The story below is fiction. It may contain erotic or sexually explicit behavior between males. If you find this offensive, or are too young to read it, please exit now.

The author reserves copyright privileges. This work may not be reproduced, except for personal use, without the permission of the author.

Dedication: To Adam my young Australian friend. Hope you’re on the mend. Those two wheelers better dodge good, ‘cause four-wheelers will win every time.

If you’d like to write J my addy is  


Chapter Sixteen

Friday evening, Tucson Arizona

Friday evening, Gary Franklin and another agent had traveled to Tucson, arriving only an hour after the airliner carrying Tom Clark had landed. After capture, the orders for the Tucson agents were to hold the captive at the Executive Terminal, until Wes could arrive in a Lear Jet. Since the Feds had decided that Tom had violated Federal Law, they had claimed jurisdiction, making Tom’s ‘extradition’ back to Las Vegas above the State of Arizona’s authority. Climbing out of the compact jet and striding toward the terminal, another agent stepped forward from the terminal with outstretched hand.

“Agent Ed Frick,” the man said as he shook hands with the agents from Las Vegas. “You must be Agents Franklin and Turk.”

“Yes,” Gary answered. “Do you have the prisoner in custody?”

“Yes.  He’s locked in a storeroom, with a guard at the door,” Agent Frick reported. “You may have him once you sign a release. Quite honestly, we’ll be happy to be rid of him. Even in that closet he’s been loudly grumbling and making a racket. It’s only been the last twenty minutes that he’s quieted down. I guess he finally decided all his carrying on wasn’t going to do him any good. If you’ll step over here, you can sign the release, get the prisoner and be on your way.”

“Good work,” Agent Turk responded as the three agents approached another, sitting outside a closed doorway.

“Got the paperwork, Bill?” Frick asked.

“Right here,” the man responded, standing and thrusting a clipboard toward his companion.

“Sign right here,” Frick said, pointing to the form and handing it to Gary.

“Open up,” Turk told the agent guarding the door. A key was retrieved from the guard’s pocket and inserted into the lock. The knob was turned and the door pulled open.

The room was empty.

“Son of a bitch!” The Tucson guard swore. Looking up he saw an open access hatch to the plenum area above the ceiling. “He’s above the ceiling!” he shouted in an excited voice. “I’ll go up there and you guys check the building. We can’t let him escape!”

“I’ll check the outside,” Turk offered. “You guys check around inside, then one of you can join me outside.”

Turk headed for the parking lot through the glass door, looking for the escaping fugitive. He circled the modest building, and looked out on the lighted parking apron where the private jets and smaller propeller aircraft were stored. The only person there was a guy getting into a fuel truck then driving off toward the fueling station. He continued his circle of the building, having seen the badge of the driver dangling from his neck as he climbed into the truck. Had he looked closer he would have seen that it was a McCarran security badge.

            *        *        *

Flashback, Thornton Center

Life at the Thornton Center was still in chaos. Thursday, after leaving Ron and Matt’s palatial home, the boys had arrived at the Center with their belongings, spending the evening and most of the following day getting settled and exploring the campus.  Eddie Burroughs returned in the afternoon on Friday from his trip with Matt and had joined his roommate Jamal Lincoln in the Turner House, the house where the older boys were assigned.

Each house consisted of a small apartment-sized “house-parents” wing that contained a central living/dining area, a small efficient kitchen, master bedroom and bath, and a guest bedroom and bath. There were the normal storage closets and stackable laundry units. The garage was large with room for a personal car and the ‘house van’ as well as room for storage.

The main part of the house consisted of a large living room, large dining room and a sizeable kitchen with ample storage for food, tableware, and cookware for 6 growing boys, their house-parents and guests.

There were three large bedrooms, each with two double beds, two side tables, two small closets, two dressers and two small student desks. Each bedroom had its own bathroom to be shared by the two occupants. In the “boys’ wing” there was also a large laundry room with two washers and two dryers near the bedrooms, with a large linen closet nearby. A utility/janitor’s closet with a vacuum, mops, brooms and cleaning supplies was located near the entrance to the wing from the garage. There was a study center where one half of the room contained a large ‘study table’, bookshelves and a printer table; and the other half of the room consisted of three ‘cubicles’, each containing a built-in computer workstation. One cubicle was ‘assigned’ to each bedroom, but could be used by others with the permission of the ‘owners’. Finally, there was a “sun porch” attached behind the house opening into the rear yard. This area was the only area where smoking would be allowed, as there were special smoke removal filters in its air conditioning/heating system which was separated from that serving the rest of the house.

Friday the boys had spent the evening watching TV in the living room, or messing with their computers. It had given them a chance to get to know their roommates and housemates better and to engage in a bit of conversation and camaraderie.

Saturday was the first full day after getting settled in their new homes. The house-parents prepared breakfast, which was served at 8:30, and at 9 o’clock the parents held the first of many-to-come house meetings. The boys were told that Saturday mornings, from 9 until lunch were “house cleaning time,” and not to schedule other things during that time. They were each to clean their rooms and bathrooms until 10. At 10 they would all clean the rest of the house, work in “their yard”, wash the “house van” and begin their laundry.

They were told that they also had free use of the activities building during their free time, and were required to keep it “picked-up” but not to do the heavy cleaning. They were informed that athletic equipment was available there for sports or other games, if they wished, but that there was a sign-out procedure for the equipment. The individual who signed equipment out would be held responsible for the return of it to its proper place and signing it back in when it was no longer being used.

The boys were then each given $15 for “lunch money” to be spent at school, and $20 for the older boys, and $15 for the younger ones as allowance money. They were told it was their responsibility to keep the house in a neat and clean condition and that the failure to keep their rooms and house in good shape would be reflected in their allowances. They were told that there were “extra money” jobs available on-campus, and that they could sign up at the office if they wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. The older boys were reminded that jobs off-campus would be allowed, but that their housework and school work were still the responsibility of each boy.

In going over the schedule for the weekend, they were told that Saturday lunch would be at noon, or when the “housework” was completed, whichever was later. Saturday afternoon and evening would be free time, as would Sunday, except that they were expected to be in attendance at all meals, unless they had cleared their absence with the house parents. Sunday evening would be a “snack meal” with no formal cooking. Sunday’s noon, or early afternoon, meal would be served in the meeting room of the recreation building’s dining room for all the boys at Thornton. They were also told that they were free to leave campus any time they wished; however, they were to inform their house parents of their whereabouts, and when they would be back. It was stressed that the freedom they were allowed was contingent upon their good communication with their house parents. Continued failure to abide by the courtesy required for that freedom would result in restrictions of privileges, punishment or as a last resort, expulsion from Thornton.

The boys were also asked to leave the doors to their rooms open during “cleaning” hours so that the house-parents could visit, but that the privacy of their rooms would be honored at all other times, unless there was suspicion of drug or alcohol use. The house parents also announced to the boys that since they had just moved in, the “housework” part of that first Saturday’s activities would be skipped, but that the house-parents wished to visit each boy’s room to take an inventory of their clothing needs. Lunch would be served at noon and shopping visits would be scheduled for that afternoon for those boys who lacked sufficient clothing to be adequately outfitted for daily activities.

The boys were also briefed on the smoke alarms and other safety items, such as the location and operation of first aid kits and fire extinguishers. Finally, the boys were told about the campus-wide alarm that would be recognized by repeated three-blast horn emissions from the speakers and horns located on the playing fields and in each house. On the sounding of the emergency alarm all boys were directed to drop whatever they were doing and assemble immediately in the recreation building.

It was explained to the boys, that even though the Thornton Center’s aim was to provide a home environment, the rules were slightly different than in the homes they had known. Each house parent offered to talk with the boys about these rules, either individually or in groups, as they wished. In addition, if the boys felt that they were being unfairly treated by their house-parents or were considering leaving Thornton for any reason, that Matt should be consulted as a first step.

After a short discussion on forbidden actions, such as partaking of drugs or alcohol, the boys were freed to finish the daily straightening of their rooms and to be there for the visits by the house-parents.

            *        *        *

Saturday morning, Thornton Center

After the meeting Jason and Darryl returned to their room in the Turner House and sat on their beds.

“What did you think of the meeting?” Jason asked Darryl.

“I think we can live with the rules and stuff,” Darryl responded. “All I’m really sure of right now is that this place is a lot better than the streets. It’s really pretty cool, and most of the guys seem nice. Our house-parents, Tom and Shirley seem nice enough too. It may sound silly, but I’m kinda anxious to get back into school. I don’t want to end up dumb and poor.”

“I don’t either,” Jason said in agreement. “It’s kinda scary being in a new place, but I’m not really frightened, just kinda nervous. I guess all that will go away once we’ve been here a while. I was surprised that Tom and Shirley didn’t talk about our having sex. I’d kinda like to talk to Matt about it when he gets back.”

“Yeah, we can talk to him together,” Darryl said. “I have plenty of questions, and I don’t want to talk to talk to Tom or Shirley about it. I’m mean like, they’re not even gay, so what do they know?’

“Tom and Shirley should be here soon,” Jason said hopefully. “They won’t have to spend much time checkin’ out our clothes. Parker got us so much stuff, I can’t imagine needing more.”

“Yeah, I can’t believe all the neat stuff he bought us. I never had so many clothes. At home, I always had to wear dirty stuff again before the wash was done. We have really been lucky since Parker picked us up.”

 “I agree with you. Oh, I think I hear Tom and Shirley coming. Maybe we can go over to the rec. center and play some games when they’re done with us.”

“That would be way cool,” Darryl agreed.

        *        *        *

Saturday morning, Palm Springs

Saturday morning, Ron had finished breakfast, the best meal the hospital offered because it was one of the few things hospital cooks had difficulty messing up. The door opened and Ron was surprised to see Matt instead of the orderly he was expecting to take his tray.

“Hiya Babe,” Ron said smiling.

Matt smiled his greeting and instead of speaking came to Ron’s bedside, and maneuvering the cast of his broken arm aside, planted a kiss on the lips of his handsome lover.

“You ‘bout ready to get out of here?” Matt asked.

“Yeah, I feel great,” answered Ron. “I have a tiny headache but that’s all. What’s the plan?”

“I just saw the doctor and he said that unless you take a turn for the nurse at the last minute, you should be out of here by 11 or so,” Matt responded grinning at the purposeful ‘funny’ twist of words.

“Have you seen the nurse?” Ron asked. “Yuck!  If I were straight, my stomach would still turn. I must admit though, if it were the only way I could get out of here, I’d give her a tumble. I’d just have to close my eyes and muddle through the deed!”

“That’ll be the day,” Matt responded with a doubting retort.

“Desperate conditions require desperate responses,” Ron said grinning

“Enough of that kind of talk. Where do we want to go from here? Our travel plans for the weekend are all screwed up.”

“Are Tyler and Dan coming by? We need their input.”

“They stopped at the Starbucks next to the hospital. They’ll be along in a few minutes. They wanted to give us a little time alone.”

“That was nice of ‘em,” Ron observed. “Come here then and give me another kiss. I miss you terribly when you’re not sleeping by my side.”

“With pleasure Babe,” Matt said as he moved closer. “I missed you too. Sometimes I get so distracted with whatever I’m doing that I forget it’s you who’s making me so happy.”

Placing a warm, yet passionate kiss on Ron’s lips, Matt said softly. “Have I told you lately that I love you?”

“Not since last night Babe, and I’m overdue. I love you too, and don’t ya ever forget it.” Ron said with faked sternness.

As if on cue, the door opened again, and Tyler and Dan walked in.
Seeing Matt bent over the bed, Tyler said, “I hope we’re not interrupting anything. We could come back.”

“Get over here little brother, and give the old guy a hug,” Ron responded, “You too, Dan.”

Matt moved aside and after placing cups of coffee for Ron and Matt on the bedside table they did as they were bid, then stood upright.

“Thanks for the coffee Bro. Matt and I were just talking about our plans from here. I’m feeling pretty good and expect to ‘get out of jail’ here in an hour or so. Matt’s a little gimpy though,” Ron kidded, “but just because the arm he uses to wipe his butt is in a cast, it’s no cause for alarm.”

Tyler grinned before asking, “Do you still feel like going to San Diego?”

“Sure do.  How ‘bout you Matt?”

“I’m game,” Matt replied with a smile. Life would soon be back to normal.

“I called, and we can still get in to see the unit,” Tyler said. “I’m afraid that Scottsdale is out of the question today, so we can still be in Las Vegas by dinner.”

“Great! Let’s set it up then. I presume the G-V is waiting?”

“Yeah, the office crew went home last night, and the G-V returned this morning, early.”

“Good. Matt, would you call Dorothy and tell her we’ll be home for dinner?” Ron asked. “I’m anxious to see Pete and hear the story of the bombing.”

“Sure Babe, I’ll call her when the doctor comes by to sign your release.”

        *        *        *

Saturday noon, Thornton Center

The boys had all gathered in the “meeting room” of the recreation center for lunch. There were four tables set up in a room that would accommodate a considerably larger number. At the head table were Leonard and his wife, as well as the other administrative staffers. Perpendicular to the head table were the two “house tables” which were for the boys from each house.  At the “foot table”, parallel to the head table but at the other end of the “house tables” was a set-up for the house-parents. When all were seated, Leonard stood to speak.

“Thanks to all of you for being here,” he said smiling. “Usually we will be meeting here for a Sunday assembly lunch instead of Saturday.  Before we eat on Sunday, there will be time for announcements, to share what is going on here at Thornton, what is going to happen, and anyone can bring up for discussion subjects that affect the whole group. It is therefore important that everyone be here at that time if possible. Lunch will be here tomorrow as will be the case in the future, but it will be casual, with few announcements.   I’ve decided that today we’ll dispense with a number of things I had planned to bring up, and tell you about an unfortunate event that has occurred.  

As you know, since you moved in we isolated ourselves from the outside world so that we could take care of the business of getting moved in and settled. That isolation ends this morning. The phones have been placed into service, including the ones in your rooms. The only ones that have been in use have been in the office. I have a few phone messages that I will give to the appropriate person during our lunch. Now, I’d like to give you the news before you read about it or hear it elsewhere.”

 “Last evening, a bomb exploded on a plane carrying Ron and Tyler Turner, Matt Davidson, and Tyler’s friend, Dan Barnes, from New York.”
A gasp and excited talking erupted at the tables. Leonard raised his hand for silence. When the talking diminished he continued.

“Fortunately, there was a bomb-threat warning radioed to the plane and they executed an emergency landing, barely escaping before the bomb went off. Ron and the pilot were knocked unconscious in their dash away from the plane, but were otherwise only slightly injured by small pieces of flying debris. Dan Barnes and the co-pilot escaped uninjured, but Matt, our boys’ counselor, was struck in the back and arm by a larger piece of shrapnel, breaking two ribs and his right arm. They’re all fine and will be returning to Las Vegas today.”

“In a related event, another bomb, much larger, destroyed nearly all of an apartment complex here in Las Vegas. Some of you have met the target of that attack, a young man who worked on this project for Turner Construction, named Peter Sigler.”

Cody jump up in a second of hysteria and said, “Oh no!  Not Pete!” Tears filled his eyes as he stood dazed. Jason, Darryl and Sterling, who also knew Pete from Ron and Matt’s, sat in shock at the news.

“Please, Cody,” Leonard said kindly, “He’s Ok.”

Cody took his seat again and listened in shock as Leonard went on.

“As in the plane bombing, the plot was discovered in time to evacuate most of the apartment complex before the bomb went off. Two Metro bomb squad officers were killed before they could defuse the bomb. Flying debris killed one officer, who was working on evacuating the apartments, and one tenant was also killed in the explosion. Peter was saved and uninjured, although his apartment building and pick-up were destroyed.”
“Apparently both bombings were a result of a hate crime against Peter that occurred here at Thornton during construction. Tyler had interrupted the crime and the perpetrators were put in the custody of Metro, one in jail and the other in the hospital. It is believed that the brother of the hospitalized attacker set the bombs. He was captured by the FBI, but escaped and is currently at-large.”

“I have to call Pete,” Cody said from his seat. “Now!”

“Of course,” Leonard replied. “Here are three messages from him, with his phone number at Mr. Turner’s home. You may use the phone in the game room, if you’d like.”

Cody got up from the table, took the phone messages and went running into the game room.

Leonard remained standing.

“I know that the news has been a shock to us all. If any of you boys feel disturbed, please talk with one of your house parents. We expect Matt to be here tomorrow, so that any of you who wish can discuss your feelings with him privately then. Mr. Turner was nice enough to have our first meal together as a group catered, and it is now ready. We are having T-bone steaks, mashed potatoes, vegetables and salad. There will be pie and ice cream afterward. Now, before we begin I’d like to pray and give thanks. Please bow your heads.”

All conversation stopped and the room was silent as heads dipped.

“Heavenly Father, We gather here to celebrate our new family at Thornton. It is a family of boys who have been separated from their natural families by rejection or misfortune. It is a family of house-parents who accept these boys as their own, to protect, guide and love. It is also a family of staffers, who are here to serve their needs and to provide for them. Father we thank You for the creation of this facility and for those who made it possible. Now we ask that You heal those affected by the terrible hate crime against those who are innocent of any wrongdoing. We ask that You heal the bodies of those injured, and the hearts of those who have suffered the loss of loved ones. We also pray that You change the evil hearts of those who have performed these terrible crimes against Your servants. We know that ultimate justice is in Your hands, not our own. Remove the anger in our hearts against those whose ignorance and prejudice has resulted in these acts of violence.  Now, we ask that You bless this food, that it might be used to nourish the bodies of those who are before You in prayer. In Your name we ask. Amen”

As the assembled raised their heads, the kitchen doors opened and carts carrying platters and bowls of the luncheon fare were wheeled into the room.

            *        *        *

Saturday late morning, Palm Springs Airport

On the front seat of the G-V lay the Saturday edition of the Las Vegas Review - Journal that the pilots had picked up on the way to the airport earlier in the day.  As Ron stepped aboard his eyes fell to the headlines. “BOMBING SUSPECT CAPTURED IN TUCSON, THEN ESCAPES.”

“Damn!” Ron exclaimed as he snatched up the paper.

“What’s wrong, Babe?” Matt asked as he entered the cabin.

“The son-of-a-bitch escaped!” Ron swore.

“What!” Tyler exclaimed, hearing Ron’s pronouncement as he stepped aboard.

“Oh no!” Matt joined in. “Now what do we do?”

Ron looked at Tyler.

“Let’s go on to San Diego,” Tyler advised. When we get airborne I’ll call Wes Harper in Las Vegas to see if he has any ideas.”

            *         *        *

Saturday noon, Las Vegas

Wes Harper’s cell phone rang as he was finishing shaving. He had decided to spend the day house hunting, after accepting Tyler’s offer to become a permanent member of Aztec-Turner in Las Vegas. Moving quickly into the room, he pressed the ‘talk’ button.

“Wes Harper,” he answered.

After listening a minute, he swore. “Damn! No Tyler, this is the first I’ve heard of it. Let me call Gary Franklin of the FBI and ask if we can help. I still have his cell number in my phone.”

He listened for further instructions from his former colleague, who was now his boss, then saying goodbye, pressed ‘end.’  Pressing the menu button on his phone, he quickly located Gary’s cell phone number, highlighted it and pressed the button to begin the call.

“Gary? Wes Harper,” he said into the phone mike. “I just heard of Tom Clark’s escape and wanted to offer our help. Has he been recaptured yet?”

Wiping the shaving cream off his face as he listened to the report, he shook his head. “I didn’t have a chance to catch the paper yet so I’m not sure what we can do. Where was he when he escaped?”

Something he couldn’t quite remember caused a wrinkled brow as he heard the events that had unfolded in Tucson.

“Wait! I’ve got something for you, he said remembering. “Yes, The Clarks have a relative in Phoenix, a cousin or something. It’s not that far from Tucson! I don’t remember for sure. I have it at the office though. I’ll go there now and call you back within a half hour”

He began to move as he listened to Gary’s thanks and elation at the possible lead.

“You’re welcome, my friend. After all you bought lunch! Stay off your phone after about 20 minutes; it will take me that long to get into the office. I’m on my way, just as fast as I can move. Bye.”

He pressed the ‘end’ button and stuck the phone in a light jacket he had laying on the bed. He grabbed the clothing he had planned on wearing for the day, pulling on the jeans over his muscular legs and slipping a golf shirt on over his head. Placing the contents from the pockets of the clothes he had worn the previous day into the jeans, he separated car keys from coins and headed out the apartment door toward his car.

        *        *        *

Saturday early afternoon, San Diego
Tyler unlocked the door of the condo, turned the knob and pulled the door toward him.  With a sweep of his hand he directed the others in the corridor to enter ahead of him.  First Dan, the closest stepped through the doorway, followed by Matt and Ron.

“Wow this is fabulous!” Dan gushed. “I could live here forever,” he said as he strode through the large living room toward the glass doors leading to the balcony. “What a view.”

The condo, on Coronado Island, looked north across the San Diego Bay. In the distance two aircraft carriers and many smaller ships rested, tied to their piers waiting for their next journey to sea. The weather was, as usual, mild and comfortable. Las Vegas was much cooler in the winter and immensely hotter in the summer. It would be a perfect get-away, hardly more than an hour’s flight from Las Vegas.

The décor was modern yet comfortable. The kitchen was well equipped and spacious, opening into the large living/ dining area. The bedrooms were of generous size, though not large in comparison with the rooms at Ron and Matt’s Las Vegas estate. There was adequate storage and a nice study equipped with a computer and fax/scanner/printer. It was sufficient for communication with the office, Ron decided.  It was obvious that a decorator had his/her hand in the furnishings and accessories. A good selection of paintings adorned the wall; tasteful, yet not quite “collector quality.”  All in all the condo had the feel of a warm blanket. It gave an impression that the world was on display, yet in here you were isolated, cozy, and protected.

“What do you think, Matt?” Ron asked.

“You’d have to be crazy not to like this place,” answered Matt.

“How ‘bout you Dan?” Tyler asked his lover.

“It’s so beautiful and comfortable.  I could just open the sliding doors, let in the sea breeze and lay back and take a wonderful nap.” Dan said with enthusiasm. “Or maybe even snuggle up with someone I love,” he finished and winked at Tyler.

“I guess they’ve spoken,” Ron said looking at Tyler and shrugging his shoulders. “Matt and I are ‘in’ if you decide you want to buy it.”

“Ok, I’ll make an offer tomorrow,” Tyler replied. “I’ll let you know when the money is needed. I was planning on paying cash. Will that work for you?”

“Sure, not a problem,” Ron answered. “Just let me know a couple days in advance and I’ll have a cashier’s check ready. Before we leave San Diego, let’s go down to the Yacht Club. I’d like to take a look at their berthing facilities. I’m thinking we might move the P-T II here in the summers, or if we decide to send it to the Mediterranean for the summer, we might keep the P-T I, which we still own but are leasing out, and put it here. It would be really nice for fast summer trips up the coast and to Alaska, and would be nice for winter trips down the west coast of Mexico. We could continue to do the weekly lease thing from here if we want to avoid the expense of keeping it exclusively for our use.”

“That sounds great,” Matt said agreeably. “We’d get a lot more use out of it here, for weekends especially. That more than four hour trip to Florida, while enjoyable, cuts a pretty big hole in a weekend.”

“I can’t wait to see either one,” Tyler said. “I’ve never been on a yacht,” he added.

“It’s a different world,” Matt said. “We live nicely, but the yacht is different. Every crewmember is there just to assure your comfort and enjoyment. I’m surprised that they don’t wipe your ass!”

“They probably would, if you wanted,” Ron said laughing. “But with those guys, I suspect that they’d probably rub more than that while they were down there.”

“When do we go?” Tyler said full of sudden interest.

Dan slugged Tyler on the shoulder, and said, “Hey! That’s my job you’re talkin’ ‘bout eliminating!”

“Not a chance, Babe. Not a chance,” Tyler said, giving Dan a hug and peck on the cheek.”

            *        *        *

Saturday noon, Thornton Center/Ron and Matt’s

“Turner residence,” Parker said, after picking up the phone’s receiver.

“Uh, Parker, this is Cody Desmond. Is Pete there?”

“Yes, Master Cody. I believe he’s been waiting anxiously for your call. Please hold on.”

A moment later after Parker had handed the portable phone to the young man and announced the caller, he stepped away, allowing them privacy.

“Cody, this is Pete,” he said. “I’ve been trying to call you for two days. I was worried sick when you didn’t call back.”

“I’m ok Pete. They had the phones off until we got settled. I only heard about the bomb stuff 5 minutes ago. Are you ok?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. Of course, my apartment and all my stuff are gone. Even my pick-up was destroyed. I didn’t escape with anything except what I had on.”

“I’m really sorry about it,” Cody said sympathetically. “I know how hard you worked for what you had.”

“Yeah, it’s really discouraging. Afterwards they brought me to Ron and Matt’s and Dorothy, Parker and everybody here have been super. Yesterday Parker took me shopping for clothes. Boy, that guy went nuts!  I have more clothes now than I had before the blast. After we left the clothing store, he took me to Walgreen’s and bought me all new toiletries and that kind of thing. I was really embarrassed when we got to the checkout counter and he put this big box of condoms on the counter. I didn’t know he had picked them up and I had to tell him that I need the bigger size. His eyes got real big as he smiled, like I had done something good, then took off with the box and came back with the bigger ones.”

Cody laughed at his friend’s story.

“Yeah, I would have melted into the floor.” Cody said, still laughing.

“Anyway, that took up a good part of yesterday. Jeffery here has been really nice too. He invited me over to his apartment last night and we hung out together, ya know, watchin’ TV, shootin’ some pool in the game room and stuff like that.”

“How are you gonna get another place?” Cody asked.

“I’m not sure. All I know is that Dorothy told me not to worry about it. She said that we needed to wait for Ron and Matt to get back tonight. Speaking of that, did you hear that Ron and Matt’s plane got bombed too?”

“Yeah, “Cody answered. “They told us today at our lunch announcement time. The whole thing is so terrible!  I still can’t believe it. When they told me about your apartment, I about came unstuck. I was frantic!  Then they told me you were ok and I calmed down. I want to see you so bad. Is there any way we can get together today?”

“Yeah,” I already asked Jeffery. “He called Mr. Ron and was told I could use the Jeep. I can pick you up in about 45 minutes. Is that ok?”

“Yeah, it’s great. We have free time today, and are allowed to leave the campus as long as we tell the house-parents where we’re going and when we’ll be back.  Everybody is having lunch now so I have to go. I should be finished in plenty of time to be ready when you get here.”

“Great. I’ll see you soon,” Pete said. “I’ll meet you in the parking lot by the Admin Building. I can’t wait to see you.”

“I can’t wait either,’ Cody responded. “I’ll meet you there soon. I gotta run now. Hugs until I see ya, ‘bye.”

“Bye Cody.”  

Pete hung up the phone and hurried off to find Jeffery and the keys to the Jeep.

        *    *    *    *    *