Chapter 15 the Card delivery.
“Hello,” Ben said as he answered the flats entry phone.
In reply, the man on the other end told him he had a parcel delivery from M Grayson for a B Conway.
“Okay I’ll be right down.” Remembering to grab a set of keys as he left the flat, Ben pulled the door shut and ignoring the lift, rushed down the stairs.
Ben was so excited he almost opened the parcel in the lift going back up.
It felt like it was only yesterday that he had last seen Mike. Instead it was well over six months since they had done business and had sex. Ben’s life had changed so dramatically during the intervening time. Inheriting money from his grandma, giving up work on the market food stall, buying a partnership in Danny’s photography business, and best of all having Matt move from the spare room back into their bedroom. With all this going on it was no wonder he hadn’t noticed time whiz by.
Ben, opened the parcel with anticipation, he had sold Mike’s card company exclusive rights to use six of his photos on their new range of greeting cards. Here was the finished article.
At first glance they looked great. Especially the one of Sammy wearing his full leather cowboy horse riding chaps only. Ben removed the outer plastic wrappers and inspected the photos and was pleased that they appeared true to colour. He also liked how the cards where designed in such a way that the photographs could be detached from the cards so giving them a dual use. The enclosed letter from Mike told him that people were already buying all six of the designs, and they were become a collector’s item as far as the gay community was concerned. He also made the assumption that Ben had more in his collection and was willing to sell them.
This was what Ben was afraid of, the main reason he hadn’t told Matt about the cards. He almost didn’t want to admit it to himself, let alone to Matt, that over the time they had been together he had had many sexual encounters. Unfortunately, the proof was well documented by his photo collection.
For that reason, Ben now felt uncomfortable showing Matt the cards, so he hid them away in his wardrobe. Maybe it was because he had slept with each and every one of the men in the photographs and was scared of losing Matt.
It was Matt’s day to tidy the flat up. As usual he did this while Ben was at work. He was using the vacuum cleaner when he discovered Mike’s letter lying on the floor in the bedroom. After reading it, he felt puzzled as to why Ben was still not telling him about the cards.
Matt thought Ben’s photo pictures, the ones Alex sold, were amazing and was eager to see the finished greeting cards. He looked at Ben’s closed wardrobe and thought it best not to open it this time.
When Ben got home from work he found Matt in the kitchen busy making salads for supper. Ben pulled out a stool and sat at the breakfast bar, then started moaning about his day. Apparently he had been taking pictures of either dogs or children all day long. This he hated doing, yet had to, because it paid the bills.
Matt asked a few questions and skilfully turned the conversation to the photo pictures, the type Alex sold on his stall. Then producing the letter from Mike the card man he had found on the floor said “Alex told me about this ages ago. So why haven’t you mentioned this to me?”
“I was scared you’d be upset, Ben said, staring at the floor.
“Why in heaven’s sake would you imagine that?” Matt replied laughing, and then stopped when the implications dawned on him. Then, putting on a brave face, he continued, as if talking to himself. “Of course I understand now. How else could you have got such photos?” After a quiet moment Matt asked, “Well let’s be seeing them then.”
Ben fetched the cards and reluctantly presented them to Matt keeping back the ones of Sammy.
Matt studied each photo and thought how sexy the young men looked. Why was Ben still with me when he could be with anyone of them? Maybe it was because Ben really did love him after all. Putting the last one down, Matt gave Ben a reassuring smile, “These are so good, and yes I like them. You certainly have a talent for getting the best out of your models.” Then referring to the letter which asked for more photos, “Knowing you, I feel sure you have lots more photos of these same boys in different poses.”
“You’re brilliant. Yes, I have lots.” Ben declared with relief.