Loving an Artist

Chapter 2

On Sunday afternoon Richard buzzed and entered the condo with a light tan Asian man. He introduced Gerald. Since John only expected Richard he was only wearing workout shorts and a tank top. He was surprised that Richard asked Gerald to come along without first asking. Richard said, “Hope you don’t mind if Gerald watches. He is a good friend and he likes hairy, white men.”

“So I’m a specimen to be examined,” John sarcastically responded.

“I didn’t mean that. I mean he is interested in how you shave sensitive places. He doesn’t have to worry since he has almost no hair on his body.”

“OK, I agree to be looked at as you shave me if you two are naked, too.”

“Only if you close the curtains. I don’t want my entire building getting a free show.” There was laughter and they shed their clothes undeterred. Richard’s body was well developed considering his slight statue and modest weight.  Gerald, as Richard described, was hairless except for a black patch around his diminutive cock. Richard, on the other hand, was endowed with a long slender cock being pulled down by an ample sack of balls. John got naked and motioned the two of them into the master bathroom. The razor and shaving cream were out on the counter. Richard said, “John, bring me a pair of scissors and put something on the floor to catch the hair.”

Gerald sat on the stool cover as Richard grabbed my hips with both his hands. His hands were warm.  John hadn’t been touched in over a year. He stepped into the bedroom to get an old sheet for the floor. Richard took John’s dick in his left hand and moved it to the left as he cut clumps of hair with the scissors. He then took the shaving cream and spread it around. John squirmed feeling the menthol’s sensation. John stiffened. Richard didn’t seem to notice or care. Gerald’s little dick was fully erect.

Richard pulled the razor across first John’s right thigh and then his left. He shaved both up and down to get as much hair as possible. Next he carefully shaved John’s hardened penis. He looked up at John and smiled, “This is easier when you’re hard. Finally, he carefully stretched the skin on the balls.” By this time he like Gerald was at full attention. “Do you have a wash cloth? I need to get the shaving cream off. I want to see if I missed any hair.” John pointed to a blue cloth hanging on the towel bar. Richard waited for the water to warm before dousing the rag under the stream. He washed the clean area and then cut a few errant hairs.

Looking at their erections John jokingly said, “Are we going to leave things this way?”

“No worry mine will subside quickly. We may have to look at Gerald’s for a while.”

“Mine hurts. It’s so hard,” Gerald complained

“Do you want us to leave so you can take care of it,” Richard said smiling.

“No, just give me a few minutes.” We laughed.

“Could I offer you guys a drink?” Richard shook his head affirmatively and Gerald did the opposite.

“Ever had a brandy old fashion? That’s my drink of choice.”

Richard said, “Never had one, but I’ll try.”  Gerald asked for a glass of water and sat on a bar stool as the drinks were mixed. Richard said, “Well, John, are you ready to get naked in front of my sketching class?”

“I like the way I look. And ‘yes’ I will do it. I will try not to get a hardon. Being with a cute bunch of students I can give no guarantees.”

“As I told you there is not a person in the class who hasn’t seen a hardon before. Some may have even tasted one.” Gerald grimaced.

“You’ll let me know when. I need a little advance notice to make sure I’m shaved clean.”

“I will let you know. I volunteer to help with the shaving. Let’s get the rest of you done.” The threesome returned to the bathroom and Richard proceeded to spread cream across John’s butt cheeks. His shaving was going smoothly and quickly. He commented, “You’re really smooth. Most guest have pimples or in grown hairs.”

“So you do this often?”

“Occasionally,” was his offhand comment. When he was finished with the butt cheeks he ran his hand down John’s crack causing him to shiver. Richard ordered, “John, grab your butt checks and pull them apart. Rather, bend over the tub and pull your cheeks apart.” No one spoke as Richard carefully shaved the plentiful hair in my crack. Both Richard and Gerald were looking directly into my asshole. I could feel Richard carefully working and occasionally used the wash cloth to clean away the shaving cream. Abruptly he said, “We’re done. Go shower?”

“I will.” Richard rinsed the razor and cleaned the sink. After showering John was drying as both of them dressed and sat waiting at the bar. He rubbed his hand over his smooth self and smiled as he walked into the living room. “I like the look, what do you think?”

Gerald said, “Nice.”

Richard said, “Looks good. My class will like what you have. We’ve got to go. I’ll call.”

“Do you want to come over for dinner some night? I’ll fix pasta.”

Gerald said before Richard spoke, “I’m leaving for Ann Arbor.  I’m in school. Maybe next time I’m in town.”

Richard sounding less interested said, “Sure.” They both left after giving John a brotherly hug. Back in the bathroom John admired his smooth, sculpted self. He liked what he saw.

Richard didn’t contact John for several weeks but waved at him occasionally as he sketched or was leaving his building. John kept cycling and exercising as the weather got cooler as fall approached. John had several promising job interviews but nothing developed into an offer by mid-September. With the Danube River cruise approaching he decided to suspend his job search until his return in November.

Accidently John ran into his neighbors, John and Kevin, a white fellow and an Asian, who knew Howard. They lived across the courtyard on the top floor of the building sister to John’s.  They invited him over for drinks on their outdoor patio the following Friday evening. Kevin, the Asian member of the couple, loved gardening. The lovely roof top space lavished in multiple flowers of green, yellow, red and purple. On the sun streaked fall evening John could see into Richard’s window and said, “You see the fellow in the window? He is an art student and comes over to sketch me. I would love for him to see your garden. Could we come over some time?”

“What about next Friday night?”

“I’ll let you know.” John left after finishing his drink when the sun had set.  He called Richard, “Richard, it’s John across the street. I want you to see the beautiful garden of some friends of mine in the next building. Are you free next Friday night for cocktails?”

“I could be. What time?”

“Meet me here at 6pm and we’ll go up together. Can you come to my place for dinner afterwards?”

“Sure. Can’t stay too long I’m going out with friends but that’s later.”

Friday evening was cool but pleasant.  We made small talk with John and Kevin and marveled at the luminescent flowers that had been showered on earlier in the afternoon. The couple was gracious but somewhat uninterested in what my twenty something friend, Richard, was studying. John was living with an artist himself.  Richard and John stayed about a half an hour before returning to John’s condo. The pasta sauce prepared, the salad was in the refrigerator and the pasta water on the stove ready to heat. Richard had other plans and John wanted to be ready. Fifteen minutes later with the wine glasses filled they sat down across from each other near the big floor to ceiling windows. Richard didn’t seem rushed so they sat until the water boiled. He sat at the bar and watched as John drained the water and put pasta on each of their plates. Richard directed the amount of pasta sauce he wanted and took his plate to the table. After taking a bite or two of his salad he said, “I’m sorry that I haven’t confirmed a date for your modeling but our instructor told me we didn’t need you until December. When I showed him my sketches he said he wanted to save you for a special final class.”

“Do I get to wear a fur muff on my dick?”

Richard smiled, “The room is warm, don’t worry.” John got his courage up and asked, “Is Gerald your boyfriend?”

“No, we’re just friends. I knew him in high school in Indianapolis. That’s where I’m from. His dad was a professor with my father on the faculty at IU-PU medical school. He’s in his third year of medical school in Ann Arbor. If you’re asking if we’re gay the answer is ‘yes’ as I suspect you are. Am I correct?

“You are correct. My partner for the last ten years passed away earlier this spring.”

“Sorry to hear that. You moved after he died?”

“Yes, we lived in his home up on the northside. I inherited the house but couldn’t see myself living in the house without him. I’m renting this condo.”

“My friend and I rent, as well.”

“You have a roommate. I have never seen anyone except you.”

“You’re right since he rarely comes into my room because it is so cluttered with my art stuff.”

“Is he an art student?”

“No, he’s in the drama program at the Goodman Theater.”

“How about your partner? Was he older?’

“Howard died when he was seventy-five of prostate cancer. He was almost twenty years older than me. It was accidental how we got together but we clicked and were together for ten years. We travelled all over the world until he got sick about a year and a half ago. I really enjoyed Howard. We had a great time together.”

“Have you had other older partners?”

“No, I was married to a woman for five years in my twenties but we didn’t have any children. I had one relationship with a man in my early 30’s but that was only for a little over a year. He was young like you and wasn’t ready to settle down. He eventually moved to New York where he lives. We’re still friends.”  I paused, “What about you?”

“You may be surprised but I’ll be twenty-eight in a couple weeks. I know the way I cut my hair makes people think I’m younger.”

“You’re right I wouldn’t have guessed. Having seen your body the day of my shave I guess I can see you are twenty-eight.”

“I’ve had a few boyfriends but nothing serious. I’ve been too busy first with the Air Force, then with college but mostly with my job as a flight attendant for United. I started four years ago.”

“How do you make classes if you’re flying.”

“I usually get the routes I bid for because I pick obscure routes over weekends which most people don’t want. I do miss class occasionally. The sketching class is only my second class at the school”

I interjected, “I’m flying for the first time in more than a year after Columbus Day weekend. I’m doing a fall Danube River cruise from Budapest to Nuremberg, Germany. The day you introduced yourself in the bar was the day I made the decision to go.”

“Who are you going with?”

“Just myself. None of my friends were available or interested so I decided to go by myself.”

“I know you didn’t ask but I’d be happy to go. I don’t have classes that week and I don’t have to work as a flight attendant. It would be my first time off in more than a year. I can fly ‘revenue’ on United.”

“Don’t do that. Fly with me on Lufthansa in business class.”

“Lufthansa is a member of Star Alliance. Let me see if I can fly with you and see if my airline employee status will allow me to fly on Lufthansa. I would like to do that.” As the evening went along Richard didn’t seem to be in a hurry to leave. Planning for the trip was the main subject of our discussion. After 10pm he got up to leave and told John he would confirm. John assumed Richard had told him about his engagement as an excuse, in case, he wanted to leave. Obviously he didn’t.

Several days passed before Richard called and said he had been flying but did find out he could fly Lufthansa but not in business class. I said, “Let me buy the ticket.”

“No, I can’t let you buy the ticket but you can pay my portion of cruise. Give me your flight number and I’ll reserve my ticket.”

John called his travel agent found out that the cabin he had reserved had a queen size bed and was told that the two bed cabins were fully reserved. He called Richard and told him. He said he didn’t mind if John didn’t. Richard said he was bringing his sketch pad and hoped to do some sketches if John didn’t mind.

John and Richard arrived in Budapest early on Thursday before the cruise was to board on Saturday. John had booked a room at the Hilton Budapest high atop the mountain in the Royal Castle District. Their room had a stunning view of the Danube River as multiple boats slowly moved up and down the river. Both men wanted to explore the city before sailing off. The promenades of the castle district showed the signs of late fall as leaves covered the pathways that meandered through the parks.

After walking for hours they found the Rudas Spa which was reported in Trip Advisor to be a good spa for gay men. When they got there they didn’t realize how old it was. According to the corner stone written in Arabic the spa was opened in 1566, but had been renovated in what looked to be the 1970’s or 80’s. After Richard and John secured their valuables in front desk lockers they donned towels in search of warm water.  The multiple pools each were different temperatures. They soaked for half an hour before being led together into a curtained enclosure where two burly women treated their bodies to a meat tenderizing experience. Richard seemed to really be into the massage he was experiencing. John couldn’t wait for it to be over.

At the end of what John considered physical punishment he suggested dinner at a traditional Hungarian restaurant. After several dead ends, literally, they found a classic restaurant with dark interior and lacy curtains at the windows. The waitress was burly like the masculine masseuses and wore a white frilly blouse over her ample breasts. Her black floor-length skirt was covered by an equally long white apron. With her white frilly cap she looked as if she belonged in her garden one hundred years ago hoeing the potatoes. When asked in English about the specials she had to bring the maƮtre de over to explain the menu in English.

The food was thick and heavy but delicious. Neither John nor Richard could finish the chicken paprikash and spatzle which were served family style. They wanted to save room for a famous Hungarian dessert. John ordered the Dobish torte which was a debaucherous cake seven layers high with a rich butter cream filling and caramel topping. Richard had chocolate mousse cake and like many delicacies in Hungary was filled with chocolate. Both men were uncomfortably full as they walked slowly back up to the hotel. They stopped at the hotel bar to have a shot of palink, a strong liquor made from fruit. John had one with plums and Richard had one with cherries.

They both commented on how full they were. John opened the windows hoping the cool evening air would relieve his discomfort. Richard went into the bathroom hoping a warm shower would help. John stood watching as Richard’s firm butt cheeks moved toward the tub. John enjoyed seeing Richard naked even though they hadn’t done anything sexual or even sensual since arriving. John secretly hoped for some indication of interest but Richard didn’t seem inclined. John continued watching Richard’s body as he pushed the shower curtain back. After Richard dried himself he got into his bed naked as he had the night before. John showered but left his underpants on as he got into his bed. He heard Richard’s heavy breathing.

In the morning Richard continued his boldness. While John was shaving Richard came into the bathroom and sat on the toilet. He wasn’t modest as he finished his morning preparation. Their bags were packed and checked with the bellman before going out to a traditional pastry shop for breakfast. The concierge recommended the Daubner which was a good walk downhill from the hotel. The pastry and thick black, almost burnt, coffee appealed to John. Richard ordered Café Americano.

Riverboat on river, with city in background

Riverboat Viking Odin in Budapest

From their vantage point on the hotel veranda they could see the Viking Odin was parked on the on the Pesta side of the river. After breakfast Richard said, “Let’s walk to the boat. Our bags are on rollers.” Shortly after noon they checked into a small tented structure alongside the ship. The veranda stateroom on the port side of the long boat was selected to keep the early morning sun out of their eyes. The ship was sleek and freshly scrubbed. Odin is one of the older ships in the fleet. About 200 guests attended the welcoming champagne reception on the main deck. The evening light was enticing. At dinner John and Richard were seated with two white haired sisters from England who said they were taking their dream cruise. They kept referring to John and Richard as, “You, lads…” and acted like Richard was their lost grandson. He was coolly engaging which seemed a bit brusque.

The ladies continued to chat about this cruise and other trips they had taken. They did most of the talking. John and Richard excused themselves. They stood on the outside deck and watched the evening slip into night. The lights shining on the Gothic city hall shone brightly and the muffled sounds of the city were all around. They went to their cabin and finished unpacking. Richard said, “John, I want to sketch you in your best Rodin position.”

Sketch of a man posing, seated

John Posing for Richard

“You mean naked sitting on the toilet.”

“Yes, with your hand by your side.” John did as he was directed as Richard drew. John was relaxed and was not anxious like the first time. After a while Richard said, “Now turn toward me.” It had to be obvious that John’s dick was extending and pointing directly at Richard. Without comment he drew. After a prolonged time he ordered John to turn away from him. Richard seemed to be drawing a 360 degree version of his naked model. When he finished he displayed the result and it was impressive. Richard had really improved since the first session in John’s condo.

After showering they got into bed. For the first time Richard touched John. Without asking he brushed his hand over John’s chest letting his index finger draw across John’s stomach. He said, “Feels like I need to shave you a bit. I like you totally clean. We’ll do that tomorrow morning after breakfast before we get off in Vienna.” He did nothing more than give John’s dick a quick squeeze. He turned on his side and went to sleep.

At breakfast they sat alone and were almost finished when two, handsome men in their early twenties approached the table. The taller of the two asked in a Nordic accent, “Mind if we join you?”

Richard motioned his approval. After customary greetings the one who spoke first said, “I’m Lars and this is Shawn. We’re from Sweden. And you?”

Richard said, “I’m Richard and …”

“And I’m John. We’re from Chicago.”

“We’ve been to Chicago. What a beautiful city.” Conversation continued about travel as most shipboard interactions usually do. As they were finishing Richard said, “What are your plans in Vienna?”

Lars said, “We plan to go to the Opera House and then take a tram to the Schonbrunn Palace. What about you?

“Nothing definite.”

“Why don’t you go with us?” Lars insisted. Richard was interested so John agreed. Richard was quickly engaging with Lars while Shawn remained quiet. The four men disembarked with map in hand and made their way to the closest tram stop. After touring the ornate Baroque opera house they decided on a light Viennese lunch of sausage, cheese and hard crusted break. By the time they reached the Schonbrunn Palace they only had little more than an hour before the palace grounds were closed. On the way back to the ship Shawn asked, “Are you going clubbing tonight because we don’t leave Vienna until mid-night?”

The idea did not appeal to John but Richard said, “I’m in.”

John said, “You young guys go and have fun. I’ll relax in the room reading.” He was awake when Richard, quite drunk, came into their room slurring. “John, we had a wild time. God those guys can really drink.” He staggered and fell over a chair but managed to get undressed and get into bed. In minutes he was out not bothering to ask what or how John had done. He felt insulted, or disappointed or something not good.