In Memory of Ed Wooton
For the Love - 3. Get the Rope...
When we finally broke the kiss and came up for air, Steve said, "As much as I want to keep doing this, we need to deal with Eric first. He's got a hell of a lot of money from us. We need to get it back. Got any ideas?"
Steve sat on his bed, and motioned for me to join him. I did, before replying, "Not really. Think there is any left, or would he have spent it all?"
"Eric is a greedy little bastard, always has been, and loves money. I'd bet anything he still has most if not all of what he got from us."
"If it's in the bank, though, we can't get at it?"
"Wanna bet? He's a minor, remember. Dad or Mom can get the money out."
"Do you think they would?" I asked.
"Hell yes! This ain't the first bad thing Eric has done. What Eric did to you is illegal as hell, and if you wanted to press charges, you sure could. And don't forget, Dad's a cop, as well as being your landlord. Cops kinda have a thing about upholding the law, and Dad's in an even more awkward position being your landlord with his son blackmailing you. Oh yeah, if it's in the bank, we have no worries and you will have your money back."
"Ummmm, dude, I think you are forgetting something. You may be out to your parents, but I'm not. Getting their help is going to mean telling them I'm gay. Do you think they will be okay with that?"
Steve laughed, "Chris, they will be very okay with it. Back when you and I started spending all our time together, they asked me if you and I were a couple. I told them I wasn't even out to you, which surprised them. They told me I should tell you, then ask you out! Damn, how I wish I'd listened to them. Trust me on this; there will be no problems at all from them, especially considering what Eric has done."
"That's great to hear Steve, but there are others that Eric could tell."
"OK, true. I doubt he knows how to get a hold of anyone like your parents, though, so that leaves just the people you know here."
"Well, even if he could get a hold of my folks, I wouldn't much care. You already know how bad my relationship is with them, so I don't have a lot to lose. Work will not be a problem because the owner is a lesbian, and she already knows that I'm gay. Until today, she was the only person I've ever come out to. As for other people here, the only one I was stressing over finding out was you, and seeing as how we are boyfriends now I'm not real worried about anybody telling you that I'm gay," Steve said with a laugh.
A more serious thought occurred to me and I continued;"Steve, the one big problem I do see is school."
"I don't think Eric knows anyone in the college, so I doubt he could do much there."
"I wasn't thinking about college. There are a few guys who are out, and nobody seems to care. But you are in high school, and if mine was anything to go on, that's a whole different story."
"Thanks, Chris; it's cool of you to worry about me like that. I don't see it being a huge problem, and I'll be graduating mid-year anyway, and that's just a few weeks away," Steve said.
I nodded, then asked, "OK, what about our friends. In case you haven't noticed, Rob and Joe have been kinda hostile to me lately. I think it's because they suspect that I'm gay."
Steve leaned back, his face clouding slightly before he began laughing, first quietly, then uncontrollably, rolling over on the bed and clutching his side. Finally, he got himself under control enough to tell me, "Dude, Rob and Joe were the first people I ever came out to. I met them a couple of years ago when I had them do some work on my car, and so I'd known them for a while. Then, back when I was still coming out to myself, I overheard that they were a gay couple. I needed someone to talk to, so I went to them and asked them, and found out they were, so I came out to them. They helped me deal with a lot of stuff. The reason they have been hostile to you is they had been bugging me to come out to you, and I kinda warned them to keep quiet on the gay stuff because you were homophobic. They hate homophobes so they have been steaming a little."
I cracked up. "Steve" I gasped. "You mean to tell me I've been worried about two gay guys finding out I'm gay?"
Steve giggled, "Three, counting me. God, your Gaydar is even worse than mine! Hell, Veronica has been telling me for a while that you might be gay or bi, and has been driving me nuts bugging me to come out to you. Her boyfriend Chad and the rest of the swim team know I'm gay, hell, half my friends have been telling me I should come out to you and see what happens," Steve said.
I had to ask, "Steve, what made Veronica think I might be gay or bi? I was real careful about what I said."
Steve smirked at me, arching an eyebrow, "Yeah, too careful. She picked up on the way you always stopped to think before talking about some things. Don't feel bad though, I never picked up on it, and I've been arguing with Veronica about this for weeks. She's going to laugh for a month when she finds out!" Steve smiled, elbowing me playfully in the ribs.
A thought that had been rattling around in the back of my head finally surfaced. I shook my head. "Steve, I think we are both missing something big here. Outing us as gay isn't the biggest risk. Eric could do something worse."
Steve looked puzzled and concerned. "Like what?" he asked.
"He could out us both, me especially, as stupid fucking morons! Steve, he's a skinny fifteen-year-old kid, and he just blackmailed two bigger, older guys out of thousands of dollars by threatening to out them, to each other! Think about it... A story like that would get everywhere, and we would be laughed right out of town," I said.
Steve slowly nodded. "I see what you mean. I know Eric would think of that, too. But, I think we now hold all the cards here: my Dad is going to be so pissed at Eric that Eric won't dare do anything. Plus, there is the fact that either one of us can beat the crap out of Eric at any time. He may be evil, but he ain't suicidal. Dad will also take care of that tape, so Eric won't have any proof of anything. Okay, so, any ideas on how to deal with Eric when he gets home?"
I was thinking how pleasant it would be to beat Eric to a bloody pulp, but, remembering that this was still Steve's brother, I had second thoughts and said, "Ummm, I think I better leave that to you, as you might not like my ideas."
Steve gave me a puzzled look and asked, "Uh, why?"
"Because I'm real tempted to punch his lights out. Repeatedly."
Steve laughed. "You're right, I wouldn't like that, 'cause it's going way too easy on the little bastard! I was thinking more along the lines of a slow and painful death... Disemboweling sounds good," Steve laughed. "But, I think the smart thing to do is let Mom and Dad do their worst, and save anything like us using him for a punching bag until a week or two from now. That way he gets both, and gets to worry about what we will do for a while."
"Good idea. But, we still need to find out where Eric has our money. What if he just hid it somewhere?"
"Yeah... He might have, at that. We need to get him to tell us." Steve gave me a grin, and continued, "I think I have a plan for how to deal with Eric, get our money back, and keep his mouth shut."
Steve filled me in on his plan, finished by rubbing his hands together, vengeance on his mind. I told him, "Yeah, sounds like a plan. That would sure solve our problems. I'm in."
Steve stood up. "Okay, Chris, I'll go grab some of my stuff from his room while you go pull your Jeep around the corner so he won't know you are here. He'll get here, notice my stuff gone from his room, and storm in here to bitch at me and demand it back. I'll be lying on my bed so he will come right into the room. You stand behind the door, and slam it shut and lean back against it as soon as he's in. Then we can both have the fun of telling our captive audience that the jig is up. We'll have to make sure he doesn't get away, 'cause he'll try and run for it, on our money!"
"That sounds like a plan, and to keep him from running we can just keep him locked in here, or hell, if you've got some rope I can hog-tie him. Oh, my Jeep is already around the corner. I was expecting a bad reaction when I told you, so I didn't park in the driveway."
Steve mumbled "That little bastard... We've been on edge around each other for weeks due to this crap!" Steve went to grab his stereo, playstation 2, and his letterman's jacket from his brother's room and then some rope from the garage. He tossed me the rope as he sat back down in his room. I practiced a couple of knots while we talked, and Steve wore an evil smile on his face as I began to work one length of rope into a knot made famous by the movies.
Steve grinned, "Just think about it. Eric's gonna be stunned as hell when you slam that door and lean back to block it, then nervous as hell when he finds out his game is over. Then, when he sees that, he's really gonna freak, especially when we put it on him."
I busted up over that, as I worked on making a Hangman's Noose.
As I finished the noose, I glanced down and saw my shirt on the floor. I reached down to pick it up and I noticed it was still wet. I thought about it for a second and then told Steve, "Eric may be here any minute, and your 'rents will be here soon, so I better either borrow a shirt from you or go to my place and see if I have any halfway clean ones left."
Steve gave me a perplexed look and a raised eyebrow, and asked me why. I replied, "We are going to tell your parents that I'm gay, and we are boyfriends, right? How's it gonna look if I'm in here, and we are both shirtless?"
Steve laughed. "Dude, they have seen us both shirtless in my room and around the house, like a million times!"
"Uh, yeah, but not as boyfriends! Won't they think we are, well, doing stuff or something?"
Steve laughed hard... "Just because we have our shirts off? Like I said, it's not as if they haven't seen us like this a million times. Besides, remember when I said they had asked questions when we first started spending all our time together? They were assuming we were together and doing stuff then, before I told them we weren't! And you know what? They were cool with it then, so why wouldn't they be now?"
Relieved, I put my shirt on Steve's dresser, catching my keys as they fell out of my shirt pocket, and put them on top of my shirt. I grinned at Steve, "Whoa... That's, like, so cool."
"Yeah, my 'rents are cool in a lot of ways. Anyway, I do want us both to be shirtless when Eric gets here. He's scrawny, and I know muscles intimidate him. Whenever he would swipe my stuff or damage it, I'd make sure I was shirtless before going after him. And anyway, I like looking at you without a shirt."
I grinned at that. "Hey Steve" I smirked "now we are boyfriends, does that mean I can stare at your chest as much as I like, and not have to worry about you catching me doing it?"
"More like you better worry if I catch you not doing it," Steve laughed. "Feel free to look at whatever you want, or touch whenever you want..."
My ears picked up at that. "Touch? I like that idea."
Steve got the oddest smile on his face, and turned to face me, still sitting on the edge of his bed, as was I. He asked, "Well, what are you waiting for?"
I grinned, turned to face him, and playfully ran my fingers over his chest, as he watched. Oh, god, that was intense for me! Our eyes met, and I explored his chest, slowly caressing it. He began to do mine, too, and the feeling was incredible.
"Chris, this feels great... Um, when we were talking about my parents being okay with us doing stuff in here, I was kinda wondering if you would like to do stuff with me?" Steve asked shyly, which was the first time I could ever recall him being shy about anything.
Would I? "Hell yes! I'd like a little more privacy for our first time, though, like my place. No worries about interruptions there."
"How about tonight after everything is taken care of with Eric?" Steve asked.
We leaned in to kiss, when we heard the sound of the front door opening. Eric was home.
I got up and tucked the rope into the waistband of my shorts, and hid behind Steve's door as Steve lay on his bed. We heard Eric in the kitchen, rummaging around, and then heard him go into his room, followed by swearing. Eric stormed into Steve's room and stood in the middle of the room, hands on his hips, and yelled at Steve, "Put the stuff back in my room, NOW, or I go find Chris." Steve, stretched out on his bed, hands folded behind his neck, casually asked, "Find who, Eric?"
I closed and locked Steve's door, leaning back against it, folding my arms across my bare chest as Steve slowly sat up on his bed. Eric saw me, his eyes opening wide for a moment. He turned back towards Steve to say in an even more agitated voice, "I'll tell him; I swear I will!"
Steve slowly, casually stood up and stretched, puffed out his bare, tan, muscular chest, crossed his arms, and then faced Eric. "Tell him what?"
Backing away from Steve, Eric turned to face me, a look of anger and now worry on his face. Eric must have had the recorder in his hand, because he now held it in front of him, where Steve couldn't see it. "Let me out of here, or he finds out!" he hissed.
Steve strode over to stand beside me. Turning to face me, he pulled me in for a quick but deep kiss. We both turn to smile sweetly at Eric, as Steve walked over to him, asking softly, "Find out what, Eric? Is there something about my boyfriend that I should know?"
Eric's eyes had bugged out when we kissed, and he backed away from Steve, stuttering, "B-B-B-boyfriend?"
While Eric stared at Steve, I pulled the noose from my waistband and started casually playing with it. Eric was more concerned about Steve and kept his eyes riveted on his older brother.
Steve, still in a sweet voice, told Eric "Yeah, we're boyfriends now. Chris and I had a very interesting conversation today. We found out we had a few little misconceptions about each other," Steve suddenly shifted over to a loud, angry voice, yelling, "thanks to you, and we would have been together months ago if not for you messing with our heads. And, as if that ain't enough, we both were being fucking blackmailed! Where's the money, Eric?" Steve was now visibly angry, his arms at his sides, fists clenching and unclenching, his muscles flexing, as he inched towards Eric. Eric was almost in the corner, looking scared, but Eric never knew when to quit and gave it one last try, "I spent it. And if you don't let me out of here, I'm gonna out you both to everybody!"
Eric finally glanced from Steve over to me, and saw the noose in my hands. His eyes looked as if they were about to pop, and he backed right into the corner, his eyes locked on the noose. I told Steve, "He's got a point about outing us, doesn't he? That wouldn't be good. Not good at all."
Steve turned to me, putting his hand on his chin in an exaggerated thinking pose, "Yeah. The money is all gone, so it's not like Eric here can get it back for us, and the outing thing, yeah, that would be bad. Kinda reminds me of that pirate movie we watched a few weeks ago. What was it that they said? Oh, yeah, dead men tell no tales..."
Eric by this point was trembling in the corner, near panic, but still trying to find a way out. "You guys, you can't... You wouldn't... You'll go to prison!"
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.
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