Harold answers the door in his usual three piece suit. "You are the gentleman from the agency?" he confirms.
The man on his step is handsome, if not quite Harold's usual type; tall, athletic-looking, wearing a fairly respectable sport jacket. He looks like a bit of a knuckle dragger, Harold thinks.
"Yes," says the man. His voice is soft. "My name is John."
"I would have thought that would be my name tonight," says Harold dryly, before he can help himself. "Well, come in. You can call me Mr. Swan." He starts to offer his hand, thinks better of it, and stands awkwardly aside to let the big man through the door. "Right this way."
"Thank you," says the man, who Harold will apparently be calling John tonight. He uses the same calm, quiet tone. He doesn't seem the least bit uncomfortable, following a stranger into his house for sex. His expression is serene, composed.
Harold finds himself taking a second look, reevaluating his earlier assessment. John is tall and powerfully built, but his features are sensitive, his expression thoughtful. He walks with purpose.
Harold shrugs inwardly. He doesn't know why a man with any other marketable skills would sell himself for cash. But then again, how was it possible to end up so pathetic and desperate as to hire a facsimile of affection? He's not exactly in any position to judge.
He limps ahead, leading John through his well-appointed living room. All of the furniture here is worth at least as much as Harold is paying for this encounter.
"You will have to excuse me, John," says Harold stiffly. "I'm not - I'm not exactly an experienced consumer of ... your agency's services. If there are customary procedures, I may not be aware of them."
"Not to worry, Mr. Swan," says John. The same quiet, steady inflection, almost a whisper. He has kind eyes, Harold notices suddenly. "I'll be sure to let you know."
"Thank you. The bedroom is right through here." Harold feels inexplicably as though he's leading a house tour. Why did he take the long way, up the front staircase? He could have gone quicker through the back.
"There's no need to be nervous, Mr. Swan," says John. "It's my job to make this a pleasant experience, after all."
“I’m not nervous,” says Harold. “I’m just – I – it has been a while. I’m not a … highly sexed individual.” He flinches at the sound of his own voice, reedy and insecure. Why is he saying this? He’s – what’s the word, he’s seen it on the internet … ‘oversharing.’
“That’s alright,” says John. His voice really is extremely mellow and pleasant.
"It's just, since my accident, I don't get out of the house much, and I'm not usually one for - indulgence, but I've begun to find the urges distracting, from my work, you know ... I'm a software designer." Oh Lord, he's still doing it!
"Perfectly understandable," says John. He seems to have excellent conversational skills, for a prostitute.
“It’s hard for me to meet people,” says Harold, waving a self-deprecating hand over his crippled, bespectacled self. “I’m - I fear my social skills are … a little rusty.” If by ‘rusty’ you mean practically nonexistent. “I’m not the kind of person who would succeed at the, ah, 'bar scene.'” Even the words roll awkwardly off his tongue.
John smiles. His teeth are very white. "You don't have to explain yourself to me," he says. They've reached the door of the guest room, and Harold hangs back, awkward, but John pushes the door open boldly and ushers them both inside, into the dimly lit room.
The neatly made bed looms large in Harold's vision.
"Now," says John. "Why don't you tell me exactly how you imagined this encounter going?"
Harold is grateful that they will apparently be discussing the matter clinically. “I was thinking, ah, penetration,” he says, relieved that he managed to get the words out. “Of the anal variety.”
John nods gravely. “Would you prefer to be doing the penetration, or being penetrated?”
The question hangs in the air. Harold can almost see it, floating there between them. There’s no question what he wants – what he originally called the agency to request – but he has long since lost his nerve. Thank goodness he anticipated that, confronted with his own limited body and this impossibly beautiful man, he would choose the path of least resistance.
“I believe I prefer to be the, ah, receiving partner,” he mutters. “If that’s alright with you.”
John's expression doesn't change. “That’s fine,” he says, in the same almost-whisper. “I’m happy to do whatever you would most enjoy.”
Harold doesn’t kid himself – a man as handsome as John can’t possibly enjoy having sex with someone as pale and shriveled as Harold. But he is satisfied with the response.
“Please, don’t hesitate to speak up if there’s anything particular you’re looking for, or if something isn't working with your injuries. It’s my job to please you, after all.” John smiles, a little wryly. “Don’t worry, whatever you’re thinking of, I’ve heard worse.”
Harold doesn’t doubt it. He takes another moment to wonder how such a competent-seeming man has ended up in a field like this. He must be the victim of some rather unfortunate circumstances.
“Ah, I’m not one for anything …elaborate ... ” Harold trails off.
"Whatever you want," says John, matter-of-fact. “Now, would you care to undress? Or maybe I should?”
“I’d like to, er, remain mostly clothed,” says Harold. “Please. Obviously we will – remove whatever is necessary.”
“Right, then.” Harold limps to the bed and reaches for his waistband, fumbling with the polished buckle of his belt. He lingers over his white boxer-briefs, close to losing his nerve.
“I can look away,” says John, diplomatically. He suits word to action without prompting.
Harold tries to be realistic. Wasted since the accident, his body is thin; not in the attractive way. But John has surely had less attractive partners. He eases his underwear down and arranges himself on his belly, one of the few positions that he can tolerate.
“I took the liberty of preparing myself,” he says. The preparation, he finds, is not sexy. But he doesn’t need any more pain in his life, so it must be done.
“I’ll just check quickly,” says John. Gentle hands part his cheeks – Harold buries his face in the pillowcase – and then muffles a groan as calloused, gentle fingers slide into him without preamble.
John has steady hands.
"Try to relax, Mr. Swan," he says calmly, moving his fingers with care. Harold is grateful for the lack of foreplay; he just wants to get this over with so he can get back to work. It's a medical procedure, no different than the woman who adjusts his back. Just another human indignity.
"Lubrication," he murmurs. It's in the bedside cabinet.
"Don't worry, I came prepared." Wet sounds, then he's being held open again, touched tenderly, the rim of his anus traced with cool fingertips.
"Hmm," says Harold.
John is expert, like he knows that Harold can't tolerate anything but the most knowledgeable touch. He's coaxed open, eased into it. Exquisite pressure loosens his muscles like metal wire being slowly warmed.
"How's that, Mr. Swan?" John easily locates the swollen nub of his prostate.
“Harold,” gasps Harold, into his pillow. “Please – call me Harold.” He doesn’t know why he says it. He planned this scene in advance – of course he did, down to the smallest detail – the fake name, the fake credit card it’s tied to, everything – but it seems important.
“Of course, Harold,” says John quietly. He twists his fingers agilely and Harold hisses, muffling his voice in the 600-thread pillow case his interior decorator recommended.
Nathan is the only one he ever let do this to him - all the rest of his experience is with women, shy and anxious fumbling over the softness of their curves. Now Harold feels tears coming to his eyes, awash in the memory of past kindnesses, and the pleasure of being touched.
"Alright?" asks John.
"Fine," says Harold, trying to squirm, forgetting that he can't anymore. "Your mouth. Will you - please ..."
There's a notable pause, and Harold comes to his senses.
"You don't have to - never mind."
"Shh, we can do that. Just try to stay still so you don’t hurt yourself."
"I can show you my personal health records, of course," Harold babbles. He was screened in advance by the agency, and although those documents had been had actually been careful forgeries, he really has run tests himself, and come back clean.
"It's fine. I trust you."
Soft, wet lips brush against his open hole, bumping against the fingers still tucked away inside him.
Harold shivers at the sensation, trying to breathe deeply through it. "M-more," he demands, greedy now.
"Just relax for me, Harold."
A warm, clever tongue probes against his anus, and Harold sighs and gives over to it. It slips easily into him, shockingly deep, John's hands guiding his hips up just right. A few confident thrusts, and Harold lets go, unable to muffle his damp cries, rutting into his expensive sheets as he comes, shameful and startlingly early.
He doesn't want it to end but also he needs it so badly. For a moment he transcends his weakened frame, escapes the pain that follows him everywhere, as is infused with golden light, the way he only feels when he's deeply absorbed in code.
It's perfect and glorious.
Then he comes back, shaking and sniveling into the pillowcase. His pants and his underwear are still bunched around his thighs. John is shushing him and rubbing his back, broad strokes from his frail shoulder blades all the way down to the base of his spine.
Harold wipes his wet face on his sleeve. "I apologize," he croaks, when he regains enough breath. "That was ... not how I anticipated the evening proceeding."
"Don't be sorry, it's fine. It seems like maybe you needed that. Can I get you anything? Water? A pill?"
Harold rolls over slowly, looking with dismay at his soiled pants and the stains on the bed linens. "No ... no, not yet. I - I suppose I was a little ... pent up."
"I'd say so." John smiles genuinely, his shuttered face suddenly transformed, earnest and handsome and strangely young.
Harold feels himself flush, aware again of the ungainly shape of himself.
"You know, Harold, we've got time left on the clock if you're interested in trying for another round." John surveys Harold's genitalia with a professional eye. "I'd say, give yourself a minute, and you'll have more gas in the tank there."
Harold sits up all the way and looks down at himself in astonishment. John appears to be correct; he stares at his own half-hard penis as if he's never seen it before.
"Good gracious," he says.
"Happens sometimes if things have been backed up for a while," says John. "I could probably get you the rest of the way?"
"Yes," says Harold. "Please."
John helps Harold out of his pants and underwear, then guides him to sit on the edge of the bed. He drops wordlessly to his knees, crawling between Harold's wide spread thighs. Harold swallows audibly.
"You're a very handsome man," he blurts.
"Thank you, Harold." John lets the anticipation build, blinking prettily in the lamp light, before he leans forward to delicately take the tip of Harold's penis in his mouth. He hums, sucking thoughtfully at the fluid dribbling at the tip, before nuzzling slowly and deliberately down into Harold's lap.
“Oh,” says Harold. He’s as entranced by the smooth motion of John’s throat as by the sensation of his own penis being so easily swallowed. He's thankful he paid a premium to forgo the need of a condom for this.
He lifts a cautious hand and sets it in John’s hair, not to hold him down, just to touch. John hums, lifting his eyes, curious. Harold doesn’t know why he did it either, but it feels right to gently stroke through the sandy, grey-flocked hair. “That feels very good,” he tells John. “Thank you.”
John blinks. The corners of his eyes crinkle, like maybe he would smile if his mouth wasn’t full. He starts bobbing slowly up and down, and he brings his free hand up to cradle Harold’s filling testicles and the base of his penis.
The previous orgasm has left him acutely sensitive but restored blessed control, and Harold can enjoy himself, enjoy the sight of John’s pretty stretched lips. He gets the sense that John is trying to make it last too, or else he would use his tongue on the crown, draw him into orgasm. But he’s more interested in getting down to the root, so he can bury his face in Harold’s short, graying pubic hair, breathing deeply.
Harold still has his hand on the back of John’s head, resting there gently. "You're very good at this," he says.
John lets him slide slowly out from between his lips and licks down the shaft. “You can finish in my mouth, if you like,” he says. “Or we could finish what we started before." He rest his lips on a lightly furred testicle. "Or maybe there's something else you want? This is your show, Harold.”
Harold watches him open wide to take the wrinkled sack carefully into his mouth.
"I want to penetrate you," says Harold in a rush.
"Mmmm." John sucks lightly, then withdraws. "I'd like that too."
"But since my accident, I’m not really ... my injuries, I might not be - able to."
“We can do it,” says John confidently. “I can find a position that will work for you. Just leave everything to me." He regains his feet with agility that makes Harold envious, and starts to open his pants.
“I want to see you,” says Harold. “All of you.”
John obediently switches to his shirt buttons, unhurriedly revealing a tanned, muscular chest that’s crisscrossed with scars. Harold knows instinctively not to ask about them; after all, he has scars of his own.
John shrugs out of his jacket, folding it neatly over a convenient chair, then out of his shirt.
“Now your pants,” says Harold, enjoying the pink flush that spreads over the man’s neck, his nipples hardening.
John is hard. Harold is flattered, although he’s sure there are tricks of the trade to ensure it. His penis is large and uncut, the wet head swollen.
When he's completely naked, John spreads his arms and turns a slow circle, letting Harold’s hungry eyes examine every inch of him – his broad, powerful back, lean thighs, and his proud, high buttocks. Harold wants to touch, but he refrains.
"Alright," says John. "Why don't you sit back, please? And would you prefer facing, or - "
"Facing," says Harold at once. He watches John reach back and prepare himself. He has changed his mind about preparation – it can be quite attractive, when done by the right person.
John helps him into a condom - the risk to the client dictates its necessity, for this act - before finally coming forward to straddle Harold’s waist.
"I’m going to keep my weight on your thighs, away from your hips," says John. "Don’t try to thrust up if it hurts. Just let me do all the work." He reaches back to coat Harold's sheathed penis in additional lubricant, then guides it to his opening.
Harold doesn't know where to put his hands. He watches John's face as he sinks down slowly, the slight tightness around his eyes that fades into loose, hazy pleasure.
“Feels good,” John rasps. Harold is sure he has taken much larger but he likes to think the enjoyment is genuine. He tries to move his hips, stilted and stiff. John matches the rhythm at once, infinitely smoother.
“You don't have to do anything, if you don't want," says John. “Let me take care of everything.”
There’s something about that phrase that arouses him, Harold thinks. He suspects that John is the kind of man who likes to take care of others.
John knows how to roll his hips in just the right way, holding most of his weight off of Harold with his own strong thighs. He must have immense control, Harold thinks. He finds himself hardening impossibly, his erection safe and warm in John's snug channel.
"I'm getting close," says Harold, biting his lip.
John moans softly and speeds up, pushing down harder to bottom out completely, taking Harold all the way in on every stroke.
Harold lifts his hand to stroke John's twitching washboard abs, up over his smooth pectorals, the straining tendons and hammering pulse of his throat. Cradles his square, handsome jaw.
He runs a finger over John’s wet lips, and John opens immediately, letting Harold’s finger slide into his mouth, sucking gently.
"Cross your hands behind your back," says Harold, daring now.
John shifts to achieve the position, all his grace made awkward. He’s still trying valiantly to keep his weight off of Harold’s hips, but Harold is feeling no pain.
"Good," he says. "Very good. You like that, don’t you. No, don’t answer. I'm going to come inside you now, and I want you to take every single drop."
John stills and squeezes, and Harold ruts up - once, twice, into the obscene clench of John's body, and then explodes, filling the condom and closing his eyes against the intensity of the pleasure.
This time it goes on and on, soft waves of gratification that keep him rocking up into John, indifferent to the growing ache in his back or the smell of sweat emanating from his now sadly wrinkled attire. It might be only a few minutes, but it feels like hours as all the frustrations of the last year drain out of him, leaving him with simple animal contentment.
"Harold," John whispers, strained, muffled by the finger still in his mouth, "Please, Harold, can I come? Harold, please?"
Harold opens his eyes, taking in John's wide eyed expression, his agitation.
"Yes, John," says Harold. "You've been very good." He takes John's thick, weeping cock in his other hand and squeezes. "I want you to come for me now."
John whines, letting the other man see his pleasure as he spasms between them, soaking both of their bellies.
"Good," Harold soothes, "Very good, so good for me, John."
John collapses against his shoulder in relief when he's done, and Harold strokes his sweaty hair and holds him close, his mind buzzing with plans.
He already knows he's got to keep him. However much John costs, Harold can afford him.
Harold's software is almost ready, and his dealings with the real world are getting increasingly charged. He needs someone who knows how to take orders, someone who takes pride in his work. Someone to translate his ideas into action. An interface.
John makes a sleepy sound and Harold pulls him in closer, easily bearing the heavy bulk of him with the endorphins still coursing through his bloodstream. Feeling unspeakably tender, he bends to kiss the grey temple resting on his rumpled Oxford shirt.
"It's alright, now," says Harold. "Ssh, it's alright. I've got you, John. I've got you, now."