It may have made a difference if he hadn't told me right after he'd fucked me. But, then, maybe not. We'll never know. He saw to that in what he was so quick to assume.
It had all been cloak and dagger, as usual. He was at his doctor's for a routine checkup. Last week his doctor had been dining alone with him at the governor's mansion under similar circumstances, so that was a pretty safe reciprocal arrangement. I was alone in my Baltimore apartment, lights on and CD player blaring while I worked on program notes for a coming CBS TV regional special on Little League baseball at Cal Ripken's stadium just off I-95 in Aberdeen.
All very tidy. Where I really was was on my back on the edge of the double berth in a Buccaneer 272 sailboat off Cheston Point in the Chesapeake Bay just south of Annapolis with one leg being held up at the ankle and a cock buried in my ass. And where Governor Grayson Hamilton was was standing over me, one of my thighs between his legs and his pumping cock inside me.
It wasn't even Hamilton's sailboat. It belonged to his doctor buddy and was kept at the Annapolis Landing Marina across Spa Creek from the governor's mansion, where the governor's wife and three children were probably just sitting down to their early dinner, before Grayson Jr. went off to play on his Little League baseball team at Ripken Stadium.
Grayson Hamilton was a virile man and very good at fucking-which is probably why he had three sons and a daughter and who knows how many boyfriends before me, including Zeb Clarke, the Baltimore Orioles centerfielder, who the governor had seen me with at a sports banquet in Washington, D.C., the previous spring. Since Hamilton had intimate knowledge of what Clarke liked and would do, he made an assumption along those lines about me. While we were standing around letting the photographers catch candid photos of either he or Clarke or both, the governor chatted me up. And it was his suggestion that he do an interview with me the following week for my Baltimore TV station, WJZ, in a hotel room overlooking Baltimore harbor.
The only notes I got from that interview were the smoothness of his seduction routine, that he worked out regularly enough to have a cut body at forty-eight, the length and girth of his engorged penis, and the fact that he could ejaculate twice in the space of forty minutes while fucking me on a hotel bed-and then would have liked and been able to go on for more if we'd had the time.
The time and place was what was always getting in the way since then. He was an opposition party governor during a period when hunting season on philandering opposition party politicians was at its peak. We expended more time and energy in just being able to arrange a safe meeting that his schedule permitted than he took to show me how virile he was and how much stamina he had.
"I'm afraid we're going to have to cool it for a while, Jeremy," he whispered in my ear when he'd come and then stretched out beside me on the bunk of the wobbling Buccaneer 272 and pulled me into his body in an embrace.
There had been something frenetic and almost sad about his fucking on the sailboat that day. Other than that, I had quite enjoyed it. His plunges and my counterthrusts had set the sailboat rocking where it was moored a couple of hundred yards off the point, and I had felt no compulsions about letting him know in my crying out for what I wanted and what I liked and what he was doing to me as his cock churned deep inside my channel, all of which lifted him to new heights of heat and giving. There was nothing complex in this relationship as far as I was concerned. Yeah, I was a private person myself, but I didn't have to go to cloak and dagger lengths about it.
Little did I know during the fuck that this would be our last time.
"Cool it for a while?" I asked.
"It's getting really, really difficult. There was that Iowa congressman and his aide last week. And the incident in the Detroit airport men's room not long before that. It's just getting very, very difficult."
"By 'cool it,' you actually mean stop it, don't you?" I asked.
He didn't respond, but his hand started to roam. He was ready again. I had to hand it to him. Hardly any time ever went by before he was ready again. His hand was moving to my cock, and my hips started an undulating movement, my cock fucking slowly into his loose fist.
Then it dawned on me. It all became clear.
"You've found someone else, haven't you? Someone fresh. Maybe someone with just a slight more risk."
He didn't respond immediately. If I was off base, he should have responded immediately.
"I want you." His whisper was hoarse, full of lust. At least this was true, he couldn't lie about that. His cock was hard as a rock and rubbing up against my thigh, and we were just a rollover away from him getting on top of me and overpowering me as he liked to do and thrusting his cock inside me again. "Let's not fight about this. Let's remember this last wonderful afternoon together."
At the last possible second, I worked up the courage and strength to get out from underneath him and grab up my shorts. I jerked them up my legs and pulled up my zipper hard, accentuating the "closed" sign I wanted to convey to him. I sat down across from the bunk then and picked his pack of cigarettes up from the table and lit one up. This should have signaled to him how upset I was, as I didn't smoke, and he knew I didn't. But, like most politicians, all he could see when he looked at anyone else was a reflection of himself.
"Come back to me," he murmured. And he gave me his best sheepdog impression and a little endearing smile. I was never more tempted then at that moment to surrender to him. "I didn't mean forever. There would be opportunities. It's just so dangerous right now."
Danger indeed would be his downfall. But not the danger itself. It was his inability to keep his pecker in his pants whenever he sniffed out enticing male tail. I knew he wasn't mitigating his danger here. He was moving on to newer, higher risk. Like a moth to the flame.
"Get up and get this tub moving, Grayson," I answered, blowing smoke out of my nose and so upset that I didn't think to choke on it. "Take me back to Annapolis."
A week later, a Mr. Talbot, who I never quite figured out as a lawyer or a party fixer, rang the doorbell of my Baltimore apartment.
"What is this about?" I asked when we were seated and he had turned down the offer of a drink.
"Just about a few loose ends," he said. "We just want to make sure that everyone is happy and we all can move on with our lives that way."
"Who is 'we'?" I couldn't resist asking. I had sort of expected the visit. But I had no idea what the protocol would be on these things. I'd never been the cast-off boy toy of a governor before.
Mr. Talbot pursed his lips and looked at me like I was breaching some sort of rule about not talking directly on the topic in such delicate negotiations. But, dumb me, I hadn't caught on yet that we were negotiating. Regardless, he ignored my smartass question.
"We think it would be in the best interest of everyone if you were to move out of Maryland. There's a good opening at the bigger-market New York station CBS affiliate, we understand. It would be a good career move, and we're confident you would be well qualified for it. And we're sure you know how important appearances are in an on-camera job."
Another indirect allusion to "the problem." And I wasn't dumb enough to think the whiff of scandal was half as dangerous to my career as it was to the governor's. The continued use of "we" was irritating me in an exaggerated way that made me feel like there was something deeper inside me being violated.
"I have no intention of broadcasting the fact that the governor of Maryland has been fucking me, Mr. Talbot," I said, nostrils flaring. All for naught, as he didn't even flinch, didn't react as shocked in the least. "And I like my job in Baltimore, thank you. I think I'll stay right here. I worked hard to make the sports slot on the evening news."
I didn't put him off message in the slightest.
"We know how difficult moving will be, and we're prepared to be very generous, very generous indeed in helping you relocate. I have a check right here. All you have to do is sign it-oh, and this nondisclosure release form-and we'll all be very happy indeed, I'm sure."
I didn't even look at the amount on the check. I was sure it was a more-then-generous buyoff. But what Mr. Talbot didn't know-what even Grayson Hamilton had never bothered to find out-was that I didn't need money. I had money independent of any work I did.
"I didn't sleep with Grayson Hamilton for money, Mr. Talbot. Perhaps if he'd given a thought to that, he wouldn't have kissed me off the way he did. And I wasn't thinking of doing anything to hurt him either. Until, maybe . . . until, perhaps, when you walked through my door." I later wondered what life would have been like if I hadn't taken that little meaningless-to me at least-dig.
This at least seemed to make an impression on him. But I didn't give him time or opportunity to move to a second line of damage control. I had him up and propelled toward the door in short order.
At the door, though, he turned and gave me an ominous look and said, "I don't know who you think you are toying with, Mr. Landon, but I do hope you enjoy New York."
Mr. Talbot's point was driven home in fewer than two days, when I learned, no ifs ands or buts, that I was being transferred to WJZ's New York affiliate WCBSTV within the month.
I wasn't outraged, and I'm not all that fussy. I loved the vibrancy and variety of New York City, and I was only mildly disgruntled that, despite the higher paycheck, fancier job title, and larger market, I was no longer the sports commentator on the evening news. I'd have to work my butt off to get into the slot in New York. I even reasoned that was probably just as well, as I knew I wouldn't be able to keep a smile on my face in reporting a Yankees rout of my beloved Orioles.
And, besides, within a couple of weeks I'd met him. Kirk Kingsley owned an art gallery in Manhattan, and not just any art gallery. His gallery specialized in high-end sports art-paintings and sculptors focused on the grace of the athlete. All of my new colleagues at the station had oohed and ahhed and asked me who I knew when a personalized invitation from him floated in for me to attend an opening by a particularly hot sports artist specializing in airborne NASCAR car legends.
I knew what Kirk was and what he'd want the moment I saw him. He was one of those men who, complete with earring and curled-up hair, made no attempt to hide his sexual preferences while remaining totally masculine and uncaring of what anyone else might think. And he had the position, money, and power to cause everyone around him to bow down before him and to feel pleasure and entitlement when he did no more than look their way and smile that sensuous smile of his.
I had no idea how he knew I was approachable. That's not something I wore on my shirtsleeve. I was a very private person-and not from squeamishness or guilt over who I was, but just because I was a very private person. That was another thing about me that Grayson Hamilton might have saved himself a lot of grief over if he'd bothered to look at me with eyes that actually could see. I didn't naturally make waves; I didn't want the attention it brought.
When I arrived at the opening, a host took me directly to where Kingsley was standing in the middle of a knot of well-dressed "beautiful people" and holding court. He smiled at me and called me by name as I approached. And then he introduced me around to some of the richest, most-easily recognized luminaries of New York.
The food was good, the champagne was delicious and numbing, and the conversations were scintillating. And after the event, when all had left and the lights over the art work were dimmed, Kirk took me to his office, laid me on his desk top, and fucked me so long and well that anything else I might have learned that evening had been washed out of me by continuous flowings of cum-both his and mine.
I was shocked, awed, and frightened, when, after he'd opened me up to the tune of my load moaning with the workings of his tongue as I lay on his desk top, legs spread, and his head in my crotch, he stood and slapped a hard, thick cock on my belly, its angry bulbous head pierced with a thick gold ring.
He made maximum use of that ring, though, as I groaned and writhed under him, and by the time the festivities were through, I was his.
He was totally sensitive. He himself was flamboyant and devil may care and in your face. But he respected that I was not-and that in my profession it was best that I not be. He didn't flaunt me in public, but in private he worshipped my body and fulfilled my every want and need in such a way that I was besotted with him. I thought of no one else but him. wanted no one else's cock inside me but his gold-ringed master tool. I started to construct my whole world around him and around the next time he could come to my bed and fuck me to heaven.
Thus he was the perfect damage control tool for the governor of Maryland.
I should have caught on the day I was sitting on the desk of the station's political reporter, Amanda Blake, and glancing at the oversized glossy photos on her desk as we were discussing where the best buys on our favorite wines were.
I recognized him in the photo immediately-and Grayson Hamilton and that Mr. Talbot as well. I asked Amanda what the photo was, and she said it was just some big political party contributors dinner in Manhattan the previous evening. She pointed to several regional governors of the opposing party who had shown up for the event-Hamilton hadn't been the only governor here. Mr. Talbot she didn't know. Kirk Kingsley she knew as a big party contributor, and I knew by the easy way she spoke of them all that she had no idea there was a connection between me and Kirk-and certainly not with Hamilton.
All of the governors of this region who were from that party were here, I told myself. It didn't mean anything. Still, I had had no idea Kirk had any interest in politics at all, let alone in Hamilton's party.
I did remember to ask him about it one evening when he had floored me and pumped me to paradise before we could even make it into the bedroom, but he just registered surprise and told me that business owners like him contributed to both parties. They all saw it as insurance.
That held for maybe a couple of weeks. But then I saw Kirk putting his head together with that Mr. Talbot at an outdoor café in Manhattan one afternoon, and I felt my world crumbling, and my eyes opened to the obvious. I knew I should have wondered about it from the beginning-from when I got the invitation that came as such a surprise to the others at the station and then when Kirk knew me and squired me around his opening all evening. I'd been giving him more credit than he deserved-appreciating his decisiveness in seeing what he liked and grabbing for it.
That night, when Kirk arrived, I didn't let him in the door, and we had a brief, highly unsatisfying conversation on our cell phones with only a slab of wood separating us.
"It's not what you think, Jeremy," he said.
"It's all a lie, isn't it, Kirk? You've just been lying to me, playing me. All you are is very good damage control."
"No. Listen to me, Jeremy. It may have started that way, but . . . that's what I was meeting Talbot for. I was telling him I wouldn't . . . Oh god, what can I do to prove to you . . .?"
"You're so clever. I'm sure you can figure something out," I shot back at him, my voice not nearly as full of venom as I would have liked. I was hurt, deeply hurt. I wanted him to know that.
I cut him off at that point. I wanted to remember him as having had at least a shred of integrity.
That night I found that my diary was missing from the drawer in my nightstand. I wrote in it at least weekly; I couldn't remember the last time I had, but it had been at least three days. I'd been as open in writing in my diary as I tried to be in life-while still giving both my diary and my life as much privacy as I could muster.
I spent the night ruminating over what I could have written in my diary that would be damaging to Grayson Hamilton, and it didn't take me long to realize that I'd had a ticking time bomb beside my bed for nearly a year.
I was beginning to understand why Grayson was doing this to me. I'd been so naïve about politics and the nature of Grayson's weakness. If he'd only made the effort to know me better, though, he would have known that he had nothing to fear from me-even after he had so crassly pushed the issue.
I strung together a whole bunch of sleepless nights, not the least because I wasn't feeling the rubbing of that glorious gold ring on the walls of my channel.
The final bombshell dropped one afternoon as we were in the production office, piecing together the clips for the next newscast.
The door to the corridor was open, and I saw a breathless page running at us down the full length of the building with a piece of paper in her hands. Later I was to relive that run in slow motion like it was some sort of comedy movie. And in the "old" days, it would have been a spool of film she'd be running with, fighting the seconds in getting it in the machine and ready to flip up on the screen at the top of the hour as breaking news. Now, however, it was just a quickly flipped off memo to bring up the relative file on the computer and hit the send button that would insert it in the broadcast on the program override authority of the news director.
I sat, agasp, not being able to tell anyone around me why I was so deeply affected, when a press conference came up on the screen. Kirk Kingsley, the locale flamboyant "character" and wealthy art collector and seller, was at the podium, speaking of his year-long affair with the governor of Maryland and how he thought it was something the voters should know. And he was naming places and dates-all places and dates that I had been with Grayson, in private. All coming from my missing diary. Nothing Grayson Hamilton could disprove. But none of it linked to me in the story Kirk was spinning. He was taking it all on himself.
At the end of the short announcement, Kirk turned to the camera and said that he was ashamed and apologetic about what he had been involved in and what it meant for the governor's family but that he couldn't continue to live a lie and hurt the one person he loved the most.
The CNN commentator who came on at the end of the press conference spent most of her allotted time talking about this being yet another politician's sexual peccadillo in a long line of them and wondering what American politics could have come to. The CNN announcer asked her about Kirk Kingsley at the end, and she smiled and said he was very openly gay and all she thought it would do for him was increase the sales at his Manhattan art gallery and his own legend.
He'd done it for me, taken my burden on himself. That's why he'd taken the diary.
I was still numb and sitting in the dark and nursing a glass of scotch that evening when my doorbell rang. Looking through the eyehole, all I could see was a bunch of colorful flowers.
Without thinking, I opened the door.
"Could we possibly start from the beginning again?" Kirk was standing there, outside my door, thrusting a bouquet of flowers and a nonsensical box of candy at me and smiling that boyish smile I'd never been able to resist.
"I don't know," I answered. "I don't have a desk. I don't know we could start from the very beginning."
"I do believe you have a bed, though, don't you? Or I've been known to make do with the floor."