Quinn kept his smile to himself, even as he held out his hand for the picture in Ben's. The younger man was fairly vibrating with anger and irritation, emotions hidden from everyone in the room except The Mighty Quinn, ex-porn star and Ben's lover. Ben's demeanor might remind most of a calm pool, but Quinn could see beneath the surface to the raging whirlpool.
"What are you doing here?" Ben hissed, handing over the 8 x 10 color photo of Quinn in a publicity shot from his last completed movie, "Riding Mr. Rogers." Wearing buff breeches, a buff vest hanging loosely to expose his chest, black boots and holding a riding crop, Quinn stood with one foot propped on a pile of hay, his legs spread defiantly wide, inviting the watcher to drop to his knees and suck Quinn off.
"A favor for an old friend. They needed a big name to fill in for Vanessa Vixen." Even as he spoke, Quinn signed the photo in metallic gold ink, 'Don't expect to sit down for a week, Love, Quinn.'
"You are retired from this business," Ben hissed. Indeed, Quinn's retirement was the only condition Ben placed on their togetherness. He'd given up his apartment, sold his cheap furniture, and moved his clothes and personal possessions into Quinn's house without hesitation, content that they could make their relationship work despite only knowing each other a few days.
"I'm still retired. This is just a favor. You weren't around to ask before I made my decision."
"Is this what this is about? I was undercover, Quinn. I told you," he snapped, taking the photo back, not looking at it closely enough to read the inscription.
"I know that. But you must accept that I will make my decisions alone since you're always unwilling to give me a contact number." Quinn took the photo from the next person in the long line, a voluptuous brunette wearing a short black skirt and a black corset, her ample breasts spilling out the top. "Besides I'm enjoying myself."
Ben took one step to the side, but did not budge from the table, leaning close to Quinn. "Enjoying it? Being ogled by hundreds of strangers?"
"For someone who investigates people for a living, you can be quick to make judgments. Come to my panel and you can see why I enjoy this. I dare you."
The taunt was coldly calculated, making Ben grit his teeth. Turning down a dare was almost impossible for him, and Quinn knew it. "Fine. I'll be there."
Ben stalked away, finally glancing down at the picture. Clenching muscles caused him to pause for a moment. He knew what Quinn meant by that threat, and it wasn't a spanking. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw Quinn smile, his eyes still challenging.
Turning defiantly away, Ben wandered around the Riviera room in the Embassy Suites, home for the multitude of dealers at the Adult Entertainment convention. His thoughts in turmoil, he looked blindly at the merchandise on exhibitor tables as he threaded through the throngs of people. Many men were dressed like him, in jeans and a casual shirt, but leather outfits also abounded. The female choice of attire revolved around camisoles, corsets, spike heels, lace and silk. Both sexes flashed copious expenses of bare flesh, men without shirts, women with miniskirts, bare midriffs and plunging necklines.
The tables held a vast assortment of goodies that both fascinated and repelled Ben. A huge display of dildos in all colors and sizes simply made him snort - as if he needed one when he had Quinn. The rabbit fur covered paddles felt wonderfully soft to his fingers, but the whips and chains made him flinch. His body had suffered enough pain in the course of his profession as a private investigator, deliberating inflicting more was unappealing. A picture on display of a man in brown leather pants and jacket holding a whip caught his eye, and he imagined Quinn in the sexy, form-fitting outfit. Maybe being subjugated by a dominant Master wouldn't be so bad…
He shuddered and pushed his way out past the tattoo artists, the dealers selling erotic lingerie, massage and bath oils, videos, DVDs, and sexy music tapes, the book dealers with photo books and how-to manuals, finally exiting the hotel and emerging into the blinding Las Vegas sun.
He pulled the schedule from his pocket, uncrumpled it and glanced at the chart. Quinn was speaking at 3:00 in the Tropicana room. Plenty of time for lunch, and he was hungry. The Hard Rock Café was across the street, but loud music didn't sound appetizing to Ben's mood.
Heading to the Strip, he contemplated his closest choices - the grand elegance of the Bellagio, the pink neon splendor of the Flamingo Hilton, the pseudo-Roman Caesar's Palace. The charm of the Paris Casino beckoned, and his feet carried him under the Eiffel Tower and into the building. He toured through the casino toward the shopping center and restaurants, impatient with the typical Las Vegas design that required a full tour of the gambling areas before other amenities could be reached. Scores of American and foreign tourists were smoking and drinking, staring blankly at their slot machines, popping quarters, dollar bills, and credit cards into the hungry slits, steadily losing money while waiting to become millionaires.
At least the people at the Adult Entertainment convention would get some aerobic exercise while indulging in their obsession, Ben thought as he stared at one machine that took up to 45 quarters. A quick calculation revealed that a mere $11.25 for one tug would win the ultimate prize. The flavored condoms would be a much better investment of his money, he decided, imagining the feel of Quinn's cock in his mouth, tasting of cinnamon or chocolate.
An hour and one overpriced but decent meal of salad and quiche later, curiosity drove him back to the Embassy Suites. Whether he liked it or not, this had been Quinn's world, his environment for over a decade, the work he'd done, the people he'd known. Ben struggled with Quinn's past, accepting that it happened, acknowledging he loved to watch Quinn's old movies, and yet sometimes hating all the people Quinn had fucked before him, all the strangers who masturbated to his films. The rational side of his mind won out, forcing Ben to accept that if he wanted them to be a successful couple, he needed to understand the experiences that had helped shape his love.
With time to kill before Quinn's panel, he wandered the dealers' room again, succumbing to a few purchases, justifying them as sexy rather than kinky. Dropping them with the concierge, he located the Tropicana room, which was already filling up when he entered. He managed to find a seat near the back and on the aisle. His training always made him conscious of locating himself where he could easily observe the proceedings and exit without impediment.
Quinn strolled onto the temporary stage to thunderous applause and flashing camera bulbs, smiling, holding a microphone in one hand, keeping it lowered while letting the audience snap pictures of him.
His Armani suit was white, the brown shirt was silk, and his brown shoes were Italian leather. Quinn could be incredibly scruffy while doing his carpentry or playing sports, wearing ratty old clothes and smelling of vigorous male sweat, but he cleaned up very well and knew how to play to an audience. His age was beginning to show with a frosting of silver at his temples, making him even more handsome and distinguished.
The crowd quieted and the number of flashes dwindled as Quinn raised his microphone to speak. "Good afternoon. Thank you for coming to see me. As I believe you all know, I am The Mighty Quinn. I worked in the adult entertainment industry for many years, but have recently retired." A chorus of groans met the last part of that statement. "Thank you. I appreciate your interest, but it was time for a change in my life. I'm not going to give you a speech today. I want to open up for questions so we can talk about what interests you. Yes, ma'am?"
From his seat, Ben could only see her flaming red hair and bare back. Her voice was husky as she spoke in a Southern drawl. "So… is there anything we can offer to get you back?" The tone of her question made it plain that she was personally willing and eager to provide any necessary incentive.
"I'm sorry, but my decision has been made. Next?" Firm and unquestionable, his abrupt politeness said.
The next fellow either needed to wash his hair, or lighten up on the oil. "I've heard rumors that your last film will be finished and released. Any chance of that?"
"As many of you may know, my last film, 'The Butler Does All,' was unfinished due to other problems faced by the company. The rest of the cast have moved onto different projects, so it's unlikely the film will ever get released. However, there have been discussions about a retrospective on my career, and including the main segment from that film." Enthusiastic applause broke out, making Quinn smile. "I gather I can tell the producer that there's interest in the idea," he commented dryly, as if surprised by the response.
The next person asked the question Ben most expected to hear. "So are you like, really as, uh, big as you appear on screen? Did you have, um, help?"
"If you mean have I had surgery or used any of the devices available, then no I have not. I have always found that thoughtfulness and consideration are more important in a relationship than size. I would recommend that you spend your money on a token of affection for your partner before experimenting with risky products."
The middle-aged woman next to Ben sighed, and he glanced at her. She caught his look, and whispered, "He's just so romantic! I adore him."
Ben swiftly checked out her clothes - polyester slacks, a flower-patterned shirt, and sensible shoes - deciding he would have expected to find her at the mall or bingo parlor rather than an adult entertainment convention. "But doesn't he usually have men as his partners?"
"Oh yes! And he's so sweet and yet so domineering with them. He's the best."
The sentiment was one with which Ben could not argue, even if he found it perplexing coming from this stranger, so he smiled and turned his attention back to the stage where Quinn was answering a question about one of his movies.
The rest of the hour passed swiftly, the questions more varied and intriguing than Ben expected. Some verged on tacky voyeurism, but Quinn handled those with finesse, refusing to be vulgar about himself or his co-workers. A surprising number of people revealed an extensive knowledge of the film industry and an interest in other facets of Quinn's life. The questions that most intrigued Ben were those seeking Quinn's advice on romantic relationships and sexual dysfunctions. "Do you ever have a problem with, you know, um, erectile dysfunction?" "Does your partner ever have any trouble enjoying it?" Despite being phrased as questions about Quinn, he seemed to realize from the blushing cheeks and lowered heads that the person was seeking help. Quinn's experience made many consider him an expert on all matters relating to love, and he provided wise guidance and counseling, half Dear Abby, half sex therapist. Quinn's rapport with the audience was easy and his charm evident throughout the hour. They were eating out of the palm of his hand as he fed them wit, wisdom, and honesty.
"Last question." A desperate raising of hands, each one hoping to attract Quinn's favor and gratify their curiosity.
A truly handsome man with a classic profile and superbly styled brunette hair rose. "I've dreamed about meeting you for years. You are my idol. May I have a kiss?" The meaning behind his words suggested that Quinn could have anything he'd like. Ben gritted his teeth at the thought that Quinn both opened and closed his panel session with bold strangers blatantly lusting after his body.
"I'm sorry, but my partner is here in the audience, and he's the jealous type," Quinn said wryly. Heads all over the room turned, scanning the audience. Ben forced himself not to slouch down in his chair and also looked around as if fascinated to locate the man who had tamed The Mighty Quinn. "I love him and will never betray him," he added softly. "Thank you all for coming." Quinn walked off the stage as the audience began to separate, some leaving, others remaining in their seats or moving forward to grab a better location for the next panel.
A stunned Ben joined the crowd straggling out of the room, his seat neighbor next to him, gushing about Quinn and the things he'd said as they walked out. She headed off to the Flamingo panel room as Ben zoomed down the corridor, needing to find Quinn immediately. His lover had already vanished, hustled away by a convention volunteer. Ben tapped his fingers on his pants leg, contemplating his options, returning to the exhibitors' room to see if Quinn was signing autographs again. Not there, not in the other panel rooms, not anywhere.
Trying not to think of Dr. Seuss, Ben finally gave up and went to the hotel lobby, hoping to weasel Quinn's room number out of a clerk. Unlikely; hotels were notoriously protective about their guests' privacy, especially celebrity guests, but he could flash his investigator's license and turn on the persuasive charm. That tactic had worked a few times in the past.
Quinn was in the lobby, surrounded by a small group of fans, signing autographs on pictures, programs, and bare skin. Ben smiled, walking toward him, but Quinn caught his eye and gave his head a small shake. Confused and wounded, Ben stopped. Still talking to his fans, Quinn smiled and lightly jerked his head toward the front doors. Taking the signal, Ben bypassed the small group and stepped outside to wait, wishing he smoked. A cigarette might calm his nerves right now. How could Quinn disappear for the weekend, announce his love in front of an entire room of strangers, and then not want to be seen with him?
Quinn announced his presence by embracing Ben from behind and squeezing him in a tight hug. Ben accepted the hug, but didn't reciprocate, looking out at the traffic on the Strip. "You didn't want to introduce me to your fans?"
"No, Ben. You didn't want to be introduced to them. Some of those people had digital cameras. Your picture would be on the Internet by tonight."
"Oh," Ben said, remembering all the flashes that had exploded when Quinn walked into the panel room. He'd accepted that people would be watching his lover 'act' for years to come in the comfort of their own homes, but he hadn't considered the possibility that pictures of Quinn would be proudly displayed on people's web pages or in their photo albums. 'Look at the celebrity I met.' "That wouldn't be good for my undercover work."
"I didn't think so. Where's your luggage?"
"With the concierge. I didn't think they'd let me in your room." Ben turned in Quinn's arms, his arms sliding under Quinn's jacket to circle his waist.
"Your name is on the registration actually."
"You knew I'd come?"
"Hoped, only hoped, Ben."
The wistfulness in Quinn's voice warmed Ben. All those other people may want Quinn the star, but Quinn the man had chosen Ben. He kissed Quinn tenderly, reassuring his lover. "I can't believe you said what you did."
"Why not? It was the truth."
That response earned Quinn another kiss, needy and grateful at the same time. "I suppose we should get away from here," Ben commented. "Are you hungry?"
"Not yet. You?"
"No, not yet. Let's walk." They separated enough to walk side-by-side, holding hands, and began to retrace Ben's earlier path. Quinn's touch made the experience as different as winning and losing, no longer a lonely traipse, but a peaceful stroll with his lover. More people were on the streets, tourists searching for restaurants, evening entertainment, and the perfect gambling locale, forcing them to walk closely together. A few looks were directed toward the sight of two men together, but only a few; everyone was too distracted by the city's illuminated neon splendor to focus on individuals in the crowded mass.
They reached the Treasure Island Casino soon before a scheduled performance of the pirate ship fight and joined the throng, settling into one of their favorite positions, Ben leaning back against Quinn as the older man wrapped his arms around Ben's waist. The sense of claustrophobia, being unable to move due to the press of bodies everywhere, overtook Ben. He distracted himself by taking advantage of their closeness to tease Quinn, snuggling into Quinn's groin, squeezing the muscles of his cheeks sporadically against Quinn's thighs and rolling his shoulders into Quinn's chest as cannons boomed, pistols fired, men screamed while falling from the rigging, and the pirates triumphantly sunk the British warship.
"You wretch," Quinn rumbled in Ben's ear. Ben smiled, shifting his head to kiss Quinn's cheek. They remained in place as the crowd dispersed, watching the ship emerge miraculously undamaged from the moat and sail backwards to its storage place.
"Shall we do more sightseeing?" Ben asked.
Quinn slapped him on one cheek, leaving his hand there to give his buttock a hearty squeeze. "There's only one thing I'm interested in doing right now, and you know it's not looking at tacky neon."
Satisfied with Quinn's honesty, Ben headed back to the Embassy, his lover a step behind him, the walk accomplished with more haste than before, despite the ever-growing crowd.
Moving from the evening sky to the fluorescent hotel light, Ben beelined for the concierge. Quinn followed, growling under his breath, "You won't need your clothes for a while. A long while."
"I know. I left some purchases with my bag." He handed over his claim ticket and took the shopping bag offered to him. Quinn grabbed his suitcase, and the two hustled toward the elevators, sparing barely a glance for the elegant swans floating on the pool in the lovely atrium.
Quinn dropped the suitcase as soon as he entered the room, but Ben was already disappearing into the bathroom without stopping to admire the furnishings. "Ben!"
"Just a moment, Quinn."
He contemplated pounding on the door, but decided to wait a few minutes. A very few minutes, long enough to undress himself, find the necessary supplies, and fling the covers off the bed. He dropped to the bed, sprawling on his back, condoms and lube strategically available. "Ben!"
The bedroom door opened and Ben deliberately posed in the doorway before sauntering out, attired in black silk pajamas of a texture so incredibly fine and sheer that every inch of his body was both covered and revealed. His nipples, his sex nestled in wiry hair, his sensual glide of his muscles as he walked were all tantalizingly displayed for Quinn's benefit.
"I see you've been shopping," Quinn said. He tried to sound nonchalant, but he voice was too uneven to succeed.
"I bought these," Ben replied, stepping onto the end of the bed, walking forward, one foot on each side of Quinn's body until he stopped at his hips, "and a few more surprises."
Quinn curled a hand around each of Ben's ankles, caressing the skin and silk. "Your skin is even finer than the material." Slipping his hands into the wide legs, he caressed up Ben's calves. "But if want to wear this again, you'd better take it off now."
A grin flashed on Ben's face, pleased with Quinn's threat to rip off his clothes. Stretching, he pulled the shirt up and over his head, dropping it on the floor. He pushed the pants off his hips, letting them fall to his feet. He stepped out of one leg, picking up the cloth with the other foot, brushing the gossamer-fine material over Quinn's chest and face, before kicking it away. "Was that what you desired?"
"You know what I desire," Quinn demanded, yanking on Ben's legs until the younger man fell, laughing, to sit on Quinn's torso. Quinn didn't hesitate, didn't fumble, opening the lube quickly, coating his fingers, preparing Ben's body for him with the ease of familiarity and experience. Despite being only half-aroused, Ben didn't complain at Quinn's speed. They both knew Quinn would make certain he came before Quinn was finished, consideration being one of Quinn's main traits as a lover.
A long shaky exhalation and Ben's eyes fluttered shut as he sank onto Quinn's rampant erection. He forced his eyes open, wanting to see the possessive satisfaction in Quinn's eyes, his beautiful brown hair fanned out on the white pillowcase.
They moved in perfect unison, hips and thigh muscles thrusting and lifting. Quinn fondled Ben's cock from base to tip, encouraging its steady rise as his cock stroked Ben's prostate, swamping Ben in sensations from within and without. Ben loved the feeling of being completely owned. He might be on top, but Quinn's control was absolute. Ben pinched his own nipples, knowing that visual would enflame Quinn even further.
The fever built slowly, muscles straining, kisses shared, touches exchanged with love and desire, until they attained a shattering crescendo in the dim room. Their hoarse cries and ragged breaths sounded together as they shared the glorious climax of their duet. Yet, even as they fell from the peak, both felt they came far too soon, and were already contemplating the next climb.
Cuddling, stroking each other lazily, too exhausted to move, Quinn's curiosity made him ask, "Did you buy anything else?"
"A few things," Ben replied evasively.
"I think I'll let that be a surprise. Or a reward."
"Then I'll have to be very very good."
"Mmmm," Ben purred in his throat, tasting one of Quinn's nipples, "you always are."
Another luxurious pause, before Quinn reluctantly said, "I'm committed to more autographs and another panel session tomorrow."
"Good, I'll do more shopping and hear you speak again. Then maybe we can manage to see more of the Strip tomorrow."
"You're willing to spend more time at the convention?"
"I enjoyed myself," Ben admitted honestly. "And I saw why you liked it so much."
"And why was that?"
"Christ," he said, though fondly rather than complainingly, "you're reminding me of my fifth grade teacher, question after question."
Quinn gave a surprised shout of laughter. "I've never been compared to a teacher. I did play a principal once." He rolled over, pinning Ben beneath him.
"I know," Ben said, his legs closing around Quinn. "I love that film."
"So what *did* you learn?"
"That people are people, and sex is a natural and fun part of being alive. That exploring your sexuality doesn't mean you're a filthy old man in a raincoat. I already knew that, I just…"
"Knowing and accepting can be two different things."
"Yeah. I needed the lesson driven home. I'm glad you dared me."
"You are such a good pupil, my Benjamin." Suggestively, Quinn added, "Any time you'd like a lesson driven home…"
"Hmmm, maybe tomorrow I should get one of those rabbit covered paddles, so you can discipline me if I don't understand future lessons."
Quinn felt the reaction in his body, the instant awakening at the thought of a recalcitrant Ben draped over his lap, those perfectly shaped cheeks vulnerable, ready to be chastised with a firm hand and soft fur. He had to take a moment to kiss Ben, plundering his mouth urgently and hard. "Whatever you want to try, Ben. It's up to you. As long as you always remember the only thing I really need."
"Me?" Ben asked with confidence in the answer.
"You," Quinn affirmed.
~ the end ~