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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 - 4. Necktie Party

Steve turned to me, still using his very phony sarcastic voice, "Yeah, Prison would be bad, too. But, hey, ya know, I was reading the newspaper this morning and it had some sad articles, and," Steve turned to Eric, "Ya know what they were about, Eric? Well, they were about teen suicides."

Eric's knees failed and he sank to cower in the corner, stammering, "S-S-Suicides?"

Steve leaned over to get right in his face, and in a louder voice continued, "Yeah, suicides, Eric. It's really so sad. Seems like a lot of teenagers kill themselves. Seems a lot do it by hanging themselves, like, from a tree in the backyard. So sad... A lot leave suicide notes on their computers, too. But, ya know, it's kinda spooky in a way. I mean, just think, who can know who a note on a computer was really written by? Just think, suppose somebody wanted someone dead for some reason, Eric. Some reason like being blackmailed? Or being threatened by outing? They could write up a fake note, and then take the person they wanted to kill out to a tree, run the rope over a branch, and haul him up. Leave his hands free, so he can hold himself by the rope, a little, so he can breathe, but just a little. Then just tie off the rope, and leave him hanging. He can't hold on for long, though, so soon the noose slowly tightens around his neck. Ugh, a nasty and slow way to go, real nasty. Thing is though, done that way it's kinda the perfect murder, too, 'cause everyone thinks it's a suicide. All they have to do is put a chair out there, looks just like he did it himself. "

Eric was petrified, and begged, "No... Please... I'm your brother! You can't! You won't ever find the money if you do it."

Steve looked over at me, "Tsk, tsk... Yeah, brothers gotta stick together, huh? Gotta protect each other from people who might mess with them, wreck their lives, blackmail 'em, out 'em, shit like that... So, Chris, wanna be my brother? It looks like the job is gonna be vacant here real soon..."

Eric wailed, "No! Steve, please, I got the money, I didn't spend it, you gotta believe me..."

Steve smirked at Eric, shaking his head, "Why should I, Eric? I ain't exactly inclined to trust you right now. You better think up some way to prove it, and fast."

Eric sputtered, and then said, "I got an account at Wells Fargo on Main Street. They got a dial-in thing for account balances. You can call them right now. It's all there!"

Steve looked over at me, his back to Eric, and winked. He picked up the phone and dialed, as Eric gave him the ATM card with the account number, plus his access code. Steve got the balance and glared at Eric, "Where is the rest of it, Eric? That's two grand short."

"I, I, spent it," Eric mumbled.

"On what?" Steve demanded.

"New clothes, eating out, movies, CD's, computer stuff, partying, just stuff." Eric replied, his voice shaking.

"Yeah, you little shit, and all this time Chris and I are miserable and way too broke to do stuff like that, thanks to you." Steve turned to me and said, "Well, a big chunk of the money is gone, and he still could out us. I say we hang 'em!"

I'd caught Steve's wink, but other than that, he'd even have had me convinced. I nodded, and Steve dragged Eric over to me as I adjusted the noose in my hands. Eric screamed, desperately fighting, but he was powerless against his much stronger brother. I was tempted to put the noose on him and continue the charade a little longer, but Steve and I shared a glance, then Steve lifted Eric by the collar and told him, "Calm down. We aren't really gonna hang you. We could have, though, and if you ever, and I mean ever, pull any shit again; I'll do it for real. You got that?" Eric calmed down a bit, and nodded.

I moved to stand right in front of Eric, and, as I put my hand out, yelled, "Hand over the recorder, now."

Slowly, Eric complied, pulling out the recorder and placing it in my hand, all the while looking at me with hate in his eyes. I slipped the recorder into a side pocket of my shorts, while Steve forced him into a desk chair. We started to tie Eric to it, but Eric tried to fight and squirm, demanding to know why he was being tied up. Steve told him, "So you won't try and run, especially on our money. This is just until Mom and Dad get home, so quit squirming."

"You aren't going to tell them what I did, are ya?" Eric whined.

Steve yelled in his face, "You little shit. Damn right we are. Soon as they get home, we are dragging you out there and telling them everything."

We soon had Eric's arms lashed to the armrests, and then Steve ran a few loops around Eric's torso to secure him to the chair's back. Satisfied that Eric was firmly bound to the chair, we stepped back, but Eric kept on trying to talk Steve out of telling their parents. His constant yammering and whining was getting on our nerves, big time.

Steve's face lit up with a grin as he turned, opened a drawer, and held up a roll of duct tape. I immediately understood and nodded eagerly while grinning from ear to ear. Steve ripped off a long piece and then moved behind Eric.

Eric began to struggle harder, hollering "Hey, don't put that on me. I'll shut up."

The moment Eric finished saying the last word, Steve lowered the strip of duct tape across Eric's face, and with a snatch pulled it back into place, stretching the strip of duct tape taught until he stuck the ends under each of Eric's ears.

Steve surveyed his handiwork, grinning, and then announced, accompanied by muffled exclamations of protest from Eric, "Peace at last."

Eric continued to squirm and fight against the ropes, all the while glaring at us. Steve headed out the door, signaling me with a nod of his head to follow. I took one last look at Eric to reassure myself that he couldn't get loose, and followed Steve into the hallway.

Steve went into Eric's room and I followed. As soon as I entered, Steve turned and told me in a low voice, "I want to search for some of my things, and maybe see if we can find anything else that the little rat doesn't want found."

Steve opened Eric's closet and started to dig around, while I opened the top drawer of Eric's desk and began to poke around. I remembered the recorder in my pocket, and pulled it out, looking it over to try and figure out how the controls worked and find a way to erase it.

Steve noticed, and he must have realized what I intended to do. Steve gently put his hand on mine, before saying in a quiet voice, "Chris, don't. We need that. It's proof of what Eric did."

I realized that he was right, and put it back in my pocket, asking, "You don't think your parents will play it, do you?"

"Probably, why?" Steve asked.

I felt the butterflies return to my stomach, "Um, dude, on it I kinda admit to perving on you when I see you naked. I really don't want your folks to know that. Hell, I'm embarrassed to tell you that even now."

Steve chuckled, "My folks wouldn't freak over something like that, and sure as hell not now with the blackmail and stuff. And anyway, don't be embarrassed. I'm probably gonna have to tell 'em why I was naked in front of you so much." Steve turns to me, blushing, "I, uh, guess I did that on purpose some of the time. I was trying to see if you were interested, so I could find out if you were gay..."

I laughed, "So, Steve. Putting on shows for me, huh? Well, it worked! Hey, is that why you go shirtless so much, too?"

Steve blushed again, "Nah, I just like not wearing a shirt. I've always done that, even before we met. I'm not exactly shy..."

Before I could continue the conversation, we heard the front door open as Steve's parents arrived home. I headed back to Steve's room while Steve went to the living room, and through the open door I heard him tell them that he and I needed to talk to them right away. Eric must have heard it too, because he began to struggle again, trying to break free, all the while giving me evil looks.

Steve joined me in his room, where he nodded toward Eric, grinning. Steve grabbed one side of Eric's chair as I grabbed the other, and we lifted him easily. I couldn't help but notice Steve's muscles flexing as he lifted, making him look even more ripped and defined than usual. Steve noticed my look, and winked at me as we maneuvered the chair, with Eric still firmly bound to it, out through the bedroom door.

Together, with me walking backwards in the lead, we carried Eric down the hallway and into the dining room, bumping the wall as we maneuvered him towards the table. Finally, we slid his chair into place at the table, and sat down, one of us on each side of Eric, who looked like he was furious.

Steve's parents were speechless for a moment, and then Mrs. Williams found her voice, "OK, what has he done this time?"

Steve sighed, and began, "Mom, Dad, I think you had better take a seat, because this is going to be long, complicated, and unpleasant. We tied up Eric so he wouldn't run away, and I'll remove the duct tape as soon as we have told you a little about what he's done."

Mr. and Mrs. Williams still looked stunned, but, while exchanging a worried look, they sat down at the table across from us, as Mr. Williams nodded for Steve to continue.

"Mom, Dad, I'll give you the short version. When I came out to you both, Eric was eavesdropping, so he's known all along. Then, after Chris moved in and we started hanging out, Eric told me Chris, here, hated gays. Eric was laughing about it, saying he had heard Chris on the phone, and like a chump, I believed him. So, I put off my plans to come out to Chris. Eric later found out Chris is gay, and told Chris that I hated gays. So, for the past couple of months Chris and I have been living in fear of each other finding out we are gay. It only ended today, when Chris finally got up the courage to come out to me. I guess it goes without saying that we were both fine with each other being gay. Oh, and we are boyfriends now, too."

Mr. and Mrs. Williams glared at Eric, and after a long silence, Mrs. Williams finally spoke, "Eric, how could you do something so awful!" Turning to Steve and I, she said "I always thought you two had feelings for each other, and I'm happy for you both. I'm just so sorry it had to happen this way, how awful!"

Steve nodded, and continued, "Mom, that's nothing. Yeah, Eric set it up so Chris and I were each afraid of the other finding out, but he did it for a reason; money. And by the way, we have proof of everything we are telling you."

Now it was Mr. Williams who got involved, his voice level and cold, "Steve, what exactly do you mean about money?"

"Dad, Eric started threatening to tell Chris that I was gay, and at first it was just little stuff he wanted, but it soon became a lot, including a lot of money, like roughly two thousand he got out of me." Mr. and Mrs. Williams gasped, and Mr. Williams began to turn interesting shades of red while Steve continued, "Mom, Dad, that's still nothing. When Eric found out Chris is gay, he got him admitting it, on tape."

Steve nodded to me and I placed the little recorder on the table.

Mr. Williams yelled, "So that's where that went. That's the department's, and I had to buy one to replace it when it disappeared."

Steve continued, "Eric used that to blackmail Chris by threatening to out him to me and the two of you. Chris thought I would freak, and then you would throw him out of his apartment as well. Eric has been blackmailing Chris a lot more than me, and is into him for five and a half grand."

Easing up in his chair a little, Steve grabbed one end of the duct tape and pulled hard, ripping it from Eric's face, which caused Eric to yelp, and then curse at Steve, "Fucking Liar! He only gave me forty-nine hundr-"

Eric went pale, as he realized that he had just proven his own guilt. Open mouth, insert foot. Gotta love it.

Mr. Williams, on the other hand, turned an even deeper shade of red, and I could almost see the steam coming out of his ears. He got up, and I cringed as he kicked the table leg and started yelling, pounding his fist on the table. "Goddamn it, that's a fucking felony! No, two, at least. Hell, it might even be a hate crime under these circumstances. Shit, Eric, do you have any idea what you have done?"

Eric went on the defensive, "Dad, listen, when I got home they both went after me. They said they were gonna hang me, make it look like a suicide. They both did it. They beat me up too."

Mr. Williams glared at Eric, and then yelled, "You can just shut up until I am ready to talk to you. If you so much as say one word, I'll have Steve go get more duct tape." Turning to Steve, he asked, "Gonna give him a necktie party, huh?"

Steve looked a little taken aback, and blurted out, "Yeah, we did make him think we were gonna hang him. We were trying to scare him so he would tell us where the money is. And, yeah, after the hell he put us through, I decided to get a little of our own back and scare the crap out of him. We did hog-tie him so he wouldn't try and run, but we didn't hit him."

Mr. Williams nodded, "I noticed he didn't have a mark on him, which I'm sure wouldn't have been the case if you two guys had laid into him like he said. I'm amazed you didn't, 'cause I sure wouldn't have been able to bitch about it under the circumstances. Hell, right now I don't know if I'd have minded much even if you had hung him for real. So, did it work? Did you get the money back?" Mr. Williams asked.

"No, but we found out where most of it is. Eric's got an account at Wells Fargo. I checked the balance." Steve replied.

"Now I know you made the right choice about going into law. You will be an awesome lawyer one day. OK, we can probably get it tomorrow or Monday. But what do you mean, most of it? Where is the rest?" Mr. Williams asked, his temper showing in his voice.

"Dad, it's about two thousand short. He said he spent it." Steve replied, while turning to glare at Eric.

Mr. and Mrs. Williams shared a look, and then Mr. Williams motioned for me to join him outside, alone. We walked through the kitchen and as I went out the back door I felt the warm, dry breeze on my bare skin, which made me realize that I'd been sweating. Mr. Williams closed the door behind us, and then turned to face me, looking pained.

Awkwardly, he began, "Chris, I can't begin to tell you how sorry I am about all this. I'm a cop and it's my job to protect people from this kind of shit, not have it happen right under my nose," he exclaimed, anger rising in his voice, as he turned partially away from me, more uncomfortable than I had ever seen him.

"That's ok, Mr. Williams. I'm just glad it's over. There is one thing, though; do you think I can get some of the money tomorrow?" I asked.

"If Eric co-operates, sure. Worst case, Monday. Why, do you need some for the weekend?"

"Sort of, sir. Tomorrow is the first of the month, rent day, and I'm going to be about half short, until next week anyway."

Mr. Williams turned to me, shaking his head, "Chris, don't you even think about rent right now. Hell, even before all this, my wife and I liked you a lot, and we wouldn't care if you were short if you had a good reason. We both know about your family, and we were delighted to welcome you into ours. But, the fact is, I am your landlord. Remember that lease I had you sign? Remember me explaining it to you, especially the parts where it listed both the tenant's and the landlord's responsibilities? Well, one thing that was not in there was the tenant being blackmailed by the landlord's son! Eric is a minor, so that makes him my responsibility, both ethically and legally. So, at the very least, I'm going to be refunding your rent for the last couple of months."

I began to object, but Mr. Williams swiftly cut me off, "And no buts. It's the least I can do, even if you weren't my son's boyfriend now."

I was amazed, but I reluctantly accepted.

Mr. Williams kicked the dirt, staring intently at his own foot for a few seconds before asking;"Chris, don't answer if you don't want to, but why did you let Eric do this? He took you for damn near every cent you have, why?"

That was a question I'd asked myself a few times, so I wasn't surprised that Mr. Williams was asking it now. I took a deep breath and began;"You know about my family, and what it was like for me growing up. I never really had close friends or a real family. Then I moved in here, and met you and your wife, and Steve. Steve was the first really close friend I've ever had, and I didn't want to lose him. But, I didn't want to lose you or your family either, because I realized that, for the first time in my life, I felt like I was part of a real family. I was hoping that I could just stall for time and find a way to come out to Steve, but I kept putting it off until I ran out of money and had no choice. I now know it was all part of the blackmail, but all the things Steve was doing for Eric made me think that Steve adored him. I'm an only child, and I always thought that brothers were close, and would do anything for one another. So, I figured Steve would believe anything Eric said. I just couldn't find a way around all that, so I coughed up the money."

Mr. Williams snorted, and shook his head as he told me, "Chris, I guess I can see how an only child might think that. But, take it from me, brothers can be close, or they can be enemies, or anything in between. I have one brother that I am close to, and another I haven't spoken to in a decade, and don't aim to start. Well, I guess I've got to go deal with my son, the Felon."

We began to head back inside when he put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Chris, it took me a while to really deal with Steve being gay after he told us. Even he doesn't know this, but it took me weeks to be happy for him instead of wishing that he would change, or that it was some kind of phase. I know all too well that life isn't always kind to gay people, and frankly I didn't want that for him. It took some time, but my wife talked some sense into me, explained it wasn't a choice; it was just part of who he is. Took me a while, but I could finally be happy for him. What I'm trying to say is that I'm really happy for the two of you and I hope everything goes well. You two have my full support."

I didn't know what to say, but Mr. Williams made it easy for me by opening the door and motioning for me to head back into the house. All I could do was smile with gratitude, and follow him back to the living room, where we found Steve and his mother deep in conversation.

Steve turned to his father, "Dad, when you get the money back, give it all to Chris. The amount Eric spent is about what he got from me, and it's not right that Chris should be hurt any more than he has by all this."

I was deeply touched by Steve's intentions. However, there was no way I could let him take the loss on his own, so I immediately launched into my first argument with Steve, "Bull! He got us both. There is no reason why you should lose more than me! Hell, you should lose less, 'cause he combined the money, so a bigger part of what he spent was mine."

Steve started to argue back, but his father interrupted, "OK, enough, both of you! There isn't going to be any argument about which of you takes the biggest loss, because there won't be any loss. I'm responsible for Eric, so I'm covering it. I'll just be damn sure he pays me back eventually, even if I have to take it out of his hide, but that's my problem. Chris, I'll give you two months rent back, plus whatever of yours Eric took, just as soon as I can. Steve, you get all your money back, too. That brings up the question, though; what am I going to do about Eric? You know, Chris, you sure as hell could press charges if you want, and I won't object if you do. I'm putting him back in counseling no matter what, not to mention grounding him indefinitely."

By this point, I was so relieved that I could barely speak, but I managed to say, "OK, thank you, sir. I don't want to see him off the hook, but I'm all for whatever you think best. Frankly, I kind of hate him at the moment, but he's Steve's brother, so I'd like to see him get help. I won't press charges."

Mr. and Mrs. Williams shared a look, and then thanked me. Then, Mrs. Williams said, "Well, that's settled. But my husband and I still have to deal with Eric. I'm sure you two can find something interesting to do in Chris's apartment?" Mrs. Williams said, while giving Steve a knowing smirk and a wink.

Steve blushed, "Mom! OK, well, yeah... I was gonna spend the night there anyway. See you guys tomorrow."

It was my turn to blush, as Steve and I quickly headed out the back door. Once in the backyard, Steve turned to face me and then stretched, his muscles rippling under his tan skin and across his bare chest. It took me a few seconds to remember that I didn't have to hide my glances anymore, so I relaxed and enjoyed the spectacular view. As he finished stretching, Steve noticed that I was looking, and smiled. I grinned back, as we both, without a word, turned to head for my apartment, as we had done countless times before. The only difference was that this time, Steve's hand found its way into mine as we climbed the front steps.

We entered in silence, and then faced each other, a little apprehensively, as soon as Steve had closed the door. Any nervousness was short-lived, though, as we looked into each other's eyes and smiled. Steve stepped in closer, the oddest little smile on his face as he put his arms around me, my own arms snaking down his bare back, as he leaned forward to tell me softly, "Well, I think Mom was right. I've got all kinds of ideas about what we can, um, find to do, and we do have all night..."


 

©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'm really enjoying reading this again and I obviously didn't respond much first time as there seem to be no "likes" hit nor any reviews. Making up this time for it. Great story.

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Great chapter that highlight Steve's parents as loving and accepting of Steve and Chris.  Eric reminds me of a very old film, "The Evil Seed". He seems to have no remorse for his actions, and doesn't want to take responsibility for them.  I am looking forward to reading more of this story.  It has great characters, good and evil, as well as a well paced plot.:2thumbs:

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Well I think there isn't enough that  can happen to Eric!

Edited by Albert1434
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