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

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Dedication:  This chapter is dedicated to my friend Andrew who writes of his enjoyment of this chapter each week, and whose health limits his activities. I love your comments my friend. It makes my day.

If you’d like to comment, or just say hi, my address is


Chapter Nineteen

Monday night, University Medical Center

Ron, Matt and Benny Young walked out of UMC toward Ron’s Mercedes.  As they approached the silver vehicle, Ron’s cell phone began to ring. Handing Matt the car keys he answered as he circled the car to the passenger side.

“Ron Turner,” he answered as he slid into the passenger seat.

“Ron, this is Wes Harper.”

“Hi Wes. What can I do for you tonight?”

“I just got a call from Gary Franklin of the FBI. He’s in Phoenix. He was interviewing Tom Clark’s cousin at her farm when Tom came waving his arms and rushing toward the house. He’d been bitten by a rattlesnake on the neck, and died in front of them. His vocal chords weren’t working, so he couldn’t yell, though he tried.”

“That’s incredible!” Ron exclaimed. “How’d he get bit?”

“No one knows yet. They’re waiting ‘til morning to complete the investigation. The whole farm is cordoned off.”

“Well, I guess that’s one guy we won’t have to worry about any more Thanks for letting us know.” Ron said shaking his head. “Oh by the way. Tyler told me about your promotion. Let me be among the first to congratulate you.”
 “What promotion?” Wes asked.

“Woops!  I thought he had told you. Well, I guess the cat’s out of the bag. Tyler plans to offer you the job as manager of the Las Vegas office, if you’ll agree to relocate.”

“Wow!  That’s terrific! He had asked me before last week if I would relocate, but hadn’t said anything beyond that. My wife and I talked it over and decided that the answer would be yes. I didn’t know about the promotion though. I can’t wait to tell my wife.”

“Well, from Matt and me, we’d be pleased if the answer is yes. Congratulations, I hope, in advance then. And please know that we appreciate what a fine job you’ve done on the Tom Clark case.”

“Thanks, Ron. I’m really pleased that you think so.”

“Call your wife. I’ll let Tyler know that I told you. I’ll be happy to hear from him your answer.”

Thanks again Ron. Good night.”

“‘Night Wes.” Ron closed his cell phone.

“What was that all about?” Matt asked in anticipation.

Ron repeated the news that Wes had related.

“I’m relieved, Babe,” Matt said in response. “I guess I’m happy, but at the same time I’m confused. I guess I’ll never understand people.”

“I know where you’re going,” Ron said. “There seems to be a lunatic fringe in our society that are willing to sacrifice everything for things that rational people simply can’t fathom.” Turning to Benny in the rear seat, he asked. “How are you doing Benny?”

“Umm ok I guess,” Benny answered. “What were you guys talkin’ about?” he asked full of curiosity.

“It’s a story of a friend of ours, I won’t tell you his name, but I will tell you the story.”

Ron then began the story of Pete and his harassment and attack. He finished with the story as the car turned into the drive leading to his and Matt’s estate.

“I’m glad the bad guys lost,” Benny said simply.

“Yes, they will always lose. It’s only sad that it resulted in innocent people being killed and hurt.”

“You still like the boy, even though he’s gay?” Benny asked.

“Sure Benny. It’s easy for us though. You see Matt and I are gay too. We’re partners for life.”

Benny smiled. “Then I guess you won’t care that I’m gay too,” he said.

“We’re already beginning to love Benny, our new friend,” Ron replied gently with a smile, “the Benny who’s a fine young man. It doesn’t matter whether he’s gay or straight. That’s only a small part of the whole person.  Some people are just blinded by what they’ve been taught or by hate, and can’t see the goodness.”

“Yeah,” Benny said sadly, “like my dad.”

“You leave that part to Matt and me,” Ron said still smiling. “It will all work out ok.”

Looking through the front windshield, Benny asked, “Am I staying at that hotel?”

“Yeah!  It’s called the Ron and Matt Hotel.” Matt interjected,  “It’s where we live.”

“You live in a hotel?” Benny asked in wonder.

Ron laughed. “No, he was just kidding. That’s our house.”


            *        *        *

Monday night, Las Vegas

David Simms and Russ Strickler sat in a BK munching down a Whopper meal, talking over the events of the day.

“Yeah,” Russ said. “Mr. Friday and Stewart Conklin the manager were really nice. I’m going to start on Thursday at the Lake Mead store where you work. They said that you’d show me the ropes. I’m really looking forward to it.”

“What time do you start?” Dave asked.

“They said to be there at 7:30 in the morning so I could get acquainted before the work starts.”

“Cool!  That’s about the time I usually go in too, although some of the guys squeak-in just before 8. Can I give you a ride to and from work?”

“Wow, that would be cool!  I didn’t know how I was gonna get there, but I would have walked if I’d had to. If you’re gonna pick me up though, I insist on paying you something, at least gas money.”

“That would be cool too,” Dave said smiling.

“Uh, … there’s something I’d better tell you right off,” Russ said slowly, obviously under some stress.

“Ok, shoot!” Dave said. “I just want you to know that I’m not judgmental. You can tell me what you want, and it’s unlikely to change the good opinion of you I already have.”

“Well, you might change your mind …. when I tell you …. uh ….. I’m … gay.”

“Oh is that all?” Dave said smiling. “I already knew that!”

Russ looked up in amazement. “How did you know?” he asked.

“Oh, Ken Friday told me.”

“He told you I was gay? Now I’m really embarrassed.”

“Yeah, I told him it wasn’t cool to ‘out ‘ gay guys unless they gave permission. He was very apologetic and said that he figured it wouldn’t matter since he knew I was too.”

“Now I’m really shook up! You’re gay? And Friday knows?” asked Russ in amazement.

“Yep. We talked last week and he told me about his son and afterward I told him I was gay. He knew of course I was at Ron’s and Matt’s with some of the guys from the Thornton Center, and I’m sure he put two-and-two together, I guess. I was kinda surprised that he opened up to me. When I first went to work at Friday’s Tire Store, I got a whole different impression of him. I mean, he was all business and always looked tired and sad. The last few weeks he’s changed, and now I know why.”

“Tell me, I’m dying to know.”

“His son was gay, and when he discovered it, he threw him out. The boy ran away and vanished before Mr. Friday came to his senses and decided he loved his son more than he was disappointed in his being gay. But it was too late. His son had gone to L.A. and was later discovered murdered. It threw Mr. Friday into deep depression and he worked and worked trying to forget. He talked to Ron one night when he came out to a repair job I was on for a pick-up that belonged to a young friend of Ron and Matt’s. The guy was gay and his pick-up was vandalized. Ron and Matt were there with some of the guys, helping Pete get the paint off his truck. The assistant manager told me not to fix the tires since I would have to work overtime, so Ron called his office manager, who called Mr. Friday who then came out himself.  Anyway, I guess they had a talk, and Mr. Friday suddenly changed. He’s much happier and has gotten involved with the Thornton Center. I don’t know what Ron said, but whatever it was, it sure made a new man of Mr. Friday.”

“Ron and Matt seem like really great guys,” Russ said.

“I’m just beginning to find out how great myself,” David replied.

“Yeah, I can’t believe that somebody would try to kill them with a bomb.”


“Yeah, somebody tried to blow up their plane last Friday. They escaped, but Matt got a couple ribs and his arm broken and Ron was knocked out.”

“How did you find out?” Dave asked.

“They announced it at Thornton on Saturday at lunch.”

“Holy Moley! Damn!  I’m sure glad they’re alright.”

“You and everybody at Thornton. They have been really great. They even invited the whole Thornton bunch up to their house last Wednesday. Mr. Friday was there. That’s when I asked him about the job.”  

“I’m knocked flat on my ass by what you just told me. I just can’t believe it!”

“Well, it’s true. I saw Matt today at Thornton. He had his arm in a cast alright. In fact he got together with me to help me fill out my stuff for my GED.”

“Yeah, I was gonna ask about how you could work and go to high school.”

“I missed my last two years of school, but now I’m gonna go back. I’ll do it through the GED program instead of going to a regular High School with guys a lot younger than me. Mr. Friday said that they would work out the schedule with me if I needed to study or had conflicts.”

“I graduated last year,” Dave said. “I can’t say I was the best student, but I’d be glad to help you if I can.”

“That’s really nice of you Dave. I’m sure I could use all the help I can get,” Russ said smiling. “Do you have a place?”

“Nah, not yet. I’m not too welcome at home, but I’m gonna stay there until I can afford a place of my own. I’ll probably need to find a roommate.”

“If you can wait until I’m 18, maybe we can be roomies” Russ suggested.

“That would be great!” Dave said enthusiastically. “When will you turn 18?”

“June 15,” Russ answered. “In the meantime, we can save our money for furniture and stuff, and I can get going on my schooling.”

“Sounds like a plan, my man,” Dave said with a huge grin, offering a high-five.

Russ did the slap, then looked longingly into Dave’s beautiful eyes. The look and gaze was returned with a welcoming smile as an invisible message of hope for more crossed between them.

Life was looking up for Russ Strickler he realized, just as Ron had predicted.

            *        *        *

Tueday afternoon, Ron’s Office

It was after lunch on Tuesday when Ron’s intercom rang. Benny was spending the day with Matt at Thornton, and Ron had used the morning dealing with business matters at the office.

“Yes Margaret?” Ron responded.

“Ron, Wes Harper is here from Aztec he was wondering if you have a minute.”

“Sure! Have him come in.”

A moment later the door opened and Wes walked into Ron’s office. Ron had risen from his work and stepped toward the door, extending his hand in greeting.

“Hi Wes,” Ron said smiling. “Let’s relax,” he said, indicating the comfortable conversation area. Both men sat and Ron leaned back in his chair. “What brings you around today?” he asked.

“I talked to Tyler right before lunch. He said that you had called. He offered me the job formally, and I accepted. My wife is delighted, by the way. I’ve got to call her again tonight. I know we had talked about having dinner at your place, but I’ll need to take a rain check.”

“Sure Wes, no problem.”

I’m very excited about the move now. I just wanted you to know how much I really appreciate the trust that you and Tyler have given me.”

“It’s well deserved, Wes,” Ron said. “If we hadn’t received the message on the plane when we did, we’d all be in little pieces on the desert floor.”

“I’d like to take all the credit for that, but in all honesty, it was luck.”  

He went on to tell Ron about the lunch with Gary Franklin and how, by comparing notes, the disaster had been averted. Ron listened intently and with interest.

When Wes finished Ron paused a moment before speaking.

“You may think it was luck, but I think it was a good bit more. Sure, a little of it was luck. That piece of deciding to have lunch at the same place and near the same time was luck. The fact that the place was crowded was luck. Beyond that it was the two of you.  First you were generous enough to ask him to join you. That was not luck that was kindness and consideration for others.  Next you discussed your work. Why?  Because you both love what you do and are not afraid to share that with others. Then you both listened. Listening is a rare commodity but you were trained to do it. It was not luck. Then, you both had done your homework on your cases and had the intelligence to find the common thread. Finally, you acted with knowledge and purpose, saving many lives. Yes, some of it was luck, but luck matched with training and natural ability is a winning combination. Don’t ever think that luck alone was responsible.”

“When you put it that way, it gives it a new perspective,” Wes admitted. “I sure wish we had Gary working for us.”

“Have you made him an offer?” Ron asked.

“Can I really do that?” Wes asked.

“Wes, the last I heard, you were named the manager of the Las Vegas office of Aztec-Turner Security. It’s your call. Tyler and I are not going to hold your hand. We’ll help if asked, but other than that, it’s your baby. Sometimes it’s more difficult to be a manager of the office where the headquarters is. If being in close proximity to Tyler or me constricts your ability to do your job, then move out. That’s your choice too. There’s an expression that says, ‘Lead, follow, or get out of the way.’ You have chosen to lead. Tyler, Matt and I are not followers, so as far as this office of Aztec-Turner is concerned, we’re gonna get out of the way.”

“That’s so amazing and exciting to hear,” Wes said almost dumbfounded. “I can’t wait to start.”

“You already have,” Ron said smiling. “Oh, and one thing more. I’m always coming up with something that I want done through Aztec. When I do, I expect to be billed. If you don’t know whom to bill, ask me, Tyler or Margaret, my secretary. There ain’t no free lunch in this place. I can’t expect Aztec to make money for the company if I’m siphoning off the talented help and expecting freebies.”

“Yes Sir,” Wes said. “I must admit that I wondered about that. It was one of the reasons I had some hesitation in accepting.”

“Well, sometimes I may not be as considerate as I should be, but I do try to be fair. You’re always welcome in my office. I’ll be here, as I know Tyler will be, if you need us. Oh by the way, do you have the FBI agent’s phone number? I’d like to thank him personally.”

“Yes, I’ve got his card. Here it is,” he said pulling the card from his shirt pocket and handing it to Ron. “Go ahead and keep it. I’ve got his number in my cell phone memory. I’d like to thank you again for seeing me with no notice. I’m really glad I came in and that you had the time.”

“Not a problem. Don’t make yourself a stranger, Wes. We’re a team and you can count on us.”

“I’d better go do some thinking and planning, if you’ll excuse me.”

“Sure,” Ron said. “Thanks for coming in.”

Wes stood, shook Ron’s hand again, and left the office smiling.

Ron walked to his desk and punched the numbers from the card into his phone.

            *        *        *

At three-thirty Ron’s cell phone rang. He saw the number from his home appear on the screen.

“Hiya Babe,” Matt said when Ron answered.

Hi yourself. You’re home! I thought you were at Thornton.”

“I just got home a few minutes ago. I finished up for the day about a half-hour ago and decided to come home early.”

“How was Benny’s day there?”

“ He had a good time. In fact he’s still there.”


“Yeah, the boys had come home from school and he was having such a good time that he wanted to stay.” Barry Young said that he’d bring him home later. I hope it’s all right, but I invited Barry to dinner.”

“Of course it’s all right. It’s your home too. And to prove that I’m ecumenical, I invited someone for dinner too.”

“Oh yeah? Who would that be?” Matt asked.

“Gary Franklin, the FBI agent that was responsible for saving our ass. Actually, I invited Wes Harper too, but he wanted to beg off tonight, so he could talk to his wife and make plans to move.”

“Great!  I can’t wait to meet Gary.  I’ll let Dorothy and Mary know.”

“She already knows about Gary, but you need to let her know about Barry. Yikes! Gary and Barry!  I hope we can keep ‘em straight.”

“Good luck with Gary. It’s too late for Barry,” Matt said laughing. “He came in today and we talked. He’s a member of the ‘club’ too.”

“Hmmm. Well, dinner might be more interesting than we think,” Ron said, joining Matt with a little laughter of his own. “Poor Gary. He’s gonna be outnumbered by ‘club members’.

“I’ll let you go Babe,” Matt said. “See ya in awhile.”

“It might be quicker than you think, Babe. I could use a little pick-me-up before the company arrives.”

“I hope you’re not talking about liquor,” Matt responded, grinning to himself.

“Well, it might not involve liq-our but it might involve lick-in’!

“My taste buds are waiting, Angel,” Matt responded. “As well as a few other body parts.”

“I’m outta here,” Ron said. “A note to Margaret that I’m gone, then look out Matty, here comes Ron!”

“You nut!” Matt laughed. “Get your butt home!”

“Yes Dear,” Ron said with a final “heh, heh, heh”, before he disconnected the call.

            *        *        *

Tuesday late afternoon, Ron and Matt’s

“Hi guys,” Matt said as Barry and Benny alighted from Barry’s pick-up. “Have a fun afternoon?”

“Yeah,” Benny said. “We had a blast. I felt kinda strange there at first, but all the guys made me feel welcome. We played some flag football. It was kinda weird. Some of he guys were pretty good and some weren’t but we all played, even Aaron. He was so funny. When Derek threw him the ball, he accidentally caught it and made a touchdown ‘cause nobody was guarding him. Everybody on both teams fell down laughing. And you should have seen him, he was prancing down beyond the goal line, swiveling his hips and holding the ball above his head. Those pro ball guys have nothing on him in the ‘end zone strut’ department.

“I wish I could have seen it,” Matt said grinning at Benny’s enthusiasm.

“Yeah, well I did and it was every bit as funny as Benny said.” Barry confirmed. “Mr. Johnson was watching from off the field and even he cracked up.”

“Let’s go on up,” Matt said, still smiling at the story. “Ron is waiting with some refreshments before dinner. We’re only waiting for Gary Franklin, then we can start the festivities.”

“Who’s Gary Franklin?” Benny asked.

“He’s the FBI Agent that ordered the FAA to ground our plane, which saved our lives from the bomb blast.”

“Wow!” Benny said with an astonished look. “A real FBI guy?”

“Yeah, but we told him to leave his machine-gun at home,” Matt said, kidding Bennie.

“Awww, darn!” Benny said winking. He could kid too.

As they stepped off the glass elevator into the living room entry, Ron approached.

“Hi Barry. Hi Ben. Welcome back.” Ron said in greeting. “Gary is just coming up the drive now,” he informed Matt and the new arrivals. “There are some refreshments in the family room at the bar. Ben, would you play host and take Barry in there and offer him something to drink? Matt and I will go meet Gary and we’ll be up shortly.”

“Sure Ron. Come on Barry,” Ben said as he took the cute young man’s hand. pulling him toward the family room. Ron winked at Barry as he passed.

“Come on Babe,” Ron said, “Let’s go meet Gary, the FBI guy.”

Gary was just driving up onto the parking bridge as Ron and Matt stepped though the 10-foot high entry doors of the house. They crossed the footbridge toward the blue four-door sedan that seems to be favored as Government vehicles.

“Hi,” Ron said to the handsome stranger as he rounded the back of his car. “You must be Gary Franklin. We spoke earlier this afternoon. I’m Ron Turner and this is my partner, Matt Davidson.”

After handshakes were exchanged, Gary said, “It’s indeed a pleasure to meet you gentlemen. I didn’t know you had a business partner, Mr. Turner. I know you by reputation, of course, but I’m sorry to say I’m not familiar with Mr. Davidson.”

“First, Gary, if you insist on the “mister” stuff, I’m callin’ a cop,” Ron said grinning. “Second, Matt is a silent partner in my businesses, but more importantly, he’s my life partner.”

“Oh …I’m sorry for the faux pas.” Gary said in apology, “I didn’t know…uh….uh…” He blushed.

“Not your fault,” Matt said, placing his arm around Ron’s waist, playfully bumping him with his hip, “I told Ron we should’ve worn our rainbow shirts.”

“You’re gonna get yours later, Matt,” Ron laughed.

“I hope so,” Matt retorted.

Gary blushed even more, at the extended exchange.

“I apologize for our antics, Gary,” Ron said,  “Matt isn’t usually so frisky in front of strangers.”

“No, no,” Gary responded, raising his hand. “It’s just that I’m not used to being in the company of gay guys who are so…. shall we say. …comfortable … with their sexuality?”

“If there’s one guy I’m comfortable with, it’s Ron, ”Matt declared, winking.

“Behave Babe, I’d hate to have to spank you right here in front of the Law,”  

“Ok, if you insist!” Matt said feigning a pout. “I apologize, Gary. I didn’t mean to embarrass you.”

“I assure you, that it’s fine,” Gary said smiling. “You just caught me a little off-guard. I must admit, I think this is going to be an interesting dinner.”

“You haven’t even met the whole group yet,” Matt said. “Come in. You need to meet Barry and Benny.”

“If they’re anything like you two,” Gary said, “I can’t wait.”

Ron laughed and turning, escorted the two handsome men toward the house.

            *        *        *

Tuesday night late, Ron and Matt’s

“That was a fun evening,” Matt said as he lay on their bed waiting for Ron, who was brushing his teeth.

“Yeah, I can’t believe how well Gary and Barry got along,” Ron said in a garble, his mouth full of toothpaste.

“I was really struck by how ruggedly handsome Gary was when I first saw him. Now, I can’t believe I said what I did,” Matt concluded meekly.

Ron walked into the bedroom, his teeth gleaming in a smile.

“You did have a bit of the devil in you Babe,” Ron admitted. “I didn’t care though; I love you and I don’t really care who knows it.”

“I love you too, hunky guy.” Matt said in response. “I must say; Gary sure threw me the wrong signals. When I first met him, I thought he was straight as a stick, but when you introduced him to Barry, my gaydar went off the scale!”

Ron laughed as he climbed into bed and scooted next to Matt.

“You noticed that too, huh?” Ron asked grinning. “I was afraid we were gonna have to stand between them to avoid them attacking each other in lust!”

“Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration,” Matt countered, “but I did get a feeling that they kinda wished we would vanish so they could get ‘better acquainted’.”

“Well, they can do that on their own time,” Ron replied. “We introduced them, and that’s all we could do. If something comes of it, well more power to ‘em. I think they make a cute couple.”

“Did you notice them talking at their vehicles after we said goodbye at the door?” Matt asked.

“Sure did Babe,” Ron answered as he lightly kissed Matt’s lips. “I’d be willing to bet they are somewhere right now having coffee or somethin’.”

“How ‘bout a little coffee or somethin’, my dear man?” Matt mimicked.

“I’ll take a little ‘somethin’, thank you,” Ron answered as he turned off the light and returned to Matt’s embrace.

            *        *        *

Tuesday night, late, Phoenix Arizona

‘Well, those fuckers are gone at last!” Christine Rogers thought as she turned, stepping in through the opened screen door to her modest farmhouse. She had been thinking about all that had happened in the last two day and had made up her mind. She would accept the offer of the homebuilder that was snapping up the surrounding property. She had been wise to wait. The surrounding property had all been acquired, with hers being the last piece needed to complete the desired 1000 acre master-planned retirement community.
If she could get another 50 cents a square foot, up to $5 from $4.50 they had paid for the adjacent land, she would sell. She ran the figures in her head. ‘Let’s see. 40 acres, times 43, 560 square feet per acre, times $5.’ She scratched her head as the numbers got large. Finally she found a pencil and began to write the numbers on a piece of a brown paper sack. “Mmmm ... Mmmm…. Mmmm,’” she hummed as the number quickly grew. Her eyes grew wide as she read the last number: $8,712,000.  “Now that’s what I call real dollars!” She said aloud.

She knew that it was plenty. It was plenty to move from Arizona to Las Vegas and finish what her cousin, Tom Clark, had started. She smiled in anticipation as she looked again at the number on the brown bag. She would have the time and money to be careful. She would not make the same mistake as her dead cousin. Hate burned in her eyes.

            *    *    *    *    *