And his basketball statistics were not too bad either. In his tenth and most recent
season with the NBA, the world’s premier basketball league, Geoff had risen far above
the pack of would-be legends. During the most recent basketball season, he equaled
Michael Jordan’s prolific 1988-1989 campaign by leading the league with an average
of 32.5 points per game. He ranked third in steals with an average of 3.12 per game
and was third in assists with a career high of 8.2 assists per game. Minutes played
per game; rebounds per game… The figures were astoundingly impressive all around.
His success during the regular season was matched only by his efforts during the
championship play-offs, which propelled his team to the championship over their archrivals,
the Miami Chargers. His star was on the ascent – to the stratosphere. There was no
stopping Geoff Parks.
Stephen Taylor, Geoff’s long-time partner, was reading a newspaper when Geoff danced
into the den, with a bottle of chilled Veuve Cliquot La Grand Dame Champagne in one
hand and two chilled crystal flutes in the other.
“What’s up, darling?” Stephen asked, as he peered over the frame of his reading glasses.
“Did the lottery numbers come in?”
“Better than that,” Geoff grinned. “Better than that, my love.” He placed the champagne
bottle and flutes onto the large mahogany desk and then leaned over to kissed Stephen
on his forehead.
“So are we going to share?” Stephen asked, slapping Geoff playfully on his cheek.
“Sure, I’ll let you have a glass once I’ve uncorked the champagne,” Geoff replied
with a straight face. He took the bottle from the desk and peeled off the foil cap
and retaining wire.
“Give it to me. Give it up, Mr. Parks,” Stephen said, searching Geoff’s face for
“Not so fast, baby boy,” Geoff teased, as he finally uncorked the bottle. “The night
is long. I’m all yours.”
“If we continue at this rate, it’ll be a long night indeed,” Stephen replied. “Let
me have it now!”
“We are feeling a bit frisky, aren’t we?” Geoff laughed, as he poured the champagne.
“Geoffrey Parks!” Stephen exclaimed, pinching him on the cheek. “You’re incorrigible!”
“That’s one of the main reasons you find me so irresistible,” Geoff winked. “Now
take this glass and congratulate me.”
“Am I likely to find out before I’m too old to understand or care?” Stephen asked
with a wide grin.
“That’s not the right attitude,” Geoff deadpanned, as he sipped his champagne.
Stephen threw his hands in the air in mock frustration. “Alright, already,” he said,
rolling his eyes. “Congratulations.”
“Thank you,” Geoff bowed politely.
“Now what?” Stephen laughed.
“You’re such an impatient man,” Geoff teased again. “I hope you exercise a bit more
forbearance with the poor and disaffected immigrants whose cause you supposedly champion.”
Stephen put his glasses down and walked toward Geoff. “I want your news and I want
it now, Mr. Parks. What are we celebrating?”
“We got Nike, Coca-Cola and Wheaties!”
“You got what?” Stephen asked with his eyes bulging and his mouth agape.
“You heard me,” Geoff replied with a wide grin. “We got Nike, Coca-Cola and Wheaties
– and all on the same day!”
“You’re not putting me on, are you, Geoff?” Stephen asked, as he searched Geoff’s
“I kid you not, my love. I just got off the phone with Gus Weiszman, agent extraordinaire.
He gave me the news.”
Tears formed in Stephen’s eyes as he searched for the right words. “That’s wonderful,
baby. That’s incredible. Congratulations.” He held Geoff in a tight embrace. “You
deserve all that. And more”
“I still can’t believe it,” Geoff replied. “But Gus says it’s in black and white.
The offers are on his desk. They all want me. They all want this l’il ole boy from
“But all at the same time,” Stephen said, as he sipped his champagne. “That has
to be some kind of record.”
“I’ll take it however it comes, baby boy,” Geoff smiled. “I’m just grateful for
“And what opportunities they are!” Stephen exclaimed. “Do you have any idea of
the client base of those three brands? There won’t be anyone in the entire United
States who doesn’t know you.”
“It feels like that already,” Geoff smiled. “I guess I’d better not put a foot out
“I’d say the chances are less than zero,” Stephen answered, as he took Geoff by
the hand and drew him close to him. “It really is coming together for you, Geoff.
I’m so proud of you.”
“It all came together when you uprooted your entire life to be with me,” he replied
with a warm smile.
“Considering what an ass I’d been to let you go in the first place, I wasn’t about
to make that mistake again.” Stephen pulled a guilty face. “I still can’t believe
it took me so long to find the courage to do it. If it hadn’t been for the love
and support of Tanya and Suresh, I probably wouldn’t have found it.”
“You had to go through what you did to get here, Stephen. Mom always said growing
up: If you live long enough, everything comes around. What matters is that we’re
together and I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world.”
“Nor would I; I would choose my life with you over everything else.”
“Ditto, baby boy,” Geoff replied.
“Including the bright lights and screaming girls?” Stephen asked.
“I’m sure you know I like women, Stephen,” Geoff answered with a wink and a grin.
“But not in that way.”
Stephen gave him a playful slap on his cheek. “Don’t be cheeky with me, Geoffrey
Parks. You know exactly what I’m talking about.”
“Do you have any idea how I felt when I thought I’d lost you, Stephen? When…” His
voice trailed off.
“When I fell apart over the guilt I felt after my mother’s death and deceived Evelyn
into marrying me?” Stephen finished the question for him.
“You did what you felt you had to do, Stephen. But that’s all in the past. We’re
together and nothing’s going to change that.” Geoff poured another glass of champagne
and raised it in a silent toast.
“I do worry about the toll that all this can take on your career,” Stephen said.
“All this? Our relationship, you mean?” Geoff asked.
“Yes,” Stephen replied. “You’ve worked so hard. I wouldn’t want our relationship
to get in the way of your success.”
Geoff leaned over the desk and looked Stephen in the eye. “Stephen, my career is
important to me. Yes, I continue to be astounded by my success – both on and off
the court. Yeah, I’d probably miss it if it all came crashing down tomorrow. But,
I’d get over it – because you’re here with me. Losing you, losing us… that would
be another story. I wouldn’t want to go on without you. I couldn’t go on without
you. The trials we’ve faced separately and together have made us what we are. They’ve
made our relationship what it is today. I’d never want to face the thought of losing
“I feel the same way,” Stephen replied, as he caressed Geoff’s hands.
“I want to grow old with you. I want you here with me when we’re both too old to
remember each other’s names. Because we’ll have our love, and that’s enough for me.”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way, Mr. Parks,” Stephen said, as they held each other.
“The best is yet to come,” Geoff smiled as he raised his glass again.
“Indeed, my love,” Stephen replied. “Indeed.”