The Storyville Chronicles
The Ultimate Vacation
by Julien Gregg

"...and the marketing department has the figures that we need so we can start ordering what we need to have the expansion packs ready by Fall," Margot was saying, and I was embarrassed when I understood that I'd tuned her out for most of what she was saying.

I didn't make a habit of tuning out my assistant. It was just that I couldn't wait for five o'clock on Friday. That was the time when I would leave this office, this building, and head off to the farm for a much needed two week vacation. That was also the time that I would return to Scott's waiting arms. Those arms were the real vacation.

I couldn't wait to see Scott again. We'd been talking to each other on the telephone every night since I'd moved back to Storyville. It had hurt to leave him there, but I just couldn't pass up this opportunity. This was the job of a lifetime for me. I was now the executive assistant to the Senior Vice President of Operations at one of the largest computer software companies in the midwest. In fact, Brennon Software was one of the only software companies left in the midwest. I'd beaten fifty applicants to get this job, and I'd been doing my best to hold on to it for the last two years.

That meant that I got to the farm, and back to Scott, on weekends when I could and holidays. The last time I'd actually made it back to the farm was Christmas of the year before. So much time was spent on the phone with Scott, basically breaking his heart each time I had to tell him that I couldn't come home. It sucked that I had to reduce our relationship to infrequent visits and nightly telephone calls. I knew that it had to be making Scott miserable, too.

He didn't stand in my way when I made my decision to come back to Storyville and work for Brennon Software. In fact, he had been very supportive the entire two weeks that I mulled it over and agonized over every little thing that I'd have to either give up or put up with to take this position. I loved my position with the company and all of the great perks that came with it. There was a fully-furnished fourth floor apartment in the Sax Tower not far from Storyville University and all of the trendy shops and clubs that surrounded its campus. I had full use of a car and driver whenever I needed them, and all of my expenses were paid for save for food and clothing. I was invited to parties where I socialized with Storyville's elite, and I had all of my city friends back.

What I had to give up was the seven achres of land that I'd worked hard to bring back from the brink of foreclosure with the help of my lover and best friend, Scott. I had to give up the warm and loving nights spent sleeping next to him, waking up to his dazzling smile every morning and just about everything that I treasured in my life with him.

Oh sure, we'd both promised that we'd always be able to get together whenever we wanted. I would come home to the farm every weekend without fail no matter who or what tried to prevent it. He would come to spend some days in the city as well, and of course we'd spend every single holiday on the farm, basking in our love.

That never seemed to come to pass though. There was always a mandatory meeting or social event that I was required to attend. There was always one problem or another on the farm that demanded Scott's full attention as well. Our perfect arrangement turned out to be a horrible failure. To be truthful, I was starting to feel that our relationship was really suffering from this.

I could hear it in the strain that was always present in Scott's voice when we talked on the telephone. I could feel it when we actually did get to touch each other when the scarce opportunity presented itself, and I knew what it meant. I was losing him. I didn't want that to happen, so I really had some thinking to do. Thinking that I couldn't do with my assistant blabbering away about marketing budget reports. I need to take some time off, and that wouldn't happen until Friday at five o'clock.

"Are you listening to me, Mr. Decker?" Margot asked, looking at me with an annoyed look.

"Yes, Margot," I replied, forcing a smile. "That will be all for now. Please tell Mr. Danner that I'll be ready when he is to test the new expansions."

For the rest of the day I submerged myself in work as best I could with all that was on my mind. Scott was never far from my thoughts, and when I left the office at seven that night, he was the only thing on my mind. I raced home, threw my keys on the end table next to the door and dove onto the couch, snagging the telephone as I went. I dialed the number that was burned into my memory and waited to hear my lover's voice.

"Hello, Chris," Scott said instead of hello. "How was your day?"

"Long," I sighed as I shifted on the couch until I was lying on my back with my eyes closed, picturing Scott's kind face in my mind.

"Mine has been pretty long, too," he said. "I'm glad you called. I was starting to worry that you were working late again."

"No more late work days for a while," I replied. "Three more days to go before I get in the car and drive out of Storyville and into your arms again."

"I can't wait," he said, and I could hear the love in his voice. "Wait till you see this place."

"Made changes?" I asked, smiling. He was always trying to spruce things up or change them completely to make them look even better than they had. We'd put blood, sweat and tears into that farm house.

"Shane has been helping me," he admitted. "The house looks nothing like it used to. I think you'll like it."

Shane Turner was the man that rented the fields that I'd inherited when my grandparents died along with the farm. Scott and I were no farmers and didn't know the first thing about becoming a farmer, so we rented the fields so that they would actually be used. Shane was a fifty-something year old man with a family of his own, and he'd needed to expand his own fields. Renting ours to him gained us a monetary profit along with vegetables now and then to keep our cupboards stocked. His wife canned vegetables for their own family, and she always canned more for us. It was a great arrangement.

"I'm sure I'll love whatever you've done," I agreed. "I just wish I could spend more time there."

"Well, Friday night will be the first night of two whole weeks that you'll be here," Scott reminded me, and I could hear the hope and excitement in his voice. "I'm going to spend those two weeks pampering you and making you know you're loved, Chris."

"I know you love me, Scott," I replied quickly. "I only hope that you still know that I love you."

"I miss you like crazy, Chris," he said quietly, changing the subject.

"I'll be there in three days, baby," I said, matching his quiet tone.

We talked for two hours before I had to get off of the phone and crawl into bed. If I stayed on the phone any longer, there would have been no way I was going to be able to get up for the meeting in the morning. The meeting would be another drawn out boring waste of time. I already knew everything that Mr. Danner was going to say. We'd talked about it on Monday morning when I'd showed up in my office only twenty minutes late due to the traffic.

He'd told me all about the division he wanted to add to the firm, and he'd hinted that he wanted me to head it up. I wasn't happy about that. It would mean more time away from Scott and the farm. I was planning to tell Danner that I didn't want a promotion. In fact, I was thinking seriously about leaving the firm and going back to the farm full time. I missed Scott that much.

All through the meeting the next day I kept picturing Scott's handsome face. I could see that lock of his dark hair that was always wild and either sticking straight up or dangling over his forehead. Those dreamy brown bedroom eyes of his were almost always on my mind. I could almost feel his soft lips on my own, and I missed him even more.

" . . . and with that said, I'd like to end by reminding all of you that I need all of your figures and reports by the end of the day on Friday," Danner was saying when I tuned back in. I'd been daydreaming about Scott for the entire meeting. "Decker, please stay behind after the meeting. I have something I'd like to discuss with you in private."

I was sure that it was the promotion I didn't want. I nodded my head in acceptance, but I was frantically trying to come up with a suitable reason as to why I couldn't take the promotion. I could have just resigned there and then, but I didn't really want to leave my job. I just wished that there was a way to do my job and spend more time with Scott. There had to be a way.

"Chris, I got a chance to get out to visit an old friend of mine for part of the day yesterday," said Danner when everyone else had left the board room. "I met someone special to you while I was visiting with Shane Turner and his wife."

Charles Danner knew about my sexuality. One of the reasons that I had wanted to come to work for the firm was its acceptance of homosexuality. The fact that they offered same sex partner benefits was a huge plus as well. So learning that Danner had met Scott wasn't a huge shock or scare. I was just curious as to what he'd talked with my lover about.

"I wasn't aware that you knew the Turners," I replied.

"Shane and I go way back," he said. "I was raised on a farm not two miles from the one that you and Scott own."

"I didn't know that," I admitted.

"Well, your Scott told me that you and he don't get to see much of each other now that you're here in Storyville and he's on the farm," said Danner. "I was thinking that wasn't a great thing."

"Its hard," I replied. "I try to get back to the farm every chance I get. My vacation will be spent there with Scott. It'll be the first time I've actually been to the farm since the Christmas before last."

"Well I think I have a better idea," said Danner smiling at me. "What would you say to taking a promotion that would allow you to do most of your work from home? You'd have to come back to the office for meetings and project deadlines, but most of the work you'd be doing could be done from the farm. That would give you and Scott more time together, and you'd get to enjoy your investment a lot better than just hearing about how its going out there on the telephone."

I was stunned. It was like an answer to my prayers. If I could work from the farm then I wouldn't be away from Scott so much. Our relationship could get back to where it had been before I'd come back to Storyville. I didn't know if I should jump up and down with joy or pass out from shock. I could only mutter a quick stunned expression. I don't even know what I actually said, but Danner smiled.

"You go ahead and leave this evening," he said, holding on to that smile. "You'll start your vacation tonight. I'll need the time that you're away to make the final plans for what I'm wanting your job to be. You'll come back at the end of your vacation time to tie up loose ends here. Bring Scott with you. You won't be here for longer than a week, and then I'll make the announcement. We'll have gone over everything that would be expected from you with your new promotion, and you'd be on your way back to living on your farm."

"I don't know what to say," I stammered. I couldn't believe it was happening. This was better than anything I could have imagined.

"Say goodbye, Mr. Decker," he chuckled. "You have no appointments for the rest of today. There are no more meetings, and I'm sure that Warner can handle any problems that come up in your division. I assume he'll be the man to replace you as the head of your division once I promote you."

"Oh, yes," I replied. David Warner was the best man in my division. He was head of programming in our little section, and he never failed to get my input on anything he was working on. He also gave me valuable advice when I was stuck on a project of my own.

"Well then that's settled," Danner said. "I'll expect a call from you a few days before you return. I'll tell you all about what I've been up to here when you call. Have a great vacation, Mr. Decker."

He stuck out his hand for me to shake and surprised me when he pulled me into a hug. I hugged him back with genuine emotion. At that moment that man was my savior. He'd given me the most amazing gift, and I couldn't wait to get back to the farm to tell Scott!

I practically flew back to my apartment. My head was filled with images of the look on Scott's face when I told him the news. I couldn't wait to get there and surprise him. After a quick shower and a lot of packing, I'd be on my way back to the arms of the man that made me feel more loved than any other human on Earth. I couldn't wait.

All the way out of Storyville I kept going over how to tell Scott about the promotion. I knew it would blow his mind just as much as it was blowing mine. I just couldn't believe it was happening. In one conversation I'd managed to hold on to my career and move back to the farm at the same time. It was almost unreal. I could spend my nights in the arms of the man I love, and I could spend parts of my days working on projects at home. Returning to Storyville for meetings and deadlines wouldn't be a problem as long as I didn't have to live in the city.

The sun was just setting as I left the city lights behind me. The rows of cornfields on either side of the highway seemed to glow with the blaze of the setting sun. My mind filled with images of the sunsets that I'd watched in Scott's arms before moving back to Storyville. There would be many more now that I was moving back home again.

Home. It was a word that I only associated with Scot and where ever he happened to be at the time. In his arms I was always exactly where I wanted to be. Be it a cardboard box or the Hilton, I would be happy as long as I had him. I planned to spend every day of the future showing him just how happy he makes me. Planning ways to make him smile or laugh made the trip down the highway and through the smaller towns go by like lightning. Before I knew it I was taking the turn down the gravel road that would bring me to Scott and our house.

The lights were on in the living room as I pulled my car into the drive and parked beside Scott's truck. I could hear the crickets as I made my way across the lawn to the porch. I took a moment to stand there on the porch and look out at the peaceful fields that lined the other side of the road. No other houses were closer than five miles. I remembered that it felt like we were the only two men on Earth the first night we spent inside the house. A little solitude would be just the thing for me again now that I was home.

The front door opened, and my man stepped out onto the porch. Those dazzling green eyes of his locked with mine, and I saw the surprise in them as he looked at me. He hadn't been expecting me until the end of the week. I smiled at him and wrapped my arms around him as he held me tight in his powerful arms. I buried my nose in his brown hair and inhaled the scent of his shampoo. God how I'd missed him. It truly felt like a homecoming now that I was in his arms again.

"What are you doing here?" he asked, pulling back to look me in the eye.

"Well, I couldn't wait until Friday, so I just got in the car and started driving," I said, smiling. "I missed you so much."

"I missed you, too," he said, pulling me back into his tight embrace.

"Oh how I missed this," I said, holding him tighter, but he let go of me and stood back.

"What about work?" he asked, looking at me hard.

"Let's sit down, and I'll explain it all to you," I said, taking him by the hand and leading him into the house and to the living room sofa.

"Did they extend your vacation?" he asked as we sat down, and I snuggled against him.

"No, there's something better going on," I began. "I can work from home now, Scott. I can move back to the farm and do all of my work here on our computer. I'd have to go back to Storyville for meetings and things like that, but I don't have to live there anymore."

"You're serious?" he asked, smiling at me with excitement.

"Dead serious," I replied. "This is going to be the ultimate vacation."

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