Call of the Old Life
The next momentous milestone in the sixteen-month period starting on New Year’s Day came in the form of a couple of boxes of Matt’s belongings from his UVa dorm that were delivered without notice or fanfare to Brambleton in mid July. Matt had just disappeared and the University had boxed up his belongings and put them in storage, not having any idea where to send them. At a cocktail party where Perry Fitzhugh and Matt’s faculty adviser had found themselves in the same small chit-chat group, Perry had mentioned that Matt was now at the estate neighboring his father’s Ravensworth in Loudon County, and the faculty adviser had obtained an address.
The arrival of the boxes wasn’t the momentous occasion. That they contained a packet of unopened letters from Dashad in southwestern Virginia that had accumulated over the months was the event that caught Matt’s attention and almost changed his life.
He cried as he went through the letters, with Dashad relating a smattering of innocuous references to weather and changes in the town, but not any in his own daily life, in his open, nearly illiterate and illegible style. Nonetheless, the letters sent a searing pain straight to Matt’s heart in that Dashad failed to upbraid him in the letters for not answering and the faith with which he wrote that Matt was just studying hard as he was meant to do and would come back to visit Dashad when he possibly could.
Included with the letters was one from Matt’s faculty adviser in the architecture school at the University of Virginia. The professor wrote that, although it was unusual, Matt had been one of his most promising students and Perry Fitzhugh had told him about Matt’s restoration work on Brambleton. If Matt put together a portfolio on that, the professor was willing to tell the faculty committee that Matt had been on assigned field work and thus he was sure that Matt could be reinstated directly back into the University. If he wanted to be--and the professor wrote that he hoped Matt would take advantage of this opportunity.
Matt determined that returning to Dashad--and back to the University in Charlottesville--would be put in motion immediately. The judge would just have to understand, and Matt didn’t want to fight Rick and the judge’s daughters anymore. He became resolved that he had been selfish and he would give up this slavish attachment to Brambleton and, yes, to Judge Atherton as well, and would return to Dashad, beg his forgiveness over neglecting him, and ask for another chance to resume his studies. He didn’t need to put together a portfolio on his work at Brambleton; he had been building one all along during the process.
He approached Archie the next morning at the breakfast table to inform him of his decision, but, unknowingly, Atherton beat him to the punch, most likely in the only way he could have made Matt’s determination evaporate.
“Ah, good, you’re up,” Archie had said when Matt entered the room. “This just arrived. I could wait to give it to you at the wedding, but I know I couldn’t keep it a secret that long.”
“What is it?”
“It’s my wedding present to you.”
“Oh,” Matt said, dejected and wary now that it clashed with the news he had to give.
“It’s the deed to Brambleton. My wedding present to you. I had it taken from my bank vault in Philadelphia and sent here. I’ll need Rick to get it transferred, but . . . Matt, are you all right? You look so pale and as if you are ready to collapse.”
“Yes . . . yes . . . I’m fine. It’s just that . . . you’re much too generous. I don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t have to say anything. It’s more a gesture--a pledge--than anything. We’ll be married and keep on using Brambleton together. But I know how much it means to you. And I want you to understand how committed I am to this marriage.”
“Yes . . . thank you . . . it’s what I’ve wanted most in life.”
And at that moment, no matter how selfish it was of him, Matt had to admit that Brambleton was what he lived for--all he wanted in life. More even than Dashad. And there, in one generous gesture, all of his plans to return to Dashad evaporated into thin air. He didn’t even know what to say to Dashad about all of those. So, he wouldn’t write to him just now. Not just now.
* * * *
Archibald Atherton and Matt Henderson were married in a quiet ceremony at the Annapolis city hall on the first Friday in July. Cook and Emmet stood in as witnesses. Rick had prevailed, with Matt’s help, with Atherton on giving the event as little publicity as possible for the sake of the reputation of the judge and the good of his daughters and grandchildren.
Neither of Archie’s daughters or their families attended the wedding, with a single exception--and he wasn’t in the building. Rick was parked across the street, needing to ascertain for himself that the deed was truly done.
The ceremony had been so emotionally draining for Atherton that there was nothing as silly as a special sexual coupling on the wedding night--just the usual ritual of Archie and Matt sitting in an embrace at the foot of the bed and Archie jacking Matt off followed by Matt moving onto Archie’s lap and fucking himself on Archie’s cock. They slept in an embrace in Archie’s bed initially in the night, but they were so much into the routine of Matt returning to his own bedroom once the judge had drifted off to sleep that Matt returned to his own room as usual.
Matt’s wedding night fireworks didn’t really start until he had returned to his bedroom. He found the chauffeur, Emmet, waiting for him and then, when Emmet gestured toward the door to Matt’s bathroom and said, “Lamont has come down from Philadelphia to celebrate with us,” a naked Lamont was there, helping Emmet to carry Matt to the bed, and the two black giants were punishing him with a rough fuck that Matt found glorious and that continued relentlessly almost until dawn of the next day.
Dark Clouds over Brambleton
Archibald Atherton died the night of the first Thursday in September. Matt carried the guilt of how that came about for the rest of his life and this, of course, was one of the momentous events that raised its ugly head over those sixteen months Matt was obsessed with the restoration of Brambleton’s south wing.
Although Archie didn’t renege on his wedding gift to Matt, the deed to Brambleton never was transferred. Once again, the son-in-law and the family’s lawyer, Rick, interceded to prevent that from happening. When instructed to transfer the deed, he hemmed and hawed for a few weeks and then pointed out how disastrous that would be to the Atherton family holdings. When Archie somewhat angrily pointed out that he and Matt were married, so Brambleton wouldn’t be leaving the family holdings, Rick countered with the location of Brambleton being the problem. The marriage wasn’t sanctioned in Virginia, so heavy taxes would be due on Brambleton immediately upon transfer--Rick couldn’t simply put the property in trust for someone who wasn’t legally a family member to avoid sales taxes on the true value of the property. Rick quite reasonably--and very conveniently--showed that that would be devastating on the families financial portfolio.
To take the edge off the disappointment and very likely to cloud what Rick’s real interest was in this, Rick offered a solution.
“As long as you are alive and the two of you are together, it doesn’t really matter who owns Brambleton, does it? Matthew and you can still think of it as his.”
“Yes, I suppose so. But--”
“And if you are worried about Matthew getting Brambleton afterward”--which Archie quite obviously was--“then we can just write up a codicil on your will stating that Brambleton is to go to him. I can write that up for your signature.”
“Oh, I see. Good idea. But why not just write up a new will with that specified in it.”
“That would be a whole lot more work and a codicil would be just as binding. I can work on that as soon as I return to Philadelphia.”
“I suppose. Thank you, Rick. Thank you for watching out for me.”
Rick gave the old man a benign smile, pleased with the way he’d found to watch out for someone, even if it wasn’t necessarily the judge.
Throughout this process, Matt was so focused on getting the roof on the south wing before fall--they were already several weeks behind schedule on that--that he paid no attention to Rick’s visit to Brambleton or the agreement struck between Archie and his son-in-law.
Perhaps he should have. But even then he probably couldn’t have figured out the legal bamboozle Rick was pulling.
Daylight disappeared above Brambleton’s south wing, marking the completion of the roof, on the morning of the first Thursday in September amid cheers from the construction workers. After months of delays, the closing of the roof had occurred two days earlier than anticipated. Work on the interior could begin the next day, free from the threat of the elements.
Matt felt like celebrating, but the judge was in Philadelphia that day and wasn’t expected home until the next day. The closing of the roof hadn’t been anticipated that day. Emmet, who was standing nearby had anticipated the event, however--as well as how euphoric and carefree it would make Matt feel.
“I have champagne on ice in my apartment,” he came up and whispered in Matt’s ear. “And I think you want to celebrate other ways as well.”
They fucked while the champagne continued to cool and the ice melted. Matt knelt between Emmet’s meaty thighs as Emmet sat on the bed and held Matt’s head into his crotch. Matt gagged again and again as Emmet tried to make him deep throat the cock. But Matt, walking on the clouds from the closing of the south wing roof, did what he could to take it all as it filled out and began to throb.
With a laugh, Emmet pulled Matt up by the waist and settled him on the cock. Matt writhed and panted and gave little cries of ecstasy as Emmet slowly pulled his channel down on the massive staff and then began raising and lowering Matt on the cock with the strength of his hands. Matt threw his arms around Emmet’s neck and brought the black man’s lips and teeth to his nipples. It wasn’t long before he shot his load up Emmet’s belly.
Emmet laughed and growled, “We’re celebrating. I’m gonna give you another one--maybe two more.” And then he fucked on, with Emmet arching Matt’s back toward the floor by pressing him down with his mouth, still chewing on Matt’s nipples and being rewarded with little yipping sounds from deep down inside Matt’s throat.
Emmet raised his torso again, leaving Matt bent back, his knuckles dragging on the floor in front of Emmet’s toes. Emmet came while dragging Matt’s channel back and forth on his channel, but he told Matt just to hold there, while he changed condoms. Then, while he built up his arousal again, he stroked Matt’s cock until the younger man fired off a second time.
Then Emmet pulled Matt back up to his chest, reversed him, and pulled both of them up to the center of his bed. Stretched out full on the bed and holding Matt above him, facing away, Emmet slid Matt’s channel down on his rehardened staff, which required no effort, as he’d already reamed and loosened Matt’s channel to his exact fit. Bringing his knees up and leveraging off of the balls of his feet, Emmet spread Matt’s thighs. He wrapped his arms around Matt’s chest and brought the younger man’s shoulder blades into his bulging, sweat-streaked pecs, and began pistoning his cock up inside Matt’s channel rapidly and deep, with long, strong strokes.
Matt, imprisoned in Emmet’s arms, his eyes rolling from the glorious pounding he was getting, writhed under the onslaught and screamed out how totally taken he was, his hard cock pounding back and forth and up and down on his belly, changing pattern with the change in the angle of Emmet’s thrusts.
He thought he saw the movement of a shadow at the bedroom window of the apartment behind the garages, but it was something that came back to him more later than at the moment--and then only in a fleeting possibility that someone had heard his primeval cries and had viewed the white-on-black/black-in-white coupling going on in Emmet’s bedroom. At the moment it was all Matt could do to manage to take the next breath and to endure the magnificent punishment his guts were being subjected to.
When Matt returned to the house, he was informed that Archie had come home early from Philadelphia. But Archie didn’t appear for dinner in the main house dining room that night--which only served to bring back to Matt the notion that someone had been watching Emmet fucking him that afternoon. The possibilities that it was Archie mortified Matt. He and Emmet had been very discreet for many months. He was sure of that. Emmet liked to waylay him at unexpected times, but he was being very careful that these were not instances in which they were likely to be seen by anyone else. Emmet wasn’t fucking him as much now as before Matt and Archie were married, but he still worked in an average of two surprise fuckings a week. And Matt lived for these. What he got from Archie was perfunctory, with Matt worrying about anything that would overstress the older man. Matt truly did care for him. But Matt also enjoyed being totally fucked. So, he made no move to deny Emmet whenever Emmet wanted to fuck. Matt wasn’t sure whether he even could deny Emmet taking whatever he wanted.
After dinner Matt slowly mounted the stairs, knowing that he should check in with Archie in his bedroom, where the housekeeper said the judge had been since that afternoon, having requested that his dinner be delivered in his room.
When Matt knocked on the door, Archie’s voice told him to enter. Matt gasped at what he saw: Archie, nude, laying in the center of his bed, a huge erection standing up from his crotch.
“Archie,” Matt said with a moan. “What have you done? You know you shouldn’t--”
“It’s been too long since I really fucked you,” Atherton said in a low, hoarse voice. “I know how much closing the roof on the wing means to you. I’m sorry I wasn’t back in time, but I thought it would be closed on Saturday. I want to give you the fuck loving you deserve.”
“Archie, you know you aren’t supposed--”
“It’s done now. Come to me. Let’s make the most of it.”
Matt was flooded with guilt. Was Archie covering from having seen him and Emmet that afternoon? If Archie had seen them, Matt expected anger and dismissal. Not this. Not trying his best to keep Matt.
The judge pushed Matt onto his back in the center of the bed, stuffed pillows under the small of his back, crouched between his thighs, and fucked him hard and deep and fast. Matt writhed under him and murmured genuine pleasure at the taking. On the pills, the cock was rock hard and huge. Tired after ejaculating deep inside Matt’s channel, but still hard, Archie turned on his back and pulled on Matt to mount him cowboy style.
“Shouldn’t we rest? You are wearing me out,” Matt pleaded--genuinely, because had already been ridden hard and at great length that afternoon.
“I want you tired. I want you so fucked you can’t close your legs,” the judge growled, pulling Matt over him. Matt sheathed his cock in the judge’s channel and began a slow pump, trying to work up an ejaculation of his own, hoping that that would satisfy his demanding husband. But Archie would have none of that. He spread his legs, forcing Matt’s further apart, and bent his knees so that he could leverage off his feet, and, panting hard and wheezing, started pounding his cock up into Matt’s channel like a jackhammer.
“You feel me? You getting it good from me?” The judge muttered.
“Yes, God, yes. You’re fucking me to heaven,” Matt cried out.
Atherton laughed. “Damn right. I can still take care of my honey. He doesn’t need any cock other than mine. No big, black cock is needed.”
Matt collapsed on Archie’s chest and began to cry. He knew. He’d seen.
The judge fucked on.
When he had come again, he turned both of them onto their sides, Matt cuddled into his chest, and, still hard and inside Matt, moved to a slow, deep pump.
Matt continued sobbing softly and whispering. “I’m sorry, Archie. I’m so sorry.”
When the pumping action slowed and then stopped, Matt turned a tear-streaked face to Archie’s, wondering if the older man would permit a kiss on the lips. When he turned, though, it appeared that Archie was asleep. But looks can be deceiving.
Archie was dead. He was, however, still hard.
* * * *
The funeral was in Philadelphia, and of course Matt wasn’t invited. Nor did he want to go. He was mortified over what happened, and he knew that he couldn’t keep it together watching Archie’s coffin being lowered into the ground. He had no idea until now how much Archie had come to mean to him--and now it no longer really mattered.
What mattered now was Brambleton. He needed to complete the work on Brambleton--and not just for himself. For Archie as well. It was his now, a bittersweet victory. Or it would be his, deed in hand, when the judge’s will went to probate. Matt had been there when the codicil was signed. And Archie had said that it would include enough money to maintain the estate.
Money was a bit of a problem now. He received a letter from Rick announcing that his allowance would have to be cut down because of the restoration costs on the south wing. The estate couldn’t afford that great an expense. But the bills for the construction were still being paid, so Matt was sure he could hold out until the will was probated and the inheritances were distributed.
For the next nearly seven months, Matt was so focused on the work on Brambleton’s south wing that he thought about nothing else and did nothing that wasn’t related to the construction. He even remained celibate, although, as highly sexed as he was, he did have to take care of his own needs.
He didn’t have Emmet around anymore to satisfy him--and he had no idea how he would have related to the black chauffeur knowing what Archie had seen and that it had led him to the grave.
On that Friday morning that Archie had died, after the body had been carried away and an almost sniggering local sheriff had finished his questioning, Matt had gone looking for Emmet. His apartment was mostly as usual--the unopened bottle of champagne even was still there, sitting in a lukewarm bucket of water. But Emmet wasn’t there, and his closet and bedroom drawers were empty. Stopping one of the workmen who was a close friend of Emmet’s, Matt learned that Emmet was gone--to parts unknown. Emmet had told the friend that he’d been fired, directly by Judge Atherton, but had been given a big enough slug of separation pay to make him happy to disappear.
Matt was angry--but with himself rather than Archie or even Emmet. Archie had done what he thought he needed to do to keep Matt--in spite of Matt’s infidelity and lack of loyalty--and Emmet had never pretended to be doing anything but getting his rocks off with a hot lay. He had disparaged the judge and all of the rich landowners around--he pretended no loyalty to any of them. Emmet hadn’t prostituted himself as Matt had.
At Thanksgiving time the Fitzhughs, Perry and William Henry, were in residence at Ravensworth, once again to host the hunt dinner and lead several hunts. They sent an invitation over for Matt to join them, but he responded that he was too busy with the restoration. He had little doubt what sort of hunt the Fitzhughs were interested in conducting with him.
Still, from time to time when he came up for air from the restoration, Matt felt the need for a good fucking. He planned to go back to southwestern Virginia at last, and to reunite with Dashad and maybe convince Dashad to come up to Brambleton. But the day he sat down to write the long-overdue letter to Dashad, a beam gave way in the south wing, and he suddenly was up to his chin in repair work that needed to be done immediately.
Once again fate had interceded in the sending of the letter Matt knew he had to write.