Luckily, by the time Tiger was born, I had already graduated law school and had taken the time to pass the bar exams in Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, California, and Florida. I did one thing that annoyed my parents to no end, however. Rather than accepting a position with a large and prestigious Boston firm, which my father had arranged, I managed to get my own position with the most prestigious law firm in San Francisco -- three thousand miles away from my father’s sphere of influence. However, I only stayed at the firm for less than a year. Long enough for Tiger and I to get established and purchase a lovely Edwardian four-story house in the Castro.
I found I didn’t like doing corporate work. To me, it is the most boring type of legal work. The only thing that can really be said for it is it is well-compensated work. It ought to be; eighteen-hour days filled with nothing but paper was not my idea of being an attorney. I wanted to work with people who really needed help. I quickly found a group that had the same ideas I did when I joined the National Lawyers Guild’s San Francisco chapter. Through it, I met Ted Mercer. Another gay lawyer, Ted was a dyed-in-the-wool liberal who was dedicated to preserving individual liberties. He had a small office in what is called SOMA (South of Market) where he handled just about any case that came along, be it criminal or civil. Ted was a good deal older than me and had slaved in the legal trenches for over twenty years.
I don’t remember now who came up with the idea. It was probably me because I remember, at first, Ted thought I was insane. I decided I would leave my well-paid, boring position in corporate law and Ted and I would become partners in Mercer and Atherton, Attorneys-at-Law. At the time, Ted didn’t realize I had just turned twenty-five and therefore had complete access to the trust fund my grandfather had left for me. A trust fund that amounted to several hundred million dollars -- enough that I didn’t have to work at all, ever. So if I was going to work, it was going to be doing something I loved.
I arranged for new, larger offices for us and furnished them lavishly while, at the same time, outfitting them with the latest in electronic gadgetry. I also hired away my secretary from the more prestigious firm, doubling her salary and doing the same for Ted’s longtime secretary as well. I further hired several paralegals and law clerks from UC Hastings School of Law and Boalt Hall, the law school on the UC Berkeley campus.
Ted has been openly gay his whole career. His practice had centered on gay civil rights issues. Though we’d take any case, these continued to be the core of our practice. In fact, about 70 percent of our business came from the gay community.
Now, five years later, our business was going so well Ted and I had talked about bringing in at least one, perhaps two, other attorneys to relieve us of some of the burden of our overgrown client list. I thought about that as I turned out the lights to Tiger’s room and closed the door. If we had more help then maybe I could attend all of his baseball and soccer games. Tiger had turned into quite the little jock with only a slight nudge from dear old Daddy, and it was unfair Daddy didn’t get to spend time watching his son on the field of competition.
There was something else Daddy was missing. Some good, old-fashioned male-male sex. Building a law practice and taking care of a seven-year-old boy doesn’t leave a lot of time for personal needs. I went from having sex two or three times a day in high school and college to where I was lucky if I had sex once a month -- usually at one of the sex clubs. I knew, when I had time, I could always duck into Blow Buddies for a quick suck. If I had any real time, I could go across the bay to Berkeley to the Steam Works, the only bath house in the San Francisco Bay Area.
About the only really private time I took for myself -- on a daily basis -- was working out at a gym conveniently located about a block from the office. It wasn’t anything fancy, more a real gym than a “spa.” It was for guys only and guys who were serious about their bodies. I’ll admit there was a lot of “eye candy” there but I’d never found the time or inclination to hook up with any of them. I was funny about that. While I would have sex in a sex club or bath house, I didn’t want to date. One of the major reasons was my son. Being the father of a seven-year-old boy was not exactly an asset in the dating game in the world of gay men. That is, unless your potential date was a “boy lover,” and that was something I was worried about. I didn’t care if Tiger turned out to be gay or straight -- but I wanted it to be his decision after he reached puberty, at the earliest.
The other reason I didn’t want to date also had to do with Tiger. I didn’t want him becoming “involved” with a guy I was dating only to have the guy disappear when it didn’t work out between us. I didn’t want Tiger experiencing that kind of inconsistency in his life. And, since I wasn’t likely to find Mr. Right, I usually settled for Mr. Right Now in one of the sexual settings where I didn’t even have to know my partner’s name.
There had been something disturbing me about that lately, though. I didn’t have any real desire to visit any of the sex venues I’d haunted since moving to San Francisco. The anonymous sex just didn’t do it for me anymore. Something inside of me was feeling very needy
, like I was lonely and longing for something beyond a quick fuck. I didn’t know what the hell it was I wanted. Surely, it couldn’t be a relationship.
Those were not for me. I’d seen too many of them end in disaster. How any guys could honestly think they could promise to be faithful to each other and actually keep those promises was beyond my comprehension. I knew guys better than that. Guys are horndogs. Period. They shove their cocks into as many holes or get as many cocks shoved in their holes as they can. That’s only natural. It’s how the male animal is built. It doesn’t even matter what hole they shove it into, most of them. I’d learned that in high school and college. Even now, in the baths, almost half the guys I played with were married. You didn’t even have to see the fucking wedding bands they’d forget to take off to figure that out. These pillars of society
-- with their wives and 2.6 children -- sucking and fucking with other guys when they think nobody knows. That’s what guys are like.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not
condemning it. Hell, I’m the same way. I just admit it. I know how much I love cock and ass. I know how much I love having sex with other guys. Maybe it’s just the fact that I don’t have the freedom to do it as much as I once did. Maybe that’s all that was wrong with me. After all, I’d had to repress my own desires for most of the last seven years because of Tiger. I guess my father was right. It did give me a sense of responsibility to have a child of my own. It also gave me something else, something I never expected.
I would be lying if I said having Tiger in my life was all about responsibility and limitations. Tiger gave me something I’d never, ever experienced in my life. Something I never expected to find -- unconditional and total love. I was, at least for now, Tiger’s entire world. I knew this wouldn’t last forever. Eventually, he would grow into that most feared animal on the face of the planet -- an adolescent. And worse, an adolescent male -- a walking, talking, eating, and masturbating machine filled with more male hormones than is good for anyone. But, for now, he was still my sweet, loving little boy who gave me this feeling, at times, that I was Sir Lancelot, Superman, and Albert Einstein all rolled into one. At least, that seemed to be the way he saw me.
So why, lately, wasn’t that enough for me? Why was I feeling like I needed more? I didn’t know what the fuck was up with me. There was something missing in my life but I couldn’t figure out what. Luckily, my life was so busy, between the office and taking care of Tiger, I didn’t have much time to think about it. It only came over me late at night, as I lay in my big, empty bed, wishing…wishing…for something. Was it someone in that bed with me I wanted? Well…if I was honest, yes -- I guess it was. But how did I get somebody to share this big bed without a relationship? That, I couldn’t figure out.
About a week later, I was working at my desk on a case when my secretary walked into my office.
“Uhh…Mr. Atherton…I know you’re busy but could you possibly see a new client?”
I looked up. I was about to say “No way in hell!” until I saw her face.
“What’s this about, Anne?”
“Well…there’s a man outside who I think you want to see. I really think he needs to talk to somebody. He probably wouldn’t admit it, but I think he’s been crying.”
“How do you know?”
“Well, it’s either that or he’s having the worst allergy attack I’ve ever seen.”
Anne had a soft heart but a very hard business head -- a masterful combination for a secretary. I knew she would never ask me to see this guy unless she thought it was important.
“Okay. Send him in. What’s his name, by the way?”
“Baldwin. Brian Baldwin,” she said.
She went out, leaving the door open. I stood up and came around my desk to greet this new client. She stood aside, letting him enter, and I froze. I was looking at one of the most incredibly attractive males I’d ever seen in my life.