Murdoch & Ryan

By Ron Robbins,
edited by Frank Perry
©2009 All rights reserved

Part 3

Templeton Manor

They were having a glass of wine in the drawing room after dinner when Murdoch said, "Tell me about your mother's family and why you were the only person to inherit from your mother's estate."

"My great, great, great grandfather was the first of the family to settle in this area of Georgia. The family originally came from Charleston, SC. They heard that Georgia was a good place to settle. The soil was rich, the water was plentiful and the land was virgin timber land. It had both hardwood and softwood. The area was sparsely populated at that time. The deciding factor was that land was cheap. Granddad fell in love with Atlanta and sold his holdings in South Carolina and purchased thousands of acres between here and Atlanta. He was a shrewd business man and split his land purchases into timberland and rich farmland. There was already a demand for pine and oak lumber in both the Northeast and the mid-west. Grandfather filled that need.

At the time, Atlanta was already a bustling city, but what appealed to my grandfather were the railroads, with Atlanta eventfully becoming the hub for the Southeast with connecting rail service to the Midwest and the Northeast. Grandfather felt that in time he could market his produce and lumber throughout the country and abroad with the aid of the railroads. My grandfather lived to see his dream come to fruition. Succeeding generations continued to build on his foundation, until the Templeton Empire spread across the United States and oversees. Their business wasn't hurt during the Civil war period, because the family was doing business in both the South and the North.

My grandfather's Will stipulated that the Templeton Corporation could only be owned and controlled by a Templeton. That is why I will take over the reins on my twenty-fifth birthday. My father has nothing to do with the actual running of the Templeton Corporation; it is controlled by Cartwright, Belden, McCormick, Horvitz and Kline, my attorneys in New York.

It's quite clever the way my grandfather, and my mother's lawyers, worked out how the corporation was to run while my mother was alive. Mom didn't really want to take an active role in running the corporation, yet she still remained in direct control of the corporation. Her attorneys hired a Business Management Consulting firm to act as watchdog on the entire operation. They are responsible for supervising the CEO, the executive management staff, and appointing the board of directors. They produce a monthly report and present it to the attorneys on the first Monday of every month. The Chairman of Templeton Corporation presents his report as well. Then the attorneys prepared a consolidated report for my mother. Since my mother's death, the report was handled by a three member committee that monitors the business for me. Since my freshman days in college I worked every summer with one of the divisions. I also have been receiving the business reports every month since I've been in college. So I have been keeping abreast of what the company is doing.

Who controls to the Corporation if anything happens to you?" Murdoch asked. "Does the company revert to your father?"

"No, if I die without an heir, one third of my holdings are turned over to the employees and the rest is turned over to the Templeton Foundation."

"Did your father ever received anything from your mother's estate?" Murdoch asked.

"My dad owns Spencer Industries and didn't want any part of Templeton. Instead, he was awarded a 100 million dollar cash settlement from her estate. He was never aware of the vast size of the Templeton Corporation. You see, Templeton is a privately held corporation, and as such, it's impossible for an outsider to learn exactly who or what the corporation owns. On the other hand, Spencer Industries is on the Big Board and is a Fortune-500 corporation. It is easy to find out what Dad's firm is worth. Even though my dad owns the major portion of the stock, he still has to answer to his stockholders, and has to live by the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission."

"How do you get along with your stepmother and your half-brothers and sisters?"

"When my dad first married my stepmother, Vera, things were great. Vera was a 26 year old, a young outgoing socialite, who my dad married several years after my mom died. Dad and Vera have four children now; twin boys and two girls. Their oldest girl, Carol is eleven, and the twins are nine. The baby, Barbara, is three. When they were first married, they lived in Dad's penthouse in Atlanta. I really didn't see too much of them because I lived here at Templeton Manor. In the beginning, they would come down and spend a weekend, but not that often. I usually would spend the weekends in Atlanta. Vera was active with her social set and felt this place was too provincial."

"As I mentioned, Vera and I got along in the beginning, but everything changed when she became pregnant with Carol. I don't know if it was it was due to her pregnancy, or what her problem was, but Vera's attitude toward me began to change. She became demanding and short tempered with me and I felt uncomfortable around her. She constantly found fault with me. I finally had a talk with my father and told him how I felt. We agreed that it would be better if I didn't come up to Atlanta, at least until after the baby was born. Around the time Vera was in her seventh month of pregnancy, my dad called to ask me it I would object to let Vera come down to stay at the manor until the baby was due. She felt very uncomfortable around her friends and didn't want to stay in the penthouse alone while Dad was traveling abroad."

"I told Dad that I didn't think it was such a good idea, in view of her attitude toward me up to that point. My dad pointed out that it was a big house and we could keep out of each other's way. He promised he would talk to her about my feelings and assured me that she would be cordial. She assured Dad that she would make every effort to smooth things over between us and would call me to apologize. Personally, I thought she was giving Dad. and me. a snow job. If she really felt sorry for the way she acted, she would have picked up the phone and apologized to me. Nevertheless, I told Dad that Vera was welcome and that I would try to work things out."

"Two weeks later, Dad drove Vera down. They stayed in my former redecorated suite in the west wing. Dad stayed the weekend and flew out early Monday morning. Vera made a grand show of apologizing over dinner Friday night, which I accepted. The next few weeks went smoothly without any friction. In fact, Vera was very charming and friendly. She asked it I would mind if her mother could come down for a short visit; I had no objections to her mother's visit. Her mother was nice enough, and I felt, it might be nice for Vera to have someone to talk to. As it turned out, her mother stayed three weeks. They busied themselves buying baby clothes and searching the magazines for ideas for the baby's room.

I think that was the first time Vera asked if she could redecorate the bedroom suite. I pointed out that the west wing including her suite had just been redecorated. But, she said she wanted to brighten it up a bit to make it softer. Naturally, this would be at her expense. If she wanted to foot the bill, and to keep peace in the family, I figured, why not. It occupied her time and kept her out of my hair. I wasn't all that thrilled with the results. She had removed all of the antique furniture from the rooms and replaced it with a style I call Caribbean Modern: over stuffed, bright patterned furniture with drapery to match and new wall-to-wall white carpeting. This was not my cup of tea."

"One evening over dinner, Vera said she had some ideas to change around the public rooms on the first floor. Would I mind it she came up with some rough draft sketches to kick around? I could see where this would lead, so I told her I had no objections with her suggestions, but, I told her outright, that I had no intentions of making changes in the public rooms. The rooms and the furnishings were as they have been for generations, and they were not going to be changed."

"I was in New York City, attending the quarterly review with my attorneys, when I received a call from Annie. She was very upset because a crew of movers and packers showed up early that morning with Vera's decorator running around giving orders. They had moved the contents of the ground floor into the ball room. Annie asked the decorator if I had authorized this, and she said she takes her orders from Mrs. Spencer. I told Annie I wanted to speak to Vera, and was told that she left for Atlanta two days ago. I told Annie to contact the chief of security at Oakdale Farms and have him contact me immediately."

"While I was waiting for him to call back I went back into the conference room and told my attorneys what Vera had done, and it was not my wish that anything be changed. I also told them that this could lead to a confrontation with my father and my stepmother. I wanted to be absolutely sure that they understood my feelings in case my father backs my stepmother in this issue. My lawyers assured me that my father had nothing to say in the matter and that I had nothing to fear on that account. I had complete authority at Templeton Manor. If any workman or decorator were trespassing on my property without my permission, I could have them arrested and they could be held responsible for any damage they caused. The lawyers agreed that my chief of security could handle this matter and throw those people off the property. For good measure, they suggested that my security chief call in the Sheriff and have the decorator arrested for trespassing, that ought to do the trick."

"When my security chief called back, I told him how I wanted him to handle this matter, and asked him to call me after everything was taken care of. Then I called Annie back and told her what to expect and to call me back after it was all over. I tried to reach my father, and left a message with his answering service. Naturally, my call was not returned. I finished up my meeting in New York and returned home."

"Vera returned to the Manor Sunday afternoon, madder than a wet hen. She barged into my sitting room without knocking and demanded to know why I had her decorator arrested, and countermanded her instructions. By this time I was thoroughly angry. But, I keep my temper in check and let her vent her anger.

After she stopped, I spoke, 'Let's just get a few things straight, Vera. Firstly, you are a guest in my home, and you had absolutely no right to change anything without consulting with me first. Not only did you overstep your bounds, but you proceeded to make changes behind my back, without my consent, and hired a crew of workmen to trespass in my home. In case you didn't know it, I'm the owner of Templeton Manor, Oakdale Farms and Templeton Corporation, and I will decide how my home is to be decorated. I have a staff of attorneys to see that my wishes are followed. Your decorator, and I may add, a very arrogant and obnoxious person, refused leave the property and was arrested for trespassing. It was her defiant and demanding attitude that was responsible for her ending up in jail. She may have a law suit on her hands if my household staff should find any damage to my possessions.without my consent.

And lastly, Vera, what gives you the right to barge into my room acting like you own the place? In the future, you will conduct yourself as a guest and you're not to interfere with me or my staff, or to comment on the way I run my house. You are my father's wife, and are no blood relation to me whatsoever. I will give you the respect owed to you as my father's wife, provided you respect my wishes as well. I feel that we need a period of adjustment until we can both put this behind us. Since I can't trust your word, I have had your things moved to one of the guest houses for the rest of your stay here. If you need anything, I'm sure Annie will take of it.

One last thing before you leave, I'm having the suite you modified returned to its original décor. If you want the furniture and draperies, please let Annie know. If not, I'll have the staff dispose of them; it's up to you. You are not welcome in this house, and will not be allowed in here unless escorted by my father. Good bye, Vera, I'm sure you know your way out.' "

"Of course, she was shocked and speechless, she also knew that she had tried to play the game, and lost. Vera didn't say another word, but I could see she was seething with anger. She turned on her heel and left. That was the last I saw of her. She left that afternoon for Atlanta. Of course I knew I had created an enemy. Yet, I knew that eventually we would be at odds as she was a determined woman and wanted to be in control. I could see the way she had my father wrapped around her little finger. Now, with their first child on the way, she had tried to control me and my estate. She is cunning and has every intention of driving a wedge between me and my father. I don't know how much my father has told her about my estate, and about the shares of stock I own in Spencer Industries."

"I knew my father would be on the telephone to me once Vera told him her side of the story, and I was prepared. He was quite angry at the way I had treated Vera. Naturally, I presented him with my side of the story. After that he calmed down; he agreed that she was wrong. We talked for some time and I told him that I felt like an outsider since his marriage. That's when I found out that he had never told Vera about the plantation, or the fact that he or his children had no claim to the Templeton holdings. He also told me that Vera was unaware of my holdings in Spencer Industries and he wanted to keep it that way. He said he was sorry that I felt I was being pushed aside. He told me that I was his first born and he would always love me. He was determined to spend more time with me in the future."

"He did speak to Vera, and things seemed to improve, at least on the surface. Let's just say that we tolerated each other from then on, but I didn't trust her for one minute."

"If anything happens to your dad, do you share in his estate?" Murdoch asked.

"I'm sure Dad will leave me something. But, remember, I already own a twenty-five percent share of the stock since I was born. The number shares have grown over the years and have split several times since then. But, my lawyers take care of that. I receive a monthly check from my trust fund that takes care of all my needs. All my bills are paid by my trust. If I need something big, like my condo in Atlanta, or my apartment on campus, my lawyers take care of the details.

I'm very conservative for a wealthy young man and try to keep a very low profile. I'm also a very private person; other that you and Annie, no one else knows my business. Most people think I'm a young man with a rich daddy, and they think what they want. I have to be very careful. If not, my dad and my lawyers will insist I keep a full security team on me all the time. They pretty much leave me alone down here, but there is a team on me when I'm in Atlanta, or when I travel. I really don't mind traveling with my security team. At least they keep Vera off my back."

"I take it you still don't trust Vera?" Murdoch asked.

"Not really," Ryan said. "Naturally, there is always going to be a certain amount of resentment to any woman that my dad married. No one could ever measure up to my Mom. Don't get me wrong, I was happy my dad found someone to share his life with, and Vera seemed to care for him. But, I always had a wary feeling about Vera and her brother, Ned Rollins. I couldn't stand Ned from the moment I met him. He always struck me as a devious and dishonest person. To me, their whole family were a bunch of fortune hunters. They were upstarts on the fringes of society in Atlanta. They certainly weren't from an old line Southern family like my Dad's family. Or, from any other old line family for that matter, they were successful tradesmen, but they lacked that breeding and patina of an old refined family. My dad was quite a catch for Vera.

After that incident with Vera at Templeton Manor, I had my lawyers do an in depth investigation on the Rollins family. As it turned out, most of my suspicions were on target. I learned that Vera's grandfather was a bag man for a corrupt political boss in Brooklyn, New York. He was street-smart and made a lot of money from his wheeling and dealing. He never got caught, and always delivered when the going got rough. When things got hot and the good citizens began to investigate the corrupt politicians, their family left town and moved to Greenwich, Connecticut and became respectable citizens. The children and grandchildren were sent off to the best schools and became active in the community. Even though they became respectable, there was still that brashness and deceitfulness in their character that remains to this day. Vera's parents moved to Atlanta some years ago. They appeared to be decent people, but Nat and Vera sought wealth and power. Eventually, Vera persuaded my father to take Nat into his firm in the Accounting department. He did establish a good track record working at the Rollins Corporation. The last time I spoke to dad, he told me that Nat had been promoted to Senior Financial Director of Divisional Accounts. That's a pretty good position to be in; he monitors the five major divisions of the corporation."

"I still don't trust him. I'm sure he'll be careful to keep a low profile as long as Vera's married to my dad, but with his new position he has much more authority and control than he's ever had before. My feeling is that he is not opposed to do a little creative dealing to line his own pockets."

"Have you mentioned you're feelings about Nat to your dad?" Murdoch asked.

"Yes, but he became quite angry and told me to mind my own business, and to stop making accusations about Nat unless I could prove them. I was really hurt by my father's aloof attitude, but I didn't argue with him or mention the subject again. I could see the only way I could convince my father was with cold hard proof. And that is exactly what I set out to do."

"Baby, my only concern is that you don't get hurt," Murdoch said. "I don't give a damn about your father, or his family. I totally agree with your suspicions of the Rollins family, and from what you have told me, frankly, I wouldn't trust Vera or her brother either. I hate to say it, but I would go a step further and investigate your father and Vera as well."

"Enough said about my problems for now, we are going to have to think about our future together," Ryan said. "As much as I hate being separated from you for two months, I don't see how I can avoid getting out of the trip to Europe in June. My dad and I always spend the month of July together. We both like to spend the time on his sailboat. We both love the sea and also hitting all the good fishing areas. It's something we've done together since I was a teenager. Vera and the kids will not be around. So I thought that would be the best time to broach the subject with Dad."

"Are you sure this is a good time to bring that up? Don't you think it would be better to talk to him about it after you move to Atlanta?"

"I know, Vera and Dad are going to insist that I become socially active in Atlanta. Vera is always asking me if I've met anyone interesting. I've always been able to fend her off with one excuse or another, but it is not going to be that easy once I move to Atlanta. I'm sure Vera will try to play matchmaker. If Dad knows I'm gay, they'll leave me alone."

"This is going to be a very traumatic experience for you, Ryan. I've been there, and I know the feeling. I've also attended enough gay support meetings on campus to learn how some parents react when their children come out to them. Until you learn what your father's reaction might be, don't come-out to him without testing the waters. I'm sure his reaction is going to be one of shock, based on what you've told me about him. Go easy, say you have been having these feelings about men, but, you are confused and haven't made up your mind yet. If he accepts your orientation, then you're home free. If, on the other hand, he goes ballistic, don't go any further."

"Look, Murdoch, I'm in love with you and there is really nothing my father can do to stop me from living with you. While I don't look forward to coming out to him, I also don't need his permission in how to live my life. I'm over 21 and have my own money."

•   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •

Ryan and Murdoch both graduated with honors that May and were able to spend a glorious week together on Ryan's yacht. It was their first real vacation together and it was heavenly. Murdoch never knew married life could be so wonderful. He loved Ryan more than he ever thought possible. They made ever day count because they knew that they would be separated for almost three months.

Ryan left the week after they returned from their trip to fly to Paris for the rest of the summer to be with his father. Murdoch began the task of relocating to Atlanta to begin his career. Before leaving for their honeymoon trip, Murdoch had received telephone calls from six of the companies he'd sent his application to. Actually, there were only three companies he wanted to join. It came as a pleasant surprise when the three he wanted, responded to his application. Of course, it didn't hurt that he graduated with a 4.0 GPA. In any event, he scheduled the three interviews over a two-day period.

Ryan drove Murdoch up to Atlanta and they stayed in the penthouse. Ryan had two days of meetings with his lawyers and accountants. In between his interviews, Murdoch contacted a few real estate agents to see what the rental situation looked like. Of course Ryan insisted that Murdoch move in with him, but as much as he wanted to, he felt they should wait until Ryan came out to his father first. Anyway, his penthouse was a two bedroom apartment and not equipped for a handicapped person.

Murdoch's interviews went better than expected. He was up front with each of the firms and told them of the other firms he was interviewing with. He had two interviews on the first day, and the third one was on the following morning. Murdoch informed each prospective employer that he would be leaving town on Wednesday and would not be returning until following Wednesday. When he returned to the apartment that afternoon, he received an offer from Chuck Shaw, Jr., VP of Raymond, Wakefield, Winthrop, Shaw & Associates, the firm he had interviewed with on Monday. Chuck said he wanted Murdoch on his team, and offered a very substantial package. Much more than was expected.

One of the important benefits for Murdoch, was that the company had a college tuition reimbursement program, which was an important consideration for him. He asked Chuck to overnight a copy of the written offer, and that he would give them an answer by the end of the week. Chuck agreed, and said the offer would be extended until the following Friday.

Murdoch was delighted, and discussed the offer with Ryan, who said that he would run it by his lawyers to see if the offer was competitive. The Fed-Ex envelope was waiting for Murdoch when he returned the following day. Chuck had sent it out the same day they spoke. Murdoch was impressed with not only the offer, but the way in which they responded to his request. He and Ryan read it over carefully, and both agreed that is was a good offer. He called Chuck to accept the offer that afternoon. Now, he could breathe a lot easier. Chuck arranged to have him take the requisite physical exam at the University Hospital so he didn't have to drive back to Atlanta for that. He was scheduled to start work the second week in June. The firm was paying for all moving expenses, in addition to his expenses at the Embassy Suites until he could find an apartment. The company had their own in-house group that would assist in locating a suitable apartment in Atlanta. On top of that, Murdoch also received a $4,000 sign-on bonus. He was a happy camper when he and Ryan left for their trip.

•   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •

In spite of Murdoch's hectic schedule those first several weeks, he missed Ryan a lot. He did call when he could, but it was difficult with the time difference. They were incommunicado for the month of July. That was when Ryan and his dad were out sailing on his yacht. Ryan had planned to use that time to talk to his dad.

Murdoch and his mother loved their new high-rise apartment in Atlanta. The view of the Atlanta skyline was priceless. They were also very fortunate to find Kay Richards, a delightful older woman, to take care of his mother. Kay had returned to nursing after her husband passed away from a heart attack. Her children were grown and out of the nest, so she decided to take on private patients once again. She took on his mother's care and quickly became part of the family, providing great company her. The best part was that Kay would be able to stay with Mrs. McDonald when Murdoch was out of town, or when he spent time with Ryan.

The last Sunday in July, Murdoch received a frantic call from Ryan. Ryan told him that his father blew-up and refused to believe that his son was gay. Ryan said that he had reservations for Atlanta and would be arriving in town later that night. Needless to say that Murdoch was concerned, but he couldn't see what Ryan's father could do about it.

Ryan reached Murdoch at his office early the next day and arranged to meet at Ryan's apartment after work. Murdoch arrived a little after five. He was not prepared for the shock of seeing the terrible shape Ryan was in. He looked as if he hadn't sleep for days. He had dark circles under his bloodshot eyes. Murdoch walked in, closed the door behind himself and took Ryan in his arms. "Oh, my poor baby, what has he done to you?"

Murdoch kissed him on the neck and Ryan burst into tears and cried for some time. He continued to hold him tight, and rubbed his back until Ryan calmed down. Murdoch lifted Ryan's head and kissed his face and neck, and finally his lips. "Oh, Sweetheart, it's wonderful to have you back home and in my arms again." He led him over to the couch and where he held him in his arms.

"I'm sorry, Murdoch, I couldn't hold it back any longer. I learned one important lesson; I need you in my life. The only thing that kept me sane was knowing that you would be here for me."

"Alright, Baby, tell me what has you so upset?"

"Well, I did as you said; I waited until the last night of our trip before broaching the subject about my feelings of being gay. Well, he blew-up, and said that I was not a homosexual. He insisted that no son of his could be gay. He said we both had a little too much to drink, and we would discuss it in the morning. I could see where my dad was going with this, and it didn't look good. Needless to say, I got very little sleep that night. When I awoke the next morning, Dad was already up and was sitting in the galley having his coffee. Without any preamble, he got right to the point."

"First of all, you are not a homosexual," he said. "Just because you got it on with a couple of your teammates after winning a couple of football games, doesn't mean anything. You were all liquored up, and on top of that you all were horny. You're my son and you could not be a homosexual. I won't hear of it; just put that out of your head. Now this is what I've decided. When you get back to Atlanta, I want you to see a psychologist. Homosexuality can be cured, with the right therapy. I know you can, and will, be cured of this illness. In the meantime, you will go back to the university to get your MBA. I also want you to start thinking seriously about finding the right girl and getting married. In three years time, you'll be twenty-five. That's when you will be receiving your mother's estate."

"I want you to take this seriously, Ryan. Because, if you persist in this ridicules train of thought, I assure you that I will have you committed to a sanitarium. I'd rather see you locked away before I let you ruin yourself and the family name. Do you know what this would do to our business and to our family name? I don't intend to become a laughing stock in Atlanta. I have three more children to rise. You must consider how this could affect them. Now, what's it going to be, Ryan?"

"Of course, I'll do as you say, Dad. I certainly don't want to hurt you or your business."

"That's more like it; just put that nonsense out of your head."

"Look, Dad, I think I need to get back to Atlanta and see if I can enroll at Georgia Tech for their MBA program. When you get the chance, why don't you call and let me know the name of the doctor you want me to see?"

"That's the right attitude, Ryan, I'm sure you have a lot of loose ends to clean up before you start Tech in at the end of August."

"'Dad, one more thing, I'd appreciate your not mentioning this to Vera?"

"Don't worry on that score. We'll keep this to ourselves."

"My God, Ryan, your father is a real bastard!" Murdoch said. "I can't believe he'd threaten you like that. For Christ sakes, you're his own flesh and blood. How could he put his business and so-called good name before you?"

"You know I had to use all my self control to sit there and keep my real feelings from my father. I showed a perfectly calm face while he was going through his speech. Deep inside my first reaction was shock, followed by fear. I knew then that not only had I lost my father, but I also lost any respect and any love I ever had for him as a father. I'm sure he has convinced himself that he had gotten through to me and that I would be the good dutiful son and obey Papa. Fortunately, we got underway after that conversation. It was easy to continue my charade until we docked at his club. As soon as we got back to the hotel, I made my reservations. I called you collect from a pay phone in the travel office.

"It must have been rough for you to have to have dinner with your father and Vera?"

"I had dinner with dad that night, Vera and the children were still visiting friends in the country."

"You look so tired and worn-out, Ryan. Didn't you get any sleep at all?"

"Not much; I kept thinking about what Dad said and trying to figure out a way to prevent him from carrying out his threat. I met with my lawyers this morning and told them how I feel about my father. I told them that he may wish to gain control of my Templeton interests before I reach twenty-five. But, his real concern was the family name and his reputation. I insisted that they hire a private security agency to shadow me from now on. I also wanted a tail and bugs on my father, my stepmother, and her brother. I asked to have my apartment and my cars swept for bugs every day. I no longer trust my father, Murdoch; I know the way he thinks. I believe he will have me watched. He will also make sure I start dating and will no doubt enlist Vera's aid in finding me a suitable wife."

"You've made the right move, Ryan. This means, we are going to have to be careful to keep our relationship under wraps, at least until you're twenty-five."

"That's what bothers me the most, Murdoch. I don't want the trail to lead back to you. My father has too many connections in this town. He could ruin your career if he ever found out about you. I'm already registered at Tech for the MBA course, so at least we can see each other. Can you stay with me tonight, Murdoch?"

"Did you think for one second that I wouldn't?" Murdoch released Ryan and stood up. "Come on, Tiger, let's take this into the bedroom where I can make love to you."

Murdoch was the first to awaken. He untangled himself and rolled off Ryan who was still sleeping. Murdoch cleaned Ryan off with a towel and pulled the blanket over him letting him sleep. His poor baby needed the sleep. Murdoch gathered up the clothes and hung them in the closet. He then showered and dressed in one of Ryan's leisure suits and left the bedroom, closing the door behind him. He went into the kitchen where he selected a frozen dinner from the freezer and nuked it. While his dinner was cooking, he turned on the TV and watched the local news.

After dinner, he returned to the living room and pulled out his laptop computer to work on a proposal he needed to complete. When he finished his work, he turned off the computer. Yawning he glanced at the clock; it was 11 pm. Turning off the lights, he headed for bed.

He went into the bathroom, brushed his teeth and emptied his bladder. When he returned to the bedroom, he found Ryan laying on his side in a deep sleep. He crawled into bed behind Ryan, pulled him close to himself and wrapped his arms around him. He kissed him tenderly on the cheek and promptly fell asleep.

When Ryan awoke at dawn, he could feel Murdoch's arms around him, "Good morning, my love," Ryan whispered. "Thank you for letting me sleep last night. I don't remember anything after our lovemaking session."

"Ryan, I feel completely satisfied now, my love, but I do think we need to hit the shower."

"You're right, but I feel so content and safe laying here with you. Can you take the day off and stay here with me?"

"For you my love, anything is possible," Murdoch said. "I'll call my secretary later and let her know I won't be in today. I'll e-mail the proposal to my boss. That will keep him happy until tomorrow. Let's just stay where we are for now, I love the feel of your body against mine."

Ryan kissed him on the cheek and held him close as they drifted off to sleep again.


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To be continued
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