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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 - 6. Endgame

I turned, seeing in the distance what Steve had spotted: the lights of my Jeep. I could also hear the faint and distant sound of its engine, echoing down from the hills through the still desert air.

As I stood to watch, my Jeep resumed its climb up the winding trail. As it neared the skyline, I knew that we would soon lose sight of it. I felt Steve stand beside me and felt his arm return to its place across my shoulders, as he must have reached the same conclusion.

"Shit" I growled, "for the second time tonight I was about to get you naked, and then your brother does something to ruin it," I said, hugging Steve to make sure that he knew I didn't blame him.

"Yeah, he does have a knack for timing, doesn't he? I wonder what spooked him just now. Maybe he just stopped to eat the food he bought at the Circle K, and then realized that we could be sneaking up on him on foot." Steve said, a note of exasperation in his voice.

My Jeep crested the distant skyline, disappearing from sight. Steve pulled out the cell phone, letting his Father know what had happened, before turning on the flashlight so that we could make our way back to his car.

We crossed the patch of bare bedrock, seeking the place where we had climbed the bank of the gulch. We searched for a few minutes but we couldn't find it. Finally, Steve spotted a gap in the brush and we both looked down at the chute of loose dirt and smooth rocks. Steve gave me a questioning look, and I nodded.

It was only a drop of about a dozen feet, but from the top, in the dark, it looked daunting. Steve held the flashlight and we began to climb down. The dirt was a lot looser then we had thought, and I began to slip. I tried to grab a branch but all I managed to do was begin to slide even faster. I saw the flashlight bounce by, unaccompanied by Steve, as we both half skidded and half fell down the rocky chute.

That drop may have only been a dozen feet, but in the dark, it seemed like forever. At last, my feet hit the rocky floor of the gulch and I stumbled forward a few paces, very glad to be back on solid ground.

I saw the flashlight lying on the rocks just as Steve picked it up. I let out a sigh of relief: it looked like we were both ok.

Steve shone the flashlight at the slope we had just descended, illuminating the paddles of a prickly-pear cactus that we must have missed by mere inches. "I guess the grass hid that when we looked from the top. Good thing we didn't land in it." Steve said, while brushing the dust off himself.

Steve led the way as we cautiously crossed the rocky gulch, wary of where we put our bare feet. We cut downstream a little, finally reaching the soft dirt when we neared Steve's car.

Crossing the last few feet, I leaned against the passenger side door while Steve headed for the driver's side. I ran my hand along the smooth, cool metal skin of the Charger, feeling the patina of dust from the road. I heard Steve get in and then unlock my door, and I quickly clambered inside. The supple leather felt wonderful in comparison to the hard rock that we had been sitting on. Relaxing into the passenger seat, I reveled in the sensation of the cool leather against my bare skin.

Steve started his car, then cautiously turned hard left to swing the car around, taking advantage of a rough area of dirt to do so while telling me, "Dad said we might as well head home, then head for Piedmont before the banks open. I think he's right, nothing more we can do here."

I put my hand on Steve's shoulder, squeezing to let him know that I agreed. Steve finished turning us around, and then slowly headed back the way we had come, driving along the rough dirt road towards the main highway

We traveled about a mile over the rocks, ruts, and washouts that made for a very rough and difficult drive, especially at night. When we reached a brief but relatively smooth section of the road, and we both noticed immediately that there was a lot more road noise than there should have been. Steve tested the steering by swerving slightly, and then told me, "It's pulling to the left." We both realized what it was at the same time; a flat tire.

Steve stopped the car and shut off the engine. I grabbed the flashlight as we both got out to look. The problem wasn't hard to spot: the tire was shredded, not just flat. Steve swore, and then walked to the back of his car. Steve knocked the dirt from the lock before inserting his key and opening the trunk

I watched as Steve pulled back the carpeting, to reveal the spare, jack, and tire-iron. After removing the wing nut that held it in place, Steve heaved the tire out, while I stood there admiring the defined muscles and tendons of his bare back. I grabbed the jack and tire iron, placing them next to the flat tire.

It was the left front tire that was flat, so Steve maneuvered the jack into place on a large patch of bedrock, and then put the tire-iron on the first lug nut to loosen it. As he did so, Steve pointed at the valve stem, "Chris, look. That's why it's flat - it's got a pen cap jammed in the valve stem. That gave us a slow leak, and when it got low enough a rock or bump broke the seal with the rim. Eric must have done it before he stole your Jeep. I swear, if I ever get my hands on that fucking little piece of shit, I am gonna kill him."

I looked, and saw quite a lot of damage to the rim as well as the tire. I ran my hand over it, feeling the many cuts and gouges in the metal. I told Steve "That rim might be shot too. We couldn't hear or feel that it was flat because of the rough dirt road. It could have been flat when we stopped. Maybe this is why he stopped, so the tire would have time to go flat..." I suddenly felt that I was missing something, and knelt down by the left rear tire, feeling for the stem. "Hey Steve, maybe the reason he stopped is he wanted us to be stuck with two flat tires. Take a look what I just found in your back tire," I held up the pen cap, shining the flashlight on it.

Steve looked at it, silent for a few seconds, before taking a deep breath and then yelling "THAT FUCKING BASTARD! I'd give anything to get my hands on him right now." Steve got up to look, and used the flashlight to confirm that the tire was low, but ok. We shared a look, but didn't need to say a word as we both headed for the other side of his car to check the other tires. They were fine, but Steve was definitely not in a good mood. Steve returned to the left rear tire, kicked it once, and shrugged, "It's a little low, but I've got an air pump. Good thing you found it."

Steve returned to his shredded left front tire, broke the rest of the lug nuts free, and then started jacking up the car, while I held the flashlight for him. He'd only raised it a few inches when there was a loud bang, and the car dropped. Steve swore, and pulled out the jack, "Shit, the threads must be stripped. I guess all we can do now is phone for help."

Steve got out the cell, and tried to phone his Dad. Soon he was swearing again, telling me that he couldn't get a signal. He even tried standing on the roof of his car, but still nothing. Steve was furious now, "Chris, this is so fucked up. First, all that shit with the blackmail and mind games, now all this. I'm gonna kill that little bastard! But first, we need to get out of here somehow. I guess we can walk back towards where we turned around. We know we got a signal there, so somewhere between here and there we know we can make a call, and it's only about a mile back to that point."

I thought it over, and agreed, "I guess that's better than trying for the highway, especially with no shoes. I don't know how far it would be to get a signal that way. I think you made one call back near the highway, but that was miles down the road."

Steve shrugged, and we started walking back towards the turn-around point. The night desert air felt great against our bare skin, and under different circumstances, it would have been fun. Steve had the cell out, looking at it constantly for any sign of signal. We had gone just a dozen yards when a sudden inspiration caused me to stop in my tracks. Steve stopped and looked at me, so I said, "Steve, even if we get signal, someone is going to have to drive out here with a jack and that will take a while. We might be better off doing it ourselves, and I think I know how. All we need to do is get that wheel off the ground right? Well, we are on a very rough dirt track. Plenty of rocks and gullies around. All we need to do is find a spot where your car is balanced on the right front and left rear wheels. Then, we stack some rocks in the trunk to weight it down, and the left front should stay off the ground."

Steve whistled, and then said, "Damn, I've got a smart boyfriend. Let's try it."

We had to drive on the rim for a few yards, but soon came to a spot in a creek bed where we could pull the right wheel up on a big rock. Chargers are rear-wheel-drive, so we were able to get it into position without too much trouble. I got out and stood in front to guide Steve, and it only took a few minutes of jockeying the car into position before we had the wheel off the ground, and we didn't even have to stack rocks in the trunk. I sat in the car to apply the brakes, and Steve made short work of changing the tire.

Steve had me back the car off the rocks, and then put it in park with the engine running. Steve heaved the flat tire, jack, and tire-iron into the still-open trunk and grabbed his air pump. I got out, holding the flashlight for him, as he hooked the pump up to the valve stem, and then plugged the cord into the car's lighter. Fortunately, the pump worked and all we had to do was wait while it put some pressure back into the tire.

The light from the car's parking lights was enough for the job at hand, so I shut off the flashlight to save the battery. I walked over to Steve, and noticed that he was staring intently at the pressure gauge, far more intently than needed. I knew that something was eating at him. I asked, but he said he'd tell me when we were back in the car.

Deciding to make myself useful, I grabbed a tire gauge from the glovebox and checked the remaining tires. They were all close to 30psi, so we were good to go. Steve disconnected the pump, tossed it into the trunk, and then climbed into the driver's seat, slamming the door hard behind him. I hopped in as Steve put the Charger in gear. After a few minutes of bouncing down the road at three miles an hour, I asked Steve "What was eating you back there?"

Steve drove on in silence for a while, and then sighed, "Just something I remember Dad telling Eric and I a couple of years ago. Dad had been called to the scene of a car wreck, and it had happened because the car had two flat tires and had rolled over when taking a corner. Dad said that having two flats on the same side is real rare, but if it happens, like from driving over a glass bottle, it can be real dangerous. So, Eric tried to give us two flats on the same side." Steve sighed again, as he glanced over at me with a pained and angry expression on his face.

"I think I see what you are getting at, Steve. You are wondering if Eric might have known he was putting you at risk?" I asked.

"No. I think he knew he was and didn't care, and I think what is eating at me is it doesn't surprise me at all." Steve answered, the anger now clear in his voice.

There wasn't much I could say to that. It might be true, or it might not, but I could sure understand why Steve was angry. All I could do was put my hand on Steve's shoulder, and try to let him know that I was there for him.

That got me wondering about Eric, so I asked, "What is wrong with him? He has a great family, yet this isn't the first time he's been in trouble."

Steve considered that for a while, then finally shrugged;"I wish I knew. He's been in counseling, but it never seems to work. Mom has tried all kinds of psychiatrists, but Eric usually just bullshits them. I was talking to my Uncle last year about it, and he said that these days, everyone likes to try and figure out what makes a person bad. Every movie with a villain includes some explanation why the villain is evil. But, we don't try to figure out the reason why a person is kind, or good, so why do we always try when they are evil? He thinks it is something wrong with society, always trying to find some cause, some blame, other than the person themselves. But sometimes, people are just evil. That's all there is to it, and Eric is one of 'em. He's greedy, selfish, and I don't think he'd know what morals are if one bit him in the ass. Mom, Dad and I have just been hoping that he'd grow out of it, but no sign of that so far."

That made sense to me. We really don't try to analyze a person's background to explain the good things, so why assume there always has to be an explanation for the bad?

We drove on in silence for a while, taking it slow on the rough dirt road, which was even harder to drive on in the dark. I flipped open the cell phone, saw that we had a signal again, and handed it to Steve so that he could call his father.

They talked for a while, Steve getting angry at times, usually right after mentioning Eric's name.

Finally, Steve hung up and told me, "It's going to take at least a half hour to get to the highway. It's already six thirty, and that bank opens at eight. We don't have time to get home and back again, so Dad said to head right for that town and see if we can search for Eric. The two squad cars are cruising around looking for him, so if we cover the Bank they can keep doing it. Oh, guess what? Dad is taking Mom's car to the bank, because Eric got him too. He just found that his car has two flats, both on the same side. Mom was parked in the garage so I guess Eric couldn't get to her car. I didn't even have to mention it, but Dad remembered that accident due to the two flats on one side, and telling us about it. I've never heard him get this mad about anything, he's really pissed."

Steve and I were silent for a few minutes, until Steve spoke, "Dad said for you not to worry. He'll cover whatever Eric takes, including your insurance deductible on your Jeep if there is any damage."

I couldn't help but smile. "That's darn nice of him, but as long as I get some of the money back, I'll be ok. I don't want your father to get hurt too bad by all this. After all, as far as I'm concerned that's my future Father-in-Law."

Steve looked at me and grinned, "I really like the sound of that."

We finally reached the junction with the main highway, and I was relieved to see pavement again. Steve turned onto the highway and accelerated towards Piedmont, the next town, which was Eric's probable destination.

It was great to be back on a paved road again, and I was feeling good in spite of all that was happening. I glanced over at Steve, admiring his bare chest, which suddenly reminded me, again, that neither of us had shirts or shoes on. I asked Steve "Hey, uh, Steve, have you got any clothes or shoes in your car?"

Steve gave me a puzzled look, and then asked, "Uh, I don't think so. Why?"

"Dude, we tore out of my place with nothing but shorts on. You sure you don't have any old shirts in here?" I asked.

Steve shook his head, "No, I started my laundry before you came over yesterday. I always check my car when I do that. What's the problem?"

"We have to go into that bank, right?" I asked.

Steve nodded. "Yeah, but so what? I've been into the one at home a few times with no shirt. Besides, this is an emergency and police business, so I'll just call Dad and have him yell at them if they give us any crap about it. He's in the mood to do some yelling, so he'd probably enjoy it." Steve chuckles, and then asks, "Dude, do you have your wallet or any cash with you?"

I patted my pockets to be sure, and then answered, "Nope. It's in the shorts I was wearing. I just grabbed these from my dresser and threw them on when your Dad arrived. "

Steve slammed his fist on the steering wheel, "Damn. I've only got a twenty in mine, thanks to my blackmailing bastard of a brother."

I suggested hopefully, "Maybe we could get a shirt with some of that, so one of us can go into the bank?" Steve gave me a dirty look, then a chuckle, "No way, Chris. I'm already hungry and I know you are too. We need food more than shirts! And I already told you, the bank will be no problem. Heck, I even know a diner in Piedmont where we can eat. I've been shirtless in there before, so we can eat there like this, no problem."

My stomach answered for me with a very loud growl. Food sure sounded good, and we would have plenty of time to eat before needing to be at the bank.

We pulled into the diner at the edge of town, parking in back out of sight. The diner was a typical 1960's style, and as we entered, I looked around at the rows of booths, the ancient but clean linoleum tabletops, and the long row of artificial ferns that divided the rows of booths. Why, I wondered, did all the restaurants in the area use artificial ferns instead of some other artificial plant? The booths were typical half-round benches, and the vinyl looked newer than anything else in the diner, as it was probably only a decade old.

As Steve and I walked into the diner we did get a few glances from the other customers, but the very familiar looking waitress did a double take, grinning at us both. Steve and I shared a glance, before saying at the same time, "Hi, Veronica."

Veronica laughed, "Hey, you two. What are you doing out so early? And Chris, I see Stevie here is teaching you his exhibitionist ways. About time he did something right." Veronica gave Steve a quick but pointed glare, and then turned to lead us to a booth. Once there, before we had even sat down, we decided to both have the pancakes, sausage, and eggs special.

Veronica wrote the orders down on her order pad as she told us "OK, guys, I'll take my break and join you as soon as these are ready."

I slid into the booth, and Steve slid in across from me. I felt a little uncomfortable sitting in a restaurant without a shirt, but Steve was totally at ease. He was also grinning impishly at me. I figured that I knew why, but I asked anyway "OK, Steve, why didn't you tell me Veronica worked here?"

Steve shrugged, "I wasn't sure what her hours were so I couldn't count on her being here. Besides, she's told you about her job nearly every time we have been over at her house."

I wished that Steve were sitting close enough for me to elbow him in the ribs. He wasn't, so I kicked his foot instead. "You goof. Yeah, she told me about her job, but not that it was in Piedmont. I would have felt a lot more comfortable coming in without a shirt if I'd known Veronica was here."

Steve grinned at me, chuckling, "Yeah, I know, and you are so cute when you are being shy. Couldn't expect me to miss that, now could ya?"

I tried to kick him again, but he had moved his feet. That glare Veronica had given him was on my mind, so I asked him about it, "Steve, what's up with that glare she gave you when we got here?"

Steve chuckled "Veronica and Chad have been on my case for weeks to come out to you. Chad is on my swim team, so he gets on my case about it at school, too, and I think Veronica puts him up to it. That's what she meant, 'cause she always glares at me like that when she says it." Then Steve's face lit up in a grin as he asked me, "Can we tell her?"

I nodded, wondering how Steve would break the news. I didn't have long to wonder, because Veronica returned to the table carrying three plates, then set them in front of us. The rich smell of the pancakes and sausage was just too much to resist, so I dug into both before Veronica had finished sitting down. We were both starved, and I can't remember a breakfast that tasted better.

Veronica sat down next to Steve, and laughed as she watched us both start to devour our food. "What is it with you guys? You act like you haven't eaten for a week. And Steve, I'm real surprised that you ordered the breakfast plate. I was sure you would have wanted chicken, but maybe you don't like eating your own kind."

I nearly choked on my pancakes as I began to laugh. Steve glanced up and grinned at Veronica, "Chris knows what you meant by that. I told him."

Veronica's eyes bugged out, and she looked at us both, and then fixed her gaze on me. I just nodded and smiled. Veronica started to shake her head, and turned to Steve "So, you finally got up the nerve to tell him? I guess I owe Chad five bucks, because I bet him you wouldn't do it this year."

Steve glanced over at me, looking bashful. Damn, he looked cute. I shrugged, and told Veronica. "He was real confident about it too. But I'd just come out to him and I guess he wasn't so nervous about it after that."

Veronica raised an eyebrow at me, as I felt Steve's hand slip into mine under the table. Slowly, we put our intertwined hands on the tabletop, both grinning bashfully, looking at our food because we were unable to look Veronica in the eyes.

Veronica just stared at our joined hands, and then began to laugh and shake her head. "Oh Jeeze. So let me get this straight, uh, you know what I mean, but you two finally got together. I knew it. I could see it in the way you looked at each other, and I was about ready to start hitting y'all over the head with bricks to get you to open up! So, Chris was the one to get up the nerve to say something first? Why am I not surprised? Steve, if you had listened to me you two could have figured this out a long time ago."

Steve shook his head, "Yeah, I know. Uh, there is bit more to it though..." Steve proceeded to tell Veronica about Eric and all that had transpired, including the car chase, and that we were heading for the bank when it opened.

Veronica just shook her head through the whole thing. When Steve finished and she finally spoke, she echoed Steve's words on one particular issue, "Boys, it ain't outing you as gay that you need to worry about. What he's got on you is much more entertaining. He's gonna out you both as stupid fucking morons! I swear I'd go to the kitchen right now and get a frying pan to hit y'all over the head with, but that would just mess up a perfectly good frying pan. You let Eric blackmail you both, so he wouldn't out you to each other? Oh, that is just too perfect. Now, Steve, can you think of something that you shoulda done that would have avoided this whole mess?"

Grinning, and then blushing, Steve nodded, "Yeah, I should have listened to you. And Chad, and Rob, and Joe, and Devin, and my folks... I guess I won't be living this one down any time soon, huh?"

Veronica laughed. "Count on it, Blondie. But, yeah, I can see how that little misbegotten creep you call a brother screwed things up. I hope you both get your money and the Jeep back. I've got to go to the bank when I get off, so I'll keep an eye out and if I see anything, I'll call 911. Oh, and Steveo, you can count on a lot more blond jokes, too," Veronica said with a wink.

Steve just nodded, smiling, our hands off the table but still together, and it felt so good. Another waitress brought us the check and her gaze lingered on both of us. Then, with a wink and a smile, she was off on her way.

Veronica laughed. "She enjoyed the scenery. Well, I'll tell Chad about you two, but as for anyone else, that is up to you. I'd tell Rob and Joe right away though if I were you, because they think Chris here is a homophobe and they hate homophobes. Good luck on catching the runt, and congratulations on finally getting together. Oh, and don't forget about the pool party Chad and I are having tonight."

With everything that had happened, I had clean forgotten about the party, and I guessed that Steve had too. Steve asked, "Anything you want us to bring?"

Veronica shook her head, "Nope, Chad scored a Keg. Oh, and Steve, it's a pool party, so I figure, due to your recent displays of deductive ability, I should explain it to you and tell you that pools have water in them, and water is wet, so bring swimsuits. OK, guys, I've gotta get back to work. Have fun catching the brat."

Steve grinned and stuck out his tongue, while I fought to hold in a laugh.

Veronica went back to work, leaving Steve to pay the bill. When he approached the register, the other waitress waved him away, telling us that Veronica said it was on her.

We strolled out of the diner and into the morning sun. The sun and the warm desert air felt great, and as we passed the windows on our way to Steve's car, I glanced back inside, and wondered why I hadn't noticed the two men in business suits sitting in the booth behind ours.

When we reached his car, Steve walked around it, and then looked underneath, checking for any damage from the drive on the dirt road. We then jumped in, and as we pulled out of the parking lot, Steve told me "Just a few scratches on the paint job, and a few dings underneath. I can buff out the scratches, so the only real damage is that rim that got chewed up. I just hope we can catch Eric in time, then everything should be ok."

We arrived at the bank a few minutes before it opened, and Steve parked the car behind the bar nearby, so that Eric would not see it. As we walked into the bank, a few people gave us funny looks when they noticed we were shirtless and barefoot, but Steve seemed to enjoy the attention, just like always. Steve spoke to the manager and had the manager confirm that the account was frozen. With that taken care of, we decided to sit down on the couch just inside the entrance in case Eric showed up. It was a good place to wait, because he would not be able to see us until he was past us.

Steve and I had just sat down when the waitress from the diner walked in. She grinned at us, saying, "You guys go everywhere without shirts!" I started telling her that we'd had an emergency, but she interrupted "Don't worry about it. You two look fantastic, and I'm sure you both could make some good money modeling."

Steve and I grinned, and blushed a little, but before we could say a word, Eric came into view, on his way into the bank. He saw us and turned to run, but Steve beat him to the door and grabbed him by the arm. Steve spun around and hollered at the bank manager "Call the police and get them over here. This is the guy we told you about." Eric glared at us, but stopped struggling. The waitress gave us a puzzled look, so Steve explained, "This is the emergency we mentioned." Steve nodded in my direction and continued, "He stole my friend's car, and we thought he might show up here. The police will be here soon."

The Waitress looked at Eric, and then shook her head before saying, "Well, I hope you get it back. But, you boys remember what I said: you two are real hotties, and should cash in on your looks."

The waitress spotted an available teller and headed off, leaving us alone with Eric. Steve glanced out the window and then turned to growl at Eric, "Where did you park Chris' Jeep? I don't see it in the parking lot." Eric shrugged, and remained silent, glaring at both of us.

The police cruiser pulled up next to the door, and two officers got out, cautiously entering the bank. They had apparently been fully informed of the situation, probably by Steve's father, and one began to read Eric his Miranda rights while the other started to snap on the cuffs. Steve and I stepped back to let then do their job.

They weren't careful enough, though, because Eric suddenly slammed his foot down on one officer's foot, then used the distraction to twist free of the other officer's grasp before kneeing him sharply in the balls and darting out the door at full speed. I kicked myself mentally for not getting my keys when I had the chance, and took off after him, with Steve right behind me. Slamming open the glass door, I saw Eric just yards ahead of me, running at full speed. I just hoped that I was fast enough to catch him.

I took off, my legs pumping hard. I had been on the track team for a while at my old school, and I was a slightly faster runner than Steve was. Glancing ahead, I could see that I wasn't closing the distance with Eric, but he wasn't pulling away either. I knew that I could catch Eric, because I knew that I had endurance on my side. Eric would tire long before I did. Except for one problem: I was barefoot, and the gravel of the asphalt was already starting to cut into my feet, even though I was still in the bank's parking lot. I swore under my breath, because I realized that Eric was going to get away, again.

Eric darted between a car and a lifted pickup truck parked at the edge of the parking lot, glancing back over his shoulder at me to give me a sly grin. He knew he had won again. He didn't turn his head in time to see the arm quickly swing out from the pickup's driver side window, catching him in a near perfect clothesline block, right in the neck, that sent him sprawling feet first between the vehicles where he landed with a very satisfying thud.

I caught up to Eric seconds later, and threw him into a headlock. He was winded from the blow and the fall, so he didn't even try to resist. Steve was right behind me and grabbed Eric's arm, as we looked up to see who it was who had clotheslined Eric. Veronica leaned out the window of her truck, laughing, "Damn, do I have to do everything for you boys?"

One of the police officers hobbled out of the bank in our direction, pistol drawn. Once he saw that Eric was pinned, he put the gun away, and then roughly snapped on the cuffs before hauling Eric to his feet.

I asked, "Is the other officer ok?"

He grunted "Yeah, winded from that kick in the balls, and real mad. He'll be along shortly, and he ain't gonna be too happy with this piece of shit..."

The officer turned, hauling Eric towards the waiting cruiser, as his partner came out of the bank, still partially doubled over, his face contorted in pain.

Veronica got out of her truck, a bank deposit bag clutched to her side, looking a little perplexed. She slowly shook her head, mumbling, "Assaulting cops now, is he? That's the one member of your family that I've never liked, Steve." Veronica gave us both a smile as we thanked her, and headed into the bank.

The officer who had cuffed Eric slammed him roughly onto the hood of the squad car before patting him down. They, too, asked where my Jeep was, but Eric still wouldn't say a word. A second squad car arrived, and the lone officer had welcome news; he and his partner had just spotted my Jeep in the alley behind the bank on his way in, and his partner was with it, less than thirty feet from where I was standing. I walked over, and saw that other than a few scratches and dings, it looked ok. The officers were still checking the Jeep for evidence, so I returned to where Steve was answering some questions and filled him in. The officer who had patted Eric down had found my car keys in Eric's pocket, and after logging them as being found in Eric's possession he tossed them to me. I caught them in mid air, feeling the familiar metal once again in my hand, and was delighted to have them back.

Eric was roughly stuffed into the back of the police cruiser, still silent and Steve and I were told that we could give our statements later. We both enjoyed the sight as the police cruiser pulled out of the parking lot, with Eric glaring at us from the back seat.

Steve turned to me, smiling, "Eric won't be back for a long time. Grand theft Auto, assaulting two police officers, and resisting arrest. Yeah, I'd say he's up shit creek."

We walked over to my Jeep, just as the officer there finished bagging some evidence. He told me he was done, and I could take my Jeep home. Steve said he would follow me, and did so, but the drive was uneventful. We were both exhausted by the time we arrived, due to everything that had happened and the lack of sleep. Steve went into the main house to fill Mr. Williams in on the details, while I went to my apartment and washed the small cuts in my feet.

By the time I was done, Steve came in the door, and he looked as exhausted as I felt. He smiled at me, and no words needed to be said. We walked over to the bed and climbed in, wrapping our arms around each other, and were asleep within seconds.

©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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An amazing chapter, -I don't know how you do it, but

you manage to squeeze in so much action, suspense, irony,

humor, and even a couple of mystery men in black suits

(that I know we'll see more of later) that it boggles my


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On 09/04/2012 04:42 PM, Stephen said:
An amazing chapter, -I don't know how you do it, but

you manage to squeeze in so much action, suspense, irony,

humor, and even a couple of mystery men in black suits

(that I know we'll see more of later) that it boggles my




It was a fun story to write.


And yep, those two men do lead to something... a lot of somethings. :)

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In addition to the crimes mentioned one can add Grand Theft Auto and blackmail and because of the orientation of our boys, all the crimes reach the level of 'hate crimes'. The only thing Eric has going for him is his youth - at the age of fifteen he will be tried as a juvenile and may have the total of his sentences reduced for that reason, though it is possible that, because of the number of different offenses, he could be tried as an adult. In either case, he will very likely find out in prison what being gay really means!

Edited by Will Hawkins
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But sometimes, people are just evil. That's all there is to it, and Eric is one of 'em. He's greedy, selfish, and I don't think he'd know what morals are if one bit him in the ass.

This describes Eric in much the same way as the character in that old movie I mentioned in comments in the last chapter.  It basically describes a psychopath personality. How much more stupid can he get?  He goes to the next closest town to use the bank knowing that they will probably have been alerted and looking for him there.  

Eric is not going to have his freedom again for a long time.  Juvie or prison, he will not be able to protect his skinny ass from the big boys.😉

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