The author reserves copyright privileges. This work may not be reproduced, except for personal use without the permission of the author.
Dedication: To Ry and Don. I’d like to thank the many authors and readers who have been so supportive of this story.
Thanks always to Bill H. my editor and friend.
If you’d like to comment or say Hi, I’m at JETjt@aol.com. John Tucker
RON AND BRYAN
The beemer pulled up to the speaker in front of the black iron gates of Ron’s estate. A hand reached out and pushed the indicated button.
“May I help you?” said a voice from the machine.
“Yes, this is Steven Bartholomew the attorney, to see Ron Turner.”
“Thank you sir. Please follow the drive to the main entrance.”
The large gates began to swing open and Steve stepped on the accelerator when the gate had opened wide enough for his 750i to clear.
As he reached the front door and pushed the button for the door chime, the door opened and an older gentleman spoke. “Welcome, Mr. Bartholomew,” the man said, “My name is Parker. If you’ll follow me, sir, I’ll show you to Mr. Turner. He’s waiting in the library.”
Steve followed Parker into the glass elevator to the main floor level, then by the huge formal living room to a wide gallery hall with walls covered in priceless artwork. Coming to a pair of carved 8 feet high doors, the older man grasped the handle, pushed the door inward and stepped through. The attorney followed.
“Mr. Bartholomew, sir,” Parker said to Ron who was rising from behind an ornate desk. Parker exited the room, closing the door softly behind him. Ron came around the desk and the two men met in the middle of the room.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Mr. Bartholomew,” Ron said extending his hand.
“The pleasure is all mine, I assure you. I was pleased when Terry Cannon asked me to take on this case for you,” he replied and then added, “Please call me Steve.”
“Thanks; and I’m Ron.” Indicating with a gesture toward two large chairs near a cozy but exquisite fireplace, Ron said, “Please have a seat.”
As they settled in the comfortable armchairs, Ron asked, “Coffee?”
Ron reached for a silver carafe and poured two cups of steaming brown liquid into mugs emblazoned with the RET logo.
“Cream and sugar?”
“Just cream, thank you”
Ron poured cream into both cups and said, “A man of my own tastes.”
“Thank you,” Steve replied as he took the cup and lifted it to his lips.
“Mmm, delicious,” he remarked.
“Yes,” Ron said, “Mary, my cook, makes the best coffee in town.”
The pleasantries over, Ron looked at the attorney and asked, “Well Steve, what’s your assessment of the case?”
“I had a long talk with Tony today,” Steve began, “I believe that he’s innocent of the murder charge. At best we can get him acquitted, at the worst he could get a light sentence.”
“That’s great! I’m for going for the acquittal,” Ron said hopefully. Then looking at the worried look on Steve’s face asked, “What’s the problem?’
“I think that the parents, particularly the step-father, are going to complicate things. His stepfather sexually abused Tony, and his mother is afraid of the man. Tony is a minor, and at least initially is under their control.”
“Do you think it will cause trouble in court?”
“Maybe. I’m hoping that we can get Tony placed as a Ward of the Court. I’ll make such a request with the Judge.”
“Who’s going to be the Judge?”
“Good! Frank is a fair judge. He was a friend of my late Father.”
“That may be helpful, Ron, especially when he finds out that you have a special interest in the case. I think that the biggest problem is still going to be with the parents.”
“In what way?”
“Metro is notifying them now. They gave me the phone number so that I can call them. I want to do that tonight before we are faced with that arraignment appearance tomorrow. The parents will probably want to be here. I just hope that they don’t gum everything up. From what Tony told me, Luke Kendricks, the stepfather is a loose cannon. Another thing, Tony is unlikely to testify about the abuse to himself, his little brothers or his mother if Luke is present. I’m sure that he fears for the safety of his family from that guy.”
“Hmmm, I have an idea,” Ron said thoughtfully.
Picking up the phone, he punched in an intercom number.
“Parker,” Ron said into the receiver, “please locate Tyler and ask him to join us in the library.” There was a pause, then Ron said, “ Thank you,” and hung up.
“What do you have in mind?” Steve asked.
“Tyler is my brother. He’s a crack criminal investigator and will soon head-up the company I just bought, Aztec Security.”
“I’ve heard of them. Congratulations. How do you plan to use them?”
“Well, first I want you to hire them. I don’t want to personally get in the middle of this. Then I want you to brief Tyler on what you know from your conversations with Tony. I’ll leave the room of course. I don’t want to know the details and I don’t want to jeopardize your attorney/client relationship with Tony. After that’s done, call Tony’s parents’ house from here. That should not be put off because we need to know where we stand with his stepfather. My thought then is that Tyler can investigate this Luke Kendricks and make sure he won’t cause us any trouble at trial. I’m also thinking of offering Tony’s mother security and financial help if she needs to escape that creep.”
“That sounds like a good idea, Ron. He’ll have to be careful of the Sheriff’s office there too though, which will make it more difficult.”
“What’s with the Sheriff there?”
“It’s not the Sheriff himself, but his brother-in-law. His name is Tommy Raulings and he’s the deputy who Tony said took part in the sexual abuse with Tony’s stepfather. I am afraid to trust the Sheriff though, because of the relationship.”
“Make certain that Tyler is aware of your concern. I don’t want him getting caught in the middle of a sticky situation,” Ron advised.
“You can be certain of it.” Steve said with assurance.
A knock was heard and the library door opened inward. The handsome and very physically fit Tyler, dressed in workout clothes, stepped inside.
“I’m sorry, Ron. I’m kind of sweaty. I was working out in your gym. Parker seemed to think that I should come here immediately, so I didn’t shower and change.”
“That’s Ok, Tyler. There will be time for that later. First, I’d like you to meet Steve Bartholomew, Tony’s attorney.”
“Nice to meet you, Steve.” Tyler said extending his hand.
“Likewise, Tyler. Ron has given you the highest recommendation to help us on the Tony Matussa case.”
“I’d be glad to help in any way I can,” Tony replied. “Ron’s the boss, he owns the company, or at least he will shortly.”
“Well, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll let you two do some talking,” Ron said as he started for the door. “You’ll stay for dinner, Steve?”
“Sure Ron, I’ll call my partner and let him know that I’ll be home later.”
(Changed “ marks)
Ron’s eyebrows raised a little as he smiled and said, “I’ll let Mary know and please feel free to use the phone on the desk. Just dial 9. We’ll be eating in about an hour. If you need me, just dial zero on the phone and Parker will find me. If you get a break, Tyler, grab a quick shower. You smell like a goat!”
Steve roared and Tyler blushed as Ron grinned and opened the door.
“You could do that now, Tyler,” Steve suggested, “while I call my partner. Then we won’t be interrupted later.”
“Sounds good. Thanks Steve.” Tyler rose to follow Ron out of the room. “I’ll be back in about 10 minutes.”
Steve moved to the desk and reached for the phone as Ron and Tyler stepped into the hallway.
* * *
Ron walked into the family room and joined Henri Larson, the captain of his yacht P-T II, who was reading a yachting magazine and sipping a martini.
“That’s looks mighty tasty,” Ron commented. “Think I’ll make one for myself,” he said as he walked up to the bar and began the task. “Are you ready for another, Henri?”
“Sure, Ron. I’ll polish this one off. Are you finished with your visitor?” he asked.
“Yeah, for now. He’s joining us for dinner, but has some work to do with Tyler first.”
“Good! Do you have a minute to talk? We need to talk about the boys.”
“Yes, we can do it now,” Ron replied as he poured the drinks, placed the silver cup in the sink, stabbed two olives with two toothpicks and put them into the drinks. He then picked up the drinks and moved to the sofa where Henri was sitting. Placing the drinks on coasters on the coffee table, he took a seat at the opposite end of the leather divan and turned to face his captain.
“We’ve got a problem, Ron,” Henri began. “Hans and Tim are convinced that they are in love. I’m not sure that it’s the real thing, but what do I know? I’m happy for them, of course, but the difficulty of living across the country from each other is two strikes against them in making it work. I do know that Hans will be miserable. Maybe I’m just trying to escape having to cope with it.”
“Well I can appreciate that too, my friend. I don’t look forward to it either. I have a suggestion though,” Ron said seriously.
“I’d be very glad to hear it Ron. I’ve racked my brain for a solution. I promised Hans that I would talk to you while we’re here.”
“Here’s what I’m thinking, Henri. I don’t believe we should do anything right now. I know it’s gonna be a little tough on both of us and them too, of course, but I think we should wait until at least Christmas until we decide for sure. That’s only a few weeks away, and I know that Bryan is planning a shindig in New York right before Christmas and you and Hans could join us there, I’m sure Bryan wouldn’t mind, and I know that Rich and Brandt would love to see Tim and Hans. Then you could come back here for Christmas if you’d like. We’d love to have you, and if you can’t make it here, we could decide on our next course of action in New York.”
“I think that would be good. Maybe some of the fire will burn down in their horny minds and bodies with a little separation.”
“Yeah, if they really still feel as strongly then, we can do something.”
“Yes. We’ll be in the same dilemma we’re in now.”
“That’s for sure, but a couple of things will have happened. One, Tim will have started school here. Maybe the introduction to other guys will throw some cold water on his feelings for Hans. It may just convince him of the opposite too. I also want to know how he can perform in school. If it’s a problem then there is no choice but for him to stay here. Second is the legal problem. With luck we will have that problem under control by then. Technically, he’s here illegally. We’re working on that, but it’s not solved yet.”
“You said, ’there may be no other choice but for him to stay here’, do you have something else in mind?”
“Well, if they really are in love, and are convinced that it’s not a short term thing, they are ultimately going to be together. I know that I would have a hell of a time keeping Tim here and focused on getting out of high school, if his mind is in Florida. We need to decide then if Hans is gonna come here for school, or if Tim is going to go to Florida.”
Henri smiled. “I’d love to have him come to live with me and Hans. I know that Hans would be in heaven. It’d be a big step but I’d be willing.”
“I’d be willing too, Henri, if I am convinced that he is goal oriented enough not to be a problem for you. He’s my responsibility now, for good or bad, but I don’t want to foist him off on you if it’s bad.”
“I’m sure that I can handle it either way. I recognize the need for love, but I’m also pretty demanding in what I expect in the way of living day-to-day from my son. It hasn’t seemed to hurt him so far.”
“No Henri, I agree with that. Hans is one of the finest kids I know. You can see that there is discipline in his background. I’m sure it’s what Tim needs, in addition to love and support, but it may not be easy.”
“Thanks Ron, I agree with you. Let’s leave it at that then, until Christmas. I would suggest that we not tell the boys the details though until we see how things go and we have finally decided. They might thinks so, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they stayed apart.”
“Fine,” Ron said. “We’re in agreement. We’ll only tell them that we’ve talked about it and will make a decision at Christmas.”
Both men raised their martini glasses and clinked them together carefully to symbolically seal their pact.
“Now,” Ron said, “what are we gonna do about Robert and Jeffery?”
* * *
The plane touched down at La Guardia. It was now time for the guys inside to face the reality that tomorrow was Monday and the start of another week of work or school. Bryan had spent much of his free time for the past three days, including all of the final flight, catching up on his school reading. Alan had been chatting with Sam and Tom about the upcoming challenges of getting the Friendship Trust really rolling as a viable charity, and finalizing locations for their operations and warehousing. Lonnie listened in on the conversation since he had finally accepted Alan’s offer to join Friendship Trust as the New York controller. Alan now had almost a dozen people hired and ready to go to work as soon as lodgings could be finalized. Alan had narrowed the selection down to three locations for their offices, and had two possibilities for warehousing. He would review the list one more time, then decide since he felt they could wait no longer. In some ways he regretted the delays caused by the cruise, but he felt refreshed and ready to face the daunting new tasks. He also knew that if they had delayed the trip another two weeks, he’d have never been able to go. It would be six months before he would be able to really relax again. He loved the challenge though and knew that he relished the chance to make a real difference in many lives.
The aircraft had rolled to a stop at the executive terminal and the engines shut down. The sky was releasing white moisture, which was floating lazily to the ground but as yet was melting as soon as it hit the warmer temperatures of the pavement. A covered motorized cart rolled to the baggage door as the boarding stairs were extended to the asphalt. All the passengers were glad that the wind was nonexistent as they made their way from the warmth of the plane’s cabin through the freezing climate to the terminal building. Once inside they brushed off what little snow remained on their clothing and waited for their luggage. As expected, Ron’s staff had arranged for transportation, which was in wait for the trips to their homes. As the luggage was delivered to curbside, the men exited the terminal to identify their luggage and make certain that it was put into the proper cars. Once that task was accomplished, they looked at their fellow travelers and huddled in a group one last time, exchanging hugs and parting words before climbing into their cars. While they were glad to be home again they knew they would never forget the wonderful, but sometimes traumatic adventure that was now completed.
Bryan and Alan lay in their own bed and snuggled against the warm body of the other partner.
“It’s kinda hard to believe it’s all over, sweet man,” Bryan said wistfully to Alan.
“I agree Scooter,” Alan said using the pet name he called Bryan only in the privacy of their room. “In a way it was like a dream. All of that was way beyond my comprehension. I keep thinking, ‘people don’t really live like this’, yet there we were. It was so different than the way you and I live, and far beyond the dreams of the people that we meet everyday living on the streets. It just seems unreal.”
“I know what you mean.” Bryan said in agreement. “It’s a good thing that Ron sees the need for change and is willing to do something about it.”
“Yes it is, but if he only knew like I do how terrible it really is, Bryan. Even you, who’ve lived on the streets, have not seen the worst part. It’s so dreadful and horrible. I love you so I would do anything to protect you from it.”
“Sweet man, don’t you think I see how it hurts you? When you come home many nights I wonder what’s happened. You look crushed. You never say much, except that it was a bad day, but I know it’s more than that. I see the hurt that you carry. I’ll be glad when I can join you in it full-time. It’s our life’s work, ya know.”
“I don’t think I could stand it without you my love,” Alan said softly. “You bring gladness to my heart when there’s pain. I love you so.”
“You know I love you too, Alan,” Bryan said pulling his lover even closer. “You are my life and my joy. With you my life is full. Without you and your love, I’m an empty shell.”
The lovers kissed, then holding each other, slept.
* * *
Over the speakerphone, Steve and Tyler listened as the phone rang unanswered in the home of Tony’s parents. At last they heard the sound of the handset being picked up.
“Yeah?” came the voice over the small speaker box.
“Is this Mr. Kendricks, Luke Kendricks?”
“Yeah, this is him. Who wants ta know?”
“Mr. Kendricks, my name is Steve Bartholomew. I’m your son Tony’s attorney in Las Vegas.”
“Thet li’l shit. Whar’d he git the dough fer a fancy shyster? Oh, I git it, yer callin’ ta see if’n I’ll pay fer ya keepin’ ‘im outta jail. Wal, ya kin suck muh dick! I ain’t spendin’ nothin’ on thet turd. He run off and he kin jes go straight to hell fer all I keer.”
“No, Mr. Kendricks, that’s not what I’m calling for. Tony’s arraignment is tomorrow, and the trial will probably be in two weeks. I was wondering if you or your wife would be able to come?”
“Whut’s an arrangement, er whate’er th’ fuck, ya sed?”
“An arraignment, sir, is when the defendant pleads either guilty or innocent,” Steve answered.
“Wal, It don’t make no differnce t’ us. Thet li’ll basterd kin jes hang fer all we keer. We cain’t ‘ford the damn cost nohow, even if’n we give a shit, which we don’t.
“Well, in that case, would you sign a legal document giving me or my designee permission to act in guardianship to represent your son? My representation and the guardianship will be at no cost to you, I assure you.”
“Whut’s it werth to ya? I done tol’ ya thet I don’ care if thet li’l sucker hangs.”
“Mr. Kendricks, let me make myself very clear. You are responsible. I am
offering to let you off the hook. Otherwise, I intend to file charges against
you for child abandonment!
I do not kid around, sir. I will tie your ass so tight in a legal knot you won’t be able to take a shit for 10 years without some judge’s permission! Now give me the answer I want to hear or I’ll have you in court within three days. Do you understand me?”
“Shit, ya don’t haf ta git s’huffy do ya? It don’ hurt ta ask, do it? I mean I work ma livin’ butt off tryin’ to make a go outta this fuckin’ farm, ‘n’ fer whut? I cain’t hardly ‘ford me a good jug now and then.”
“I take it then that the answer is ‘yes’?” Steve asked with finality.
“Yeah, you kin have ‘im. I’ll sign yer paper.”
“Good! I’ll have my man, a Mr. Tyler Jacobs, at your farm tomorrow night with the papers. I am also authorizing him to give you $500 in cash for your family.”
“Why the fuck din’ ya tell me thet ta start with? Wooda saved a shit-pile o’ jawin’”
“You understand, don’t you that the paper will give me irrevocable guardianship of your son?”
“Sher, you kin have the li’l cock sucker. I got a cupple more ya kin have too, if’n ya want ‘em. Hell, ya c’n have the ol’ lady too. She don’ put out no more, less’n ah giv’er a couple o’ good slaps.”
“Are you serious, Mr. Kendricks?”
“Sher! ‘Corse I gitta keep this here farm. It ain’t worth nothin’ nohow. Yep, gimme ‘nother 500 bucks, cash, and ya can have the lot.”
Tyler nodded his head in the affirmative at the attorney. He’d put up the money himself if necessary, he decided. Knowing Ron though, he doubted that it would be necessary.
“Mr. Kendricks, you have a deal. Mr. Jacobs will have the money. Make sure that they are ready to leave tomorrow when he gets there.”
“You betcher sweet ass, buddy. They’s gonna be waitin’ on th’ porch steps. Ya jes’ make sher thet Jacobs fella has th’money, or it’s no deal.”
“Understood,” Steve said. “He’ll be there with the cash and the papers. He will give you the money, once you sign the document.”
“Fair ‘nuff. I’ll be waitin’ and don’ go tryin’ no funny stuff. I got me a big ol’ shotgun, if’n ya git me rahled up.”
“Never fear Mr. Hendricks, a deal is a deal.”
“Good, see ya t’morra then. G’bye”
“Good bye, Mr. Hendricks.”
Steve pushed the button to close the phone connection.
“Son of a bitch!” Steve exclaimed shaking his head. “Can you believe that?”
“No, I really can’t,” Tyler answered. “I did get it all on tape though. I’m not sure that it would hold up in court, but that sleazy son of a bitch wouldn’t know any better anyway.”
“We’re going to have a busy day tomorrow, Tyler. If nothing else at least we’ll get Tyler’s mother and brothers out of that hellhole. I guess it’s time to go give the news to Ron.”
“Yes,” Tyler said, as he stood up. “I have the strange feeling that he’s going to be very pleased.”
Tyler nodded to the lawyer and they walked toward the door to the hallway.
It was midnight when the silver BMW passed through the gates of Ron’s estate heading toward Steve’s home. As he drove he replayed in his mind the conversation with Luke Kendricks and the discussion afterward with Ron. Not only did the multi-millionaire agree with the obligations that they had made, he congratulated both Tyler and himself for their success.
Steve was sure he had never before met a man quite like Ron Turner. ‘It must be nice to have tons of money, and have a big heart to go with it,’ he mused. ‘Well, if I don’t have it, it’s sure nice to know someone who does.’
The car picked up speed as the attorney turned onto the 215 beltway. The
next few days were going to be interesting. Ron was not going to be satisfied
with just the freedom of Tony’s mother and brothers. He wanted Luke’s ass
hung out to dry. Tyler was going to be a busy man.
* * * * *