Title: New York, New York
Fandom: Wild, Wild West
Pairing: Artemis Gordon and James West
Sequel: Comes after Making Plans
Summary: They travel to New York.
Date: 20 December 2000
Artemis, part one

I settled back and wondered how James had gotten permission for us to attach our home to the train for New York. He'd just smiled and kissed me in a way that made me forget my question. So, now we were on our way and he was still playing mute. But at the moment, we were comfortably seated on the settee with James' head in my lap while I combed my fingers through his hair.

"James, are you ever going to tell me how you got permission to attach our rail car to this train?" I'd relaxed my decree of no clothing so we were both dressed casually now that all the window shades were open.

His eyes opened and the little frown appeared between his eyes that I thought I'd banished forever. "It's part of a bigger secret, Artemis. And I want it to be a surprise. Just a little longer, please."

"I am eaten up with curiosity, sweet James but of course you must keep mum. However, I shall not promise not to tease you about it. You must be on your guard 24 hours a day to repel my torturous advances." I teased him and watched those beautiful blue eyes crinkle into a smile.

"But I like it when you torture me, my Artemis." He moved his head just a little so he could rub his cheek against my here-to-for slumbering cock. "Someone else likes being teased, I think."

"Naughty James, I think going without your beautiful body for three days is torture indeed." I sighed and thought about the short mission that we'd quietly undertaken for the President. An old friend had come to President Grant with a plea for help in solving the murder of his daughter.

"Torture indeed, Artemis. I can still see the look on Mr. Peabody's face when it became apparent that his own brother was to blame for the rape and murder of his daughter." He shuddered and I gripped his hand tighter. "How could someone do that, Artemis? She was so young and innocent to die alone in pain and suffering at the hands of someone she trusted."

"Oh, James, I don't know why some people are twisted from the path of honor and decency. But I'm afraid that family members are, more often than not, most often to blame for rapes. Unfortunately, young victims with their restricted access to the world at large do trust their family. And when that trust is shattered, madness or death is often the result." I leaned forward to pull him up higher so I could comfort him with a kiss.

He shivered and opened to me at once. He'd been the one to discover that Uncle John had been the last person seen with the fifteen-year old girl and I had found the locket in his possession that he'd taken from her while she lay dying on the floor of the summer house. When confronted with the evidence, he'd snarled his defiance to us before trying to escape down the river.

His brother had taken careful aim and shot him out of his boat and into the water. His body was recovered later that day and we'd made our report to the President with a sense of relief that this kind of case would no longer be our lot in life. But now, I could see the toll it had taken on my honorable lover and it was time to repair the damage. The newspapers were having a field day with the scandal so I moved up the time of our trip to get James away from them.

Letting go of his lips, I began to carefully place little kisses over his face. He hummed contentedly and I moved to his sensitive throat and the hollow that warmed him when I lapped at it with my tongue. "Have I told you how beautiful you are in this shirt, sweet James? The blue is truly the blue of your eyes. How does it feel?"

"Soft like your lips and it tickles my nipples every time I move." He smoothed the silk over his stomach.

"And the boxers?" I asked while my right hand slid up his thigh to the bottom of the white silk before lifting to stroke the hard shape of his cock through the silk.

"Oh ... so good, Artemis." He wiggled a little while his cock tried to lift to my hand but was constricted by the suddenly too tight cloth. "Do we have to stay dressed much longer? I've missed Artie so much."

"And heaven knows he's missed you, sweet James. Shall we adjourn to our bedroom so we don't provide a show for any who cares to look in?" I needed him to take away the bad taste of the investigation just passed. I would long remember the cold look on Hiram Peabody's face when he took aim at his brother and killed him.

"Please, my Artemis, I want to forget the last three days and just remember how much I love you." He sat up and leaned in to kiss me gently before pulling away and rising from the settee. The blue shirt hid his nipples and I suddenly needed to taste them again. "That's a very lustful look, Artemis. What are you thinking?"

I surged off the settee and picked him up in the fireman's hold I'd used on him before. "You're hiding my favorite nipples, James. I think the paddle is called for before I remove that pretty shirt so I can taste you again."

He chuckled but began to plead contritely that he hadn't meant to hide them. And he reminded me that I'd chosen his clothes that morning. But his cock was hardening nicely as I peppered his cheeks with one hand all the way down the corridor that led to our bedroom. The crimson sheets were on today and I tenderly laid him down on our bed, admiring the perfection that was James' body.

"The paddle, Artemis." He reminded me with a flirtatious glance from under his lashes and I laughed at him before crossing to the bedside table and our drawer of toys. The velvet paddle had been his favorite from the beginning although he couldn't seem to watch me put on my driving gloves without begging for a spanking.

He swarmed over my lap when I sat down on the edge of the bed, the silk boxers teasing my legs with the thin barrier to the flesh I loved to touch. "Now let's see, this spanking is for buttoning your shirt all the way up to your throat and denying me the sight of your pretty nipples."

"Oh ... I'm sorry ... my Artemis ... " his hips raised to meet the paddle. "I promise not to button it up so high. Maybe I should leave the top button undone?"

"That only reveals the sweet hollow at the base of your throat." I kept on moving the paddle over his buttocks and he squirmed.

"Two buttons, then." He was completely hard now.

"Not enough, naughty James." His cheeks were beginning to glow through the white silk.

"Three buttons, my Artemis, and you'll be able to see them." His tones were somewhat strained and I judged his need sufficient.

"Three it is, my sweet James. But for now, I think I must have your shirt completely off so I can make sure they are still tasty." I threw the paddle back in the drawer and rolled him onto the sheets so I could unbutton him. "Ah, how very beautiful they are. What of the ring, does it feel all right?"

He stretched under my hands and restlessly moved his ass against the tormenting silk. "It's not sore at all anymore but now when it gets touched, I get hard immediately."

"When that happens, you are to come and get me at once so I can ... help you with your problem." I commanded him before leaning in to tongue the ring that hung so prettily from his left nipple. "As tasty as ever but it appears you have some swelling elsewhere, young James. Shall I take care of it for you?"

"Oh, please." He arched into my hand and I slowly peeled the white boxers down his hips, almost catching his cock in the elastic waistband.

I leaned in and kissed the tip of his cock before licking around the crown. He moaned and his hands came down to massage my scalp. Slowly, I slid him deeper and deeper until my nose was buried in the wiry blond curls of his groin. Then I added a gentle rolling of his balls while his hips tried to arch up.

He was babbling nonsense words after a while and with a few more slides, I swallowed around him and felt the first pulses of his seed against the back of my throat. Pulling back far enough to taste him, I kept sucking until his copious offering slackened.

"That feels so very good, Artemis. I missed that more than I could say." His low words sounded almost ashamed.

"That is nothing to be ashamed of, sweet James." There'd be none of that in our relationship. "I missed your scent and the feel of your skin against mine. I couldn't even pleasure myself because you weren't there."

His eyes glittered with unshed tears and I found myself on my back while his hands speedily opened my shirt. "But I'm here now and I need to make you feel good too. I missed your warmth and the feel of all this hair against my back."

I chuckled and let him disrobe me hastily. "A bed without you is very cold, my blushing love. And I'm sorry that we were so tired last night that we only cuddled."

James shook his head while pulling down my pair of silk boxers and releasing my cock from his silken bondage. "I'm not, my Artemis. I needed the cuddling then more than anything else, but now I have a different need and his name is Artie."

He grabbed the jar of cream and spread a dollop over the pulsing crown of my cock. Then he smoothed it over the entire length before pulling away and coming up on all fours. His look over a smooth shoulder could only be termed heated and I was quick to answer his call.

Two fingers slid cream deep inside him and he widened his legs so the muscles pulled his cheeks even farther apart for me. But I resisted that siren call and came back in with three fingers and more cream. His inner muscles gripped me strongly and Artie demanded that they get out and make way for him.

"Inside me, my Artemis. I need you to make me feel safe again." His eyes met mine in the mirror and they closed slowly when I pushed within the guardian muscle before pausing. He felt as tight as the first time so I waited until he relaxed around me before beginning the long slide into his depths.

James, part two

I closed my eyes at the welcome stretching of my opening. I'd dreamed of this while we slept in separate rooms during the investigation. But the images in the mirror were too engrossing to lose so I forced my eyes open to watch him pierce my body, claiming me for his own. He felt so large as he moved within me that I couldn't keep from moaning.

"So tight, sweet James, three days away from you and you feel like you did three weeks ago." His husky voice showed the strain he was undergoing while letting me adjust to him. "Tell me when to move, sweetheart."

His hands stroked my back and cooled my red cheeks with their tenderness. "I love having you inside of me, my Artemis. The pulse in your cock echoes in my body until it's like one heart beat for both of us."

"You're a poet, my sweet James. There are indeed moments when I feel as if we were one soul." He kissed me softly on the back of the neck and his hands came around me to circle my nipples. "Sweetheart, would you allow a change of position? I need to kiss you while we rock together."

"Oh yes, my Artemis." I suddenly needed that as well so I didn't protest too much when he pulled from my depths and tenderly rolled me onto my back.

He draped my legs over his shoulders and held my cheeks apart so he could pierce me once again. Every position feels different and in this one, he always felt thicker. My eyes watered at the familiar burn of entry and I sighed when once again I had him safe within.

"So good, my James, you feel so good around me." He leaned in, bending me almost double so our lips could meet. His tongue entwined around mine and I drank in the familiar taste of pure ambrosia that was my lover. The languid strokes of our tongues matched the slow pull out and thrust in of his cock within me.

"My Artemis." I loved being able to say that. The endearments that he gave me didn't come to me as easily, unless it was during one of our plays that we acted out while making love. But he told me that hearing me claim him by name was more satisfying than any ten endearments so I made sure I often told him how much I cared.

He lowered my legs to around his waist then began the steady thrusting that brought us both the most enjoyment. My cock had perked right up again and he strained towards Artemis for relief. So, I snaked a hand down between us to grasp him and felt him jerk.

"Wet your fingers, James and pinch your nipples for me." His husky request made me shiver while I wet my first two fingers and brought them to my naked nipple. It felt so good that I pinched harder before his lips swooped in and tugged on the ring adorning my other nipple.

Lightning flashed through me and if Jim hadn't already been hard, that would have turned him to iron. I moaned and he chuckled around his favorite nipple. His thrusts were speeding up and the vibration of the moving train combined with the constant hits to my gland made my skin flush from head to toe.

My legs squeezed hard around his waist and he thrust in, releasing inside of me. His groan was echoed by my own when I involuntarily squeezed my cock so hard he burst. We shuddered together the way I always wanted to do and his weight held me firmly down when he relaxed on top of me. These were the times I cherished the most. When we had loved ourselves almost to sleep.

"Am I squishing you, beloved James?" He always worried about that and I just hugged him tighter. "I'll take that as a no, sweetheart. But I'd like you to roll with me anyway so I can bring the blanket up over us and your warm, sweet weight can hold me to the bed."

I agreed because that was my other favorite position. While he was still inside of me and all of me was plastered against all of him. That made me feel loved and desired. It also brought his nipples closer to my lips and I enjoyed suckling on the brown buds that always tightened for me. He'd confessed that my nursing made him feel very loved and it was the same for me.

His hands stroked my back comfortingly and the blanket he'd pulled up over us felt warm and soft, surrounding us in a dark cloud of goose down. Artie was shrinking a little but was still hard enough to keep us joined so that little pulse I'd mentioned echoed both our heartbeats.

"I will be a hundred years old and still not tire of holding you, my James." His voice mused while I sucked on his nipple, agreeing silently with his thought. My legs lay outside of his and his strong hands stroked over my ass and down my thighs before moving back up again to palm my cheeks.

Moving to the other nipple so it didn't feel unloved, I suckled some more and lapped up the sweat that was beginning to cool on his skin. In a little while when Artie came out of me, he would suggest a bath and I would agree. Our rituals were a great comfort to me when we had to be apart. The memory of them and the knowledge that soon we'd be enacting one of them kept me centered while I was alone.

But thinking of why I'd been alone for part of this investigation reminded me of the young girl who been raped. She would never feel the comfort of a lover or the joy of making love to someone that loved her. I mourned her lack and hoped that she hadn't suffered too much when her despicable uncle had hurt her. "Artemis, do you think she was unconscious when he raped her?"

His answer was prompt. "Most decidedly, James. That lump on the back of her head sent her straight into a coma that only ended with her death. She would have had no knowledge of his rape. Has that been worrying you?"

I propped myself up a little so I could see his face. "A little, I just didn't want her to have to feel that. Part of me wonders what would have happened if you hadn't rescued me some of those times when I was being beaten and tortured. Would one of those men, like Heildigger, have raped me as a part of his plan to break me?"

"Yes, I'm afraid several of them would have if they could." His dark eyes looked into mine. "It's why I feared for you. You were so innocent of what some of them wanted. It would have killed me to find you like they found poor Jane. That was a horror that I dreaded ever happening."

"It won't happen, my Artemis." I leaned down to kiss him. His lips trembled under mine and I pressed harder to reassure him.

We kissed for a long time before breaking apart to breathe. Artie slowly slid from me and Artemis caught me close when I bit my lip at his loss. "I love you, my sweet James, and it's time for our bath. I was reduced to sponge baths without you and I've been looking forward to cuddling you in hot scented water."

"Me too, Artemis. I didn't want to take the time and I told myself that cold baths were best when I couldn't enjoy them." I admitted and felt his body shake with laughter. I smiled triumphantly at him and he chuckled again before rolling us out of bed.

I walked rather stiff-leggedly down the hall, trying to keep Artie's juices from flowing down my leg. He was still chuckling and he swept me up in his arms to carry me the rest of the way. I liked it when he carried me even though he didn't have to. So I put my arms around his neck and attacked his ear with my tongue and teeth.

"Ah, I missed naughty James immensely. I believe I may have to spank him before we eat dinner so he'll have to lay across my lap while I feed him by hand." He mock glared at me and I wiggled with joy. "Impudence, if you'll release the hot water, I'll pour in the cool."

He set me down and we quickly prepared our favorite bath. Any bath would be good if Artemis was in it but with bath oil and scented soap, it was perfect. He got in first then I got in and lay back against him so we could soak in the heat. I'd never known how wonderful washing could be but my lover was an excellent teacher. His hands caressed my skin until I stilled them into a hug.

"Thank goodness we're headed to New York." He nibbled my ear. "The soap is looking decidedly smaller than a month ago. We'll have to see if we can get enough for us to last until we find something else we like as well out west."

I was determined that he would not have to go without any of his favorites but for the moment, I simply hummed while wiggling on top of a slumbering Artie. "Will I get to meet the old friend who makes it?"

"Of course, you will. I'm certainly not going to let you out alone in the wicked city of New York. There are too many predators there to risk losing track of you." He bit my earlobe then swabbed it with his tongue to soothe the tiny pain.

"We have an awful lot of shopping to do, my Artemis. We may have to split up to get it all done within the time we've allotted." I didn't want to be without him either but I did need to see my lawyer and I plotted how I could do that without him knowing.

"Sweetheart, if there's someone you need to see without me, I will understand." He knew me too well and even though there was no hurt in his voice, I still felt badly.

Turning in his arms, I floated on his chest and thought quickly. "I need to see my lawyer about my inheritance but part of that is your surprise so I want you there but I don't want you to hear what we talk about."

He chuckled. "Ah, the mysterious inheritance, of course you must go and talk to him. I shall sit in the outer lobby and await your return to me. If we go to Green's Bookstore first, I'll have something to read while you do your business."

I kissed him in relief and made a silent plan to buy every book that he even looked at for our homestead. Books were sometimes few and far between out West so each one was cherished by its reader. He'd need books on wine making and vineyard growing. Plus books on all the science experiments that he enjoyed and the poetry he loved. I was looking forward to nights when Artemis would read aloud to me before taking me to bed.

"Mischief, you have a very determined look on your face. What are you planning now?" He was smiling at me and I smiled back.

"Nothing, Artemis. Why would you think I was planning something?" I said as innocently as I could.

"Very, very naughty James, that spanking is looming ever greater in your near future. Hand me the soap, please so I can wash your soon to be even redder cheeks." He kissed me hard and began to lather the very small bar of soap. Our bath proceeded leisurely and the water was decidedly cooler when we finally got out to dry off. He'd taught me well how to take a 'proper bath'.

Artemis, part three

I was beginning to think that James' surprise was going to be quite large. We'd been in New York for two days and still we were buying things for our move. One of the first things had been a new bed for his room. Not as large as ours but significantly bigger than the bunk he'd been using. The new sheets weren't scratchy at all and the coverlet was a quilt in all the colors of the rainbow. Another armoire had joined the one in his room and I had enjoyed buying a few new shirts for him to liven up his wardrobe.

But then, I had a few new things as well. James insisted that I needed several pairs of gloves and he'd tortured himself when I tried them on at the counter. He really does get hard whenever I pull on leather. That provided me with an extremely enjoyable encounter in the men's room at Sac's Fifth Avenue department store. I drank him down like the fine wine I enjoyed with my meals.

He had that pleasant well-fucked look that I so enjoy provoking and he gathered many an admiring eye when we walked the crowded streets of New York. While shopping, I found him making notes of everything I said I liked so I cut back on my pronouncements for fear of bankrupting him. I didn't want to be a burden to him for many years to come.

But I still had the premonition that his inheritance might just be larger than I'd first thought when one of the leading lawyers of the North came out into the front room to usher James into his office. He shook my hand with aplomb when I was introduced, making sure his secretary showed me into an unused office and provided me with a cup of tea while he and James had their business conference.

I had a good book in my pocket so I was quite comfortable while I waited. If his inheritance was large, I hoped his investments were sound, reliable ones. I wasn't a very good money manager and normally it flowed through my hands like water in a stream. We would have to have a long talk about it soon. His business sense was much better than mine so I was more than willing to let him take over that aspect of our lives.

Settling in to read I barely noticed the time passing until James appeared with his lawyer to roust me out. The history of Rome was engrossing and I was looking forward to reading the author's theory of why the Roman civilization declined. But James was relaxed and smiling so what ever they'd been speaking of for two hours must have gone well. I shook hands with his lawyer and kept my curiosity to myself.

Walking down to street level, I found him eyeing me uncertainly. "Are you sure you don't mind my being so secretive?"

"James, I'm a very bad money manager and you seem to be a very good one so from now on, I shall just turn over what ever I earn to you. Your investments must be sound ones or Mr. Kennedy wouldn't have needed so much of your time. I am content to let you guide this part of our lives." I reassured him and watched his face light up.

"Thank you, Artemis. I promise I'll do a good job and keep our investments safe so we can live a very long time and never want for anything." He promised extravagantly while I laughed and hailed a hansom cab. "Where are we going next?"

"We have time to get our soap and bath oil before eating lunch just two blocks from my old friend's store. It's an ethnic restaurant that I think you will find intriguing." I gave the cabby the address before following my lover into the cab. He immediately took my hand in his and leaned hard against my shoulder.

I stroked him soothingly and wished we had an excuse to close the window shades. His sigh was heartfelt and I echoed it while we reconnected physically. His voice was low but I could hear every note in it. "I both love and hate big cities. The variety of shops and goods is wonderful but there are too many people. I don't see how they can stand to be so crowded. I find myself longing for open spaces."

"Well said, my James. I used to thrive in large cities but as I grow older, I have come to appreciate the beauty in silence. Those times when we're propped up on the settee with your head in my lap while we both read, those are precious memories and help me get through all this hustle and bustle." I dared a brief kiss to his temple and he squeezed my hand.

The buildings we were passing had changed and so had the walkers which caught his eye so that he sat up straighter and looked through the window with interest. We'd left the beautiful world behind and entered the section of town where the real work lay. These buildings housed textile workers, candle makers, apothecaries, bakeries, furniture makers and a hundred more professions that fed the growing need of this great city.

The used bookstores were here as well and I made a mental note to visit one of my favorites perhaps after lunch. The cab stopped before the bow window of my favorite soap maker. The window sparkled in the sunlight and various jars of colored liquid were tastefully arranged around small pyramids of different soaps, each wrapped in a bright ribbon. No name appeared on the front but those of us who patronized the shop knew it simply as Mother Maisy's.

James followed me with curious eyes busily darting around the small front room that showed off all the different kinds of soaps, lotions and perfumes. The young woman behind the counter smiled winsomely and when I asked to see the owner, nodded and disappeared through the curtain to the back. James had found our soap and was sniffing at a bar when the curtain was flung aside for a smiling woman of color.

"Mother Maisy! It's so good to see you again." I held out my arms and she hugged me hard.

"Bad Artemis, it's been too long since you came to see this old lady." She teased me while checking to be sure that I hadn't lost any weight. "You're skinny as a rail and it's about time you came by to let us fatten you up. And who is this tragically thin young man?"

"Mother Maisy, this is my partner, James West. James, here is the best soap maker in the world. She has secret recipes for the most fragrant lotions and perfumes that have ever graced a lady's boudoir." I introduced them and watched my lover shake hands gravely with the small roly-poly woman.

"Land sakes, child, doesn't Artemis feed you?" She scolded me while clasping James' hand in both of hers, searching his face for clues about him. Her talent for divining people's personality from the way they held their heads or the set of their eyes amazed me all over again. "And such a nice boy too. Artemis makes you happy doesn't he? I thought so. The best kind of friend is a heart-friend. Take care of him for me, child, and let him take care of you."

She smiled up at him and patted his hand. "Now, Artemis, you're almost out of soap. And I see a long trip in your eyes so I must get busy making you enough to last until your next visit. Come to the back and I shall write your order myself. I am working on a new recipe that you can try."

So we followed her back into her workroom where a dozen pots bubbled on the two coal stoves. And a long table held a set of seven Bunsen burners that heated several complicated tubes of various colors. James watched, fascinated by the process of making soap and distilling the essence of perfume. Mother Maisy handed me a small jar of cream that smelled of something that teased my memory.

James had been silent up until now but I saw his nose twitch. "It smells like the perfume my mother wore. She loved lilies of the valley."

My eyes met Mother Maisy's and I smiled gratefully at the old woman who sometimes saw the future. To have something that reminded James of the love of his long dead mother instead of the cruelty of his father was a precious gift indeed. She gave us the green jar with the new cream and a large package with enough soap to last us for almost a year.

By now, James was comfortable enough to ask questions and I watched her answer patiently while turning my lover into one of her many adopted children. We were a varied band of brothers and sisters both black and white; all united in our care of this singular woman who had befriended us one and all. She and her sisters were the glue that held this entire neighborhood of New York together.

I watched James succumb to her caring charm and breathed a sigh of relief. With her help, I knew that I could heal my lover's past. We stayed for almost an hour before she sent us off for lunch. Walking down the street, James enthusiastically talked about what we'd seen while we headed for the restaurant to which I wanted to introduce him. Mother Maisy's sister Bertha was the proprietor and her cooking was exceptional even for a city of great cooks. We were in for a treat.

Lunch passed quickly and James ate everything in sight. Even he had to refuse a second dessert and he looked sleepily content when I steered him towards Harris' used bookstore. He perked up though when he saw the long rows of gently used books. Peter Harris was an old friend and we exchanged news before splitting up to search for gems for our growing collection.

I headed straight for the science section because those books were the most expensive to buy when new and I was hoping to find some of the reference texts that I couldn't expect to find out west. Two of them were there with only slight water staining of the bindings. Then I wandered over to the poetry section and browsed some of my favorite authors. I was looking forward to sharing them with James. He seemed to enjoy my reading aloud.

When I heard James' voice, I realized that I'd wandered back towards the front desk. Peter was asking a question and I didn't mean to eavesdrop but my name caught my ear.

"If I deposit a sum to cover anything Artemis wants now and in the future, could you just put it on account? I don't want him to have to go without his books even if we are in the back of beyond." James' voice came to me loud and clear.

When Peter answered, I thought about how greatly I was loved. It seemed that James was as determined to take care of me as I was to take care of him. Quietly, I turned and walked back to the poetry. I didn't want to spoil his surprise and it seemed books were included in our future, and that was a future that looked better and better as we grew in our love.

"Artemis, have you found anything?" James appeared and since we were alone, I drew him into my arms and kissed him tenderly.

He sighed into the kiss and I hugged him tightly. "I believe I found something I will have to read with my fingers everyday for the rest of my life."

"I know you'll take good care of the binding." He asked breathlessly.

"The very best of care, my James. Why I shall have to oil it regularly and rub the binding slowly with my fingers ... frequently." I nipped my way from his lips to the hot spot behind his ear while he shivered in my arms. "Why don't we buy what we have and catch a cab home?"

"Oh, yes." He didn't want to let me go, I could tell. "Home, that sounds good."

James, part four

Relaxing in the familiar surroundings of our rail way car, I delighted in being naked again. We'd pulled down all the shades as soon as we arrived, locked the door and stripped each other bare. Now Artemis was stretched out on the settee reading his mail while I went over the prospectus that Mr. Kennedy had given me. I was reading it one handed because I didn't want to let go of Artemis' other hand.

"James, do you remember me speaking of Maria's House of Pleasure? I wrote her when we arrived in New York and she has extended an invitation to us for dinner tonight. It's up to you, my James whether we go or not." He smiled down at me before bringing our linked hands to his lips. "I love you and would like to give you this experience but if it makes you uncomfortable then we shall speak no more of it."

I felt the flash of danger that until now had always fired my blood and sent me into situations with no more thought. But I wasn't the same man who loved dashing into an adventure because now I had someone to lose. "Part of me wants to but part of me is afraid. That sounds silly to be afraid of a woman I've never met before. I don't want to disappoint you, Artemis."

"You could never disappoint me, my love. Some experiments don't work out, as every scientist knows. And affairs of the heart are fraught with peril at the best of times. Maria could never come between us, James, because she has my affection but never my love." Artemis pulled me up higher into his arms and kissed me gently before cuddling me close.

I was the luckiest man in the world. I thought about what it might be like to make love with a woman who knew what she was doing. "I'm afraid of appearing clumsy in front of you, Artemis. I guess Father was right about being prideful."

"Nonsense, James. What you do, you do well. That's not pride but simple enjoyment of a job well done. And what happened to watching me and then trying it out? I'm certainly not letting you out of my sight." He kissed my temple and rocked me just a little. "I'd like you to meet her and just that, nothing more. Two months after we were partnered, I took solace in her arms because I could see that you were the man with whom I could settle down but you were oblivious to me. She is happy for me because she knows that I am happy with you."

"Not jealous because you are moving so far away?" I asked hesitantly.

"She is in love for the first time in her life, she writes." He picked up her letter and read from it. "I thought you a foolish man to love a man so cold but alas, I have fallen hard myself for a young innocent who was sold into prostitution by her brother. She was so afraid when Scully brought her to me that I thought only to help her come to terms with her new status. Her name is April and she is still a rather springlike creature. I must be crazy but her introduction to sex was an obscenity and she fears men now with a passion she'd formerly kept for her flowers. I have actually acquired flower boxes for all the windows so she can tend them. Insanity beckons as my love for her grows. Come to dinner and bring your young man. We can commiserate with each other."

I listened, saddened by the tale of another innocent victim of a family. "Artemis, I can't understand how someone could do that to his own sister. I fear that such things are happening more frequently or perhaps I'm just more attuned now. I would like to have dinner with her. Perhaps after dinner, we could decide then if we are . . . to stay."

"An excellent idea, James. We'll have dinner and if you feel comfortable with her then we'll stay. I admit that I'm curious about April. Maria is not a flower-box kind of woman." He chuckled. "Now, how about a cleansing and a nap for both of us?"

"Yes, please." I sat up in anticipation. Artemis had carved another plug so we could both be cleaned out at the same time. It lent a wonderful spontaneity to our lovemaking and I loved it when he decided he needed me inside of him although having Artie inside of me was still my favorite way to make love.

So he made up a double batch of solution and we filled each other before taking a nap, cuddled in our bed under the comforter. He had to get up first so he began to fill our bath while I followed suit. We tried the new soap that Mother Maisy had given us and I was reminded again of my mother when the sweet scent of lilies of the valley filled the room.

"I believe we must return and buy a years supply of this, my James. The scent seems to fit you so perfectly." Artemis lathered my chest before turning me to scrub my back. "Such a lovely spine you have, James. I can't remember a nicer."

"You'll turn my head with such fulsome compliments, Artemis." I laughed at the thought of a spine being lovely.

"Ah, but it leads to such an interesting part of your anatomy, sweet James." His soapy fingers slid lower until they were inside my crease and I felt my hole spasm open for them. "Catch hold of the edge of the tub, James, I think I'd best relieve your tension before we go to dinner."

I spread my legs with a groan and felt three fingers breach me, stretching me for what was to come. Then the soft crown pushed slowly but inexorably into me and I panted to relieve the almost pain. But his hands were holding my hips so I couldn't move until slowly but surely he impaled me on his cock.

"Dear heavens, James, you always seem to tighten back to virgin levels no matter how often we make love. I am the luckiest man in the entire world." He said against my neck, while his hands stroked up from my hips and his back warmed me everywhere he touched. "Tell me when you want me to move."

I wriggled just a little and one hand came down to stroke Jim to full hardness. "Now, my Artemis, make me yours. With you, I want to be a virgin again and again."

His lips grazed my neck right before he licked that spot behind my ear that sparked a flame inside of me. "You are my sweet and innocent James no matter how many times I fill you with myself. And you always will be."

Then he began the steady thrusting that made me burst into flame and burn with a fervor that I'd never felt before with anyone but him. I needed him to claim me now before we went to dinner and this unknown woman came, however briefly, into our lives. He seemed to sense my need or perhaps we shared this desire. Heaven knows we shared everything else.

He drew it out for a long time until I was shaking with the need to come and he could feel it. With a simple clasp of my steel hard cock, he gave me release and the pull of my inner muscles gave him his climax. We came for what seemed like forever and my grip on the tub was the only thing that kept me upright.

"Dearest James, how well you love me." His murmur rewarded me with his finest accolade. "There may not be anything left for Maria."

I tensed my inner muscles a little around him, teasing him over my shoulder. "Oh, I think I can get Artie ready to go at least once more tonight."

"Naughty James will undoubtedly do his best. And his best is very good indeed." He chuckled and caressed my limp cock. "Jim had a fine time as well. But I know he'll be up and ready by the end of dinner. Now let me leave your welcoming depths for the moment. We need to get dressed and hire a cab."

Hating the necessity but knowing that I had to let him go I relaxed while he gently slid out and immediately checked to be sure I was all right. "Artemis, I think you may be mistaken."

"Indeed? About what?" He kissed my entrance before pulling me upright and turning me so we could kiss.

"I am the luckiest man in the world." I said against his smiling lips.

"Ah, perhaps we are simply taking turns." He suggested.

Kissing him always takes all my attention and this time was no exception. I will never get tired of tasting him and he tells me he feels the same way. "We shall have to I'm afraid, because each time you give yourself to me, I feel richer than the Queen of England. And twice as lucky."

"You're prettier, as well." He teased me and we laughed together while we got out of the tub and dried each other.

He delights in dressing me and I have grown fond of helping him, too. He looks so distinguished in full black tie and tails with his gleaming white gloves. But he tells me that he thinks I look handsome all dressed up as well. I still missed the sash with all the ribbons on it that he wore for one of his impersonations. It added such an elegant touch to his dress.

Artemis had gotten roses earlier and he readied them while I checked the car to be sure we hadn't left any gaslights on. Then we were off to the House of Pleasure and I held onto my lover's arm the whole way while he told me stories about some of his trips to New York. I was nervous but determined not to show it. I should have known that I couldn't hide such an emotion from my perceptive lover.

"James, you are in control here. If all we have is dinner with my old friend then that is fine with me. You decide and whatever your decision, I will be there for you." He held my hand and peeling back the white glove just a bit, he pressed a kiss to my pulse.

It was one of the most erotic things he'd ever done do me and my heart melted all over again at the caring that he wrapped around me. "I love you, Artemis, and I will until the day I die."

"My love." His dark eyes glowed in the dim light of the carriage. "You are my greatest joy."

The rest of the ride was spent in silence but this was comfortable rather than charged with great emotion. I stopped thinking about what could go wrong and instead, I wondered what it might be like to touch a woman and to make love to her. My memories of Cousin Lucille were hazy at best. Mostly I remembered her cry of delight when I touched something inside of her that made her shake around me. Her muscles had wrung my own climax from me and she'd hastily tidied us so we could return to the reunion.

Not a bad memory but not a particularly good one either. Father had whipped me for walking out with her and I guess that I had always associated sex with that punishment instead of for the pleasure we'd had. It wasn't a tenth of the pleasure that Artemis had shown me since he told me loved me. And I no longer thought of sex as being painful but joyous.

The cab stopped and I got out first so I could steady Artemis and his bouquet of roses. I paid the cabby and walked nervously up the steps of the brightly-lit brownstone in a very nice neighborhood just off of Fifth Avenue. The door swung open and a tall black man in livery stood to welcome us. With Artemis' hand on my back, we entered.

Artemis, part five

Thomas bowed us in and led us immediately to the second floor and the back rooms that served Maria as home and office. The front room was where she met clients and occasionally had dinner with a select few. James cast surreptitious looks about the rich décor. Maria was a savvy investor in her own right and was well able to retire at any time.

But she enjoyed her work. I wondered at the young April and what she might mean for my old friend. Love had a way of rearranging your life for you I mused as we climbed the stairs. At the top, Thomas tapped on the door and opened it for us when the melodious voice called 'enter'. James was glued to my side when we entered and I wondered if he'd even be able to relax enough to eat dinner.

"Artemis, my dear, you look wonderful." Her husky voice promised untold delights and always had. When I kissed her hand, she chuckled and pulled me into a hug. "You old reprobate, how dare you let something this important in your life go with a note?"

"Ah Maria, I had no words to tell you my happiness. You had to see us to be able to gage the depth and breadth of the change in me. Maria, may I introduce my partner, James West?"

James held out his hand and she shook it. "It's a pleasure to meet you, ma'am."

"Oh, good heavens, that makes me feel ancient, James. Call me Maria, if only because Artemis does. You needn't be so frightened, young man, I won't bite." She teased him with a serious demeanor. "Unless you want me to."

That surprised him into a smile. "That's what Artemis said."

I'd forgotten that. "Well, I was right, wasn't I?"

"You bit me the first time you came inside of me." He said gravely but with a twinkle in his eye that made Maria laugh aloud.

"Oh, you two deserve each other." She linked arms with me and divided a smile between the pair of us.

"Yes, we do, my dear. James is the other half of my soul." I vowed and watched him blush shyly.

"April, come and meet one of my oldest friends. Gentlemen, this is my ward, April Spring." She rather imperiously beckoned a slight young beauty of perhaps eighteen years. Dressed becomingly in a lavender silk that emphasized her small bosom and white shoulders, she moved gracefully from the window seat to Maria's side.

"April, this debonair gentleman is Artemis Gordon, actor extraordinaire. And his partner in work and life is James West." Maria watched her curtsy to us both before retreating just a bit behind her shoulder.

The pair of them intrigued me. Maria's presence was always larger than life with her flashing blue eyes and silver gilt hair. Dressed in an ice blue gown of watered silk with white lace at shoulder and cleavage, she looked more like royalty than the royals did. Her ward was a raven-haired beauty with shy green eyes that showed more than a trace of fear.

Such a pair of opposites but then what were James and I but a mirror of them?

"Dinner will be served in half an hour, gentlemen. We have time for a drink before we eat. I can offer Beaujolais to the wine connoisseur but what would you enjoy, James?" Maria asked quietly, her eyes sending a message to April who moved obediently to the small sideboard where decanters stood waiting.

"A sherry would be nice, Maria. I'm afraid I have no palate." James admitted.

"Nonsense, James, you do well enough. It's just the drier varieties that you don't like. One of these days, we'll convert you." I teased him and watched him smile.

"Only if you promise to grow grapes that will make sweet wine at our ranch." He teased me back shyly.

"Artemis, what ranch?" Maria's full attention was on me and I explained our retirement and plan to head West. She nodded and accepted a glass of the same sherry that James was drinking while I kept on talking. April had gone back to her shoulder with a glass of sherry that she didn't drink but merely held like a shield in front of her.

James chimed in about what we were doing in New York. He made her laugh twice with his descriptions of Mother Maisy and our lunch at Bertha's. April smiled when he mentioned the soap maker and Maria and I exchanged a glance that spoke volumes. The matriarch of the neighborhood had taken April under her wing so Maria had a better than even chance at bringing her back to normalcy.

Dinner was served at eight and James held April's chair while I seated Maria. I still hadn't heard the young woman's voice and she continued mute while our dinner conversation flowed from politics to investments and on to favorite plays. I could see James relaxing under Maria's skillful calming and I enjoyed how she made him laugh. But I surprised a smile from April when I mimicked a certain politician from Washington.

I took that to mean that he was a visitor to the House of Pleasure and she had heard him first hand. Maria's grateful look spoke volumes about her struggle to bring April out of her shocked shell. The trauma went deep because she flinched if I dropped my voice but James' light tenor evoked a small smile more often than not.

His youth appealed to her as well while my maturity frightened her. It gave me a pretty good idea of the kind of man to whom a young man might sell his sister. And it made me angry to think of an older man taking advantage of someone so innocent. But then, hadn't I done the same thing to James? I found myself looking at him and then at April and wondering if the two of them didn't make a better couple than James and I.

He could tell that something was awry and his hand caught mine with a hard grip. "Artemis, what is wrong?"

I managed a smile and a shake of my head but I knew I hadn't fooled him when he continued to hold my hand. Maria probably had a very good idea what was wrong for she sent April downstairs for dessert. James was on his knees at my side immediately, both hands cradling mine.

"Foolishness, that's all." I said quietly. "I suddenly had the thought that you and April would make a very nice couple."

"No we wouldn't. I don't love her and never could. She's very nice and I'd like to horsewhip her brother for hurting her so but she doesn't fire my blood the way that you do. She could never hold me so tightly it feels like I'm flying. Or make me feel warm and safe like you do."

His blue eyes glowed like sapphires into mine and I thanked God for him. Holding out my arms, he came into them with a rush and I pulled him onto my lap with a sigh. He scattered soft kisses over my face and I have never felt so loved. When finally he covered my lips with his, it was like the first time all over again. Only this time, he was reassuring me.

When finally we parted, I saw Maria watching us with an unaccustomed tear in her eyes. "I envy you ... both of you. What you have is so strong and deep that it must be like a warm blanket on a cold winter's night."

Still holding James on my lap, I nodded. "He brings me warmth and joy, the likes of which I have never known. He has all my heart."

"And Artemis has mine." James declared with a fierce look in his eyes. "He melted the cold stone that was my heart so I could give it to him in return for his. And he's being extremely silly if he thinks the first nice girl I meet is going to displace him."

"Ah, James, I was going to warn you about his silliness." Maria said sagely, the tear replaced with glint of laughter. "Artemis has a real knack for turning molehills into mountains. Why the stories I could tell about his sojourn here in New York a few years back?"

When April returned, we were still laughing at my attempts to keep Maria from telling James some of my more harebrained stunts. And James was still on my lap, which widened her eyes and made her hands shake just a little when she placed the torte on the table. She kept darting quick glances at us as if in disbelief. Maria drew out another story that showed me in a very silly light and when James laughed, I saw April hide a smile.

James stayed on my lap and fed me my dessert a forkful at a time, often leaning in to lick away a stray crumb. Or so he said. I rejoiced in his comforting weight and basked in his loving gaze. I truly was the luckiest man in the world. After dessert, Maria dismissed April with a smile and once she was gone, that blue gaze came back to us with a very speculative look.

"Artemis has explained your curiosity, James. And that it is your decision whether or not you wish to learn a little more about a woman's body. On my part, I needed a little time to get to know you before offering myself as your tutor." She leaned her elbows on the table and rested her chin on her clasped hands. "Now, that I've watched you with Artemis, I think I would enjoy our menage-a-trois. Would you?"

James was very quiet and I held him closely, content with whatever decision he made. He divided a look between us and nodded slowly. "I think I would like it, too. If Artemis feels he isn't being replaced ... because he isn't."

"I know that now, James. Please forgive me for ever doubting." I brought his hand to my lips and kissed it gently. "I love you and I will never let you go."

"Good." He said with satisfaction. "I shall hold you to that promise, my Artemis. Now, how do we begin?"

Chuckling, I urged him off my lap so we could stand. Maria stood also and with a quick movement, I swept her up in my arms, surprising her into laughter. "Now, my James, we will take Maria to bed and carefully tend to her every need. If you will just get the door for us."

He opened the white six-paneled door into her bedroom and I carried my old friend in right behind him. He gazed about him with a wide-eyed look that took in the silk draped walls, large canopied bed with white satin sheets and the dressing table with its large tri-part mirror reflecting the bed over and over. It was feminine without being frilly and suited Maria's personality to a 'T'.

Setting her down, I beckoned to James and began his introduction to women with a first lesson on how to get them out of their complicated clothing. Maria was ever helpful with her advice about closures and stays. This was going to be fun.

James, part six

Maria's body was a revelation to me. Not even the photographs in the book Artemis showed me could prepare me for the beautiful white skin that was revealed by the peeling away of her layers. Women wear an awful lot of different pieces of cloth. I helped Artemis undress her while we undressed each other as well. We were down to our silk boxers while she still had on a pretty silk and whalebone corset that held up her white silk stockings.

Her breasts were barely contained by the wisps of silk and satin. Artemis cupped them from behind her and she rested back against his chest with a sigh. "James, a woman's breasts are very sensitive and greater care must be taken with them then perhaps you and I take with each other."

I watched her eyes half-close when he stroked his thumbs over her nipples and they hardened in front of me. Looking at her, I hesitantly brought my own hand up to cup her right breast. "May I taste you?"

They seemed to swell even larger and her voice was the husky drawl that Artemis sometimes got when I pleased him. "Please, young James, I'd like that."

So, I leaned in and tongued the nipple through the thin silk, feeling it harden. For a moment, it seemed so right that I wondered why I'd never known how wonderful such an act could be. Then I realized that although the breast was plumper, the pleasure to be had at Artemis' nipple was just as good. So I sucked a little harder and felt her tremble under my hand.

"Artemis, you've taught him well. I could come from just this." Her hand stroked my hair and I smiled around her nipple before moving to her other one.

"He is a naturally sensual man who is learning to delight me and himself at the same time. James, I believe it may be time to take to the bed. If you'll take her legs, we'll make sure she doesn't have to lift a finger in this seduction." Artemis' eyes sparkled over her shoulder and I quickly bent to lift her legs so we could walk her over to the bed.

My eyes were drawn to her glistening sex and I found myself wanting to touch the soft blond curls that grew around her mound. Artemis had told me all the parts and when we were on the bed, I reached out to touch the soft folds at the juncture of her legs. There was a musky scent that reminded me of that day so long ago when Cousin Lucille had taken me inside of her.

Artemis joined me at her hips and used his long fingers to brush against the slit that was almost hidden by the curls. "Do you remember the picture of Lily and Judith? What they were doing with their fingers? There are nerves running very close to the surface, just here." He rubbed his thumb over the small knob at the top of the mound and she took a deep breath that might have been a sigh. "When stimulated, just that can make Maria come without any penetration at all. Fingers or tongue can be used, whichever you prefer. I think I shall slowly remove the rest of this delightful confection you call a corset, Maria. But I like the silk stocking touch. Shall we leave them on, James?"

I thought about it and I stroked down the soft silk of her inner thigh and brought another sigh from her. "Yes, please, if she doesn't mind? They feel good."

"By all means, James, leave them on. But I would like both of you to remove your boxers. It's been a long time since I've had the pleasure of seeing Artie and since this will be my last chance, I need to see him again." Her voice teased my lover and he grinned at her.

"Ah, but you will love seeing Jim. He's perfectly formed and should pleasure you into ecstasy." Artemis teased her back and with a flourish, removed his boxers, letting his cock free for both our admiring gazes.

I watched him possessively so wasn't prepared for the two of them to pounce upon me and strip me out of my own silk boxers. She ran a finger down my cock and licked her lips. "Quite right, Artemis. He is delicious to look at but I'll bet he's even better to taste."

"He is indeed, Maria but you don't get to taste him yet. Now back you come, naughty Maria, it's still his turn to explore you." Artemis drew her down to his side and immediately latched onto one of her nipples while his hand stroked her inner thigh to make her open for me.

I touched her where he'd shown me and was rewarded with a quiver of her hips. More moisture was gathering at the lips of her sex so I stroked her there before going back up to the bump and rubbing it. She sighed again so I leaned in and licked around the lips to see what she tasted like. The musk scent was identical to the taste and I rolled up my tongue to see if she liked being pierced by it, the way I like Artemis to do to me.

The quiver was back so I smiled and went to alternating licks and pokes until she moaned. Artemis was still sucking on her nipples but his hand stroked my head and when he let go for a moment, he said quietly. "Trying sucking on the small bud while inserting two fingers between the lips of her sex."

So, I leaned in and sucked hard while sliding in my first two fingers. She bucked under my touch and Artemis' large hand flattened on her stomach to control her movements. She was shaking so I kept sucking while moving my fingers as deep as they would go before scissoring them the way I did to Artemis before I slid inside of him. But she was wet compared to us when we made love.

With a moan, she shook hard and then stilled while little tremors raced through her skin. Artemis stopped his suckling and looked at me with a smile. "Very good, James. You just gave her the first climax of the night. But women have a distinct advantage over us because they can come several times to our once. It's rather nice to give them release first because each climax takes several moments to recover from."

"Beautifully done, James. You are indeed a natural. But I think I'd like Jim to come inside of me. Fingers are never as nice as a lovely cock like yours." Maria's eyes were sultry and when Artemis nodded, I took a deep breath and moved between her legs.

I took hold of my cock because I wanted to be sure that I got him in the right place. When I had the crown inside of her, I paused to be sure that she was all right. But her nod told me to go ahead so I did, sliding inside of her easily until I was flush against her pelvis. Her long silk covered legs moved up around my waist and I felt her feet cross at the ankles.

"So good, James. You feel so good inside of me." She moaned just a little and squeezed her inner muscles around me like Artemis did when I was inside of him.

So, I started to move a little, in and out until I quickened the pace and frictioned inside of her. Artemis' hand moved between us to rub against that bump and she came with a soft cry, her muscles rippling around me until I almost let go and released. But Artemis must have been watching for that because he pressed the nerve at the base of my cock and I quivered but didn't come.

"There's plenty of time, beloved. Why, Maria can come at least six times tonight." He chuckled and kissed me. "We're just getting started."

I was still inside of her and Maria opened her eyes, gazing at me with a sleepy look that made me feel really good. "Young man, I mourn your devotion to Artemis because there are women who should go into a decline at what they're going to be missing. You have a real talent with that cock of yours."

Blushing, I looked to Artemis for what to say to that. He chuckled again and stroked my hair. "You're too modest, sweet James. Would you like to try a different position? There are many we haven't tried yet."

The picture of Lily being taken from behind crossed my mind along with the warning that Artemis had given me about eggs and sperm. "Would you mind if I came into you from ... um ... behind?"

Maria reached out a hand and stroked my cheek. "I think that sounds like a wonderful idea. What is it about that idea that makes you blush, young James?"

"Artemis told me about how babies were made and I thought that maybe that could be a danger if I came inside of you like this." I said cautiously.

"Artemis is a very thorough teacher." She smiled at him before looking back to me. "That is indeed a concern of most women in my profession. There are things we can do to prevent a pregnancy but I have to admit that I enjoy being taken from the back. Unless it's Artemis."

My lover chuckled again and I petted Artie affectionately. Sliding from her gently, I moved from between her legs and Artemis turned her tenderly, bringing her up to all fours. Handing me the cream from the side table, I started with one finger then worked my way up to three. Artemis creamed Jim for me and reached beneath her to begin to stroke that nub while I slowly slid inside her tight channel.

She was even tighter than Artemis was and I had to stop once inside of her to catch my breath. Her back was rippling beneath my hands and she moaned slightly which made me freeze. "No, James, it's all right. I'm just adjusting to you. And Artemis isn't helping."

"Just trying to make sure you enjoy it, Maria." Artemis smiled and leaned in to kiss behind her ear. It must have felt, as good as it did to me because she shivered.

So, I began to move gently in and out while Artemis kept her little bud stimulated and she began to moan. Once again, I felt her inner muscles ripple around me and when she seized up and came for the third time, she took me with her. I seemed to pulse forever inside of her and Artemis stroked my face to keep me alert.

"You're both very beautiful when you come." Leaning in, he kissed me sweetly and I opened my lips to invite him inside. We kissed for a long moment then I slowly backed out, making sure I didn't hurt her.

She collapsed on the bed, face down. "I think you wore me out, beautiful James."

Artemis laughed and pulled me into his arms, bringing us down to the bed beside her. "Rest for a moment, Maria while I cuddle my sweet James. Then, I believe that Artie may be up for a little play."

She groaned theatrically and pulled a pillow over her head. "I may not be able to walk tomorrow but damn it, I'll be smiling like a fool."

Artemis held me close and I snuggled against his chest. "That's exactly what I said when James and I first loved. He's quite addicting and keeps me smiling."

Grinning to myself, I rested and listened to Artemis' heartbeat beneath my ear. Artie was hard between my thighs and I was looking forward to watching him make love to Maria. I was going to learn a lot, I could tell.

End of New York, New York