Catalina Cherries
by Joe Butterman

 

Chapter 9: Posing

I had gone down to Berto’s house the next morning to help him with some chores that his Mother had previously detailed for him.  These were mostly of the light yard work variety, but we also had to get some boxes down from the garage and move furniture around in the living room while some cleaning was going on.  Berto’s Mother was a warm and cheerful woman whom I treated with the courtesy that I would extend to any lady; but there was also a very genuine respect in my deportment for I loved her son.  Berto was the third of four children; there was an older brother and sister, while the fourth was a younger sister.  His Father and his older brother and sister were all at work.  His younger sister was quiet, shy, very pleasant, and anxious to be helpful.

While we were in the garage, Berto told me that he had been busy planning.  He had arranged that his brother would take us to the beach next Tuesday.  I would have dinner with his family on Monday night and then we would sleep outside in the backyard.  Alejandro would then drive us to the beach while he was on his was to a job in Huntington Beach and pick us up around five on his way home.  This sounded great to me, but I cautioned that I would have to get permission.  I was not too concerned about this, however, because my Grandmother thoroughly approved of Berto and that was ninety-five percent of the necessary permission in and of itself.

When we were done with the chores, we had a delightful lunch of chorizo tacos and rice.  We put shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes and onions on the tacos, and the rice was not what you usually think of as “Mexican” rice; it was not tomatoey at all, but was browned with celery, black olives, bell peppers, and sweet chilies.  We were not offered a choice of beverage so we drank the milk we were given.  When we were finished with lunch, having each had several tacos and seconds of rice, we received hugs and warnings from Mama and were off to Gary’s.

We were anxious to discover if Dave had managed to find a way to Anaheim.  None of us had ever done such a thing by ourselves before, so it was something of a mystery.  I had seen young men standing by the roadside with a raised thumb.  My Grandfather dismissed these persons out of hand and never slowed nor acknowledged them no matter what the weather.  My Father, in contrast, would sometimes give rides to young men who were in military uniform, but others need not apply unless he recognized them.  I worried about all of this to Berto, and he reminded me that Dave had said he was going to take a bus.  I was somewhat relieved by this thought, but had no knowledge of riding a bus myself, I certainly, had never even been on one and I couldn’t think of anyone I knew that had ever been on one.

“Miss Jean? Miss Jean?  Is Gary here?” I announced our arrival to the house through the screen doors to the den.  Miss Jean trundled into view from the kitchen.

“Nope.  Him’n Johnny gone downtown to meet a fren’.  Ya’ll had lunch?”

“Yes’um.  Mama made us tacos and rice,” I soothed her perpetual concern for our stomachs knowing it was best to tell her what we had eaten as well as just assuring her that we had eaten.  Somehow, a report on the menu tended to lend credibility.

“Ya’ll wait by the pool.  Won’t be long now.  Jest a minute, then,” she went back into the kitchen and returned with two Seven Ups for us.  Handing us the sodas, she told us that if we needed to come into the house we should call her first as she was working and didn’t want us to be the “ruination” of her work. We thanked her and agreed.

We tossed our shorts in the dressing room and relaxed in adjacent lounge chairs.  We basked in the sun and our nudity.

“Have ya thought about us,” Berto wondered.

“Every day.  Every day.  I wanna be with ya always.”

“Yeah, but how’re we gonna do that?”

I didn’t have a ready answer to that question so I just started talking, “Look, there’s just lots we don’t know yet so we kinda hafta plan as we go.  Like I gotta go back to Reno next month.  D’ya think there’s any chance you could come up there sometime during the year?  Ya know, like a visit at Christmas or something.  Berto stared off into space, “what would I do up there?”

“Dunno,” I answered with the prompt precision of the clueless.  “We could just mess around the ranch, or” an idea struck, “we could go up to one of the line cabins for a coupla days.  It’d be fun.  Just us.  Think about it.”  Berto pondered this notion for a few moments, “What’s a line cabin?”  And off I went, launched on a discussion of ranching, deeded acres, Bureau of Land Management grazing rights, water rights, the inherent inferiority of sheep and all and everything to do with them, the seasons, my pick-up truck, my horse, and so on.  I even managed to answer his initial question.  I had Berto’s complete attention; his beautiful brown eyes were rapt.  “Okay.  I’ll try.”  Having disposed of the immediate future, we went swimming.

We were cavorting in the pool when Gary and Johnny came home with Dave so we were unaware of their arrival until they emerged from the house having introduced Dave to Miss Jean.  We were sitting side-by-side with our legs in the water when they came out of the house all smiles.  They headed for the dressing room and we followed, though we detoured through the shower to get the chlorine off before joining them in the dressing room.  They were all sitting naked on the benches when we entered.  I slid into Berto’s arm and put my arm companionably around his waist and we stood listening to Dave’s adventures. He had easily determined which bus would get him to Anaheim and when he arrived, he got a room in one of the lesser downtown hotels, he’d left his bag there and changed into shorts and a t-shirt, then he went back to the station and called Gary and waited around until they arrived.  It didn’t sound all that dramatic when it was explained.  There’d been no need for hitch hiking.  No excitement of any sort.  Dave had even taken care of a place to sleep, which otherwise would have been very awkward once I thought about it.  The three of them went whooping into the pool and we went back to our lounge chairs.

Later, we all went into the dressing room where we had excellent sex.  It was like at the beach, only this time, when Dave had positioned Johnny on the bench and gone down on him, I got behind Dave, applied lotion liberally to my boner, and entered him.  It’s a great position.  I enjoyed watching Johnny’s expression as Dave worked him to climax; I enjoyed stroking Dave’s chest and sex as I pumped his butt.  I came first, but continued to move with Dave as Johnny came.  Berto had now taken a seat next to Johnny and Gary was standing beside me.  I sat back and slipped out of Dave.  I kissed Gary’s dick and licked off his pre-cum, then I lavished lotion on him, and surrendered Dave’s ass to Gary.  I went and sat next to Johnny.  We kissed and held each other while we watched the others go at it.  When Gary and Berto were done, Dave stood up.  So did Johnny.  Johnny went to Dave and had him sit on the bench, spread his legs widely, got down between them, and began to kiss and lick all over Dave’s crotch before he finally took him in his mouth.  It was pretty obvious that Johnny really wanted to do this, so the three of us just sat there all satisfied and watched him do it.

It was getting close to time for Berto and I to leave, so we showered, dried each other, and got dressed.  I told Dave that I had an aunt coming to visit this weekend and wouldn’t be able to see him tomorrow, but I hoped to see him again soon.  He was still naked so I fondled him as I said this; he said he really wanted to see all of us again and that he’d call Gary to let him know when.  As it happened, neither Berto nor I ever saw him again.  Also. We forgot to mention the Tuesday trip to the beach.

Saturday, about mid-morning, Grand Belle’s younger sister, Arvilla and her husband Paul, descended upon us.  They arrived in their sedate Buick sedan, it was equipped with a straight eight, too, but I much preferred Bobbin’s Packard.  I addressed them as “aunt” and “uncle” though, if you want to get technical, they too, were “grands.”  We lunched downtown.  That night, we dined lavishly at home, using the best china and the silver service.  They were credentialed at our church, so there was no problem there; church was interminable, as was tea, and then they departed Sunday afternoon.  I spent the entire weekend in some combination of trousers and dress shirt, coat and tie.  I was made particularly uncomfortable because my clothes no longer fit well; I felt constricted the whole time, plus I’d discovered that I like to look good, and that’s tough when you know your trousers are too short.  Nonetheless, I was on my very best behavior because permission had been granted for Tuesday at the beach.  Fair is fair.

Monday finally arrived.  I had been helping Grand Belle around the house; she had dusted and polished in the living and dining room then I had vacuumed.  While this was going on the washing machine on the back porch had been busy clanking and complaining.  I was still not permitted to operate the mangle, but ever the philosopher, I wasn’t so sure this was a bad thing.  In any event, I was busy hanging laundry on the clothesline when Gary arrived breathless with outrage and vital information.

“Johnny’s grounded for two weeks,” he reported.  I was dumbstruck.  How could this be?  “She’s taking him over to her cousins all day while she’s at work.  She picks him up on her way home and she lock’s him in the cellar at night.”  Gary was furious.  He wouldn’t have heard me if I’d told him that the MacCrimmons didn’t even have a cellar. So I didn’t try.

“What happened?”  Was the best I could do.

“Well.  You remember Friday.  He and Dave left my house together; he went home and Dave went downtown to his hotel.  Then, after his Mom went to bed, he snuck out and went to Dave’s room.  Somehow, Dave got some whiskey or something, so then they were drinking it and got into a fight about something.  So when Johnny gets home, his shirts all torn an shit, an he’s bleeding an has a black eye an shit an his Mom knows he was out an she’s waiting there for him.  So when she sees him she has this shit hemorrhage conniption fit.  And now he’s grounded for fighting and drinking.  That fuckin’ Dave!”  Gary was really wound-up.  I made some calming noises and then said, “I don’t think she’s lockin’ him in the cellar.  I don’t think they even have a cellar.”

“Oh I know.  That fuckin’ Dave.”  Gary had now subsided to a slow boil. “I’ll kick his ass if I ever see him again.”

“Don’t do that!”  Now I was all worried for Gary.  He was only a few pounds heavier than me, but was still lighter than Johnny and I didn’t think he’d be a match for Dave if it came to blows.  We discussed the unfairness of it all, and how nice we’d been to Dave and how, no matter what, he shouldn’t have beat-up Johnny.

“Well, I gotta go.  Can you tell Roberto?”

“Sure, where ya goin’?”

“We’re goin’ down to Long Beach for three days.  My uncle’s gonna be there and my Mom wants to see him and has some Navy stuff to do.”

“I think I’ll wait a day or two and then see if I can talk to Johnny.  Come over as soon as ya get back, kay?”  I knew he wanted a kiss goodbye so I led him back into the Catalina Cherries, we had several great kisses, and he was off.

I finished the clothes and carefully considered this business with Johnny.  I knew there was no point in trying to talk to Mrs. MacCrimmon until she had a good chance to calm down; she was slow to anger but also slow to cool: I also decided that there was no need for me to tell my Grandparents just now.  They had no real need to know, but would find out anyway as they had an excellent network of their own.  They’d ask me, and I’d tell them all I knew which was, after all, nothing much.  Soon it was time and I was off to Berto’s: I was traveling light, swimming suit, towel, sun tan lotion – wearing cut offs, sneakers, and a t-shirt.

After saying hello to all who were at home, Berto took me out to a far corner of the backyard and showed me our bed, I’d been expecting two sleeping bags; but Berto had put down a tarp. Over that were several old quilts, then sheets, then two blankets.  There were four pillows, all in cases.  Berto was clearly one of those roughing-it-in-comfort types.  Mind, I thoroughly approve of comfort.  He looked around, all secret like, then bent down and lifted a pillow showing me a jar of cold cream.  He smiled shyly and replaced the pillow.  I sat down beside him and began to relate all of Johnny’s travails.  Berto listened attentively, but of course, he had a lot of questions and there were several issues to discuss, and mostly, I didn’t know the answers to his questions.  While we were so engrossed, Alejandro came home from work and parked his pick-up next to the garage.  He gave us a wave as he went into the house.  I eyed him speculatively.  I wondered if, should it become necessary to pound Dave into the ground, Alejandro could be prevailed on to do it.  I believed that he would be more than capable of such a chore.  It never occurred to me that the four of us could have accomplished this same task together.  My Daddy had given me some boxing lessons in the course of which he had told me that fighting was strictly a one-on-one affair.  Moments later Berto’s Father arrived in his pick-up, and parked in front of the garage.  Unlike Alejandro, he came back to our campsite to welcome me and exchange pleasantries.  He was a striking man: warm brown eyes that twinkled humorously, a sweeping moustache that glittered with silver, as did his sideburns and temples; he was powerful through the shoulders and arms, with a stomach that seemed somehow formidable rather than large; he was neatly attired in 501 Levis, brown Wellington boots, a tooled western belt and a short sleeved western shirt. Consulting his watch, he advised us that we should come in and wash-up for supper in a few minutes.  As he walked away, I was distressed; there is, after all, a lot of my Grandfather in me, “Why does he wear those Wellingtons?  Wouldn’t proper cowboy boots be better?”

“He has fallen arches,” Berto explained, “He can’t wear them anymore.”  I wasn’t sure precisely what a fallen arch was, but clearly it wasn’t his fault.  We went in to dinner.

This meal was the greatest: there were homemade tortillas, carne asada, a salad that had very little lettuce and a great deal of every other imaginable vegetable, that marvelous rice that Mama made so well, and fresh corn; Alejandro and his Father drank beer, Mama and Berto’s elder sister (Mercedes) drank coffee, and the rest of us drank milk.  During the course of the meal, I’m sure as a courtesy to me, only a few Spanish words popped up from time to time, all of the real conversation was in English.  (I resolved that Berto was going to teach me Spanish.)  For dessert, there was this wonderful custard called “flan.”  I took a small bite from my ample portion and found it to be heavenly; I demolished the remainder in what must have been close to record time.  I was replete with good food and better company.

“So, young Carlos,” Berto’s Father addressed me across the table, “you will have heard, perhaps, of a knight called Lancelot?”  There were many questions I might reasonably have expected to hear over the wreckage of dessert, but this one, frankly, I’d never even considered.  I was nonplussed.

“Uh.  Er.  Si.  Sir.  Yes.”  He threw his head back laughing richly.  Mama, too, was chuckling; there were smiles all around the table.

“You, young Carlos, shall call me Papa too,” he nodded emphatically when his laughter was done.  “And now, I shall tell you of a REAL KNIGHT.  His name was: Ruy Diaz de Bivar.”  These syllables rolled majestically from his tongue just as the clouds gather rumbling over summers mountains.  “We call him El Cid.  He was the greatest knight who ever swore an oath or wore a sword.”

Well, I now learned that there are people who just tell stories, and then there are storytellers who live the tale.  For the next few minutes, Ruy Diaz de Bivar, the greatest knight who ever lived, was present in that Anaheim kitchen.  You could hear the horses neigh and whuffle, smell them, feel them dancing beneath you as they prepared to charge, leather creaked and rustled, armor clinked and rang, lance tips sparkled in the sunshine, pennons and banners drooped or snapped, swords sang, then whispered; the Saracens gave way before your flashing blades and their blood was scarlet vivid in the dust; and you returned victorious to your King, and were betrayed; but El Cid was true to his oath and to his King, even if the King was a worthless little man; the King’s toadies came, sneaking with their evil spirits and foul schemes; but they are no match for you and your loyal men.  Even though now you know who sent the toadies, you, El Cid, are true to your oath and to your King.  And so, once more, you will ride for grateful country, and useless King; your enemies flee or fall before the charge of your unquenchable spirit as you ride, borne nobly by Babieca who will be with you always, into the fathomless future.

In the silence following the final charge, I am stunned.  I am breathless.  “But why,” I wonder, “did the King do him that way?”

“Bah,” comes the twinkling reply, “That is Spain where they must have a king to blame for all things.  But this is California!  Here, no king has trod.  And now, mi Carlos y mi Roberto, you will brush your teeth and go to sleep beneath the stars.  Who knows, perhaps El Cid will visit and bless you.”  Laughing he got up.  We all followed suit.  Roberto and Carlos did as they had been bade.

When we got to our bed, I was still entranced.  I stood looking up at the stars.  There was no moon and Anaheim was only a dim glow.  There were millions of them looking down on us and I truly felt that I knew El Cid and that he was with us.  I knew this could not be, but I likewise knew it to be true.  Berto was naked and was undressing me.  I helped him a little bit, but let him do most of it as I enjoyed his touch.  He threw back the covers and sat down, he tucked our clothes down under the covers on his side so they wouldn’t get damp from the morning dew.

“Your Father is wonderful,” I told Berto.

“Si, but you must call him ‘Papa’ now or he will be disappointed.”

“Si,” I agreed.  I lay down on my side with my back to Berto and asked him to snuggle into me, which he did.  He had one arm under my neck and the other around my chest; I was enfolded in his warmth while cooled by the evening breeze.  I felt him stirring against my butt and wiggled against him until he started to get nice and hard.

“Stay the way you are,” I told him while I rummaged around in the bedding until I found the cold cream.  “This may be a little cool,” I cautioned as I rubbed the cream onto his boner.

“It’s okay,” he kinda moaned.  I had a fine hard on now, too, I knelt beside him and applied the cold cream to the crack of my butt.  I resumed my original position and gloried in the feel of him slick and hard between my cheeks.  I reached around and positioned the tip of his dick in just the right place, I moved down on him and felt him enter.  Slowly I got as much of him in as I could.

“Hold me just like this for a while,” I asked him.  He stopped moving and held me tight.  “Will you be my Cid Roberto?”  I whispered.

Si my Carlito.  Te amo.

“Me too, te amo,” I whispered back.

We lay there in heaven, I felt him deep within me, surrounding me with love.  There could be no greater peace.  The tingling, though was becoming pretty intense, so I started flexing on him and pushing down onto him and he started thrusting gently back into me.

“Hold me tight but roll onto your back,” I requested.  We did this and his now free hand went to my boner which he stroked while he held me tightly to and onto him.  I picked the pace up a little but I really couldn’t get any good traction so I asked him to sit up under me and this was much better and I really began to get it on.  He came a few seconds later, murmuring “Carlito, Carlito, oh Dios!”  Still holding me tightly, he fell back onto our bed.  The covers on top of us had, of course, come off and I lay there naked to the stars and the warm breeze, in my lover’s arms, feeling him deep within me.  Feeling him slowly relaxing comfortably beneath me.  This must surely be heaven I thought and told Berto so.

“Carlito,” he whispered back, “put the cream on.”  And he stroked my boner lest I should mistake his meaning.  I waited a little longer as he softened within me, when I felt he was about to come out anyway, I sat up, spread his legs, and knelt before him between his legs.  I applied the cold cream to me, then to him, and then smeared some more onto his cock and balls just for good measure.  I moved down and forward, lifting his legs with my arms and shoulders and he lifted up to meet me.  I felt his fingers grasp and guide me and I followed them into him.  I entered him gently but fully and let him grow comfortable with my presence.  He grasped my butt cheeks and pulled me into him with both hands so I began to thrust rhythmically, relishing the feeling of being in him and on him, the feeling of his cock and balls against my stomach, the heat and all of those wonderful little pressures all over me.  I came gushing into his center and shuddered intensely against him, toes curling and everything.

Mi Berto…Oh Roberto…Cid.”  Slowly, his legs came down though he held me in him, as I grew slowly softer.  I leaned forward and whispered more of my love for him, relaxing in his embrace.

Spent, at length, I slipped out of him and kissed him.  Then I pulled the covers up and over us, and interlaced myself into his arms legs and sex, and fell asleep as soon as I had us properly organized.  When I awoke, it was just graying; we were still entangled gloriously and the birds were rioting all around us.  I just luxuriated in all of these feelings; Roberto’s warmth seemed all encompassing and all comforting.  I must have dozed a little for now the sky is bluing before me, a mockingbird is loudly mocking something not too far away. I snuggled into Roberto and whispered to him, “awake mi Cid.”  I ran my tongue around his lips and as he started to smile, I kissed the smile.

“Carlito de mi corazon,” he murmured as I traced his eyebrows and the bridge of his nose with a fingertip.  (I must learn all of the Spanish love words I noted to myself.)  He returned my kiss.  Slowly we untangled and got dressed beneath the covers.  I wondered if we should go to the far corner of their lot for a morning piss, but Roberto assured me that we must not, that we’d be expected to use the bathroom properly.  We went into the kitchen.  Mama was up and cooking but no one else seemed to be stirring yet.  We went into the bathroom and closed the door.  Roberto opened my fly and pulled me out and aimed me at the toilet, but I looked alarmed and he told me not to worry, no one would enter the bathroom when the door was closed without knocking first and waiting for an answer.  I helped him out and we had our morning pee.

We trooped into the kitchen where I commented on all of the wonderful smells.  I opined that I should like a cup of coffee.  Mama smiled hugely and announced, “Then you shall have one.”  She conjured two heavy porcelain mugs from somewhere and poured each one half full of coffee, she then added two spoons of sugar and stirred, filling the mugs the rest of the way with milk.  Roberto and I sat at the table and sipped.  I felt hugely important.

“Come, Carlos,” Roberto said and led me back to our bedding: we folded our blankets and the quilts into a neat pile, roughly folded the sheets and pillow cases in another pile, and carefully folded the tarp.  The tarp went into the garage.  Everything else returned to the house for storage or laundering as appropriate.  We returned to our coffee.  Alejandro was dressed and drinking coffee at the table.  He wondered if we’d be ready after breakfast and we assured him that we would.  Plates of huevos rancheros appeared before us.  Papa appeared as we were finishing and was handed a cup of coffee, which, I noted, had neither milk nor sugar in it.  That must surely be the right way to drink coffee.

“Is there more to the story of El Cid, Papa?”  I inquired.

“There is indeed, young Carlos,” he replied expansively, “but no time for it this morning, I think.”

Vamanos,” agreed Alejandro.  We gathered our towels and the lunch that Mama had prepared and jumped into the truck.  Roberto gave me the shotgun position.

On the drive, Alejandro complained, good naturedly, but at great length and in loving detail, of iniquitous youth, dragging a hard-working man, far out of his way, so that they might laze the day away on a beach.  But he followed our directions cheerfully and, at length, deposited us in the same parking lot.  It was again deserted except for the same Buick parked in the same spot.

“I will be here at five, or so, so don’t make me wait,” Alejandro threatened amiably.  Then he was gone.

“Alejandro’s pretty neat, too,” I remarked to Roberto and the disappearing tailgate.  Neither heard me, Roberto was already at the top of the path, starting down.

I sprinted to catch up and followed him down.  The lady with the easel was in pretty much the same place and set up in pretty much the same way.  We chorused “good morning,” but were halted by an unexpected response.

“Just a minute.  Will you come over here please?”  We stopped and went back to her, expecting to be asked to perform some small service of the type a gentleman would be expected to provide.  My initial suspicion, that she could not, by definition, be termed “riff-raff” was confirmed.  She was wearing fawn colored pants that came down to just above her ankles, a cream colored blouse, a scarf that was predominantly burgundy, through which touches of blue, gold, and green leapt and harmonized.  She had on a wide brimmed straw hat with her sandy blond hair, with just a few streaks of silver through it, tied neatly in a ponytail.  There was a large, forest green, leather handbag beside her paint box.  She had a thin gold chain and an elegant watch sparkling on her left wrist, while on her right hand she wore only a large gold ring with a green stone.  She was wearing sandals, make-up and lipstick.  She scrutinized us from cool green eyes.

“You boys were here with your friends the other day, were you not?”

“Yes ma’am,” Roberto replied while I remained silent.

“Are your friends not here today?”

I thought that the answer to that question was blindingly obvious, but Roberto deemed it worthy of response, “No ma’am.”

“That is too bad as I was hoping to hire the four of you.”  I had not the slightest interest in doing her yard, though it occurred to me that I would help Roberto with it if he wanted me too.  We needed train fare for him this winter, after all.  The silence lengthened.

“I am Emily Covington,” she announced reaching into her handbag to withdraw a small case that gleamed gold, “I am an artist.”  She opened the case and handed each of us a card.  Mine read:

Emily Covington
Landscape & Portraiture
VN 7-3612

Interesting, I thought, and so much for all that stuff in school about starving artists: she drives a Buick, she’s impeccably dressed, and her accessories are gold.  (It should be remembered that, much to my Grandfather’s annoyance, I’m only Dutch Reformed three months of the year; the rest of the year I’m Episcopalian: we’re not too concerned about guilt, but do know which fork to use and can instantly discern the gleam of gold from the glitter of brass.)  But she had introduced herself.

“Carlos Scott,” I announced using Gary’s little bow.

“Roberto Celayo de Galves,” with identical bow.

She seemed startled, “goodness” as she regained her composure, “gentlemen.”  Good, I was thinking, now that she knows we’re gentlemen, not handymen, we can go swimming.  I was beginning to organize the appropriate comments for taking leave of a lady of first, and therefore suspect acquaintance, when she wondered, “Are you not interested in what I wanted to hire you for?”  I was hovering on the brink of a: Thank You, No, but looked to Roberto for support and saw that, though he’d said nothing, his body language was inquiring.

“I want you to pose for me.  And I will pay you each twenty dollars.  It will take about an hour for me to do the necessary sketches.  Let me tell you about my painting.  Come up here,” and she strode to the top of the knoll in front of her easel.  She described her seascape as representing the first arrival, off this coast, of the Spanish, they would be represented by the white sails of a single ship well out to sea.  In the foreground, grouped on the knoll, would be a group of young Indian braves who would be pointing at the sails and wondering what this might be.

Roberto looked at me, twenty dollars was a lot of money for standing around for an hour. When you bought a pair of 501’s you gave them a five-dollar bill and got some change.  I shrugged assent, Roberto looked at her and said, “Okay.”

“Wonderful,” she beamed, “when I saw the four of you the other day I said there are my perfect braves.  But I had to leave at noon.  I’d hoped one of you might come by so that I could introduce myself, however you all stayed down on the beach.  Excellent!  Please take off your clothes.”

I was outraged.  “We can’t do that!”  What kind of dingbat thought we were going to be painted naked for all the world to see?  Who knew where this picture might end up?  What if my Grandfather, or far, far worse, my Grandmother, ever saw it?  For that matter, once I thought about it, I couldn’t see my Mother or Father beaming approval on a naked picture of me either.  And, of course, there was the final and most telling point of all: “You’re a GIRL!”  Modesty preserved, I glared at her.  For a person who had just been so accurately and ferociously condemned, her reaction was unusual.  She threw back her head and laughed with rich enjoyment.

“Bless you, Carlos.  Bless you!” she regained her composure, “I only wish I were still a girl.”  She chuckled and daubed her eyes carefully with what I would bet was a silk hankie.  “But alas, I am a woman, and I’ve had many men and women pose nude for me over the years.  Nothing you have would be a surprise to me.”

So what, I thought still indignant.  I turned to Roberto, “What if Papa or Grand Belle saw us naked in this thing?  Whadda ya think they’d say?  They’d kill us that’s what!”  Roberto’s eyebrows twitched in alarm, I think that up until I said that, he’d been focused primarily on the fiscal aspect of her proposal.

“But boys, you won’t be nude in the painting, you’ll be dressed as Indians; additionally, you’ll be looking out to sea, so no one will see your faces.  You’ll both have long black hair that will be tossed by the wind.  Do you think, Carlos, that the Indians had nice flat tops like you do?”

“So why do we hafta be naked?  I pounced.

“Carlos,” with pleasant patience, “I know that you don’t mind being naked outside.  Look down there.”  She pointed down from the knoll and I went over to her and looked down. There was the beach across with we had cavorted naked just the other day.  Roberto had come to stand beside us but said not a word.

She then provided us with a short dissertation on why artists need to use nudes in their work.  She went clear back to ancient times and mentioned some people that we’d never heard of, though I did recognize Michelangelo’s name; he did a statue of a Jewish king who was naked, I had seen a picture of the statue and thought it was really hot.  (My Grandfather, to the surprise of no one, thought it was an “affront to decency” that bordered on “blasphemy,” but “what could you expect from the Jews anyway?”)  The gist of her argument was: if her art was to portray life, it must come from life; that even if the subject was fully clothed in the painting, for the clothes to fit properly (a term dear to my heart) the artist must know what was beneath them.  I think she sensed that I was weakening and that I was the principal obstacle.

“Carlos, it is difficult for a girl to ask a young man to pose for her; but I believe that I can trust you and Roberto completely.  I ask you to trust me, too.  Since I had planned on hiring four of you, I will give you and Roberto forty dollars each to pose.”  This really hadn’t been about money.  Indeed, if she had been a handsome young man artist, we would probably have done it for free.  And then maybe done him too.

“No ma’am.  We already said twenty and a deals a deal if we agree.”  I don’t know why I said this.  Just being difficult I guess.  We hadn’t really agreed to anything, after all.  Roberto came and stood beside me, he put his hand on my shoulder and whispered in my ear, “Carlos mi amo, do this with me.”  I looked into his eyes, I looked at her for a few seconds, so that there would be no confusion, I turned back to Roberto and gave him a quick kiss on the lips. I kicked off my sneakers, dropped my cut offs, and pulled off my t-shirt.

“Excellent,” she said as she pulled a large pad of paper from behind the canvas on her easel and began to sketch.  She sketched us from the front, sides, and the rear.  Then she put us in a variety of positions on and around the knoll.  I objected to the composition of one of them.  She had me on top of the knoll pointing out to sea, with Roberto climbing up behind me; I told her that wouldn’t be right.

“Roberto is my Cid and I should be following him.”

“No,” she assured me, “because he is your Cid, you would be going first to protect him.”  Mollified, I objected no further.  For her last sketch, and the one that took the longest, she had Roberto and I stand together with his arm over my shoulder and my arm around his waist.  She fussed about our expression: she wanted us to look fearless and determined, but not threatening or unreasonable.  An odd mixture of moods I thought.

When she was done, she showed us the sketches.  Most of them were incomplete and just showed our bodies in a variety of positions with the emphasis on the flow of muscle.  In the one where we had our arms around each other, she didn’t really show anything sexy, you could just see the top of Roberto’s pubic hair, so you knew we were naked, but she had provided us with long hair that was blowing in the wind.  If you knew us, even with the hair, you would immediately recognize us.  It was very detailed.  She was really very good.

She went on to say that the painting was about ninety percent finished, needing only the braves to complete it, then she was going to hang it in a gallery in downtown Anaheim.  She wanted us to see it and asked for our phone numbers.  I could just imagine the reaction if someone had called my house and told one of my Grandparents that an “artist” wanted to talk to me; Roberto understood this of course, and volunteered that it would be best to call his house and tell whoever answered that she wanted him to do some work for her.

“Wonderful,” she reached into her handbag and brought out a wallet.  She gave us each a twenty-dollar bill, “this is for posing for me as we agreed.  And because you were just perfect for the job, here is a tip.”  She gave us each ten dollars more.  “I hope you’ll pose for me again, but let me give you a word of advice, you are beautiful young men, and others might want you to pose for them.  Value yourselves and never pose for free and never, ever, pose for a photographer.”  Still naked, we thanked her, said we’d see her later, gathered up our stuff, and started down to the beach.  On the way, I asked Roberto what “corazon” meant.  He said it meant “heart.”

On the beach, Roberto went to our nook, but I shook my head, “come mi corazon, we’ll find a better place, I don’t wanna meet anyone else.”  We went further back into the dunes where we found a small depression, surrounded by scrub grass and invisible from the beach.  There we spread our blanket and arranged our stuff.  I checked my Pocket Ben, it wasn’t even noon yet.  “You need some lotion my Cid,” I announced.  Standing right in front of him, so that our dicks touched pretty much, I gently rubbed sun tan lotion onto his forehead and over his face.  His eyes were closed and he was smiling as I did his throat, shoulders, and the back of his neck. I did each of his arms, very completely, from fingertips to his underarms and then I started on his chest.  I kissed and sucked on each of his nipples before I applied lotion to them, and then I tasted them again, and they were just as good.  I moved around him and put lotion on his back and rubbed it in paying very careful attention to his butt, coming back to his front, I lotioned his stomach, by now, we both had rampant woodies, so I knelt before him and took him into my mouth and held him there, sucking lightly, while with both hands I applied lotion to each of his legs.  I mouthed his balls, then covered them and his straining boner with lotion.  He pulled me up and taking the lotion, began to apply it to me, with the same gentle care and thoroughness that I had lavished on him.  For a few seconds, I was able to rub my boner against his, and his lotion slick stomach, this was incredibly sexy and I could have cum in only a few seconds if I’d kept it up, but he needed room to work and pushed me slightly away.  When he was done with the lotion, he had me in his mouth and he kept me there as I slowly descended to join him on the blanket.  We moved naturally into position and I took him into my mouth and throat.  His finger probed my butt as he sucked and I welcomed him there and returned the favor.  Like I said, I was only a few seconds from cuming and so was he.  It happened with pulsing intensity.  We twitched and thrashed against each other all grasping and passionate and swallowing.  Then we just kind of relaxed into each other.

I think I fell asleep a little, in the aftermath of the sex. When next I thought about it, he was soft in my mouth, as was I in his, my finger was still in him, as his was in me, his leg was resting against my head.  We were awash in love and peace.  I released him and came up to kiss him.  We dozed a little more.  Then it was time to swim, so we sprinted down to the deserted beach, plunged in frolicking joyously and aimlessly until it occurred to me to be hungry.  I announced this condition to Roberto and we returned to our blanket to eat.  We sat facing each other, cross-legged, and I had my first burrito.  It contained chicken, rice, salsa and assorted vegetables and was way better than any sandwich.  We also had sodas, but they were no longer cold though, oddly, it did not occur to me to complain about this.  The day was just too great.

“I liked what you said to Miss Covington,” my Cid observed.  I looked at him blankly.  “You know.  That part where you said that I was your Cid and should be first,” he grinned hugely, and then took a bite of burrito.

“You are my Cid!”  I asserted, “I wasn’t jokin’ or anythin’.”

“I know.  I know.  But ya need to know that you’re my Cid too.  We’re partners, ya know. Like blood brothers.  Sometimes I will lead.  Sometimes you will lead.  I love you,” he was very serious.

“I love you too.  But we’re more than ‘partners,’ we’re lovers.  I will always be for you and you will always be part of me.  We are gonna be together forever.”  I was finished with my burrito, so I slid into his embrace, his loving burrito-ey kiss, and we sprawled together on the blanket.  We dozed the afternoon away.  Naked and together.

 

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