"Would you have accepted my invitation if I'd said I no longer had the original Final Curtain?"

"Of course I would have," I responded to Theo Kline when he'd pulled me over to a corner of the covered deck area at the stern of his new yacht. He gave me a hard look, though, and I'm not sure I convinced even myself with the bravado of that response.

He started to speak, but then the music blared so loud and a bikini-clad Rose bumped into his arm, so he drew me into the lounge. There were so many bodies under the awning on that fantail that I wondered--if only briefly--where all these folks would sleep. Knowing Theo, though, I realized that they'd be doubling up, and in some cases tripling up--and that, these being movie folks, some of them probably wouldn't sleep at all. We'd have to scrape them off the floor and ceiling of the lounge in the morning after a binge on pills, liquor, and sex in the comfort of international waters beyond the three-mile limit of U.S. law.

That's what the ship's captain, a swarthy and somewhat menacing looking South American by the name of Diego Alarcon, said when I accosted him on the way from my stateroom to the fantail, having been summoned by my host, Theo Kline. I'd asked him why we were steaming out to sea so soon after my arrival, and he'd answered that most of the guests were aboard and we were going out to international waters to embark the last guest. We were so close to the blockaded Cuban coast that my mind began to race on just what sort of business Theo had gotten himself into.

"I knew how much you loved that old yacht as a boy, son, and I needed to get you here," Theo was saying. "I loved the old Final Curtain too, but it's all about appearances, Clint. You should know that. You were born to the Hollywood culture. You should know that it's all about image and that reality is just an illusion in Tinseltown. I had boldly declared that Final Curtain symbolized me. But I outlived that statement. I reached a point where having an eighty-year old yacht was thrown in my face. People started saying my movies were old fashioned too, that I'd lost the edge, become passé."

I laughed at that--out loud. It was ridiculous to think of Theo Kline as passé. He was still larger than life and as handsome a devil as the plastic surgeons, beauticians, and personal trainers could manage. Yes, I could believe this was all an illusion of some sort he was pulling by still being at the peak of a dog-eat-dog career at his age. But he didn't look his age. And I could hardly wait to get him in the sack and find out if his continued reputation for sexual prowess was now an illusion too--including whether youth had exaggerated my remembrance of the legendary size of his cock when it was hard. Perhaps that was the whole of why I accepted his invitation: to determine for myself if he could still get it up and use it as masterfully as he had done that summer of my deflowering. Perhaps it didn't have anything to do with seeing the yacht of my youthful dreams again at all.

Theo wasn't noticing that I had clicked out on his rant. When I snapped back into the present, he was still holding forth. "The yacht had to go. And as soon as I bought this baby--with all of its twenty-first-century bells and whistles, suddenly my movies were hailed as cutting edge again. It's all appearances and illusion, son. How often have I told you that?"

"Too often, probably," I said, with a grin. But, in fact, this rant of Theo's was yet another pet phrase of his that had helped me in my work before--and, for some reason, when he brought it up, I thought I probably should be giving it more thought in the present circumstance. But Theo had said something else that disturbed me and led me to my next question.

"What do you mean you invited me here because you needed me here? And why did you really send Gordon away today? Did you think I wouldn't want to stay with Gordon here?"

"Oh, god, no," Theo answered. "I love Gordon. It's true he isn't my only lover; but he never was. He's always understood I need variety. But no one has been with me as long as Gordon has. He's special to me. I needed him to . . . I'm afraid. Clint, I wanted you to--"

But before Theo could say anything further, the door from the main cabin to the fantail deck flew open, and several men, speaking in boisterous tones and decibels tumbled in.

"There you are, Theo," one of them called out jovially. "You're needed on deck for the arrival scene."

"Just a minute; I'll be there in a minute." Theo turned to me, and said, "Tomorrow. I'll give it one last chance tonight, but if there is to be no change, we'll speak of this tomorrow. You're my last resort to keeping this from bringing all of these false facades down. And if you can't help me, I'll have to . . . but I just don't want to think about having to take that step."

I would have asked him to say something now, to give me some connection to hang onto and to start unraveling this mystery I'd fallen into, but Theo was headed for the door, and I heard the sound of a noisy motor external to Final Curtain II, which, at last, had come to a standstill. We must have reached international waters, I thought. And that thought was followed by both a tensing and a release. Maybe now it would all begin to fit into place.

I got out onto the deck in time to see a small seaplane floating down to the low-swelling waves of the Gulf of Mexico waters and skimming the surface of the water briefly to come to a picture-perfect stop not two hundred feet from the side of the Final Curtain II. A motor launch, with two men aboard--one of them appearing to be the chauffeur, Theo's "man," Jerome, and the other the menacing-looking ship's captain--was putting out to the plane. The door of the plane opened, and a handsome, well-turned-out man unfolded himself through the door and crouched on the wing. As the motor launch reached him, the man pulled a stuffed duffel bag through the door of the plane and, with sweeping gestures, handed it to Jerome, as the ship's captain handed a smaller bundle back to the plane's pilot. The pilot then reentered the plane and quickly began to taxi across the low swells of the waves again and took off into the sky.

"What--?" I whispered to Theo.

"Shhh," he whispered back. "The sound's on." That's when he pointed toward the bow of the boat and up to the next deck--and across the water to where a second motor launch of the Final Curtain II was riding the waves. I saw the movie cameras trained variously on the departing seaplane and on the returning motor launch, and what was happening dawned on me when I heard the word "Cut!" from the deck above. I remembered the sound of the voice from my youth. So, the great movie director, Joe Blum, is on this yacht as well, I thought. And he'd just directed a scene for a movie.

"Who--?" I started to ask Theo.

"Just wait. Eddie Lund. He'll be back. He's probably the best actor I've landed since your dad," Theo answered. "He takes the parts now that Gordon used to take." And, sure enough, the seaplane had done a loop around and was coming in for another skimming water landing parallel to the Final Curtain II.

The last guest had arrived, and Theo told me it was now time for me to meet the entire cast and senior film crew over the buffet that the ship's crew was now laying out in the lounge. I was particularly interested in meeting up with Derek Dominick again--if, indeed, that was his name. I wondered if he'd be surprised to see me.

* * * *

During the fantail buffet, Theo took me on the round of introductions of his motley little band. Joe Blum, the director, I already knew. He was flanked by a boyish-looking script girl named Melda and the senior cameraman, Kurt.

"Bet you're surprised to see me," the tubby little egomaniac, Blum, had said. "You walkin' out on the offer of Hollywood and becomin' a high and mighty cop and all that."

"Yes, Mr. Blum, I did think it would be a couple of years at least," I answered, trying to keep the judgmentalism out of my voice. Joe Blum had blown away his fourth wife in Los Angeles three years earlier while in a haze of booze and drugs, and I hadn't really kept track of the progress of the investigation after the first year of TV gossip coverage, but I had assumed--wrongly apparently--that they must have gotten past the sentencing stage by now.

"Lawyers I got, both you and me will be long dead before I see the inside of any cell," he said, and the grin on his face made me clinch my fists and try my best to keep the hatred out of mine. And in that moment, I hoped that he was half right and that he'd get "his" earlier than later.

"And Joe's son, Aaron," Theo said as he smoothly turned me from further confrontation with the Hollywood director I'd been able to see right through even in my youth. "Aaron's my assistant," Theo added.

And with that at least one mystery of this ship was pinned down. Aaron was the reluctant taker I'd seen through the porthole earlier getting the business from Derek Dominick. And a very lucky Aaron it was--as he had gotten his looks and physique from one of Joe Blum's trophy wives rather than from the dumpy director. Aaron was quite a dreamboat, and from the way Theo put his hand on the young man's arm during the introduction, I had no doubt that Aaron had replaced Gordon Fields in Theo's love life. I'd thought it was Jerome, but if he and Jerome were having it on, it was quite evident that Theo was making room for Aaron Blum as well. As Theo was more of a taker than a giver except for barely legal teens like I was when he took me, I understood now why Aaron had been so reluctant under Dominick's assault below decks. I made a mental note of asking Aaron about Dominick at the first opportunity, because I didn't see the latter among the small group voraciously attacking the buffet.

But before I had the chance to broach that subject, Theo had moved me on to a reintroduction to the Chinese twins, Tung Chun-fai aka Sam and the lovely paint-plastered Rose, The Rose having changed to green metallic hair needles.

"You've seen Clara in the Han Ding movies, I'm sure," Theo was saying. "Clara Rose, she is, although she uses the stage name of The Rose. Pretty memorable."

"Yep, very memorable," I murmured in agreement. I'd never forget seeing the backside of the person who had sunk that knitting needle into Gary Meltzer's heart on the flight to Miami.

"She's put the zing in the picture we're filming out here," I can tell you that. "We'll clean up on this one."

I wanted to talk a little more about this zing--and not about the zing in the movie, but the floatplane pilot and actor in the current film, Eddie Lund, was pushing into the group now, and although Theo took the opportunity to introduce him to me, Lund's gaze slid quickly off of me and onto the zingy little Clara Rose, so I immediately gauged how he was swinging. Which was all right with me, because Aaron Blum was eating me up with his eyes, and Aaron's father, Joe, was viewing that with dismay and disapproval. So, I decided there was quite enough sexual tension in the air already. I rather enjoyed the thought of giving Joe Blum grief by giving his son a ride or two.

Theo must have sensed my spiteful mood, because he gave me that slitted-eyes "it's time" look and invited me to get the grand tour of the yacht. As we left the group in the fantail and moved into the lounge, Theo's "man," Jerome emerged from the shadows and followed behind us.

As we were leaving, Aaron Blum called out, "Will we be seeing your Mr. Folsom later this evening?"

And Theo turned and growled, "Don't worry, Aaron. You'll get your turn."

The last I heard as we entered the interior passage off the lounge and headed toward the front of the yacht was the disgusted grunt of Joe Blum and the tinkly laughter of The Rose.

* * * *

The tour of the yacht was short and incomplete and led quickly to Theo Kline's massive, luxurious stateroom.

"It's been a long time, Clint," Theo murmured, as he pulled away from the gentle kiss he gave me as we entered the stateroom, followed by Jerome, who entered also and shut and locked the door and then turned and leaned his back against it.

"Do you mind . . . for old time's sake," Theo whispered in an already-lust-filled voice. He was gesturing to the hulky Jerome.

"No, not at all. I don't mind at all," I answered in a voice that was as hoarse and thick with arousal as Theo's was.

Theo sat, naked, and pulling on his massive cock, in a lounge chair near the bed as Jerome slowly stripped me and then himself and, laying me gently on my back on the bed, came between my spread legs and began making slow, languid love to me with his tongue and his hands, moving from my head, down my chest and up into my pits. And then he knelt between my legs and sucked my cock and balls. When I was melting and moaning, he began tonguing my entrance to preparation as Theo sat and watched us with hooded eyes and slow-pumping hand.

"Now," Theo said. And that single word jolted me to the depths. The memory of it and what always came after it. I was panting for it even while the black heavily muscled bulk of Jerome rose up between my legs and made room for the approach of Theo.

I cried out in ecstasy as I widened my stance and willed my channel to open to receive Theo's thick rod as it slowly filled and moved deep inside me. And then he was pumping me hard and fast in remembered consuming rhythm as virile and strong and compelling as he ever had done. And I clutched at Theo's Zeus-thick, but muscled waist with my hands and began moving my hips with the pistoning of his pelvis and giving in and giving up and giving out, wildly moving with the fuck and letting myself go. My whole being concentrating on how it had been that first summer and how completely and well Theo had mastered me in the fuck.

I came twice in the time it took Theo to blossom out the condom deep inside me and then, with a grunt, he rolled away from me and motioned to Jerome and gave me a questioning look. I nodded ascent as I always had with Gordon back there in the wooded hills above Los Angeles, and the black monster grinned and turned me on my stomach. I clutched the satin bedspread with my fists and moaned and groaned as Jerome slow fucked me from the rear to paradise.

As always before, my eyes were locked on Theo's as his "man" moved slowly deep inside me, and Theo, slow-pumping himself to another ejaculation, sat smiling that little smile of his, his eyes hooded, enjoying this part of the ritual as much as he had his own mining of my channel.

And, as with Gordon in years past, when I left, quietly pulling my clothes on and unlocking and passing through the door, I turned to see Jerome making love to Theo on Theo's bed. And I knew they would be at it into the early hours of the next morning.

I only had a few moments to regret the pleasure Theo and Jerome would have through the night as I stumbled back toward the stairs to go down to my own stateroom, unable yet to straighten my legs after having taken two ass-splitting cocks. At the other end of the corridor, beyond the gangway I saw Joe Blum entering a cabin. He had a hand on the butt of each one of the Chinese twins and looked like he was shoveling them into his stateroom. I heard a grunt behind me, from the doorway to the lounge. I turned my head and spied the pilot Eddie Lund, sending sparks of a venomous stare beyond me and toward the disappearing movie director.

None of this was my concern, and it brought back eyebrow-raising memories of overdramatic movie colony days, so I turned back and slipped down the gangway to the guest suites on the next deck down. As I approached my cabin door, I found Aaron Blum lounging against it, with a champagne bottle and two glasses--and "that" look that I knew so well.

"Still have time and interest for entertaining?" he asked in a mocking voice. He knew exactly where I had been and what I'd been doing. There was no need for subterfuge of any kind.

"Is that champagne for me?" I asked. I had been buttoning up my shirt as I approached, but now I undid the button I'd been working on again and ran my hand in and fingered one of my nipples in full view of Theo's yummy assistant.

Aaron's eyes slitted. "Yes, it's for you. And so much more. If you want it."

He took me, hard and furious, on the plush carpeting just inside the door, both of us like rutting animals, enjoying our youth and exuberance--and our deep experience in enjoying and giving enjoyment to another. We were both stripped before we hit the floor, and I opened my thighs to him and rolled up my hips to take his long, strong slide inside me. And then I wrapped my legs around his butt as he buried his teeth on one of my nipples, and I started a pelvis rolling movement that he quickly matched to a harmony of grunting and moaning and crying out to a near simultaneous explosion of ejaculate.

I would have accepted him anyway, but I wanted to suck more out of him than just his fountaining of semen--I wanted to find out who Derek Dominick was and where he was; he hadn't been among the movie folks at the fantail buffet. All the time I was squeezing Aaron Blum's throbbing dick with my channel milking him of cum, I was thinking of my dead lover friend, Gary Meltzer, who deserved to be avenged for the life Derek Dominick had helped take from him. I would find out about Dominick from Aaron one way or the other.

But I didn't get a chance. After that first fuck, while we were both recovering and feeling for our heartbeats to return to normal, Aaron poured me a flute of champagne and then poured some of it down my chest and began licking me down as he leaned over me in the bed. He was entering me slowly with his cock again when the world began to spin and I was hazing out.

When I woke, it was light again, and I heard the sound of harbor life beyond the window and more arresting sounds of a commotion in the corridor outside. It was probably the latter that had roused me out of my stupor. I was alone. I barely had time to make my way to the window to confirm that the yacht once more was sitting just off Key West's Mallory Square marina, when the door of my stateroom was thrown open and a swarm of ominous men clad in navy blue and bulked up with Kevlar vests tumbled into the room. Before I could even start to remember where I'd left my own gun, all of the intruders were fanned around my stateroom and pointing their handguns at me.



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