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    C James
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Changing Lanes - 37. The Best Laid Plans...


Chapter 37: The Best Laid Plans...


 



 

 

Their minds still awhirl, Jansen and Eric walked side by side through the dark resort grounds, feeling the cool air and smelling the soft scent of pines intermingled with the tang of volcanic sulfur. The sulfur scent had been so prevalent in the prior days that they now almost didn’t notice it. Almost. It was always there, a stark and persistent reminder of the volcano on which they stood. The recent addition of nuclear warheads to their situation had caused them to focus even more on the here and now. Always, lurking just beneath the surface of their conscious thoughts, was the knowledge that there might not be a tomorrow.

Jansen waited a few moments more before asking, as casually as he could, “Mind if I crash at your place? Brian is in my room I don’t want to wake anyone by trying to fix up the sofa bed.” Jansen consoled himself with the fact he’d told the truth, though far from all of it.

“You don’t need to ask, man,” Eric replied as they walked through the dark pathways.

Entering the suite, Eric grabbed a bag of corn chips and plopped them on the kitchen table, “Want a snack?” he asked with a smile as he tore open the bag. “If not, I’ll get your bed fixed up and I’ll munch later.”

Chuckling, Jansen grabbed the bag of corn chips, dug one out, and slowly held it up to Eric’s lips. Eric snapped it up, laughing with his mouth full as he ate, and then Jansen fed him a few more while taking a few for himself.

Jansen smiled as he took another chip and handed Eric the bag. Angling his head a little to the side, he watched Eric’s face for a moment before saying, “You picked up on something earlier, something that was bugging me a little. It was just the way you answered Brian’s question... it kind of reminded me of a concern I have.”

Growing concerned, Eric replied, “If I said something the wrong way–”

Shaking his head, smiling, keeping his eyes on Eric’s, Jansen said, “No, it wasn’t you, not really. It was just the way it sounded... when Brian asked us about our date. I was worried for a second how you’d react, whether you wanted to keep it a secret–”

“I don’t–”

“I know,” Jansen said with a smile and a nod, “and that made me feel great. I know you want this to work. But then you said, ‘Brian’s like you.’ You, not us. See what’s worrying me?”

Eric blinked in confusion. He looked at Jansen’s face, and saw a smile which belied any hurt. After thinking a moment, Eric replied softly, “I think I get it. You’re worried that I didn’t say ‘us’, because it’s like me saying I’m straight...”

Jansen chuckled again. “Close, but no cigar. No, it’s because you were right. We are different, very different. I’m gay, and you think you’re bi but you’ve never been with a guy. You said it just right and it’s because you were right that it set something I’ve been trying to ignore nagging at me again; you don’t know for sure – because you can’t – that you’ll like sex with a guy.”

Eric began to object, but Jansen took a step closer, put his hands on Eric’s shoulders, and looked him in the eyes before saying, “I believe that you think it, but you can’t know. Not yet, and that’s what’s nagged at me a little. I’ve got feelings for you, strong feelings, and I know you do for me. But what if you find you don’t like it? That’d hurt us both and that’s always there, in the back of my mind, and the longer this goes on, the worse that hurt would be.”

Eric looked deep into Jansen’s eyes, seeking answers where none were to be found. Jansen’s soft smile held no finality, and that, combined with his own inner feel, made Eric sure that Jansen was not trying to end their relationship. For Eric, the knowledge of what wasn’t happening was comforting, though it still left the glaring question of how to answer. “Can’t you feel it, when I kiss you?” Eric asked, in a voice barely above a whisper.

“Yes,” Jansen said, with a barely perceptible nod, his eyes remaining fixed on Eric’s. “And that’s almost enough, but it still leaves a trace.” Jansen inched a little closer, close enough that Eric could feel Jansen’s warm breath. Jansen’s soft smile began to fade a little, and he angled his head, his eyes leaving Eric’s, tracing down the bassist’s face. Jansen eased his right hand off Eric’s shoulder, lowering it as he said in a whisper, “There’s a reason I wanted to wait until we had privacy...”

Trying to find answers in Jansen’s face, Eric was surprised when he felt a gentle tug on the drawstring of his shorts. Eric’s breath caught for a moment, as he finally understood. “You’re sure?” he asked, his gaze on Jansen’s fingers as the knot began to loosen.

“I’m not doing a very good job of seducing you if you need to ask,” Jansen said with a chuckle, still unsure of Eric’s response.

Eric cupped his hand behind Jansen’s neck, pulling him in for a kiss. As their bodies came together and Eric’s kiss become deeper, more passionate and insistent than ever before, Jansen had the first part of his answer. Coming up for air, Jansen whispered, “Just let me know if I do anything you’re uncomfortable with...”

Eric eased away a few inches and for a moment Jansen grew concerned, until he heard Eric say with an insatiable grin, “I’m uncomfortable with this, it’s in the way,” as he began fumbling with the hem of Jansen’s shirt.

Jansen raised his arms, allowing Eric to peel the shirt off. Eric tossed it onto the couch and then sent his own flying after it.

Eric looked at Jansen, and thought, ‘I’ve got to do this right.’ Eric had an enormous amount of sexual experience with girls, but he’d never had a relationship, nor did he have any clue how to act. All he had to go on was what he’d seen on TV and in movies. Eric reached out, trying his best to be romantic. “You’re so beautiful in this light,” Eric said in a whisper, reaching out to touch Jansen’s hair, as the dancer fought the urge to roll his eyes at Eric’s uncharacteristic words and awkward delivery.

Taking Jansen’s hand, Eric led his boyfriend towards the bedroom...

 

 

A muffled thump and a yell, and then a crash, came from the room where Brian had been sleeping. Suddenly very much awake, Keith listened, and then heard the door open. Pausing only long enough to tug on his boxers, Keith hurried out into the living room. There, he found Brian, slumping down to sit on the sofa.

Taking a seat beside him, Keith asked softly, “I heard a crash. Are you okay?” Keith had no idea what, but he could tell that something was very much amiss.

Brian looked at Keith through half-open eyelids for a moment, and then said, “Sorry, I think I broke the lamp. Nightmare. Maybe I should just try and stay awake.”

The look of misery mixed with resolve on Brian’s face tugged at Keith’s heart. He knew that Brian had been through hell, and was still suffering in many ways, some not so visible as others. Keith answered softly, “You’ve got to sleep sometime. Maybe the nightmare won’t come back.”

Brian nodded halfheartedly, and Keith noticed that Brian was looking a little pallid, and more so by the second. Brian stood up suddenly, staggered to the bathroom, and Keith could hear the sounds of retching.

Brian returned a few minutes later, and muttered, “I guess eating three steak dinners after starving for so long wasn’t a great idea. Just what I needed, puking my guts out and nightmares.” Upon mentioning the nightmares, Brian’s head drooped a little as he continued in a quiet voice. “It happened on the plane too, just not as bad. I kept dreaming that I was back in Iran. They didn’t just beat me; they used all kinds of stuff – like electric shocks. It wasn’t as bad on the plane because the noise of the engines was there. It kind of let me know it was a dream, if that makes any sense.”

Brian’s words brought the memory of an onrushing bus to Keith’s mind. “Yeah, I can understand that. When I was eleven, I nearly got hit by a bus. I was crossing a street. Just forgot to look. When I saw it I froze, and watched as it missed me by inches. I had nightmares from that. My little brother, Jansen, helped me through it. He heard me cry out, so he came into my room. I told him about the bus and the nightmares. He didn’t say a word; he just climbed into bed and hugged me, and held on. We slept that way for a week.” Keith only realized, after he’d said it, what it could seem like he was offering. That wasn’t what he’d intended, but then he thought, ‘What the hell, it might work, and he needs the sleep.’

“I don’t have a brother and Dad’s got company already,” Brian said, too tired to think straight.

“You don’t know me, but... if it’d help, I’m here. You need to sleep, man. I can turn on the stereo too, for some noise, kind of like the aircraft engines.” Keith hoped that it wouldn’t sound like a cheap come-on. He was sincere in his offer of platonic help, but he could imagine how it sounded. Keith hoped that Brian hadn’t heard that Keith was gay, and worried that if he had, the words he’d just spoken would give Brian the wrong impression. The last thing Keith wanted was to piss off a tired and wounded Marine.

“If you’re cool with it, I’ll try anything,” Brian said with a wry, tired smile, and got up to stumble back to his room. For a fleeting moment, Brian’s head cleared long enough for him to think, ‘Either Dad somehow missed Keith while blabbing my business to everyone, or Keith knows and doesn’t care.’ Brian was far too exhausted to give that, or anything, any further thought.

Keith clicked on the stereo and followed, leaving the door open, and climbed into bed with Brian.

Brian rolled over on his side, away from Keith, and backed up into him as the dancer hesitantly enveloped the Marine in his arms. As Brian’s breathing quickly slowed, Keith heard what he thought was chuckle, followed by some mumbled words; “Best blanket ever.” Brian had no idea he’d spoken the thought aloud.

Through the night, Keith slept lightly, eventually removing his left arm from under Brian, but leaving his right arm draped over Brian’s torso. Wherever he felt Brian begin to tense and shake, Keith gave the Marine a one-armed hug and said, “It’s okay, you’re safe.”

 

 

Jim, with Helen riding shotgun, eased the truck gingerly into gear as Jon opened the doors wide. Carefully, he retraced Eric’s route in, and within minutes was heading away from the resort.

Helen kept the AK-47 low in the cab, not expecting to need it but preferring to be prepared. She had a sudden thought and glanced at Jim to ask, “Did you get padlocks?”

Jim, keeping his eyes on the road, replied, “The storage unit has its own lock, so we only need one padlock. I have a good one, from my suitcase. I never travel without it because of the kind of places I usually stay. It’s in the van, along with the mattresses and other gear.”

Helen took her eyes off Jim to glance in the sideview mirror, seeing the glare of the van’s headlights.

Brandon, from his seat in the passenger side of the van, watched the truck’s taillights, hoping that Jim knew what he was doing. The idea of rolling nuclear bombs around like barrels of scrap did not sit well with Brandon.

Jon, driving carefully and maintaining a hundred-yard gap between the van and the truck, felt his palms begin to sweat. Chase asked from the back seat, “You’re really sure the bombs won’t go off if they get bumped hard, right?”

Jon hesitated before replying, “Jim said that based on what he’s heard, plus what the General said, the bomb isn’t armed. That means they aren’t easy to set off. Plus, he said that even if the high explosives did go off somehow, they’d have to go off just right to slam the pieces of uranium together. Most likely it wouldn’t happen and it would just be a conventional explosion.”

Chase weighed that answer for a few moments, and then exchanged a glance with Brandon before replying dryly, “So, we’d just be blown to bits instead of being atomized, right? That’s very reassuring...” Chase’s attempt at gallows humor fell flat, so he added, “This mess takes the cake, even for Eric. Hell, this makes him on tequila look almost safe...” This time, Chase got a few awkward laughs from Brandon and Jon, easing the tension a little.

Passing through the village of Las Indias, Jim slowed the truck to a crawl on the narrow, dark, almost deserted streets, momentarily becoming unsure that he was heading in the right direction. Then he saw the ghostly white of the church spire in his headlights. “I saw the church from the storage place. We’re close; it’s just up ahead on the left.”

The storage facility was small and modern, largely hidden from the road by an old stone wall. Jim pulled the truck into the entranceway, and waited until the van pulled in behind them to use the keycard he’d been given to open the motorized gate. Once inside, Helen could see that the storage facility consisted of a square access roadway, with storage units of various sizes in both the canter and perimeter of the square. She nodded approvingly, and then said, “This looks good. Private and secure.”

Jim pulled the truck around the last corner and then slowed to a halt. “Damn,” he muttered, and then explained, “I screwed up. I figured we’d back the truck up to the storage unit, but I think this driveway is too narrow. I’ll try, but I’ll need you to get out and guide me.” Helen did so, leaving the AK-47 in the cab of the truck.

Jon backed the van into the accessway, stopping fifteen feet from where Jim was struggling to maneuver the truck. It took five minutes and one scraped bumper, but Jim got the truck into position, its back end lined up with the storage unit. As Jim clambered out of the cab, Helen said, “Good job, that was a tight fit.”

“We could still have done it, but this way will be easier and faster,” Jim replied, and then added in a whisper, “They have security cameras, but I picked this one because as far as I can tell it’s in a blind spot. Unloading this way might have gotten someone curious.”

Jim opened up the locker, again using his key card. He rolled up the tin door, revealing the interior, which was lit by a single bare bulb: tin walls and a concrete floor, enclosing a space eight feet wide by fourteen feet deep. It was empty except for the oversized bricks and timbers that Jim and Jon had liberated from an old abandoned farm down the road, right after they’d found the storage unit.

Working quickly with Jon, Brandon, and Chase, Jim began to stack the bricks, creating a support for the heavy timbers, forming a ramp from the truck bed to the storage unit floor. The bricks were stacked under the rear of the truck to support the timbers, and Jim made sure that the edges of the timbers were just a little lower than the bed of the truck.

The queen-sized down mattresses, borrowed from Jim and Linda’s suite as well as Helen’s, came next. One was placed on the floor of the storage unit, and the second leaned up against the rear wall.

Ten minutes after arriving, they were ready. The four guys climbed onto the truck, removed the tarp, and unchained the rearmost bomb. Together, they rolled it to the back edge of the truck, lined it up, held their breaths, and gave it a shove.

Reflex overrode logic, and everyone there flinched as the bomb rocked down the heavy beams, thumped onto the first mattress, and bumped to a halt against the one lining the rear wall. Jim, a very nimble man for his size, walked down one of the means to inspect the results. A few of the bricks had shifted, so Jim made the adjustments, gave a thumbs-up, and then pulled the mattress from the wall and put it in front of the bomb.

After being maneuvered into place on the truck, the second bomb hit the mattress, coming to a halt just about where they’d planned. The four guys entered the storage unit, and Jim pulled the mattress from between the two bombs, and let Brandon and Chase haul it back to the van. Then he looked down, at the mattress the two bombs now rested on. Shaking his head, he said, “I don’t want to bounce the things around trying to get that mattress out of here.”

Helen shrugged. “Leave it be. That’s the one from the second room of my suite. I’ll just leave the do-not-disturb sign in the door to keep the maid out. Shouldn’t matter much; this whole mess should be over in a day or two, and a missing mattress is the least of our worries.”

Working fast, they covered the bombs with the tarp, and then piled the bricks and timbers on top. They had to put them somewhere, and Jim felt they might as well use them for added concealment.

Jim pulled down the door and added his own padlock before engaging the main lock with a swipe of his keycard. Slipping the keycard back into his wallet, next to the storage unit’s receipt, Jim paused, realized what he was doing, and handed the card to Helen, along with the key to the padlock.

Driving down the switchback road, they rounded a corner and Jim slammed on the brakes, barely in time. With the unit locked, Jim, with Helen’s help, maneuvered the truck out, leaving little more than dark rubber scuffmarks on the concrete. Within minutes, sweating but feeling a profound sense of relief, they were on their way back to the resort.

Driving down the switchback road, they rounded a corner and Jim swore as he jammed his fist on the horn, “That damn idiot was walking in the middle of the road in the dark; he must have a death wish.”

Helen had seen the man as well, dressed in dark clothes, jumping out of the way. She had too many other things on her mind to give much thought to a careless nighttime pedestrian. “Probably drunk,” she said, before going over the plans for morning with Jim.

 

 

“The locals drive like maniacs,” Yuri said as he returned to where The Scar and their ten troops were sheltered, along with their AK-47s. “I was scouting ahead and almost became road kill.”

The Scar glanced at Yuri’s dark clothing ­– they had all worn civilian clothes under their jumpsuits – and said, “Dark clothes on a dark night. We need to bear that in mind. Let’s get to the resort and then we can wait for the morning in comfort.”

Yuri asked in surprise, “You plan to check in?” Yuri had been careful to keep his question neutral. He thought that potentially exposing themselves by checking in was a bad idea, but he knew better than to voice disagreement with The Scar.

The Scar got to his feet before replying, “Certainly. Far less suspicious to do so than to be lurking in the bushes all night. We should be able to smuggle the guns in as well, but if not we’ll leave a man to guard them. You will handle the check-in. The band and their manager will not recognize my current appearance,” he said, referring to his burn-disfigured face, “but there is the off-chance that Bradson or the traitorous bitch might have mentioned my description.” The Scar fell silent and paced for a few moments as he thought through his plans. “So, you will check us in. One large suite for us, three for the men, adjoining if possible, and with exterior entrances. Then, come morning we shall seek out our quarry, unless we find them sooner. It will prove interesting to see them again.” Anticipating the encounter, savoring its potential, The Scar allowed himself a cruel smile.

 

           

Helen decided to leave the truck in the parking lot, next to the van. As they pulled in, Helen, though she realized it was too late for second thoughts, said, “I hope that storage unit is far enough away so as not to be obvious. It might have been nice to go further south. If the US government starts looking, they might start with Las Indias.”

Jim grinned. “Jon and I had to drive quite a few miles down the coast to find the bricks and timber. So while we were out that way I topped up the van with gas and paid by credit card. If anybody is checking records, they’ll see that and assume we were heading south.”

Helen gave the big biker an approving pat on the back. “That’s what I like about you, you’re sneaky. You did great today, Jim. Thanks.”

The one awkward task remaining was to return the mattress to Jim and Linda’s suite. Hoping they would not be noticed, they maneuvered it along the dark walkways, thankful that the suite was close to the parking lot entrance.

Jim maneuvered the mattress into the suite and back onto the bed. Linda stood watching, a bemused expression on her face, and said, “Jim... I didn't ask when you took it, because you said it was important and you'd tell me later, but... what the hell is going on?”

Looking into his bride's eyes, Jim found himself incapable of lying to her. He rationalized that Helen was about to tell the whole world anyway, so as long as he didn't mention the bombs’ location, what was the harm? His decision made, Jim said, “Honey, let's sit down and have a drink. I have a hunch you won't believe me, but man, have I got a story to tell you...”

 

 

To Helen, it seemed like she’d barely shut her eyes when the alarm went off. Her first stop was Jon’s suite, to wake the General and Felecia. Helen arrived to find them already awake, thanks to their own alarm. General Bradson ushered Helen in and closed the door before smiling. “I feel a hell of a lot better, Helen. Thanks for the shut-eye. I was just about to head over to the pavilion to get Brian set up on guard–”

Helen interrupted to announce in a businesslike way, “I’ve chosen to relocate the bombs. I wasn’t comfortable with them here so I moved them to a farmhouse we rented. They’re concealed, locked up, safe and sound, and only I know where.” She had decided to keep to herself the fact that Instinct and Jim knew the real location.

The General’s demeanor changed in an instant. Scowling, raising his voice slightly, he said, “I want them under guard, by Brian–”

“No. There is no point in arguing, because I will not change my mind. I did this to protect the investment we’re about to make. With the bombs here, it would be too easy for the U.S. Government – or anyone else – to deduce their location and seize them. However, if you prefer to call the whole deal off, I’ll tell you where to find them and wash my hands of this mess. Those are your only options.” Helen stood firm, her expression leaving no doubt as to her resolve.

General Bradson shared a worried glance with Felecia, who had heard the exchange but had remained silent. Before the General could reply, Helen said, “We’ve got a press conference to do, and we also need to effect the funds transfer and take possession of the third bomb.”

General Bradson’s temper began to rise. “Helen, this is insane. Those devices must be guarded. Spiriting them off in the middle of the night is a reckless, irresponsible act–”

Her own temper boiling over, Helen snarled, “You’re either a hypocrite or an idiot, General. The reason I did what I did is I simply do not trust the idiots in control in Washington to act responsibly, or sanely. They believe their own hype, and there are few things in this world more dangerous than that kind of fool. I simply do not trust them to act sensibly in this matter. I judge there is a very real chance that they will attempt to play politics and use heavy-handed tactics, perhaps even attempting to make us some kind of scapegoat. I’ll allow that they might, or even probably will, do as we hope, but ‘probably’ just isn’t good enough. I believe in always having a fallback position. Surely you of all people should understand that. If you think I’m off base with that assessment, kindly explain to me why, exactly, you ended up having to go into Iran yourself to get your son? Or how the Iranians happened to have nuclear bombs? Or how you came to be a former General? Now, you look me in the eye and tell me you trust those sons-of-bitches to do the right thing this time.”

General Bradson’s mouth opened, and then closed, and in confusion he looked at Felecia. She chuckled at his dumbfounded expression and said, “She’s got you there, Walter.” Angling her head to look at Helen, Felecia added, “Your assessment of government ineptitude matches both his and mine.” Returning her gaze to the General, she continued, “I’m not a party to this once my men are paid, but if you want my opinion, she’s right. Brian would take an order from his government, as he is duty-bound to do. Helen’s interests and those of the band are her prime concern. She wants to protect her own, just like I did for my men when I refused to land at a U.S. base, and like you did when you set up the attack on Iran to save your son. So, why don’t we just get the deal done so we can all put it behind us?”

Both Helen and General Bradson blinked in surprise. The General was not happy that the bombs were out of his grasp but he had to admit, he could understand the reason. He himself had been less than pleased with the number of people who knew of their location. Somewhat chagrined and knowing that he had to do so in order to complete the deal, he said, “Okay, Helen, I see your point. As I seem to be both outvoted and have no choice in the matter, we’ll do it your way.” The General consoled himself with the fact that Helen’s actions were not likely to hinder the bigger play he planned to make at the press conference. He wondered how Helen would react to that.

Helen nodded her acceptance and then looked at Felecia, sending her a prim smile as a way of saying thanks, and at the same time revising upwards her opinion of the no-nonsense mercenary commander. Helen then returned her gaze to the General and said, “First things first. Let Brian know he’s got nothing to guard. If you like, take him to the airport with us. He can guard the third nuke once we take possession. I’m fine with that, especially if we end up needing to show it to the press. As for me, I have business to attend to. I’ll see you in an hour.” Helen took her leave, and returned to her suite and the waiting phone, intent on carrying out one other bit of insurance that the band had agreed to. That plan went awry when she found the phone had failed, again.

She returned to Jon’s suite and asked the General, “I’ll need your satellite phone. I hope it has an input port, because I need to fax some documents, right away. This has to occur before the press conference.”

The General shook his head. “Sorry, but the battery is half gone already and we may need it, and the charger is back on the C-130.”

Helen began to reply, intending to inform the General that unless she was able to do what she intended, the deal was dead, but Felecia cut her off to say, “Walter, my phone isn’t working, but I did bring the charger. I’ll get it.” The General nodded his agreement, and five minutes later, Helen was back in her suite, with the General’s phone –hooked up to Felecia’s charger – connected to a portable fax. Helen breathed a sigh of relief as she received fax confirmation to the transfer orders, which bore her signature as well as that of every member of Instinct, authorizing the pre-arranged transfer of almost all of Instinct’s assets out of the United States. The documents had been signed along with the transfer orders for the mercenaries. The faxed copies, along with Helen’s verbal instructions, were all that had been needed. Helen hoped she was being paranoid, but, as she reminded herself, paranoia was part of her job.

 

 

The alarm went off, jarring Keith awake. Brian began to stir, and rolled over, looked Keith in the eyes, and said simply, “Thanks.”

Brian rolled upright, and Keith felt an unmistakable hardness pushing against his bare side, cushioned only by the thin fabric of Brian’s shorts. Keith turned away to hide a grin. ‘That’s some morning wood,’ he thought, and then realized with a start that unless Brian had some bizarre anatomy, what he was feeling was in the wrong place.

Brian noticed the sudden disturbed look in Keith’s eyes, and misread it. Thinking that, given his father’s repeated disclosures, that Keith might know too, Brian said hurriedly, “Don’t worry man, that ain’t what you think, honest.” Keith’s genuinely confused look prompted Brian to reach into his pocket and fish out its contents, holding it under Keith’s nose. “See, it’s just a grenade.”

Keith stared at the deadly olive-green canister and eased back a bit before saying, “You sleep with a live grenade in your pocket?”

Brian chuckled at Keith’s stunned look. “It’s safe, the pin is in. I normally wouldn’t but I was so tired I forgot I had it.”

The conversation was cut short by a knock at the door. The General had come to tell his son of the change in plans.

 

 

Jansen woke up slowly, feeling the reassuring presence of Eric by his side. From Eric’s uneven breathing, Jansen could tell that he was awake, and guessed correctly that he was likely stewing over the results of their attempted lovemaking. Speaking softly, Jansen gave Eric a one-armed hug and said, “Don’t worry about it. My timing sucked. After everything that happened yesterday, springing that on you was a stupid idea. I didn’t realize it, but I also put you under a hell of a lot of pressure.”

With a sad smile on his face, Eric rolled on his side to look at Jansen. “That sure sounds like you’re talking to a guy who couldn’t get it up.”

Chuckling, Jansen replied, “Hey, I didn’t mean that, and I sure saw that getting it up wasn’t your problem. It was just so awkward. We both decided to try it again another time, preferably when there weren’t nuclear warheads a few yards away.”

Eric tried not to flinch at Jansen’s words. Jansen didn’t know that the warheads had been moved, and Eric couldn’t tell him. Keeping that secret from Jansen had been a small part of the difficulty Eric had encountered. The bigger one was what he decided to tackle. “Yeah. I’ll do better next time–”

“Whoa,” Jansen said, shaking his head and grinning. “I think that was the problem: you tried too hard. You were forcing yourself to be all romantic and serious. Dude, that just isn’t you, or, for that matter, me.”

Eric could feel the honesty of Jansen’s words. Pulling his naked body closer to Jansen’s, Eric said, “I guess it took the wind out of my sails when you started laughing at me.”

Smiling at the memory, Jansen relied, “Yeah, sorry. You were just being so... sorry, but I gotta be honest here, corny, that I couldn’t help it. That heavy serious romantic stuff, that’s just not us. Telling me how beautiful my eyes are and then kissing me on the forehead, holding me like some fragile porcelain doll, just was too much and I lost it and giggled.”

There was no recrimination in Jansen’s words, and Eric knew it. The fact that they could talk so easily was one of the things Eric had grown to love about Jansen. That, however, didn’t solve the problem. “So, what do we do?” Eric asked.

“First, we just be us. Sex is supposed to be fun. Just be yourself and enjoy. Second thing is, don’t stress on it. It doesn’t have to be right the first time,” Jansen said, reaching down to give Eric’s morning wood a playful squeeze.

Eric felt himself shudder at the touch, reveling in it. Reaching down to return the favor, Eric said with a grin, “You keep that up and we’ll soon see.”

Jansen replied, “That’s what I mean. Just relax and have fun. No stress.”

Before things could progress any further, the two frustrated lovers were interrupted by a knock at the door. Eric got up, pulled on some boxers, and answered it, and Jansen heard Helen’s voice. While Helen told Eric to be sure to watch the press conference and to stay out of trouble, Jansen thought about the situation between himself and Eric. He was sure that Eric had just been trying too hard and just needed to relax and have fun. Recalling what Eric had said of his make-out attempt with Brandon, and remembering how Eric had been after taking a shot of tequila, Jansen thought with a smile, ‘At least I know how to make him relaxed and uninhibited.’ Jansen had no way of knowing that Eric’s behavior on the one night he’d witnessed had been so exemplary by comparison that it had deeply shocked Helen. In well-intended ignorance, assuming that Helen had exaggerated, Jansen decided that soon, he’d visit the resort’s store and buy a bottle of tequila.





 

© 2009 C James

Please let me know what you think; good, bad, or indifferent.

Please give me feedback, and please don’t be shy if you want to criticize! The feedback thread for this story is in my Forum. Please stop by and say "Hi!"

 



 



Many thanks to my editor EMoe for editing and for his support, encouragement, beta reading, and suggestions.

Thanks also to Shadowgod, for beta reading, support and advice, and for putting up with me.

Special thanks to Graeme, for beta-reading and advice.

A big "thank you" to to Bondwriter for final Zeta-reading and advice , and to Captain Rick for his advice.

Special thanks to Wildone, for spotting my mistake in this chapter, which enabled me to fix it.

Any remaining errors are mine alone.


Copyright © 2009 C James; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Oh Jansen, not a good idea. lol

 

I can't wait for the press conference. Let's see if the US comes through for them. :)

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