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  2. Marty

    Chapter 6

    It amuses me in a way how most readers seem to have written Derek off so quickly. He's only really been mentioned twice already in this story, and we are only seeing him through Danny's eyes. I'm not going to say whether he's going to play a major role in this story but, as I have already said, perhaps he has a reason for his current behaviour. Alison certainly does appear nice. But whether she's really the one for our Danny Boy remains to be seen. But I wonder just how much Danny is really invested in the game of rugby. Perhaps he only really played it at school because his best friend encouraged him to. Just because he may be good at the game doesn't necessarily mean he should give up lots of time training for and playing the game... I'm glad you're enjoying it, as well, @Geron Kees. Not sure if I'm setting you up for the kill or not (unless it's Danny suffocating Derek with a pillow in the middle of the night eventually 😮). Actually, my biggest worry just at the moment is that I may be setting readers up for a long wait before we get to the central theme of Danny's story... Thanks for your comments!
  3. To make things short for now, I am currently dealing with a near apocalyptic technology issue at the moment. So, i can only apologize for that. I wish I could say that it was all my fault, but that would be an easy fix. I just work harder and get things back together. But it was Microsoft that truly fucked me over (yet again), just minutes after I started putting out announcements for the July Issue of Imagine Magazine. It erased EVERYTHING on my laptop with some bullshit update that I didn't ask for or accept and took time to REFUSE automatic updates to avoid it. But they're a bunch of bullies that FORCE you to take it anyway, even if it destroys everything on your laptop all at once. Because...they wanna shove their new techy tricks down your throat whether you need it or not. Sigghhhh... Anyway, since the 15th, I've been scrambling to get my deleted files back and I have been lucky enough to find them again. (It cost me a LOT of money, though! Sighhh...a big chunk out of my 'go back to Chicago' fund), and that sucks, but I am working through this as quickly as humanly possible! K? I have the day off today, and I'm up at 6 AM to get started on trying to sort through over 1.5 terrabytes worth of music, documents, pictures, ebooks, ebook covers, story templates, videos, everything from Imagine Magazine, etc. It's a pain in the ass, but at least I didn't lose it all. So I'll count my blessings and just appreciate the fact that Microsoft's carelessness didn't result in me losing more hard work online than I even have a precedent for at this point. Anyway, this is what has been happening since last Monday. I'm still here. I'm fixing things as fast as I can, and I'll try to throw you you guys a bone or two as soon as a get a chance. ((Hugz)) I'm so SO sorry! I was blindsided by this, and one would think that Microsoft would be more responsible with their updates before obliterating every single file on somebody's laptop without permission. I guess I'm not paranoid enough. I guess I should back up my stuff three times a day. And...maybe I should carry a pistol with me to work every day. And a shot of adrenaline for my heart. And a katana sword in case I'm attacked by ninjas. And I should wear a hardhat everywhere I go in case I randomly get hit by a meteor from space. Because...it's MY fault for not being prepared for this nonsense. Anywway...I'm working on it. I'll get more stuff up soon. Please bear with me. ((Hugz)) Love you lots!
  4. Today
  5. BabyXander1990

    Another Birthday

    Bill W. Another great chapter and I wonder if Elliott and Ian will join the Curry Medical Group...
  6. I reread this wonderful piece again this morning, and all who comment before me are so right. This piece is wonderful, Hymen clever, scene and background alive with people and colour. Yet, it was your description of Hymen waiting, and Chronos slowing that struck me. How many of us today know what that really is? Hymen, had no music to listen to, no phone to check, no social media to ask ... he was truly there on his own, in the moment, restless and his thoughts must have flying with what if's, and his much gone-over plan. AC, i am enjoying this story so much ... thank you. xo
  7. I think Tom was trying to hint at this when he visited, but Robbie was dating Nathan then, and he wasn't prepared to acknowledge this. Also, it would have made him feel even sadder about being sent to Canada.
  8. “Well there is a house, that would make a good investment, no direct river access, but unlimited river views in Bindaring Parade, Claremont, just one block north of being in the Shire of Peppermint Grove. The property is number 14 and it looks to have been built fairly recently, with a front double garage on the northside, ahead of a walled courtyard, before actually getting to the house itself. From what I saw on the sign at the front, it has 4 bedrooms, two bathrooms, a billiards room, study, and a living room” I replied. “Sounds fairly impressive, lets talk to Seb about it some more when he gets here, ah, here he comes now” Lewis said to me, and once the groceries were loaded in, we headed out of town to the home retreat, out of town, and on the journey, I described the property to Lewis and Sebastian. Before dinner, Sebastian went online to check out the listing of the property that I had mentioned, and when he had seen everything he needed to know, he called the estate agent and made an offer on the property, before Seb tuned to look at me, “what about this property?” he asked me pointing out a modern apartment, and I read the information on it. “An apartment in Bay Road, Claremont, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, with two secure undercover car bays, close to shops, 1.5 kms from the Grammar School.” “Ok, if you think it is best, go for it, but why ask me, its your money you are spending to buy all of this land?” I asked, and both Lewis and Sebastian chuckled at my comment. “What? What exactly are you guys not telling me?” I asked in a confused manner. “We finally managed to sell Douglas farm, and we put the money from the sale into a Swiss account, in your name, with me as your executor, until you reach the age of twenty one, so technically, it is your money that we are spending” Sebastian announced, “What? Really? Wow!” was all I could say, shocked at what I had heard. “Huon Investments, is your company, but because you are still a minor, Lewis, the twins and I are joint Directors of the company, with 5% shares each, and you have the remaining 80% of shares in the company, we will be guiding you with all decisions regarding the company, until you reach the age of twenty one, then you as the senior shareholder, can make all the decisions” Sebastian informed me. “Wow, that is not what I expected, thanks” I said in reply. “Apart from the sale of Douglas Farm, you also have a regular income as part of the family company, which has been transferred into your company account, while you are at school, you will have a $1,500 a month income, for spending on what ever you want, but it must include all your clothing and footwear that you need. We will still cover all of your school expenses, including uniforms, school shoes, and sports gear, but the purchase of personal stuff is your responsibility” Lewis added, and I nodded my head in understanding. Sebastian made another call, to make an offer on the other property, which are listed with the same estate agent, and we were told that the offers would be passed on Monday morning. “I am wondering, is there a reason why you have recommended that we invest in property close to the school that I attend?” I asked. “Well, we already own some land in this suburb actually, on Ashton and Second Avenues, backing onto the showgrounds, and also plus some land on Queenslea Drive, opposite the school, which the school leases from us” Lewis announced, “Really? Oh, do you mean where the Prep School is now, between Queenslea Drive and Bayview Terrace” I asked. “Yes, that is right, and two houses as well, of which one is Mrs Cooper’s retirement property, the other is her investment property, for her two nephews” Sebastian said. “Wow, do many at the school know that it is Wagner International that owns the land, which they use for the Prep School?” I asked. “No, only the School Board members have that privilege, we purposely built the buildings especial for education use, although they could be used for businesses I guess” Lewis replied. “We have also recently bought three vacant properties and a small block offour flats, around the corner from the school, opposite the hospital, and the small block of four flats that back onto the hospital on Victoria Avenue, which we are yet to decide what to do with the land, Lewis wants us to donate the land to the hospital, but I am not so sure” Sebastian added as his mobile rang, and he answered the call in Italian. I listened in on Sebastian’s half of the conversation, and it sounded like a very interesting situation, but I waited until the call ended. “Well, that is something out of the blue, our lawyers have received a proposal from the school board, asking if we could consider it seriously and get back to us as soon as possible” Sebastian said. “Now you know I can’t understand Italian properly, so tell me what is this all about?” Lewis said sounding frustrated. “Well, many years back, when there use to be a Catholic private school across the road from the Grammar school which in those days used to be called St Louis, the church bought some land in Mount Claremont, and relocated the whole school to the new location, now it appears that the Grammar school has the same idea. The new playing fields of the grammar school, actually back onto John XX111 Catholic College, what used to be called St Louis, and there is 27 acres of vacant land that the Grammar school owns, located behind the playing fields of both schools, and also the UWA playing fields, that he Grammar school wants to use the vacant land, to build a new school. They may be able to get an additional twenty acres of land next to their old playing fields in Mount Claremont, to expand their space and in exchange for us paying for all of the building costs, they will hand over the land that the Grammar school is currently on, over to us, once the move is completed” Sebastian said. “Holy shit, that is incredible, what about the land that you own, that the school leases” I said, “We just develop it into modern residential and retail space, and we could also donate that land next to and opposite to the hospital to the hospital, so they can expand their services, as a thank you, because they treated your Dad when he fell sick a number of times” Sebastian said to me. I felt sad all of a sudden, at the mention of my Dad, and I looked Sebastian in the eyes, “Yes, give the land to the hospital, if that is what you want, I am happy with that” I said. “The big question now is, what the hell do we do with 16.14 acres of prime real estate, with so many usable buildings on it” Sebastian said. “Can I make some suggestions, since I am at the school every weekday. In a straight line from the roundabout to the MLC boundary, all land north of that keep as it is, as nearly all the buildings are modern and can be multi-use. Everything from that line to the river boundary, I recommend you demolish all of it, that would include the old McClements boarding house, the dining hall and medical centre, the education support building, most of the old Prep school is already demolished, which leaves just the chapel and the Walters boarding house, which for a guess, would be a little under a third of the total area. What you will have is a total of ten large education buildings, plus the gymnasium and heated swimming pool… actually I have a thought, if you do make the current Prep School into commercial space, you could lease the front section of the senior school, to the Grammar School to make it a new and bigger Prep School, and then you will have about 6 acres of prime river frontage land for development” I suggested. “By George, I think he has something there” Lewis said, imitating an English accent, and we all burst out laughing. During the weekend, Sebastian was busy putting together everything that we discussed onto the computer, and then from that he typed up a suggested proposal to the Grammar School, agreeing to pay for all of the building costs for establishing a Senior school on current School land in Mt Claremont. Once the move and hand over has taken place, he suggests that the school leases back the Stirling Highway front half of the Claremont campus, so it can become the new and bigger Prep School, and Wagner International will develop the river end of the land, once suitable ideas and plans have been completed. This will include regaining access to the river frontage in front of the school, meaning an adjustment to the agreement with the Claremont Yacht Club for having Yacht pens in front of the school land. The re-adjustment to the agreement would require the removal of 36 yacht pens closest to the school, and also to regain control of the land, currently used by the Prep school between Queenslea Drive and Freshwater Terrace. By lunchtime on Monday, when I was preparing to fly back to Perth, to return to school, Sebastian had completed his proposal, and had a response from the company lawyers back in Switzerland, giving their approval for the plans, and with the proposal submission sealed in a large yellow envelope, Sebastian placed it into a new briefcase and handed it to me, so I could deliver it to the school. When I arrived back at the school, I immediately locked the suitcase into my sports locker for safety, knowing that the other boarders would be curious to know what is inside the brief case. That evening, as I stepped out of the dining hall after dinner, I received a text message from Sebastian, “Offer for Bay Road apartment have been accepted, but missed out on Bindaring Parade house, congratulations, you know own some very nice property in Claremont. What do you plan to do with the apartment? Seb.” “I think if the apartment is good, I may use it as my weekend retreat,” I responded, and moments later I received a reply. “Nice idea, I approve of the apartment being a home for you,” Sebastian had messaged. The following morning, I ate breakfast very quickly and with backpack and briefcase in hand, I headed down to the school’s administration building. “Mr Devonport isn’t it?” a deep voice said after I entered the reception area, and I turned to one side, to see the Headmaster standing at a doorway. “Yes, Headmaster, that is correct, Alexander Devonport, I have actually come here to speak to you very briefly, if I may have two minutes please,” I replied. “Very well, and that is about all you will have before you are due to head to your first class” the Headmaster said as he indicated the direction for me to follow. It was the first time that I had been in the headmaster’s office, which was large and nicely furnished. “Now Alexander, what is it you wish to speak to me about?” the headmaster asked, as he sat down and indicated for me to sit. I opened the briefcase, which Sebastian had given me to combination for, and I saw two business cards sitting on top of the yellow envelope, one has Sebastian’s name as CEO of Wagner Corporation, and the second one has my name on it. “Alexander (Xander) Devonport, Investment Consultant, Wagner Corporation & CEO of Huon Investments,” which caught me by surprise, as I retrieved both business cards and the envelope, before closing he lid of the briefcase. “Sir I am not sure if you are aware of what the Grammar school board has planned for the future of this school, or if you know who owns the land that the school leases for the prep school premises” I started, watching the headmasters face carefully to see his response. “I am fully aware of what he school board is doing, as I receive minutes of their monthly meetings, and yes I know that an international company owns the land that the Prep school is located, but what I want to know is how do you know this, and what is your involvement?” the headmaster asked. At that point, I placed my new business card in front of the headmaster and waited, as the headmaster frowned then looked shocked at what was in front of him, with his mouth dropped open. “Sebastian Devonport is my first cousin and my guardian, and I am a minor shareholder of Wagner International” I announced quietly. “Holy hell… excuse me for that comment, I just… well this is a new one for the books, so to speak. That envelope, does that have anything to do with a recent proposal put to the corporation, regarding Mount Claremont?’ the Headmaster said, after a few moments of stuttering. “It is, Sebastian finished this on Sunday night, and asked me to deliver it to you personally, to be handed directly to the Chairman of the School Board, as soon as possible,” I replied before handing over the envelope. Quite a heavy document, any idea what it contains?” the Headmaster commented, and I couldn’t help but laugh. “Now Sir, you know that would be breaking the rules, and that is not permitted in this school,” I replied with a big grin, and the headmaster laughed.
  9. drpaladin

    In the Heat

    They had sex at last although one sided. Elias is one screwed up kitty. Passive aggressive is so annoying, like being dragged naked through an acre of stinging nettles.
  10. And back to the cooler raptor. It's 72 with a 91% humidity level. If it wasn't for the thunder storms in the forecast, it might be a nice day to lay in the Hammock and nibble on Penuche Fudge and share with the Rat Catcher.
  11. Yeoldebard

    In the Heat

    The pod hissed open, and Artemis waited a minute for Elias to wake from his malaise. There was nothing wrong with the neko. He had an anxiety attack, and there wasn’t much Artemis could do to stop those from happening. Elias sat up slowly, scanning the room/ His eyes fell on Artemis, lighting up with a wary joy. Artemis wondered if he’d ever lose that fear in him. “Hey, welcome back,” the tiger smiled at the neko. He held out his hand, helping Elias out of the pod. It felt wrong, enjoying the neko’s body as much as he did. The tiger was tempted to hide Elias’ clothes, and make him walk around nude. Shaking the thoughts from his head, Artemis watched as Elias covered up that perfect body. He knew Elias could likely tell what he was thinking. Not only was his dick growing hard in his pants, Artemis’ tail was also waving through the air alluringly, despite his best efforts to control it. ‘Damn, he threw me into heat…’ “Can you help me lock down the ship?” the tiger asked huskily, trying to fight his urges. Elias trembled slightly, nodding. He fled from the room, and Artemis growled. He wanted to chase the cat, throw him down on a bed and ride him. There was no time for this… The tiger fled to the bathroom, splashing his face with cold water. There was only one way to stop the emotions raging through him, but for now, the water would calm him just enough to get through the jump. The biggest risk would come from Elias. Artemis didn’t know the breeding habits of nekos, but if it was anything like the tiger’s own species, there was a chance he might put the neko into a heat just by being near him. Spotting the neko walking down the hall as he left the bathroom, Artemis called, “Elias, I need you to stay in the cabin until we’re done with the jump.” The tiger turned away before seeing if the neko would listen. He needed to trust Elias, and he needed to get through the jump before something disastrous happened. The ship heated around the neko as he stared at the letters on the tablet in front of him. Artemis had assured him it was safe to use the tablet during a portal jump as long as he was careful, and Elias took advantage of that to try and take his mind off the tiger. With no luck. Artemis really wanted him; his tail made that apparent. But Elias wasn’t ready to let the tiger fuck him. He didn’t know if he’d ever be ready. On the one hand, the thought filled him with excitement, laying with Artemis, their bodies entwined in love. But the tiger was so much bigger than him. He just knew being taken by Artemis would hurt. And with the tiger on top of him, he wouldn’t be able to get away if something went wrong. He’d be trapped, once more a slave to someone’s whims. But he wanted the tiger. There was no denying it. Elias laid back on his bed, sweat pouring over his clothes. He was going to need a change when they cooled down. It shouldn’t be more than five minutes now, and then Artemis would be increasing the ship’s speed until they were cruising through space. He couldn’t talk to the tiger about all this. Not while Commander Hawke was on the ship. Elias didn’t know what it was about the human, but he didn’t trust her. But then, who did he trust? And Elias knew instantly. Artemis. He trusted Artemis. The tiger wouldn’t hurt him. Not intentionally. Standing, the neko set his tablet aside and left the room. Directing his feet toward the cockpit, Elias kept his arms tightly against his body, holding his tail so it wouldn’t touch the scalding walls. The door to the cockpit hissed open, and Elias saw Artemis tense visibly. “Elias, please,” the tiger nearly growled, stopping the neko in his tracks. Commander Hawke stared between the two of them. “Uh, do you two need a moment?” she asked. The neko had no idea what was going on with the tiger. They were through the jump; all he needed to do was speed up and engage the autopilot. Both were things he had done just fine with Elias in the cockpit before. The tiger flipped on the autopilot. “Actually, yes. We do,” he said, standing up. “We’ll be in the cabin.” Elias winced as Artemis grabbed his arm and pulled him from the cockpit. They sped down the hall, the neko wincing as his tail hit the wall. Artemis pulled him into the cabin, making sure the door closed behind him. “Look, I told you to stay in here for a reason,” the tiger said quickly, releasing the neko. Pacing the room, Artemis stared at his feet. “You keep stirring feelings in me that are hard to fight, and today…” The tiger shivered, looking up. His eyes met Elias, and the neko echoed his shiver. Unbridled lust. Artemis was going to take him. And the knowledge was… freeing, in a way. It was going to happen. Elias might as well try to enjoy it. He stepped forward, grabbing the tiger’s arm. Artemis gasped, but Elias wasn’t stopping there. His lips crashed into Artemis’. There was no stopping this now. His mind was on fire. Elias was kissing him. Right now Artemis decided he didn’t care what happened for the rest of the day. The neko was kissing him, and that was good enough to make up for anything. The tiger forced himself to step back, breaking their liplock. He gazed into Elias’ eyes, seeing wonder and excitement in them. And not a little fear. “You are sure you want this.” The neko hesitated, and for the few seconds it took for him to answer, Artemis couldn’t breathe. “Yes. I want you to have me,” Elias said. Artemis tore at his shirt, baring his chest before leaping back at the neko. Their lips met again, and Artemis growled quietly, needing more. Pushing Elias backwards, the tiger knocked the neko onto the bed. He yanked off his pants, and growled at the neko. “Are you going to get undressed?” Elias blinked up at the tiger, the fear growing in his eyes. Artemis straddled the cat, his dick poking into Elias’ stomach. He was hard, so hard, and the neko was taking way too long. Elias’ mouth dropped open, an invitation, and Artemis grunted. It wasn’t what he wanted, but if that’s where the neko wanted him… Scooting himself up the neko’s body, Artemis dipped his rod into Elias’ mouth, slowly, not feeding him too much. Lips closed around his dick, sucking gently, and Artemis shuddered. He’d been using his hand for so long, he had forgotten what it felt like having someone to take care of his needs. It was a weird sensation. The moisture felt strange, though the hot breath washing over his rod was just blissful. Elias moved down an inch, drawing more of Artemis into him. The tiger closed his eyes, purring. He was building up so fast, but that was good. With the edge taken off, he could focus on other things. Like pleasuring Elias until the neko screamed. “Elias, I’m close,” he breathed, warning the neko. Artemis kept his hands away from Elias, giving him the freedom to pull away. But the neko just slid another two inches down, taking Artemis to the base. The tiger breathed out in an explosion of air. Cum spurted from him, flooding down the neko’s throat, and Elias swallowed it all, to the last drop. Artemis collapsed, spent. He barely caught himself before he crushed the neko under him. “Damn Elias, you’re amazing,” he breathed, gazing at the neko. Elias stared down at his own body, but an ear flared. He was pleased with himself. Artemis chuckled, rolling away from the cat. A hand reached out, cupping Elias’ crotch, and the neko stiffened under the tiger’s touch. “Are you okay?” Artemis asked, taking his hand away. Elias nodded silently. Artemis pushed himself back up with a grin, straddling the neko once more. “Good, because now it’s your turn.” Turn. The key word. Elias rolled over, breathing deeply. Artemis was thick. This was going to hurt. It was also rather fast. The tiger had just taken his mouth; Elias could still taste the bitterness of his essence. It was a taste that normally grossed him out, but for some reason, this time it didn’t seem so bad. A hand ran over his butt, scratching the base of his tail. Elias’ eyes closed and the neko purred. “I’ll have to remember you like that spot,” Artemis said, his free hand kneading Elias. The tiger’s weight vanished, and suddenly Elias was being rolled over again. “I don’t really enjoy poking people,” Artemis smiled apologetically at the cat. “But I’ll do it someday, if you want me to.” Artemis’ head fell as the tiger continued. “But, I love to do this, so if you’ll let me, I would greatly appreciate it.” The tiger’s nose nuzzled Elias’ crotch and Elias felt his rod leap up to meet Artemis. “Hmm, a little too musky. We’ll have to fix that later,” Artemis grinned up at the cat coyly. His thumbs slipped under Elias’ pants, and the neko almost kicked him, shuddering at the tickling sensation. Artemis pulled his pants out and down, and the neko’s rod sprang free from its confines, bouncing off Elias’ stomach. Elias was confused. Sure, people had played with him before, messed with his rod, but it always happened before they fucked him. But Artemis said he didn’t like to fuck? Unless he was just keeping Elias there for later… The tiger’s breath was hot on his groin, even hotter than the ship that was cooling rapidly around them. Elias hissed as a rough tongue touched him, nearly bolting off the bed. “Don’t you need to fly?” he asked suddenly. Artemis looked at him, almost sorrowfully. “No, the ship can fly itself. But if you want me to stop I will.” The tiger replaced his clothes, and folded Elias’ pants back over his crotch when it became obvious Elias was too uncertain to do it himself. “I didn’t push you too far, did I?” Artemis asked. The neko avoided Artemis’ gaze, his tail fluffed out in fear. “I’m sorry,” Artemis said quietly. “This is why I wanted you to stay in here. I could have done that on my own, and then we could have talked. I feel bad; I fucked you, but you didn’t get to do the same to me.” “It’s not right,” Elias whispered. “A slave shouldn’t be pleasured…” “Look at me. Look. Look into my eyes Elias,” Artemis snarled suddenly. Startled, the neko looked up. “You. Are not. A slave. Do you hear me?” Fire burned in the tiger’s eyes and his voice. Gulping, Elias nodded. “Good. Then anything you learned as a slave, forget about it. It is of no use to you.” Reaching down, the tiger scratched the neko’s tail again. “You are one of the most deserving of pleasure. You have endured too much at such a young age. I want you to be happy.” Artemis stepped back, and sat on the other bed. “I let you collar me. And I will let you do it again, any time you want,” the tiger reminded him. “You don’t need to be afraid of me. I will always be there for you, and I will do my best to protect you. We could be in the middle of the best sex ever, and if you tell me to stop I will.” “You…” Elias fell silent, biting his tongue. “What? I can’t help you if I don’t know what’s wrong,” Artemis pressed. “You- you seemed… angry earlier. But like, scared angry.” Artemis sighed. “Elias, do you know what a heat is?” The neko shrugged. From the way Artemis said the word, it was different than the heat the ship gave off, or the heat on a summer day. “My species goes into heat at least once a year, sometimes twice. For a week’s time, we need to have sex in some form at least once a day or we will kose our mind for the entire heat. It becomes a driving need, something we would kill for. And I just started it this morning. I wasn’t sure if I could be around you, and I wanted you to stay away from me so I didn’t rape you.” Elias frowned, trying to process what the tiger was saying. “I didn’t,” Artemis said quickly. “Did I?” Elias shrugged again, and Artemis echoed his frown. “You don’t know?” he asked. “How… Elias, do you know what... “ The tiger sighed. “Did you want me to stick my dick in your mouth?” He did. But he also didn’t. But that didn’t make sense… “I’m not going to be mad if you say no,” Artemis said. Shrug. It was quickly becoming his most used expression. “I’m sorry,” Artemis sighed. “I mean, you opened your mouth, and I just assumed you wanted it.” He met Elias’ eyes again. “Why did you have your mouth open then?” “That’s what they want of me.” “So it’s what you’re use to… That will have to change. The next time I do something that you don’t want, I need you to tell me. Please.” “I thought you would have done it anyways-” “No. I probably would have pushed you out of the room if you told me no. I told you before, I do not want to hurt you. In any way. I am not your owner Elias. I am your friend.” The tiger stood up. “I got you talking,” he smiled suddenly. “For what it’s worth, I’m happy about that.” Artemis left the room, and Elias was left to his thoughts.
  12. Oh, of course. I expect all stories to share some similarities here and there. But I was hoping to really do something different with mine. Hehehe, so I'd be crushed if it was something that had all been done before. So I'm relieved.
  13. HORNY Hugo's one randy new young TWINK
  14. So tonight I watched the rest of season 1 of Orange Is the New Black. I guess I wasn’t really surprised that Pornstache didn’t get what he deserved. Institutions like prisons don’t like scandal. They don’t want the public to know that members of the staff can be crooked. They’d like to blame the inmates for every problem that’s discovered.

    In my former county of Alameda, the Sheriff has several scandals he’s dealing with. One is over the no-bid contract for healthcare that he illegally signed. There are several related scandals including charges that inmates were forced to give birth in their cells. There was also a case where an inmate was released in the middle of the night, after BART shut down for the night and several hours before it starts up again in the morning (I believe the buses don’t run in that area at the time either) – she OD’d in the BART parking lot and was only discovered when the station opened for the morning.

    Tastee was an example of how there is even less support for ex-con when they are released than when they are incarcerated. She mentioned the unreasonable demands placed on her, including getting three interviews per week (I’m not sure what would constitute proof of an interview). It’s no wonder that homeless shelters are filled with ex-cons. I’m not sure what ex-cons do when they have to wait months on a waiting list to get into shelters (as with one county-run shelter I stayed at twice). I know that many ex-cons live on the streets or in encampments – they may not have any other choice!

    Watching this show is a lot more relatable than Oz. The dorms and conditions were more similar to the homeless shelters I stayed at. A lot of the same sort of drama there too!

  15. Henry had got Gavin’s room key and went round to the hall of residence to pick up a change of clothes for him from his still unpacked cases. Nobody seemed to have noticed that Gavin was not there, or commented when Henry went into his room. Henry found that sad. He returned to Finkle Road and discovered Gavin a bit more awake and in less apparent pain. He gave the boy chicken soup, which he ate, and a fruit juice because it seemed a healthier sort of drink to Henry. Gavin smiled up at him, looking more relaxed, so Henry helped him get dressed and come downstairs for a space. Since Eddie was in the Union bar, which had already become his second home, Henry and Gavin watched TV for a while until the doorbell heralded David’s arrival. Gavin immediately retired into his shell in the presence of a new face, and was clearly intimidated by the public-school confidence and good looks of this vision. David did his best, but in the end he and Henry had no choice but to talk about common friends and what they were up to. Finally, David got on to a subject that roused Gavin. ‘Rudi’s in the papers today. Some photographer got into his college and took pictures of him in the quad and on his stairs. The tabloids say he’s not covered by the same privacy agreement as the Windsors. Chancellor Trachtenberg has supposedly complained to the UK government about it.’ Gavin, emboldened by curiosity, asked timorously, ‘Er … who’s this Rudi?’ Henry smiled. ‘Rudi Burlesdon we called him at school, but he’s the King of Rothenia and he’s in Oxford this year.’ Gavin’s eyes widened. ‘You know the King of Rothenia?’ David grinned a little smugly. ‘Yeah, he’s a mate. We went with him last year when they restored the monarchy. It was an …. interesting few days.’ He caught Henry’s eye and flexed his eyebrows. ‘Wow, what a life you guys have led. I don’t know anyone even remotely famous, though my cousin was on Big Brother two years ago.’ David was a fan of reality TV. ‘Really? Which one was he?’ After that the conversation picked up a bit, and even more so when they began discussing media lust-figures. Gavin maintained that the most beautiful man in the world was Brad Pitt, while David voted for Matthew White. ‘But he’s British,’ Gavin complained with something resembling a laugh, which showed he was coming on a lot in his present company. Henry put on an offended air. ‘British guys can be sensuous and romantic too. You don’t have to be foreign to be interesting. You do realise what you said is heresy in this house.’ ‘How’s that?’ ‘Matt White lived here as a student, and his dad still owns the place,’ Henry said. ‘Never! So it was here that …’ ‘Yeah, he and Andy Peacher had their first fuck here, so he tells me: front first floor bedroom, and he topped,’ David declared. ‘What! You know Matthew White too! Who are you people?’ Henry grinned. ‘Just eighteen-year-olds who happen to know a few people. But Eddie, who shares here, he’s Andy Peacher’s little brother.’ ‘Oh my God! And does the queen, like, come down here for tea from Windsor on Fridays?’ ‘Gavin,’ smiled Henry, ‘that was almost ironic. You seem to be getting better.’ Gavin blushed. ‘But billionaires, models, royals … you people are jet setters. I knew I might meet interesting people in uni, but I never thought Cranwell would have the likes of you. You lot are supposed to go to Oxbridge or – I dunno – St Andrews.’ ‘Cambridge turned me down,’ said Henry, ‘but Davey here could have gone to Durham, Bristol or Oxford if he had wanted.’ ‘So why did you come here … David?’ David then pleased Henry enormously by reaching over, ruffling Gavin’s slightly greasy hair and saying, ‘Call me Davey too, Gavin. You’re a nice kid. Henry always picks them.’ Gavin positively blazed with shy delight. ‘No, the reason I came here is that I fell in love with a man who comes from Cranwell, and who has a flat here. I live with him when he’s at home, which isn’t often enough for me. That’s why I picked Cranwell over Durham. Not most people’s choice, I gather.’ ‘The place seems to be looking up, though!’ Gavin laughed fully now, then winced when the sudden movement reminded him of the damaged state of his arse. ‘Back to bed, Gavin. You need the rest. We’ll help you up the stairs, and just take it slowly.’ As he cuddled back down into his duvet, Gavin murmured, ‘Who’d have believed it? I finally meet the jet set, and in Cranwell!’ Henry got the impression that Gavin was living one of his daydreams. David grinned up as Henry came back to the lounge. ‘That’s a sad little refugee you’ve picked up.’ ‘I wonder …’ said Henry. ‘I thought so too, but he perked up amazingly during that last conversation. He was almost funny. He can emerge from his shell in the right company. He has self-esteem problems, though, so much is clear.’ ‘Henry, he is not your problem. Tell me that you aren’t going to take in a stray.’ ‘I already have, but I’m sending him home tomorrow, is that alright with you?’ David laughed. ‘Come on Outfield, let’s go see what’s up with Eddie and the drunks.’ *** Eddie Peacher was holding court in the bar once again, with the same bunch of apprentice deadbeats around him. To be fair to Eddie, Henry registered, he was making nothing – indeed dodging away from – any reference to his background. So far as his mates were concerned, he was an amusing Yank out for a good time. Eddie’s ability to transcend the effects of beer was impressive too. He had been playing drinking games that involved reciting long lists of sexual diseases, and drinking half a pint if you went astray. His mates were nearly all under the table, but he still made perfect sense when talking to David and Henry, other than betraying a certain bleariness in his eye. The entire group lurched off afterwards to the student nightclub on campus. It was Freshers’ Only Dance. The other years were technically banned from the premises, although Henry noticed the dark figure of Wayne Clanchy cruising the perimeter of the floor. He nodded to David. ‘That’s the guy who tore Gavin.’ Eddie caught the remark and smiled dangerously. ‘Then let’s go say hello.’ ‘Hey motherfucker!’ he snarled as he caught Wayne round the neck and slammed him into a brick wall, knocking all the breath out of him. Eddie was powerfully built on the lines of his father and had been a keen footballer in his college. ‘We got a kid at home you ripped up with your dick. It’ll be a week before he can walk properly. Just want you to know how little we think of you.’ Henry was impressed, although a little nervous as to what this could lead to. But he wasn’t feeling that friendly towards Wayne either. ‘I don’t think we’ll be seeing you in Gaysoc again, will we.’ Wayne had recovered, and a small crowd of staring students had gathered. Wayne began mouthing off for the benefit of the audience. ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about, get your hands off me! Fucking homophobes. Wait till the Union hears about this. You can’t take out your own inadequacies on gays any more.’ ‘Oh shut the fuck up,’ David joined in, ‘you’re the sort that gives gays a bad name, you arsehole.’ Wayne began struggling and shouting and security came over. ‘Break it up, lads. What’s going on here?’ ‘They’re picking on me cos I’m gay!’ shouted Wayne. Eddie was still smiling. ‘Not at all. We were reasoning with him. He shouldn’t be here, he’s a second-year.’ ‘This true? Show us your card,’ the security man said. ‘Okay. Another one. You’re bounced. We’ll just check your card in at the desk. That’s an automatic month’s suspension, matey.’ As Wayne was hustled out, Eddie gave an even broader grin and called after him, ‘Wait for me outside, fucker, just wait and we can continue the debate any way you like.’ ‘You’re a dangerous dude, dude,’ Henry said, although he was inwardly a little troubled by the ease with which Eddie slipped into violence. Eddie seemed strangely sobered by the incident and got a coke rather than a beer at Henry’s round. They watched the dancing. Eddie sized up the girls and without warning launched himself on to the floor to put a move on a long-haired blond with a big smile. They talked easily and apparently effectively over the music. David raised an eyebrow at Henry. ‘Are you daring me?’ Henry asked and David grinned. Henry grabbed his hand and pulled him on to the floor and into the moving groups. They were dancing, and were being very much noticed, but no one was going to say anything. David threw a very provocative kiss in Eddie’s direction when they passed. Eddie looked flustered for the first time since Henry had known him. ‘You are so gay, Davey,’ Henry murmured as they went to sit down. They left at midnight and Henry felt very good about the world as he reached his house. Streaks, eh? Maybe I bloody well will, he thought. *** Henry woke to the doorbell at ten the next morning. He staggered down in his boxers, struggling to contain his morning erection. He peered around the front door, then whooped, awake in an instant. ‘Justy, man!’ A dark-haired and cocky-looking lad in a suit and tie was on the doorstep. He caught Henry round the back of the head and began a thorough exploration of his mouth, licking his lips when they broke off. ‘Hey, Henry babe, I fink I knows what you wuz doin’ last night.’ ‘Mmm. C’mon in, Justy, missed you so much. I haven’t seen you since … forever. How’s your Nathan?’ ‘He’s good. He had a great year wiv the garden centre, and Uncle Phil is pleased. Course, part of his profits is because he don’t pay me nuffink when I works in the shop, the chiselling capitalist. But I don’t mind, Uncle Terry’s making me rich. In about one month I’ll be twenty and I got – well I ain’t gonna tell you how much I got in me bank account, cos it’ll make yer sick, yer poor student, and put you off yer studies. Just let us say that me bank manager kisses me feet whenever I comes through his door. And yeah, I will have a coffee, ta very much.’ Justin Peacher-White sat at Henry’s kitchen table, and they smiled happily at each other. They had formed a close if unlikely friendship two years before. Justin pulled out a pocket notebook and found a pen. ‘OK, little Henry. Might as well get on wiv it. This the only back door? Is there an alarm system? What’s the access to the back yard?’ And Justin ran through two dozen pointed questions about the house, its access and security. Carrying his mug, he gave the back yard a thorough inspection, leaping up on to the brick walls and checking out the neighbouring gardens and back lane. ‘Is Eddie up yet?’ he asked. Henry pulled on his trousers and shook his head. ‘But he’s definitely in, ‘cos of the smell from his bedroom. I think he’s alone, too, though he was making out with a tidy girl last night. On past form, you won’t see him till about three this afternoon. He must have drunk fifteen pints last night.’ ‘Christ almighty! What the fuck must his head be like this morning?’ ‘He seems to shrug it off.’ ‘Kids,’ scoffed Justin. ‘OK, Henry babe. I got me bag in the car.’ ‘You staying?’ ‘Yup, for a week or two anyway. Eddie’s me new contract. I’m working to Jenna Rudat from Andy’s office. Grandad Peacher’s delegated Eddie to Andy’s people, and they asked for someone who might blend in wiv a student environment.’ ‘And they came up with you?’ ‘Whossamarrer? I’m nineteen … well for another six weeks anyway. I could pass for seventeen too, as a couple of criminals has learned to their cost. Is this a comment on me lack of education?’ ‘But technically, Eddie’s your uncle! This is genuine nepotism! You’re the adopted son of his big brother. You may have to follow him to lectures and seminars, and you’ve got to get a student look.’ ‘Aw thass easy. Just don’t wash or shave more than once a week, eat a diet of meat pies and curry, get spots and wear the same clothes for a month. I can do that.’ Henry shook his head. In fact, for all his street-kid background, Justin was very fastidious and fashion conscious. He had a lot of money and dressed expensively. He was Andy Peacher’s adopted son, and cost for him had been no object now for several years. ‘You’d better talk to Davey about student kit. I don’t think he’ll charge you for the advice. What exactly are you going to do? Are you going to follow Eddie round?’ ‘A bit, until I get the lowdown on his habits and routines. See what his lecture timetable’s like, and what he does in between, library stuff and so on.’ Henry shook his head, but didn’t disabuse Justin of his illusions about Eddie’s academic lifestyle. He would soon learn. Henry led Justin to the back loft room, which Matt had told him must be left vacant for the use of Eddie’s security people. Henry put his finger to his lips and whispered that Justin should be quiet as he had a sleeping guest in the opposite bedroom, then he went downstairs. *** While Henry waited for Justin he took up the latest Alastair Bannow book, which David had given him: Staring in the Face of Christ. He was on the opening chapter where Dr Bannow was talking – pretty convincingly – about early depictions of Christ. It was an interesting mixture of genuine scholarship and mind-boggling speculation. Bannow had the old story of the letter of Abgar, king of Edessa, to Jesus inviting Him to take shelter in that city. The letter could still be seen several centuries later in the royal archives of Edessa, along with Jesus’ reply. Bannow also told the story of the statue of Jesus at Caesarea, commissioned as a thankoffering by the woman whom he had cured of haemorrhaging. The statue was allegedly standing for many years thereafter in the city. Such relics, said Bannow, were cherished all across the Near East during and just after Jesus’ lifetime. Henry sipped his coffee and reflected. It was a reasonable assumption, he thought. Hegesippus of Jerusalem, writing less than sixty years after Jesus’ death, had seen a portrait of Him said to have been painted from life by the evangelist Mark. Then Henry lost Bannow when the author went on to claim that at least one picture of Christ had survived and, indeed, still survived. Apparently he was not referring to the Turin Shroud. Henry glanced at the back of the book, where there was a thumbnail picture of the author looking earnest and scholarly. The book was a major bestseller, and half the student population of Cranwell was reading it, or had read it. Henry studied the reviews on the back of the dust jacket: ‘Major revelation of the secret life of the Catholic Church, Sunday Times’; ‘Seamless work of historical and theological investigation, New York Review of Books’; ‘If true, makes you think hard about the nature of the Church down the ages, Church Times.’ *** Justin had changed into casuals, his favourite Cucinelli kit. He looked like a million dollars, and indeed the cost of the ensemble would have taken a sizable bite out of that sum. ‘Yer guest is stirring, Henry,’ he said, as he poked his head round the lounge door. Henry went upstairs and knocked at the front loft room. ‘Morning, Gavin, how’s your bum?’ Gavin gave him a shy smile. ‘A lot better, thanks. I think I can get up, but I need to go to the loo bad.’ ‘Oh,’ Henry replied. ‘Ah. Okay then. Best thing is that I wait outside the door and you don’t lock it. There could be pain and there could be blood.’ Gavin looked scared. But he went to the bowl of torture and only screamed a little as he passed a stool. ‘You alright?’ Henry called through the door. ‘Better now that’s done,’ Gavin said, with the trace of tears in his voice. ‘Blood?’ asked Henry. ‘A bit, but … it’s not sort of dripping out of me like before. I think I can go back to Stenton Hall safely now.’ ‘I’ll walk you there. I’ve dried your jeans. The stains came out after all. They’ll be wearable again.’ ‘Thanks, Henry. You’re so kind.’ Gavin was quickly dressed and ready, but had a major shock when he unexpectedly encountered Justin in the lounge. He immediately retired deep within his shell, hardly acknowledging Justin’s cheery greeting. Justin looked at Henry, who gave a little shrug. Rather than drag out Gavin’s social agony, Henry took him up Finkle Road to the main campus housing at Stenton Hall, in the suburb of Northside. Gavin didn’t seem to find the walk too painful. He surreptitiously checked in his underpants as they parted and found no leakage. Henry hugged him in the empty lobby of Block 12 and kissed his cheek. Gavin kissed him back. ‘You got my number, Gavin? Then ring if you’re lonely, okay?’ *** But Gavin didn’t ring, and quite a few days went by until Henry saw him again. In the meantime, Justin settled into Finkle Road. Henry was delighted to have him there, endlessly cheerful and, more importantly, intimidating to Eddie. Eddie knew that Justin would be reporting on him to his big brother Andy and indirectly to his father. He got a hunted look on him whenever Justin was around, and began attending his lectures and seminars. But Eddie’s social life did not slow at all, and the rate he downed alcohol troubled Justin. ‘Can’t match him, Henry, and I thought I wuz dissolute. Still, it’s his kidneys.’ Henry tried to have a word with Eddie about his rate of sinking pints. He finally scored when he said, ‘Eddie, it’s hardly any wonder that no girl is going the whole way with you. Drinking like you do scares them; also, you’re getting a gut.’ Eddie looked down at his stomach, a little worried. He went to the gym the next day, and indeed for three consecutive days thereafter. The drinking slackened off a bit too. Henry hoped it had only been a phase associated with Eddie’s release into liberty in the world. One area of Eddie’s student life that impressed Henry positively was his commitment to Paul Oscott’s course. He even said that Henry should come too. Apparently, a lot of students who were not actually on the course were turning up to the lectures. ‘He’s really something, Henry dude, he really is, and I’m not just saying this cuz he’s my brother’s best friend.’ In the meantime, Henry had been taken off to David’s stylists and streaks duly applied to his hair. He wasn’t too fussed at the end result, but he no longer looked like Henry Atwood, son of the rectory, that was for sure. And while he was in the chair, he noticed that the place did piercings, at which point Henry suddenly discovered his unsuspected wild side. David stared as he asked for a brow piercing. A curved metal rod was pulled by a thread through his pinched-up and anaesthetised right eyebrow. He grinned at the result. He knew it was there, but it didn’t hurt much. He felt wicked. He knew exactly what his mum would say. Then he wondered what his Ed would say too, all proper and conservative as he was at Cambridge. Henry shook his head.
  16. Homosapiens

    The Way Home

    Very nice work. I love how you used cliffhangers and surprise twists to capture and keep interest and to move the plot along. I also like your style of not starting the next chapter exactly where the last one ended, yet still letting us know what happened in the interim. I am glad that it was Seth and Rory to the end. Like everyone else, I thought it would have been Luke and Rory, but halfway through you made Seth so perfect that no way could Luke cut in there anymore. And did you make Seth the perfect boyfriend! Even his not wanting to say goodbye to Rory made sense, and in the end he recanted anyway. How any person, let alone a 16 year-old boy, would be okay with their boyfriend living with someone the boyfriend has confessed to being attracted to...! Yes, Rory really lucked out with Seth. I, too, noticed they did not say "I love you" to each other. I thought that was what Rory was going to add to the note he left for Seth on the Friday night, but it wasn't. I also thought that Rory was going to bottom for Seth, but that did not happen either. I was hoping that Luke would end up with Aaron, and that may yet happen since, if I understand some of the other comments correctly, you have started Luke's story. Again, bravo!
  17. Bill W

    Another Birthday

    Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing in a cute story. As far as if you should expect something soon, you'll just have to wait and see.
  18. Dodger, I just wanted to take a minute to say that every time you post a new chapter, it makes my day. This is the best story ever. It's as good now as it was in the beginning. Better, actually. I (selfishly) hope there are at least 122 more chapters still to come. Followed by a sequel! I don't know how you do it, but thank you for being so good at what you do.
  19. Wesley8890

    Another Birthday

    I just read Tales of A Fourth Grade Nothing the other day. Just for the heck of it. Things have been can should we expect trouble soon?
  20. Carlos sat at his desk, watching the suspect. Ramona had left a half an hour ago after typing up a report; Carlos had elected to stay here so she could go home and be with Moira. “Thanks,” she’d said, obviously grateful. “I owe you one,”. Now the station was quiet. The only other person in the station was Melvin the dispatcher. The longer Carlos watched Lane the more perplexed he became. Lane was sitting on the edge of the bed now, looking at the walls. To Carlos he looked like a small boy who’d been put in the corner for timeout. He was thin and frail looking - it was a wonder he’d been able to throw Vanessa Stanton over the edge of the tower, even with Vanessa’s sickliness. And his words kept repeating through Carlos’s head: The darkness...it got inside her. There was nothing else I could do. Carlos thought of the dream he’d had, of being in the boiler room, knowing the lunch woman was hidden behind the furnace, and felt a shudder pass through him. He rubbed his eyes and kicked himself inwardly. You’re just tired from lack of sleep, he told himself. Don’t let it affect your ability to do your job. He got up and went over to the counter with the coffee maker on it and grabbed a styrofoam cup. After watching the dark steaming liquid pour into it. He poured in a healthy amount of cream and sugar and stirred; he could only assume Melvin had made it, therefore it would taste like rocket fuel, not coffee. He’d discovered long ago it was best to do one thing at a time when sleep deprived. The whole time his thoughts were on Lane. He took a sip of the coffee and turned back towards the cell. Against his better judgement he walked up to the cell. “What did you mean back in the car?” he asked. Lane looked up. Seconds ticked by in which he remained silent. “It’s a long story,” he said finally. “Well you better get it straight. Because when the sheriff gets here you’re going to have a lot of questions to answer.” Lane suddenly laughed. There was a cynical, hysterical quality to it. “I never should have come to this fucked up little town. I should have just kept driving and driving.” “Why did you come here, then?” “For answers.” “Answers for what?” Lane’s face darkened. “Who I am and why bad shit keeps happening to me.” “Is that what happened to your arm, something bad happened to you?” Lane looked down at the arm with the makeshift cast. “That was when I got into a fight with a crowbar - and lost.” The door to the station opened and Sheriff Enzo came walking in. His eyes were red and puffy. The old man’s been crying, Carlos thought. This is a day I’ll never forget. Enzo gave Lane a seething look and said with a venomous voice, “Get him into the interrogation room, Carlos. The interrogation room was a square room with white walls and white tiling. Lane and Sheriff Enzo sat at a square table in the center of the room. He'd offered Lane a cup of coffee. He spoke in a calm friendly manner that was really just a facade. Lane simply shook his head and kept his silence. Carlos watched it all in the recording room, behind the two way mirror. Speakers in the room allowed him to hear what was being said; video cameras recorded the whole conversation. "So," Enzo said, his voice crackling conversationally through the speakers, "I have a lot of questions for you. Frankly I don't know where to begin. I'd ask your name but I don't know if you'd be telling me the truth since we found this in your car." He held up an evidence baggie full of IDs social security cards, and birth certificates. "You trying to get away from something?" “Yes,” Lane said, looking the sheriff in the eye. “What?” “I don’t know...I was kind of hoping you could tell me. There’s something about this town. Something wrong with it.” “Yeah,” Enzo said, “sick people like you who bring your twisted big city problems with you.” “Actually,” Lane said, “I’m from here. I always thought I was from Indianapolis, where I was adopted, but as it turns out that’s not the case.” “What are you saying?” “I’m saying I just got here yesterday. I just found out Vanessa Stanton is my aunt and she put me up for adoption to get away from this place. It didn’t work” Carlos watched as his father leaned back in the chair and gave Lane a long hard look. Carlos didn’t like the look he was seeing on his father’s face; there was something dangerous looking behind there and he had no idea what it was. “You’re saying your a Stanton?” “Yes,” Lane said. “My mother was Elise Stanton. She died moments after giving birth to me.” Enzo stood and leaned across the table so his face was just inches away from Lane’s; his olive toned skin had turned tomato-red. “You’re lying,” he spat. “And what does any of this have to do with why you killed Vanessa Stanton, an old woman already moments from stepping through death’s door?” Lane stared back in defiance. Carlos had to give him credit, he was a tough little shit. “I don’t know, you tell me. The town killed her, not me. Whatever it is here that infects people. It got inside her and she attacked me. And she told me not long before she died that you know about it, so don’t tell me I’m fucking lying!” Slowly Enzo’s face changed. His eyes became glassy and his face went from bright red to a pale shade of green. Carlos couldn’t remember the last he’d seen him look scared. “Infected?” The younger man nodded. “I’ve always just called it ‘the darkness.’ Somehow it gets in people and controls them. They always come after me. Sometimes it leaves behind stains on the walls...and there’s things that come out of it, like bugs. And it moves almost as if it’s alive...Vanessa told me she had answers; she said I might be able to stop it. That’s why I came here, to Adermoor Cove. I just want to find a way to stop it.” Once more, with an air of finality, Enzo rose from the table. He had the black-crevasse look on his face Carlos recognized, which meant he had shut himself down. Whatever he was thinking or feeling, whatever decision he'd made, there was no getting through to the sheriff. "You stick with that story and there won't be much of a trial - the judge will just have you locked up in the loony bin and you will never get another chance to see the light of day." It was then Lane's resolve shattered. "Fuck you!" he shouted, vocal cords standing out against his neck. His hands were clenched into fist. "Fuck you and everyone on this God forsaken island!" He crumpled forward in his seat and buried his face in his arms, handcuff chain scraping against the table. Even in the interrogation room, through the speakers, Carlos could hear his muffled sobs and it made him think of a rainy night seven years ago in Boston: A seven year old boy had come home from school, just off the school bus, to find his mother wasn't home. The door was unlocked so he just went inside thinking his mother had just made a quick run to the grocery store, fixed himself a sandwich to hold him over until dinner, and sat at the kitchen table and did his homework. Carlos suddenly remembered the boy's name had been Timmy Maddox, the mother's Rebecca. Timmy waited until five o'clock in the morning before he got worried enough to try and reach his mother on the cell. He later told Carlos it wasn’t like her to not be home when he got out of school or leave without her cell phone. At seven Timmy got scared and called the cops. Timmy was sitting on the porch swing when Carlos had arrived at the scene, and the sound Lane was making wasn’t so different from the one Timmy had made. It was the sound of fear, pain, and desolation. As it turned out Rebecca Maddox had been in the house the whole time. Carlos found her in the upstairs bathroom. She'd locked the door so Tim couldn't discover what she'd done to herself. Carlos would never be able to forget the water, darkened with her blood, and the bone-deep slashes she'd carved into herself. The few friends who'd known her later said they didn't know Rebecca had been thinking about taking her own life; they couldn't imagine why she would want to leave her young son behind with no one to look after him. But the prescription bottles found by the forensic staff, prescribed by the psychiatrist, had told a story no one knew anything about. It was a memory Carlos hadn't told his father and didn’t think he ever would. In those days he'd still been a beat cop and felt the same drowning helpless feeling he did now. Enzo came back into the booth, looking grave, tired, and old. His words passed through Carlos’s ears like water: Unless an angel comes along and posts his bail, he'll be transferred to Bangor first thing tomorrow...I'm going to get a few hours of shuteye...You look like you could use some too...Go home, get some sleep…And I don’t want you telling anyone about this just yet... "Has this morning been a fucking nightmare or what?" his father asked. Eyes burning from exhaustion, Carlos thought, Everyday is a fucking nightmare. … Once back at the house exhaustion hit Carlos like a ton of falling bricks. He stripped down to his birthday suit and crawled underneath the covers. The bedroom felt wonderfully cool. The pulse of the fan almost sounded like rushing water. For the first time since he'd bought the place with money he'd saved up over the years, the house felt like home. As sleep gradually started to take him a question drifted through his mind: Why did I move back here? And then he was dreaming again. Not of the boiler room this time, but a different dream. He was walking up the driveway leading to the lighthouse. The sun was just starting to set. In the bleeding light, the beacon at the top of the lighthouse shone brightly. Carlos wondered if there'd been a mistake, if Vanessa Stanton hadn't really been thrown to her death, but was in fact at the top of the tower, shining that light. He could hear someone crying, a little boy. It sounded like Timmy Maddox. A question floated feverishly through his mind: What's Timmy doing here in Adermoor Cove? He passed the yellow security tape and walked the rest of the way to the porch. He realized it wasn’t Timmy crying as if in the greatest agony a person could find themselves in, but Lane. He sat in the rocking chair where it was said Vanessa Stanton used to sit before she was diagnosed with cancer (you mean before the darkness took her just like it took the lady in the boiler room, a small voice in the back of his mind whispered), head lowered. When he sensed Carlos coming he lifted his head. A mix of tears and eyeliner trailed down his face like liquid ash. His suffering only made him look more beautiful. He rose from the rocking chair and waited. Carlos climbed up the steps and stopped so that Lane was standing slightly above him. "Why are you crying?" "Because every fucking day is a nightmare," said Lane. "I need you to listen to me. You know something's going on. You know how this town is. You don’t remember because you blocked it out - but you do remember the lady in the boiler room. And you know after you told your father she was never seen again. Things have a way of going missing here. What is it your father always used to tell you?" "'Here in Adermoor Cove we do things our own way," Carlos recited. Lane nodded. "That's right." "But I don't want to remember. I don't want any of this to be real." "And that's the problem with this town. People don’t want to acknowledge there is something very wrong with this island. They cover it up to make it look all pristine and pretty so the tourists will come every summer, without incident. But you have to remember because the dark times are coming." "It's too bad you're a murder suspect," said Carlos, "because I really want to kiss you." Lane smiled through his tears. “Well I guess it’s good this is a dream, then, huh?” … By the time Carlos went into the station at three o’clock in the afternoon, feeling refreshed, the dream was mostly forgotten the way most dreams are. He stepped into the station to find Ramona Sterling and Jack Nichols standing together by the coffee maker, talking in low voices. “What’s going on?” Carlos asked. “What are you guys gossiping about? Or is it about me and I'm not supposed to know?” Ramona glanced towards the sheriff’s office door which was cracked open. “You just missed it. Ted Magyer just came in and posted that kid’s bail not an hour ago.” “What?” Carlos whirled around. Sure enough the holding cell where Lane hardy had been held was empty. “Things are starting to get mighty interesting around here, wouldn’t you say?” Nichols said, taking a sip of his coffee.
  21. The following week went by quickly and now we were ready for the weekend again. After dinner on Friday, we threw a small celebration for Elliot’s birthday, because he wanted to wait and have the cake and ice cream on Sunday. Dad made cupcakes for the occasion, and after we sang Happy Birthday to Elliot, he made a wish and blew out the lone candle on his cupcake. After we enjoyed this little treat, we gave Elliot his presents, but it’s hard to buy something for someone who already has everything he wants. That’s because he inherited quite a bit of money when his father was killed, so we had to think outside of the box when it came to his birthday and Christmas. Based on our recent experience with our own birthdays, we gave him a card with a message inside. “What’s this?” he asked. “It’s our offer to purchase a two-day package to Hershey Park for you, and it will include a two-night stay at the Hershey Lodge, breakfast, and tickets to the park both days. You can take Ian with you, so both of you will have to decide which two days you want to do this. As soon as you’ve selected a date, we’ll purchase the package for you.” He was thrilled with the gift, since it would give him a chance to be alone with Ian for a couple of days, so we felt we’d made a wise choice. Once the others had given him their gifts as well, Brandon and I spent some time with the boys as they interacted with the puppies. We were pleased to see they were making some progress with teaching Dobby and Flash how to ‘sit’ and ‘shake’ and had even accomplished more than we’d anticipated. It was definitely a step in the right direction. The potty training, on the other hand, wasn’t going quite as smoothly. Much of the lack of success had to do with the puppies’ ability to control their bladders, because it would be another couple of months before they’d be able to do that. For now, however, we dealt with the occasional accidents and the boys were very good about catching the puppies and taking them outside to do their business. They were also rewarding the puppies when they peed or pooped in the grass, and they picked up the feces afterward. It was a good sign and the boys were making progress, but we knew there was still a long way to go. After the boys put the puppies in the carrier for the night, they went upstairs to shower and get ready for bed, and then we went up to tuck them in. During the week we started reading a chapter from the book Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume to the younger boys before they went to sleep. It all started unexpectedly, because when I was doing my chores the previous weekend I came across the “Fudge” box set that we’d purchased for one of the other boys when he was younger. We started with the first book in the series, which got its name from one of the characters in the story. It’s a cute tale we thought these three would find interesting, and Tristan heard us reading it to them and asked to join us for these sessions as well, so now he sat in with us most nights as well. Doing this allowed us to continue a tradition Julie had started with the twins, but had to discontinue when she was no longer capable of reading to them, due to her illness. The twins seemed pleased that we were doing this with them now, and Brandon and I enjoyed it since it gave us a chance to spend a little more quality time with the boys. It was now becoming a nightly ritual, and as soon as we finished reading the chapter, we kissed each one on the forehead, wished them sweet dreams, and tucked them in before we turned off the light. When Brandon and I got home from work on Saturday, we had lunch with the family and then went outside with the boys so I could record a video of them playing with the puppies. Doing this would allow me to keep a promise I’d made to them, and we would show the video to their mom and Alice when we visited them the next day. The boys also brought the puppies closer to me while I was filming them so I could get a nice shot of each one, and then they raced around the yard so the puppies would chase after them. It was after 8:00 that evening when Elliot’s phone rang, and he went into the other room to answer it. When he returned, he let us know who had called. “It was Ian, and he was calling me from his parents’ car. He wanted to let me know they were on their way home now.” “So his parents drove to the airport to pick him up?” Brandon asked. “No, they drove to Pittsburgh a couple of days ago and caught a flight to California so they could see him graduate, and then they all flew back together. They had left their car in the long-term parking lot at the airport, and now they’re driving home.” “I’m glad he made it back safely and you’ll be seeing him soon,” Brandon responded. “Me too, and I invited him to dinner and my birthday party tomorrow, but he said his parents want him to have dinner at home. He said he’ll come for the party, though, so I told him I’ll pick him up at 7:45, because we were having the party at 8:00.” Although Elliot didn’t mention it, I imagine he also advised Ian to plan on spending the night. After the boys took their showers, we went up to read them another chapter before we tucked them into bed. I have to admit that even Brandon and I found the story interesting and humorous, while at the same time we were hoping it didn’t give the boys any ideas about mimicking some of the antics of the characters in the book. When the chapter ended, we kissed each of them on the forehead and wished them pleasant dreams before we left the room, and then we went to say goodnight to the others. In the morning, Brandon and I were surprised that we didn’t have to wake the younger boys this time. They woke up on their own, came downstairs, let the puppies out of the carrier, fed them, and took them outside. In fact, it even seemed as if they were enjoying the puppies so much that they looked forward to doing this with them, so it was working out even better than we’d hoped. After the boys washed up afterward and grabbed a bite to eat, we all got ready to go to church. We picked up Becky, Revin, and Tristan on the way, since it was Tristan’s turn to stay with them, and then we headed to the church. It was another typical Sunday morning for us, and once the service ended we went to the diner for brunch. “By the way, Becky, you and Revin are invited to join us on Wednesday for our Fourth of July cookout,” I told her while we were eating. “That sounds wonderful. What can I bring?” “We’ve got what we need to make the potato and macaroni salads, and I’ve purchased the meat for the grill,” Dad responded, “but you could make a three-bean salad or bring a watermelon.” “I’ll do both. Who else is coming?” “The usual crowd, which means everyone who lives close by,” Pop answered. “Uncle Steve is bringing the corn so we can have corn-on-the-cob too,” Brandon added. “And Aunt Mary is making a couple of apple pies and Aunt Sally is baking a cake,” Trey followed. “So I don’t think anyone will go home hungry,” Dion concluded. “Then it sounds like it will be a wonderful time,” Becky agreed. After we finished eating, we dropped Becky and Revin off at their house, and then the rest of us went home. Once we’d all changed out of our church clothes, I told Holly and the twins to hop in the car so I could take them to visit their mom. Once again, Brandon chose to stay behind so he could work on his chores while I was driving them to the nursing home. As soon as we got to Shady Pines, the twins led the way to Julie’s room, since they remembered the way from the last time we were there. As soon as we said hello to Julie and Alice, the twins began teasing me to show the video of them with the puppies, so I let Julie view it first. ”They are… really cute,” she told the boys after watching it. “You both… seem to… have fun… playing with… them.” “We do,” Hunter agreed. “We like the puppies a lot,” Hayden followed. “Do you… play with… them too?” Julie asked Holly. “I mostly just pet them, but I enjoy watching the puppies chase the boys around the yard.” While Julie and her children were chatting, I took my phone over so I could show Alice the video. “My uncle had one of those dogs when I was younger, and I enjoyed playing with it too.” “Yes, beagles can be a lot of fun, especially for a child,” I agreed, and she nodded. “Do you have any family in the area?” “No, I was an only child and my husband and I didn’t have any children. My husband died a few years ago in a traffic accident, and I don’t have any relatives that live around here. I have a couple of cousins, but they live out of state.” “Do they ever visit you?” “They have, but it’s a long trip for them to make and they obviously can’t stay here when they visit.” “Yes, that would be a little awkward, so you can join us when we come to visit Julie.” “That’s very nice of you, and I appreciate you doing this.” After a while, we offered to take Julie and Alice outside again, and they were more than eager to go with us. “Can I push mom this time?” Hunter asked. “Yeah, let us do it and I’ll push Alice,” Hayden concurred. “Would that be ok with the two of you?” I asked Julie and Alice next, and they both nodded in agreement. “Ok, but only if you promise to be really careful and don’t try to go too fast.” “Yeah, we promise,” they replied in perfect unison. I think only twins could do it that precisely. Once again, we took Julie and Alice for a walk around the lovely area behind the nursing home, and then we sat down to chat with them as we all enjoyed the beautiful day. The twins got up and left us at one point and started chasing a squirrel that had been foolish enough to scamper across the grass while we were there. The squirrel ran away from them and climbed a nearby tree to escape, and of course there was never any chance the boys would actually catch it. Eventually, Julie announced that she was tired again and wanted to go back to her room. We wheeled them both inside, but this time I didn’t offer to help Julie get into bed. Alice had explained to me earlier why Julie had turned down my offer the week before, and it was because she was afraid I didn’t have experience doing it and thought I might drop her. It was probably better that the aides did it for her anyway, since they knew how to do it safely. We said goodbye to both of them, and Holly and her brothers gave their mother a hug and a kiss before we left the room. “We’ll see you both again next Sunday,” I said just before I walked out the door. “Thank you,” Julie said before I disappeared. “And thank you for including me too,” Alice added. When we got to the car, I decided to ask the kids a question. “I hope you’re not disappointed that this visit was shorter.” “No, it’s just nice to get to see Mom every week,” Holly answered. “Yeah, it’s not your fault we couldn’t stay longer,” Hayden added. “It’s cuz Mom got tired,” Hunter confirmed. “I know, and I just wanted to make sure you understood and weren’t disappointed.” “Nah, we’re fine,” Hayden agreed. I drove back to the house and they thanked me again for taking them before they headed off to do their own thing. I went to find Brandon, and he asked how the visit went. “It was very nice, but Julie got tired again. I also discovered that Alice doesn’t have any family in the area.” “Then we’ll have to fill that void for her when we go to visit Julie. I think I’ll go with you next Sunday.” “That’s a good idea and it won’t be a problem, because the kids can all fit in the backseat.” “Yes, the twins are small enough that the three of them should have plenty of room back there.” “What’s been going on here?” “Not much. I did the laundry, but I had to stop while Elliot was taking his shower. I forgot the washing machine was on the same hot water supply line as the bathroom he was using. I guess he got a cold blast while I was doing the whites.” “Ouch, that can be a shock to the body, but didn’t he shower last night?” “Yes, but he was showering again before he picked up Ian. I think he wanted to be squeaky clean for the private birthday party they’d be having in his room later.” “Ah, yes, the celebration of the end of several months of being apart, since Ian didn’t come home for Christmas.” “Yes, I’m sure they’ve got a lot of making up, and making out, to do.” When I went to check on the kids, Tristan and the twins had just fed the puppies and were taking them outside. Holly was in her room making more visual aids for her daycare group, and Ryan was up in his room talking on the phone with Owen. I just said hello to him and didn’t stay long, because they seemed to be planning what they were going to do while he was there. When I went to find Noah, he didn’t seem to be anywhere in the house. “Do you know where Noah is?” I asked Brandon when I got back to the first floor. “Yes, he asked if he could spend some time with his friends, and I told him that would be fine as long as he was back in time for dinner.” “Ah, yes, the freedom that comes with having his own car.” “Hey, it saves us gas money,” Brandon joked. We all came together again for dinner later, and while we were eating Dad and Pop asked Holly and the twins about their visit to the nursing home. “So how was your mother today?” Dad asked. “She’s doing good,” Holly answered, “but she got tired again.” “And we got to push her and Alice this time,” Hunter added. “And we showed her the video that Dad took of us and the puppies,” Hayden offered. “Did she like that?” Pop wanted to know. “Yeah, she thought the puppies were cute,” Hunter answered. “And we chased a squirrel while we were there. It was kinda like when the puppies chase us,” Hayden followed. “Did you catch the squirrel?” Pop followed. “Nah, it was too fast,” Hayden responded. “And it climbed a tree,” Hunter chimed in. “Yes, they’re good at doing that, but I’m sure your mom enjoyed watching you run after it,” Dad stated. “Yes, she was laughing at them,” Holly confirmed. “And what did you do while your brothers were chasing the squirrel,” Pop asked. “I was telling Mom about what it was like living here and about what I was doing at my job.” “Then it seems as if you all had a nice visit,” Dad observed. “Yes, it was wonderful to spend time with her again,” Holly agreed. “And Alice is really nice too.” A short time after we finished eating, Elliot left to pick up Ian, and about thirty minutes later they arrived at the house. “Sorry, but I stopped in to say hi to Ian’s parents,” Elliot apologized. “It’s not a problem,” Brandon assured him. “How have you been, Ian?” “I’m doing well, especially now that I’ve finished my bachelor degree and won’t be so far away from Elliot this fall.” “Yes, we heard that you’ll be attending Harvard Medical School,” I concurred. “Yes, and even though we won’t exactly be together, Harvard’s a lot closer to Yale than Stanford is, so we should be able to spend a little more time together.” “And maybe you’ll get to come home for the holidays this year too.” “Yes, but I’m glad I stayed in California last Christmas. The boy I’d been spending time with died before I would have gotten back there, and I was with him when he took his last breath.” “Damn, that was awfully nice of you,” Trey told him. “I know we’re not supposed to get emotionally attached to the patients, but he was a really sweet thirteen-year-old and I became close to both him and his parents.” “I’m sure that must have made them feel a little better as well, having you there,” Dion stated. “Yes, we talked a lot, especially when their son was asleep.” “How are you going to deal with losing a patient when you’re a doctor?” Noah asked. “I’ll be a cardiologist, so my patients will most likely be older and it won’t be as hard to accept. It’s a lot easier to cope with the death of someone who has led a fairly full and active life, rather than one who is just getting started and should have many years still left to enjoy.” “That’s very true,” I agreed. “We’ve had to deal with that when we lost Brent and Cody.” Everyone remained silent for a few minutes as we recalled those times, and then Dad and Pop went out to get the cake and ice cream. When they returned, Dad set the cake in front of Elliot and I lit the pair of deuces on top of the cake, announcing he had just turned twenty-two, and then we sang Happy Birthday to him. “Make a wish and blow out the candles,” Brandon urged when we finished singing. “I already got my wish,” he stated as he gave Ian a hug. “Make another one then,” I suggested. He made his wish and blew out the candles, and then we had him make the first cut in the cake. Brandon then finished cutting it for him and placed the slices on a plate before I passed them to Dad and Pop so they could add the ice cream. While we were doing that, Elliot showed Ian the card we’d given him. “It’s for a two night, two day trip to Hershey Park, and we just have to decide when we want to go there.” “So it’s for both of us?” “Yes, in a way it is. You weren’t around for your birthday in February, so we decided to give Elliot something that you would both enjoy together,” Brandon explained. “We thought you could use the time to become reacquainted and unwind after studying for so long and so hard,” I added. “Yes, it sounds great. Are there any restrictions on when we can do this?” “Only if the Hershey Lodge is booked up on the dates you select, so the quicker you choose a date, the sooner we can buy the package to ensure you’ll get the dates you want,” I offered. “I assume the park will probably be busy all summer long, but most likely even more so on the weekends, so it would probably be best if you selected two weekdays to do this.” “Yeah, we’ll look at a calendar later and let you know what we decide,” Elliot confirmed. “And Ian,” I continued, “you and your parents are invited to join us on the Fourth of July. We’re going to have a cookout here at the house.” “Thank you and I’ll be sure to tell them tomorrow night.” After we finished the cake and ice cream, the younger boys got the puppies to show Ian next, and then Elliot and Ian disappeared. Brandon and I took the rest of the kids to the family room to see if we could find a movie to watch, but we also did this so the other boys wouldn’t bother Elliot and Ian. We assumed they were being intimate and we didn’t want the other boys to disturb them. When the movie ended, the younger boys went to take their showers, and then Brandon and I went up to read the next chapter to them before they fell asleep. When we finished, we kissed each one as we tucked him in, and then we wished them sweet dreams. We went around to do the same thing with the older kids next, although we skipped saying goodnight to Elliot and Ian. Another hectic weekend had come to an end.
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