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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

The Brilliant Boy Billionaire - 65. Sweet Sixteen

With Franklin now in his junior year at HSMSE, living in a dorm during the week, and with Henry and me in school as well and busy with our studies, the only time we could all get together was on the weekends. Not all of my weekends were free thanks to the demands of the corporate world, but as much as possible, we made it a point to get together. Franklin took pleasure at showing us all the places in New York that he thought were the coolest. Of course, there were multiple trips to the Metropolitan Museum and the MoMA, but Franklin showed us a number of tiny museums I’d never heard of, such as the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side, The Skyscraper Museum in the Financial District and the Morgan Library and Museum in Midtown. Even the Museum of the City of New York on Fifth Avenue was a revelation, with its incredible interactive exhibits that brought to life the history of the people that made New York what it is today. El Museo Del Barrio, located right next to it, gave both Henry and me a new appreciation of his Latin heritage

Henry and I spent hours walking along the High Line, an urban park built on top of an old elevated rail bed on Lower Manhattan’s West Side. We explored all the little shops and coffeehouses in Chelsea, Greenwich Village and the East Village, and with Franklin as our guide, we found out-of-the-way spots in Chinatown that the tourists rarely saw. We ventured into the boroughs, seeing Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and even Staten Island, where we found myriad parks with amazing displays of natural beauty, right in the midst of the densest city in America.

Of course, Saturday nights were special as we chatted with James and Mora while Franklin cooked incredible gourmet meals for the five of us. It was thanks to the weekends that we really started to bond as a family. The Walters were the closest thing Henry and I had to family in New York, and in time, I came to see Mora and James as my parents for real. Before long, calling them Mora and James just didn’t seem adequate, yet I couldn’t call James by the same name I’d used for the pedophile who took me from them, so I decided to call them Mom and Pop. Before long, much to everyone’s amusement, Franklin started to call James ‘Pop’ instead of ‘Dad’, too.

September was of significance for another reason; Henry was turning sixteen. As Ph.D. students, we had a lot more flexibility to take time off than we would have had if taking undergraduate or master’s-level classes full time. Even so, making arrangements to take time from school and work was a challenge. His real birthday was on a Wednesday, and both his family in Omaha and my family in New York insisted on throwing parties for him. Obviously, we couldn’t take off during the middle of the week in either case, and it made little sense to travel to Omaha before his actual birthday since he needed to be sixteen to get his driver’s license. Because of his school permit and the number of hours he’d already driven, he qualified to get his Nebraska provisional license as soon as he turned sixteen. Therefore, we planned to go back home to Omaha the weekend after his birthday.

Since Franklin couldn’t take time off during the week, the Walters threw Henry a birthday party the weekend before. It was a small party with just the Walters, Henry and me as well as a couple of friends Henry had made in the math department at NYU, a straight woman and a gay man, along with their boyfriends. Franklin must have spent all day preparing the feast he served; it was as elaborate as any meal I’d ever eaten. The meal was truly gourmet, with eight courses, each more spectacular than the last. The clincher, however, was a birthday cake the likes of which I’d never seen before. It was made to look like a stack of vinyl records, with a grooved black glaze that looked like a vinyl LP, complete with a label that read ‘Happy 16th Birthday Henry’. A single candle arose from the hole in the center.

It was so realistic that I was shocked to find it was edible. I couldn’t fathom how it was made and so I pestered Franklin until he explained how he’d found a recipe and video on the internet. The glaze was made from a sugar-based confection and the top was pressed between two real vinyl records and then frozen. The sides were molded around the outside of a cake tin and gently wrapped with heavy nylon fishing line and frozen. Inside, the cake consisted of six layers of cheesecake, each with a different color so that when cut, the layers formed an LGBT rainbow. I was surprised to find that each layer had a flavor to match the color, from raspberry to orange, lemon, lime, blueberry and blackberry. It was a riot of flavor. Wow!

We told the guests to limit gifts to twenty dollars or less, but our parents couldn’t help but get him something nice, so they gave him a Rolex. It was his first wristwatch ever, and what a watch! Accurate to within two seconds per day, it used a mechanical, precision jeweled movement that would last a lifetime. Using nineteenth-century technology, it was wound by Henry's arm movements. I knew from my own curiosity what a Rolex cost, but then one didn’t buy a Rolex for it’s value. My Applazon watch was accurate to within milliseconds, being synchronized via my cell phone carrier with the atomic clock maintained by the National Institute for Standards and Technology, in Boulder, Colorado. A Rolex wasn’t as accurate, nor could it send or receive text messages or email, but it was one of the most elegant timepieces a person could own.

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Of course, I gave my gift to Henry on his actual birthday on Wednesday after I took him to the Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, arguably the best seafood restaurant in New York and perhaps one of the best in the world. It was one of only thirteen restaurants in the U.S. to have earned Michelin’s coveted three-star rating. I’d actually looked into taking Shaun there for his sixteenth birthday, but that was before my server designs had made me rich; at the time, the $395-per-person price for the tasting menu was well out of my league. Now, I could easily afford it. Neither of us had ever been to a Michelin-starred restaurant – even with all of my travels – much less a Michelin three-star restaurant, so this would be a treat for both of us. We loved seafood and Japanese food, but had no idea what to expect from Japanese-inspired seafood, augmented by French techniques. The thought of it was beyond appealing.

There were two sittings each evening, and there was a hundred-dollar-per-person, non-refundable deposit to make a reservation, which I did for the second sitting on Henry’s birthday. We arrived with plenty of time to spare and were seated promptly at 7:30. I was at first taken aback that seating was not at individual tables but rather with several other patrons at a long counter that wrapped around an open kitchen. There were tables for two, four and six diners surrounding us, but those were for people who wished to order from the menu. The counter was for the limited number of us who’d reserved a spot for the tasting menu. We were each handed the evening’s list of fourteen courses, including such unusual items as sea urchin, caviar and duck. We would have the pleasure of being served directly by Chef César Rodriguez and his assistants.

“How ironic,” Henry commented. “We’re gonna be served Japanese seafood, prepared using French techniques by a Latinx chef. It’s so American.

“Try telling that to the Trump supporters,” I replied.

“What’s crazy is that a hell of a lot of Latinx men are Trump supporters. Go figure.”

We’d been subjected to political ads for months as we were headed into the midterm elections in November. Although Trump and much of his family, as well as former mayor Giuliani, were under indictment, that hadn’t stopped Trump’s supporters from claiming it was all just another witch hunt, echoing the former president’s own words. More Moderate Republicans were heading for the exit door by the droves, but that only concentrated the Trump supporters that were left. Fully four out of five Republicans now believed the last presidential election was stolen and that Trump was still the legitimate president. Unfortunately, the Democrats had increasingly moved left, leaving the vast majority of voters feeling abandoned by both parties.

Historically, the party in power lost seats during midterm elections, and with new, gerrymandered congressional districts, it seemed likely that Republicans would be able to flip both the House and the Senate. However, under the circumstances, with a majority of the electorate claiming no party affiliation for the first time in history, it was anyone’s guess as to how the midterms would go. What we needed was a moderate leader with the charisma to bring the nation together and to heal our wounds. The last president like that was probably Ronald Reagan, but in my opinion, he was responsible for a lot of the problems we faced today.

“Can we agree not to talk about politics tonight?” Henry asked. “It’s about the last thing I want to talk about on my birthday. There’s enough to depress me these days. Maybe we could talk about what kind of car I should get myself for my sixteenth birthday?”


“You really want to drive in Manhattan? There’s a reason they don’t let you get your license until you’re seventeen here.”

“But I’ll be getting my license in Omaha when we go home this weekend,” Henry pointed out.

“Yes, I know, and I’d even planned to get you a car for your birthday, but that was before I tried driving here myself,” I explained. “With the pedestrians and bicycles that dart out into traffic right in front of you, the city buses that treat you like you’re a rodent to be shoved out of the way, the cabs and limos that suddenly cut across three lanes of traffic to pick up a fare, and the way everyone has to cut each other off just to get anywhere, I don’t want you getting anywhere near the driver’s seat of a car in Manhattan until you’re at least forty.”

“Forty, my ass. So, what kind of car were you going to get me? A Lamborghini?”

“No way I’d buy you a car worth stealing at gunpoint,” I answered.

“So, what were you gonna get me?” he asked again.

“A Sherman tank.”

“Get serious, J.J.”

“Okay, I was going to get you a Mustang Mach-E, like Rob’s,” I answered. “It’s nimble enough to parallel park, yet utilitarian enough to deal with the scratch-and-dent arena, better known as New York.”

“Boston’s worse,” Henry commented.

“And I don’t want you driving there, either,” I said.

“So, what did you get me instead of a car?” he asked.

“Patience, boyfriend. You’ll find out later tonight.” With the arrival of the first course, it was time to get down to serious eating.

I wasn’t sure what to expect of patrons who ate at such an expensive restaurant, but then the Chef’s Table was considered only moderately expensive for New York. Indeed, both Yelp and Trip Advisor gave it three dollar signs – not four. A high-end restaurant in New York was considered to be one with a price tag of over a thousand dollars per couple, and it seemed those were having no problem filling seats in spite of the leftover skittishness some people had about going out to eat after the pandemic.

Henry and I weren’t the only teens eating there that night, as there was a teenage girl who was also celebrating her sixteenth birthday along with her parents and younger sister. They were seated at one of the tables and would be ordering from the menu, where an entrée and sides could be had for less than half the price of the tasting menu. For the most part, everyone at the counter was affluent, but Henry and I were probably the only billionaires in the group, not that we asked. There was an older couple who appeared from their clothes to be solidly middle class. It turned out they were both public-school teachers and had chosen to celebrate their fortieth anniversary with a truly memorable meal.

Naturally, everyone wanted to know who Henry and I were, given that we were obviously very young and well-dressed for a couple of teenagers. It was taking me some getting used to the way most New Yorkers thought nothing of prying into the lives of total strangers, yet everyone seated near us seemed genuinely interested and we ended up revealing much about our past – except for the part about my having killed my kidnapper. Our fellow diners didn’t hesitate to tell us about their lives either, including some things that I would’ve found embarrassing.

The server told us he’d have to card us if we wanted wine, and there was no discount offered to those who didn’t partake of the chef’s wine pairings with each course. However, we were served an astonishing array of juices instead, each one a perfect accompaniment to the food being served. The meal was truly memorable, and sharing it with Henry was special. The portions were tiny, but each of the fourteen courses was incredibly rich, flavorful and filling. It was no wonder there were only two sittings for the evening. At the end of the meal, we had amaretto coffees, and those were alcoholic. Was the meal worth $800 for the two of us? Definitely, but perhaps I could only say that because it was now pocket change for me.

When I came to New York with Shaun, I didn’t even consider it. Spending that kind of money on a birthday meal would’ve meant giving up one or both of the Broadway musicals we saw. In retrospect, it might have been worth it. Broadway musicals eventually went on tour, and even if we had to drive to Des Moines, we could have done it. The only Michelin three-star restaurant in the Midwest was Alinea in Chicago, with all of the rest being in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Northern California.

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It was surprisingly warm for an early-fall evening, so rather than hiring a car, we walked home from the restaurant, taking the High Line down to Chelsea, walking through the Chelsea Market and then walking back up to Eighteenth Street, which took us right to our building. The High Line was decidedly out of the way, but there weren’t so many tourists on a Wednesday night, and walking hand in hand with Henry was romantic. Besides which, it gave us a chance to walk off a bit of the meal, fostering an appetite for other things.

The moment we were inside, I pushed Henry up against the door and kissed him deeply, sensuously caressing his tongue with my own. Already, I could feel his arousal pressing against mine. The only problem was that there were too many layers of clothing between us. Because we were dressed up for the occasion, the sensible part of my brain wouldn’t let me trash our good clothes to satisfy our lust. Therefore, I led him up the stairs and into our bedroom, where we took our time slowly undressing each other.

“Alesia, initiate action, romantic birthday,” I called out, and the room lights dimmed to just a faint glow, a number of surprisingly realistic-looking LED candles flickered to life, and GoGo Penguin’s A Humdrum Star began to play quietly from the Blades and the assorted surround-sound speakers we’d added to the master bedroom, at considerable cost. Pushing Henry backwards onto the bed, I fell on top of him, and we resumed intensely making out. I couldn’t get enough of his mouth and tongue.

Lifting his right arm, I inhaled deeply of the faint scent under his arm, teasing him with my tongue. I moved on to his nipples, sucking them into my mouth, nibbling on them lightly with my teeth and circling them with the tip of my tongue. Gently, I blew on them while they were still wet, sending shivers up and down his spine. Moving lower, I licked my way down his abdomen, tongued his navel and then inhaled deeply of the pungent, musky scent in his groin. Going down on him, I swallowed him whole as he writhed under me.

Breathlessly, Henry managed to croak, “Turn around. I want you, too!” Letting go of him, I complied, and as I felt him start to lick and suck my private parts, I spread his legs and bent his knees, and started to lick his perineum and tease his ring. It was difficult to reach, so I bunched up the duvet and gently stuffed it under his cheeks. Chuckling, I realized that once again, we’d need to send the duvet out for a thorough cleaning.

Licking and then rimming him, I pushed my tongue inside and started to fuck him with my tongue, but Henry was relentless in the attention he was giving my own member. Teasing at my ring with his finger, he pushed his way inside and started to massage my prostate. As he swallowed me whole, I felt myself edging closer and closer to my climax. I tried to pull out, but Henry wouldn’t let me. Clearly, he wanted to taste me, and he didn’t want to wait. With no choice, I ceased my ministrations and cried out as I felt myself unload into his eager mouth.

Before I could regain my strength and even think of returning to what I’d been doing before having an earth-shattering orgasm, Henry slid down my legs and started ministering to my toes. That put his feet directly in front of my face, and so I did the same. It was interesting to compare and the contrast the differences in smell and taste after his feet had been in leather dress shoes instead of his preferred sandals or sneakers. The smell wasn’t unpleasant, but it was more pungent, and the taste had a saltier flavor. I thought to myself that the saltiness was probably because the leather made him sweat more than in sandals or sneakers and athletic socks, but then I stopped myself. I was overthinking things again, rather than enjoying the moment.

We thoroughly cleansed each other’s feet before moving back up our legs and thighs, giving our full attention to our most private areas once again. Now, we took our time bringing each other to the brink before I finally lowered myself onto Henry’s pole and gave my sixteen-year-old boyfriend the ride of his life. Yes, the duvet was definitely going to have to go out to the cleaners.

After showering and getting ready for bed, Henry reminded me that I still owed him his birthday present. Handing him an envelope, I said, “I wanted to get you something special that we could both do together. After all, what can a boy billionaire get another boy billionaire?”

Opening the envelope, Henry pulled out the stack of tickets and fanned them out, reading what they portended. “Holy fuck, there’s Wynton Marsalis, Brad Mehldau, John Pizzarelli and Nora Jones! These are tickets for some of the top jazz musicians in the world – and at Birdland, Cornelia Street Café and, shit, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. Holy fuck, you bought the entire season of Jazz at Lincoln Center. This is incredible! You’re right, it’s not just about the money, although I’m sure this cost thousands, but taking the time out to do something we love together. What could be better?” The kiss that followed only deepened, and all thoughts of going to sleep vanished into thin air. Little did we know it then, but most of the tickets would go unused.

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Leaving work and school early that Friday, Henry and I boarded a plane bound for Eppley Airfield in Omaha. Waiting just outside of security, Rob and Sam were there to greet us. After hugs all around, Rob led us, once again, to the corporate V.I.P. parking space where his Mustang Mach-E was waiting for us. The drive down Highway 75 was a relatively short one, and compared to New York City, the Friday-night traffic seemed nonexistent. Pulling up in front of the house, it seemed strange to be back at the Gonzalez family home. Next to the shack in Southern Indiana, I’d spent more of my life there than in any other place, yet it somehow seemed as if it were from a dream or perhaps from another lifetime now that we lived in our condo in New York.

There were more hugs all around, but it was after midnight by the time we arrived; we were beyond tired. We said our goodnights and headed downstairs. Sammy, who was now in his senior year of high school, had finally moved out of the largest of the three downstairs bedrooms, taking over my old bedroom, the corner bedroom, which had a sliding glass door that led directly out to the pool. Sammy’s old bedroom became a de facto guest room, and Henry’s old bedroom was left intact. Hence, it was to Henry’s old bedroom that we brought our luggage. In the downstairs bathroom, we both brushed our teeth at the double sinks and relieved ourselves, making use of the urinal we’d installed during the bathroom expansion. Getting under the covers, we kissed each other goodnight and were asleep, it seemed, before our heads even hit the pillow.

Much as we might have liked to sleep in, we didn’t have the luxury as there was a lot planned for the all-too-brief weekend. Even so, Fran had a breakfast feast prepared for us, with blueberry pancakes, veggie omelets, hash browns, whole-wheat toast and our favorite coffee, Deadman’s Reach. After we finished washing up and dressing, we wasted little time driving to the DMV, where Henry submitted his paperwork, paid the fee and obtained his own provisional license with none of the difficulty I’d encountered just a few years earlier. Of course, the license had his Omaha address listed, and he was on his mother’s insurance policy as it was the only way he could drive legally in New York City before he turned seventeen. Next year, we’d change his legal residence to New York and obtain his New York license through reciprocity.

Back home, preparations were underway for a huge party for Henry’s sixteenth. Only last year, Henry had still been in high school even as he completed work on his undergraduate degree in mathematics. Thus, he still had a number of friends from high school, and many of them still lived in town, including Darren, his ex-boyfriend, whom we both still considered among our friends. Although it was early fall in Omaha, high temperatures generally were still in the eighties and even nineties, but overnight temps often dipped into the forties. Today’s high was expected to be around 82. Fran had set propane heaters all around the deck and patio, which would keep the temperature warm once the sun set.

It was only then that I noticed that she’d replaced the old circular in-ground pool with a much larger rectangular one, and from the steam wafting off the surface, it was obviously heated. Apparently, we were having a pool party. When I asked about it, we learned that the original pool had been damaged by the bomb cyclone we’d experienced when I first came to live there. Although not evident at the time, cracks in the concrete foundation eventually resulted in the pool frequently draining into the basement. Since she had to replace the pool anyway, Fran decided to replace it with something that would be a major selling point when she one day moved into a smaller place. Henry and I were shocked to hear that Fran was even thinking of moving, but then we realized that there truly was no point to her ultimately living there alone.

Little Lindsey was now a freshman at Bellevue East and Hillary was a junior. Sammy, like so many others, had lost a year during the pandemic and was in his senior year in high school. Celia was still living at home while she worked toward the completion of her pre-med studies. However, she’d done extremely well on the Medical College Admissions Test and now that I’d agreed to pay for it, she'd likely go away to an Ivy League medical school. Camilla was away at Notre Dame and had already made it clear she would not be returning to Omaha. Rob had started his own life with Sam, and Hillary and Sammy would soon leave home for good. Henry and I now lived in New York and would only return to Omaha for family events and on holidays. Fran would still be in her forties when her youngest child graduated from high school. Had Jerry still been alive, the two if them as empty nesters might have taken in some young Air Force officers or college students, or maybe become foster parents. Now that Fran was an attractive, middle-aged single woman, it only made sense for her to live in a place where she’d be more likely to meet a single, middle-aged man.

While Fran, Sam, Celia and Hillary were busy in the kitchen, preparing a birthday feast, Rob and Sammy were manning the grill. Lindsey was setting up a slideshow on the TV in the great room, showing videos of Henry from infancy to the present. The guests started showing up at twenty minutes after the party was to have begun, reflecting what was considered fashionably late in the Midwest. Indeed, since Henry and I first moved to New York, being on time for parties was still something we were getting used to. Soon, the patio and deck were filled with kids chowing down on hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken breasts and salmon filets, with homemade coleslaw, potato salad, pasta salad and baked beans. Fran had outdone herself yet again.

Later, with music blaring, the pool was full, and kids were dancing on the deck. I took a moment to sit down alone with Fran, and I asked her how she was holding up.

“Don’t get me wrong, J.J.,” she began. “I loved Jerry very much, but we married very young. We met when I was still in my teens and he was twenty. He was at the Air Force Academy, and I was working in an after-school job as a waitress. My family didn’t have the money to send me to more than a community college, and I had plans to do so much more, but then I met Jerry, and that changed everything. We fell head over heels in love, and going to college suddenly became secondary. I knew I wanted to go wherever he went, which made enrolling in a four-year university in Colorado Springs a non-starter. Without any idea of what I wanted to do with my life other than being with my man, I enrolled in Pikes Peak Community College and got a two-year liberal-arts, associate’s degree. However, even before I graduated, I became pregnant with Rob, and impending motherhood kind of put the kibosh on any plans for further education.

“We got married right after Jerry’s graduation and were posted to Germany. There wasn’t any time for a honeymoon as we had to leave for Europe right away. Then over the course of the next several years, we were stationed all over the world, including Europe, the Middle East and Japan. Jerry rose quickly through the ranks, and by the time we finally returned stateside, Lindsey was in kindergarten. With all the children in school, I suddenly found myself with time on my hands and little to do, so I went back to school and got a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies and passed the certification exam. But that’s not what you asked, is it? That’s not what you wanted to hear.”

“No, please go on. I’m learning more about you now than I knew from living with you guys during the last four years.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t mean to go into so much detail. To make a very long story short, as much as I loved Jerry and as much as I miss him now, I never realized before how constrained he made me feel. Everything in this family revolved around his military career, and he did tend to be a bit domineering. So, I’ve enrolled in the University of Nebraska’s online law program. Since I’ll be taking courses while I’m still working, it’ll take me four years, but then I’ll have my J.D. degree.”

“You’re going to take the bar exam?” I questioned. “You’re going to be a lawyer?”

“I certainly hope so,” Fran replied. “I’ve been doing paralegal work for a number of years now. Truthfully, I know the law far better than most attorneys I’ve met, but you need to have a degree from an accredited law school to sit for the bar exam.”

“In New York, you only need to have completed an apprenticeship and your paralegal work would probably qualify. Maybe you should move in with Henry and me. We have the room.”

“Thanks, but no thanks. To a girl from Colorado Springs, Omaha is large enough. We may have lived in Europe and Japan, but Omaha is my home.”

“As a boy from Southern Indiana, I understand exactly what you mean. I think it’s fantastic that you’re going to be a lawyer, Fran,” I responded as I gave her a hug.

The party went on for several hours, much of it involving dancing, swimming, fun and games. Later on, there was an enormous sheet cake decorated in huge type with, ‘HENRY v.16.0’, and with sixteen candles around the perimeter. After singing a horrible rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’, the cake was cut and distributed to everyone. It was a homemade lemon cake with raspberry swirls, and it was delicious. There was an exchange of gag gifts and then some more swimming and dancing before the party wound down around midnight.

We slept in on Sunday morning, and then I took the whole Gonzalez family out to the Field Club for Sunday brunch. Henry and I caught a late afternoon flight out of Eppley to Newark, and then on Monday, it was back to work and school.

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In retrospect, when I thought back on all the time I’d spent worrying about the proverbial knock on the door in the middle of the night, not once did I ever think about the risks of being abducted by foreign agents. I’d traveled the world when I was just fourteen. Hell, I’d escaped from my father’s abuse and from the abuse of Missouri’s juvenile-detention system when I was only twelve. Even when I traveled deep into China or in the Middle East and Africa, never once did I fear for my safety. Not even in Mexico, which was notorious for kidnappings. How ironic it was that when I was kidnapped, it was in broad daylight, right in the middle of Midtown Manhattan. Times Square, no less.

Henry and I had settled into our routines. I’d tried driving the Tesla up to Columbia, but by the time I got past the usual traffic on Fourteenth Street, onto the West Side Highway, and bothered with parking, I could have taken the subway – twice – and enjoyed a nice breakfast before class. The same could be said for the daily trip to Applazon Corporate Headquarters, via Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street.

Whenever I spoke with Jitendra, he admonished me to just hire a driver and enjoy the ride. I could easily afford it, and, in retrospect, it would’ve been far safer, but the Walker Tower was right next to the Eighteenth Street subway station, and it was just so easy to make use of it. Every morning I would exit our condo building, and the entrance to the subway was just a few steps away.

A quick tap of my phone was all that was needed to enter, and I’d take a One, Two or Three train uptown. To go to Columbia, I just stayed on the train until I got to 116th Street, right on the main campus of Columbia University. It was door-to-door service, literally. The ride was a bit long but productive for me, and there was plenty of people-watching to be done when I didn’t want to be bothered by work or reading the Times. The trip to Applazon was incredibly short. I took the subway to Times Square, where I boarded a Seven train and took it one stop, to Bryant Park. I exited at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, walked around the outside of the main branch of the Public Library, and right into the old department-store building that was our corporate headquarters. It rarely took more than fifteen minutes, door to door.

Who would’ve ever thought I was at risk of abduction?

When it happened, it happened so seamlessly that it wasn’t until I was being spirited out of the city that I realized what had occurred. I was on my way to work and exited a Number Two train and started my usual walk toward the Seven train for the short jog to Bryant Park. The 42nd Street Station isn’t the busiest by any means – Union Square has that designation in Manhattan – but it is perhaps the most chaotic, with the One, Two and Three trains, the W, Q, R and N trains, the Seven train and shuttle to Grand Central Terminal all passing through an enormous triangle of passageways and tunnels under one of the major tourist spots in the world. I didn’t realize how predictable my routine had become, so I thought nothing of taking the same route between trains, day after day. I didn’t even notice it when two men fell in step with me, one on either side, and closed the gap between us.

Being shoulder-to-shoulder with my fellow commuters was nothing unusual in New York. What was unusual was that they were in lockstep with me. I didn’t even notice that there was someone behind me as well, keeping me moving in one direction. The moment they prevented me from heading to the Seven train should have set off alarm bells, but I was more annoyed than anything that the pedestrian traffic had prevented me from following my usual route. Even when I attempted to double back and found I couldn’t, it still didn’t register that I was being steered further and further away from where I wanted to be.

It should’ve been obvious what was happening, but it happened so smoothly that it didn’t register at all. If it had, I would’ve screamed, and my escorts would have likely disappeared into the crowd. Instead, I found myself being shoved through the turnstiles, up the escalator at 42nd Street, out the iconic Times Square subway entrance and into a waiting limo standing just behind the concrete pedestrian barrier that narrowed Seventh Avenue at that point. By the time it dawned on me that I’d been kidnapped, we were already in the Lincoln Tunnel on our way to New Jersey.

I barely noticed the sharp sting of the needle, and then I remembered nothing.

Copyright © 2021 Altimexis; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Oh My.I'm thinking he's been kidnapped by foreigners I'm guess his knowledge can be valuable maybe have even have military uses but that is my first thought. I'm guessing Jeff will be contacted by whoever did this because I think this involves the stuff J.J. did at Applezon.Is J.J. important enough for the Federal government to be involved?

I think you can blame me and my big mouth I made a comment in a previous chapter comment that after J.J. killed that pedo that he has had a good run meeting the right people personally and professionally so I should have known something like this was going to happen.I see J.J. being in captivity for quite a stretch .Henry being alone in New York  as a sixteen year could be a problem also.Oh man so much to find out

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Haha wow, just when i thought we were coming to the close of this story and winding down, freaking JJ gets kidnapped lol 

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Great birthday celebrations. Being so young he  JJ did not have a sense of a need for security like older wealthy senior executives would have. And being in NY with so much going on not being concerned about his surroundings seemed to lead to his being easy prey.  Hopefully with his intelligence he will be able to get out of the situation he is in, but drugging him to start with is not a good sign, and the earlier comment about not being able to use most of the concert tickets portends this to be a longer term issue. At least Henry has support around him to help him hopefully cope emotionally.   The question is are the kidnappers after his wealth or his technological prowess?

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I did wonder why they didn't get to use all the tickets but didn't for one minute think of JJ being kidnapped. Thank goodness Henry  will have support from Mom and Pop and Franklin.  Both families are going to be very anxious concerning his abduction.

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The entire season of Jazz at the Kennedy centre? I would want to be kidnapped just to avoid it!

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33 minutes ago, Canuk said:

The entire season of Jazz at the Kennedy centre? I would want to be kidnapped just to avoid it!

I think J.J. and Henry might agree with you there. The Kennedy Center is in Washington, D.C., which is at best a seven-hour round trip on the Amtrak Acela Express, and nearly ten hours by car. Someday they'll be able to walk to the Kennedy Center, but that's well in the future, in another phase of their lives. The tickets J.J. gave Henry were for the Jazz at Lincoln Centre series, in New York, which is renowned.

For what it's worth, as with classical music, or rock, or rap and hip hop, for that matter, jazz is a very diverse form of music that includes everything from Sinatra to Hancock. It can be mellow, or loud and dissonant. Some acid jazz can make even gangsta rap sound like a lullaby by comparison. I get that jazz isn't for everyone, but just as I can hate most rap and hip-hop, but yet love Hamilton, it's very likely that if you take the time to explore the genre, you'll find something in jazz that you really like.

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Kennedy...Lincoln....same same! Oops.... but still...I have tried and yes there is some jazz that I find....tolerable, but my version of hell is syncopated jazz without end!

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Noooo!!!  I don't think I can stand anymore trauma!  Don't you think poor J.J.'s been through enough already."  Damn!  I just hope and pray that you won't drag this out over three or four chapters.   

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Wow! That was a great chapter! First with Henry's Birthday party, than j.j. being abducted. I love the suspense!

Can't wait to read the next chapter. Keep it coming Alti!

Edited by Cscampbell
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