Chapter 17 Ben
Mike was once again in London staying at the Hilton hotel, Kensington.
The greeting card business was booming. Ben’s photos were hot stuff and he needed more.
Patricia text Ben, she confirmed that she had approached the gallery in the Village who were already selling his work in the form of greeting cards which were selling rather well and they would be delighted to complement the cards with actual full size framed photographs.
Mike when Ben arrived at the hotel, was already waiting for him in reception.
This time, instead of shaking hands they embraced as old friends. Stepping back from the hug, Mike looked Ben up and down, “Wow what a transformation,” he declared. For Ben was no longer wearing his old jeans with the holes in them and a t-shirt as the last time they met, but a whole new up market outfit.
Mike smiling, indicated with his hand for Ben to turn around, which he laughingly did, “Oh yeah man,” Mike said appreciatively. “Those trousers certainly show off your cute butt.”
“Stop it. You’re embarrassing me.” Ben said with a laugh.
They then moved over to the lounge and ordered the set tea.
Over tea they talked business Ben showed Mike all the photos he had of the six young men in different poses and state of undress, for him to choose from. They laughed over the ones that were to pornographic to use as greeting cards. Mike picked six he wanted to use. Ben asked for three thousand pounds a picture. This of course was turned down as unacceptable.
Slowly they haggled until a compromise price of ten thousand pounds for the six photos was agreed, with a further option for another six later at the same price.
After this they chatted and in the conversation Ben told Mike his good news regarding the gallery and selling his work. This prompted Mike to hand over a list of his company’s requirements, explaining many of the shops and stores who were selling their greeting cards were getting requests from their customers for full size framed photo pictures. Ben said he wanted to think about this and would let him know.
Once again they moved upstairs to Mike’s room and, as for sex Ben made certain he got the best deal of all.
After the meeting with Mike, Ben arrived home to find Matt had a visitor. It was Sammy again but this time the voices and noises were coming from the bedroom.
For one brief moment Ben was filled with an uncontrollable anger. He got as far as grabbing open the door. Then he stopped and began to laugh because, who was he to be so upset with what was going on in there between Sammy and Matt, when he had only just come from having sex with Mike in his hotel bed. Instead of throwing Sammy out he decided to join them.
Adam, the cute young man who helped in the gay bookshop on the weekends, said, “Hi Ben,” as he entered the shop “Haven’t seen you in here for a while.”
“Hi Adam. No I’ve been very busy,” Ben said as he started looking through the bookshelves. He had popped in hoping to find Matt a last minute going away present. He was leaving for Scotland to join his submarine and would be away for at least four months this time.
Adam who was restocking the card display stand by the till called over, “Ben have you seen these they’re new.”
Ben looked up from reading the book in his hand and smiled, for Adam was referring to the greeting cards supplied by Mike’s Company with Ben’s photo pictures. “How are they selling?” Ben asked.
Adam replied, “We can’t get enough of them. This is the fourth lot we’ve had in. The problem is they come in six designs and people are buying all six at a time.”
“Wow!” exclaimed Ben.
“Yeah their real sexy,” Adam declared picking one out from its display pocket, which just happened to be the one of Sammy. “I’ve got this one on my bedroom wall, it’s my favourite. At night, in bed, I think if only he was my boyfriend.” Turning it over he said, “Hey this is funny it says the photographer’s name is Ben, Ben.” This set Adam off. When he stopped laughing he asked, “What’s your other name, Ben?”
“Conway.” Ben stated and just smiled.
“Oh my god, you’re the Ben Conway, the photographer who took these.”
“Yes. Why, you want to model for me?” Ben suggested with a smile.
Adams face was a picture. His cheeks went a bright shade of red and then he replied smiling back. “Only, if the rumours are true.”
“So what rumours are those?”
“You’ve slept with each and every one of you models.”
Ben started laughing again for he realised that Adam was coming on to him. “Well if you’re game for it, give me your number and I’ll give you a bell next week. In the meantime, I’ll take this book.” Ben noticed that on the receipt Adam gave him, he had written down his phone number.