In this latest Fancy Man story Mason (aka the Fancy Man) is faced with one of the biggest challenges of his life as leatherman and Master: introducing his slave and lover, Charles, to his mother. But this isn’t all that Santa is giving him for Christmas. In between holiday gatherings, he must deal not only with family traditions and demands, but with helping his lonely, taciturn friend Owen from turning into a bitter hermit, saving the rejected slave boy Hadji from despair, keeping his sister and her boyfriend together, and trying to infuse the holiday spirit into the depressed patrons of the Cockpit bar. Topping this all off, he also has an important decision to make: on Christmas Day he will either let Charles in on a terrible family secret or not. If he does, things might radically change between them. The days are counting down and Mason can’t afford any mistakes or failures. But keeping control of all this may be too much… even for the Fancy Man. (M/M)
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There we were, on our own in the living area of the apartment being grilled. This part of my mother’s place contained a big couch and a fireplace, which this time of year maintained a pine scented blaze. There were no stockings hanging from the mantle, no tree or decorations for that matter. Not yet. That was part of the Advent celebrations. To make sure mom had help putting up wreaths, tree, stockings.
Both I and my partner had demurred on offered drinks and Momma, her dog across her lap, was now seated opposite us. You had to know her well to tell that she wasn’t happy with me. I’d informed my family at Thanksgiving that I’d be bringing Charles to Advent dinner, so it wasn’t that I’d surprised her. It was that his presence in her home made it difficult to pretend I wasn’t gay. My mother, you see, is one of those glacial sorts: thawing toward my sexual orientation, yes, but with agonizing slowness and great resistance to being hurried. Charles was about as welcome as global warming, and I’m pretty sure she resented me “forcing” him on her.
“Just outside of it, yes ma’am,” Charles answered her question, equally mild, but he was sweating. Not because he knew my mother was luring him into her inquisition dungeon—which she was—but because he was desperate to make a sterling impression and feared (rightly) that he couldn’t.
“That explains the accent. But you went to college in Atlanta? Is that right?” She smiled that charming smile of hers, the one that I imagine sharks wear when they smell fresh blood. Shit. Here we go. Where was my sister?
“Yes, ma’am. Georgia State,” said Charles.
“A very good school, I’m sure,” my mother said in a deceptively encouraging way. Thanks to high cheekbones and a molasses brown complexion, Momma’s face exudes warmth, as does her humming, alto voice. Her appearance—blue knit dress, her reading glasses dangling from a chain about her neck—was harmless and motherly. I wouldn’t say this was entirely a lie, but it should be noted that I’d learned my most sadistic tricks from her.
“Mason dropped out of college to go into theater,” she said pointedly and stroked the “rat’s” huge ears. That’s what me and my sister called my mother’s dog. His real name was “Pepper,” an adorable black-and-white Papillon with one hell of an attitude. Understand, I love animals, but I hated Pepper. My mom doted on the wide-eared little monster and he, in turn, stuck to her like gum on the bottom of a sneaker. His black eyes were fixed on me at the moment and, now and then, he’d growl in his throat, as if practicing.
“When he told me he was bringing a friend, I feared it was one of his theater people,” Momma added as if joking. “Did you two meet at a play?”
Charles twitched and so did I. Little did Momma (or my sister for that matter) know. While I do act for a living—plays and voice-overs mainly—it is in my off-hours that I take on my most special and important roles: that of the sadist in gay male BDSM dramas. That’s how I’d met Charles, when he’d begged me to be Master to his slave for one, very unusual night.
But that’s another story.
Our relationship had developed quite a bit since then, and he was now my slave and sex toy full time. Literally.
“No, ma’am,” said Charles. “We met at a local bar.”
“In that part of town I suppose,” Momma said with cool disapproval. Which was actually an improvement over the icy displeasure I’d gotten from her in the past. Pepper growled, a sure sign of what she was really feeling.
“Um—” Charles’ gray eyes went aside. He wasn’t sure how to respond to that.
“Yes, mother, that part.” I smiled back at her. “Where else was I going to find a nice boy to bring home to the family?”
“College maybe? Or church?” she retorted sweetly. “Or are you a heathen like Mason, Charles?”
“He’s Rastafarian,” I said, which wasn’t true and Momma knew it from my tone. Pepper snarled for her. “Actually, he’s a regular church-goer.”
She frowned at that, not quite believing me. It’s funny how many devoutly religious folk view gays as akin to vampires, likely to burst into flames at the sight of a stained glass window.
“There’s a church in that part of town?”
“Yes, ma’am, but that’s not the one I attend,” Charles answered. He was looking beyond uncomfortable now, undoubtedly hearing the angry, under currents between me and my mother. Courageous slave that he was, he braved those waters. “I go to St. Luke and Mark’s on the corner of fifteenth.”
To my amazement, that struck Momma. She rocked back like he’d gotten her between the eyes.