It was like there was some sort of invincible band of fifteen feet surrounding the group of three who were sitting, looking somewhat bleary eyed, at a table in the center of the smoky bikers' bar on the edge of the town of Hot Springs. It wasn't the table that provided the isolation, because Paul and Thomas had been given the same wide berth when they had been at one of the pool tables. There had been four of them earlier, with three of them having come in a raucous mood, insistent on having a good and very-well-lubricated time. David Eagleton had gotten his fill early, though, and hadn't stayed around for the pool session--followed by several more rounds of drinks.
The bikers still in the bar at 2:00 a.m. weren't being hostile to this alien party of men who obviously had descended on them from the fancy and very expensive Homestead resort hotel up on the hill above the small Virginia mountain town. Nor were they angered that the men were older than most others in the bar, three of them being in their mid-fifties and the fourth a good twenty years older than that. The aliens were putting the liquor away well, except for the older guy, who was more a sipper and watcher. But he too accepted the drinks that were offered to him, which amazed some of the bikers, although it shouldn't have.
It was more that the bikers were bewildered. None of them could remember ever having seen a man in here in a clerical collar before--and putting beers away hand over fist--let alone accompanied by a second, older man in a dress--in a cassock, also with clerical collar, to be more exact. Few of the bikers could imagine that an old Jesuit priest could be a boozer.
Somewhat pie-eyed and holding a scotch bottle by the neck, the younger priest stopped in the middle of a monologue on pranks played on campus over thirty years earlier and looked around at his companions.
"Somebody check the can to see if David's fallen in?" the younger cleric asked in a slurred voice.
"David left hours ago--before you played pool, Brother Thomas," the silken, well-modulated voice of the older man, Monsignor Scarlotti, quietly responded. He leaned over and touched the younger cleric's arm and added, "Perhaps it's time to go back to the hotel. The Debatables aren't on stage until the afternoon tomorrow--or, rather, today--but I have other rounds to put through in the morning."
"I think David was worried about his wife," the third man, Paul Frasier, mumbled. He hiccupped and continued. "Young blonde like that. He probably is worried about her a lot. But if it's because of Chris, I could have told him . . ." His voice trailed off.
"Worried about your Chris, Paul?" Brother Thomas asked, suddenly a bit more sober and with an amused lilt to his voice. "I doubt that's . . ." But his voice too trailed off and he gave a little laugh.
"Drink up; last calls, children," Monsignor Scarlotti said. "It's time we be hanging the reminiscing up and facing life as it is."
There was a long sigh of relief and an atmosphere of comfort drifted into the bar as the three men rose, two of them quite unsteadily, from their chairs, and headed for the exit. The monsignor, although two decades older than the other men, seemed the strongest of the group, even despite the uneven distribution of the liquor. He was the tallest, standing ramrod straight, and thinnest--still with handsome Mediterranean features and a full head of steel-gray hair after all his years as a priest. Despite the austere black cassock, Scarlotti was fully masculine, fully in control.
The other two, younger, but still in their mid-fifties, were a more comical pair, hanging onto each other for dear life as the monsignor guided them out into the night. It's not that they weren't good looking. On the contrary, both were very well put together. But the other cleric, Brother Thomas, was short and thin, with almost feminine features. His hair was still blond, curly, almost falling in ringlets around his head, with just enough silver running through it to make it sparkle in the light. And his facile features were more beautiful--thick, pouting lips and startling pale-blue eyes--than handsome. The other man, Paul Frasier, a very successful TV actor, was stereotyped in mobster-type roles. He was large and hulky--not exactly fat, but thick--and was bald as a billiard cue. His black eyebrows were bushy, and when he set them in an intense look, the TV viewer quickly registered "bad boy trouble." None of this denied that he was ruggedly handsome--perhaps more so at fifty-four than he had ever been earlier in his life.
From somewhere in his flowing cassock, the monsignor, ever in control, produced a flashlight, as he preceded his two charges--young college men again in their imaginations--through the short main street of the sleeping Hot Springs toward the winding drive up to the Homestead hotel. Those of the village who were still awake smiled as the small procession passed, though. The song the two friends, hanging on to each other for dear life, were singing was in perfect harmony--Brother Thomas' tenor lilting over the steady baritone of Paul Frasier. It was a ribald drinking song that could only amuse when combined with seeing the clerical garb of one of its singers.
* * * *
"If the subject is abortion, we'll have Amvey--excuse me, Brother Thomas; I understand that you lose the last name when you put on the throat choker--handle the pro argument."
"And if it's corruption in government, you can do the pro honors, Brother David," Brother Thomas countered David Eagleton's little joke.
They were in the Jefferson bar at the Homestead Hotel doing their preliminary drinking earlier in the evening before the Debatables went out carousing in the village at the bottom of the hill. It was an expanded group, minus, for the moment, the monsignor, who was gliding around the hotel's public areas checking on his various teams for tomorrow's events. The three team members, David Eagleton, Paul Frasier, and Brother Thomas, were there, but also huddled around the cocktail table were David's young wife, Amber, and the actor Paul's personal assistant, Chris Cahill.
Amber and Chris, who were lost in a conversation on art while the three Debatables discussed strategy for the next day, were younger than the three mid-fifties team members--by some thirty years each. Amber's husband, David, was studiously not noticing that the two younger people beside him at the cocktail table were getting along famously. Amber was his third wife, a striking blonde, so David had reason ever to be aware of her moods and interests. He was insistent on getting it right, even if his circumstances were peculiar, including his life in the public fishbowl. For his part, Chris' employer, Paul, was visibly a bit more concerned that the young people were drifting away from the main discussion.
What the three Debatables had in common was that they were all 1981 graduates of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., a prestigious university founded by the Jesuits, and that they had constituted the schools collegiate debating team from 1979 to 1981. They were at the ritzy Virginia mountain resort, the Homestead, this weekend, because the university faculty sponsor of all of the school's debating teams from 1980 to the present, Monsignor Scarlotti, had developed a debate extravaganza around its premier team of 1980, the team that had won the national championship that year.
Over the weekend the teams of 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2010 would compete against each other in debates on topics of Monsignor Scarlotti's choosing. The Debatables--that having been the name they had chosen for themselves--were the centerpiece team in this program not only because they had won a national championship but also because of what two of them had become. Paul Frasier was a well-known actor of television and (minor) movies, and David Eagleton was the U.S. congressman for New York's nineteenth congressional district. For his part, Brother Thomas was important as the glue for the entire program. He had become a Jesuit priest and remained at Georgetown, under Monsignor Scarlotti's supervision, and, as an English professor, had trained and sponsored all of the school's debate teams since 1989.
"As the monsignor has selected the topics, though," Brother Thomas continued, "I seriously doubt he would select abortion--and he worked so hard to get David, here, to attend this program that I'm sure he wouldn't include a topic that might embarrass him. I would imagine that at this point in time any political topic would embarrass a sitting U.S. congressmen."
There was a smattering of friendly laughter around the table. The three men had been good-naturedly jabbing at each other all evening with witticisms that came naturally to them."That's debatable," Paul Frasier chimed in. "Scarlotti has a surprising streak in him."
"Monsignor Scarlotti? That stick in the mud? I don't think he'd do anything at all unseemly." This from David.
Paul and Brother Thomas stole a guarded glance at each other and then both gave a little jerk at what they'd done. Thomas recovered quickly. "Debatable. Did I hear you say 'debatable,' Paul?"
And then all three of the old team members laughed, the use of this word having been one they'd overused and laughed about in "the day."
The shared laugh of old times made David catch his breath, though, as he looked over at his wife talking to Paul's personal assistant as if the three older men weren't even there. Thomas' smile as he had laughed and now Chris Cahill's smile as he leaned into Amber to hear what she had to say struck David by the familiarity it emphasized in the two men, albeit decades apart. Paul's personal assistant today was the near double in appearance and almost feminine, sensual blond beauty that Thomas had been back in 1980. How strange, David thought. And neither one of his friends had appeared to notice that.
"What are you two talking about so seriously, sweetheart?" he leaned over to Amber and asked.
"Chris here is an artist too," she answered. "You know how I was telling you that it's so beautiful in the hills around the hotel that I was sorry I hadn't brought my acrylics? Well, Chris brought his. We were discussing the technique of rendering light in landscapes."
"Interesting," David responded, obviously not finding it the least bit interesting. But if Amber was interested in it, he would pretend to keep up. They both did pretense very well.
"We thought that we'd go out and try the late morning light tomorrow," Chris said, turning a young Brother Thomas smile on the New York politician. "We'd be sure to be back for your team's debate tomorrow evening, though," he continued.
"By all means you must catch the late morning light," David responded. He returned the smile, but other emotions were at work as he watched the two younger people talking so enthusiastically about art. The glories of art had escaped him in life, he was afraid.
Amber was looking up at a handsome young waiter who had been very attentive to her all evening and who had brought her a refill of her Margarita nearly as soon as she'd finished the first one. The two exchanged smiles as she handed the empty glass and a napkin back to him.
Amber was fast to flirt with handsome young men, David thought. He wondered how long he'd be able to hold her--although so far their unusual arrangement had held.
"Hold back a bit on the liquor, I would think, young men. It wouldn't do for our best and brightest to be too dull on the morrow."
The five people huddled around the cocktail table looked up to see that the ancient, but well-preserved, prelate who had brought them all here was approaching in a swirl of the folds of the black cassock he had continued to wear long after the Vatican had given dispensation to go more modern. On him, though, the cassock looked good. He was still thin, strong, and upright as steel after all these decades.
After pleasantries were exchanged all round, Amber excused herself, saying she knew the Debatables weren't close to turning in, but that she was weary. In her wake, Chris also excused himself to go to the men's room--"And then, after checking for telegrams at reception, on to my room as well, I think," he said. "There's still a lot of Paul's work needing done in TV land this weekend."
All four men watched the younger, beautiful woman and man, move off, separately, toward the hotel lobby, each of the older men thinking his own thoughts of the beauty of them and of a lost youth.
"Well, I'm for exploring the village below," declared Paul, standing.
"It's nearly midnight, Paul," Brother Thomas said, with a small laugh. "Everything will be closed in town."
"That's debatable," Paul answered, and there was a memory-dredging laugh all around. "I'm sure something will be open. Are we too old to get blotto as we always did at school the night before the debate? Have we forgotten how that sharpened our wits? Who's with me?"
"If you put it that way, how could I not rise to the challenge," Brother Thomas said.
"And I too, I guess," David said, coming to his feet. "After I visit the john first, of course. There are some aspects of aging a man simply can't escape."
As David walked off to find the men's room, Monsignor Scarlotti chimed in in a false morose voice, "I suppose I must accompany you to make sure that my prize guests don't get lost in the mountains."
As the group moved toward the lobby, the waiter started picking up empty glasses and wadded napkins. He was in a bit of a hurry, and he was humming.
* * * *
"What are those over there?"
"The stables, I think. The path up to the hotel is this way, though. Tom. Tom . . ."
Brother Thomas had veered off the path toward the hotel's stables. Paul had moved a few steps in that direction, but he stopped, unsure of going beyond the circle of light shown from the monsignor's flashlight. Monsignor Scarlotti was a couple of steps beyond the two inebriated friends who had been stumbling up the hill supporting each other, but he stopped and turned back when he heard Paul calling for Tom.
"Tom . . . Tom," Paul called out again.
"Tom tom, beat the little drummer boy," Tom's voice rang out. "I want to see the horses. We don't have nearly enough horses in Georgetown." The voice was coming from a bit of a distance away--uphill toward where Paul could see the line of outbuildings against the moonlit skyline.
"I suppose we must indulge him," Monsignor Scarlotti said, as he passed Paul, following in the direction in which Brother Thomas had gone.
Paul and the monsignor hadn't gone far, though, before they heard a clatter, a yelp, and an expletive. When they came upon Brother Thomas, who was sitting on the path and holding his ankle, they could see that he had found not only the stables but also a pile of rakes and hoes.
"You OK, Tom?" Paul asked, bending down beside his friend.
"It's my ankle, I think."
"Can you put any weight on it?"
"In his present state, I don't think he should even try," the monsignor said brusquely. "You'd better help him into the stables and settle him comfortably, and I'll go on up to the hotel for a first aid kit and a crutch. A resort specializing in outdoor activities for the lazy rich certainly should have a store of crutches about."
When the monsignor had departed, Paul put his arms around Brother Thomas and started to raise him up.
"Don't bother, I can walk fine," Brother Thomas murmured. "I just wanted to be alone with you for a while."
"Don't talk, Paul. It's been too long." Paul still had his arms around Brother Thomas, and the cleric pulled him further into the clutch and took Paul's lips in his. The two were transported down the years into memories of their relationship at the university.
"Oh, god," Paul croaked. "I've been hard for you all evening. I thought you had forgotten."
"Never," Brother Thomas whispered. "I want you. I can't wait until we can work something out up at the hotel."
"Why do we have to wait until we're up at the hotel?" Paul murmured. Still strong after all these years and the larger of the two, Paul scooped the cleric up from the ground and carried him into the stables. Nearly half of the stalls were empty, and there were bales of hay about, so it took no time at all for Paul to find a stall and lower Brother Thomas' belly on a hay bale. With the cleric's insistence for speed, Paul quickly had the cleric's trousers and briefs around the other man's ankles and was tonguing and fingering his ass open.
"Just like old times," Brother Thomas moaned as Paul hovered over his back, positioned his cock--which indeed had been hard for Brother Thomas all evening--and started working his way into the anal passage.
They both panted and emitted uncontrolled animal sounds as Paul thrust with his cock and Brother Thomas thrust back with his buttocks and the horses in the stalls nearby moved restlessly against their stall walls, disturbed by the strange noises coming from nearby.
Spent, Paul rolled off Brother Thomas' back and sat, his back against the stall wall beside the hay stack. Brother Thomas, in turn, lowered himself from the hay and sat with his back against the stack and his legs draped over Paul's. Instinctively, each man reached for the cock of the other and they sat there, overlapped, each slowly stroking the other, and both breathing hard. What had been easy thirty years ago no longer was, for either of them. But they both had managed as if it had only been yesterday that they had actively been lovers.
"I had almost forgotten," Paul whispered after his breathing became more controlled.
"I never did," Brother Thomas answered. "You always were the best."
"Don't let the monsignor hear you say that," Paul said with a little laugh. "And he'll be back soon."
"Not too soon," Brother Thomas said. "I timed the walk from the hotel down to here when we went down into the town. We probably have another half hour before he can get back, walking in the dark and having to find a first aid kit. And their medical office is closed at night. They'll have to find someone to open that to get a crutch."
"You mean to say you planned this?"
"Would you be upset with me if I did?" Brother Thomas asked.
"The way your personal assistant and David's wife were getting along, I half thought he wouldn't be in the way and we could meet in my room tonight. And maybe we still can if they . . ."
"Chris and David's wife?" Paul said it with a snort. "I hardly think so."
"David certainly seemed to think so," Brother Thomas said. "He was nervous and left for the hotel early tonight. He no doubt has his young wife back in line and in his bed by now."
"Oh, you think so? You think David went back for his wife? That's highly debatable. Didn't you see how closely Chris resembles you at that age?"
"I don't know what . . . did you use the word 'debatable' again?"
They both laughed.
"Your assistant, Chris . . ." Brother Thomas now said. "You are fucking him, aren't you?"
"So you noticed," Paul answered.
"That he looks so much like I did back in 1980? Yes. You didn't have to tell me that. When I saw that is when I first believed we might be able to rekindle what we once had."
"And you aren't upset that I kept pursuing the ideal of you beyond the time we spent together?"
"Not in the slightest," Thomas answered in a quiet, hoarse voice.
"We're wasting time, you know," Paul suddenly said. "You said that Scarlotti would be back in about--"
"As you said, we're wasting time," Brother Thomas said, as he came up on his knees and covered Paul's mouth with his.
This time, with Brother Thomas lying on the small of his back on the hay bale, and a trouserless Paul hunched between the smaller man's spread and lifted legs, his ankles held in Paul's fists, the two took a bit too long in the fuck. And they failed to anticipate how silently Monsignor Scarlotti could move in the night.
He was there, inside the stable, watching them, for several minutes before they became aware of his presence. When they did, it was after the monsignor had slowly unbuttoned the thirty-three buttons of his cassock and spread the cassock apart, showing not only that he was naked underneath but also that a firm erection jutted out from his gray pubic bush.
Somewhat shocked, but the scenario being too clear for Paul to bother to try to hide it, Paul turned his head to the monsignor. He didn't seem all that surprised that the priest was naked and erect under his cassock. "You didn't have time to get to the hotel and back--and I don't see a first aid kit. Have you been--?"
"I've been watching from the shadows the entire time, yes," Scarlotti said. "I figured that Brother Thomas would be at you for this. I didn't buy into his charade of a twisting ankle. And you know what I want now."
It was only after the monsignor had saddled up behind Paul and had thrust inside him and was fucking him from behind while Paul was fucking Brother Thomas missionary style that the mentor and his students of thirty years previously were truly traveling back down memory lane.
* * * *
The three were not exactly missed by those they'd left back at the hotel. David Eagleton, who had carried a crush for Brother Thomas all these years but had suppressed it because Monsignor Scarlotti was in control and Paul Frasier had been there first, had been deeply taken with Chris Cahill earlier in the evening. Chris so closely resembled the young Thomas, who David had pined for but had never won, that David was smitten by him. David followed Chris to the men's room from the Jefferson bar and was delighted to find that Chris had no problem with being propositioned by him. Chris wasn't just Paul Frasier's personal assistant; he also was Paul Frasier's boy toy.
While Paul and the clerics were having their memory-lane threesome in the stables, David Eagleton was thoroughly into Chris--in the literal meaning of that word--in Chris' room at the hotel. And David wasn't the least bit worried about where his young wife, Amber, was or what she was doing. They had an arrangement for political reasons.
Amber wasn't being overlooked, however. The message she'd passed to their waiter in the Jefferson bar had had its immediate--and intended--effect. Those two, young, beautiful people were fucking like rabbits in an empty room the waiter had purloined with the help of a friend at the reception desk.