Alder '06: Changes

Have you ever considered that a human being can change, totally, change into something completely different?

How? Well, to know that, you have to know what I was before I changed. I was empty, yes that is a good way to describe it. I existed, I occupied space, breathed some of the planet's precious reserves of oxygen, but that was really all I did, well that and make money. Making money, that was the first thing I learned how to do. Mother in her infinite wisdom, deems the acquisition of money, wealth, and assets - so long as they are of the kind that can be easily carried and transported - to be the ultimate, indeed the only goal in life, the ability to make money is, to her, the supreme virtue.

Mother will tell you that she was born poor, she wasn't. What she calls poor and what everyone else calls poor are two different things. Setting aside that, compared to the third world, almost no one in this country is truly poor, I can assure you my mother did not grow up poor. She came from a family who had had money, and lost most of it. They lived in a big house, in a street of other big houses, but couldn't afford to have it painted every other year. It had a big garden, but they couldn't afford to have a gardener come and tend it. My mother had to act as her own mother's help to keep house and do the housework. They had a car, but it was five or six years old. My mother had clothes, lots of them, but she had to wear them until they were worn out or too small. The other houses in the street were painted every other year, their gardens immaculately tended. The other families had maids to do the housework. The other houses had a smart, shiny new car in the drive every year. The other girls had new outfits every season and for every party. To my mother this means she was poor, she felt ashamed of her home, her clothes, he father's old car and she hated that feeling. She hated what she perceived as the condescending remarks and pitying looks of the other girls.

No matter what she thinks, this is not poor. To some, my mother's childhood would be deemed luxurious. She had two parents, a father who worked hard to provide for his family and a mother who kept house and was always there for them. She didn't have to take care of herself while her single mother worked nights doing... well whatever she could to keep food on the table and a roof over her child's head, even if the roof was on an old trailer and the food was beans and toast. Her clothes may not have been the most up to date, but they were not from a thrift shop and she had plenty of them. As far as I know she lived in the same house from birth until she married, she didn't have to keep moving, never knowing how long she would be in each now town or where she would be living from one week to the next. When you look at it she really did have a very privileged childhood - but try telling her that.

Actually you can't tell her, because she no longer acknowledges its existence. She has concocted a totally different past for herself, one much closer to her fantasy childhood than the truth. To listen to her now you would think that her family, the Belmontes, were one of the finest families in the South, old money going back four or five generations. My mother's father was an accountant. Given all this, is it any wonder that the first man with any money to pay her any attention won her hand?

Patrick Standish, now he really was from an old family - there was a Standish on the Mayflower you know. He was a man who had money and knew how to live the good life too. Not that I remember him at all, I was little more than four years old when he ceased to be part of my life. There are however, pictures, and from these I can say that I favour him in looks. In these pictures the three of us are always in what seem to be very high class hotels or possibly serviced apartments. Actually there are usually four people in the pictures; me, my mother, my father and a uniformed nursemaid, nanny or house maid carrying me or holding my hand or pushing my perambulator. My mother does not believe in doing anything she can pay someone else - preferably in uniform - to do, they have to be in uniform so that everyone else can see she has someone doing her bidding. My father had money, had being the operative word, he lost it. As to how, I have never been clear about, but losing money is a cardinal sin in Mother's world, totally unforgivable. His punishment for this crime? She took me and left him. No doubt with every portable asset she could get her hands on.


Dearest Maude was determined to make sure I did not repeat my father's sin, she made it her life's work to raise a son who was dedicated to the pursuit of wealth. I was raised to believe that avarice is no sin, it is in fact a virtue. Thus I was to be happy she had to leave me with the staff, in boarding school or with relatives. Without me to slow her down, she could make more money, and that was to my benefit, and making money included marring rich men -whom I had to respect and not annoy or make demands upon. Of course if these men were to offer me money or gifts I was to accept them, with due gratitude. When I was with her, mother made sure I was schooled in all the requisite subjects - poker, bridge, backgammon, book-keeping, stocks and shares, tax evasion, dealing from the bottom of the deck - all the life skills a growing boy needs. There was something else I had to learn - 'appearances are everything' - people judge and thus trust you, based on what they see. I always had to dress well, to express wealth and culture and education. Dirt and sweat were not for me, no budget play clothes for young Ezra, only the finest clothes, which had to be kept immaculate. I learned to eat well, appreciate fine wine and vintage brandy. The simple pleasure of a burger and a beer were not for me. The easy comfort of jeans and a tee-shirt were forbidden.

I bought into all this, hook, line and sinker. I was the best little 'money maker' I could be, so my mother would be proud, she would keep me with her, she would love me. That is all any child wants; to be loved, to be noticed, and to be visible - is it not? I bought into this right up until I met step father number two, Dominic Vittorio Maldini. If you grow up being invisible, you get very good at it. I was so good at it that not only did my stepfather not notice me, neither did any of his family - and that is a lot of people. When mother was around him there was nothing, he was just a very successful business man with most of his money in property, of course I discovered that this property was mostly in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Reno, all the cultural Meccas so beloved of his 'family'. Mother was uncharacteristically blind to all of this. Dominic was the perfect catch, he was rich and although almost ten years her senior, a very handsome man. He was also a widower, with two grown up children. That was a blessing, because her previous husband hand been very keen on having a family. Mother had given birth once and once was enough, it was painful, tiring, undignified, messy and it ruined your figure. If Mother could have paid someone to carry and deliver her children - an option not available at the time - she would have, as it was she wasn't ever going to do it again. So while she spent his money, lived in his mansion, sailed on his yacht, I saw things and heard things; you see no one noticed Ezra, he just blended in, invisible, unimportant.

The more I saw of Dominic and his family, the more I wanted to stop him. By the time I was in college I wanted to stop him so much I was prepared to defy mother for the very first time and join the FBI. ME! Ezra P Standish an FBI agent! Of all things. But I was young and idealistic and this was my teenage rebellion - admittedly as teenage rebellions go, twenty one is a little on the late side, but...well I can't always be an overachiever can I?

It turned out I was good at something other than making money - and I was already doing that. I was a good agent, I caught people, I helped put them behind bars, and for a while at least I was happy. I had originally joined to get Dominic Maldini, I never got the chance - not that I ever had the chance, but still ...I was young and hopelessly over confident. Even if there had been a chance there was no time. Long before any federal law enforcement agency could even get close to him, he died. More than seventy cigarettes a day did what no one else had even come close to doing. Looking back it's amazing he lasted as long as he did. His will was something of a shock to mother as she got next to nothing. Never one to take the loss of money lying down, she contested it. I did try to tell her that fighting the Maldini clan wasn't a good idea, but she insisted and she won. Not as much as she would have liked, but sufficient to keep her comfortable for at least the next few years. With all that money to spend and enjoy she wasn't much interested in me and what she called my 'aberration' - her term for my career choice.


I watched my own career nosedive into oblivion and there was nothing I could do about it; it was like watching a train wreck. The first thing that happened was AD Rendall retired and was replaced by AD Cotton. Rendall was tough, but she was fair, Cotton was ambitious and ruthless. I'd never out and out said I was straight, nor had I told them I was gay - hell at that point I hadn't even told mother! Someone saw me coming out of a club with a lad called ...damn what was his name, Navy lawyer, built like a...Kurt! That's it - Kurt. Anyway someone saw us, they even took pictures. The club was under surveillance for some reason, or Kurt was or me, I never knew, all I knew was that I'd been outed.

At first nothing much happened other than what you'd expect, some people were supportive, some were neutral, some were hostile - nothing physical just cold shoulders and snide remarks mostly. Then it was time for my annual performance review. I'd been an agent five years by then and always had excellent - well other than the whole punctuality issue - reports and more than one commendation. This time I received a rating of 'sub standard'. There was no justification for this and I challenged it. I won and lost. My rating was returned to 'excellent' but while Cotton was only reprimanded, I was transferred. Not long after that a major bust I was involved with, concerning a minor branch of the Maldini family, went horribly wrong. It was clear there was a leak. Because I had money, more than I earned and was 'connected' to the family, all the suspicion fell on me. I couldn't prove my innocence and they couldn't prove my guilt.

Mother - with her own inimitable timing - took this moment to take an interest in her only child. She had decided she had been the merry widow for long enough and was looking for husband number four. For that she might need the services of her son, I was useful asset she needed on hand, just in case. I was considering it, whatever I ended up doing would have been better than life in the bowels of the FBI building clearing old case files for achieving. I probably would have joined her again, had one Special Agent Christopher Larabee of the ATF not come calling.


Denver, not on my top ten list of places to live, not even on the first page, but one has to go where the work takes you - right? Right, so there I was in sunny Denver in November. I had never, ever, been so cold in all my life, not even when skiing. Nonetheless, I made my way from the airport, via my hotel, to the federal building. Mr Larabee I had met of course, now I met my new colleagues. Mr Sanchez, a bear of a man with an encyclopaedic knowledge of all manner of things. Mr Jackson, who took an unnecessary interest in my health and Mr Wilmington who was loud and big and very... enthusiastic.

Later we were joined by Mr Tanner; who, under all the hair and the clothes by 'rags are us' and ignoring that horrendous Texas twang, is really very beautiful, as well as the most deadly shot I have ever met, and by young Mr Dunne; who is a genius with computers and not unlike an eager puppy most of the time.

Team Seven, the best tactical team across three federal agencies, actually we're probably the best federal tactical team bar none, but the NSA won't play ball with their performance figures, and there is this NCIS team who claim they're the best, but we haven't seen their case breakdown so... Anyway, Team Seven, we work well as a team, as a unit, we trust one another implicitly, we - became a family. It was hard for me at first to trust others so totally to watch my back. To let them get to know me so well they could anticipate my actions and reactions in almost any given situation. More than that I had to let them in, to see my weaknesses, my private fears and demons - just as I got to know theirs. In time I would have told them everything - everything being my sexuality - but as it happened, events overtook us.

Us being myself and Mr Wilmington. For now we come to the crux of the matter, change, the ability to change. When I first came to Denver all that openness that makes us the team we are today was still some way off, for all of us; all of us bar one. Buck Wilmington, despite keeping the biggest secret of all, was willing to trust us, all of us, from the start and me in particular. He took us on at face value.

"I don't listen to second hand stories, I take folk as I find them," he told me on the very first day we met. And he was as good as his word.

Buck Wilmington is not the kind of man I was used to dating. Desired? Yes, hell yes! Dated? No. I looked for men with whom I had things in common - love of good food, fine wine, fine art, the Wall Street Journal. A man who'll bed any woman who moves into his line of sight, calls fillet steak fine dining and owns three times as many pairs of jeans as he does suits, would never have been on my 'to do list' except... he was - is - so damned sexy. The fact that he came onto me wasn't exactly a turn off either.

At the time I didn't understand how he knew I'd be receptive to such advances. Now I know, now I know he has hidden talents, now I know how and where he grew up, how he learned to read the sexual 'tells' we all give off, but then, then I couldn't work out where I'd gone wrong. I was so sure I had hidden it, invisible Ezra had taken on the mantle of regular, straight guy, I was playing the part, immersing myself in the role. Little did I guess when I first accepted his invitation to a meal, that Mr 'I'm just a regular Joe from the wrong side of the tracks' was anything but regular. Whatever my worries about my inability to cover my tracks, they were pushed well back by the end of that first date. Never had I been on a date that was so electric, it didn't hurt that I was on a date with a guy already knew and trusted, but that night in the restaurant I began to feel something, something I'd never felt before - love. To find someone to love, someone who loves you, to find true love, that is rare and precious. To find that kind of love in a man who looks like Buck Wilmington? That is more than luck. The man is sex on legs, the way he walks - all easy grace and fluid movements. Hs voice is like liquid velvet. When he touched me it was like electricity flowing over my skin. And, even on that first date, he was so responsive, so in tune with me and my needs. Of course I also discovered that he is an Olympic gold medal standard lover, with equipment to match!

It was about three weeks into our relationship that I realised I had changed, that for the first time in my life I had become a real person, with a real life - my own life. I was no longer invisible. I can't tell you how that made me feel, I have no words to describe it. I can tell you when this realisation came to me, we were lying in bed, it was just after four in the morning.

Buck was beside me, flat on his back, his arm under my neck, breathing in that steady, even way that is so reassuring. He - despite that JD says - doesn't snore. I was on my side, looking at him. I reached above the bed and hit the button to open the drapes a little. I know, electronic drapes, but it came with the apartment, I'm not that lazy really. Opening the drapes let in just enough light to see him clearly. And the sigh refreshed the memory of our lovemaking.

Saturday, our day, we'd slept in, which is to say I slept in while he reads. Buck is an early riser, he wakes just before the alarm every morning and nothing changes at the weekends. I, on the other hand never wake before the alarm and have been known to sleep through the alarm. As a result any morning we don't have to go into work, I sleep in, while he reads. I'll let you in on a secret, he tells the others he's reading the latest John Grisham, in truth he's reading Harry Potter. I woke up at about ten, there was a fresh mug - bone china - of black coffee beside the bed, as there always is. And, as always, I thanked him with a kiss before picking up my coffee and turning on the television to catch the news. After news and coffee, comes showers. On a work day Buck showers and shaves while I drink coffee and watch the news, at the weekend he stays with me watching the news and we shower together. When I took this apartment the walk in wet room shower was just a useful fixture, now it's essential.

That morning he was kissing the nape of my neck even as I was turning on the water, that's one of my real turn on's and it worked spectacularly fast that morning. Not that I was going to let him get away with doing all the work. I soaped up my hand and moved it south, slowly. I rubbed it over his chest, loving the feeling of the hair running through my fingers. I toyed with his nipples - that's one of his biggest triggers and I didn't need to look down to see the result, I could feel the shudder run though him. All this time he's talented lips where working on my neck and ear, which was doing the most delectable things to my groin. My hands moved down the slight ripple of his abdomen. I love to follow that little trail of hair that leads to paradise.

Buck lost contact with my neck because I'd dropped to my knees. Hands move to cup his sac, I love it, it's heavy, a little bigger than average and the skin is so smooth and... well let's just say I like to play with them. My mouth was preparing to worship at the shrine of my love. And what a shrine it is, bigger than the average, a lot bigger, longer, thicker. Smooth, straight and hard as a rock for just about as long as he wants it to be. It also has remarkable powers of recuperation, thought to be fair, even if I do say so myself, I can match him in that department.

I took the tip and worked my way up the shaft, taking a little at a time until I had as much as I can take, which at that time wasn't all of it, I'm better at it now. I worked him with my tongue, letting it run up and down the back. Occasionally I'd pull all the way back and let the tip circle the head of my shrine. He loves that, and as soon as I'm done I suck on him long and hard. I could feel that he was ready to come, he hates to take me by surprise, so I give him a little squeeze just so he knows I'm ready. Swallowing all he has to offer is a pleasure and when I was finished, I sat back on my heels and grinned up at him, licking my lips.

"Come here you." He reached down and pulled me up, we kissed then he pulled back and licked his lips.

I shook my head, I wanted to see him, face to face. He frowned. Then I placed my hand over his and guided it down to my own erection. This replaced the frown with a smile. Like all aspects of lovemaking, Buck is an expert at giving pleasure with his hand. And while his hand worked it's magic, we kissed, long, deep, passionate kisses, what young JD calls 'tonsil tennis', only the need for oxygen forced us apart - briefly. The friction as our bodies passed so close together and rubbed against each other added to the pleasure. Needless to say I came fairly quickly, hard and fast.

By the time we had finished in the shower it was almost twelve so we headed out to a little place around the corner for brunch. After a trip to purchase groceries we returned home to relax. I read, Buck watched some sporting event on the television. After a simple meal of Spanish omelet we returned to the bedroom, where we spent the remainder of the evening. We rarely switch, basically I'm the bottom, Buck's the top, but we are equals. That night he took me twice, once fast and hard, secondly slow and loving, and with Buck slow is very slow, I swear one day he will actually drive me insane, he can keep me on the edge for so long, it's heavenly torture.

It was probably no more than minutes after he came for the second time, that my wonderful lover was asleep. Normally I would have followed him into slumber directly after, but not that night. For some reason I lay awake, lying on my side, as I am now, watching him sleep. It was then that it hit me, I was in love. This man meant more to me than anything, more than the rest of the team, more than my job, more than money, more than mother, more than my own life. I wasn't sure then that my love was returned, I hoped and prayed it was, and now know most assuredly that it is. Then, on that night, I was just filled with this feeling I couldn't even try to describe. It made me want to sing and dance, it made me want to stand on the balcony and shout to the city 'I am in love!'. I felt... real, no longer invisible, no longer just Maude's son, no longer just one of the team. I was an individual, separate and whole. I think that all my life, deep down, I knew the acquisition of money was not the ultimate goal in life, and as I began to work in law enforcement I learned to prize money less. Yet I still played the markets, I still invested my profits and savings, paying for the luxuries I believed I needed, working for the day when I would have sufficient funds to live a life of idleness. No longer, now I live for Buck, to make him happy, to revel in his love and care and our life together. My ultimate goal is not to retire early in luxury, but to retire with Buck, both of us healthy and whole.

Love, that is how a human being changes. That a man can change himself into a wolf whenever he wants is nothing compared to this. Today I watched a man, my man, do that, right in front of me and I accepted it. This huge canine, his head bent submissively to me was the man I love. I knew he was the man he had always been, he hadn't changed, not the way I did.