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Fair-Y-Tail
Part 1

by Rolf and Gayspankee

Go to the contents page for this series.

Copyright on this story text belongs at all times to the original authors only, whether stated explicitly in the text or not. The original date of posting to the MMSA was: 08 Aug 2001


"Why don't you drop me off at the door?"

"Because I don't trust you to stay put. We don't have too much luggage; it should be a pretty easy walk."

"Famous last words," Matthew groused.

Marc pulled into Lot D and found his spot. The sun was just barely visible on the horizon.

Matthew slid out of the truck and pulled out his suitcase, leaving his book bag on the floor.

Marc got his suitcase and carry-on and locked the truck. They walked about a hundred feet before Marc noticed Matthew was light on luggage. "Just a minute there, wiseguy."

Matthew stopped and with an innocent expression asked, "What?"

Marc dug out his keys and held them out. "Bookbag. Quickly, please."

Matthew turned and headed back to the truck, his cheeks flushing slightly pink even as he muttered to himself: "Daggone it, that was ALMOST good." He grabbed the bag and locked the truck, jogging part of the way back.

"Don't try that again," Marc said, as he took the keys and put them back in his pocket.

Matthew just picked up his bag and continued the long walk to the terminal.

Marc was thinking that the walk would do Matthew good, hopefully tire him out some before they had to sit for such an extended time. Marc walked with Matthew over to the gate.

"You have a seat here. I am going to make sure everything is on schedule. Do NOT wander off."

"So you don't mind if I go to the gift shop then, huh?"

"You are awfully wise this morning, aren't you?"

"Always."

"Why don't you sit there and do some reading for tax class."

Matthew blew a huge raspberry.

"Somehow that is what I thought."

Marc headed over to the desk, and was pleased to learn that everything was on time.

Matthew tried to get comfortable in the airport chairs, which was an impossible task. He wanted to head over to the window and watch the planes taxiing around, but knew better than to leave the luggage sitting unattended. Finally he saw Marc heading back towards him.

"How long do we have?"

"Only about forty minutes. They should start boarding in another twenty minutes or so."

"I need a drink. Want anything?"

"No, I'm fine. There's a counter right over there," Marc said, pointing. "Get juice or water."

Matthew turned around and rolled his eyes as he walked off.

"NO coke!" Marc said to his back.

"No coke!" Matthew mimicked in his best brat voice.

Matthew went up to the counter and got himself a grape juice, although caffeine would have been preferred. He went back to where Marc was sitting, and sat down. That lasted all of two minutes.

"I am going to run to the gift shop; I want a magazine for the trip."

"You have your books. I think that will provide more than enough reading material for you. Don't you think so?"

"Maaaaarrrcccc!!??!! Please?"

"It is too early for whine!"

"Then let me get my magazine!"

Marc rolled his eyes and sighed heavily. It wasn't a battle worth fighting, not this early in the morning.

"You have three minutes. And I mean exactly 180 seconds. Don't make me have to come looking for you."

"God, you need a CHILL PILL, man!" Matthew mumbled as he got up and walked to the gift shop down the concourse. He glanced through the magazines and found nothing really of interest. Finally he settled on "People," so he'd at least have some excuse not to study. He walked out just as Marc stood up to come find him. "Junior," he thought, calling him that as Marc was doing a definite imitation of Rolf.

Marc met Matthew halfway, carry-on bags in tow.

"Matthew, are you trying to test me? 'Cause if you are, please let me know now, so I can plan which booth to leave you in at the Folsom Fair!"

"Jeez, I am sorry. Couldn't find anything of interest, except for 'Playgirl' and 'People.' And I assume it was a fair guess that you wouldn't have wanted me to buy the former, so I settled for 'People.' Oh, and VERY FUNNY crack about the fair. The only way I will get in one of those booths is if I am swinging the paddle myself."

Marc looked at his watch and realized that boarding was just minutes away.

"Are you settled now?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good, it is almost time for boarding."

"Boarding?! Isn't that strange how on an airplane that's good, but in hockey that's bad?" Matthew said, sleepiness very evident.

"What are you talking about? I think someone needs to sleep the entire flight."

"Will you STOP it with the toppish remarks? You are almost as bad as Rolf is!"

"Good. Then you know what I'll do if you don't settle yourself down and do as I ask."

"Oh for go--" Matthew stopped when he looked at Marc's set face and flashing eyes. He slumped down in a chair and worked on fighting sleep. Within five minutes they were called to board.

"Come on fruitcake, time to get situated on the plane."

"I have to pee."

"You can pee on the plane!"

"Marc, I can't wait that long."

"Why didn't you go when we were sitting here?"

"I didn't have to then."

"Ugh, I hope you aren't going to be like this the ENTIRE trip. Hurry up, and I mean HURRY! We don't have much time before take off."

Matthew turned and headed for the bathrooms.

"And don't make me have to come looking for you!" Marc yelled after him.

"Don't make me have to put a sock on your head," Matthew groused as he opened the bathroom door. He quickly finished his business and washed up, then headed back to the line. "See? They haven't even called our seats yet. I think I did well."

"Yes, you did. Thank you." Marc picked up his bag as their seats were called. "Get your bag, let's go." Marc stopped and eyed Matthew hard, until Matthew sheepishly turned and picked up his book bag. Marc led them onto the plane.

"I get the window seat," Matthew bellowed as he made his way onto the plane.

"Hate to disappoint you, but there are three seats to a row, and we have the aisle and the middle. And *I* get the aisle since I have longer legs."

"MARC, exactly HOW do you rate at this company of yours? First we had to park 2 miles away, then no first class and now this."

"Matthew, stop whining; it's a free ride. Don't complain about a free ride, or it may be your last, with me anyway!"

Matthew placed all his bags in the overhead compartment, putting the backpack in first, and sat down. Marc readjusted the overhead compartment, so that after take off, Matthew could reach his books. Just as Marc was ready to sit down, someone tapped him on the shoulder and asked to slide in.

Matthew looked up, irritated at having to move. When he connected finally with the eyes, he stood up slowly and allowed the guy to get into his seat. Matthew quickly sat down again, flashed a silly grin to Marc, then turned his back and engaged the guy in conversation. "Hi, I'm Matthew."

"Hi Matthew, I'm Tom." He held out his hand and shook Matthew's. "Where are you headed?"

"San Francisco, and you?"

"Me too! Been at a conference, can't believe I finally get to go home."

"You live there?"

"Yeah."

"We're just visiting."

"We?" Tom queried, looking past him to Marc.

"Oh...sorry, forgetting my manners. Marc, this is Tom. Tom, Marc."

"Pleasure I am sure," Marc replied, not meaning to sound rude, just uncomfortable on the plane waiting for take off.

"So are you going for business or pleasure?" Tom inquired.

"Business...and pleasure."

"Oh?"

"He's going for business," Matthew said gesturing towards Marc. "I am just going for, um, the fair," he finished quietly.

"The fair?"

"Yeah."

"Oh, you mean Folsom, don't you?"

"Yeah."

"My partner and I will be attending too. We go every year."

"Really?" Matthew's eyes lit up. "What's it like?"

"There are quite a few strange ones out there, but that is part of the fun--watching the weirdos. I always make fun of them with a couple friends, while my partner keeps trying to tell me it isn't nice."

"Do you ever take part in any of the booths?" Marc asked.

Both young men looked at Marc.

"Sorry; you aren't exactly whispering," Marc replied to the looks.

"No, *I* never do. I'm not about to put myself on public display!" Tom finished, a look of "I can't believe you think that" upon his face.

"I'd die before getting into one of them . . . from what I've heard," Matthew said conspiratorially. He turned to look at Marc. "But I bet YOU'D be a star. I can just see it." He grinned, then glanced at Tom.

Just then the plane began moving away from the gate. Marc's hands gripped the arm rests a little tighter, and his face went a shade lighter.

"Is your friend okay?" Tom whispered.

Matthew looked at Marc, then back to Tom. "He's a wuss," Matthew answered quietly.

Marc kept his eyes closed, but grasped the top of Matthew's hand.

"Keep talking like that, and I am gonna pay top money to leave you at one of those booths!"

The plane finally took off into the air. After the smooth take off, Marc was able to breathe a sigh of relief.

"Now, Tom, why are you so appalled by the thought of being in one of those booths? It is all for charity."

"I get spanked enough; I don't need to have it done . . . in public." Tom blushed to the roots of his hair. He'd NEVER before spoken to strangers of his relationship like that! He didn't know what caused him to just blurt that out.

"You DO?" Matthew asked in surprise.

Tom, if possible, blushed darker. It took Matthew a moment, and a gentle squeeze on his hand by Marc, to realize that Tom was embarrassed. Matthew smiled his most engaging smile and leaned closer to Tom to whisper, "I'm a brat too."

Tom wanted nothing more than to melt into his seat. It took a few seconds for Matthew's words to penetrate his embarrassed exterior. He then turned to Matthew, unsure as how to reply.

"Brat? You mean you and he...are...um...a couple?"

"No!" Matthew said, shocked, then chuckled. "You think Marc and I could be a couple?" Matthew continued to laugh.

"And what is so absurd about that, brat?" Marc asked.

Matthew was near hysterics, trying to hold down the laughter that was shaking him. Finally he got it under control and settled down. He wiped away the tear that rolled down his cheek and turned to Tom. "Sorry. Don't know why, but that was too funny. Marc and I are more like brothers. We've known each other for a long time now, and he takes care of me when Rolf isn't around. Rolf is my partner."

Tom smiled, Matthew's easy smile and engaging manner making him feel like a friend of many years. They settled down to talk, comparing notes, and Marc tried to relax, happy that Matthew had someone to talk to and shouldn't be causing any problems.

Two hours later, lunch was served.

Marc let Matthew enjoy the meal, at least as much as an airline meal can be enjoyed. Finally, he could no longer contain himself.

"Matthew, I hate to interrupt your good time, but we still have a couple hours left on this flight, and I think you should spend SOME of that time working on your studies. Lord knows you won't get it done any other time."

Matthew just turned to Tom and smiled.

"See what I mean? He is like Rolf Junior!"

"I am not sure about...Rolf, is it? But he certainly could pass for Dean Junior."

Matthew and Tom shared a laugh. Marc leaned forward and looked past Matthew at Tom.

"You aren't helping," Marc said with a wink.

"Yes, Sir." Tom said instinctively.

Matthew again broke out in a laughing fit, which caused Tom to join in.

"Matthew, settle down. You don't need to be so loud." Marc stood up and grabbed Matthew's book bag and brought it down. "Here. I think you definitely have some reading to do for your management class."

Matthew rolled his eyes, but took the bag. He set it down in the small space between his legs and continued talking to Tom.

Marc sighed, knowing Matthew too well. "Get up please, we're switching seats."

"Marc, okay, I'll read." Matthew replied, digging for his book.

Marc leaned down so as not to be overheard. "Switch seats right now, and without a word of complaint, or this plane ride will end with you standing a lot longer than you'd imagined."

Matthew bit back the angry reply that flew to his lips and sullenly got up to switch seats with Marc. He flopped back into the outside seat with a pout of Olympic proportions.

Marc ignored the look, instead digging out Matthew's management book and handing it to him.

Matthew stared daggers at the seat in front of him, until Marc's icy glare cooled his temper. He flushed, then opened the management book without a word and began reading. Between the boring prose and the sound and movement of the airplane, Matthew was soon asleep.

Tom glanced past Marc at Matthew and smiled.

"I hope this doesn't get him into trouble, but your friend seems to be sound asleep." Tom said, leaning towards Marc.

And just as Tom spoke, the unmistakable sounds of snoring were heard. Marc just shook his head.

"I rather like in him in that state -- a lot less lip."

"He's not that horrible, is he?"

"No. I just like to give him a hard time," Marc replied.

"I think I'll take a nap as well; I had a late night." Tom slid down in his seat and tried to get comfortable.

Marc pulled out the novel he was reading and settled back for the remainder of the flight. What seemed like minutes was in fact hours. Before Marc realized it, the captain had made the announcement for final descent. Marc gently tapped Matthew on the shoulder.

"Hey sleepyhead, we're almost there, got to sit up now."

Matthew was still in a sleep-induced fog, but managed to return to an upright position. Marc turned to Tom.

"Oh, you heard! I was just going to wake you."

Tom smiled at Marc. He was incredibly excited about meeting his partner after a week's separation. "Almost there."

"Yes. It's been a long flight. I'll be happy to be back on solid ground." Marc sat back and tried to keep his mind at ease. Taking off and landing always put him on edge.

Matthew fell back to sleep, his head rolling off to one side. The plane landed within ten minutes and taxied to the terminal. Once on the ground, Marc tried again to wake Matthew up. "Come on fruitloop, wake up. Matthew?" Gently, Marc shook him.

"Leave me aloooooooonnnnnnneee," Matthew groaned as he pushed Marc's hand away.

"We're on the ground, IN San Francisco. Aren't you excited?"

Matthew mumbled, the sleep not allowing any coherent thoughts to form.

"Rolf? What's wrong? What's Matthew done now?"

Matthew heard Rolf's name and his, and what sounded like fear in Marc's voice and snapped his eyes open. He looked around, confused, then his eyes narrowed and he shot Marc a look of death, as Marc and Tom were laughing quietly. "That is NOT funny, Marc. NOT FUNNY."

"It worked. Why don't you get our bags out, we're ready to de-plane."

Matthew, muttering about mean people, stood up and got his bag out -- leaving Marc's in the overhead -- and stalked partway down the aisle. Marc sighed and got up, retrieving his bag and Tom's, then followed along a few people later. Marc was in the process of saying goodbye to Tom when Tom shrieked and flew into a waiting man's arms.

Marc smiled to himself as he saw the joy and love reflected in both men's eyes. He left them alone and went to go over to where Matthew had been, but when he looked up there was no sign of him anywhere. His stomach dropped into his shoes as the first thoughts that flashed through his head were those of never seeing his best friend again, and having to explain that to his other best friend, Rolf. He swallowed hard on the fear that welled up, certain that Matthew was just hidden behind someone taller. He carefully scanned the general area and didn't see his friend anywhere. He stepped out into the hallway, teeming with people. He looked left and checked out the moving walkways, as those always attracted Matthew. No signs in that direction.

"See anything?" Matthew asked.

Marc just about jumped out of skin as he whirled back to the right. "Where were you?" Marc barked loudly.

Matthew blushed lightly as he saw several people look their way. He turned quickly, the hurt apparent in his face, and went into one of the quiet alcoves, finding it thankfully deserted.

Marc followed and quickly pulled Matthew's arm to face him. "I'm sorry for yelling. You disappeared on me and I was in the process of telling myself you weren't dead when you scared me half to death. I'm not angry with you; I was just startled and I spoke a little too loudly. I'm sorry. Where did you go, anyway?"

Matthew looked up from under lowered lashes. "I was dying to go to the restroom. You don't have to panic like that; I can take care of myself."

"You probably can, but Rolf trusts me to look after you, so let me do that, okay?"

Matthew considered that for about three seconds. "Okay. Here." He handed over a sheet of paper telling them where their bags were going to be.

"I got some help on where our luggage is getting dumped. We have to go down the hall and down the first set of stairs."

"Thanks," Marc said, meaning it. "Let's get our bags and go ENJOY San Francisco. It looks to be a beautiful day."

Matthew pulled his book bag onto his shoulders. "Okay. Race ya!"

Marc quickly grabbed the handle on the bag, pulling Matthew towards him. "Um, I don't think so. Stay close; this a big place, and there are lots of people around. I don't want to spend unnecessary time searching for you. Understand?"

"Yes, Mom...er, Rolf...er, what ever role you're playing!" Matthew said with a laugh.

"I'll role you on your butt. Let's go!"

The two walked briskly to their destination, and quickly found their baggage.

"Alright, now to the car rental. Which is..." Marc looked around for a sign.

"Over there!" Matthew said, pointing to the far corner.

"Why aren't things ever close by?"

"Hey, that's my line! I am supposed to be the one whining." Matthew replied laughing.

"I wanted to give you a break," Marc laughed.

They headed over to the rental counter, and were quickly hooked up with a rental. A 2000 Lexus sedan. Marc took the keys and headed out to the parking lot. The red car was parked right up front.

"Aye chi wa wa. What did YOU do to get that sort of rental?"

"Hey, they say image is everything."

"I guess they are trying to compensate for you then," Matthew replied.

"HEY!"

Matthew laughed. "Just kidding, making sure you were paying attention."

"You're lucky I know that. All right, let's get the bags in, and get going to the hotel," Marc said as he opened the trunk.

"I'll drive."

"Uhm.....NO," Marc replied. "It's MY compensation; you can enjoy the sights."

"Have any idea where you're going?" Matthew asked as he slid into the passenger seat and buckled up. "This car is HUGE and SO ...... upscale."

"I deserve only the best," Marc laughed along with Matthew. "The rental guy gave me directions." He started the car and after checking to make sure all mirrors were set for him, and knew where the lights and windshield wipers were, he took off.

"This feels like a luxury liner." Matthew said as they could barely feel any bumps in the road.

"It feels at least that big. Not used to this size, but COULD get used to it."

"Well, nail that account tomorrow and maybe..."

"Sshhhh. I don't think like that. TOO much pressure."

Matthew sat quietly, looking out the window, before screeching. "LOOK! Folsom Street!"

"Jeez, give me a heart attack."

"Sorry. Looks like they are setting up. Did you see all the booths?"

"No. Went by too fast. But we will see plenty on Sunday. Too bad Rolf couldn't join us for that."

"That's all right. He would probably volunteer me for one of those booths!"

"What are you talking about? *I* am gonna volunteer you for one of those booths!" Marc said with a chuckle.

"Um...I don't THINK so!"

Marc just smiled and continued driving.

"All right, according to the directions, the hotel should be up here. Third on the right."

"There....oh, WOW. This is posh." It took Matthew a couple of minutes to drag his jaw up off the floor. The outside grounds were in perfect bloom and order, and the hotel itself was a work of art. He got out and slowly followed Marc inside to check in.

It was only a few minutes later that they had their room assignment. "We're on the 10th floor. Let's load up the baggage and head up to check it out."

The two boys headed outside and grabbed their suitcases and headed for the elevators. They were greeted at the elevator and escorted up to their room. They took their own baggage from the elevator to their room. Marc barely had the key out of the door before Matthew flung it open. The room was huge. Marc entered first, but Matthew soon managed to pass by him.

"Holy shit! WE GOT A HOT TUB!!!"

"What? Where?"

"THERE!!" Matthew said pointing toward the enormous bath.

Marc looked beyond the beautifully decorated living room area and spied the oversized hot tub separating the bathroom from the dressing area. It had beautiful curtains to block it for privacy, which could remain pulled back if one desired to soak in the tub while watching the television.

Matthew took only a minute to look at the tub before passing that by and walking through a set of glass doors onto a private terrace overlooking the bay. "This is BEAUTIFUL!"

Marc followed after putting the suitcases into the bedroom. "It is breathtaking. The bridge is fabulous, isn't it?"

"Yes. Amazing how things like that are built. When can we go to the beach?"

"I told you before, fruitcake, it's cold on the west coast. We won't be swimming in the ocean like the east coast. Let's get our stuff situated, and then we'll head out for something to eat. There's bound to be some delicious restaurants around here." Marc headed in and hung up the clothes he needed for his meetings.

Matthew stood entranced for a few minutes more, before he too headed into the bedroom. The beds were tall, and looked incredibly inviting. He ran the few steps into the room and landed face down on the bed, bouncing pretty well. "Cool, these are-"

"Matthew! Don't bounce so hard there. This is a nice hotel room; we need to keep things in order, please?"

"Party pooper," Matthew said as he sat up. "Didn't you even bounce on the bed when you were younger?"

"Yes, when I was MUCH younger. You're just a little TOO big to be doing that now."

Matthew made a face, but got up off the bed.

"Are you wearing that to dinner?" Marc asked.

Matthew looked down at what he had on.

"Why, what's wrong with this?" Matthew asked, almost offended.

"Don't get so defensive. I just meant it was a long, LONG trip. Thought maybe some fresh clothes were in order."

"I don't see you changing."

Marc grabbed a clean shirt and pants and held them out, sticking out his tongue. Matthew returned the gesture.

"You always have to be right, don't you, Marc?"

"No, just ninety-nine percent of the time."

The boys quickly changed and headed down to the lobby. Marc stopped at the desk and asked for some suggestions on nearby restaurants, while Matthew admired the fountain in the foyer. Marc gathered Matthew and exited the hotel.

"There are about a dozen places within walking distance. What are you in the mood for?"

"I don't know."

"No, they only have those places back east."

"You are such a smart ass!"

"And don't forget incredibly handsome; you always forget that."

They both laughed and finally decided on what looked like a nice Italian place just a block up the street.

They walked past a couple of nightclubs, where people were already gathering outside, waiting for the evening's entertainment to begin.

"We should try that," Matthew said, turning around to gawk at the some of the outfits people were wearing.

"Yeah, maybe," Marc said noncommittally, not wanting an argument, but seriously not interested in dancing before his meetings the next morning. He grabbed Matthew's hand to keep him moving towards the restaurant.

They walked right in without a wait, which set off some alarm bells in Marc's mind, but not enough to deter him from dinner. The hostess took them around the corner and sat them in a booth along the wall, with a direct view of the bar.

Matthew sat down, staring at the people sitting and standing in the bar area.

"Fruitcake," Marc hissed, "stop staring at people! You could get us killed!"

Matthew laughed, but turned away from the bar. "There are some funky people in this area of the world."

"Shhhhhh! I'm not sure I want to ea-"

"I'm Adrienne. What can I get you fellas to drink?"

Matthew didn't meet Marc's eyes, knowing there would be a disapproving stare if he ordered alcohol. "Coke, please."

"And for you?"

"Iced tea."

"I'll be right back for your order." Adrienne sauntered off, her tightly fitting jean shorts riding high.

Marc sighed, realizing it would be a little difficult to leave at this point.

They ended up thoroughly enjoying their food, as it was some of the tastiest Italian that either of the boys had tried. Marc just had to redirect Matthew's attention several times as more people worked their way to the bar, some dressed in next to nothing but a little leather.

When they left the restaurant, the sun was close to slipping out of sight. The nightlife was really starting to come out, but the night had yet to begin.

"Oh, this is going to be TOTALLY outrageous, Marc!" Matthew said, nearly bouncing down the street. He was still busy people-watching. "The bar, the one called the Pink Pelican, we have GOT to go there!" The bar that Matthew was referring to was completely decked out in pink fluorescent lights and had the most diverse crowd of people standing on the sidewalk. The only thing they didn't seem to have was anyone normal-looking.

Marc grabbed Matthew's hand and pulled him past the door. "Let's walk around a bit; the food is sitting heavy."

Matthew pulled a face, but followed Marc, anxious to see what else lay around the next corner.

Marc was TRYING to get Matthew tired, so they could go back to the hotel room without an argument.

The two young men walked the streets for almost two hours. Finally they made their way back to the main drag.

"There it is, Marc; they've let the people in. Let's go!" Matthew said, pointing at the Pink Pelican as he started to walk that way.

Marc gently grabbed Matthew by the back of the shirt, and kept him at bay.

"Matthew, I am sorry, but I am too tired. AND I have a HUGE day tomorrow. We will try our best to go before we leave. But definitely not tonight," Marc replied.

"But Marc, just for one drink."

"Matthew, not tonight," Marc said firmly.

Matthew wished to object, but a thought occurred to him. A scheme actually. He smiled contently and followed Marc to the hotel.

Marc dove in the shower as soon as he hit the room.

Matthew groaned, thinking that the shower would wake Marc up. He was NOT going to be stuck in the hotel room when the nightlife beckoned. If Marc wanted to sleep, then he was going to wait until he was VERY asleep, then sneak out of the room. He had all day tomorrow to sleep, what with Marc busy in meetings all day. He stretched out on the bed and watched tv.

Marc finished up his shower and brushed his teeth. He slid on his shorts and headed back out to the bedroom.

"You going to shower now?" He asked as he pulled down the covers.

"No. I'm watching this movie," Matthew said as he gestured at the television.

"What is it?"

"The Green Mile. Pretty intense stuff, and long." Matthew turned to Marc. "You don't mind?" He trailed off.

"As long as it's quiet, I think I can sleep." Marc slid down into the bed and started watching the movie.

Matthew groaned, kicking himself mentally for getting a movie on the tube, as Marc was certainly a movie fiend. He toed off his shoes and pulled up the comforter, trying to look comfortable while waiting for Marc to fall asleep. He stole a couple of glances at Marc, cursing silently every time he found Marc with his eyes still open, watching. Matthew closed his eyes and willed Marc to sleep.

Marc turned the television off a few minutes later when he heard Matthew snore. He thought about waking up his friend to get him undressed and actually UNDER the covers, but thought better of it and drifted to sleep within moments.

"Fruitcake?" Marc gently shook Matthew's shoulder. "I'm leaving now. Stay OUT of trouble?"

Matthew mumbled what Marc took as an affirmative. He smiled as he headed off to the meeting, anxious to get the work part behind him.

Matthew woke up as the sun crept its way through the blinds and across his pillow. He sat up, rubbing his eyes, totally confused. He punched his pillow when he realized that he slept through the nightlife and that Marc was already gone.

"fuck! WHY did I have to fall asleep?" He grumbled as he got up and made his way to the bathroom. When he emerged after the shower, he felt more human. He walked over to the balcony and opened the glass doors.

"THIS is the life."

He had on one of the hotel's fluffy robes, perfect against the morning breeze off the ocean. He sank down into the chaise lounge and admired the view of the bay. After a few moments' reflection, he decided breakfast was the first order of the day. He grabbed the phone and the menu, and headed back out to the lounge. After making his selections and calling them in, he unlocked the door, grabbed a magazine, and headed back to settle in on the lounge. Twenty minutes later he heard the waiter enter the room and head towards the balcony.

"Good morning Mr. Mocoso. Shall I pour you some coke?"

Matthew thought he had died and gone to heaven. He could get used to this pampering. "Yes, please." Matthew watched as the waiter poured coke from a crystal decanter into a crystal goblet the size of a small fishbowl. He accepted the drink and watched as the waiter arranged the multiple plates of food onto a separate tray table, and then accepted that tray graciously when the waiter handed it to him.

"Can I be of any further service?" the waiter asked.

Matthew bit back a large grin and tried to act like he was used to all this fawning. "No, thanks. I can handle it from here. Just put the tab on the room, and add an additional ten percent to the gratuity."

"Thank you, sir. If there is anything you need, just call the desk. Have a good day." The waiter turned smartly on his heels and left.

Matthew couldn't help but grin as he dug into the steak. THIS was the life. It took a while, but he managed to devour every bite. Matthew was so stuffed, he couldn't move an inch. He managed to doze off on the patio for about a half hour. He was awoken by the splashing sounds of the pool below. Matthew stood up and looked down at the pool. That looked mighty inviting. Then he remembered the hot tub in his very own room. Again he grinned, and headed inside to the tub.

He looked around the bathroom and didn't find what he was looking for. That meant a much needed trip outside. He quickly donned his swimming trunks, jeans and a t-shirt, stuck his wallet in his back pocket and headed downstairs and outside. He walked down the hill to the shopping district, having remembered the route from the walk last night. He almost picked up what he wanted, then decided he'd rather not walk with an extra bag. He put the item back on the shelf and wandered back outside, heading between the buildings, and found himself on the beach.

He quickly removed his shoes and dug his feet into the hot sand, savoring the feel of it between his toes. He walked slowly down the beach, watching some kids build a sandcastle just out of the reach of the waves. He only walked a short way more and the beach turned rocky. He looked up at a particularly large rock and watched two teenagers scaling quickly up the backside of it and diving off the front, into the mostly still ocean. They seemed to be having a grand time, and that looked exactly like something he'd enjoy. He quickly slid out of his jeans and shirt, the sun being warm enough to leave his body with a fine sheen of sweat. He walked over to the rock and watched for a few minutes.

"You want to try this?" The blond guy said.

"Looks like fun. I think I will." Matthew replied, smiling. He climbed up the back of the rock as quickly as a mountain goat and stood at the crest. The two teenagers ran past him and cannonballed into the water, some twenty-five feet below. Matthew looked out and saw that the area was roped off to keep sharks from entering.

"Are you chicken?" The teenagers taunted, splashing around at the base.

"No way! Here I come!" Matthew let out an incredible war whoop and launched himself off the rock. He managed one somersault before cleanly breaking the surface of the water in an almost picture-perfect dive. Two seconds later, Matthew surfaced faster than a sub blowing all tanks and let out a piercing "Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!"

He swam to the shore as fast as he could, nearly walking across the top of the water. The two teenagers got a good laugh out of that. Matthew's teeth were chattering so badly he didn't even hear them. He remembered Marc saying the water was cold, but THAT was like swimming in ice water!

Matthew reached the shore. His nipples were harder than the rocks below his feet. His trunks were hanging just below the equator. His body was covered with goose bumps from head to toe. Matthew quickly collected his clothing and put it on, faster than he thought possible. He made his way back to the sandy part of the beach. That short jump took something out of him. And he was now VERY ready for that hot tub. He needed just one item. He walked back up to the shore side store and headed for the beauty aisle. There it was: a shiny pink bottle of Mr. Bubble. He grabbed the item and headed for the checkout.

"And how are you today, Sir?" The cashier asked.

"Fine, thanks," Matthew replied, pulling out his wallet.

"That will be $3.75."

"fuck!"

"Beg your pardon, *sir*!" The cashier responded disapprovingly.

Matthew checked his billfold and discovered that his cash was gone.

"damn kids!" Matthew said out loud. "Sorry," he replied, looking at the cashier. "Just had a twenty swiped from my wallet."

"Oh dear. Oh my. Sorry to hear that. Um, we do accept Visa!"

Matthew pulled out his plastic, which fortunately was still in place. He wrapped up his purchase and made his way back to the hotel room.

Once there, he threw his package down in disgust. "I can't BELIEVE I was taken by teenagers!" He looked over to where he had picked his wallet up before leaving and saw a $20 bill sitting on the table. "Oh...damn. It was my fault.....oh well." He headed into the bathroom and started running the water in the hot tub. He was still freezing. He glanced over while the tub was filling and spotted the drink list. "Hmmmm. A white russian, a slab of chocolate cake. A perfect complement to the hot tub, I think." Once he had ordered, he sat down in front of the television to wait.

Ten minutes later, his dessert and drink arrived. He quickly undressed and slid into the water, turned on the jets, and began to polish off his dessert.

Between the hot water and the drink, he was getting rather comfortable. He finished his drink and had to stand up to put the glass out of harm's way. When he did that, he spied his purchase from earlier. "Bubbles. That's what I need." He quickly scurried out of the tub and grabbed the bottle, dumping half the container in quickly, as it was a large tub. He smiled widely as the bubbles began to appear. They seemed to build slowly as the solution was worked through the jets. Matthew slid down, lay his head back against a pillow, and closed his eyes. ...And fell asleep.

While he was taking a light nap, the bubbles continued to make their way through the jets of the hot tub, and they multiplied by the thousands. Before too long, they crested the edge of the tub, and began spilling over. Matthew's head was just high enough on the high end of the tub that he didn't get a face full of bubbles, as they poured from the lower end of the tub and onto the floor at an alarming rate.

Marc's first meeting was most informative, and ran shorter than planned. He hoped the trend would follow with the second. Since he had a free minute, he decided to call the room and see how Matthew was doing. He dialed, but after the second ring, he disconnected. The second meeting was ready to begin as every one was present.

Matthew jerked awake at the ringing of the phone. It was incredibly loud, echoing off the marble in the bathroom. A huge, goofy grin engulfed his face as he saw the incredible amounts of bubbles in the tub. The smile slowly left his face as he sat up and realized the bubbles were making a trail over the end of the tub, and was replaced with a look of panic when he followed the bubbles' trails onto the floor and realized that half of the floor was covered a foot deep!

He scrambled quickly to a standing position, nearly losing his footing several times in his haste to stand up. He stepped over the side of the tub, bubbles dripping everywhere, and practically ran to the dial that controlled the tub, slamming the off button as quickly as he could. He turned slowly, hoping that it was all a dream. The sight that met his eyes nearly caused him to lose his breath. Bubbles were creeping slowly across the floor, covering nearly half of the huge bathroom.

He started shivering as the cool room air hit his hot skin. He spotted the thick robe on the door and carefully walked over to put it on, bubbles flying through the air as the robe dislodged them from his body. He walked back over to the tub and pulled the drain, watching as the bubbles slowly sank in the tub. As he quickly turned, bubbles wafted aloft from the robe's wind. Grabbing two towels, he tried to soak up the bubbles, or to push them into a more manageable pile, but had no luck. Finally he got frustrated and swung the towel with all his might. It hit the floor with a satisfying THWACK, and Matthew watched in almost morbid fascination as a two foot area around the towel was blasted clean of bubbles, those bubbles being sprayed and sticking to the walls, the ceiling, and a lot still floating in the air. Matthew brought the towel down, again and again, laughing almost hysterically at the mess he was making, while cleaning the floor.

Once he had blasted the majority of the bubbles off the floor, he sank down onto the floor, his back resting against the counter. He surveyed the room, seeing bubbles and water spots on anything and everything. He had gotten every last towel soaking wet and the room looked as if the great bubble volcano had exploded after years of remaining quiet. He knew Marc would be in a meeting, and didn't want to disturb him, but he needed comfort. He picked up the phone from where he sat, and dialed home.

"Hey, sport! How are things out west?" Rolf asked, upon realizing that it was Matthew calling.

"Bubbly. VERY bubbly," Matthew replied, his fingers playing with the tie for his robe.

"Bubbly? Is that good or bad?" Rolf asked, laughing.

"Not sure."

Rolf knew Matthew wasn't too happy at the moment. "Sport, what's wrong?"

"Noth...nothing." Matthew said slowly.

"Sweetheart, something is bothering you. Tell me about it?" Rolf said gently.

Matthew took a huge breath and told his tale of the Great Bubble Episode.

Rolf listened in silence, nearly having to mute his phone to keep from laughing out loud at the picture Matthew must have made, covered head to toe in bubbles. Rolf told Matthew what he needed to hear, and assured him that Marc would not kill him.

"Aside from being bubbly, how is San Francisco?"

"Haven't really seen all that much of it."

"Well just make sure you don't venture out without Marc. And no swimming in the ocean; even though the air is warm, the sea is not."

Matthew looked around the room for a hidden camera. How did he know? Matthew shook his head.

"Don't worry about me. All is going great...except for this HUGE mess in the bathroom! I have to go see what I can do. Thank you. I miss you."

"I miss you too. Love you."

"Love you too. Bye." Matthew hung up the phone and slowly stood up. He felt slightly better after talking to Rolf, and decided that a change of clothes and a few minutes away from the bathroom would be the next step. He'd tackle the cleaning job after most of the bubbles disappeared.

After drying off, Matthew slid into his skin tight shorts and a tank top, then went back out to the balcony and settled down in the sun to watch the people at the pool. He'd had enough water to last him for a little while. Matthew kicked back in the chair, and was soon sound asleep.

"WHAT THE HELL?" Marc's screech echoed through the room and out to the balcony, where it jolted Matthew from his slumber. Matthew sat up and quickly rubbed the sleep from his eyes. Time for damage control. He and Marc just about collided in the doorway.

"I can explain!" Matthew said quickly, before Marc had time to yell again.

Marc gave Matthew a look of disbelief and crossed his arms. "Go on."

Matthew took a deep breath and told the tale of the Great Bubble Episode once again.

By the time Matthew had finished with the entire story, Marc was having trouble trying to remain stern. "Let me get this correct. You fell asleep in the tub?"

Matthew looked down at his feet. He knew that was going to be the sticky point. "Yes."

"Because you just finished an alcoholic beverage."

"Yes," Matthew said more quietly.

"Have you called housekeeping?"

"No," Matthew said, twisting his shirt. "I tried to clean it myself but the bubbles just kept flying around. I thought maybe if I left it, the bubbles would disappear on their own."

Marc shook his head and turned around. As he walked over to the phone, he couldn't help but smile. Matthew could be incredibly funny at times. He just wished he had come home while Matthew was trying to clean the bathroom. He reached the phone and dialed for housekeeping. As he hung up he turned towards Matthew. "Come here."

Matthew walked slowly, uncertain what Marc was going to say or do.

Marc took Matthew by the shoulders. "Why don't you get some clothes on. We'll wait for housekeeping to arrive, then we'll take off for the day. I'm sure that housekeeping would prefer we're not here while they work."

Matthew's face brightened considerably.

"BUT," Marc continued, "when we return this evening, you and I are going to have a short discussion about the dangers of drinking and falling asleep in the tub."

Matthew's face fell. "But -"

Marc took Matthew's chin. "And if you EVER create such a mess of bubbles again without me here to join in the fun, I'll REALLY be upset."

Matthew smiled, knowing Marc wasn't upset with him. He put away thoughts of what would happen later that evening, and went to get changed.

"If we hurry, I think we can catch the opening whacks of the Folsom Street Fair."

"We're going THERE?!" Matthew asked as he sprang back into view. "I thought you said tomorrow."

"I did, and we will. But hey, I didn't plan to be done this early. And I SO can't wait to check this out. In fact we have to stop at the shop around the corner."

"Why?"

"I didn't bring my camera. And darn it, I am not going to this event without one. Now hurry up."

"Hurry up what? I am ready!"

"Oh, well, then let's go."

Matthew jumped as housecleaning knocked just as he put his hand on the knob to leave. They got housekeeping situated and left for the day.

"Do you know how to get to Folsolm from here?" Matthew asked as they rounded the corner to the drug store.

"Yes. We can walk there without a problem." Marc ran in and gathered a couple of disposable cameras while Matthew grabbed some candy and gum.

"You and your candy. We aren't going to the movies," Marc said, getting into line.

"No, we aren't, we are going somewhere even better. We're going to the fair!" Matthew replied, piling his goodies onto the counter.

"You boys gearing up for tomorrow?" The cashier asked, having overheard the conversation.

"No, we're actually going to check it out tonight," Marc said.

"You weren't talking about the Folsom Street Fair, were you?" The cashier asked.

"We were."

"Opening whack isn't until tomorrow, noon."

"Really?" Matthew asked, disappointed.

"'Fraid so. Wouldn't miss it though. That will be thirty-nine dollars and forty-five cents."

"Well, thanks for the tip, and maybe we'll see you there."

"Perhaps. Thank you, and have a nice day."

Marc grabbed the bag and left the store with Matthew.

"That sucks, I was all set for a good show," Matthew said.

"Guess that gives us more to look forward to tomorrow. So what shall we do now?"

Matthew just shrugged.

"We could go back to the room and order pay-per-view."

Matthew shrugged again.

"Or we could go to the movies, since you have the candy already."

Once again Matthew shrugged.

"Moping isn't going to help. Give me some suggestions."

"We could go to the dance club," Matthew ventured with a sly grin.

Marc looked like he was going to say no, before an equally sly grin crossed his face. "When in Rome...."

"DO as the Romans do. Let's GO!" Matthew took off at a fast walk back to the nightclub they had passed the previous evening.

Marc jogged to catch up and they were soon back at the door of the Pink Pelican. The strange people were already outside. Marc yanked on Matthew's arm. "Please don't go all goggle-eyed on me. We have to look like we've been here, done that."

Matthew closed his mouth and slapped on a casual air with great difficulty. They paid their cover charge and went inside.

The club was packed! It was wall to wall men and drag queens. There were men in full leather gear. There were men in nothing more than a jockstrap. There were men in chains. It was the most outrageous thing Marc and Matthew had ever seen.

"Certainly not like the clubs back home!" Matthew whispered.

Marc nodded, left speechless by the incredible sights and sounds. They slowly made their way to the bar.

"Two beers, please," Marc said to the bartender.

"Beer?! Yuck! I want a REAL drink!" Matthew replied.

Marc leaned over to Matthew. "This is just for show. This isn't the kind of place where I care to ask for a...whatever the hell it is you drink! If we are still in the mood we will get one at the hotel."

"But I want a WHITE RUSSIAN now."

"Matthew, I said after if we are still in the mood."

"But..."

Marc flashed a look, while accepting the beers from the bartender.

"Fine," Matthew a reed, against his will. He knew full well there would be no drinks after, but didn't want to impact the pending discussion.

Marc handed Matthew his beer. "Shall we dance?"

"Let's!"

The two young men made their way onto the dance floor. The shook their groove thangs to the beat of the music, and were most content dancing with each other. They danced a few songs with others, but kept it solely dancing. The hours passed and soon it was nearly midnight.

Matthew had long since ditched his mostly full beer, opting instead just to dance. He was having more fun than he could handle, and forgot completely about drinking. By the time midnight did roll around, he was absolutely parched. He was just trying to figure out a way to get a drink when Marc pulled him close to be heard above the din.

"I think it's time to head for the hotel, fruitcake. This is getting to be just a little more than I can handle." Marc had been keeping a close eye on the crowd, and had watched as the simply strange turned into the drunk and doped up strange.

"I just need a drink," Matthew began, then quickly added, "water will be fine," as he saw Marc's expression not change.

"I need some water too, but this isn't the place for it. Come on." Marc took Matthew's hand and started working his way to the exit, trying not to step on or bump into anyone who might take offense.

Matthew pulled gently against the grip, not interested in leaving, as he knew a discussion was in order. He wasn't afraid, just not keen on dealing with it. He kept his eyes open, and when they got near the edge of the dance floor, he hooked his hand into the pocket of a cute guy wearing jeans and a muscle shirt.

The young stud grabbed onto Matthew's arm, keeping him on the dance floor, and ultimately breaking Marc's grip. Marc turned and watched.

"See something you like?" The stud asked Matthew.

Matthew flirted harmlessly.

"Well, around these parts, we ask nicely before grabbing and taking what we want. I think you need to be taught a lesson in that."

"Uh, I'm sorry. I have to go; my friend is waiting for me," Matthew said, pointing at Marc.

Marc shrugged. "We don't HAVE to rush off."

"See even your friend agrees, a spanking would do you good in the manners department."

"I, uh, am...MARC!"

Marc laughed silently and took Matthew's hand. "I got it from here, stud. Maybe next time."

Marc took firm hold of Matthew and exited the club.

"Thanks a lot!" Matthew said snidely.

"Hey, next time I'll let them have their way with you."

Matthew made a face, but didn't respond.

"Did that tire you out?" Marc asked.

"Yes," Matthew said quietly.

"Good."

The two young men walked back to the hotel, mostly in silence, both of them tired from their dancing. Marc kept a firm grip on Matthew, and headed straight for the elevators. Matthew eyed the bar, but didn't make a move towards it, instead opting to follow Marc's lead. They arrived upstairs, Marc taking out the keycard and opening the door, ushering Matthew in ahead of him.

Matthew headed straight over to the bar, pulling out two spring waters from the refrigerator. He handed one to Marc before stepping out onto the balcony to see the city lights.

Marc followed, taking a moment to savor the view before settling down into a chair. "It seems almost TOO quiet, doesn't it," Marc suggested after nearly emptying his bottle of water.

Matthew was silent a moment, missing Rolf. "Yes, it does. The dance club certainly was loud."

Marc could sense the melancholy in his friend's words. "Have a seat, fruitcake."

Matthew turned and settled into the chair next to Marc's.

"I bet you anything that Rolf looked up at the moon tonight and left a kiss there for you."

Matthew smiled at Marc, looked up at the moon and slowly kissed it back. "Thanks. You always know the right thing to say."

Marc patted his friend on the knee, smiled, but didn't say anything. They enjoyed an easy silence for a few minutes as they both drained the water bottles.

Marc stood up and held out his hand. Matthew sighed inwardly, but put his hand in Marc's and followed him inside. "Take the first shower."

Matthew stepped gratefully under a cool shower, rinsing the sweat from his body. He quickly dried off, grabbing the shorts Marc had lain on the counter while he was showering.

Marc followed up Matthew's shower with one of his own, relaxing under the spray. He was amazed at the water pressure in this hotel, and the size of the shower. He finished up, shutting the light off behind him. He busied himself setting out clothes for the morning meeting, leaving Matthew engrossed in a television show. When he was ready, he sat down on the side of the bed. "Matthew."

Matthew glanced up from the television, and saw that Marc was in disciplinarian mode. He winced, but rolled out of bed. Matthew stood in front of him. Marc motioned for him to slide down his shorts, and Matthew complied before lying across Marc's knee. Marc didn't feel the need to lecture on the matter any further; everything had already been said. Marc let the spanking begin with a steady stream of firm, alternating swats. He covered every inch of Matthew's milky white bottom, quickly turning it a pale pink, and finally a bright rose color. Matthew remained fairly composed, kicking just a few times, only a couple tears rolling down his cheeks. Marc helped him to stand up and pulled his shorts up. He gently wiped away the tears, and turned the bed down, allowing Matthew to slide gently in.

Within minutes, Matthew was sound asleep. Even though he would never admit it, a sound spanking always helped him sleep. Marc turned off the television, and joined him in peaceful slumber.

Matthew woke first, having slept without waking once. He looked over at Marc in the other bed, then quietly got up, taking the phone, and went to the balcony. The morning air was crisp and cool, instantly bringing chill bumps to Matthew's skin. He walked back to the bed and grabbed the comforter before arranging himself on the lounge, completely wrapped in the covers. He left the door open to allow the morning freshness to enter the hotel room and called room service. He ordered another huge breakfast for the two of them to be delivered in an hour, giving Marc time to sleep in a little. Wrapping the blankets around him a little tighter, he slipped back into a light doze.

An hour later, Marc was awakened by a knock on the door. He stumbled out of bed, taking in the open balcony door and a pile of blankets on the lounge. He opened the door to a large breakfast tray. The waiter rolled the tray in and directly over to the balcony. Marc followed, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.

The pile of blankets groaned and then moved, revealing messy blond hair and tired green eyes as the tray of food bumped over the door frame. He quickly sat up when he realized breakfast had arrived.

Marc grabbed a robe and situated himself at the table, waiting to see what Matthew had ordered. He sucked in his breath as a near buffet emerged from under the plate covers. The waiter quickly set up breakfast and left quietly.

"You know, you can't keep ordering meals like this. My boss is gonna think we're hogs!" Marc said, smiling as he took in the sights and scents of the wondrous breakfast.

Matthew was still half asleep, so the comments slid right over him. He slowly nibbled until the tastes woke him up.

"Did you sleep well?"

"Like a log! You?"

"Surprisingly, yes."

"Why surprisingly?"

"Well, because of today! Are you ready for a wild day?"

"Am I ever. A little nervous about what we will see, though."

"Why, you think it will be too much for you to handle?"

"NO. I don't know, don't mind me, I'm still half asleep," Matthew said, laughing.

"Well, we could blow off the fair and lounge around the pool."

"NO! NO! NO!"

"As if I would pass this opportunity up!" Marc said, laughing.

"So what time are we heading out?"

"I don't know," Marc said, looking at the clock inside. "Tenish? I want to be able to see first swat."

"Well, then, we better hurry up and get our as---butts in gear."

"Yeah, I want to get a few more cameras."

"A few more?"

"Darn straight! Gonna be A LOT of Kodak moments today, and I want EVERY last one."

"Me too!"

"Get your own cameras!" Marc said with a laugh.

The two boys polished off the rest of breakfast with gusto, rolling the cart back into the room and out into the hall. They quickly got dressed and headed out the door.

"Do you HAVE enough stuff?" Matthew asked, looking at Marc and his backpack.

"I TOLD you, I need my Kodak moments today. Do you think we'll be back anytime soon?"

"No, guess not," Matthew said.

They walked quickly to the corner drug store and Marc purchased another three disposable cameras. Matthew got one, and a candy bar.

"Do you really need that?" Marc asked, without demanding that it be put back.

"I need my strength. Chocolate IS one of the five food groups," Matthew said, pocketing the candy.

"You're impossible. Anyway, we have a short hike. Let's grab a water from the fountain, shall we?

Matthew went over to the old fashioned fountain and they both got a large plastic cup of ice water and started down the street. They were talking animatedly, enjoying the sights, smells, and sounds of San Francisco. The hills were indeed steep, and their talking diminished on the way up the hills, and returned full force on the way down.

"This place is pretty incredible," Matthew said, looking at one of the shops with magic items for sale.

"Yeah. It's nice to visit, but not sure I'd like to live here," Marc said, beginning their way down another slope.

"Why not? It seems to have EVERYTHING. Do you KNOW how many delis and coffee shops we've passed? I've lost count!"

"It's nice, I don't doubt that. But I'd miss the snow. And the cool nights. Not to mention not appreciating the slight problem this part of the world has with shaking! I DON'T want to be able to say 'It's Shake and Bake, and I helped!'"

Matthew burst out laughing at Marc's dead-on imitation of the commercial.

Marc pretended to be hurt for about five seconds, before dissolving into gales of laughter himself.

A few minutes later they started seeing a few more people around, and they were getting stranger and more intriguing. They saw men dressed in things that neither one knew existed. They saw men in various states of undress. For some that was a plus; for others, it was not.

"I had no idea it would be like this," Matthew whispered to Marc.

"Me either, and just think...we haven't seen nothing yet!"

The two young men finally made their way to the one of many spanking booths set up. There was a stool in the middle of a large blocked-off section. Behind the stool was a table. On top of the table sat two paddles, of very different sizes, and a wide leather strap. Next to the table stood a very good looking older man. He appeared to be in his late forties, early fifties, and had the body of a thirty year old. His shirt said "Jonathon."

"What do you think, Matthew? Rolf in twenty years?" Marc asked.

"I hope not! I STILL want to be the hotter one!"

Marc laughed, then fell quiet staring at the gentleman. He watched in awe as he picked up the smaller paddle and swished it through the air. Marc turned and looked through the crowd. He took note of one couple. The younger man was dressed only in sneakers and a jockstrap, which framed his perfect ass, well, perfectly. The older man wore sneakers and a pair of tight fitting jeans. Marc watched as the older man rubbed the younger man's shoulders. Then every time the gentleman at the booth took a practice swing of the paddle, the older man smacked the younger man's buns, rather hard. The younger man jolted forward a bit after each smack.

"Are you listening to me?" Matthew asked.

"What?"

"Did you hear ANYTHING I said?"

"Um," Marc took a shot and answered. "Potatoes sound good?"

"I'll take that as a no."

"Sorry, this definitely isn't the time or place to ask me anything meaningful."

"Yeah, so I noticed -- or should I say felt!"

Marc looked, puzzled, at Matthew, then looked down, realizing that he was standing very close, and was very aroused by the sights. He took a quick step backwards, and pulled the camera up to take another picture, just to hide the blush in his cheeks.

Matthew let that go, saving the chance to embarrass Marc for later, should he need it. He poked Marc in the side when a couple stepped forward. "See them?" he whispered.

Marc turned and looked. The first couple that looked like they were going to take a swat for charity was one of the stranger ones. Piercing in every body part available, along with tattoos for clothing, save for a little leather around the waist.

"Ow," Matthew said, wanting to rub his nipples. Seeing the guys with both pierced sent shivers down his spine. "I just DON'T understand that."

"Me either. But...it looks good on them." Marc watched in rapt fascination as the couple traded a few private jokes as they stepped past the barriers into the staging area. The young one bent across the table, spread his legs, and looked up into the crowd. His partner handed over a twenty dollar bill, still hanging onto a fistful. He stood back, admiring his lover's mostly white ass, then smiled up at Jonathon.

"Please make that twenty count. Steve here is looking forward to it."

Jonathon saluted, putting the twenty into a glass jar. He picked up the smaller paddle. Steve's partner shook his head no and the crowd made their approval known when Jonathon picked up the larger, thicker paddle. Jonathon walked slowly over to Steve's side, closely surveying the paddle. The crowd started to raise its volume, causing Steve to look around, but not before Jonathon had cracked down the first swat on the mostly white bottom.

Steve's eyes got big, but he held in the yell that rose to his lips.

The crowd oooohhed and aaaaahhed, waiting for the second swat.

Matthew cringed as the first swat landed. Even with the sounds of the crowd, that crack held unmistakable memories for him.

Marc blinked, but rather than remembering his own experiences with the paddle, he was enthralled at watching the show.

With every crack of the paddle, the crowd yelled louder. Then, someone up front screamed, "Take down his pants!"

Matthew elbowed Marc in disbelief, but kept his eyes glued to the action as Jonathon put his paddle down and walked in front of Steve. Steve's partner motioned for him to stand tall, his face red, his eyes watering. Steve nodded, giving his approval to Jonathon, who wasted no time and unceremoniously unbuttoned and yanked down Steve's leather pants. They hadn't been covering much on the backside, but now it was ALL bare.

Marc stood in awe, still not believing that all of this was really happening.

"Well?" Matthew asked.

"Well what?" Marc responded, a bit delayed.

"Are you going to use any of those dozen cameras you purchased?"

"Oooh. I have been so enthralled I almost forgot."

"That qualifies as a Kodak moment, doesn't it?"

"Sure does," Marc said, grabbing one of his cameras.

Marc snapped a couple pictures, and waited for the first bare bottom swat. Steve cried out after that swat, causing the crowd to cheer. Marc turned his head to look at Matthew, and caught a glimpse of another booth up and running.

"Hey, Matthew, looks like there's more action that way."

Matthew turned in that direction and saw a guy holding a paddle with tiny holes drilled in it. Someone was just stepping up to the chair that was there, placing his hands on the seat.

Marc and Matthew hurried in that direction.

"Let's call him....Antonio. He looks like Zorro, don't you think?" Matthew said.

"Yes, that will work. GORGEOUS. Let's move in THIS direction to see the part that matters."

Matthew followed Marc, mentally beginning to name everyone they saw, a game the two boys played a lot.

"I must say, Antonio has an ass that begs to be spanked!" Marc said.

No sooner did he finish his thought than the paddle came crashing down.

"Yeow, and spanked it shall be!"

The boys continued to watch in awe. Marc took pictures as if they were going out of style. Soon "Antonio" had reached his limit, and there was a break in the action as he attempted to cool the fire.

"I still can't believe this. It is SO wild!" Matthew said.

"I know, and invigorating! It makes me want to swing that paddle!" Marc replied, louder than intended.

"So do it!" A voice replied.

Marc turned around to see who spoke. A gorgeous young man stood there. He was no more than twenty, and seemed tame compared to some of the crowd.

"Excuse me?" Marc said, looking at the young man.

"I want my ass roasted in front of the crowd, and you are the hottest guy I have seen. It costs extra to spank, but I will pay. My name is Trent."

Marc looked at Matthew, who was staring in complete shock.

"Um..." Marc didn't know how to respond to that.

"Perhaps you would like to see your target before you commit. No problem," Trent responded.

Trent turned around and unbuttoned his jeans. He slowly dropped them to his ankles. He slid his fingers into his briefs, and lowered them down over his bubble butt. Marc watched in amazement at what was happening --and became fully aroused by the beautiful sight in front of him. Suddenly he was sucked into the moment, and the aura of the fair got to him. He impulsively reached out and smacked the bare buns in front of him.

"MARC?!" Matthew exclaimed.

Marc smiled, and raised his trusty camera, snapping a few pics, before being pulled away by Matthew.

"Are you CRAZY?!!? He may LOOK fine, but you NEVER know what is going on behind those beautiful eyes. Rolf would KILL you for that!"

"Have you noticed Rolf isn't here?" Marc said, putting away his second camera and pulling out a third.

"Yes, I have," Matthew said roughly. "Just don't make me TELL him about some of this stuff, got it?"

Marc looked at Matthew in amazement, then smiled. "Okay. But we're GOING to have fun. See that over there?" Marc asked, pointing.

"I am NOT getting ANYTHING pierced!!!!" Matthew exclaimed.

"NOT that. THAT!" Marc said, pointing across from the piercing parlor.

"FOOD!"

"Yup, get some food in you, and you will be ready to live it up!"

"I wouldn't bet on that."

"Oh, don't be a stick in the mud. One spanking isn't going to kill you."

"No. But it certainly will make the plane ride home sheer terror."

"Geez, I am not suggesting an hour paddling! It's for charity, for pete's sake."

"Well, if you are so hepped on the idea, why don't YOU offer your ass up?"

"As if!"

"That's what I thought!"

"Chicken," Marc said, getting in line for the food.

"Shut UP," Matthew hissed back at Marc.

"Make me."

"Yeah, I'll-"

"Excuse me?" Jonathon said, turning around.

Marc's eyes got large and he couldn't speak.

Jonathon looked hard at Matthew. "Is he causing you trouble?"

Matthew stuttered for a moment, then said "Not really. I mean...he called me a chicken."

Marc looked quickly at Matthew in amazement, before turning back to Jonathon, his eyes not able to open any larger.

Jonathon still had his mock stern look. "I think three licks with a paddle would teach you to treat your friends better in the future." He turned to Matthew. "Are you willing to donate $10 for him to learn a lesson?"

Matthew looked quickly at Marc, who had a "Don't you even THINK of doing this to me" look on his face. He looked back at Jonathon, who was smiling, mirth clearly visible in his eyes. Matthew handed over the $10 bill he had taken out for the food, which Jonathon accepted.

Marc's eyes nearly popped out of his head and he quickly looked back at Jonathon.

"I....well...you know-" Marc stuttered.

Jonathon took Marc by the arm and started walking over towards his booth. He would have quickly let Marc go if he said so, but Marc couldn't talk. He was in utter shock that this was going to happen!

Matthew followed along behind, heart beating rapidly. He also knew Marc would back out if he was seriously against this, and no harm would be done.

"Ladies and gentlemen. I have another volunteer!" Jonathon said, pulling Marc into the roped-off area.

Before Marc made it under the barrier, Matthew grabbed the camera.

Marc turned around and hissed, "Take a picture of me, and you ARE dead meat."

Matthew held up the camera and snapped a picture, smiling the whole time. Jonathon had made his way to the stool, and positioned Marc so his jean-clad bottom was up in the air. Members of the crowd began to whistle and yell, although Marc hadn't heard a thing. He tried to remain focused on simply not making a fool of himself and screaming. Jonathon picked up the large paddle, knowing the crowd wouldn't stand for the little one. He stood to the left of Marc, making sure Matthew was able to see the entire thing.

"Take down his pants!" A man screamed, who was standing next to Matthew.

Matthew turned to see who had hollered, and saw Tom standing there, in full leather gear.

"Tom?" Matthew asked.

"Oh, hey! How are you? Where is your friend?"

"Up there!" Matthew said, pointing.

"No shit?" Tom exclaimed, before getting smacked across his own bottom by Dean.

"Watch the language, mister, or you will be the next one up there."

Matthew turned his attention back to Marc, and saw Jonathon pulling down his jeans. Apparently, Tom's suggestion started a chain reaction, and the crowd would settle for no less than bare bottom. Matthew's face flushed. He never meant for it to go THAT far. But yet he was mesmerized, and stood by the conviction that if Marc wanted to bail, he could. Jonathon then slid down Marc's underwear to just below the cheeks, keeping all other areas covered. The hoots and hollers got louder. Matthew managed to snap a couple pictures of the crowd enjoying the sight of Marc. Then he focused on Marc. He knew this was a Kodak moment, and that Marc would want to see it.

Jonathon set the paddle down on Marc's back and cracked his knuckles. He picked up the paddle, and let the first swat fly!

Marc could tell something was about to happen by the immediate hush of the crowd. He grabbed hold of the stool legs a split second before the wind was knocked from him, white hot pain searing his backside what seemed like hours before he heard the crack. He sucked air back in and clamped his lips shut to quiet the yell he wanted to make. He blinked furiously as his eyes filled with tears.

Matthew lost his breath almost as much as Marc did at the crack that sounded across the quiet crowd. It seemed as if time stood still before the crowd broke into cheers. He could see the immediate redness where the paddle landed for the first swat.

Jonathon allowed the crowd a moment or two to enjoy the first swat, and for Marc to compose and ready himself for the second one. He whispered so only Marc could hear: "You're taking it well."

Marc didn't think he could answer, so he kept his lips clamped shut. He didn't dare move his gaze from the post that was holding up the rope around them.

Matthew just stood staring in horror. Tom, on the other hand, was thoroughly enjoying the show. He grabbed the camera from Matthew and snapped a picture.

"Your friend will thank you for these pics," he said.

"I highly doubt that," Matthew sneered.

"Sure he will. Once the initial pain subsides, he will be left with a rush over what happened. I bet he will even wish it was captured on video."

Just then the second whack landed, just as hard as the first.

Marc involuntarily groaned, tears welling and then falling from his eyes. He kept his gaze focused on the post in front of him and willed the next lick to be done quickly. He wasn't sure he could stand the pressure of waiting.

The crowd continued to roar. Jonathon could tell from Marc's tense position that he wanted nothing more than to get the final whack over and done with. He decided to comply.

Matthew put his hands over his eyes as Jonathon raised his arm, and jumped a mile when the crack resounded before the crowd began clapping wildly.

Tom looked over at Matthew and pulled his arms down. "Look. Marc is fine. Go on."

Matthew slowly turned his gaze from Tom to Marc and was surprised to see Marc buttoning his jeans.

Once that final lick had landed, Marc quickly stood up, brought his underwear back into position and pulled his jeans back up.

Jonathon held out a hand to shake, and Marc took it. "Good job, mate. You're a great sport, and the charities thank you." Jonathon pulled Marc's arm up, much as a referree does when announcing the winner of a boxing match. "Give this young man a GREAT round of applause. HE can take it like a man, can YOU?" He asked, eyeballing several people in the front rows.

Marc gave a smile, then quickly ducked under the barriers, getting several swats and a few pats on the back as he made his way quickly over to spot between two buildings, out of sight. He rubbed his backside, hard, trying to get rid of the sting still emanating. He took a few gulping breaths, trying to swallow the lump in his throat, and wiped the tears from his face with the back of his hand. He looked up when someone entered the alley.

"Are you okay?" Matthew asked, quickly going over to Marc.

"Yeah," he said, acting like it was nothing. He looked up and saw Tom and his partner Dean enter the alley.

"Hey, we have a winner here! Dean said jovially, holding out his hand to shake Marc's.

Marc took it and smiled.

"Man, that takes BALLS to do. I've been trying for YEARS to get Tom to go up there."

"And YOU can just forget it forevermore," Tom said, laughing.

"I probably won't get back here for years. I just figured while I was here, might as well experience it to the fullest," Marc said, letting go of Dean's hand and shaking Tom's.

Matthew didn't dispute Marc, still awed by the fact that Marc HAD been on public display.

Tom continued laughing. "You should have SEEN Matthew on your last swat."

Matthew started to turn pink.

Marc looked over at him, then back at Tom. "What did he do?"

"He wouldn't look."

"So?" Matthew said quickly. "I've BEEN on the receiving end more than I care to."

Tom smiled. "Me too, which is why you WON'T find me offering myself up for fun!

Marc put his arm around Matthew and hugged him roughly. "Thanks. I go up for something like that, and you don't even watch."

"But he's got pictures!" Tom said quickly.

Marc took a moment to digest that piece of information, then turned to Matthew. "You have pictures?" he asked, deadly calm.

"Well, he took a few, but I snapped a good one on the second swat," Tom volunteered.

Matthew smiled sweetly at Marc and stuck out his tongue. He jumped out of harm's way when Marc raised his hand to swat him.

"I'm hungry," Tom said suddenly.

"When are you not when we come here?" Dean asked, laughing.

"Matthew, have you ever had the funnel cakes here?"

"No, but they sound good."

"Come on, you've GOT to try them," Tom said, leading the way out of the alley.

"Marc, Matthew will be sick the rest of the day if he eats one of those grease sponges alone. Come on."

Marc followed Dean out of the alley, feeling MUCH better.

"So, what are your plans for the rest of the night?" Dean asked Matthew and Marc as they stood in line for food.

"Not much after the fair has ended. Heading home tomorrow," Marc said.

"Well, then you should let us show you a few hot spots," Tom said.

"Normally I wouldn't push, but you did say that you didn't have plans to return here anytime soon," Dean added.

"Well, what did you have in mind?" Marc asked.

The question was left in the air as they finally made their way through the line. They got four cokes and two orders of the funnel cake, Matthew and Tom demanding their own, but not getting their way. They settled in at a table under an umbrella.

"Oh Rom, you're toe rye," Matthew said through a mouthful of funnel cake.

Marc looked at Matthew. "Try that again, WITHOUT a mouth full of food?"

Matthew grinned, swallowing. "I SAID, Tom was right, these ARE so good!"

"May I have a bite?" Marc asked, pulling the plate towards him.

"I TOLD you, you needed your own."

"Yeah, me too," Tom chimed in, watching a piece of the cake being eaten by Dean.

"Enough, Tom. I mean it," Dean said sternly.

Tom looked away, taking a sip of his coke.

"Are you two interested in any particular sites?" Dean asked, ignoring his lover's pout.

"I want to see Alcatraz," Matthew said quickly.

"I'd like to get a good picture of the bridge over the bay, and whatever boats are there," Marc said.

"We can do that at the same time. Alcatraz can be seen from the tourist stop to look at the bridge."

"I want to VISIT Alcatraz," Matthew corrected.

"Sorry, Matthew. The boats only take you out in the mornings, and we've missed the last one today. There isn't much to see anyway; they don't land on the island or anything."

"Dean?" Tom asked, taking another bite of the funnel cake.

"Yes?"

"I think they'd like The Cage."

"What's The Cage?" Matthew asked, eyes brightening.

"It's this pretty cool bar. They have a HUGE dance floor, different shows each night," Tom continued.

"I'm not so sure that's the best place," Dean said.

"Why's that?" Marc asked.

"The club itself is wonderful. Good music, mostly sane people. But they have a basement that you can get to as well. THAT part drags in the dregs of society. You can get -"

"The CLUB is fine, and we don't HAVE to visit the basement," Tom interrupted.

Dean LOOKED at Tom, who settled back and kept eating.

"I'd LOVE to see it!" Matthew said, thinking that if Tom was pretty good at picking out nice things to eat, he'd HAVE to know a good place to PLAY.

"Only if Dean thinks it's safe, Matthew," Marc cautioned.

"It's safe, and yes, worth a visit once. BUT," Dean said, eyeing first Tom, then Matthew, "I'd need your word that you would not go into the basement."

"I could -" Tom began.

"NO. Your word," Dean said, looking sternly at Tom.

"No going into the basement," Tom said dismissively.

"I mean it," Dean said, looking back at Matthew.

Matthew took another piece of funnel cake and took his time pulling it apart, not meeting anyone's eyes.

"Let's finish up, guys, and check out the rest of the booths here. Do you have a car?" Dean asked.

"Yes, back at the hotel," Marc said.

"Ours is close. When we're through here, I'll take you around the town, then we can just drop you back at the hotel."

"Good. Thanks for the offer," Marc said, wiping his hands off on the napkin.

The guys finished up the funnel cakes, Matthew and Tom eating about three quarters of each of theirs. They dumped their trash and checked out the rest of the fair.

They didn't find too much more of interest, but the people-watching was fabulous fun. Tom and Matthew hung together, laughing wildly every once in a while, Marc and Dean deep in conversation about everything under the sun.

After touring the city in the car and eating dinner at Tom's favorite steak house, the four boys found a parking spot in the back of The Cage's lot and locked up the car, heading into the bar.

Dean stopped Tom out of hearing of Matthew and Marc. "You can have ONE beer tonight. And if I find you anywhere NEAR the basement, I'll spank you, is that clear?"

"Yes," Tom said, running to catch up to Matthew, Dean's threat immediately forgotten.

The boys paid their cover charge and headed out into the melee.

"Wow, Tom, this is like Babylon on Queer!" Matthew said excitedly.

"It's the next best thing! Come on!" Tom led the way onto the dance floor and started dancing, Matthew following right along.

Dean and Marc found a table and ordered drinks, wanting to sit down for a few minutes before getting on the floor. They were pretty much able to keep an eye on the other two, losing them for short times as people blocked their view.

After a few songs, Matthew and Tom found their way over to the table and collapsed into the chairs, laughing.

"Thirsty! This mine?" Matthew asked, grabbing for the drink on the table.

"Yes," Marc said. "Hope you wanted the white russian."

"I did, thanks!" Matthew said, downing half of it in one gulp.

"Hey, go easy there. That's the only liquor you'll get this evening. The rest can be non alcoholic."

Matthew crossed his eyes at Tom, who was doing the same thing to Matthew.

"Would you prefer to start on the non alcohol NOW?" Marc whispered to Matthew.

"No, sir." Matthew replied, before changing the subject. "When are you coming out for a dance?"

"When you finish the drink. Don't want to leave it unattended on the table," Marc answered.

Matthew slowly sipped his drink, debating if he was ready for Marc to join him yet or not. Then Tom tapped him on the shoulder, making his decision easy.

"Gots to savor that drink, so I will be back after a few more songs," Matthew said, being dragged, freely, onto the dance floor.

"Well, Tom certainly has taken a liking to Matthew," Marc said.

"That he has. I guess it must be because we don't have any friends that are in discipline relationships."

"Really? Wow, back home there are several friends in discipline relationships. I would have thought there would be a lot more here."

"No. Around here it is mostly for sexual arousal. Not as a way of life."

"I guess that makes sense," Marc replied, looking onto the dance floor, Matthew barely visible.

"What do you suppose they are talking about?" Matthew shouted to Tom over the music.

"Probably taxes."

"HEY!"

"Oops, I forgot YOU were the accountant," Tom said, sticking out his tongue.

"Funny man."

"Are you feeling lucky tonight?"

"Yes?" Matthew said, sensing fun around the corner.

"If they're watching the drinks, I think we can slip downstairs for JUST a moment, just so you can say you've been there."

"Really? Are you sure?" Matthew asked excitedly.

"We can't stay, but you've just got to SEE it once," Tom said, backing up a little. "Come this way, we'll dance over here at the edge, then disappear for five minutes. We should be okay."

Matthew followed Tom, dancing to the music. Once they'd finished one song, they stepped off the dance floor and quickly headed down the hall to the back stairway.

"So you're a graphic design artist?" Marc asked.

"Yes. The advertising executives come up with the ideas, then I draw them up for magazine publication, as well as do some computer work for television ads," Dean said, looking around for his lover. "Do you see Matthew anywhere?"

Marc looked around, spotting Matthew's blond hair. "Over there, near the stage area."

Dean's hand smashed down on the table, startling Marc. "That's where the basement is. I swear, that kid is going to learn to listen to me the first time one of these days. Wait here, I'll send Matthew back."

Dean stood up and walked purposefully over to the hallway and down the stairs.

Matthew's eyes were as big as saucers as he looked around the basement. People were having sex against the walls, the smell of pot strong in the air.

Tom punched him in the arm and spoke quietly. "Close your mouth, you need to act as if this is no big deal."

Just then, someone snagged the bag of Matthew's jeans and turned him around.

Matthew turned to face a man about 40 years old, a cigarette dangling from his lips. He had leather straps on, and boots, but there wasn't anything else left to the imagination. Matthew's mouth started to work but no sounds were coming out.

Tom turned when he didn't feel Matthew right behind him. He first saw Matthew, then Dean. He gulped audibly.

"Sorry, sir, he's underage, and mine," Dean said, taking Matthew by the arm and pulling him away.

Matthew wasn't sure if he was just saved from the fire by the frying pan, but he went willingly, still not able to talk.

"Another time, maybe," the fat guy said, not taking his eyes off Matthew.

Dean's eyebrow raised in the familiar way as he crooked a finger and mouthed "Come here," to Tom.

Tom dragged his feet to Dean, who shepherded him ahead, his hand still wrapped around Matthew's upper arm.

When they reached the top of the stairs where it was still somewhat quieter than the dance floor, Dean directed Tom to face the wall. He pulled Matthew close to him, whispering forcefully into his ear, "Get yourself straight back to the table; Marc is waiting for you."

"Yes, sir," Matthew said, swallowing hard and walking quickly back to the table. He sat down, wilting under the look he was getting from Marc.

"Did Dean just have to remove you from the basement?" Marc asked sternly.

Matthew nodded, not daring himself to speak.

"You were not given a specific warning by me to not do that. I figured hearing it from Dean was enough. Do you think he was saying that just to be talking?"

"No, sir," Matthew said, looking down.

"That wasn't smart, young man. I don't think Rolf would be too pleased to know you walked headfirst into a potentially dangerous situation, do you?"

Matthew blushed from shame, shaking his head no.

"You will apologize to Dean when he returns," Marc said sternly.

"Yes, sir," Matthew said quietly, wondering where Dean and Tom were.

Once Matthew left, Dean took Tom by the upper arm and marched him towards the restrooms. "You are going to learn to listen to me, young man, one way or the other."

Tom knew he was due a spanking, but he didn't realize he was going to get one right then and there until Dean had marched him into the restroom, and into the larger handicapped stall, shutting the door firmly behind them.

"Dean? Please, I'm sorry," Tom tried, whispering.

Dean turned Tom to him, unbuckling his belt and working on the top button of Tom's pants.

Tom was in shock, embarrassed to death to say anything as anyone else in the restroom would hear him pleading, yet knowing if he didn't try, the sounds of him getting his butt beat were certain to be heard.

"Dean, I -"

"I told you in no uncertain terms that you weren't to visit the basement and you chose to ignore me," Dean said sternly, and much too loudly if you asked Tom. He wasted no time in pulling Tom's jeans down, following quickly by his shorts.

Tom nearly squeaked in outrage and shame, but found himself on tiptoes, balanced precariously across Dean's leg, which was propped up by the seat of the commode. He found he couldn't move to protect his backside, and was too ashamed to speak.

Dean placed one hand across Tom's back, and brought his other hand down in a sharp smack across Tom's bottom.

Tom jumped, the sound of the spank echoing loudly in the restroom. He realized at that moment that he was going to learn this lesson the hard way, and anyone who needed to use the restroom in the next few minutes were going to be party to his shame. He gritted his teeth as the next swat landed, and within five, tears had welled in his eyes and rolled down his cheeks.

Dean continued the spanking, paying no attention to the talk outside the restroom door. This was not an uncommon occurrence in the bar, so he wasn't worried about anyone overreacting, but he WAS going to make sure Tom knew he was serious.

Tom gave up the fight for his dignity, knowing it was lost, and started crying. To him, the sounds of the spanking were almost worse than the fire that was being lit on his behind, as he also heard some of what was being said.

Dean held his struggling lover across his leg and didn't stop until Tom's bottom was a uniform shade of sizzling crimson. Once he was certain Tom had learned his lesson, he stopped.

Tom struggled for several moments, not realizing the spanking had ended. Dean set him on his feet, his pants still around his ankles, and he buried his head into his shoulder, wrapping his arms around his lover.

Dean comforted Tom for a couple of moments before bending over and helping him to straighten his clothes.

Tom's crying had mostly dissipated into hitching breaths, and he used some toilet paper to wipe the tears from his face and blow his nose. He wanted to crawl out the back door, but knew as Dean opened the door that he was going to have to face anyone in the restroom.

Dean opened the door, keeping a comforting hand on Tom's shoulder. Dean's look quelled any comments from those in the restroom, and Tom quickly washed his face, nearly running out of the restroom.

Dean pulled Tom close as they left the restroom. "You'll apologize to Matthew and Marc for your behavior."

Tom didn't think he could BE any more embarrassed, but he'd forgotten entirely that they were with them, and would be until they dropped them off at the hotel. He pulled against Dean.

Dean took Tom's face in his hands, tilting it upward to look in his eyes. "If you had listened to me about going into the basement, you wouldn't be faced with this embarrassment now. I trust you'll remember this lesson in the future."

Tom managed a "yes, sir," in a tiny voice, and allowed Dean to guide him back to the table. Tom was unable to make eye contact with either Marc or Matthew. Both Matthew and Marc knew full well what the unmistakable hanging of the head meant, and both knew from experience it was impolite to comment. Dean nudged Tom, who raised his head briefly.

"I am sorry for leading Matthew downstairs; I know better than to go down there. It's not a place for boys to play," Tom said as quietly as he could over the music.

Marc then nudged Matthew.

"Dean, I'm sorry for not stopping Tom when he...when it was suggested we sneak a peak."

Dean nodded his head in acceptance. "Now do you see why I felt the basement was inappropriate?"

"Yes, sir," Matthew replied.

"I hate to disrupt your final night here, but I feel it is time to go home, and get someone into bed," Dean said.

Marc and Matthew arose from their seats. Marc glanced at his watch for the first time.

"WOW! I actually couldn't agree more, Dean," Marc said, watching the seconds tick dangerously close to the midnight hour.

The four young men walked quietly outside, Tom wincing with each step as his flaming backside yelped. They found their way to the car, and were en route to the hotel.

"Thanks for a wonderful night; it was great having such pleasant tour guides," Marc said.

"Yes, thanks," Matthew added, staring in awe at the passing city.

"You are both welcome. Your company was much enjoyed," Dean replied. "I only wish all of Tom's business flights could be accompanied by such pleasant people."

"Did you ever get any of that studying done?" Tom asked out of the blue, with a wicked grin.

"No comments from the peanut gallery," Matthew replied.

"Don't worry, the flight back will hold plenty of time for that, Tom," Marc added.

"I said, no comments from the peanut gallery," Matthew repeated with a chuckle.

Marc could see the hotel quickly approaching.

"Again, thanks for the great night. And if you ever make it out our way, give us a holler," Marc said, writing his e-mail address on a piece of scrap paper.

"Really, it was our pleasure. And we will do that. Looks like this is your stop," Dean said, pulling up in front.

"Goodnight, been fun. Good bye," Matthew and Marc said.

"Have a safe trip."

"Hope you have someone as pleasant as me next to you," Tom added.

Matthew smiled and waved goodbye as they drove off. They entered the hotel lobby, and were quickly greeted with a phone message.

"Thanks," Marc said, accepting the message. He read it and handed it over to Matthew.

"Oh, shit," Matthew replied. "Do you think it's too late to call back?"

"Um, nah. I'm sure Rolf would love to hear from you at three in the morning."

"It's only midnight."

"Do you want to argue that point?"

"No."

"Then we shall call in the morning before take off."

Marc and Matthew entered the hotel room. Matthew headed directly for the bathroom. Marc took the opportunity to make sure things were in order for a quick final packing in the morning. He knew it should be done now, but it was a long day, and he was exhausted. Marc put his cameras in a safe place, not wanting to lose any of the memorable moments. He peeled off his shirt, and stepped onto the balcony to admire the view. Matthew soon came out and joined him.

"Magnificent, isn't it?" Marc said.

"It sure is."

"We probably should get some sleep. I don't have the energy to pack tonight."

"Me neither."

"Did you have a good time today?"

"It was THE best!" Matthew said before pausing. "How about you?"

Marc smiled. "It was THE best! Come on, let's hit the sack, our wake up call will be here before you know it."

Matthew entered the room first and began to disrobe. Marc secured the balcony door and did the same. They crawled into their respective beds. Marc turned out the final light and with all the fresh air they took in, it didn't take more than a moment to fall asleep.

A few hours later, a crash echoed through the room. The beds began to shake, gently at first, then harder and harder. Something bounced off the floor, awakening the two boys.

A single terrified scream echoed in the room as the balcony door exploded.

To be continued...

 
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