In a short while he came across a fallen tree that had been pushed to the side of the road. That would make an excellent bench to rest on, the man thought. He removed his knapsack and laid it down near the tree. Then he sat down and his thoughts wandered back to a month earlier, and to the events which brought him here.
James Bannerman was an account executive at one of Madison Avenue's largest and most successful advertising agencies. The pressure on him was enormous. Long hours and constant deadlines had taken a toll on him. His wife of only one year had walked out on him. The first night, or I should say the first early morning, he returned to an empty home, he suddenly started to hyper ventilate. He could not breathe. Lucky for him, he was able to call 911 before he passed out.
Even luckier, the heart attack was very mild and little damage was done. It was a strong warning to him to stop abusing his body. He was discharged in a mere four days with strict orders to take several weeks off and get plenty of rest, relaxation and recreation. The agency wasn't happy but they gave him an eight week sabbatical.
His sister was a travel agent and the two of them poured over travel brochures, and a myriad of escorted tours. He rejected them out of hand. He definitely wanted to be alone and away from people. He did, however, examine the pictures carefully, and he fell in love with Scotland, or at least, the look of Scotland as pictured by the travel industry. With a little bit more research, Arlene booked a bed and breakfast for him, miles from the nearest large city. After arriving in Edinburgh, he would have to rent an auto and travel almost forty-five miles to the inn. That was exactly what he wanted.
The inn was everything he dreamed it would be. It was small, quaint and remote. It was surrounded by English gardens and was picture book pretty. There were only two other guests, a honeymoon couple from London. He barely saw them, even at breakfast.
He spent his days sitting on the veranda with a blanket wrapped around his legs and a good book in hand. He was happy and content for about three days, then boredom set in, and he decided to take a hike. Right after breakfast the inn keeper packed him a picnic lunch and he started up one of the several paths that led away from the inn.
The early autumn air was crisp and a bit blustery. He loved it. It felt so invigorating. He walked for about two hours. Taking deep breaths of the refreshing air, he didn't notice that the path had ended and he was walking in a small clearing surrounded by groves of trees. For a second he panicked. He had paid no attention to the direction he was walking in so even if he could use the position of the sun to establish the direction of his return route, he didn't know what that direction was.
He tried to remember if the sun had been in front of him or to the rear, to the right or to the left, but no memory was afforded him. All he could do was to turn around completely and start walking in a reverse direction. He walked for hours, through clearings and through groves, but he never found the path he had been on. Finally, as twilight was upon him, he stumbled on a paved road, just wide enough for one auto going in one direction.
If I follow the road, he thought, eventually I will come to some civilization. Suddenly he started to laugh. Maybe he'd be lucky enough to find Brigadoon and marry Cyd Charisse. The thought warmed and amused him, but he had to make a decision in which direction to start walking. For no reason at all, except for a hunch, he turned right and renewed his trek until he came upon the tree trunk.
He decided that he had rested on the tree trunk long enough. His food was long gone and it was time to move on. He put his knapsack back on and continued on his confused way.
According to his watch, it was ten o'clock at night when he saw something up ahead. He was certain he saw a light, but then it seemed to disappear. He hurried his step, and there it was again. It was definitely a light, but this time it was brighter and did not disappear. As he got closer, he could see that the light came from a small cottage. Thank God, he thought. I'll be able to call the inn from there to come and get me.
As he drew nearer and nearer to the cottage, it became prettier and prettier as far as he was concerned. Surely kind souls dwelt there. He sprinted the last one hundred yards to the front door. Thank goodness the lights are still on, he thought. A beautifully carved knocker adorned the front door and he began to knock.
The door was answered by a tall, very lean, very distinguished looking gentleman in his late thirties. Bannerman thought that he was probably five to seven years older than he was.
The man smiled at James. "Don't tell me you're lost," he said. "If you are, you'll be the second lost tourist this week. He broke out into a hearty laugh. "Come in, come in," he said waving Bannerman in.
"Take off that knapsack and get comfortable," the man said. He extended his hand. "I'm Ian MacBeigh," he said. "Are you hungry? I've got plenty to eat and drink."
"I'm starved," James said, "but mostly I am so damned thirsty."
"Would you like plain water or a little wine?" Ian asked.
"Water please," James responded. Ian went to a small refrigerator and removed a pitcher of water. He poured a generous amount for James, and the two men sat down at a small table. Everything in the cottage was small.
"I can give you a ham sandwich with cheese if that will do." Ian told James.
"Oh my, yes. That will do just fine."
"Are you staying at the Olde Wayside Inn?" Ian asked.
Bannerman nodded. His mouth was full.
"I'm afraid I have no phone. The road back is partly paved, partly dirt and partly grass fields. It's too dangerous to negotiate in the dark. I can drive you back in the morning and I can only offer you my hospitality and shelter for the night."
"That's more than kind of you," James said gratefully.
"Have you ever slept with a man before?" Ian asked.
James looked aghast. "Wh.. what?" he asked.
Ian broke out laughing. "I meant that in the literal sense. I only have one bed, but it's big enough for both of us." James relaxed and joined Ian in laughter.
"It's not too late," Ian said. "I'm starved for company out here. Would you join me in a little conversation over a mug of beer before we turn in?"
"I'd be delighted," James said.
After the beers were poured, the two men sat on two easy chairs in the front room. "You look like a very urbane American," Ian said to James. "What in the world brings you to our remote part of the world?"
For some reason James found Ian easy to talk to and he found himself relating the whole story. He told him how his wife had walked out on him, about his mild heart attack and how he had chosen this region for the sheer beauty of the pictures he had seen. "Now you look too young to be retired so what brings you here?" James asked Ian.
"I was afraid you would ask," Ian said jokingly. "I teach English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. About six months ago my world was turned upside down and I had a nervous breakdown. I was forced to take a year's sabbatical. This cottage was my weekend getaway, but for now it's my home for another few months."
"I wouldn't mind spending a few months here. It's the closest thing I've ever seen to Paradise," James said.
"That would be wonderful if you could," Ian said. "At one time I had someone to share this Edenic spot with, but now I'm alone." Ian grew quiet, and James allowed him his moment of reflection.
"If you don't mind my asking," James said. "What was it turned your world around?"
"It's funny," Ian said, "until now I had not wished to speak of it, but you are so easy to talk to and I feel like getting it off my chest, so here goes."
Ian poured some more beer in each of their glasses and began: "First of all, James, I can tell you this because you can't run away, and you're stuck here for the night. I'm gay." He stopped to see James's reaction, and looked at James inquiringly.
"Relax, friend," James said. "I'm in advertising. I interact daily with gay male models, gay photographers, and gay copy editors and so on. I figured you were gay the minute I got here. For a straight guy, I have excellent gaydar."
Ian did indeed relax and he continued. "I met Fergie (Evan Ferguson) in college. I was majoring in English Lit and he was into mathematics. We began studying together, and it didn't take long for us to discover that besides both of us being gay, we had fallen hopelessly in love with each other. I know you here about promiscuity in the gay community, but Fergie and I knew each other for nearly a year before we made love. He was my first and my only. I will never forget that first night with him as long as I live.
"We were both very lucky in procuring teaching positions at the University. We bought a house together and were as happy as the proverbial pigs in shit. We both had the jobs we wanted, the lover we wanted, and the house we wanted. We had it all, but Jamie my boy, don't ever get too complacent. One day, returning from work, Fergie was hit broadside by a very drunk teen ager. He was killed instantly. I was a useless bag of shit after that, and the University ordered a year off for me."
Ian buried his head in his hands and broke out sobbing. James was never a touchy, feely person and he wasn't even consciously aware of what he did next, but he got up, went over to Ian and put his arms around him. Ian put his arms around James and sobbed on his shoulder.
James took Ian's beer glass and his own and washed them in the sink. When he returned to the living room, Ian was still crying. He stood him up and said, "Let's get you to bed."
When they entered the bedroom, James began to laugh.
"What?" Ian asked.
"Am I the first guy you have slept with since Fergie?" He said it with a smile, hoping to lighten the mood and perhaps get a smile out of Ian. It worked. Ian looked at him and said with a wide grin, "In the literal sense, yes."
They both stripped to their boxer shorts and Ian pointed the way to the bathroom. James went first and then Ian. When Ian got back to the bedroom, he found James standing there.
"Why aren't you in bed yet? I promise. You are safe if you want to be."
James had the good grace to laugh. "I was just waiting to see which side of the bed you wanted."
"How kind of you," Ian said. "I always slept on Fergie's right side," he said.
"Then so be it," James said. He crept into bed and Ian followed. As he got into bed, Ian turned off his bedside light and the room was in darkness. Although their bodies never touched, James was in a state of utter nervousness. Ian fell asleep immediately, but it took James quite awhile.
James had no idea what time it was when something woke him. As soon as he got his bearings, he realized that Ian had rolled over and thrown his arm around his chest. In so doing he had nested against James, who literally froze. He thought that maybe Ian was dreaming, and thinking that he was Fergie. He wanted to give Ian that pleasant dream so he didn't push him away. Besides, there was no harm done if another man held him. In fact, it was kind of comforting. He and his wife made love and then turned away from each other. They had never held each other like this and James kind of liked it. He liked it, that is, until he felt Ian's erection against his thigh.
Once again he panicked, but soon relaxed. Nothing was going on and nothing was going to. The problem was that his own manhood was as stiff as a steel rod.
Ian went on sleeping soundly, so that after awhile James relaxed enough to fall asleep also. Ian's arm was still thrown around James.
Ian awoke first. He was surprised and a little upset to find his arm over James's chest. James was still sleeping and Ian didn't want to disturb him so he decided not to move. Lying still, he dozed off again. He dreamed that he was nesting against Fergie. His hand wandered down to find Fergie's very hard cock. He began to caress it playfully.
In his sleep, Jamie began to moan. Someone was doing wonderful things to his cock. He felt an orgasm coming on. It was going to be a good one, he could tell. He not only felt it in his groin, he felt it all over his body. His wife was smothering his body and playing with his cock like she never had before. At last she was making love to him, not just having sex.
He came all over Ian's hand, his underwear, his own thighs and the bed linens. The two men woke with a start. Jamie was still euphoric from his orgasm, but Ian realized immediately what had happened.
"Shit, shit, shit," he yelled. "I am so sorry." He jumped out of bed to get a towel, but James grabbed his hand.
"Easy man, relax. I needed that badly and it was great. There's no need to apologize and don't panic. I loved it." He let go of Ian who ran to get the towel. When things were somewhat dried up and cleaned, James found himself without underwear, lying naked in bed. He motioned for Ian to join him. Ian removed his boxers and got into bed with James.
"That was fun," James said. "Let's play some more. Jamie liked it."
The two men faced each other. Their bodies rubbed against each other. Ian's erect cock was grinding into James's groin, and James's flaccid cock was getting hard again.
"This is incredible," James sighed. "I never knew." Ian leaned over and kissed James. At first James wanted to recoil, but he didn't and moments later his tongue was playing dueling swords with Ian's. He was shocked to learn that he was enjoying kissing a man.
When Ian felt that James was hard again, he leaned over him. Ian's tongue began to explore James's neck, then his nipples, then his navel and finally his inner thighs. James was moaning and tossing his body around. Ian wrapped his tongue around James's cock head and then down his shaft. James had gotten a few blow jobs in college from girls, but never anything like this. Much to his very temporary dismay, Ian removed his mouth from James's cock and began to suck up and down his crack, occasionally inserting his tongue into the hole. James was moaning and screaming and Ian knew what to do. He took as much of James's seven inches into his mouth as he could. He ran his tongue up and down James's shaft, and it didn't take long before James had another pulsating orgasm. This time Ian swallowed all of it.
The two men lay back exhausted. "You taste so good," Ian said to James. "I have missed Fergie so. Do you think that you would ever want to do any of that stuff to me?"
"It can be arranged. I'm certain," James answered and leaned over to kiss Ian. He tried to repeat everything Ian had done to him, but he hesitated before each new maneuver. He thought it would be disgusting and that he would think it was gross, but a whole new world was opening up to him. He couldn't believe how good Ian's cock tasted or his cum or his ass hole crack. James was walking on air, or at least floating on the bed.
"When I was eleven or twelve, my buddy and I began to explore our sexuality," James explained to Ian. "We tried inserting our tiny penises into each other's asses and even occasionally licked our cock heads. Eventually my friend had an orgasm in my ass and then I did the same. After that we fucked as often as we could. It was fantastic sex, but neither of us thought we were gay. At about fourteen, we just stopped doing it, and I simply put it out of my mind, and went on with my straight life. You have helped me rediscover an aspect of my life I had buried, and like I said before, "Jamie likes it."
"I'm pleased," Ian said, and the two men went right on exploring each other's bodies and their sexuality."
Eventually they showered and dressed. After breakfast Ian drove James to the inn, where he packed up and moved out. Of course, he moved in with Ian.
The next day, they drove to Edinburgh for food and other supplies. Ian took James to see his city apartment. There he showed him pictures of Fergie. "God he was so good looking. What do you see in me?" James asked.
Ian laughed. "Crazy man," he said. "You're much better looking."
When they left the apartment, Ian took James for a walk around the neighborhood. While the two men idled away the time window shopping, Ian asked James, "Since advertising is so stressful, if you could do something else, what would you do?"
James looked up and down the busy little street they were on. "I think I'd like to own one of these little shops along this street," he said. I'd get to know everyone in the neighborhood and get home at a decent time to a restful place with a loving mate. My God, look!" James pointed to a sign in the window of a small tobacco shop. The sign read, "For Sale."
There was a sweet smell of tobacco emanating from the shop. In the window the shopkeeper had dozens of beautifully carved pipes for sale. The shop was more of an antique pipe shop than a tobacco shop. They went inside. The owner had exotic pipe tobaccos from all over the world. James was getting heady from the aromas.
"This place is fantastic," he said to Ian. I want to buy it and live with you forever. If I go back to what I was doing, I'll be dead in a short time. Besides, I don't ever want to be too far from you. I love you."
Ian ran out of the store. James ran after him. He worried that he had moved too fast and Ian would hate him. Ian was sobbing. James put his arm around him. "I'm sorry," he said. "I'm too impulsive."
"Shut up, you crazy man. Buy the damned store, if you can afford it, but don't apologize for loving me. I love you too."
James had his sister, Arlene, ship him all his clothes and a few personal things from his Manhattan apartment. He paid his landlord to break his lease, and asked him to donate his furniture to charity. He became a resident of Edinburgh. He never lost his New York accent and the residents referred to him as that crazy American. Ian even got him a job at the University teaching Foreign Advertising three hours a week. After awhile he found himself teaching advertising on a full time basis. He had to hire a young lad to run the shop for him.
No life is ever stress free, but James came damn near close to it. As far as he was concerned, he had visited Scotland, traveled a road to nowhere, and found his Brigadoon. Furthermore he now preferred Ian MacBeigh to Cyd Charisse.