Authors: Barry Lowe
There were no free tables so Gus asked permission of two older gents who seemed more interested in each other than the multitude of available flesh around them.
“Of course, dear boy,” one of them said. “Please, do sit down. It's always pleasant to have eye candy at one's table. Oh, we're harmless enough. I'm Stewart and this is my partner Paul, we've been together thirty-five years and this is our honeymoon.”
Einarr whistled between mouthfuls of food.
Paul held up his finger to reveal a sparkling new gold ring. “We were married last month in London. We never thought we'd live to see the day. We wanted to be amongst people who wouldn't turn a hair if we kissed and cuddled and danced together...”
They had a habit of finishing each other's sentences. Gus thought that was delightful, wondering whether he'd ever be in a relationship that was so comfortable he'd be able to do that. It merely irritated the shit out of Einarr, who was happy to allow Gus to do all the talking for both of them.
As they ate breakfast and chatted with the pleasant married couple, men began coming to the table to drop off bits of paper with names and cabin numbers, a few of them asking for autographs. Einarr basked in the adulation, even enjoying the surreptitious gropes from guys determined to ascertain if he had padded his crotch.
“You're friend certainly is popular,” Paul said. “Is he a celebrity of some sort?”
“We're out of the loop with modern culture,” Stewart added. “Please forgive us if we've offended and should know you both.”
“Einarr is the entertainment,” Gus revealed.
“For the entire ship?” Stewart looked aghast at the idea.
“He must certainly have a sphincter of steel, my dear,” Paul guffawed. “Or a dick of death.”
“I suspect both,” Gus said, gritting his teeth as yet another group of guys pawed his cabin mate.
Paul was surprised. “You haven't tried the goods yourself?”
“If I were twenty years younger I'd be there like a rat up a drainpipe,” Stewart sighed.
“You mean forty, don't you, dear?” Paul retorted.
Stewart preened and ran his fingers through his thinning, but still ample hair. “Unless he likes his men a little older and more experienced.”
“And they don't come much more experienced than you, love.”
Gus groaned. There was no respite from Einarr's groupies anywhere. They would be worse once they'd got a glimpse of what was between his legs.
Paul leaned across the table and patted his hand. “Don't mind us, dear. We're all talk. Sorry if we've offended.”
Gus realized he was being ungracious.
“You never told us what the big brute does to entertain the passengers, apart from allowing them to get a good grope every now and then.” Stewart was very direct and Paul shot him a censorious glance.
“He's the Viking Stripper that's advertised all over the ship,” Gus conceded.
“Don't we have tickets for that tonight, love?” Paul asked.
“Indeed we do. We're looking forward to it.” Stewart leaned in to whisper in Gus's ear. “Does he go all the way, or just down to a jockstrap? We were wondering whether we should book for the second show as well.”
Gus wondered. “Is it legal to go all the way?”
“We're in international waters. Besides, I would have thought on a cruise like this it would have been mandatory.”
Gus had a sneaking suspicion that he may be right. He couldn't see any of the men in the restaurant being happy if Einarr didn't strip down completely to show his tackle.
“What sort of costumes do you have?”
Gus had not planned that far ahead. His intention was solely to get aboard the ship in an attempt to win back Robert. His pretense at being a stripper was merely a furphy. Now things had taken on a life of their own and he needed not only clothing but also costumes fast.
“That's the problem,” he heard himself saying. “Einarr's luggage was left at the dock so he has nothing...”
“Thus the ill-fitting sweatpants,” Paul said. “I've never liked them as a fashion statement but, mind you, I've never seen a man fill them as effectively as your pal there.”
Einarr had gone back to the breakfast buffet for seconds and all eyes were riveted to the sculpted ass.
Stewart watched as well. “I suspect all he would have to do is stand there naked and that would almost be enough.” He sighed. “Remember when my ass looked like that?”
“To me it still does, love,” Paul said kindly, but winked at Gus.
“Perhaps we can help,” Stewart said as Einarr returned with another plateful of food plus a half dozen scrawled cards and notes. “We were involved in amateur musicals for yonks. I did a bit of directing and choreography. Paul was the genius. His costumes and set designs were sheer brilliance. All on a budget of a dollar fifty. Give him a piece of fabric and a sewing machine and he can whip up an outfit fit for the most exacting Dolly Levi to descend the stairs at the Harmonia Gardens.”
Einarr had no idea what they were talking about although it seemed to have everything to do with him. He was certain Gus would translate for him later.
“Perhaps you could call your show
” They both went off into gales of theatrical laughter at their pun but Einarr choked at the suggestion and Gus had to thump his back rather hard to stop his coughs and get his breathing regular again. He let out an enormous belch, which everyone at the surrounding tables immediately forgave, although it smelled suspiciously of dried fish and sulphur, neither of which was being served on the voyage.
Gus was eager to get back to the conversation. “You mean if I could come up with some fabric and a sewing machine you could...”
Stewart jumped in. “Now, Paul, this is our honeymoon. I don't want you spending what is meant to be relaxation sewing your fingers to the bone.”
“Oh, shut up, for heaven's sake. It's not every day we meet two hot young studs who we can help out. Besides, I'm bored stupid playing skittles and sitting in the bar drinking while the other young lovelies whisper snidely behind their hands wishing you and I would disappear because we're an affront to their sense of youthful privilege.”
“Sad, but true,” Stewart admitted. “They hate us because we are a constant reminder of the vagaries of age, something they would rather not have to think about. We made a mistake coming on this cruise. We needed one for older gentlemen of our persuasion. Although then we wouldn't have the eye candy.”
Gus jumped up excitedly from the table, his breakfast half consumed. “Don't go away,” he instructed as he hurried to the door of the restaurant to track down the ship's captain.
They sat in silence for a moment before Stewart ventured. “You like him, don't you?”
Einarr looked daggers at him.
Paul leaned over and placed his hand on his boyfriend's. Stewart made a habit of interfering.
“You young people make everything so unnecessarily complicated. You miss out on so much. Just tell him. Oh, you think you might die if he turns you down, but you won't. Chances are he probably feels the same way.”
“He tells everyone that,” Paul said kindly. “We almost missed out, you see, through our own timidity. Neither of us likes to see young men unhappy. You like him...”
“We can tell. Just as we can tell...”
“He likes you.”
Einarr put down his knife and fork. He had a load of questions to ask these two gentlemen. By the time Gus returned, the three of them had become such firm friends he almost felt like he was intruding, but he overcame the twinge of envy because he was bursting with his own good news.
“I can't believe our luck. The captain has put everything at our disposal. He's even invited us to sit at The Captain's Table on your night off.”
“Oh, I do get a night off then?” Einarr said sarcastically.
Paul kicked him under the table when Gus looked crestfallen.
“I'm sorry,” he said as he sat down, the wind taken out of his excitement, “I thought you'd be pleased.”
Stewart felt he'd known them both long enough that he could nod his head in Gus's direction as a command to Einarr, who sighed but did as he was instructed.
“I'm grateful, Gus, I really am, but I wanted to spend some time with you. Getting to know you a bit, that sort of shit.”
Gus was surprised. “Really? I thought you liked all the attention from the hot guys who've been slipping you their cabin numbers.”
“What's not to like? I love the attention. But I'm looking for something a bit deeper.” Stewart's nod told him to go on. “You know...like a...”
The four of them hung on the next word. Einarr wanted to say ‘lover.’ The other three wanted to hear ‘lover.’ What they got was ‘friend.'
Paul kicked him under the table even harder than before. Stewart slapped his forehead in frustration.
Einarr realized he'd blundered. “Or even a lover.”
“Got anyone in mind?” Gus could scarcely breathe.
“I've got my eye on a very special man,” he said and would have gone on but for Robert and Chuck blundering into the group.
“There you are Gus. I spoke to the purser and he's moving your belongings into my cabin as we speak. I told him there'd been a mix up. So, everything is hunky dory now.” His smile reminded Paul of those sharks he'd seen at the aquarium.
Chuck ran his fingers over Einarr's pecs, pinching the nipples. “And I'm more than happy to give you all the privacy in the world by moving in with Mr. Viking here.”
No one who'd ever had anything to do with Gus could believe what happened next. His hand shot out and he gripped Chuck's arm so tightly, twisting it away from Einarr's body that he cried out in pain. Then with a voice that could barely hide the grim determination and the man's new found grit, he spat out at Robert. “You will not move my gear into your cabin, Robert. If the purser has already done so you will tell him you made a mistake and have him move it back. I will not be joining you in your cabin on this or any other occasion, on board ship or on dry land. Our relationship is over! Kaput! Finished! Dead in the water! And you, Chuck, will keep your innuendo as well as your hands to yourself whenever you are within a fifty mile radius of Einarr, is that clear?”
“Yes, yes. Whatever you want,” Chuck was on the verge of tears of pain.
“My, my, when did you develop balls?” Robert was attempting sarcasm but he'd gone distinctly pale.
“Now, gentlemen,” Gus said to his three friends. “We have a show to plan.”
They swept out like royalty and its entourage, missing the snarl of vindictiveness from Robert. He was far from finished with his ex.
The Viking Stripper's act was the culmination of the night's entertainment. No one expected a long show, just a glimpse of cock, enough to titillate so that some men would go home with their partners to fantasize about Einarr as they fucked their lover, leaving others to masturbate over what they would love to do to him if they were ever lucky enough to get their hands on him, and a few to prowl the decks and passageways seeking a substitute for the evening.
It was a big ask. So far Gus had failed miserably at transforming the clumsy footed troll into anything even remotely approaching erotic. Even less the aesthetics of stripping. They had managed to purloin the use of the theatre to rehearse. Paul set up the sewing machine they'd borrowed from the tailor on board on a back table together with enough fabric to spin quite a few fantasy costumes. Someone on board had raided the trannie closet when they'd stocked up on costumes and fabrics for the various parties that were to take place on the high seas. The only problem Paul could see was a shortage of Velcro to enable swift and smooth removal of the costumes. His mouth watered when he took Einarr's measurements. While the others were absorbed in technicalities of the act, Einarr had pulled Paul's head to his crotch until his lips kissed the hardening weapon.
“Ooh, you are a bad boy,” Paul giggled as he kissed the prick before taking the opportunity of clamping his mouth around it for a few quick deep throatings. Then he released it with a sigh and a finger wave. “Don't you go telling tales out of school.”
Einarr laughed. “I won't if you won't.”
Paul took it for what it was. A gesture. A gesture of thanks in the only way Einarr knew how. And one that Paul would treasure for years to come. It's not that he and Stewart were totally faithful to each other, they'd both had their slip-ups, but never with a specimen like this one. Even just to wrap his lips around Einarr's cock was more than he'd ever hoped. Einarr also knew it would make him fiercely loyal and more inclined to work harder for the success of the act.
Down near the stage, Stewart had taken Gus aside. “I'm not trying to interfere, dear boy, but may I make a suggestion or two?”
“Go ahead, please. You must be able to do a better job than I am.”
“Einarr is totally inexperienced, am I right?”
Gus nodded reluctantly.
“Without meaning to sound rude, you have no experience at putting together any sort of entertainment, have you?”
Gus shook his head. “I work in advertising.”
“Dear lord. Might I suggest then, that we all put our skills to their best use. You head off, track down any VIPs aboard, generally get the buzz happening. I guarantee I can have your two left footed Viking at least passably choreographed by tonight although don't go expecting a Gwen Verdon...” When Gus looked blank at the reference, he tried again. “Chita Rivera?” Still blank. “Lady Gaga?” That brought the light of recognition. “Good, I was running out of references.”
Gus left Einarr in Stewart's capable hands. He was not sorry to go because he was close to losing his cool with Einarr's seemingly total inability to grasp even the most basic dance moves. Einarr was just as pleased because he knew he was disappointing the man he most wanted to impress and the stress was making it even more difficult.
Stewart called him over. They chatted for a while, until he felt the big man relax.
“Just stand up and move your body to the music. Any way you want. Don't be embarrassed. There's no right or wrong.”
Einarr tried to feel the music in his body. He was awkward at first, acutely aware that he was being watched. Because he didn't have to follow any moves like when Gus was drilling him he enjoyed himself a little better.