I'd been in Seattle for a month, had moved in to my new place, made the requisite connections in relation to the job at the law firm for which I'd relocated from Austin, Texas, impressed a hell of a lot of people there, dodged the advances of some seriously aggressive women and against my better judgment agreed to allow my sister Rosalie's best friend Alice to decorate my condo.
At my new job with the law firm of Cullen and Cullen, I'd be joining as a senior associate attorney specializing in tort law. I was looking forward to the change for a multitude of reasons, primarily to get away from my past in Austin and the stuffy firm I'd worked for. I needed a fresh start.
The Cullen firm was new and young, and it appeared there was plenty of room for advancement. I wanted to make partner within a few years and I didn't want my sexual preference interfering with my ambitions. I had specifically mentioned being gay in my interview and there had been no issue which was refreshing and helped me make the decision to accept their offer.
In Austin it had become clear at the firm I worked for that there was no room for a gay partner who was out of the closet. Trust me when I say there were plenty of closeted gays there but I couldn't be dishonest with myself after the struggle and pain I'd gone through coming out to my family. Suffice it to say I am no longer in touch with most of my family, the memories of our prior closeness too painful to dwell on.
I had chosen Seattle primarily to be close to the only relative who still acknowledged me my sister Rosalie. I was thankful for her cantankerous take no prisoners spirit. She stood by me and supported me through the worst. I was now getting settled into my place and had just the weekend before me before I started work.
I was feeling restless; with the move and whirlwind of activity behind me it looked like I would have to face myself and my issues. I decided a little clubbing would do no harm and keep me from rehashing my regrets over and over like a broken record; I resorted to asking Rosalie for recommendations. She of course knew all the hot places to go including the upscale gay clubs.
I dressed all in black and decided on a dove gray silk jacket as a contrast to my blond hair and deep blue eyes. I paired that with a black leather belt featuring a silver lone star buckle and black snakeskin cowboy boots that accentuated my 6 foot 2 height. I had a silver hoop in my ear that matched my nipple ring. Hopefully I'd get a few tugs on that tonight.
I smirked at myself in the mirror making one last check before I left. I knew I looked hot and the odds were pretty damn good I'd be hooking up before the end of the evening. Yeah, I was confident. To that end, I made sure that I was fully prepared with all the "necessities".
I arrived at "Seth's Place" around 10 o'clock and there was a crowd waiting to get in. I stood around for about 15 minutes but saw very little movement in the line as I observed a number of patrons who must have special access filter past the gold velvet rope under the scrutiny of the bouncer.
Standing next to the bouncer was a tall elegant man dressed all in black, his white blonde hair and pale complexion standing in stark contrast to his dark outfit. He caught my eye and grinned. I grinned back then blushed, lowering my eyes and glancing away shyly…some guys like that; he was kind of cute.
Standing in line was not my scene and it looked like I would be waiting at least an hour or so. Disappointed I decided to head out and try my luck another night. I turned and walked away hearing the pulse of the music start up, hands in pockets. I stepped off the corner at the light and felt a hand tuck through my arm and swing me back in the direction of the club.
"Wherever do you think you're going beautiful?" The man, gorgeous, but a complete stranger, said in a lilting voice. He gave me a broadly exaggerated wink and escorted me past the queue of grumbling patrons into the club.
I was immediately assaulted by the loud music and pulsing lights. The place was very crowded and exuded excitement and decadence. Just my cup of tea for the frame of mind I was in, keyed up and randy as a teenager.
"Your presence has been requested; looks like you've caught the big guy's eye" Mr. Gorgeous said. I was a little uncomfortable by the unwanted attention and now that I was in sought to sink back into anonymity. Curiosity got the better of me.
"Who would that be?"
"Well that would be Seth himself. By the way, the name's Jacob, Jacob Black." Ah…a name at last.
"I'm Jasper Whitlock, nice to meet you Jacob. I'm pretty new to Seattle."
"That's obvious," Jacob laughed. "Judging by the reactions of the twinks you're the shiny new toy. I'm sure you'll have your pick tonight"
It was my turn to chuckle. "Twinks are not my thing. I like a real manly man if you know what I mean." speaking with a deep rumble in my voice.
"Oooh, I think we have just what the doctor ordered," he rolled his eyes dramatically obviously teasing me as we walked. I liked the guy; I hoped maybe we could become friends at some point. I'd need to make the odd acquaintance given that I would be making Seattle my home for the foreseeable future and Jacob really seemed like a pleasant guy.
It was hot in the club, the heat primarily generated by the dancing couples and solo free spirits crowded together on the dance floor, moving together as if they were one live organism. I was aware of the stray hand here and there touching me trailing across various parts of my body as we moved through the throng and the touches or grabs in some cases were not always gentle.
A few murmured admiring comments as they pressed up against me as I passed, stroking my body erotically. I smiled to myself. My looks were clearly drawing attention and I was not averse to the sexiness of being lightly fondled and titillated by the curious more adventurous fingertips.
The décor of the club was done in elegant combinations of black and gold; it was clear that this was a higher end establishment.
A long bar, backlit by blue lighting that highlighted the display of expensive liquor on the glass shelves, ran dramatically down one side of the club ending near a low stage currently occupied by a DJ spinning tracks and hyping the dance crowd. Near the other end of the bar was a small stair leading up to a roped off area somewhat secluded from the rest of the club. This must be the VIP area, I mused as I continued to be pulled along by Mr. Gorgeous…er Jacob, who kept smiling back at me as he kept his hand firmly at my elbow.
I was becoming curious as to where we were heading, I was ready to get my game on but that didn't appear to be on Jacob's agenda. I hadn't even had a drink yet.
Jacob's russet complexion glowed; he was clean shaven, his flawless skin was offset by the darkest eyes; his shiny black hair was pulled back in a ponytail.
He was wearing a white oxford shirt, sleeves rolled up to the elbows, tie hanging loose like he'd just gotten off work. His black slacks clung to his body in all the right places. Too bad this gorgeous hunk of man was not my type but whatever; it got me entrance to Seth's.
"Seth wants to meet you, are you okay with that?"
"How could I say no? I mean it is his place right?" My discomfort grew but I was calmed by Jacob's easygoing presence as he guided me towards what I assumed was the VIP area.
We stopped at the end of the bar as Jacob engaged one of the cocktail waitresses in a brief conversation. I gathered her name was Heidi and she was a looker. If I were straight I would have definitely taken her on. I saw her briefly look at me then smirk at Jacob knowingly. My uneasiness increased. I began to feel like everyone but me knew the score.
"Hey Whitlock, what do you want to drink?" Jacob asked turning to me as Heidi walked back to the bar.
"Remy Martin, if you have it" I responded.
"Oooh, expensive tastes!" He turned to Heidi who promptly gave our orders to the bartender.
Little did Jacob know that I was used to having the best of everything. For me, money was not a subject of discussion, it was just there in massive quantities. In fact, I had paid cash for my condo which was located in one of the more exclusive communities in Seattle. Despite the falling out with my family, I was still beneficiary of the family trust. Fortunately for me my parents had no control over its disposition. The fact that I chose to work when I didn't need to was a source of personal pride.
My eyes wandered to the VIP area close by as I waited for my drink. I saw fleeting movements; a figure standing still, obscured by shadow then moving quickly as he exited through a door; he was briefly backlit by the subdued lighting from somewhere within giving me only the briefest glimpse of a halo of coppery hair gracing a tall lithe body.
Jacob handed me a drink and we both took a long sip.
"Good stuff, Whitlock. C'mon, let's go meet the man" Jacob unclipped the velvet rope which guarded access to the VIP area and closed it once we both passed through. We went up the short stair case to an open area where comfortable leather sofas were casually arranged around low tables. I wondered how I had rated entrée to this status.
I observed the men congregated there, some clearly couples as evidenced by their intertwined bodies and quiet moans, some larger groups engaging in casual conversation, drink and laughter. I was able to identify a few famous faces, primarily sports figures from the local teams. I was suitably impressed and wondered if Seth guarded their identities presuming that exposure as being gay might endanger their livelihood.
It was something I considered before going out tonight; although I had stated my sexual preference in my interview with the Cullen firm, there was a certain professional decorum that needed to be maintained by all attorneys when mingling with the public. This was meant primarily to maintain credibility with prospective clients. The same was expected of straight employees so I didn't feel singled out. Regardless, I was cautious about venturing out.
I glanced back towards the dance floor from this vantage point which provided an impressive view of the writhing mass of men, some shirtless and sweaty clearly enjoying themselves. I wanted to be out there and hoped my obligatory introduction to Seth would be short and sweet.
Jacob motioned me towards a door at the back of the lounge where I had most recently spied a fleeting figure. He swiped a card and we gained entrance. We stood in a sumptuous hallway, the lighting dim, the mood sultry. I could hear soft strains of jazz music as the door shut with a thump sealing us off from the club. It was well insulated and the loud pulsating rhythms of the DJ did not penetrate the serene atmosphere. The carpeting was thick and plush adding to the subdued ambience.
Jacob walked down the hall as I followed behind. I noticed we passed a number of identical doors and idly wondered what lay beyond. He glanced back at me and winked.
"Nervous?" He teased.
"Should I be?" Things were getting a little weird. He didn't respond.
I still had a drink in my hand so I polished off what remained feeling the expensive liquor warm my insides in its descent through my body calming my increasingly jangled nerves.
Jacob stopped at a door set down a small alcove and swiped his card again but before entering pressed an intercom button located to the right of the door.
"Jacob" was all he said followed by an electronic click whereupon the door opened on its own.
"You're on your own now buddy, see you around" With that, Jacob smiled slapped me lightly on the shoulder turned on his heel and returned to the club; I caught the brief explosion of music before the door thumped shut once again.
I stood awkwardly at the open door nervously rolling the empty glass between my hands as I looked around darting my eyes at the men congregated within pondering what to do next. They were casually engaged in conversation obviously enjoying each other's company. I'd venture to guess the group numbered no more than a dozen.
Music played softly in the background as they talked and laughed, sipping at cocktails moving gracefully about the room engaging each other, almost appearing to glide in a sexual dance.
I noticed a few couples, but most of the men appeared to be unaccompanied. All were impeccably groomed and expensively dressed. Some looked vaguely familiar, I chose not to focus or speculate as to who they were and where I might have seen them. Clearly, discretion was desired.
The only woman in the room was Heidi who I had briefly encountered earlier, there clearly as bartender only. She looked up and winked at me.
No one else appeared to have taken notice of me yet, how could they not? Jacob had announced our arrival before he departed and left me, essentially abandoned me, with no clue as to what I was supposed to do next.
Why was I here? Where was this Seth this mystery man who wanted to meet me. I was growing impatient as I felt the evening sliding out of my control. Why all the cloak and dagger mystery?
Were they purposely ignoring me, I wondered. Should I turn and follow Jacob and retreat back to the club?
I finally caught the eye of the man I recalled seeing outside Seth's Place when I first arrived; his white blond hair and cadaverous build made him a striking sight. He smiled, stopping his conversation midstream and approached me.
I was not used to feeling insecure or awkward so my annoyance was growing as I watched him stride elegantly towards me with a wide smile and twinkling gray eyes. He held out his hand which I took in mine and gave his a firm shake releasing it immediately.
"Jasper Whitlock, I presume?" His eyes were full of mir. Was he laughing at my annoyed state? It must have shown on my face. I nodded in response momentarily lost for words.
"I'm James, come join us." He took the empty glass from my hand and casually draped his other arm across my shoulders guiding me towards the men congregated near the bar.
"Heidi, a refill for the young man. What are you having?" He sat the empty glass on the bar.
"He's having Remy Martin" Heidi responded with a smile directed at me as she swept up my used glass and replaced it with a heavy cut crystal tumbler half-full of the delicious cognac. The tumbler was similar to a set I had at my condo so I knew it was a very expensive way to serve drinks. I appreciated the gesture.
I sipped slowly as James introduced me to the assembled group. All were amazingly handsome and well built. I could easily see myself leaving with any one of them.
Conversation grew easier and I slowly let my guard down as I got to know them. I was beginning to enjoy myself for the first time this evening.
"Jasper, I'd like you to meet Emmett McCarty, but I'm sure he needs no introduction." Of course not, Emmett was wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks, one of the more popular players on the team. Who knew? I was impressed.
"Great to meet you bro'" he slapped me on the back. Of course, he immediately launched into a detailed football discussion. He was animated and funny, boisterous and joyful. I liked him immediately. He had me doubled over from laughter. I completely let go of my earlier inhibitions.
"I hear you hail from Austin, Texas. Please tell me you're not a Dallas fan!" he growled but I knew he was just teasing.
"Actually, I went to law school at University of Texas and started at Royce King after graduation but my family is based primarily in New York." I answered, the pit of my stomach dropping as I thought of the estrangement from my parents.
I decided not to dwell on the negative and gave a few sports related anecdotes about my dad and I and our devotion to the Jets. Sparks flew as I teased Emmett back regaling him with stories of our luxury box near the fifty-yard line. He demanded that I make sure his stepbrother was invited to our box the next time the Seahawks played the Jets and his stepbrother was in New York.
"I want Eddie to watch us bury your beloved Jets" he got in my face and slapped a beefy hand on my shoulder. We were both getting a little drunk.
"Sure, I'll let my dad know." Could I? I let it slide not expecting to actually have to extend the invitation.
James approached us. It seems Emmett had monopolized me for the better part of an hour. He touched Emmett lightly on the arm and silently pointed to his watch. Emmett's eyes widened.
"I totally lost track of time. I've got curfew and need to get back it's nearly midnight." He looked at me and grabbed my hand.
"Jazz, it was great to meet you and I hope to continue the friendship." He said warmly, pulling me into a tight embrace. I wasn't attracted to him sexually but I definitely wanted him as a buddy.
"Give James your information and I'll get you tickets to our next home game."
"That's great, Emmett, I'm looking forward to it. I'll give James my cell number as well so we can stay in touch."
He departed with a big wave and I turned back to James whose role clearly appeared to be host but who did so with a bit of a mystery, as if he was simply engineering events.
"Are you enjoying yourself Jasper?" He smiled and handed me a fresh drink.
"Surprisingly given how the evening started, I'm genuinely enjoying myself James, although I still haven't met the elusive Seth. I thought that's why I ended up here in the first place."
"Oh, it is" James intoned obscurely. "Maybe next time he'll make an appearance. He's a little shy"
I sipped my drink feeling a little tipsy thankful I took a cab rather than drive. The evening was winding down as I observed that some of the men had paired up and were departing. A few lingered deep in conversation.
It seemed after all that I wouldn't be hooking up with anyone tonight. I was a little disappointed given my earlier anticipation. Regardless, it had been a very interesting evening.
I placed my glass down on the bar and waved goodbye to Heidi. I spied a large snifter full of money, I drew out my money clip and added a hundred dollar bill to the pile. I nodded to James and signaled that I was leaving.
His hand wound around my bicep and he held be back lightly as the last of the men and Heidi departed leaving just the two of us. Some of my earlier nervousness returned.
"Jasper, I'm sure you're wondering a bit about the gathering back here and the machinations you went through to join us. I do apologize for any discomfort you might have suffered." He paused considering his words.
"We desire discretion above all else, as you've probably become keenly aware this evening. I do need to share with you as well that you're not here by accident. I admit that I thought we wouldn't see you quite so soon. It seems your father," I was astounded. I removed myself from his grip and stood back.
"What in the hell does my father have to do with anything?" I said rather loudly, disturbed at this turn of events. The last thing I expected was to hear my father referred to in this context.
"Very little, in the final analysis, it's just that he mentioned to a close associate of his that you were relocating to Seattle and might be in need of friends and contacts. I don't think he expected it to include membership in a gentlemen's club, well let me clarify, an exclusively gay gentlemen's club." He chuckled.
"It turns out that one of our members is employed at Cullen and Cullen and was aware of your father's request to his associate who is also employed there, hence, we are extending an invitation to you to join us."
"You may not be aware but my father is not exactly ecstatic that I've come out as a gay man. We are estranged and haven't spoken in over a year."
"I am sorry to hear that, nevertheless, it does appear he has some residual filial concern for you."
I puzzled over my dad's apparent interference in my life but I was too tired and a little too drunk to think long and hard about it right now.
"James, thank you for the enjoyable evening and I'll accept your offer of membership. I have a feeling more than a few friendships will result." I scrubbed my hands over my face feeling the effects of alcohol and the long day before I shook his hand and turned to leave.
"Jasper, a few more things; here is a packet of information I'd like you to complete and return. We require it of all members. There is also a key fob included with which you can come and go from the club as you please via a separate entrance. I'll show you as we depart. We look forward to a long association."
He handed me the envelope as we walked out of the private bar down the hall. James' cell phone rang and he answered as we proceeded to the back exit. He came to a sudden stop, listening intently before he looked up at me.
"Jasper, do you mind letting yourself out? There's something I need to attend to."
He pointed to the exit door and darted back towards the club. I stood there until I heard the solid thump of the door as it shut behind James before I reached for the exit door.
A sudden movement behind me that I felt rather than heard startled me and stalled my movements; I dropped the package in anticipation of the need to defend myself; a thrill of fear curled down my spine but before I could react something black covered my head and all was darkness as I was dragged off by strong arms.
I tried to yell but my cries were muffled. The cloth covering my face was stifling my breath with hot air. I struggled against my attacker, kicking my legs back and making contact certainly.
"Oww, that's my shin, now shush will ya!" my attacker whispered harshly as he held me in his grip pulling at me relentlessly until I heard another door open and shut; I was plunged into inky darkness. I was hyper aware of my captors every breath, he held me tightly wrapped in his arms, breathing heavily with the exertion.
"Stop struggling, I'm not going to hurt you and sorry for the dramatic entrance" he huffed trying to catch his breath. I was released from his strangling embrace ripping the blind from my eyes but the room was so dark I had no idea how I was going to find my way out. I was dizzy and momentarily lost my direction.
I backed into a wall but was still so disoriented that I focused only on his rapid breathing as a focal point to at least retain my sense of balance and direction. I was nauseous from the lack of orientation. Despite the desperateness of the situation, I found myself aroused for the first time tonight…Curious.
I splayed my hands against the fabric-covered wall, my only point of constancy, trying to place myself in reference to my captor.
I felt his heat as he moved towards me, his hot breath caressing my neck as he pressed himself against my torso caging me within his arms. He licked down my neck nipping at my collarbone then nuzzling into me. I stood frozen in a state of utter confusion laced with the sense that I was prey. My senses were on overload.
"I'm Seth, pleased to meet you."