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Based on a picture from Millie and dedicated to her with grateful thanks .
Pelaam, December 2007.
Curtis edged carefully in the darkened store towards the figure that was moving around his displays. He might be the Store’s Managing Director, but he was more than happy to take on some two-bit, petty thief that thought they could hide away after hours to plunder his Christmas stock. In addition, he could see his prey was both shorter and slimmer and he envisaged no difficulty in subduing them and then tearing one off his so-called Security. /Want a damn job doing well, do it yourself/ he thought angrily, creeping a little closer.
“Gotcha,” he roared in triumph, grasping at the burglar’s wrist.
Despite the yell of fear from his victim, Curtis’ victory was short-lived. An elbow jabbing backwards stole his breath and a twist and yank saw him in an undignified heap on the floor.
“Ewan,” a disembodied voice rang out. “Ewan are you alright?”
Curtis stared from a dizzying angle as a Security guard came scurrying over to fuss over the man Curtis had tried to apprehend.
“I’m fine, San,” the would-be thief assured. “Who is this asshole anyway? He all but scared the crap out of me.”
Curtis glared up at them before rising to his full height of six feet three inches and using both his height and breadth to regain control of the situation.
“I hate to tell you this, son,” the Security guard said, looking abashed. “But this … erm… this is Curtis Dunn. He’s your Managing Director.”
“Well he still almost scared the crap out of me,” the other man replied.
Curtis looked at him, grudgingly admiring his pluck. He was not backing down or making a grovelling apology.
“Mr Dunn, this is Ewan Turner. He’s one of your elves,” the guard offered.
“One of my *what*?” Curtis asked, turning bemused blue eyes on the older man. He looked past the age to be wandering around as a store guard, but Curtis knew he had seen older doing the job.
“Elves,” Ewan spoke up for himself. “One of your store’s Christmas elves. I work with your Santa mostly, but I help at the cosmetic counters if the grotto is quiet. “
Curtis nodded his understanding. The younger man was not as small as he had thought when trailing him, however, Curtis still had at least four inches on the slender man. Curtis noticed the carefully sculptured line of hair than ran from the centre of Ewan’s lower lip to his chin. He was stunned to find he was wondering how that would feel if he kissed Ewan. He gave himself a mental shake.
“What were you doing skulking around here after closing?” he demanded gruffly.
“I was checking everything was away for the girls like I do most nights,” Ewan said. “I change out of my outfit, there’s no way I’m leaving here in tights and pointy hat, give the counters a quick once over and then go. San here usually meets me and takes me safely to my car. I have a pass to use the staff underground parking.”
“No one told me,” Curtis muttered.
“Do you get told everything?” Ewan asked, a hint of a smile playing around his lips.
Curtis replied with an unintelligible growl.
“If you’re satisfied now, Mr Dunn, I’ll see Ewan out,” the guard said.
“Sure, fine, go ahead,” Curtis rumbled, waving his hand. Although he turned as if to walk away, he stopped and watched as younger and older man walked companionably together. He felt a pang of loneliness and immediately shoved it away. He did not have the time or the energy to devote to a relationship with all the concessions it demanded. He turned away, the tiniest of voices in his head wishing he had offered to escort Ewan to his car.
Curtis went to his office, but the written reports might have been in Mandarin Chinese and the figure-based reports were just as alien. He gave a sound that was part sigh and part growl. Ewan’s face kept popping into his mind, even though he had not really been able to see the younger man properly. Coming to the realisation that to stay would be of no benefit, Curtis headed home.
He drove into the secure underground garage and ascended in the lift to his penthouse apartment. From his living room, he had a panoramic view of the city. He stared at it, but could gain no pleasure from the sight. There were only three weeks to Christmas, but Curtis’ apartment was undecorated. The cream walls seemed cold to him as did his black leather furniture. If he was honest, the apartment looked unlived in, a show-house. He eyed his top-of-the-range entertainment system, debating whether to put on the wide-screen TV or perhaps play music, but he knew his heart was in neither.
Instead, he mooched to his kitchen. Everything looked pristine. But then, they would. Curtis never cooked. He bought in or ate out. All he had were things he could make into a snack to keep himself going. He got a small plate and added some feta cheese, olives and gourmet crisps to it. He opened a bottle of Lanson Black Label Champagne and poured a single glass. He was uncaring if the rest of the bottle went flat. He had more than enough money to indulge himself gaziantep escort and tonight, he felt he needed the indulgence. He took his food and drink into his bedroom.
He felt most at home in there. Although he had the same sterile walls, he had hung a bright throw from a holiday in Mexico in his youth and some masks from Africa and Indonesia. One wall was floor to ceiling bookshelves and, before settling on the bed, he selected a favourite. He ate and drank, relishing the relaxed atmosphere he so rarely gave himself the time to enjoy. Once everything was consumed, he took a shower and retired to sleep.
He expected to fall asleep instantly, but images of Ewan began to dance through his mind. He could not suppress the groan as those images became more and more x-rated. Acknowledging the fact that, with an erection that felt it was the size of Everest tenting his sheets, he was not going to sleep Curtis rose and fetched a towel from the bathroom. Normally he would simply take care of business, but this time was different. He played gently with his nipples, the pink nubs haloed by rose areolae. One hand drifted from his chest over his toned abdomen and the other stroked eager flesh slowly. His mind kept returning to the image of Ewan, the young man’s voice, the slight smile he had favoured Curtis with. The older man’s hand began to move faster, the leaking pre-come slicking his long, hard length. His climax took him by surprise with its intensity. It had been a long time since he had experienced such release. Wiping himself in desultory motions, Curtis closed his eyes and was asleep, towel still in his hand, in seconds.
Curtis did not know whether he felt like a voyeur, a stalker or some idiot teenager with an unrequited crush. He tried to make himself as unobtrusive as possible whilst studying ‘Santa’s Helper’; an achingly beautiful young man with chestnut hair that reached his shoulders and eyes the colour of rich, dark chocolate. He gave another silent sigh as Ewan bent once more to listen to a small child’s request. The elf costume he wore was a green tunic and leggings, black boots and a green, pointy hat. Each time Ewan unselfconsciously bent to listen to a child, Curtis was treated to the view of a pert rear. One his libido wanted to know better. He had checked with HR and Ewan was due to be a general assistant in the department store once his elf duties were complete. The young man had a degree in design and had worked in a few stores already as a display assistant, as well as other more mundane roles.
Ewan seemed happy whether talking to children or adults. If Santa’s queue went slack, he seemed to dance around the cosmetic displays. He even successfully sold perfume and make-up when one of the other assistants was too busy to attend the customer, and he adeptly rang up the sale. Ewan looked like he was genuinely pleased to be serving, helping or dealing with adults or children. Curtis walked away, planning his return. It flashed through Curtis’ mind that it had been a long time since he had been happy. Really, truly, happy.
Curtis returned as Ewan was securing a sign which read; ‘Santa has gone to feed the reindeer and will be back in an hour’. Then set the clock at the side of it to show the time they had gone. As he turned, Curtis was ready.
“I want to see you in my office,” the older man said. He felt the usual frisson of power as Ewan looked disconcerted, but somehow, this time, there was no real pleasure in the show of superiority and the older man found himself speaking further. “There’s nothing to be worried about, Ewan. I thought I owed you an apology from last night.”
Ewan trailed after the bigger man. If he was honest, Curtis pressed all the right buttons in terms of what appealed to him on a surface level. He liked blond, well-built, masculine men. However, Curtis had a tendency to act like a Neanderthal rather than an intelligent and handsome hunk. But, if he was trying to apologise, then the least Ewan could do was be gracious about it and give the man the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he would be pleasantly surprised. They ascended in a lift, the older man using a key to allow him to select one of the building’s two uppermost floors.
“Wow, you didn’t have to go to this much trouble,” Ewan gasped, as he was led into an inner office.
“No trouble at all,” Curtis said dismissively. It was true. The table had been decorated by the same caterers that had supplied the food adorning it. All he had done was pay for it. Curtis was, however, pleased that Ewan seemed appreciative, although a small voice pointed out he had done nothing to merit praise.
The meal passed quickly and enjoyably. Curtis was an accomplished small-talker, keeping inconsequential conversation flowing easily. At the conclusion of the meal, he escorted Ewan to the lift that would return him to his floor in the huge store. Curtis entered with him. He thought he recognised the look in Ewan’s eyes and simultaneously took the young man in his arms whilst hitting the lift’s stop button.
Ewan groaned as his mouth was ravenously plundered, Curtis barely giving him time or opportunity to breathe. Then a strong hand was at his groin, tracing then squeezing at his burgeoning arousal. Ewan squirmed against the bigger man, finally freeing his mouth.
“Not here. Not like this,” he begged.
Curtis panted harshly as he pulled back. If he had thought Ewan beautiful previously, the sight of the kiss-swollen and reddened lips along with the slender man’s natural attractiveness had Curtis all but losing what little control he clung precariously to. He fished in his pocket and pulled out the same kind of key he had used to go beyond the floors that customers had free access to. He knew the younger man would not have such key. The upper floors were for senior management only. He pushed it into Ewan’s hand as the brunette looked at it blankly.
“Use it to come to my office after closing. I’ll be waiting for you,” Curtis husked. He reactivated the lift, but got out on the next floor, opting to walk back to his offices. For the first time in years, he was anticipating the store closing.
As store closing time came round, Curtis found himself in a state of arousal. When fifteen minutes had passed, Curtis was aggravated. When it was closer to thirty he was angry and went storming down to Ewan’s floor. /If that little cocktease thinks he can play games with me, he’s sadly mistaken/ Curtis thought aggressively. However, Ewan’s floor was dark and deserted. As he wondered around, confusion adding to his anger, he started as a voice spoke close to his ear.
“Looking for something … or someone … Mr Curtis?”
Curtis stared at the Security guard from the previous evening. Sol or Sam.
“I was expecting Ewan,” he replied testily.
“Oh he’s gone,” the older man said, turning away and so not seeing Curtis’ jaw drop.
“What?” Curtis demanded, his anger beginning to boil again. “Why?”
“First time I’ve seen him go on the spot of his finishing time in the week we’ve worked here,” the guard continued as if not hearing Curtis. “But if anyone would know why, Mr Curtis, surely it would be you.”
“How the hell should I know why he upped and went,” Curtis growled angrily.
“Well, as I hear it, you called him from the floor at lunchtime and he was gone over an hour. When he returned he looked green around the gills. Girls and Santa over there,” he said jerking a thumb at the deserted grotto. “They all thought you’d hauled him over the coals for something, although no one could think of anything he’d done wrong. Floor manager thought he was sick and offered to take him home, but he finished his work. The kiddies never knowing there was anything wrong. The boy has a real good heart, Mr Curtis. One the right person will treasure some day. Now me, I thought you’d want to apologise for near scaring the pants off him last night.”
“I did,” Curtis said before he could censure his mouth, but a glance at, Seth … Sam whatever his name was, simply showed the older man nodding.
“Well you’d best hope he comes in tomorrow so you can be sure and apologise properly,” the guard said, starting to wander away.
Curtis felt his heart plummet at the thought of not seeing Ewan again.
“Do you know his address?” he asked unthinkingly, his voice desperate.
“That wouldn’t be information that was mine to give you, Mr Curtis,” the guard said, shaking his head. “That would up to Ewan. Go home, Mr Curtis. There’s nothing more you can do here tonight. Be sure to make a proper apology tomorrow.”
Although Curtis knew the old man was talking about the previous night, he was well aware he had something new to apologise for. Without the lust-induced miasma clouding his sight and hearing, he realised he had treated Ewan with less respect than he had agency escorts who usually expected to be bedded. His head dropped. What kind of monster had he become? Who in their right mind would give him yet another chance? The guard’s voice seemed to ring in his ears again. ‘The boy has a real good heart. One the right person will treasure.’ Curtis hoped, if nothing else, Ewan’s heart was forgiving enough to accept yet another apology.
To Curtis’ immense relief Ewan did turn up the next day. However, the older man could see that some of the brunette’s sparkle was missing and he bitterly regretted his unthinking actions. He walked openly towards the young man, a smile plastered to his lips, although it was the last thing he felt like doing. However, he was aware that half the floor’s staff seemed to be watching to see what he did.
“Ewan,” he said, as lightly as possible. “Word reached me that you were … a little off-colour last night.” He beckoned to one of the other elves. “I’m sure this young lady will take very good care of you whilst I have a special word in Santa’s elf’s ear,” he whispered theatrically to the small child with her parents. He caught hold of Ewan’s hand and led him away from prying eyes and ears.
“Ewan,” he said, letting the raw emotion colour his tone. “I don’t even know where to begin to apologise to you. I can’t believe how I treated you yesterday. If you’ve a mind to reject my apology, I’ll understand. But I really hope you’ll accept it.”
Curtis felt as though he was naked under the intense expresso stare. His heart sank into his boots as Ewan pushed the lift key into his hand.
“I won’t be needing this,” Ewan said levelly. “But I do accept your apology. I assume that this means no repercussions?”
Curtis winced at what Ewan implied, but he deserved no less.
“Ewan, I was very wrong to treat you as I did and I’m truly, very sorry. I would like for us to begin again. I had hoped you might consider a restaurant …”
“No, Mr Dunn. I don’t think so. I accept your apology and let’s call it quits. You’re not what I’m looking for and I’m quite sure it’s as true both ways. If that’s all, I’ll get back to my work.”
Curtis did not try to stop him. He felt hotness prickle at his eyes. He could not remember the last time he had cried. Turning, feeling his heart crumbling, Curtis headed to the lifts.
Curtis had no idea what prompted him to be on Ewan’s floor at the time the young man had left the first night they had met. He looked around, unsure whether Ewan had gone or not. Then the companionable sounds of two men talking reached his ear. He dimly realised the soft musical sound was Ewan’s laughter, which was accompanied by a rich, baritone chortle. Turning, he saw Ewan and the guard approaching him. If Ewan was surprised to see him, he did not show it.
“I’m glad to see you boys have patched up your quarrel,” the guard said, a merry twinkle still in his eye. “And I’m very glad you’re here, Mr Dunn. I have something I have to do, so I’m entrusting Ewan into your care. Make sure he gets to his car safely.”
Curtis felt he had suddenly been entrusted with the care of something of very precious and he made a mental vow not to make any mistakes this time.
Ewan stared after the old man as he bustled away and then, more shyly at Curtis.
“I can go myself…” he began, but was stopped quickly.
“No. It would be my pleasure,” Curtis said honestly.
The trip in the lift was silent as Curtis tried once more to think of a way to ask Ewan for a date. As they stepped from the lift and walked through the dim garage, the guard’s words seemed to flash into Curtis’ mind and he spotted the oil just as Ewan stepped and began to slip.
Ewan squeaked as his foot slipped and twisted, but before real damage could be done, he was swung into Curtis’ arms. He was carried to a large 4X4 and sat on the bonnet, Curtis checking his ankle out immediately.
“Are you ok? Do you need a hospital?”
Ewan stared at him.
“You … you’re genuinely concerned,” he said. “You’d better get me off this. I don’t think the owner’ll be happy.”
“It’s mine and you’re fine to sit there for as long as it takes. “
“I think you caught me in time,” Ewan said, flexing his ankle. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” Curtis replied. For a long moment the men simply stared at each other, before Ewan gave a soft smile.
“Ewan,” Curtis said thickly. “I haven’t had a meaningful relationship since Methuselah was a lad. I *had* to do well when I started work. I *had* to get the next promotion and the next. I *had* to earn more and more. I did a lot of thinking last night. Materially I want for nothing and yet nothing is what I feel I have. Would you please reconsider having a meal with me?”
“I promise there will be no pressure. We can go wherever … what?” Curtis stopped his babble and stared open-mouthed at the smiling brunette.
“I said yes, Curtis,” Ewan laughed.
Curtis felt his chest swell at the sound. *He* had made Ewan laugh.
“Your choice,” he said hurriedly. “Whatever you want.”
“Do you know Casa Italia?” Ewan asked, laying a finger on Curtis’ lips. He smiled at the nod. “Good. No suit, casual. We split the cost of the meal. Although I might let you buy me a drink. You know, you owe old San some thanks for my change of mind. He said you had a good heart under the gruff exterior.”
“Can you drive?” Curtis asked. His heart was doing leapfrogs and he did not know whether he wanted to laugh, cry or shout for joy.
“Not sure,” Ewan said, cautiously rotating his foot. It had still received a nasty twist.
“I’ll drive you home,” Curtis said decisively. “I can call a cab from there and we can sort out the details for the meal. Tomorrow?” he added hopefully. He joined in the laughter this time.
“Tomorrow,” Ewan agreed.
The evening was a complete success. The ice, if there had been any left between them, would have been broken instantly by Ewan’s failure to muffle his gales of laughter at the obviously new jeans, polo shirt and trainers Curtis wore. The older man responded simply with a chagrined smile. He had owned nothing casual and had bought the outfit, as well as several more similar items, that afternoon. He had been impressed by the quality of the restaurant’s food, despite its inexpensive prices. They had been careful with the Chianti, conversation flowing more freely than the classic Italian wine. At the conclusion of the meal, Curtis had been thrilled that Ewan accepted the invitation to go to his apartment for coffee.
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