"Isn't that precious," the matron sitting to my left in the Minstrel dining room of the cruise ship was saying. "A young man has taken his father on a cruise. And he's so attentive to the older man's needs. I so wish my grandson . . . uh, my son . . . John could be like that."

That was Margaret. Sheila, sitting to my right and a little close for comfort, agreed with her. I was pretty sure they had bracketed me on purpose at the dining table. Both were in pretty good shape for their ages, but their ages were a good twenty years older than my forty-seven. I couldn't help shaking the feeling that they were shopping for new husbands, but ones they might survive or they'd be going straight for someone younger than I am. Both were dressed expensively and dripping in gems, despite what I'd been told, which was not to travel with expensive jewelry.

I knew it was good jewelry, though, because I was a jeweler by trade. I made the mistake of telling Margaret and Sheila that at our first dinner on board the ship going to the Grand Caymans and Cozumel out of Tampa. They were obviously hitting on me before knowing that, but knowing I dealt in gems made them all the more interested. I bet the jewelry was their second favorite possession after younger men. I did know that their jewelry was top-drawer stuff.

I agreed with both of them about a young man's attentiveness to his aging father, but I didn't believe it for a minute. Above the table that could have been true, but below the table, where the younger man-not a man that young, he must have been at least thirty-once or twice had taken his bare foot out of his loafer and rubbed his toes on top of the older man's foot. Their thighs and calves also were plastered together.

This was no father and son arrangement-at least not unless it was an illegal family matter, an idea I didn't want to entertain. And I was glad it wasn't. The younger man looked like a future shopping candidate to me. That's why Sol, my neighbor in Atlanta, said I went on these cruises by myself. He said I was shopping for my future, looking for a younger man to replace my last younger man and to take care of me in my old age.

I would have balked at him for saying that except for two things. The first was that history agreed with him. If I came home with a younger man from this cruise, it would be my fourth cruise with this result. And none of the three prior arrangements had lasted more than a year. I couldn't do that too many more times before I was certifiably too old to attract a younger man, let alone one who would take care of me like that younger man was doing for the other one at the table two tables over from ours in the Minstrel dining room.

The other thing was that he had said it right after I'd done a drunken "oh woe is me" confessional. And that was right before he fucked me. That had been a shock, I'll tell you. We'd had apartments in the same Atlanta high-rise building for nearly three years and had been in and out of each other's places for nearly that long, doing odd jobs and favors for each other-almost like brothers or best friends, although Sol was nearly twenty years younger than I was. In all that time, although he knew I was gay, I never considered that he might be too. He had a high-profile job, working as an on-air reporter for the CNN TV service that was headquartered in Atlanta.

He'd said he had business in Florida that melded well with my five-day cruise from Tampa and had volunteered to take me both ways all the way to Tampa and back for the cruise. We were so free and easy with each other that I accepted the offer just as if this was the most natural thing two friends could do. He must have planned it in advance, though, as there was only one hotel room booked when we got to Atlanta the day before the cruise, and he knew just what wines to order at dinner to keep me drinking.

I barely was aware of any preliminary buildup before I found myself flat on my back on the bed and my pelvis elevated because Sol's knees were wedged under my buttocks, and Sol was working his hard cock inside me.

It was a really nice fuck. A really, really nice one, especially since it had been two months since Rod had moved out and I was needing attention. But it ended with Sol holding me in his arms and me crying and confessing how scared I was to be growing old alone and him pointing out this whole gestalt thing of why I went on cruises-to cruise for younger men who could be caretakers as much as sex partners. He had to add, though, that he didn't think that young men going on cruises were shopping for that.

There I knew he was wrong. I think some went on cruises shopping for that, but that, in the main they didn't really understand what they wanted and that what they said they wanted turned out to be more of a commitment than they were willing to make.

Sol just fucked me that once. I would have liked another taste the next morning, when I was sober. But Sol was a bit sheepish about what we'd done the night before, leaving me even more confused than before. It made me think that maybe he hadn't planned the encounter after all. And there was nothing but awkwardness during breakfast the next morning and the drive to Channelside in downtown Tampa to the cruise ship pier.

The parting at the pier was also more than a bit awkward, with a handshake that both of us seemed to expect to be a bit more. And then there was what he said right before he drove off. He leaned over to the passenger window and said, "Think on it, Paul. You might be going too far afield in this future shopping of yours. In any event, when you return from the cruise, I'll be here for you." That's what he'd called it the night before-future shopping.

What in the hell did he mean by he would be here, I wondered. Of course we already understood he'd be here to meet me at the end of the cruise. Otherwise I'd be left high and dry for a way to get back to Atlanta.

Those two men sitting at a table for six, the only two sitting there, both facing me, could be me and a younger man in twenty years, I thought-if I was lucky. Except that I certainly hoped I didn't look like a toad in twenty years. The younger man, perhaps in his late twenties or early thirties, looked quite presentable. Lithe, handsome in the face, a good hair cut-although was that a slight graying in the temples? Maybe just turning gray prematurely and not yet in his thirties, I thought, adjusting my assessment. A nice smile and fluid motions. I could have believed he was an actor or dancer. Nothing exotic or flashy, though. The older man, however, looked pretty much like a toad. He was seventy if he was a day, lumpy and fat, completely bald, with a head shaped like a fireplug. No neck and a florid face. There was a walker next to him where a chair had been before the two had sat at that table. He looked like a heart attack or stroke waiting impatiently to happen.

We had assigned tables and it was formal night, which many cruise vacationers avoid like the plague. So, the tables were sparsely occupied. I doubt that the two had purposely sat at the table directly facing me, but I couldn't help but seeing them.

Although it was formal night, the two men, like many of the other diners, had ignored that. They had ignored it much more than some of the others had, though. I was wearing a tuxedo. I looked good in one, and I was, after all, shopping for male companionship. A tuxedo made me look like I could support a companion with expensive tastes. Most other men there at least made the effort to wear a suit. The two men facing me had on jackets, but any formality stopped there. The older man was a rumpled pile of mismatch. He was wearing a gray jacket and trousers, but of different, clashing shades of gray, and he had a brown, orange, and white Hawaiian-style shirt, with an open color, on under the wrinkled jacket. The young man was wearing a gray jacket too, but it was over blue jeans. His shirt was a relaxed-fit white dress shirt, but he had no tie. He was wearing loafers without socks.

Despite this, his clothes were well ironed and he wore his clothes like a model. And whereas the older man was decidedly out of place at formal night in the dining room, the younger man was able to pull his "look" off.

The younger man was doing all of the ordering, both food and wine, for his companion and himself, and the cruise pass card he used to register for the wine came out of his pocket. When the food came, I would not have been surprised if he had cut up the older man's meat for him-in fact, in some perverse way, I was looking forward to that, placing myself in my imagination in the place of the older man, having some infirmity that didn't permit me to take care of myself fully and having a younger man do whatever was needed for me. I also imagined that it wouldn't be much longer for the old man to be out of the picture. But the older man was able to feed himself, and he also was able to engage in conversation with the younger man.

They were talking comfortably with each other, not needing any other dining companions, and I found myself resenting what they had with each other.

I wondered what they would do when they got back to their cabin. Whether they had sex. Which one of them was the top; which one dominant? There too I was finding myself in the position of the older man, and I imagined myself stretched out on the bed on my belly, and the younger man saddled on my pelvis and giving me a slow, deep fuck-just the way I liked it. I'd certainly be easier on his eyes naked that the toad could be.

Meanwhile, Margaret and Sheila were bringing me back into the conversation at our table. It was clear that they were having a polite sparring session on whether they were going to the theater show or a bar or to hear the big-band-sound concert in the central atrium after dinner. And the bringing me into the conversation involved the expectation that I'd be pairing off with one of them for one of these options-and possibly continuing with one of them into the night.

As politely as I could, I disabused them both of that possibility, at least for tonight, and begged off any activities after dinner. I wasn't fully free of work, I told them, and I had some paperwork and e-mailing to do after dinner. I told them I was looking forward to dining with them the next night-unless something came up that had me dining elsewhere. I didn't tell them that I was hoping that the something else would be a younger man I'd met by then and was cultivating. Maybe when they saw me shepherding a younger man around they'd get the message without anything needing to be said.

While I was engaged with the women in an effort to disengage, I missed the exit of the two men I had been watching. It surprised me that I had a twinge of a feeling of loss that they were gone. I couldn't remember if they had been at the table the previous night, the first night of the cruise. I hoped that they-or the younger man, at least-would be there the next night. It's the only thing that would prompt me to have dinner in the dining room the next night. Of course, I wouldn't know whether he was there until after we were seated. And then it would be too late for me to politely abandon Margaret and Sheila.

On earlier cruises I occasionally had gone with one of these wealthy older women for a night in their cabin. But I never left satisfied. I was beyond the belief that a woman could possibly satisfy me sexually, and, though, when I was younger I would appreciate having a wealthy woman take care of me, I was wealthy myself now. I didn't need some older woman's money. What I wanted was a younger man to take care of me as I grew older.

* * * *

I was trying to decide if he was Brazilian or an Argentine, although after my second vodka Collins it didn't really seem to matter which he was. It was South American something. Whichever, he had the most compelling light-gray eyes, which went really well with his silver-gray hair and the black suit with black silky shirt and black tie with a hash pattern of silver strands.

I went up to the lounge at the top of the ship after dinner, the one where drinks were double priced, so that the riff raff who had saved all of their money in life to go on this one five-day cruise were kept away, assuming they could find the bar to start with. I was hiding out from Margaret and Sheila who thought I'd gone to my cabin. Not that the two of them weren't well heeled enough to come up here, but they'd agreed, with a sigh, to go to the late floor show in the theater with each other since they'd reached a stalemate with me.

"Are you drinking alone?" the Brazilian-Argentine, who said his name was Julio, asked when he came over to where I was sitting, nearly twenty minutes after we'd begun eyeing each other across the room. He wasn't what I was looking for. He was several years older than I was. But he was handsome and well-built and was a real smooth talker. He seemed to be a man of the world, and I imagined the he would be good in bed.

When I told him that, yes, I was alone, he said, "A man shouldn't have to drink alone. Especially a man as good looking as you. May I join you?"

"For saying I was good looking, you can do anything you want," I answered.

"I was hoping that would be the case," he answered with a smile

There weren't any young men in the lounge who seemed to be flying solo, let alone ones who might be interested in what I was looking for. I had half hoped that the young man I'd seen at dinner would be up here, but of course he wasn't. There was no reason why he should be. The older man he'd been with didn't look like his walker would carry him this high in the ship.

While I was drinking my third vodka Collins, I admitted to Julio that I indeed was looking for a man to hook up with, but that I was interested in much younger men than I was.

I vaguely remember him answering that young men were good to fuck but that older men were much more experienced in doing the fucking-and he asked me what role I was interested in taking. He had looked quite pointedly at me in noting that young men were good to fuck. I wasn't a young man, but I was younger than he was. I also remember telling him what I was looking for from a young man. I somehow felt safe with Julio, because he wasn't younger than I was-he was several years older. It didn't escape me that he was sexy as hell too and that chills went up my spine when he touched my forearm with long, sensuous fingers.

I remember ordering a fourth vodka Collins, or, rather, Julio ordering one for me, but I don't remember drinking it all. I don't remember anything that transpired between the fourth drink arriving and when I was bent over my bed, supporting my weight off the surface of the bed on my elbows and forearms, and looking down the line of my torso to where my cock was hanging and being stroked by those long, slender fingers, with a heavy gold signet ring on the middle finger. I was naked, and in my cabin.

Julio was naked too. He was bent over my back, his silky chest hair rubbing against my shoulder blades. The hand on my cock was exchanged for his other one, and I felt the smoothness of the gold signet ring revolve around my rim. I moaned and spread my legs farther, as he buried the finger inside me to where the ring was rubbing around my rim at a different angle. Moments later, as I opened to his finger, the tip of which had found and worked my prostate as I shuddered under him, the finger was extracted and his dick was slowly filling my channel. He was milking my cock with one hand and had his other arm wrapped around my belly, holding me still, while he almost immediately transitioned into pistoning my channel hard.

Coming a bit out of my drunken stupor, I began to writhe under his assault and could hear myself moaning and groaning and begging him both to not fuck so hard and to fuck me good. He slid his arms up under my arm pits, crossing his wrists behind my neck, and buried his fingers in the hair on the back of my head, while arching my torso up off the bed. If anything his pistoning was become harder, more rapid. As he eased his arm hold on me, I managed to reach down and grasp my own cock and give it the attention it was aching for. I shot off onto the bed sheets. He came with a grunt and a couple of jerks shortly thereafter.

He didn't draw out of me, though. He was still hard. He lowered his torso on my back and slow pumped me until he slowly lost his hard. While this was happening, he alternated between teething my earlobe and running his tongue into my ear cavity and worked my nipples with his fingers.

With a jerk, I gave him an after ejaculation. He laughed a deep, low laugh, knowing no doubt that he had brought more out of me than was my usual experience with a younger man.

He whispered the question to my ear. "Do your young men give you this attention?"

"No, they don't," I had to admit. But he didn't understand. I was looking for more than a good fuck. I was shopping for a future in which I'd be an old man. Mathematics ruled out looking for a man even older than I was.

I woke sometime later reclined on the bed, with Julio stretched out behind me, an arm embracing me, and moving me over onto my belly. I felt his knees pressing in on either side of my thighs and the palms of his hands pressing into my shoulder blades. And I heard the long sigh he gave, and the soft whisper, "And again now."

I was groaning myself, as his cock slid back into me and, mounted on my buttocks, he began to stroke. An arm laced down around my belly, and he was coaxing me up onto my knees, while he crouched over me and fucked me like a dog. Again he was assaulting me with hard, quick strokes. I cried out for him to go slower, not to dig so deep so soon, but I heard nothing but grunts-from him and me-so it's possible I didn't actually vocalize any objection. He pushed me flat, and once again I felt his arms going under my armpits on either side, his wrists lock behind my neck, and his fingers dig into the scalp at the back of my head. He arched my torso up again, and he was making a rocking horse out of us both, rocking my body to the rhythm of his thrusts inside me.

It was only after we'd both come that he reversed himself on me and we sucked and cleaned each other's cocks. Once again he wasn't satisfied until after I'd given him a little spurt of after ejaculate.

"You are still a virile man," he murmured. "I like that. You come well. Perhaps you will fuck me next."

Funny. I was just thinking the same of him-the virile part; I had never performed the role of a top. He was still able to get hard and stay hard and give a profusion of cum multiple times. Not bad for a man of his age. Not bad at all.

Panting, I lay there on my belly, spread-eagled on the bed, and watching him redress after having taken a quick shower. I didn't want to reveal just how exhausted he had made me.

"That was good. Very good. I will want to fuck you again-and perhaps you me," he said in a matter-of-fact tone, as he worked on a silver cuff link. Who wore fancy cuff links anymore, I thought, as I watched him. I purposely was saying little, trying to settle down and stop the panting and trying to keep the quiver out of my voice from being totally fucked. It wasn't the fuck I had been looking for, but he was right, he was quite good at it. It was quite a fuck that I got.

"What time is it?" I asked. I don't know why I asked that. Later I was afraid that maybe I was angling for a third fuck, although I don't know how I would have survived it. But what a glorious way to die.

I didn't know why we were in my cabin. I suddenly recalled having asked him about his cabin while I was sipping my fourth vodka Collins.

"It's nearly midnight. My wife's bridge game should be breaking up soon, so I best be back. But I want to fuck you again. Tomorrow evening? Meet in the same bar?"

The question was only about the timing; he didn't seem to be asking if I wanted him to fuck me again. My response to the two times he'd done so probably told him everything he needed to know.

"That would be fine," I whispered. That explained why it was my cabin. He had a wife on board. And, though I'd said it would be fine, I wasn't sold on the idea. I didn't want to be lost to Julio, no matter how pleasant the prospect. I was shopping for a younger man . . . for the future. An older married man wasn't anywhere in the plans. Still, he could fuck, and I hadn't had sex in a couple of months. But it wasn't what I was looking for.

But the fuck he'd given me was way much more satisfying than what Rod had been doing before he left me.

I looked up to tell him that maybe tomorrow night wasn't a good idea. We'd be in the Cayman Islands tomorrow night, half way through the cruise already. I had serious shopping to do.

But he was gone.

* * * *

I was moving a little gingerly the next morning when the ship had anchored off Georgetown on Grand Cayman island. We'd be tendered in to the shore and I had bought an excursion tour to snorkel the wreck of the USS Kittiwake off Kittiwake Beach, with an hour of beach time as well. So I couldn't sleep in. It wasn't just the vodka Collinses that had me creaking, it also had been the positions Julio had put me in and how brutally he'd fucked my channel. He wasn't built particularly big, but he showed no mercy in how he used his dick.

I had selected the excursion because there were, in fact, quite a few young, in-shape men on the cruise, and a snorkel and beach morning would provide an opportunity to shop and be shopped with stripped-down men.

I had withdrawn into my own thoughts and in locating and assessing various pains in my body over coffee and bakery items when I was distracted by movement at the next table over. It was the younger man from the dining room the evening before. He was dressed for a morning beach excursion. I had no idea whether I had sat down near him or he me, but we were sitting so that we were looking directly at each other. This morning he was looking as cool and "fitting in" as he had the night before. He was alone.

Our eyes met and he smiled. So I smiled back. But then both of us went back to our food. We glanced at each other a couple of more times, but when I finally worked up the courage to go over and sit beside him, I saw that he was gone. A bit later I saw him leaving the buffet line with a plate of food. He was, I was sure, taking it back to his cabin for his older companion.

When we were lining up for the separate excursions on the Georgetown pier, there he was, in my group. There were several other eligible-looking men on the tour as well, even ones that didn't seem to be attached. But my eyes kept going back to that young man, and I fancied that he looked my way occasionally too.

Once at Kittiwake Beach, the tour guide and his assistant staked out an area of the sand for us and we all rolled out our towels and disrobed down to our bathing suits. It was time to separate the possibles from the "also rans," and I intently checked out what was enticing. I also looked carefully at how the various young men were relating to other people. Were the other people young women or other men, or did they appear to be unattached and checking out other men? This had always helped me narrow down possibilities on cruises before.

Once again, it was hard for me not to check back with the young man from the previous night's dinner several times. He wasn't attached here; the older man wasn't on the tour, and, indeed, he couldn't have physically managed the demands of even getting to this beach. The young man wasn't checking out much of anyone, but I caught him looking at me several times. He also was a beautiful man when he was nearly naked. He was wearing a skimpy Speedo-as was I, because I was advertising as well as shopping. He wasn't as muscled as I was, his body being more lithe than muscle-bound, but everything was in perfect proportion-everything but the package that the Speedo couldn't hide, that is. The young man was hung.

He moved with grace, and I surfaced visions of running my hands over his smooth, tanned, and toned torso. There wasn't anything about this young man that I didn't like-other than that he already obviously was with an older man on the cruise.

Out we went snorkeling around the wreck of the ship that had been sunk off the shore specifically to help form a coral reef, which it was busy doing. The top of the ship was no more than four feet below the surface of the water. The coral loved it; the fish loved it; the snorkelers loved it. There was nothing not to like. I loved it too and was so engrossed in the wonders of life on a reef that it took me some time to become aware the young man I was interested in was swimming parallel to me. He swam like a dolphin. His body was as beautiful and he was as graceful under water as he had been on land. The urge to turn my attention to the bulge of his Speedo fought with the interest in exploring the coral-covered shipwreck with my eyes.

It wasn't long after I realized that he was swimming beside and not far from me that I was aware that he was gone. When I got back to the beach, he was gone from there as well. We all went up to the fringe of the beach to an open-air bar, where we all ordered drinks and then sat in the sun to dry off before the trolley car we'd come in took us back to downtown Georgetown. We still had three hours before we had to be back on board the ship.

At the beach bar I had chatted up a red-headed, muscular college guy who said his name was Chet and that he was a student at Florida State. He began to get skittish when we got to possibly available discussion, but I could tell that he was interested-just not sure of himself. He was with some other college guys, and as he drifted back into their orb, he allowed as how maybe we could meet for a drink on board in the next day or two. I noted him for possible cultivation.

After giving Chet some slack in the line if not removing the hook, I sat next to a hunky young black guy who said his name was just that-Guy. We waltzed around our backgrounds and our preferences and even nudged around to confirming that he was a top and I was a bottom when his boyfriend, coming out of the surf later than the rest of us, appeared. Guy introduced me to Tom, who also was young. The two of them were quite friendly, and Guy even mentioned that he thought threesomes were fun, but I didn't need yet another sexual experience that didn't lead to my future shopping goals. I was looking for one sexy, unattached, young man who could be domesticated and was still a top. A tall, order, I knew, but I had managed it before on cruises-if not for the long term.

After we were left off in the center of Georgetown, I walked two blocks back from the waterfront and found an upstairs bar I'd been told about by a friend who had vacationed in the Cayman Islands and probably knew all there was to know about gay hookups here. The islands weren't gay friendly, so everything gay was tucked away in corners.

I wanted to drown my sorrows-and steel myself for dinner when I'd be facing the young man I was interested in and his old sugar daddy across the room-not to mention Margaret and Sheila at my own table.

But I didn't have to do that. The young man was sitting at the bar of Pauli's, the gay bar that had been recommended to me. He saw me coming through the door and patted the barstool next to his and smiled.

I was trembling when I walked over to him. This short circuited a lot in whether he really was gay or not and whether he had any interest in me.

"Am I stalking you or are you stalking me?" I asked with a smile as I saddled up on the barstool. I'd pulled on an athletic T with deep armholes, but my shorts were in the bag I was carrying. I was still in my Speedo and wanted to be minimally dressed for the "shopping" I had anticipated to do in the bar, hoping to see some young guys from the cruise ship in here.

Travis was wearing about the same. That's what he told me his name was, right after he answered my question with, "I was rather hoping we were zeroing in on each other."

"I saw you in the dining room last evening," I said.

"I saw you as well. I got the impression that you were interested in me."

"You were with an older man. I got the impression that you had your hands full with companionship."

"That was Conrad. And, yes, we are a pair. Have been for some time. But we come on these cruises so that I can do a little cruising for myself. Conrad can take care of me in a limited way, but he's past having much of a sex life himself. He can manage something by watching, though, and I can jack a bit of satisfaction out of him if the conditions are right. So I put on a show for him occasionally. But to help me have full satisfaction, we go on these cruises a couple of times a year and I get my jollies. But maybe I'm giving too much information."

"No, not at all. So, you're telling me . . ."

"That I'm available and interested. I'm a top."

"And . . ."

"If you're looking for a top, I'm interested. We haven't been brushing by each other by accident."

"My name is Doug," I said, my hand shaking enough that I had to hold the beer glass that had just been delivered with both hands. "And, yes, I am a bottom. And also, yes, I'm very interested."

"Your cabin on the boat . . ."

"Is mine alone. I'm traveling solo."

"They have tenders going back to the ship constantly," he said.

I only got two gulps out of the beer before he was rising from his barstool and I was following behind.

Travis fucked me with my shoulder blades on the surface of the bed and my pelvis elevated on two pillows. He stood between my spread thighs, holding my legs up and out by fisting my ankles. He was horse hung, as I had already been able to tell, and enjoyed pumping me deep and slow at least at the beginning. It was what I liked too-that as well as the intensity of his stare and the expressions on his face as he leaned into me closely, his face less than a foot from mine. My wrists were tied together with one of my neckties and were hooked on the back of his neck. I was gagged with another necktie, which was a good thing, or my cries of passion would be heard all the way down to the center atrium. The bondage had been his idea. I thought it was kinky, but by the time we got there, I would have done anything to have him. Few men's cocks had been as deep inside me as his was. Few had coaxed me as open as he was doing. Few men had pulled moans as deep and long out of me as he did.

He had a regular pattern to his fucking-at least until he lost control at the height of lust, at which time he fucked with a fury as most young men his age did. He manipulated my legs, pulling them into his hips and bending them forward as he withdrew his cock and then pushing them straight out at arms' length as he glided deep again. He'd take three or four short pumps at depth or revolved his hips when he was fully saddled, which would make me moan and groan and then he would repeat the pattern.

His ejaculations were as strong and prolonged as only a young man at his peak can produce, and when he pulled the condom off the cock, its bulb was as thick with cum as a slug. I was panting heavily and he had barely broken a sweat.

After we had both come and cooled down, I opened a bottle of Malbec I had in the room and we went out on the balcony, standing close together at the railing, arms around each other, and talked.

Yes, I had loved the fuck, and he'd been happy with it too. No, I didn't mind the mild bondage. I'd found it arousing.

Yes, he was sure that Conrad knew what he was doing-and encouraged it.

The surprise though came when I asked about their arrangement.

"Conrad was in imports. He's retired now. I danced in Broadway shows but haven't done that for a couple of years."

"And he takes you on these cruises."

Travis laughed. "Rather the other way around. He wants me to go on the cruises. He even suggests I go alone, but I don't want to do that. I want to be with Conrad. And I pay for the cruises. He did support me for several years-he was always around, waiting for when I would come to him. But he doesn't get much out of his share of that business now. I came into money-a family inheritance. We live on my dime now."

I had been poised to proposition him. I was prepared to foot the bill of putting Conrad in a home if Travis came with me. But I could see now that there was a bond between the two that wasn't built on Conrad's finances. It was likely I couldn't break that bond-that I didn't want to-but, damn, why were all of the good ones already taken by lucky old men? Once again I was left high and dry. That was hard to take, especially hard because Travis fucked me just the way I liked it. I hadn't lied when I said I'd found the mild bondage extra arousing. I was depressed, but something in the back of my mind told me that I was missing something. I was just too sorry for myself to try to think of what that was.

"He was patient with me. I fucked a lot of men while I was with Conrad, even when he could manage it better himself. I fuck a lot of other men now," he said, with a laugh. "But at the end of the day, Conrad is there waiting for me."

I let it go at that, but I could see that he had finished his wine. "You know what I'd like?" I murmured.

This time Travis lay on his back on the bed and I rode his cock to another slow, deep ejaculation.

We talked about doing it again during the remaining two days of the cruise, but that night Travis and Conrad weren't at dinner in the dining room. Although the seating was prearranged, this night the other four seats were occupied by two middle-aged couples. But there were no Travis and Conrad.

I roamed the public areas of the ship after dinner-after having thought up another halfway plausible explanation on why I couldn't choose between Margaret and Sheila to bestow my sexual and other favors on. It was midnight before I saw him. He was walking up the stairs toward one of the cabin floors with the red-headed college student I had started to proposition at the tour on the Grand Cayman beach, the one named Chet. So much for either one of them satisfying me this evening or being further pursued for longer-term possibilities.

I went straight to the lounge at the top of the ship, where Julio was waiting.

"I thought you wouldn't come," he said as I lowered my body in the chair next to him and ordered a vodka Collins.

"I wouldn't miss being with you again," I said. And at that moment I meant it.

He fucked me on the carpet of my cabin, taking me hard and furiously, as if it would be our last time, both of us making sounds of animals in high heat. And, as it turned out, it was our last time.

When he left me that night, Julio said that, unfortunately, this had been our last assignation. The bridge nights didn't run the last night of the cruise. He wouldn't be free of his wife the next night. As good as his fucking was, I didn't regret that it couldn't go on for another night. Not only did it leave me exhausted and bowlegged, but it just wasn't the right arrangement for me. There was no future in it.

I took another beach and snorkeling excursion the next day when the ship docked at the pier in Cozumel, Mexico. However, even though there were several hunky young men on the tour-and a few who showed interest in me-this future shopping had all become rather hollow for me. I could sense that was so, but I just couldn't understand why. I kept thinking of what Travis and Conrad had together, and wishing that I was Conrad. But I wasn't, and it would be terrible of me to try to break into what they had. I knew if I had such an arrangement and someone took my young man away, I'd want to slit my wrists.

This time the young redhead named Chet sought me out and danced around the possibility of the two of us hooking up. He had waited too long to work up the courage. The timing was just bad. I let him off the hook as gently as I possibly could.

Travis and Conrad weren't at dinner the last night of the cruise, but Travis did find me in the wine bar.

"Conrad is interested in you," Travis said, as he settled in the chair beside me. "I told him what a good lay you were."

"Interested in me? Interested in what way?"

"I told you he liked to watch."

And so he had, I thought, with a bit of shock. I hadn't zeroed in on what he meant at the time, though.

"He wants to watch us having sex?"

"Yes, it's the only way he can halfway get hard. It's what I do for him on these cruises. It's the enjoyment he gets out of these cruises-watching me fuck other men. You don't have a problem with that, do you? You're so hot, I read you for a swinger."

"No, of course I have no problem with that, but I don't think I'm available this evening," I said. I had to give this some thought. This was a blind alley as far as my goal was, but the thought of doing it was making me hard.

Travis didn't wait for an explanation why, even though my mind was racing trying to provide one. He already was looking around and rising from the chair beside me. "Well, then, sorry I can't sit and chat. I have to be a man on a mission. It's what Conrad is back in the room expecting."

"Good hunting," I said and raised my glass to him. I wasn't resentful, but I was a little sad. I also was somewhat relieved, feeling that I had dodged a bullet of some sort-at least until I gave it some thought.

He was only three steps away from me when I had given it sufficient thought. "Wait, a minute, Travis."

* * * *

My shoulder blades were on the edge of the bed and my head was hanging over the end. I was watching the waves of the sea the ship was plying through, half way between Cozumel and Tampa, from an upside down. My arms were arched to the floor, my wrists bound by Travis' belt. He was on his knees between my thighs, my pelvis raised on three pillows. He held my right leg out to the side, my left leg running up his torso, the ankle hooked on his shoulder. He was fucking me deep with his cock and was stroking my cock with one hand and working my nipples with the other.

The old toad, Conrad, was sitting in a club chair between the bed and the balcony door. He was grunting, and pulling at his cock, while, through slitted eyes, he watched Travis fuck.

I was close to coming. I had never done this before and quite possibly would never do it again. But it was a good fuck to end the cruise with-to end the whole idea of picking up men for the future through cruising.

* * * *

Thursday morning, Sol was waiting for me in his car at the side of Channelside road at the Tampa cruise terminal pier. I had gotten off the ship a couple of hours later than I expected, but there he was, waiting for me.

"Was it a good cruise? Any luck?" he said, as I put my bag in the trunk and walked around to the driver's window rather than the passenger door.

"The cruise was fascinating. I think I was lucky, yes."

He looked around with a quizzical expression as if, if I had been lucky, he expected me to have a young man in tow. I took advantage of him looking around to put my head in the driver's window, cup his head in both hands, and bring his mouth around for a kiss.

"What . . . ?"

"During the cruise I decided I knew what you really meant when you said you'd be here waiting for me," I said. "I regret to say I didn't discover that on my own. Dunce that I am I had to have help."

Sol didn't ask me what I meant. That alone told me that I had been right. That all of this time he had been waiting for me.

I went around and climbed in the passenger seat. "Let's go home, Sol. Take me to the future."



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