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The Tenant
Part 21

by Graham

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Copyright on this story text belongs at all times to the original author only, whether stated explicitly in the text or not. The original date of posting to the MMSA was: 26 Dec 2017

Martin Strauss left his young tenant alone, allowing the young man the rest and solitude he said he wanted. Mark stayed holed up in his room for days, eating a bit from time to time, not showing his face to anyone.

Vivid memories of the myriad of physical experiences he had undergone, spawned boners and aroused hormonal needs, demanding the temporary relief of frequent wanks. He recalled not unpleasantly the wild, sensory pleasure at the time of the stimulating actions he’d been through, as well as the drained, relaxing ease he felt afterward.

At the same time, he was deeply troubled over having allowed it all to take place, be done to him, and even more his contemporaneous, though momentary, enjoyment of it. How could he have just given in, allowing it all to happen to him?

The answer that came immediately to mind was he had no choice. Or was it? Sure, the assistant captain-masseuse was a lot bigger and stronger, but couldn’t he, shouldn’t he, have fought and struggled and resisted? What few times he had tried, he was defeated and subdued by thorough, severe spankings from Steve White.

Not only had Mark given in, surrendered, he had also experienced developing levels of heights of erotic stimulation and rapturous, sexual pleasure, relief, and delight. No question about it, he had also enjoyed, relishing, often, the ecstatic peaks of primordial pleasure and superlative, sensory release.

Young Mark Wickham felt a heavy, hanging burden of guilt, self-loathing, and shame. He was in the gloomy depths of ignominy and humiliation as a result of everything he had suffered, allowed, brought on himself, made necessary by his reckless, cooperating, naive, foolhardy behaviour.

Distraught with grieving over this inner dilemma, he deliberately kept to himself, shut in his apartment, eschewing any further contact, even more communication or discipline for his bad judgment and conduct. A week passed, including the previous weekend when he had been gone.

By late Friday afternoon, however, things came to a head. Besides the young tenant’s unannounced and unexplained absence over the weekend, Martin Strauss was now concerned about Mark Wickham’s self-sequestered isolation in his apartment.

After the landlord knocked loudly several times, Mark came to the door, unlocking and opening it. The young teacher was barefoot, in a t-shirt and sweat pants, hair disheveled, unshaven, light stubble on his face, his eyes sunken, looking upset and distressed.

Startled at the physical appearance of his tenant, not to mention his solitary seclusion, Mr. Strauss blurted out, Mark, what’s wrong?! You look like hell, terrible! What’s going on, son?

Mark’s eyes instantly filled with tears threatening to overflow. His face betrayed his despondent, melancholy condition, and he appeared to be on the verge of breaking down, falling apart emotionally.

Mrs. Strauss, motivated by concern and emotional alarm for his young tenant, inquired, Can I help, Mark? Do you want to talk?

Nodding his head quickly, the young man’s voice croaked as he answered, No, no, Mr. Strauss. I’m just under the weather, need some time and rest, that’s all.

The landlord backed out of the doorway, just before his tenant closed the door. Okay, get well, young man. If you need anything, don’t delay asking. Understand?

Yes, yes, sir. Thanks, ah, thank you sir, Mark replied, turning quickly away, as if to stave off any further inquiry or concern, before locking the door again once it was closed.

Mark was scarce, not seen, as continued to hole up in his apartment, withdrawn from everyone one throughout the weekend. With no classes to teach, he was spending the beginning of his summer vacation, free time exiled in his apartment, alone.

Finally, on the following Monday morning, Memorial Day, May 31, Mark awoke shortly after 8:30 a.m. He was still getting accustomed to not having to get up early to get ready and leave for school, as well as suffering from the self-doubt and deprecation besieging him the entire last week he’d sequestered himself.

Getting up, he showered and shaved, subduing his morning wood with a ready wank that left him pretty much at calmed and relaxed. Once dressed, he went looking for Mr. Strauss. He found his landlord outside, weeding and mulching flower beds.

He walked up toward him. The landlord looked up to see the very skinny, gaunt figure of his young tenant, in baggy shorts and t-shirt that were now too big for his thin frame.

Hi, Mr. Strauss, Mark called out greeting his landlord as he strolled up to him. Want some help?

Good morning, young Mr. Wickham, Mr. Strauss returned the greeting, still kneeling on the ground where he was pulling weeds and distributing mulch.

If you’re disposed to do so, your help is much appreciated. How are you feeling? he asked, looking up at his youthful tenant, who stood looking back, expectantly, but silently.

Are you alright, Mark? Mr. Strauss inquired, to which the young tenant quietly nodded his head affirmatively

What’s on your mind, young man? Mr. Strauss posed the question.

Ah, sir, I know I didn’t give the required 30-day notice of the lease, but I was wondering...

The most I can do is give you 5 days past May 31 to move your things out, Mark. If you leave the place clean, you’ll get back your security deposit within 10 days of your departure.

Mark looked stunned at this response from his landlord.

No, ah, sir, ah what I, ah, wanted to say was, ah, if you don’t already have somebody else to rent the apartment me to, um, I’d like to, um, renew the lease, to stay, if, ah, that’s acceptable, ah, I mean if you’ll, um, put up with me still, Mark explained.

This time it was Martin Strauss who was surprised. Really, Mark? You want to stay? he asked incredulously.

Ah, yes, sir, I like it here,... and would very much like to stay, um, if you’ll still have me.... Ah, I know I have, um, some issues, sir, which is, ah, what, ah, delayed me, um, getting to you earlier. I could sort of, ah, explain, if you need that, but,... Mark’s lean face flushed tomato red.

Looking up, Mr. Strauss eyed the skinny, young tenant standing self-consciously nervous before him. Standing up, he smiled and responded.

Absolutely, I will still have you, young, Mr. Wickham. Of course, you’re welcome. I would be delighted to have you continue renting the apartment in my house.

In fact, that’s very positive, good news, Mark, issues and all. I’m glad you like it here. I also enjoy you being here, young man, he added his personal admission.

I know you have issues, young man. Although I don’t know what they all are, I believe in you, that you can address and deal with them.

Thuh-ank you, sir. Mark replied.

Mr. Strauss stuck out his arm and hand and gripped Mark’s bony hand to shake it. All at once, he pulled the thin, tall, young teacher forward, off his feet, into a warm, fatherly, bear-hug embrace.

Feeling the lanky, skeleton-like bag of bones in his arms, Mr. Strauss was instantly alarmed at the young teacher’s scrawny, thin-as-a-rail condition. He was also immediately concerned about the overall condition of his young tenant, physical and mental.

You’re welcome, Mark. I’m very glad to have you stay on. And, of course, I’d be pleased to talk with you, and help you, if I can. I will go so far as to say, you are definitely going to eat better during the coming year, and gain some weight back on that skinny skeleton of yours.

I’ll stop what I’m doing and let’s go sign up the new lease right now! he exhorted, smiling.

Mark too broke into a smile as Mr. Strauss released him and took hold of his elbow to guide young Mr. Wickham along into the house. They went into the parlour and sat down at the table with the same chairs one of which Mr. Strauss regularly occupied when he disciplined young tenant.

The familiarity of the setting was not lost on Mark, who side-eyed the surroundings. Mr. Strauss returned with a new lease, dated it for the lessor, filled in an overall total, one-year rent $300 less than the previous one, and handed it to Mark.

Looking through the pages, Mark noticed the reduction in rent. Mr. Strauss, sir, I think you made a mistake. The rent is $300 less than last year. I was hoping maybe you might not raise it, if that were acceptable.

I know, young man. I know what I’m doing. You’re a good tenant, and a pleasant, young friend to have around. Consider it my appreciation for your wanting to stay on.

Mark looked astonished at his landlord, flummoxed for words. Nearly a minute, his prolonged, momentary, pause was embarrassing.

Gee, Mr. Strauss. I’m shocked, but, ah, the feeling is both ways. I’m very happy living here, wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m also grateful, overwhelmed, really, at your generosity, sir.

Okay, then, young Mr. Wickham. Sign at the end, and I’ll make you a copy. We’ll have a quick lunch to celebrate before I return to the yard work. You can help too, since you offered; and some of it is part of your chores anyway, Mr. Strauss added.

Mark grinned self-consciously, signed the lease, and waited for Mr. Strauss to bring him a signed copy. After that, the two men sat down to a tuna-pasta salad and ice tea.

When lunch was over, Mark helped his landlord clean up the kitchen, before following him out of the house to join in the yard work. Once outside, Mr. Strauss directed Mark to go rake out a different bed to be weeded and mulched.

About to go to the garage for a rake, Mark spoke to his landlord.

Mr. Strauss, about the, ah, rent reduction. You don’t need to do that, sir. I feel funny about taking advantage of you, ah, your generosity.

Not only am I happy living here, I’ve, um, benefited a lot too. You’ve taught me, and I’ve learned, so much from you. I’m just glad I can continue the relationship. I hope you believe me, sir.

Mr. Strauss yanked the gaunt, young man once more back into his hugging grip, rubbing the back of the youthful, blonde head with hand, before releasing and spinning him around.

I do, indeed, Mark, and the feeling is mutual. I’m glad we’ll be spending time together for another year. Now, let’s get to work, young man! he assured his young tenant, while swatting the bony, lean seat of his baggy shorts.

Mark turned back part ways and looked at his landlord. Mr. Strauss could see in his tenant’s eyes a combination of emotions, need and desire, fear and reluctance, hope and relief. His clumsy, awkward words communicated unmistakeably the young tenant valued, desired, and wanted his landlord’s help, to be his mentor.

How about we eat supper together tonight, and afterward, let’s talk. We’ll discuss whatever’s on your mind, whatever’s bothering you, and maybe figure out how to deal with it, okay?

Yes, sir, ah, thanks, Mr. Strauss, Mark replied.

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