I sat down at my desk and flipped on my computer, waiting for it to boot up so I could check my e-mail. I was enjoying some solitude after a long day of dealing with people. Not that it had been unpleasant. I’d had a good visit with my mother, and a great dinner, where Matt and Wade all but got engaged. Still, sometimes it was nice to just enjoy some quiet time, and some peace. The phone rang, blasting my period of tranquility all to hell. It was the house phone, which meant it was someone inside Escorial calling my extension.
“Hello,” I said, wondering what new problem would fall into my lap.
“Mr. William, we just passed a Mr. Kyle Stride through the gates. He said he lost his phone here last night and needed to find it,” Hernando said. He was one of the garage/stable guys. He liked to call me Mr. William.
“That’s fine. Thanks,” I said. I hung up the phone and sighed. It kind of bugged me that Kyle had totally blown me off last night, but I understood. Still, he was fucking hot. Just thinking about our kiss made me horny as hell. I trekked up to the front entrance to open the door for him. He was waiting on the porch, grinning like an idiot. Damn he was cute. I looked at him and couldn’t stop thinking about the magical connection between our mouths. “Hey.”
“Hey,” he said. I opened the door to invite him inside. “I hope it’s OK that I just stopped by. I think I left my phone here.”
“You’re welcome to stop by anytime,” I said, blatantly flirting. It was cool to see him smile. Evidently he liked that. “I don’t think they found a phone, but we can look.”
“Thanks,” he said.
“Where do you think you left it?”
“Either by the pool, or in the bedroom,” he said. We were walking down the hallway toward the pool when I heard a ringtone. It wasn’t my phone, so it had to be his. I turned to face him and raised an eyebrow.
“The phone you lost is ringing,” I joked. He blushed furiously, even as he muted the ringer.
“Fuck,” he said, frustrated at being busted.
“Dude, you are so busted,” I said, laughing to tell him it was OK. “Come on.” I led him back to my room. I sat down on the couch, and he sat next to me.
“Alright, I lied. I didn’t lose my phone.”
“Duh,” I said, and then laughed harder. After I stopped, I got more serious. “You pretended to lose your phone so you’d have an excuse to come up here?”
“Yeah,” he said, and looked down shyly.
“Dude, you don’t need an excuse. You can come see me just to come see me.”
“That’s good to know,” he said. “Since I have my phone, give me your digits and I’ll store them.”
“You’re asking me for my phone number?” I asked, teasing him. He gave me a goofy look, so I gave it to him. “So what are you doing here?”
He didn’t answer me; he just moved forward and kissed me. It kind of freaked me out, since I thought he was with Erik, but his lips were too perfect for me to resist. He pushed me onto my back and then he was on top of me, his massive body pinning me down as he ground his dick against mine. I moaned into his mouth and wrapped my legs around him, pulling him in, telling him with my body that I wanted him.
I broke off our kiss, even though he didn’t want to. “Dude, get up.”
“What’s wrong?” he asked, all crushed.
“I want to take your clothes off,” I said. He grinned and we took off our shirts and kicked off our shoes. God, he had an amazing body. He was really big and sculpted. I moved forward and ran my hands across his bulging pecs, tweaking his nipples as I did. “Do you work out all the time?”
“Not all the time,” he joked. I chuckled, and then dropped to my knees in front of him. He undid his pants and pulled them down, while I slid his boxers down after that, letting my hands play with his rock hard ass as I did. He had a really cute dick. It was curved upward, almost like a sickle.
“Nice,” I said. I moved forward and licked the head, then kissed it, making out with his dick as I slowly moved my mouth down his length. He gasped as I did. I enveloped him with my mouth and stopped, just letting him feel me, and then I moved back slowly, sucking his dick in a really calm but sensuous way.
“Fuck,” he said urgently. “Fuck.” And then he came. He grabbed my head as he did, and I sensed that he wanted to jam his dick down my throat, but he was too polite to do that. Instead, I did it for him. I deep throated him and put his hand on the back of my head. He cried out and made these little thrusts into the back of my mouth, pumping his load straight down my throat.
“Wow,” I said as I stood up.
“That was un-fucking-believable,” he said. He was grinning, but he seemed nervous now. Great. Another guy who freaks out after sex with me.
“I thought so,” I said. He made to pull his pants on, but I stopped him. “Can you stay for a while?”
“You want me to?”
“Yeah, I want you to,” I said. I stripped off my pants and boxers so we were both naked then led him over to my bed.
“Dude, you’re fucking hung,” he said. He reached down and stroked my dick, making me emit a breathless moan. He grinned and made me lie on my back, and then he lay next to me and started stroking my dick. He slid his hand up and down on my shaft, but when he got to the head, he twisted his hand a bit. He had me so keyed up I didn’t last long.
“Ungh,” I grunted, and shot my load. The first glob landed on his face, which was hot, while the rest ended up on my chest. After I was done I grabbed a towel and wiped off his face, then my body. We lay there for a while, just recovering, and not really saying anything. I was just enjoying this contact, this connection with him. He looked up at me and smiled, then we kissed again, that magical kiss, and I knew it wouldn’t take much for him to fire up my body again. I reached down and grabbed his cock, only to find him rock hard again.
“You’re horny tonight,” I said.
“So fucking horny,” he moaned in my ear. I broke away from him and reached for my drawer, grabbing a condom and lube. I tore open the condom and started to slide it over his dick. “You want me to fuck you?”
“Yeah,” I said in my sultry tone. “I want you to fuck me.”
“I’ve never done this before.” He seemed really nervous about it, but not nervous enough to make his dick soft.
“I’ll show you how,” I told him. I put lube on his fingers and showed him how to get me ready, which buttons to hit when he probed me, and how to make sure I was really lubed. “Alright, fuck me.”
He bent me almost double, his massive left arm pushing my legs back. I felt the head of his dick pushing at my hole, trying to get in. He pushed harder, so slowly it was almost annoying, but then he was through, past my ring. He went in and out gradually, concerned about the friction, so I told him to put some more lube on his dick. Then he got into it. He started plowing into me, really fucking me. He was so strong, so dominant, that it was erotic as hell. His curved dick seemed to aim right at my prostate. I was going to change positions around on him, but I was enjoying this so much, I just went with it. “I’m getting close,” he said.
“Fuck yeah,” I said, urging him on, even as I stroked my own dick frantically, trying to get off when he did. In fact, I tried so hard, I came before him. Watching me, feeling my ass squeeze and spasm around his cock as I came, sent him over the edge. He groaned and jammed his dick in my ass, making those same sexy little thrusts as he blasted his load. He collapsed on top of me, cracking me up. I wrapped my legs around him and stroked his soft brown hair as he lay on my chest, catching his breath.
“That was fun,” he said, and smiled up at me.
“I thought so.” We lay there for a bit, and then I led him into my shower and washed off. Looking at his body, I felt like I was looking at a statue. After we were done he put on his pants, clearly getting ready to go.
“Thanks Will. I’ll see you,” he said. I stared at him for a second before I got my act together.
“Sounds good,” I said. I walked him out, and then went back to my room, wondering what the fuck that was all about. So he came to see me, we had great sex, and then he bails? I thought about how if this would have happened at the beginning of last summer, I’d have been a mess. I’d been such a fucking neophyte then. Now it bugged me, but I shrugged it off. I went back to my computer and checked my e-mail. I was kind of surprised to see an e-mail from Shane Jackson. He’d never e-mailed me before; all my previous messages to him had gone unreturned. I clicked on it and read it:
I really had fun with you. Thanks for saving me, even though it turned out to be a waste of time. Remember me.
I stared at it for a couple of seconds, and then realized that this was no ordinary e-mail, this was a suicide note. I looked at the time. He’d sent it an hour ago. I pulled out my phone and dialed his number, but he didn’t answer. I panicked and sprinted down to the nursery to find Tiffany. She was there, holding Maddy, looking at her in a loving way. “Do you have Shannon Jackson’s phone number?” I asked urgently.
“Shane sent me an e-mail an hour ago. It sounded like a suicide note.” Tiffany moved like lightening. She handed Maddy to a nurse and tore into her room, with me right behind her. She grabbed her phone, pulled up the number, pushed talk, and handed the phone to me.
“Tiffany?” Mrs. Jackson said in a snarky way as she answered. “Calling to try and drum up some business?”
“Mrs. Jackson, this is Will Schluter. I’m just using Tiffany’s phone.”
“What do you want?” she asked me coolly.
“Shane sent me an e-mail about an hour ago. It sounded like a suicide note.”
“Why would he send you an e-mail? He doesn’t even have an e-mail account,” she argued.
“Will you please just go check on him,” I practically begged.
“Fine,” she said grumpily. I heard her walking down the hall and heard her knocking on a door. “Shane!” she called as she did. I heard the door open, heard her walking, then she shrieked, and the line went dead.
“What happened?” Tiffany asked.
“She went into his room and screamed, then hung up the phone,” I said to her in a monotone voice. I was totally dazed. I didn’t know if he was alright or not, and there was no way for me to find out.
“Oh shit,” Tiffany said. She sat on her bed and started crying. I sat next to her and put my arm around her, even as I cried with her.
January 2, 2001
Palo Alto, CA
“Happy New Year,” JJ said to me sarcastically as I walked into his hospital room. “Did you have a good time at your party?”
“I did. Thanks for asking,” I said calmly. He was in a bitchy mood, and he was trying to bait me into an argument. “How are you doing?”
“Ready to get the fuck out of here. They keep trying to tell me how wrong my relationship with my coach was. They’re fucking idiots. They don’t understand.”
I knew he’d do this, and his shrink had prepped me for it. JJ wasn’t getting there, wasn’t crossing over to that point where he got that he’d been molested. That’s why they’d sent me in here to break the news to him. I sat down next to him and spoke in a somber voice. “JJ, I’ve got some bad news for you.”
“What? I have to stay here for another day? This is fucking ridiculous.”
“Shane Jackson killed himself last night,” I said, just blurting it out.
He looked at me, totally stunned. He blinked at me in disbelief. “What?”
“Shane Jackson committed suicide. He got into his bathtub and slit his wrists.” A tear fell down my cheek, so I wiped it away quickly. I’d cried so much already, I was worried that I’d become dehydrated.
“Why?” I’d always thought that JJ hated Shane, but his reaction wasn’t like that at all.
“He couldn’t deal with what happened, with what your coach did to him,” I said quietly. “He thought the coach loved him, but when he finally figured out the man was just molesting him, he lost it.”
JJ shook his head sadly and looked away from me. I could see his shoulders heaving as he cried. I moved over next to him and put my arm around him. “I thought you didn’t like Shane.”
“I liked him,” JJ said. “I can’t believe he did that. I can’t believe he did that.”
“I’m sorry, JJ.” I could feel the emotions surging through him: the anger, the sadness, but most of all, the pain.
“Fuck,” he said, and jumped up. He looked around frantically, and then grabbed a tray off his table and threw it at the window. I got up to try and stop him, but he evaded me. He ripped one of the pictures off the wall and threw that across the room. The frame shattered, and he ran to get a piece of glass, but I grabbed him. “Let me go!”
“Dude, you are not going to cut yourself again,” I said. He fought with me, and he was actually pretty strong for a little dude. Must be all that time on the ice and working out. I was struggling to keep him pinned down when an orderly came in and saw what was happening. In no time at all, they had JJ restrained, and they were giving him a shot to calm him down. It was a horrible sight. Seeing him freak out, seeing his pain, I understood why he’d wanted to cut himself. Anything would be better than this agony. They ushered me out of his room while they calmed him down.
“I’m sorry about that, Will,” Casey Bridgeport said. “I didn’t think he’d react that badly.”
“I didn’t even know that he liked Shane Jackson.”
“I’m not sure this is all about Shane. I think that this jarred loose his own feelings. Deep down he knows his coach molested him, but he’s just refused to let it out. I think this did it.”
“You make it sound like a good thing.”
“It probably is,” he said.
“He’s hurting so bad. It’s hard to see anything good in this.”
“I understand, but he had to get here. The harder he fought, the harder it was going to be. I think he’ll start to get better now.”
“At least he will. Shane won’t.” I just shook my head, so saddened by Shane’s death, and by how fucked up my brother was. I walked out to the waiting room and found Dad and Robbie there.
“How was it?” Robbie asked.
“Horrible. He freaked out and broke a picture on his wall. He was trying to get to the broken glass so he could cut himself.” Robbie was so open and transparent, that a tear fell down his cheek almost immediately. My dad stood there stoically, biting back his emotions. He was numb, just like me. “Dr. Bridgeport says this may be a good thing.”
“He’s probably right,” Dad said, but his words had no meaning to any of us.
“I’m going home,” I said, and turned to walk out the door.
“Wait,” Dad said. “I’ll take you.”
“You don’t have to,” I said. He ignored me, and we walked out of the hospital and got into his Ferrari.
“I hope you don’t mind me taking you home,” he said. “I just needed to get out of there.”
That really surprised me, because that’s exactly how I’d felt. “I just felt pretty trapped, and almost suffocated, in there,” I told him.
“Me too,” he said, and put his hand in mine. I squeezed it, thinking that we were both desperate for a connection. “I’m going down to LA on Thursday. You want to go with me?”
“I thought you may want to see Dr. Anderson,” he said. That kind of pissed me off, because he was basically telling me that he was worried I was completely fucked up.
“Why are you going back to LA?”
“To see my psychologist,” he said. I guess that he figured that if he needed to see his shrink, I probably did too.
“I’ll see if he has some time for me,” I said.
“I checked. You’re slotted in at two.” It would have been so easy to be pissed at him for doing that, but he loved me, and he was just looking out for me.
“Thanks,” I said, and kind of surprised him by being so calm. I tried to stay that way, to stay calm, but I couldn’t. I was too fucked up by this, by seeing JJ like that. “He was so bitchy when I got there, all pissed off about being in the hospital,” I said, opening up to my dad. “When I told him about Shane, he just lost it.”
“That probably wasn’t fair to ask you to do that,” he said. “I’m sorry.”
“No, it was probably better this way.” I didn’t think that if Bridgeport told him he’d have had the same reaction. I think that since I told him, it was more real.
We got back to Escorial and I took off, anxious to get back to my room, to my cave, where I could hide and deal with all of this. “Are you OK?” Dad asked as he gently grabbed my arm.
“I just need to spend some time by myself,” I said. He looked worried, and that annoyed me, because he was acting like I was going to do something stupid like JJ had done, but now was not the time to be bitchy.
I strode into the house and walked through the Great Hall, hoping to avoid everyone. I was about to head down to my room when I heard Kyle’s voice. “Hey.”
I turned to face him, and even though I’d thought I’d never smile again, I managed to do it for him. “You just get here?”
“Yeah, about five minutes ago. Your grandfather told me I could wait, so I was just watching some television.”
“It’s good to see you,” I said honestly. I dragged him down to my room and lunged at him, wrapping myself around him, and wrapping my lips up in his.
“You seem happy to see me,” he said, smiling.
“I need you to fuck me,” I said in a serious but sultry tone. “Now.”
He got my mood, and we all but ripped off our clothes. I grabbed a towel, some condoms, and the lube and led him over to the bearskin rug. I put the towel down and sat on it, then sucked on him for a bit to get him really hard. I needed him inside me so badly, I knew I was going fast, but he just went with the flow. I put lube on his nice dick, some on my hole, and pulled him down on top of me. He made to loosen me up with his fingers, but I stopped him. “Now,” I said.
He pushed into me and since I hadn’t prepped for him, it fucking hurt, but that’s what I wanted. I wanted it to hurt. I let out a cry and managed to turn it into a moan so I didn’t freak him out. He started to fuck me, really fuck me, but he didn’t last very long. “Gonna cum,” he growled, and then blew his load inside me. I could feel those cute little thrusts he made when he came, his dick prodding my prostate. When he was done, he made to pull out, but I stopped him.
“Stay there, OK?” He nodded, and I started jacking myself off. He grinned and pushed my hand aside, and then he took over, doing those long strokes with a twist at the end, while he nudged his dick into my ass in those same little strokes. It didn’t take me long to blow either. I blew my load, blasting all over myself until I was completely spent. I sighed and smiled at him. It was as if a storm had lifted.
He pulled off the condom and I wiped him off with the towel. His phone rang and he pulled it out and answered it. “Hey,” he said, and then paused. “Yeah, I’ll be there in a little bit.” Another pause for the other person to talk. “I was just running some errands for my mom. I’ll be there in a few.” Then he hung up.
“Erik?” I asked.
“Yeah. I need to get going.”
“So what’s the deal with you two?” I asked him.
He swallowed hard, and looked around, as if trying to figure out a way to escape from me and my unpleasant questions. “We’re pretty much together.”
I raised an eyebrow. “So how do I fit into that?”
“Uh, well, Erik doesn’t know that I came up here.”
“Why are you here?” I demanded.
He sighed, as if acting like he was frustrated would make me back off, but I just stared at him boldly. “Our connection was so intense. I love Erik, but I think about you all the time.” So basically this was the same thing as my deal with Tony. I was the one that could take him to another planet, but he didn’t love me. So instead, he fucked me, and loved someone else. I felt pissed off and used, and my emotions told me that I should just explain it to him with some choice phrases at peak volume. Only that wouldn’t solve any problems, and it would just make things uncomfortable and unpleasant between us. He wasn’t going to leave Erik for me, and I didn’t really want him to.
“I don’t know how I feel about that,” I finally said.
“I know. You must think I’m a total shithead.”
“Have you done much with other guys?” I asked.
“Not really. Blow jobs and hand jobs. That’s it.”
I nodded. “I don’t think you’re a shithead. You just came out, and there’s this whole new world out there. You just want to get laid, and try different shit. I felt like that this past summer. Only now when you want to be a total slut, and you have the looks and the body to totally make it happen, you’re in a relationship.”
He blinked at me, stunned that I read him so well. “Yeah.”
“You know what I think you should do?” He didn’t answer me; he just waited for me to go on. “I think next time you should bring Erik up here with you.”
His eyes bulged. “Seriously?”
I leaned in and kissed him. “Seriously.” He smiled at me, and then I led him through the house and out the door.
January 4, 2001
I’d felt so lonely the past few days. No one could really cheer me up. I was lounging on my bed, feeling completely apathetic and listless, when there was a knock on the door, followed by Stefan as he entered. “I came to check up on you,” he said.
“You should leave before I depress you,” I told him glumly.
He sat next to me and put his hand on my leg. Just his touch was reassuring. “Losing someone you care about is horrible, but when they take their own life, it is devastating. Do not think that you are alone in feeling this way.”
“I know,” I said glumly. “His funeral is tomorrow, so I’m planning to go to that.”
“I have an important meeting tomorrow, but if you need me to go with you, I will.”
I smiled, and leaned in and gave him a big hug. “Thanks. I’ll be fine, but it means a lot that you’d be willing to do that.”
“Things like this sometimes are good for making us evaluate our priorities,” he said. “I would send JP down instead, but he is grumpy under normal circumstances.” I chuckled at that.
“I’ll be fine. Dad and I are supposed to leave shortly, and then I’m going to see my shrink. If I talk fast, there may be time to surf.”
“Did you say that Tony was going to come up and stay with us?”
I cringed, wanting to avoid showing him how upset I was about that. “He called me and he’s not coming back until Monday. He decided to go to Kansas City and spend some time with Dana.”
“His timing could be better,” Stef said with a scowl.
I shrugged. “Yeah, it could be. It is what it is. So I can either cut him off completely, or enjoy the awesome sex when we hook up.”
“I think your feelings for him are more advanced than that,” he said to me, probing into my brain.
“So what?” I asked, and put a little too much volume into it. “What difference does it make? He’s not going to be with me.”
“Kyle has been up here,” he said, digging even more.
“Kyle loves Erik, but he likes to fuck me. Just like Tony. He loves Dana, but he likes to fuck me. It seems I’m the Palo Alto cum dump.” I knew I sounded bitter.
“You are being dramatic,” Stef said, chiding me. “Let me ask you this. Would you want things to be different? Would you want a relationship with either one of them?”
“Dramatic?” I asked, ignoring his question, but he waited for me to think about it. “Probably not. Tony is so fucked up inside, it would be tough to handle him now. And Kyle wants to fuck around, but he’s trapped in a relationship. Even though it’s a relationship that he wants.”
“Then perhaps you have what you want, and you do not even realize it?”
“You’re probably right, but it would be so much easier to deal with this if they just treated me a little nicer. It’s like as soon as they blow, they’re ready to go.”
“I think that is something you can change. I think you can train them to behave more appropriately.” I stared at him as I thought about what he said. “Do not give it up if they will not spend the night with you, or at least a good portion of it.”
“Doesn’t that make me seem pathetic? Like I have to beg them to do what they should want to do in the first place?”
“You are crediting both of them with much more perceptiveness than they probably have.” That was a good point.
“I’ll have to give that a try,” I said. When it came to Stef, his advice about men was like gold. He was probably right.
“In the mean time, I have arranged a small present for you.”
He smiled. “As Jeff will be spending time on his studies, I will need to engage a new assistant. He is going to go interview someone Father Tim has recommended, so I am sending him with you.”
That was really cool. “He hasn’t been around lately.” I found myself looking around, as if expecting to see him in my room.
“He took some time off to go see his family, or at least that is my understanding,” he said.
“Thanks, Stef. It will be really good to have him around.” I gave him a hug, and he left me alone to get ready and pack up the stuff I’d need for the trip. I went up to the kitchen for breakfast and found Jeff there with my dad, Stef, and Grand. Robbie had gone back to LA yesterday.
“Hey!” I said, giving Jeff an affectionate hug and a really nice kiss.
“Hey,” he said, and looked nervous at damn near making out with me in front of my family. “Heard things have been pretty rough around here.”
“Not the best of times,” I agreed.
“I didn’t do much better. Went to see my brother and sister. My parents didn’t bother to talk to me.”
“I’m sorry,” I said sympathetically.
He shrugged. “I’m not going to be able to answer your question.”
“You asked me if it was better to have a shitty father or no father at all,” he said, but seemed really sad about that.
“Why can’t you answer that question?” I didn’t understand where he was coming from.
“I checked to see if I could find out who my real parents are. They can’t tell me who my mother is, because she left instructions that I couldn’t contact her, or know about her. So I got some basic info about her, like health info, but that’s it.”
“That sucks. What about your father?” I asked. Stef, Grand, and my dad were paying attention, but it was like this conversation was just between Jeff and me. I was kind of surprised that he was talking about it in front of them, but I just went with it.
“They were able to tell me who he was since he’s dead.”
“I’m sorry,” I said sympathetically.
“That really is too bad,” Stef said, his concern for Jeff forcing him to jump into the conversation.
“Do you know who he was?” I asked.
“His name was Mark Clark,” Jeff said. I heard Stef gasp, and that diverted my attention to the three of them, and they were all freaking out in their own way. Grand was usually so stoic, and even now only those who knew him well would see his dismay. I knew him well, and he was freaking out. My dad was even easier to figure out, even though Jeff probably didn’t notice. He was suddenly rigid and uptight, as if physically holding back his emotions. But Jeff knew Stef, and Stef was the most demonstrative of the three. Stef was really shocked.
“Do you know where he grew up?” Dad asked.
“I got a little bit of info on him,” Jeff said. “He grew up in the Bay Area and went to Gunn High School. Graduated in 1981.”
I stared at my dad. “That’s where you went, and when you graduated.”
He nodded. “Your father was one of my best friends,” Dad said to Jeff. “His nickname was Lark.”
“I think the two of you spent most of your spare time surfing,” Stef said.
“Did he surf as well as you?” I asked Dad.
“Almost,” he said, with faux arrogance, making me chuckle. “He’s almost as good as you.” He looked alarmed after he said that, and that told me that he’d let something slip. There was something about this guy that he wasn’t telling us. Then I got it. He’d talked about Lark in the present tense. He ‘is’ almost as good as me, not he ‘was’ almost as good as me. I looked at him as the tumblers in my brain started to line up. An old friend of my father’s who was an excellent surfer. He was dead, but Dad talked about him in the present tense. All the arrows pointed to Scott Slater. Our eyes locked on to each other, and he could read my mind as well as I could read his. I was right: Jeff’s father was Scott Slater. And he knew that I’d figured that out.