say that they were outside. Marco quickly went down to the lobby and looked outside to see Henry's Citroen with Henry and a cute brunette in the passenger seat. He opened the rear door and found himself sitting with a small, but very handsome young man, who smiled and introduced himself as Philippe.

Henry turned to Marco and smiled. "This is my fiancé Marguerite, and my friend Philippe. I hope you don't mind if he joins us."

"Oh no. That's fine," Marco agreed politely.

"Where would you like to go?" Henry asked.

"I don't know where to go," Marco confessed. "I will leave that up to you, but I do like seafood."

"I know a good place," Henry smiled and drove away.

Philippe turned to Marco and smiled. "Please forgive me for intruding on your dinner party," he said in softly accented English. "But when Henry told me that you would be with him, I wanted so much to meet you."

"Do you have an interest in art?" Marco asked.

"Oh, yes. I am a student at École des Beaux-Arts and wish to be a successful painter someday. I understand that you do exclusively watercolor?"

"That's right. I have used other mediums, but watercolor seems to work best for me. Do you work in watercolor?"

"Oh no. I find that to be very difficult. My colors run and I have no control. The medium is, how you say it, too fluid," Philippe explained.

Marco nodded. "Well it can be very fluid, but it depends on how you use your colors. Try painting with your paper flat and it is easier to control. Besides, the paint right out of the tube is almost like an acrylic in thickness. You can apply it as heavy as you wish, but then it loses its translucency."

"Oh I see," Philippe seemed very interested. "And you paint dancers? Young men in Indian dress with many feathers?"

Marco smiled, "Right. That's about it." He had to admit to himself that Philippe was rather charming.

They arrived at a very modest restaurant in a small square. "This is the I'llot. The food is good and it won't break the bank. I hope you like it."

Inside they found a rather cramped cafe-bar with small tables and old photographs on the wall. It had a certain charm about it. They were made to wait for almost thirty minutes then led to a table for four.

"Sorry for the wait," Henry said. "Be glad I had a reservation, or we would have waited forever. This place is popular."

Marco shrugged. "If it is that popular, then it is probably worth the wait."

"You are looking sharp tonight. You have more than jeans in your wardrobe," Henry complimented him.

"Thank you. I just picked these up yesterday. I may have traveled a little too light."

Marguerite leaned towards Henry and asked him something in French. "She wants to know what clothing you brought with you," Henry explained. "She wants to be a clothing designer and likes to know these things. She'll understand you in English, but she's not much of a speaker."

"I travel in what you saw me in yesterday, jeans and a sweater. I brought a dark suit but it's a little too formal, so I bought what I have on now at a little shop near my hotel. I have some traditional buckskins that I wear at the exhibit to add a little interest." Marco explained. "That's it besides underwear and socks."

"You look good," Marguerite said softly and smiled.

The compliment pleased Marco and he smiled but did not reply.

"Yes. You look the part of the successful artist," Philippe added and looked at him in a way that made Marco a bit uncomfortable.

The waiter brought menus and left quickly. "Can you help me with this?" Marco asked.

"They have a lot of different things," Henry said. "I come here sometimes but I'm not much of a fish eater. Maybe Philippe can suggest something for you,"

Philippe leaned closer to look at Marco's menu. "Do you like oysters? They have an oyster plate that is very nice. It is for an appetizer I think. Very fresh and it comes with a nice sauce, if you like it."

Marco was unsure. "Are they raw or cooked? I've never had raw oysters before."

"Then you must try them," Philippe insisted. "You will like it, I think."

"OK," Marco shrugged. "Maybe we can share them."

"Yes, very good. Now for our entrée, do you like all kinds of seafoods? There is a very nice plate of mixed seafoods that you might like. It is a platter for two that has crab, shrimp, prawn, oysters and perhaps other things, I don't know. But it is very nice and is enough for two."

"I think that would be too much for me,"

"Ah, but we are two people. I would like it also," Philippe suggested with a charming smile.

"Sure, that would be OK," Marco agreed.

Marco was not paying attention to what Henry and Marguerite were ordering and when Henry spoke to the waiter it was in French. He would look to see what was brought to them. Henry did order a bottle of wine and it was brought to the table with four glasses. "I'm sorry," Marco said. I don't drink alcohol. Could you bring me some water please?"

"Oh but in France you must drink the wine. It is very nice, really," Philippe insisted.

Marco did not wish to be rude, so sipped at his glass and hoped the water would arrive soon. When it did, it was a chilled bottle of mineral water with another glass. "That probably cost more than the wine," Henry laughed.

It was followed by the plate of raw oysters, four small plates and a bowl of dipping sauce. There were twelve on the plate which gave everyone the chance to sample them. Henry declined although Marguerite obviously enjoyed them and took several.

Phillipe made a great show of demonstrating the proper way to pry the oyster from its shell, dip it in the red sauce and chew it several times before swallowing. "It is lovely, really," He assured Marco.

Marco tried one and decided it wasn't as bad as he expected. The sauce had the bite of horseradish and gave it a nice flavor. He was unsure if the oysters actually had any taste at all. He sipped a little of the wine and found that it was nice with the oyster.

They made conversation while they waited for their dinner. It was good that they had arrived rather early, as now there was a small crowd of people standing just inside hoping for a table. This must be a very popular place," Marco said.

"Yeah, it is," Henry said. "It's been here a long time and is still in the same family. It is not a five star restaurant, but the food is good and the prices reasonable. It's very popular with students."

The bottle of wine was found to be empty although Marco's was still half full. He had been working on the mineral water. He found it to be very cold and filled with bubbles. It reminded Marco of club soda but the bubbles were much finer. It was nice. Philippe asked for another bottle of wine.

The conversation was interrupted by their dinner. The mixed seafood platter was generous and came with two small salads and an extra plate. Henry had some sort of beef dish smothered with a dark red sauce. Marguerite had something with slices of chicken, Marco thought. There were side dishes of potatoes and peas. It all looked good.

Now Philippe was leaning in close to instruct Marco on how to eat the shellfish. Actually, he had eaten all these things before at one time or another, but politely accepted Philippe's advice. He discovered that it was all very good.

The shellfish had to be eaten with the fingers and they laughed at the mess they made. "This is why the napkin," Philippe said brightly.

"I can see that," Marco agreed.

They enjoyed their meal then were asked something by their waiter that Henry translated as a suggestion for dessert. He recommends a simple dish of ice cream with some berries on top. He says they are very fresh. What do you think?"

"Sounds good to me," Marco said and they sat back as the table was cleared. Marco asked for coffee with milk, as did Henry and Marguerite. Philippe dedicated himself to finishing the second bottle of wine. He became more animated as the meal went on.

After dessert and coffee, they might have lingered to talk, but were being given anxious looks from the waiter. He wanted the table for the waiting crowd of hungry customers.

"I think we need to move on, "Henry suggested. "We can drive around, or go to a bar and have another drink."

Sitting around watching Philippe drink did not appeal to Marco so he made his excuses. "I really should be going. Tomorrow will be a busy day for me and I should get some sleep."

Henry agreed amiably, but Philippe protested, "But it is so early! There are many places for you to see. I know an area with good clubs where we can have so much fun."

"Let's go," Henry said dryly and led them out while Marco paid the bill.

Marco was pleasantly surprised to see that the tab was just over €120. Not bad for four people with two bottles of wine and a bottle of mineral water. He remembered that a separate tip was not required and walked out to join the others.

Philippe was waiting for him in the back seat. "You should come with us," He said. I can show you some very nice places." As he said this, he casually laid his hand on Marco's thigh.

Marco's reaction was to move his hand away and crossed his legs and folded his arms in an unmistakable gesture of body language. Philippe sat back and pouted.

"Thanks for giving me something very enjoyable to do this evening. That was a nice place," Marco told Henry. "It was very nice to meet you, Marguerite."

"The pleasure was all mine," Henry replied. "All I did was drive you around yesterday. It was really nice of you to treat us to dinner."

When they arrived at the hotel, Henry gave Philippe a stern glance and got out of the car with Marco. "I'll walk you in."

As they entered the lobby, Henry said, "I can't leave the car out there very long, but I wanted to thank you again and apologize for Philippe. He promised to behave himself, but I think he had too much wine."

Marco laughed, "Don't worry about it. No damage done and I really did have a good time. The food was great. I wish you and Marguerite all the best. She seems like a sweet girl."

"She is. I probably don't deserve her, but what can you do?" Henry replied. "If I don't see you before then, call me on Monday when you need a ride to the airport."

"I will. See you later."

They parted, and Marco went up to his room and closed the door. He undressed and hung up his new clothes then took his laptop and sat down on the bed.

He found an email from Brian.

"Marco, Marty tells me that you are in Paris retracing our steps. Paris is the most beautiful city I have ever seen, not that I have seen that many. I'm glad that your trip has been successful and hope you are enjoying yourself. I'm sure you know that we all miss you. Especially Sam and Ben. I think they ask when you will be home about every fifteen minutes. I hope you realize how important you are to all of us. Take good care of yourself and hurry home. Lanny says Hi. Brian."

Marco smiled and hit the reply button.

"Brian, Thanks for the note. I am having a great time, but need a good tour guide. Maybe someday we can all come over here and you and Lanny can show us around. Your kind words mean a lot. I miss all of you and will waste no time getting back home. Marco."

He got up and went to the bathroom to pee and then to brush his teeth. The garlic in their dinner was still lingering. He went back and took up his laptop.

"Marty, I just got in and found a nice note from Brian. He's a good kid and I'm glad his path crossed with ours. I took Henry and his girlfriend to dinner tonight. He knew a nice little seafood place where I ate too well. From what I can tell, the reputation the French have for good food is well founded. Tomorrow the exhibit is open to exhibitors and I will go to check on my paintings. There were only two that came with me from London, so with the ten that I sent here, I will only have twelve in this show. The English seemed to have a fascination with the idea of genuine Native American art. I don't know about the French. We will see. I have been playing tourist and spent all day today in the Louvre. Words cannot describe that place. I have a good catalog I bought there and will show it to you when I get home. I will try and find some suitable come-home gifts for all the gang. Four more days here, then back on Monday. Wish me luck. I miss all of you and send my love. Especially to you. I have a pressing need to do a good old fashioned Mambo. Love Marco"

Marco sat for a minute and thought about Philippe. He felt no need to even mention him. He wondered why Henry had invited him. Did he think that Marco might be in need of a playmate? No. Probably Philippe had invited himself hoping to get lucky. It was possible that he might be tempted, but not by a chirpy little guy like Philippe. But like he told Henry, no damage done. He liked Henry. He thought that when he got home he should drop Henry a note with a photo of the family that he was so proud of. Maybe he would.

Marco was tired and full of good food. He fell asleep quickly.

Sam and Ben were in their room. They were supposed to be working on their Boy Scout advancement. Ben had decided to continue to share a bedroom, at least for now. While he might not want to admit it, he felt uneasy with the idea of being separated from his twin brother, even in the next room. There was a security in knowing that Sam was in the bed next to him. In truth, Sam felt the same way. They were two peas from the same pod.

Ben laid down his Handbook and sighed. "I'm kind of getting tired of all these merit badges."

Sam nodded, "So am I, but we have to do this if we are going to make Eagle. We are almost ready for Life and already have some of our badges for Eagle."

"I know. But we won't be fifteen until this summer. It's not like we're in a hurry. Besides, scout stuff is always more fun with Brian."

"I know. But sometimes Papa helps us. Marco's always cool."

"But he's not here either," Ben said, "It's just you, me and Daddy."

"Hey. Marty's cool too. He does stuff with us when he can. But he has to work a lot. You know how it is."

"I know, I know. I love them both, but Marty's gone a lot and Marco is almost always home when we are. It's really different when he is gone," Ben shrugged. "I guess I really miss him. It's kind of lonely without him being here."

"He's only been gone for a week and he'll be back in another week," Sam reminded him. "That's not that long, but I admit that it's not the same when he's gone. He's never gone."

Ben looked thoughtful. "Papa does a lot of things around her, you know? He does the cooking and a lot of the chores, and he's just always here."

Sam waited a minute, then asked, "So, are you going to move into your own room?"

"I don't know. Maybe. There's no hurry, I guess."

Sam didn't reply, but smiled.

"Why? You want to get rid of me?"

Sam shook his head. "Not really. It would be strange having separate bedrooms."

"Does that mean that you like having me around?"

"Well, you know....."

Ben rolled over next to Sam and gave him an affectionate hug. "I love you, Sam."

Sam returned the hug, "I love you too. Stuff is different with you somehow."

Ben's hand went up the front of his brother's shirt. "Come on. You like to do this stuff. Admit it."

"Well, kind of," Sam hesitated.

Ben slid his hand down the front of Sam's jeans, "Do you think it would be OK if we played around a little? Just between us?"

Sam replied with his erection, "I guess so. Like I said, it's different with you."

Old habits die hard and they resumed their mutual exploration and inspection. Who has more pubic hair? Who is bigger? How does it feel when I do this? Twins do everything together.

With the twins in bed and Brian and Lanny gone, Marty was stretched out in his underwear on the bed he normally shared with Marco. Marty was horny. It had been a long time since he had gone over a week without sexual release. He slipped his hand down and fondled himself, wishing that Marco was with him. After a few minutes he sighed and brought his laptop to bed with him.

It had been a long time since Marty had resorted to pornography for relief. At one time he was a steady fan of gay porn, and bringing up some reliable web sites was like visiting an old lover. He flipped through a number of scenes with guys doing everything imaginable. Hot stuff, but nothing that really grabbed him. It was too carefully orchestrated. It was professional stuff and somehow not quite real.

He knew what he was looking for, and after a quick search he found some things that appealed to him. Here was amateur footage of guys meeting for anonymous sex in toilets, in parks, in out of the way corners of a wooded area. A very young guy sucking an older man. The kid was obviously enjoying his work and when the man climaxed, the boy swallowed most of it.

Another long sequence was of a row of urinals in what had to be a hot cruising spot. Without exception the men at the urinals were showing erections, feeling of each other - a few even squatting down to give the guy next to him a quick but enthusiastic suck. From time to time a door would slam, and they would all quickly turn towards the urinals, until the coast was clear, at which time the frantic dance would resume. This turned Marty on.

Before he met Marco, this was what he liked to do. The excitement of a strange cock in his hand and another on his, the heightened awareness that the fear of discovery added, a complete stranger with whom he could exchange oral sex; these things made his heart pound with excitement. At one time he loved this sort of thing – was addicted to it.

Marty rubbed the pre-cum over his hard cock and gripped it tight. He climaxed quicker than the guy in the video. He sighed and wiped himself clean with the abandoned shorts. There was something to be said for jerking off to porn. It was quick, simple, and allowed him to focus solely on his own pleasure.

But now that he had spent himself, he felt empty. Along with the excitement of those earlier times, came the feeling of shame and disgust that always followed those adventures. He would drive away from the scene as fast as he could, wanting to put himself out of the danger of discovery.

Marty felt a little sick. This is not who he wanted to be – a shivering wretch looking for a cock to suck. He had left all that behind when he met and fell madly in love with Marco. He was an addict that had kicked the habit. He wondered if these videos were like the recovering alcoholic who takes a drink after a long period of sobriety. The story goes that after that first drink it all comes back to you and you are into your addiction again. He didn't want to go back there.

Marty slammed the laptop shut and tossed it on the bedside table. He felt dirty and wanted a shower. Under the hot water he could not help but think about Marco and all the times they had washed each other, of Marco's long shiny black hair, of the feeling of warm water pouring over his back with Marco's beautiful cock in his mouth. The shower was almost always followed by a round of mutually satisfying sex in the bed. This was what was right for him. This is who he wanted to be. What was missing in this present moment was Marco, and he missed him terribly.

He toweled himself dry and slid naked into the empty bed. He tried to sleep but his mind was too busy. What was it about Marco? They met when Marty ate in a restaurant where Marco was waiting tables. After some sparring around, Marco contrived to have Marty take him home and lured him into a park where they made unrestrained love to each other. Marty chuckled to recall that Marco never did go back to his grandmother's shabby apartment. He had moved in with Marty and never left. This beautiful American Indian filled him with more excitement then any of his sordid trysts in toilets and parks. Marty had a new addiction, and his name was Marco.

Marty tried to take stock of his current situation. He had a loving partner, twin sons, and a foster son as well. He was successful in his occupation, a director over three managers and all their programmers. He made good money - enough to support the family even when Marco's art did not sell. Then his sweet mother had passed away and her memory enhanced by a generous inheritance. The family was financially secure, and now Marco was experiencing his own success. What attraction was strong enough to risk what had been built?

When their relationship had begun, Marty recalled that he was the steady one and Marco the castaway. As time went by and Marco began to find himself, he had evolved into the real rock on which the whole family was anchored. Marco was their center and even this brief absence made it apparent just how much he held them all together.

"Hurry home, Marco," Marty mumbled to himself, "We need you here."

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