I was anxious to get on with things and the positive happenings that I knew were going to come my way. I set about to work in my office at Magnolia trying to keep my mind off the fact that I hadn't heard a word from JD in almost two days -constantly resisting the urge to call him. Carly came in and told me there was a gentleman out front who was asking for me. I hated the fact that salesman and vendors would just show up, without an appointment or the courtesy of a phone call ahead of time - it seemed like, because I was in the restaurant business, my time wasn't as valuable as theirs. I asked Carly who it was and what he wanted and she just flashed a big old smile - "Boss, you're gonna want to go talk to this guy - he's hot as hell - he's so hot even I would do him!" You see, if you hadn't already guessed, Carly is a lesbian, or at the very least, bisexual, and she's not at all afraid to whoop and holler or whistle at hot girls when they come into the Mag. She's 24, lives a very alternative life-style, has multiple tattoos, piercings and hair color that changes almost daily....she is very proud of her little reputation in the gayborhood.

I got up and left the office and walked through the kitchen towards the front counter when I realized it was JD at the counter. My heart jumped and my stomach started doing the butterfly thing. I'm not sure if my reaction was due to the physical and emotional attraction I had already developed or the possibility that he had some news for me about the firehouse. I walked around the front counter and put my hand out to shake his when JD grabbed me in a big bear hug and whispered that he had missed me into my ear. I caught a stare from Carly who was peeking out from the kitchen and she flashed that big smile of hers again and gave me the thumbs up sign.

I invited JD to sit down at one of the tables in the corner and Carly quickly arrived with water and coffee asking if we wanted anything - JD said "No thank you" and I waved Carly away from the table getting a bit of a shitty glare from her......

"Matt, sorry I haven't called.....dude.....what the hell happened to your face?" "Are you alright.....who the fuck did this to you?"

I told him I was fine as he ran his hand gently around the area of the bruise. "I got into a little shoving match with someone - It's no big deal and I am pretty sure the problem is solved....besides.....you should see the other guy" and JD chuckled at my sad-ass attempt at humor. I liked the fact that he was concerned and his gentle touch was electric to me!

"I have some great news for you...er....I mean for us. The city's attorney's office has reviewed my proposal for a long-term lease with an option to buy and they are going to sign off on it and recommend the council go with the plan. There is one little catch - well....not a catch....they have sweetened the pot a bit"

"What do you mean, sweetened the pot?"

"Well, for an additional fraction of the overall cost they are interested in you, I mean us, taking over the entire block that the firehouse sits on. There is one additional building at the other end and two very large empty lots in between. The only thing, other than paying a little extra, that you'd have to agree to is that you wouldn't tear the two existing structures down and you would allow the city to designate them as historical buildings. In addition to that you would have to comply with new zoning rules if you were to ever develop the two empty lots into anything other than a parking area or if you wanted to sell them off".

"So, let me get this straight...for basically the same price, the city is wanting us to take the entire block instead of one building and we can pretty much do whatever we want this the other building and lots?"

"Yes, and as incentive, the city is willing to finance up to $1,000,000 in tenant improvements as part of the long term sale. They will forgive payment until you have been up and running for 90 days and they are willing to streamline the permit process!"

"What the hell is their motivation - I mean why such a sweet deal? There has to be a draw-back or down side somewhere."

"The new mayor has made downtown, or midtown revitalization a priority and the administration is really committed to it. Plus, they really don't have anyone else that has shown any interest in a few years. They really want to see the Lavender Heights area be cleaned up and become a vibrant part of midtown".

"Wow......I really don't know what else to say other than go for it! Do you think the financing will be a problem - I mean with my business plan I only accounted for one business and one building"

"That can be easily altered once you decide what you want to do with the other building and lots but for now we just need to jump on the deal if you want to go forward....I don't want them approaching anyone else with this thing right now. Why don't you take this copy of the proposal and review it and then we can meet for dinner and talk about any questions you might have."

"Why Mr. Cavanaugh....are you asking me out on a date or to a business meeting?"

"Well, Mr. Lawrence, I guess both.....who says a dinner date can't be productive on more than one front?"

We both chuckled and then agreed to meet that evening at Teresa's at 8pm for a late dinner and chat. I then picked up my cell and called Steve to let him know. Steve was more concerned about how I was and I told him we'd chat this evening. With that JD said he had to get back to the office...lots to do. I gave him a hug as he got up to leave and I thanked him....."I have a feeling this is going to morph into something very special Matt so keep focused...I'm counting on you!" and he was out the door.

Carly was all over me about who JD was and threw several silly little comments at me about how close we appeared. I told her that JD was my real estate guy and she said "Oh, I have no doubts about him being your something-guy!" I laughed and told her to get back to work...Mag's was busy and it just felt like a really good day - there was a buzz in the air, everyone was smiling, customers seemed happy...yep...it has been a good day.

I went ahead and went back to my place so I could relax a bit and read the paperwork JD had left for me to review. After a couple hours of reading I saw nothing in the package that caused any concern for me...no red flags...the money end of things seemed to be in order. I did, for the first time, see what JD's assets were (I mean other than his physical assets) and he has quite a portfolio that includes several profitable properties both here in town and in other places. I put the packet down feeling very comfortable with my decision to join him in this venture and decided it was time to get ready for my impending "business" dinner.

Chapter 8

Sporting a cool polo shirt (It was still almost 95 degrees out at 8pm) and a pair of shorts and flips I headed out to Teresa's and when I arrived I walked into the bar somewhat blinded as the sun was still out and the bar area was a little dark. There at one end, in my customary saved spot was JD - as I walked towards him I heard Steve say, in his loud and sometimes obnoxious baritone voice "Mr. Lawrence....how the hell are ya me friend". I smiled and then realized, at the opposite end of the bar was Andy sitting alone drinking a beer. I made eye contact with Steve who realized my...er....consternation and Steve just shrugged his shoulders and mouthed the words "he came to apologize". I pulled the stool out next to JD and then realized Andy was moving over towards me. "Boss, how are ya?"

"I'm good Andy, how are you doing...what's up?". "Oh, I just stopped by to have a quick little chat with Steve and thought I'd have a beer"...at that point Andy put his hand out to JD and introduced himself. I let JD know that Andy was one of our manager's at Mag's and JD told him it was nice to meet him. With that, Andy told us to have a good evening and he went back to his spot.

Before I realized what Steve was doing, there was tall rum and coke and a shot sitting in front of me. I took the shot (Fernet again!) and then a sip of my drink. Steve came over and asked if everything was ok and I said yes....and then asked him if Andy did what he was supposed to and Steve said he did. JD sat there for a second and then asked what the hell we were talking about and Steve started to answer....I interrupted and told JD that I would tell him later. He gave me a curious look and said "Is that the guy?" and I said "lets just forget it...I promise I will tell you later but now isn't the time, ok?". JD said ok and we ordered dinner at the bar.

JD asked me what I thought about all the info and I told him that, as far as I could tell, there was nothing in the package that would keep me from doing the deal. I did ask him to make sure we could bring in our own inspection crew to survey both buildings along with all the normal stuff that has to be done when you do a real estate deal (I was a pure amateur when it came to real estate) and he said "Of course.....I am not going to let anything slip through the cracks on this gig, I promise" and as he was talking I thought he could slip through my crack any time he wanted......oh, I just needed to stop all that crap buzzing around in my head....!

JD suggested we order a bottle of champagne to celebrate and I suggested a nice bottle of red wine...."Let's save the champagne for the day escrow closes!" and he agreed. Great wine, great food, a bit of a fernet buzz and great company. Before I knew it we were the only ones in the bar and the restaurant was quickly clearing out (It was, after all a Sunday). I don't know, nor did I really care, when Andy slipped away as I was determined to just enjoy my evening and the company of my two friends. Steve closed our bill out and brought us a couple of celebratory shots of his best cognac in heated snifters. JD insisted on paying the bill and then invited me for a "swim". I caught a look from Steve and then I decided to play a little hard to get but not too much - it really took no time at all for me to agree to go with JD to his place.

We got to JD's and once inside he excused him self for a minute. I wandered into the back yard and slipped off my shirt, flips and my shorts (I had chosen to go commando for the evening...I guess I left that part out) and I slipped into the hot tub that was attached to the pool. The water was cool and I could tell that ole Junior had gone into hiding for a minute but I was just going to close my eyes and relax. I few minutes later I felt myself completely relaxed and sensed movement in the water as JD was getting in the tub with me. He moved over towards me and we kissed and then he turned his back towards me and sat down leaning back into me. This moved prompted junior to stir a little as this incredibly sexy naked man was having an effect on me...in more ways than just one. We were both content to sit there. I stroked his chest and abs from behind as he just leaned back on me. It was quite a while before either of us said anything with JD breaking the silence...

"Matt, I can't tell you how nice this feels....just sitting here relaxing...being close like this - it's been quite a while since I've had a connection like this".

Though I totally agreed with what JD was saying I was secretly wondering what he was looking for out of this and, at the same time, wondering what I was looking for.....I didn't say anything and I just continued to run my hands over his chest and stomach. A few minutes later he broke the quiet again saying "I have no idea where this is going to go and I don't really have any expectations - if your silence is a sign of concern, please don't be - I am just enjoying the here and now".....wow, not only could this guy read my body language, it appears as though he can read my mind too! I kind of chuckled a bit and told JD that "I am totally enjoying this also, there is just so much happening right now and it's all happening really fast so I am being a little careful cuz I don't want to screw any of it up......" JD moved a little so he could turn to face me and said "Trust me, I don't want to fuck any of it up either - I just want to enjoy the time and the closeness....you have become someone that is important to me and no matter what happens, I don't want to screw with that". I smiled at JD and leaned forward and kissed him and we went back to sitting, his back to me, with the jets and bubbles moving all around us.


Matt Lawrence

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