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    C James
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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. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

In Memory of Ed Wooton

For the Love - 17. Fire and Ice

The next couple of days were a blur, and the shock of our narrow escape at the bookstore weighed heavily on us both.

Steve's dad tried to reassure us, telling us that his Sheriff and the county DA had phoned a friend at the State Attorney General's office, and that the AG was looking into it. Further, the Lonesome Valley Sheriff had put the word out among the force about what was happening, and that, unofficially, Piedmont officers were persona non grata in this county, and would be stopped on sight. We also noticed a Lonesome Valley patrol car was nearly always in out neighborhood while we were home. They were watching out for us, undoubtedly at the request of Mr. Williams.

We began training on the police firing range, under the watchful eye and tutelage of the range instructor. The training went well, and encompassed not just conventional marksmanship, but also combat drills, firing from cover, training on when to shoot, and weapon maintenance. We learned to double-tap; always firing two rounds at a time. After trying out a wide range of pistols, both Steve and I decided on 9mm ACP's -automatics- instead of revolvers; they carried extra shots, were easier to reload from a spare clip and were a little more compact.

The instructor gave us some unwelcome news; he told us that one way for us to carry our weapons would be in a fanny pack. The thought of that made me groan; it would make me look like a California yuppie, and thatmade me wonder idly if being captured by the Piedmont guys would really be so bad after all.

Mr. Williams' ideas on how to enable us to carry concealed did not pan out, but he still wanted us both to become proficient with firearms, and I certainly couldn't argue with that under the circumstances.

Training was three times a week and we would be ready to start carrying at the end of two weeks if all went well. Mr. Williams wouldn't say how he would arrange that part, but he seemed confident. I also knew that even if we couldn't carry concealed, we could always carry openly; there was no age limit on the right to carry a gun openly in Arizona. The training wasn't easy; we often arrived home tired and sore, our ears ringing in spite of the ear protection, and our hands and clothes thick with the acrid smell of gunpowder.

Steve was a little upset to find that I was the better shot: I could usually put five rounds through the x-ring to his four, even though I had less experience with a gun than he did. He tried hard though - we both did - because we both knew that our lives could depend on what we were learning. The threat wasn't just Piedmont; The Fundies were getting all riled up, and now it was more than just Thaddeus who openly called for our deaths.

The fake Data Stick remained in Mr. Williams' locked desk, seemingly untouched, and I began to wonder if we would have to make it easier for Eric to steal.

Eric had been acting like the perfect kid, and both Steve and I wondered how long that façade would last. Steve told me a little more about Eric's past, including the many times he'd been in juvenile hall, and said that the 'sweet innocent act' was a part of his normal repertoire to get himself out of hot water.

The fact that the Data Stick had not attracted him was beginning to give me a few shadows of doubt. What if he really had changed? What if he really had been having issues with his own sexuality?

One evening, in my apartment, I voiced my doubts to Steve. He shook his head adamantly;"No way, dude, no way in hell. I've known him all of his life, and I know he is full of shit. People don't change, not like that. He's a bully and a liar, and he always will be. He used to pick on me and make my life hell when he could, and I have no doubt what he's really like."

My jaw dropped, "He used to pick on you?"

Steve nodded, his eyes taking on a sad look, as he grabbed my arm and pulled me out the door, "I need to show you something," he mumbled, as we crossed the back yard.

Once we reached his room, he locked the door and began digging through the bottom drawer of his desk. He withdrew a small, thick folder, glanced inside, and tossed it to me. I opened it to find photographs. I glanced through them, and they were evidently taken on a camping trip. A younger version of Steve's father was in some of them, but most showed two kids, one that I recognized as a much younger Steve, and the other was a younger Eric. My eyes went wide in amazement as I gawked at a photo of the two of them standing side by side; Eric was a couple of inches taller, and a little larger than Steve.

"Yup," he grimaced, "that was five years ago. I was small for my age for a few years, and Eric was big for his. Eric used to never let me forget it, and fought with me constantly, picking on me every chance he got, just as soon as he realized he could get away with it. He made my life hell for a year, until I started to grow, and I worked out as well. Eric stopped growing and soon I could take him. I only had to do it once; he isn't stupid. But he hated the fact he couldn't push me around anymore."

I looked at Steve, standing there in nothing but his faded Levi's as usual, and finally something clicked, "And when he was picking on you, you felt bad about yourself, didn't you?"

Steve smiled wanly, "Yeah, I did. I felt like a runt, and I guess I acted it too. But after I finally beat Eric, I started to feel good about myself again. I was growing fast. I was still kinda shy, but I felt good again."

A light went off in my head, "You were shy? I think I'm beginning to understand something here, like how you recognized my self-confidence problem."

Steve blushed a little, "Yeah, I was shy, but I tackled it head-on. I went out for the swim team, and started to feel even better as I improved."

I nodded, starting to smile as a mystery was revealed, "And once you felt better about yourself, you were so happy with your new body and looks that you started to show it off whenever you could, right?"

Steve chuckled, "Kinda, sorta. I guess the swim team got me used to being mostly naked in front of lots of people, and then I noticed that when I was shirtless at home, it really bugged Eric. So, I stayed shirtless around the house a lot, and got to enjoy it, plus I enjoyed feeling good about myself. After feeling like crap for so long, it was great, empowering even, and I enjoyed it, so I do it." Steve said, as he walked up to me and ran a finger down my bare chest, "I guess that's part of how I picked up on your problem, but I'm glad to see you are overcoming it. You've changed a lot recently."

I replied to that the only way I could - I kissed him.

A few days later, we were kicking back in Steve's room with the house to ourselves while his folks took Eric out to eat for his birthday. Steve had been acting a little odd all afternoon; he was reading a book and wouldn't let me see the title, but he kept looking up from the pages and glancing at me. I was definitely curious as to what he was up to.

I was working on my homework, and Steve was lying on his bed, lit by a shaft of afternoon sunlight, reading the book. It was hard to keep my eyes off him; wearing only a pair of yellow runner's shorts, the sunlight highlighting his defined form to perfection.

A slight chuckle from Steve caused me to glance up from my work, only to find him with his nose still buried in the book, which lay flat on his bed. I could see the familiar upturn at the corner of his mouth, and a glance from him let me see the mischief in his eyes.

Finally, Steve got up, grinned, and told me, "Stay here for a while. I've got to gather some stuff up and take it to your apartment." He left the room, the mystery book tucked under his arm, and I wondered what the heck he was up to. He had keys to my apartment, just as I did for the house, so he would have no trouble getting in. I went back to my homework as I heard the ice dispenser rumbling in the kitchen.

I was having a hard time concentrating, wondering what Steve was doing. I didn't have long to wait. He re-appeared in his room and asked, "Where can I find some feathers?"

I told him to check the backyard, where Beelzebub had left a roadrunner carcass the day before. Steve dashed off without another word. Somehow, I resisted the temptation to go see what he was up to, and attempted, in vain, to concentrate on my homework. I managed to keep my curiosity at bay for a while, at least three or four seconds. I stuck my head out into the hallway, and heard Steve rummaging around somewhere at the other end of the house. I ducked back into his room, wondering just what exactly he had planned.

Minutes later, Steve's phone rang, so I answered it, only to hear Steve's voice say, "Come on over," before the line disconnected.

I left my homework behind as I exited the Williams house and padded curiously across the backyard, enjoying the feel of the desert air on my body, and the sun on my bare back.

Finding my door wide open I walked in, seeing no one there, but I noticed the flicker of candles burning on my nightstand. I heard soft music playing, and I was puzzled for a moment, until a noise from behind startled me. I spun around to see Steve, beaming, his longish surfer-style hair freshly combed, and his bare chest puffed out. He was holding a bucket, and back-kicked the door shut with his foot. He gave me a seductive smile as he approached, and I glanced in the bucket, to see only ice cubes within. I gave my favorite eye candy an appreciative, longing glance, as he placed the bucket on my nightstand.

I turned to face Steve, whose main intentions were now clear to me. He put his finger to his lips, shushing me, and with a soft motion of his head, and a flick of his golden hair, motioned at the bed. I obliged and climbed on, my eyes never leaving his.

Steve knelt beside me, slowly, gently pushing me until I was lying flat on my back, my attention still fixed on his lapis blue eyes, and the mirth radiating from within.

I felt his hands caress my sides, working their way up my body, making my every nerve tingle. I reached for him, but he pushed me back, our eyes still locked, his face inches from mine as he straddled me. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Steve's hand move, evidently seeking something under a pillow. He pulled out a silk tie, as blue as his eyes. I glanced at it, then back into those mesmerizing eyes as he shushed me again, and gently laid the tie over my eyes, the silk cool against my feverish skin, as he tied it around my head. With gentle hands, he eased my head back onto the pillow, and I could feel the heat of his body against mine.

I remained still, my arms at my sides, unable to see, concentrating instead on his touch, his nearness, and my rising hunger for him. I inhaled sharply and shuddered as I felt the touch of cold slowly trace the crease under my pec, the ice making me shudder and moan, only to moan again as I felt Steve's heated tongue retrace the path of the ice. I could hear his excited breathing, as I waited for every touch.

The hardness I felt through our shorts proved that he was enjoying this too, so I tried to relax and lay still, only to tremble again as I felt an ice cube trace around my left nipple, while Steve's tongue traced around the other. I gasped and shuddered, the exquisite sensations fighting for my attention, an erotic duel of fire and ice.

I had to fight to stay still as Steve traced random streaks with the ice across my chest and stomach, always quickly followed by his tongue, and his hot breath against my skin. I felt him lean forward, and reveled in the feel of him as his chest slid along mine, his hot breath rushing over the nape of my neck. I felt the sting of ice against my ear and a drop of water slide down my neck, as Steve's lips began to suck on my earlobe, while he traced the ice in the nape of my neck on the opposite side, driving me wild.

There was no way I could take it anymore, and I began to grind my hips against him, but he slid off me, pulling my shorts off as he did, then laying by my side, letting me feel that he was now naked too. I felt his hot breath as he whispered in my ear, "Relax, I'm just getting started," as once again I felt the freezing ice, followed by his searing tongue, tracing random patterns across my chest. I couldn't see, which made the sensations of the ice and his tongue unexpected. I found myself trembling in anticipation of the next cold sting, or warm embrace. I was in ecstasy, trembling from his touch, my nostrils filled with the scent of cinnamon from the candles, mixed with Steve's cologne, as he worked his way down my body, leaving no doubt as to his destination.

I gasped as he teased my cock with the ice, while licking at my abs with his tongue. I could feel the heat of his body next to mine, I reached for him, tracing my fingers down his side, feeling his muscles expand and contract, dancing under his hot skin.

Tensing as he took me into his mouth, I neared the edge as his tongue began its work. I heard myself cry out as he teased my nuts with the ice, and withdrew his mouth, with just the occasional gentle lick to keep me on the edge. I couldn't take it anymore; I wanted him so bad it hurt. I wanted to see him, feel him, and make him feel the sensations he was giving me.

I ripped off the blindfold, blinking from the light, as my arms pulled Steve on top of me, our sweaty bodies sliding together, our heated breath mixing between us.

We locked eyes, the intensity sparked between us. Steve's hand sought mine, tentatively at first, the gentle pressure growing, our feelings reflected in his touch. I laid my right hand gently on his side, moving my fingers around just a little, reveling in the feel of his skin. I felt him tremble, as he placed his hand on my shoulder and leaned in even closer, our mouths now just inches apart.

I moved my hand to his back and traced my fingers slowly up his spine. Steve trembled from the sensation before rolling us onto our sides, our sweaty bodies moving as one. I felt him slide his hand up my back to the base of my neck, using it to pull me in closer. I closed my eyes as I felt his lips brush mine, and heard myself sigh as I felt his tongue gently touch my lips before backing away. My lips sought his, and he granted admittance to my frantic tongue.

All hesitancy vanished and I felt his muscles tense as he pulled me into a tight embrace. I squeezed tighter, shuddering from the sensation of our bare chests touching and the feel of him as he melted into me. I ran my fingers through his hair as our tongues met and our kiss deepened. I couldn't breathe, nor did I care.

Steve pulled on my shoulder, rolling me on top of him, freeing my other hand to roam over his bare skin. I kissed him harder as his hands traced circles on my lower back, and ran my fingers softly down his sides, tracing every contour, feeling him tremble at my touch.

Reluctantly, I lowered my hands to the bed, and backed away so that I could breathe. I looked into Steve's deep blue eyes, losing myself there, but only for a moment, before he wrapped his arms around me and pulled me in for an even longer kiss.

Eventually, I rolled off him, gasping for air, my head spinning, my heart afire.

I looked into the beautiful face before me and winked as I retrieved the silk tie, sliding it over his golden hair. I eased him back and straddled him, pinning his arms gently to his sides with my thighs.

He was so beautiful, his gorgeous body waiting for my touch, and I did not intend to keep it waiting. I retrieved an ice cube from the bucket, feeling its cold chill my fingertips, and ran it down the cleft of Steve's chest. I felt him shudder beneath me as I leaned forward and retraced the route of the ice with my tongue.

Remembering a particularly exquisite sensation he had given me, I traced my fingers along the sides of his pecs, then, with the lightest touch, tread one of his nipples with the ice and the other with my tongue, slowly increasing the intensity as I felt him writhing beneath me.

I inched my way down his chest, paying special attention to the ridges and clefts, and then concentrated on his washboard abs, stroking the valleys between them with the ice, then my tongue, sometime in parallel, as he had done to me. I edged over and worked down his side, tracing every muscle, even teasing the cute little birthmark on his butt with a few dabs from the ice while my tongue traced his ribs.

Now it was Steve who ripped off the blindfold, fire burning in his eyes as he pulled me down onto him and our tongues began to dance another frantic duel.

I felt his cold fingers on my sack, touching, teasing, tracing with his fingers, raising goose bumps on my skin. The sensation was incredible, and I heard myself whimper as Steve broke our kiss, pushing me off him and over on my side. I began to reach for him, to pull him back into a kiss, but he grinned and pulled away, and I sucked in my breath as I felt his tongue circle the head of my cock.

I was getting close, and I desperately wanted to make Steve feel what I was feeling. I gently pushed him away as I sat up and turned around before lying back down beside him, his shaft inches from my face, and mine inches from his. I felt him touch the ice to my nuts again while circled the head of my cock with his tongue. I licked my way down his cock, and fondled his sack as I took his full length in my mouth, as he did the same to me. I pulled him in tighter, feeling his body tense, as I lolled my tongue around him, my efforts rewarded by a moan of earnest pleasure.

I was close and I tensed, trying to hold back, but Steve's magic tongue would not be denied, and I redoubled my efforts on him, sucking a little as I circled my tongue around, while running my hand along his thighs, feeling his body tense and shudder. I heard myself utter a choked cry, as what I'd swear was a lightning bolt of pure pleasure raced through me. I felt myself surge, as my eyes rolled back in my head, and I heard Steve cry out as he exploded within me.

We pulled away from each other, breathing hard, gasping for air, as I twisted around and lay down on my side, facing him, as we both tried to catch our breath. Steve lay face up, sprawled out on the bed, and I lay my hand on his heaving chest, feeling his racing heart. I reached out to touch his cheek, and he smiled, whispering, "That was so intense... I just hope we don't run out of ice."

I took him in my arms and kissed him, as our hands roamed. I eased back, meeting his eyes, and I saw a returning hunger exactly mirroring my own desires.

Steve and I were both versatile so we usually took turns. I reached for my nightstand, seeking the familiar jar, and decided to try an experiment of my own. I lay down on my back, my legs stretched out, applied the contents of the jar, and whispered to Steve, "Climb aboard." This would be a new position for us, but he didn't hesitate, sliding onto me quickly, causing us both to let out a gasp. I reached for him, beginning to stroke him as he arched his back, puffing out his chest. "Ungh," I gasped, and he began to move up and down, slowly taking me once again into ecstasy.

Steve groaned, his head back, his beautiful face contorted from the sensations I was causing him.

We took it slow, moving to the ancient rhythm, and Steve took me to the edge, keeping me there with measured thrusts. He leaned forward, his hands caressing my chest, as slowly both the rhythm and the pressure became more intense.

I threw my head back, gritting my teeth as I tried to hold back, but the pressure grew. Steve sensed the moment and took us both over the edge. I heard a cry of pleasure, and realized that it was my own, as I shuddered from the release.

Minutes later, we lay on our backs, said by side, breathing hard, exhausted, and drained. I rolled onto my side to face him, and traced my fingertips over his perfect chest, "I love you," I whispered.

"I love you too," was the last thing he said, before pulling me into a kiss.

We broke the kiss and lay, safe in each other's arms, staring into each other's eyes. An old song came on the radio, one I hadn't heard in a long time, 'Heaven isn't too far away'. No, I decided, it wasn't far away, not far away at all.

Curious about the book, and Steve's erotic experiments, I asked, "I'm guessing that book had something to do with the ice. What is it?"

"Erotic sex techniques. I got it from Betty."

"Betty? Oh, shit. She's never going to let me live this down. And you know that, don't you?" I chuckled, basking in the afterglow of what we had just shared.

That familiar upturn returned to the corner of Steve's mouth, "Yup, and that was part of the fun."

I flicked lightly at his nipple as I asked, "So, what else did you learn?"

"Oh, all kinds of stuff," he grinned, "lie back down and close your eyes," he said, as he scrambled out of bed and pulled on his shorts.

I did as he asked, only to feel the silk tie being slipped back in place over my head. I waited, wondering what Steve had planned, only to shudder as something tickled my belly button, accompanied by Steve running his fingers down my side. I sucked in my breath, arching my back a little as the strange mix of sensations played across my body. I felt Steve straddle me again, as he continued to do whatever he was doing to my belly button, and began rubbing my chest with his other hand.

I squirmed, and felt the tickling sensation stop, and then resume, this time at the corner of my mouth. I opened my mouth to laugh, and felt the tickle of a feather on my lower lip. Feathers...


I jolted upright, pushing the feather away, "Steve! Please tell me you didn't get that feather from Beelzebub's rotting kill in the back yard?" I said, as I felt my stomach start to churn.

Steve pushed me back down, making me shudder by running the feather down my side, "Don't worry. The ants and maggots had cleaned most of the gore away."

I felt my stomach begin to heave, as Steve laughed, "Nah, not really. We have an old Navaho Dream-catcher in the garage, so I yanked a feather off it."

I pulled off the blindfold and watched Steve as he cracked up. I grabbed him, laughing and rolling us over on the bed as my fingers sought his ribs, "Since when did that book tell you to gross out your boyfriend?"

We laughed together, as I half-heartedly traced my fingers over his lower ribs, making him squirm just a little. Our eyes met, and I saw the humor and mirth there, as an idea occurred to me. I stood up and dragged Steve out of bed, whispering, "I've got an idea." I stood behind him, and hugged him to me as I began to trace my fingers up and down his sides, and he chuckled, "If this is going where I think it's going, let me wait half an hour, I'm a little sore."

I leaned forward and whispered in his ear, "I'm here to take care of that," as I slid my hand over his eyes, caressing his side with my other hand one last time before reaching back and grabbing the bucket of ice. I whispered, "Close your eyes" as I removed my hand from his face, and brought the ice bucket around in front of Steve. I tugged his waistband, pulling it away from his body at the front, and quickly dumped the bucket of ice into the front of his shorts.

"YEEEARRGGHHH!" Steve wailed, as he jumped forward and began hopping around, frantically ripping off his ice-packed shorts while I collapsed in laughter on my bed.

We laughed, together, as soon as Steve had warmed himself up, with a little help from me, and he slid into bed next to me, melting into my arms, and soon we drifted off to sleep.

* * *

Due to the gun range lessons, we had to postpone our shopping road trip to Phoenix until the following Saturday, but we were determined to go.

My alarm woke us before dawn, and we rummaged around my apartment getting ready as fast as we could. We dashed out, heading for Steve's Charger, and Mr. Williams came out to see us off, "Anything in particular you are looking for?" He asked.

Steve shrugged and replied, "Just clothes, and maybe an icemaker for Chris' apartment."

I felt my throat tighten, hoping against hope that Mr. Williams would not ask me why I needed an icemaker, because I was sure that my deep blush would be visible in the dawn light and give me away. I glanced over at Steve, who smiled back innocently, before telling his Dad to have a great day, and then putting his Charger in gear.

We were on our way to Phoenix at last, and as much as I looked forward to the shopping, I was looking forward even more to spending a day away from all the hassles and dangers that were part of our daily lives in Lonesome Valley.

I bought a box of donuts for us at the gas station, while Steve topped off the Charger. We planned to stop at a drive-thru closer in to Phoenix; the local one was not yet open at five o'clock in the morning.

"So, how do we get there from here?" I asked, as we pulled out of the gas station.

"The main road runs through Piedmont, but we can take a side road just short of the county line, and that will bypass Piedmont County." Steve replied.

"Good. I don't really feel like visiting Piedmont anytime soon," I laughed.

Steve's detour was on a paved but potholed road, so we lost a little time. Soon, though, we were flying along on highway 60, entering the Phoenix area. I glanced to my right, and saw the imposing bulk of Superstition Mountain, in the distance ahead, and Weaver's Needle, a spectacular spire of rock, just a few miles from the road.

I'd seen Superstition Mountain a few times before, "Hey, Dude, think we would have time to go hiking in the Superstitions on the way back?"

Steve shrugged, "Maybe, but if you are thinking of looking for the Lost Dutchman mine, forget it. People have been looking for a hundred years for that."

I chuckled, "Nah, I was just curious what it was like up there. Must have a great view of the city."

"I've never been up there, but I bet it does. If we have time, we'll give it a try."

Minutes later, we were rolling into Apache Junction, the easternmost suburb of Phoenix. We pulled through a drive-thru for some breakfast, and were back on the 60 in minutes. I realized I had no idea where Steve was heading, so I asked, around a mouthful of breakfast burger, "Where to?"

"Chandler Fashion Center first, it's new and one of the biggest, hundreds of stores, and it's on this side of the city," he replied.

Walking into the Mall was a shock; I'd been in big malls before, but it had been years ago. The Chandler mall was spectacular; you can't really tell the size of it from the parking lot, because it is so darn big. Inside, it is two stories of shops that stretched as far as the eye can see; its stores all decked out in plastic, glass, and steel, as well as a liberal dose of tropical plants all up and down the walkways and concourses. It was like something out of a movie. I glanced up, and saw that the peaked roof was made of clear glass panes, and a glance ahead told me that the number of panes must be enormous.

Steve and I were both wearing denim shorts and muscle shirts, and I noticed that we drew more than a few appreciative glances. I felt the smile spreading across my face; this was going to be an unforgettable day, and so far everything was going perfectly.

Steve made a beeline for a store I'd only heard about, 'Abercrombie and Fitch'. While there, we looked through the selections of print T's and assorted clothes, and checked out the many huge mural adds featuring gorgeous guys. The clothes were outrageously pricey, and didn't have much that caught our eye, so we exited the store with our wallets intact. The intact status of our billfolds would not last long.

We went through the mall, store after store, trying on jeans, boardies, and shirts. Steve had no qualms about trying on shirts without benefit of a changing room, and I soon shrugged and joined in. Steve's favorite store was the sporting goods outlet, and running shorts, which we both liked, were the first item on our list. After that, Steve dragged me over to the swimmer's section, and began browsing for racing suits. He already had plenty, a fact that I pointed out to him, and a glance at the price tags cooled his interest.

After leaving the sporting goods store, we passed a Cold Stone Creamery, which turned out to be an ice cream stand. Steve treated us to a couple of floats, but at the register the cashier, a hot-looking guy in his early 20's, glanced at Steve's purchase and said, "Good choice, Shawn," with a wink.

"My name's Steve," he replied, shaking his head as we sat down to enjoy our desserts.

The stores went by in a blur; soon enough, we discovered one we both loved; a surf and beachwear shop that had a great collection of tank tops, boardies, and sleeveless T-s. The prices were a shock, $50 for a pair of board shorts just seemed insane to me. When I was saving up to get out of my parent's house and hometown, I'd saved every penny I could, and if something wasn't on sale at Wal-Mart, I didn't even think of buying it. I'd never been on a luxury shopping spree before, ever, and Steve knew it. It seemed like he had made it his mission to get me to loosen up a little, and have some fun, so that's exactly what I did.

I'd brought along $150, thinking that it would be far more than I'd need, no matter how much shopping I did, but I had to hit up an ATM before noon because I was out of cash. Steve had cashed his checks from working at the bookstore, and added some funds from his bank account, but the prices soon made a dent even in his wallet, and mine was faring no better.

By noon, we had to return to Steve's car with several bags of purchases before heading back to hit the shops again. We waited until after the lunch rush was over and headed for the food court. I stopped in my tracks in amazement when I saw it; there must have been twenty stands of every imaginable kind. It was a far cry from the three in the Lonesome Valley mall.

We chose one that had some great looking Chinese food. We took our orders and found a table in the food court, and as I ate, I just watched the activity in the huge mall. It was like a city unto itself, and, I reflected, probably had more people in it at that moment than my hometown and Lonesome Valley combined.

After dosing my stir-fry with soy sauce, I took out my wallet and counted the few remaining lonely banknotes, appalled to find that I'd spent over four hundreddollars on clothes, which was more than I usually spent on clothes in a year, shoes included. Steve saw my shocked look and chuckled, "Expensive, I know. But dude, you gotta have fun sometimes, and we got some primo clothes today."

"Yeah, but it's only lunchtime and I'm almost broke. I don't know what my ATM limit is but I must be close to it. I think I'm gonna have to use my credit card," I grumbled, as I savored the first bite of my lunch.

"Yeah, I'll need to hit up an ATM soon; I've spent as much as you have."

"Now that amazes me," I laughed, "that you could spend so much on clothes, considering that you hardly ever wear any."

Steve grinned, but before he could reply he looked up, over my shoulder. I glanced back to find a nervous looking bald guy approaching, "If it isn't Chase and Shawn, in the flesh!" He said, and I groaned inwardly, 'not again'.

Shaking his head, Steve answered before I could, "Nope, but you aren't the first to mistake us for them. Who the heck are they?" He asked.

The stranger became even more uneasy, edging away as he said, "Oh, just some guys, sorry," before beating a hasty retreat, disappearing into the steady stream of shoppers.

Steve looked at me, his eyes showing both irritation and concern, "Why is it that we get mistaken for this Chase and Shawn, both in Lonesome Valley and here? And why is it only when we're eating? What the fuck?"

©Copyright 2007 C James; All Rights Reserved.
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Please let me know what you think; good, bad, or indifferent.  The feedback thread for this story is in my Forum. Please stop by and say "Hi!"

Many thanks to Conner for editing, support, encouragement, beta reading, and suggestions on this chapter.
Many thanks also to my editor EMoe for editing and for his support, encouragement, beta reading, and suggestions (and for thinking up a title!).

Thanks also to Shadowgod, for beta reading and advice, and for putting up with me.
Any remaining errors are mine alone.

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. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

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I don’t know why it’s only when they’re eating but I wonder if Eric managed to somehow get a tape or photo of them having sex which he posted to the internet. He went to jail before they ever had sex but he may have spied on them since the sherif had him supposedly at his place as I believe this started before he came back home. I can see that little creep posting a porno online with fake names to make some cash and embarrass them. I originally thought it might be something more harmless yet meant to annoy them like profiles on gay dating apps and sites under false names as I thought some of these guys might have thought they were meeting a date with someone somehow leaking their location yet I’m leaning more towards something stranger like a porno as all of these guys are too uncomfortable to say why they seem to be mistaking them for someone else plus some of these encounters are way too random to be a setup with someone giving out their location. I’m also thinking it definitely ties into them being gay because only men are coming up to them claiming to know them or of them. One thing that throws off this theory is whenever one is approached only one is so if it’s linked to an intimate photo or video of the two of them I’d expect both to be acknowledged. Perhaps it is maybe a nude image or something yet they are alone in the images yet I don’t get how food ties into it. I mean I could imagine how food could tie into it 😂 but as far as we know they haven’t gotten further than ice cubes. I know they can’t force these people to tell them but they seem to let these people just walk away without trying very hard to find out what’s going on. I mean this latest time is the main time they’ve tried to get information. I’m probably wrong about it being pornographic in nature but these guys uncomfortable reactions to them saying they have the wrong guy just makes me assume it’s something embarrassing.

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A great shopping trip deserved by both boys after all they have been through.  Yeah Eric is creepy enough to spy and take pictures of Chris and Steve.  I bet he still is doing that.  Steve's perchance to parade around nude would probably give the little shit plenty of opportunity to take some revealing pictures to sell on the internet. Again, they need to tell dad about this latest turd the little shit has dumped on them. Maybe Dex can help them do a little internet search for porn celebrities named Chase and Shawn. :gikkle:

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