Here is the next chapter of Aaron's Journey. It gets a little bumpy with a twist that even I didn't see coming.

Thanks, Trish for your awesome editing skills!

As always, comments and feedback are welcome. Please email them to me at playmaster0023@hotmail.com

Enjoy!

Jim

Chapter 15

"What the fuck, Jerry!" Aaron said, his anger rising.

Jerry smirked at him. "You remember the conversation we had in the parking lot after my hydrazine training?"

"Yeah, what of it?" He demanded.

"Well, hot shot, guess what. My commanding officer overheard it and is booting me out. Now it's your turn. I'm just going to make sure this picture of you and your boyfriend gets to your commanding officer. You destroyed my career, now I'm going to destroy yours. That's a promise you can bet your life on!"

The spite and malice in his voice stunned Aaron, but only momentarily. "Karma's a bitch, Jerry. You destroyed my life with your lies, something I'd never believe you'd ever do. Well guess what, ass-wipe. Now it's your turn."

"We'll see who gets what when your C.O. gets this picture." He waved the camera towards Aaron. Forgetting that Jerry was a track star in high school and could always outrun him without even trying, he lunged for the camera, but Jerry took off like a shot. Aaron didn't stand a chance of catching him. He just stood there shaking, realizing that he was seeing his career go down the drain.

Iukekini guided him into the nightclub and sat him at the nearest empty table then went to the bar to get them both a beer. It didn't take long for Aaron to notice that they were in Nighttown Waikiki. Guess it's okay to be in here now, since there's no doubt Jerry will make good on his promise to ruin my career. He always kept his promises. When Iukekini handed him his beer, he held it up in toast. "Here's to the end of my career. Jerry has never failed, not once, to keep his promises." He tapped the neck of the bottle against Iukekini's then chugged it, slamming the bottle down on the table.

"Getting drunk is not the answer, baby." Iukekini responded, purposely using the endearment to catch Aaron's attention. "We have to come up with a plan to cover your ass. I'm out at work, and nobody has a problem with me, so it won't affect me any. We just need to cover your ass somehow."

"You're right. I just don't know how. I mean, it was all perfectly innocent, and I can easily explain it. But then again, he would have no problem convincing even God to lie." Aaron took his hand. "I'm scared, Iukekini. Being a Firefighter is all I've ever wanted. It's my dream."

Iukekini leaned over the table, his face just inches away from Aaron's. So close he could feel Aaron's breath on his face. Seeing Aaron's eyes close, he placed a gentle kiss on his lips, holding it for a few seconds before breaking it and leaning back in his chair. "I've wanted to do that ever since I first laid eyes on you."

"Me too." Aaron scooted his chair closer and pulled Iukekini into his arms and kissed him with a kiss full of passion, love and desire.

"Well, it's about damned time! We're so happy for you!" A familiar voice startled them, causing to break the kiss.

Aaron looked up and saw Cameron and Mitch smiling down on them. He quickly made introductions and asked them to join them. Before long, Aaron told them about what happened on the walk from The Steak House.

"That little cocksucker!" Mitch exclaimed. "Any ideas as to what you're to do about this?"

"Nothing good yet." Iukekini responded.

"You see, it's not just my career as a Firefighter that will be down the tubes, but when they kick me out I'll have no income and no place to go. All of my family and friends turned their backs on me years ago when I came out."

"Well, I have an idea that might just work." Cameron said with her eyes twinkling. She turned to Mitch and, sticking out her tongue at him, said, "Get lost, creep. I have a new boyfriend." She then laid a huge closed-mouth lip lock on Aaron.

When she broke the kiss, Mitch turned to her and said, "Two can play that game, bitch! I have a new boyfriend." He turned and laid a lip lock on Iukekini.

Aaron looked at each of them. "You guys are awesome, but you don't have to do this. We'll come up with another way." He said with tears rolling down his face.

"Have you been able to come up with a better way to take the heat off you?" Cameron asked, knowing full well that they hadn't.

Aaron bowed his head and whispered "no".

"Then it's settled. Why don't we go hit Baskin Robins and celebrate our new relationships?"

"That sounds like a plan to me." Mitch responded back to her.

"Are you sure this won't cause you guys any problems?"

"No. If it helps you keep your career, I have no problem playing kissey-face with Iukekini, nor holding hands with him." The next statement he directed to Iukekini. "No tongue, and blowjobs and fucking are out of the question." He said with a huge shit-eating grin.

Cameron couldn't resist. "First you have the hots for Aaron, now Iukekini. Are you sure you're straight?" she deadpanned.

"When we get home I'll show you just how straight I am." Mitch responded with a mock growl.

"I'm gonna hold you to that, dear."

"Okay, let's go. For appearances sake, just in case that dickwad is watching, Aaron, you and Cameron go out first, holding hands. Iukekini, you and I will follow, also holding hands. Let's put on a good show."

Sure enough, Jerry was hiding in the parking lot, unseen by the four couples, frustrated by what he was seeing. You're not fooling me one bit, Aaron. I don't know who that other couple is, or how you convinced them to be your beard, but eventually you'll slip up, and I'll be waiting.

The two couples met up at Baskin Robbins, got their ice cream and headed back to Cameron and Mitch's apartment where they solidified their plan. "I can't tell you guys how much it means to me that you're all willing to do this, but I have to ask. Mitch, are you sure this won't cause problems for you at work?"

"Not at all. I don't hang around with anyone at work. Even if I did, it wouldn't matter as more than half of the people I work with, both men and women are openly gay. It's in the company's non-discrimination policy. They even offer domestic partnership benefits."

"The same with the HFD. Know this Aaron. If worse comes to worse and you do get kicked out, you have a place to live. You will move in with me, and I promise you that I'll do everything I can to get you a job with the HFD so you won't have to give up being a Firefighter. I know how much it means to you."

Aaron could only respond by throwing himself on Iukekini and kissing him with everything he had. "I love you." He whispered in his ear.

"I love you too, Aalona."

"Aalona?"

"It's the Hawaiian equivalent of your name."

"Aalona. I love the sound of it, especially when you say it."

"Oh for God's sake" Mitch responded with mock annoyance "take it into the bedroom."

"I have a better idea. Why don't you spend the night with me?"

"I wish I could, but I have my promotion exams tomorrow afternoon and I need to get a good night's sleep and do some last minute studying. I'm off this weekend. How about I spend Friday night with you? I have the Advanced Candle Making class Saturday, but I'm all yours Friday night."

"Is the class full?"

"Not even. I only have three people signed up."

"Well, I'll be the fourth."

"Why don't you guys come here for dinner? That way there won't be any suspicions if Aaron were to head straight to your house, Iukekini."

"That's a great idea, Mitch. We haven't had a dinner party in a long time. I'm off on Friday so I have the whole day to get everything done." She paused, thinking. "But that's only going to solve part of the problem. What happens when Aaron and Iukekini are ready to leave?"

"Simple. Aaron leaves his car here and takes my truck. That way it will appear that I'm leaving with Iukekini and Aaron's staying here. We just need to make sure the drapes remain closed so no one can see in."

"Wait. I can't ask you to do that. That's way above and beyond. Besides, how will I get your truck back to you without anyone knowing?"

"First of all, you're not asking. I'm offering. Second of all, it's simple." Mitch replied, smiling. "After your class, we all meet back here and go to the luau at the Hale Koa."

"It's settled with no more arguments. Aaron, you need to kiss your boyfriend goodnight and get that hot ass of yours in gear. You need all the sleep you can get. You have a huge day tomorrow and, wait, better yet, why don't you stay here tonight, and get a fresh start in the morning." Cameron suggested.

Aaron tried, but failed miserably to stifle a yawn. "As much as I hate to impose, I think I'll take you up on your offer." He gave a long, passionate kiss to Iukekini. "I can't wait until Friday."

"Me neither. Sleep well, baby and do good on your tests tomorrow. I love you. Good night."

"I love you too, baby. Good night." Aaron walked him to the door and kissed him good night before stepping away from the door should anybody be watching.

"That's my cue to leave as well." Mitch said, standing up. "I'll circle around the block, park in the convenience store parking lot then come back in through the back door. They're open twenty-four hours so the truck will be safe. I know the night clerk there and tell him I have to leave my truck there overnight because the driveway was just resurfaced. He won't have a problem with it." Mitch left and a few minutes later came in the back door.

"Any problems?" Cameron asked.

"None. Kurt said he'd keep an eye on the truck." Noting the apprehension on Aaron's face, he said "something else is bothering you. What's going on?"

Aaron sat silently for a few moments, trying to organize his chaotic thoughts. "This isn't going to work. I still have two years to go before my time is up. Maybe I shouldn't fight this. I don't want to have to be constantly looking over my shoulder, and in order to keep up the fašade, I'd have to spend a lot more time with Cameron and you'd have to spend a lot more time with Iukekini. You guys would have less time to spend with each other and that could hurt your relationship. Jerry's not stupid. Eventually he'll find out where you live and that would mean you guys would have to be constantly watching over your shoulders as well. It's just not worth the hassle. My career field is over-saturated and they're offering early outs. I could move in with Iukekini and draw unemployment until I can find a job. I could also apply for public assistance and food stamps to help out."

"Is that what you really want to do?" Cameron asked softly.

"No, but what choice do I have?"

"We stick with the plan. Protecting you is worth us spending a little less time together." Mitch responded vehemently. "Besides, why can't my boyfriend and I double-date with you and my cousin?" he added in a softer tone.

Aaron's eyes filled with tears and his voice broke. "I don't know what to say. I don't understand why you guys would do this for me. You barely know me."

"We care about you, Aaron. We don't want to see you get hurt or in any kind of trouble." Cameron responded, sitting next to him and pulling him into a hug."

"But what I don't understand is why?" he responded in confusion.

Mitch, moving to squat down in front of him asked "Do we have to have a reason?"

"No, I guess not."

"Then accept our caring and let us help you with this."

"Okay. If you guys don't mind, I really need to get some sleep."

"What time do you have to be up?"

"I don't have to work tomorrow. It's my boss's policy to give everyone the day they have their exams off so they can get a good night's sleep and be as relaxed as possible before they take the exams."

"Okay." Cameron responded. "I'll make sure you have a good breakfast waiting for you when you get up."

"You don't have to do that."

"Ah, what did we discuss, about letting us care about you and help you?"

"You win." He said sheepishly. "Good night."

"Good night Aaron. Sleep well." Mitch replied.

"See you in the morning."

With those well wishes, Aaron headed for the guest room, crawled into bed and was soon snoring softly. "Okay, out with it. What's bothering you, Mitch?" Cameron demanded.

"I don't know, honey. I can't really put my finger on it. I just get so pissed when I think about his situation I want to find this guy and make sure he ends up in the hospital."

"Wow. I've never seen you so protective of anyone besides me. What's up with that?"

"I wish I knew. There's just something about him, kind of a vulnerability that makes you want to take care of him."

"I know what you mean. I feel the same way too. I've never felt this way about any of the others." She agreed.

"Ah, so you're falling in love with him." Mitch teased.

"No, but it's obvious to me that you are. I should get you guys a hotel room so you can fuck each other's brains out. I've always wanted to see two guys go at it. So will you be the top or the bottom?" She teased back.

He laughed. "Okay, you win this one, but I'm still way ahead of you. Come on, baby, let's hit the sack. I have to be at work early tomorrow." They went to bed and quietly made love before falling asleep. The next morning he got up, showered, shaved and got dressed for work. While drinking a quick cup of coffee, he scribbled a short "good luck" note to Aaron. He quietly slipped into the guest room to leave the note where Aaron would be sure to find it when he woke up. He was totally unprepared for the sight that awaited him, much less his reaction. At some point during the hot and humid night Aaron had kicked the covers off and was lying on his back in just his boxers. His morning erection had pushed its way up through the waistband of his boxers and the head of his dick was resting on top of his belly button. Mitch's mouth suddenly went dry at the sight of it. He just stood there and stared until Aaron turned over onto his stomach, breaking the spell. Mitch quickly put the note on the nightstand and hurried from the room. What the hell is wrong with me? He questioned himself. I'm not gay, yet I couldn't stop staring his dick. What the fuck?!

Work that day was hell for Mitch. He couldn't stop thinking about what had happened that morning and his reaction. He decided to stop after work and have a drink or two, knowing that Cameron wouldn't get home from work until later that evening. As he sat in the darkened bar he thought carefully about everything and came to an unwelcomed conclusion. As much as he loved Cameron and wanted to get married to her, he realized that somehow he was starting to develop feelings for Aaron, feelings he could neither define nor understand. The more he drank, the more confused he got. Finally he got up to leave and slipped out of the bar unnoticed. He got in his truck and headed home.

Ring! "Hello?" Aaron answered.

"A-aron?" a woman said, her hysterical voice barely recognizable.

"Cameron? What's wrong?"

"Aaron, it's Mitch. He was in a car accident. He's at Pearl Harbor Memorial. He's...he's..Aaron, he's in critical condition. They don't know if he'll make it or not."

"Where are you? Are you at the hospital?"

"Y-y-yes."

"I'm on my way. I'll be there as soon as I can." He changed out of his uniform, jumped into his car and sped to the hospital, praying that Mitch would be okay.