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: This chapter is dedicated to Gordon. Gordon is a retired man from Oregon whose friendship is shared by many writers of gay fiction. He is also an accomplished writer, sharing many of his life experiences with his friends on the Internet. He may have one of the greatest collections of humor that he also shares with his friends, making many lives brighter. I’m proud to call him friend.

If you’d like to write, my e-mail address is


Chapter twenty-four

Saturday night late, at the movie theater.

“I really enjoyed the movie, Gary,” Barry said as they departed through the front door of the theater. “Thanks for taking me.”

“You’re most welcome. I enjoyed it too, especially the company,” Gary responded as they got into Gary’s car. “I’d really like to take you dancing, but I’m afraid I can’t do that as long as I’m with the Bureau.”

“I understand,” the young athlete replied. “Do you think you might leave the FBI?”

“I’ve had a couple of conversations with Tyler and Wes Harper about going to work for Aztec/Turner Security. I hope to meet with them this coming week and if the offer is good I’ll probably take it.”

“Aren’t you happy at the Bureau?” Barry asked.

“Yes, I like most of the work, but in some ways it’s like being in the military. You never know if you’ll be transferred, and of course, they are not tolerant at all about having gays for employees.”

“With as large an organization as they are, there are sure to be some,” Barry commented.

“I know several myself,” Gary responded. “I’m sure there are many more than they suspect. Nevertheless, I’m tired of living with the fear of being ‘outed’ publicly. In the FBI it is a career breaker. That’s why we can’t go out dancing.”

“What a bummer,” Barry said, then coughed.

“Are you sure you’re feeling alright?” Gary asked.

“Yeah, actually I feel very good. I thought I might be getting the flu earlier this week, but I feel much better now, except for this nagging cough.”

“I hope it’s nothing serious.”

“Nah. I’m even embarrassed to talk about it. It’s just a slight nuisance now”

“I’m glad.”

Gary paused for a moment, obviously in thought before continuing. “I probably shouldn’t say this, but I want you to know how much this evening has meant to me and how much I’m enjoying being with you. I’m not sure why, but I feel like we’ve known each other forever. I’m like in a whirl. Just being with you is so nice. I find you very physically attractive but that’s not the best part. Somehow there’s a connection of souls, if you want to call it that. I just hate to see the evening end”

“I feel the same way, Gary,” Barry responded placing his hand in Gary’s. “It feels like I’ve been missing something that now I’ve found. I’ve dated other guys before, but it wasn’t like this. It’s like we were meant to be together. Like you, I’m not ready to call it a night.”

“Would you like to stop somewhere for a drink or something to eat?”

“I’m really not hungry,” Barry responded. “I wouldn’t mind going somewhere where we can talk and get to know each other better.”

“I’d like that too, especially the getting to know each other better part, Gary said with a smile.

“I’m open to suggestions,” Barry offered, giving Gary’s hand a gentle squeeze.

“I hope you won’t think it’s forward of me, but I have someplace cozy and very private in mind.”

“Can you give me a hint as to where that might be?” Barry asked, hoping that the suggestion would allow the opportunity for a bit more intimacy.

“Well….” Gary said with hesitation. “I was thinking maybe ….my place.”

Barry released his hand from Gary’s, placed it on his companion’s thigh and gently squeezed as he agreed, saying warmly, “Great minds think alike.”

Gary responded with a smile that could only be interpreted as pleasured. Placing his hand on top of Barry’s he turned the corner, changing their course of travel to one taking them to his apartment and the culmination of an evening that would bring two hearts together.

                        *                      *                      *

Sunday afternoon, Ron and Matt’s estate, Garage apartment

Jeffery closed the door with his foot, his hands being occupied by a large cardboard box.

“That’s it Robert,” he said as he carried the box into the bedroom.

Robert was hanging up clothes in the large closet that adjoined the bedroom. Returning to the bedroom he moved to the now empty arms of his new roommate and partner.

“I still can’t believe this is all true,” he said as he gently placed a tender kiss on Jeff’s lips.

“I know what you mean,” Jeff replied when they parted. “This is better than any dream that I could have. When you think of where I’ve come from, it’s more than a miracle.”

Robert, nodding his head, agreed. “It’s far more than I ever expected too. A year ago I was so low and depressed over what had happened to my family. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. My Mom never lost faith that things would work out, though. It was through her friend that Jan Bounett in Ron’s office offered me a job. Since then, it’s been nothing but up. Now I have you to love. What more could a guy ever want?”

“You are no luckier than me, Babe. Ron literally picked me up off the street. He gave me a job on his yacht, then I came here to take care of his cars and they’ve all made me feel like part of their family. Tomorrow I start your old job at the Turner Office. And the best part is that we’re together. I want you to know that you have me for as long as you want me. I’m yours ‘til you can’t stand me any more.”

“It’s gonna be forever then,” Robert replied. “When I told you I loved you, I really didn’t say it right. What I wanted to say was that I’m in love with you. I want to be with you ‘til my last breath and then beyond that.”

“I think those boxes are taking up too much space on the bed, Rob,” Jeff said with a come-on smile. “Let’s put ‘em on the floor for now. I have the urge to show you how much I love you, and besides that, I have to get these pants off before my dick breaks.”

Robert laughed, even though he had the same problem. The boxes were quickly deposited on the floor, as were the offending trousers.

                                  *                      *                      *

At the same time, Ron and Matt’s family room

Matt,” Parker said walking into the room from the kitchen holding the portable phone, “there’s a call for you from Leonard Johnson.”

“I’ll take it,” Matt said reaching to take the phone from Parker.

“This is Matt, Leonard. Is anything wrong?’

“I’m not sure, Matt,” Leonard said in reply. “Something strange is going on. I thought it was just me, but I talked to one of the house fathers and he’s noticed it too.”

“What is it?” Matt asked.

“Yesterday morning I noticed a blue SUV parked near the entrance of Thornton. It had three men in it. I would have sworn they had binoculars and were looking over the campus. When the boys left in the van to your place, the SUV left. I think they followed the vans. I saw it again this morning. They didn’t see me so I watched it for quite a while. When the boys came over to the Rec. Center for lunch, the men in the car seemed to get real interested. Most of the kids are out in the athletic field now but they’re not watching them. I’m not sure what it means, but it’s making me a bit nervous.”

“Are all the kids playing?”

“No, there are a few of them in the Rec. Center and maybe a couple or more in their houses.”

“Are there any adults with the kids?”

“Yes, Barry Young is with them on the playing field, or a least he was a while ago. I think that all the house parents are at home too.”

“Good,” Matt replied. “Here’s what I want you to do: call the housefathers and have them stand by. Keep an eye on that car and if the guys in it make any suspicious moves, sound the alarm. I want those boys protected. Ron and I will come over right now. See if you can get the SUV’s license number too, before we get there.”

“I already have that. It’s a Utah plate.”

“Great. If they don’t do anything, we’ll have it checked out, but in the meantime get the housefathers on alert. Keep a special eye on Benny Young. Maybe his father is about to try something. I’ll have my cell on, so call if anything starts to happen. Thanks for being so alert, Leonard.”

“OK, Matt. I’m glad you’re coming. Goodbye.”

“’Bye Leonard.”

Matt hung up the phone, and stepped out on the pool deck where Ron and Tyler were chatting at one of the umbrella tables.

“Ron,” Matt said. “I think we have a problem. There’s a suspicious car with three men in it that’s been scoping out Thornton for the last couple of days. Leonard just called and he’s worried. It’s got a Utah license plate.”

“We’d better get over there,” Ron said, getting up quickly.

“I’ll come too,” Tyler responded. “Let me get out of this bathing suit. I’ll meet you in the garage.”

“Thanks Tyler,” Ron said as he and Matt headed for their room to change. “Hurry!”

                                  *                      *                      *

The Thornton Center

Ten minutes after hanging up from his call to Matt, Leonard Johnson walked hurriedly from the Administration Building to the Rec. Center scanning the playing field for a sign of Barry Young. Not seeing him on the field, he moved to the entrance of the large building and pulled open the double exterior door opening to the main recreation room. As he stepped through the doorway and disappeared into the structure, the SUV across the street started its engine and began to pull into the main parking lot of Thornton.

Entering the room Leonard saw that it was empty. Traversing the large space that served as a gymnasium, cafeteria and auditorium, he entered a hallway that opened to several smaller rooms including a library, game room, a crafts room, a storage room and Barry Young’s office. He saw the light on in the office and stepped to the open doorway. Barry was inside working at his desk.

“Barry, I need to talk to you,” Leonard said quickly.

“Sure Leonard. What’s up?”

“Have you noticed that SUV parked near the entrance to Thornton?”

“Yeah, I saw it earlier, when I came in today,” Barry answered. “Is it still there?”

“Yes, and it has me a bit worried. I was watching it from my office,” Leonard responded. “There are three men in the vehicle, and they’ve been looking at the kids through binoculars.”

“Do you have any idea what they’re looking for?”

“No, but I copied down their license plate number. It’s a Utah license. I called Matt and told him about it. He and Ron are on their way here. He said to notify the housefathers, which I have done, and to alert them to be on their guard. I did that by phone, but I thought you might be outside with the kids, so I came to find you.”

“Do you think it’s serious enough to call all the kids in from outside and from the houses?” Barry asked.

“I’m not sure what to do,” Leonard said.

                                   *                      *                      *

At that moment a large unshaven man in coveralls and a jacket pressed the door chime button on the front door of the Thornton house. Tom Anderson answered the door.

“Is Benny Young here?” the man asked.

“Yes,” Tom answered, “but no one is allowed to see any of the boys at Thornton without a pass from the office.”

“I’ve got one right here in my pocket,” the man answered. He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a Colt .45 automatic, pointing it directly at Tom.

“Don’t make any sudden moves,” the man warned. Then he called out, “Ok, Jack!”

A second man came around the corner of the house, joining his companion.

“Now, back slowly inside,” the man with the gun directed.

Tom did as ordered, stepping backward into the entry foyer.

“Call Benny,” the man demanded.

“Now, look here, I can’t …”

WHACK! The gun barrel crashed into Tom’s head and he collapsed in a heap on the floor.

“Let’s get the kid!” the man with the gun said, stepping over Tom’s prostrate body.

                                    *                      *                      *

“Let’s call for an assembly,” Barry advised. “I can set up some games for the boys in the rec. hall and we can keep the boys inside with a couple of the house fathers until Ron and Matt arrive.”

“Can you ring the assembly alarm from here?” Leonard asked.

“No, not yet,” Barry replied. “The only place it can be done is from the office. I was gonna bring up the deficiency at our next staff meeting. I was hoping to get a button installed here and in each of the houses as the office is not always staffed, especially at night and on weekends.”

“Ok, I’ll go sound the horn,” Leonard said. “You start rounding up the boys.”

Barry rose from his chair and followed Leonard down the hall toward the large rec. room. Crossing the space, Leonard pushed open the door with the panic bar.

“Barry! Look! There are two men with one of our kids leaving the Thornton house!”

“Call Metro!” Barry ordered, “I’ll try to intercept them! Run!” He yelled as he ran toward the two men and the struggling boy.

The men saw him coming and pulled the boy hurriedly toward the open doors of the SUV which had parked at the curb and stood with it’s engine running, passenger doors open and its driver ready to speed off once his passengers were on board.

                        *                      *                      *

Ron’s Mercedes, with Tyler driving, slowed from its 80 mile per hour freeway pace as he applied the brakes and steered the silver vehicle onto the off-ramp nearest the Thornton Center. Ron pressed the ‘end’ button of his cell phone as the car ran the yellow light at the bottom of the ramp, it’s tires squealing as it made the corner and sped on.

“Butch has the chopper up,” Ron announced. “They were just getting ready to take off for some rescue exercises with the Metro rescue squad. I’m not sure we’ll need them, but I told them to head to Thornton. If we don’t need any help they can continue on with the exercises. Better to be safe than sorry. They can land on the playing field or parking lot at Thornton if they’re needed.”

“I hope this is a wild goose chase,” Matt remarked.

“Me too Babe,” Ron said in agreement, “but with Senator Young’s attacks, or if some parent has decided to ‘rescue’ their boy against his will, a little back-up won’t hurt.”

                                    *                      *                      *

The men had reached the get-away vehicle and one of the men had pulled the writhing boy inside as Barry reached them. Barry grabbed the last man outside who then turned on his assailant as the young athlete pulled him away from the open door. The sound of the horns from Thornton’s alarm system began their blare almost drowning out the loud crack of a gun discharging. Barry’s eyes were wide in surprise as the impact of the bullet tore through his body. The world turned black as he fell to the concrete walk.

“Go!” The gun wielder shouted, leaping into the passenger seat and slamming the door behind him. The SUV roared as it tore across the parking lot toward the entrance of the facility. In the back seat Benny Young stopped struggling and sat in horror and shock as the scene he had just witnessed flooded his senses. The SUV raced out of the parking lot leaning crazily as it squealed around the entrance and raced down the street toward the freeway, passing a silver Mercedes sedan rushing in the opposite direction.

Had the SUV been traveling at a normal rate of speed, it would have easily escaped the attention of the sedan’s driver, but Tyler had been trained to be observant of the extraordinary.

“That must be them!” Tyler shouted as the SUV sped past them. “I don’t know why they’re in such a hurry unless there’s trouble.”

Ron looked back at the van and shouted, “Turn around and follow them!”

“Wait!” Matt said looking at the Thornton Center, “There’s a body on the walk near the houses!”

Tyler had already pulled into the lot to turn around.

“Stop and let me out!” Ron commanded. “Then follow that car! I’ll take care of whatever’s happened here.” He grabbed the door handle as the Mercedes slid to a stop, it’s anti-lock brake system chattering. “Stay with Tyler,” Ron ordered Matt. “I’ll call you when I find out what’s happened.” Jumping out of the vehicle and running toward the body, he yelled, “Go! Go!” The door slammed on the silver Mercedes as Tyler mashed his foot down on the gas pedal.

Ron sprinted toward the houses across the small parking lot. He saw others running toward him from the houses as he approached the form slumped on the concrete. Sliding to a stop, he recognized the body of Barry Young surrounded by an ever-increasing pool of blood. He quickly rolled Barry over to look at his injury. It looked bad. A red stain covered Barry’s chest. His face was white and his lips were turning purple. Overhead Ron heard the sound of a helicopter approaching. He stood and turned as the RET chopper descended toward the Center. Waving his arms to attract attention, he indicated that the helicopter should land in the parking lot. He then turned back to the body on the ground as Don Brown, the housefather from the Turner House reached the walk where Barry lay. The sound of sirens in the distance mixed with the thumping of the chopper rotors as Ron examined his young friend. Behind him the chopper had landed, its engine idled and the blades feathered as soon as the helicopter’s wheels had touched the asphalt.

Ron knelt beside the handsome youth who had opened his eyes and was trying to speak.

“They got Benny Young,” he gasped, grimacing in pain. “I didn’t know they were armed.”

“We’re on ‘em,” Ron assured his young friend. “Just rest easy, we’re gonna take care of you.”

“I’m not gonna make it,” Barry said with labored breath. “Tell Gary that I’m sorry. Tell him I love him.”

“You can tell him yourself when we get you patched up,” Ron said, hardly believing his own words.

Barry shook his head weakly, knowing the truth. “I love you and Matt and Tyler too,” Barry barely whispered. “Pray for me.”

“We will. And we all love you too,” Ron replied with a lump in his throat, his eyes filling with tears.

The eyes that had looked into Ron’s closed, and the hand that Ron held went limp, as Butch, the pilot and his paramedic passenger reached the curb.

“Move aside Ron,” said Butch urgently.

Ron laid the hand of the youth down, stood up, and moved away as the two paramedics knelt over Barry. Tears flowed from Ron’s eyes. He felt sure they were too late.

                                    *                      *                      *

After the silver Mercedes had gained speed in pursuit of the SUV, Tyler told Matt to call 911 and report that they were in hot pursuit of kidnappers, giving Metro their location. Tyler saw the high profile vehicle two blocks ahead. The nearly empty street of the late afternoon provided the powerful car room to unleash its race bred engine’s torque, quickly reaching a speed of nearly 90 miles per hour. A light turned red in their path and with visibility open both ways, Tyler saw that the intersection was clear and kept his foot on the gas pedal, tearing through the intersection and closing the gap with the SUV, which itself was being slowed by traffic ahead.

Matt had reached the dispatcher at 911 and quickly gave the circumstances and location of their pursuit. Matt stayed on the line as the operator took down the information, giving her updates as to their changing location. The operator said that a Metro helicopter would on the way and that officers in the vicinity alerted and dispatched.

Tyler had closed the gap to nearly one block by the time the SUV, which was not aware of their pursuit, turned northward onto the on-ramp of the Interstate 15, toward Utah. Driving as quickly as the increasing traffic would allow, Tyler followed the path of the fleeing vehicle.

                                              *                      *                      *

Sunday late afternoon, at the same time; Henderson Nevada, just south of Las Vegas

Christine Rogers’ new Cadillac sedan pulled over the slight rise of the 95 freeway coming from Arizona to Las Vegas. The road ahead began a long downward slope, opening up a vista of lights in the distance as they blinked on in the fading light of the sun dipping behind the mountains to the west of the Las Vegas valley. She could see off to the left, miles away, the lighted colors of the high-rise Casino/hotels of the strip running northward, then stopping at the Stratosphere tower, culminating in another group of tall buildings in the older downtown gaming district. Checking her map, she pulled into the right-hand lane, preparing to exit at the Lake Mead off-ramp leading to the freeway loop westward. It would in turn take her to the strip where a room was reserved in her name at the Flamingo Hilton.

The previous few days had been busy. Taking the purchase contract from the sale of her farm to the bank, the institution had loaned her $300,000 using the non-refundable deposit of $450,000 that the purchaser had put into escrow as security. Selling off farm tools, vehicles, equipment and furnishings from the farm had netted her another $20,000. It was far less than she and her deceased husband had paid for the items, but they were of no value now to either the buyers of the property or to her. What meager items she had been unable to sell, she gave to Goodwill Industries, getting a receipt for the donation, which she fully intended to use to minimize her taxes.

She had purchased a new car with the cash, leaving most of the balance in a money-market account with the Bank of America. She intended to transfer the money to a BofA account she planned to open in Las Vegas. In her purse was $4500 in cash that she had kept to handle her living expenses until she could get reestablished in Nevada.

Her plans were simple. First she would check into the hotel, resting from the trip for the night. The next day, Monday, she would visit the hospital where her cousin, Tom Clark still lay, imprisoned in his crippled body. The thought of Tom reminded her of her real reason for moving to the Gaming Capital. It was revenge. The crippling of her cousin Tom and the death of his younger brother as a result of their conflicts with Ron Turner, were a slap in the face to their entire family. It was an insult that was unbearable to leave unanswered.

Her thoughts returned to the tasks at hand. This coming week she would look for a place to live and find a good lawyer for her cousin, in the defense of his charge of assault with attempted murder. She felt confident that with sufficient money for the defense, the charge would be reduced to simple assault and considering his physical condition, the sentence could be dismissed as he could no longer be considered a threat to society. She also knew that occasionally spinal injuries could be reversed as the body had great power to heal, even though it was a long, slow process. She intended to provide the care for her cousin with the money from the farm’s sale. How that would work out, she didn’t know, but she knew that the honor of her family to take care of their own was a lesson drummed into the heads of generations before her. It was something she couldn’t dismiss. There was no reason, nonetheless, that she couldn’t have a comfortable life, one where she could pursue her own desires. She was feeling lucky and, in her mind, Las Vegas was a town built on luck, luck she fully intended to capitalize on.

            *                      *                      *

Thornton Center

Ron watched as the helicopter lifted and turned in the direction of the University Medical Center, the only full-fledged emergency center in Las Vegas. Barry was barely alive and every second counted in his fight for life. Ron looked over at Matt’s car that, after receiving a call from Ron, Jeffery had brought to Thornton before returning to the house. Robert, Jeff’s partner and new roommate had followed him in the Escalade. Turning toward the administration building, he walked to the door and went to Leonard’s office. Quickly speaking to Leonard, he obtained the key to Matt’s office and asked the Director to stay in his office until he returned.

Upon entering the small room where Matt worked, he sat down at the desk in the dimming light of early evening. Even though Ron felt that there was little hope for Barry to survive the gunshot wound, he picked up Matt’s phone to call Dr. Davis Clark, Chief of Staff at UMC. He had to be sure that Barry was given the highest priority in care. Nothing could be spared in giving the young man every chance to live.

After the call was completed, Ron closed his eyes and prayed for the life of his young friend, and the safe return of Benny Young. He believed that only a miracle could save Barry’s life, and for that he prayed. He knew too that Benny’s safe return was still in doubt, and his prayers were with Tyler and Matt and with the youth toward that end.

Finishing the prayer expressing the plea for his friends, he picked up the phone once again and punched in the number for Matt’s cell phone.

“Hello Ron,” Matt answered, recognizing the number from his office phone at Thornton.

“Tell me what’s happening,” Ron asked.

“We’re far north of the valley, still tailing the SUV,” Matt said in a voiced raised over the roar of the wind and engine. “The Nevada Highway Patrol has taken up the chase, but is trailing behind us, trying to stay out of sight. It’s getting dark so we’ve moved a lot closer, but only enough to keep the vehicle in sight. We’re traveling about 90 mile an hour and NHP is setting up a roadblock ahead. We’re still not sure who’s in the car, and Tyler said they wouldn’t do anything until the roadblock ahead is in place. A helicopter from Metro has joined the chase too, so I don’t think they have a chance to escape.”

“They’ve got Benny Young,” Ron stated. “They also shot Barry Young. It’s doubtful that he’ll live. Let NHP know that they’re armed and dangerous and have a hostage. I’ll get off now so you can contact the Patrol and I’m leaving for UMC to be with Barry. You can reach me on my cell phone.”

“I’m shocked at what happened to Barry,” Matt responded. “Do what you can for him, Love. Tyler and I will keep you informed about what’s happening here. I love you.”

“Goodbye Matt,” Ron replied. “I love you too. More than you can ever know.”

Ron hung up the receiver.

Rising wearily from Matt’s chair, he left the office and, after locking its door again, walked once more to Leonard’s.

“Here’s the key to Matt’s office,” Ron stated as he laid the key on Leonard’s desk. “I’m going to UMC to see about Barry. I think you should stay here with the boys, since this whole thing is no doubt raising havoc in each of the houses. It would probably be a good idea if you visited each house to make sure everything is under control. If necessary we can bring in some psychologists to help the kids cope with the trauma. I know that’s your specialty, so I’ll leave the decision about it up to you. Matt and Tyler have been joined by the Nevada Highway Patrol and Metro tailing the SUV containing Benny and the kidnappers, who are headed toward Utah. I’ll call you as soon as I know anything and keep you updated.”

“Thanks Ron,” Leonard responded. “Please call as soon as you can. I doubt any of the boys will sleep until they know that Barry and Benny are ok.”

Ron left the office and began the trip to the hospital. On his arrival there, he parked in the visitor’s lot near the emergency entrance. Dreading the news that he feared, he locked the car and headed for the E.R. Stepping through the door, he was surprised to see Dr. Clark, the Chief of Staff, speaking with another doctor across the waiting room. Ron walked toward the men. Their conversation finished, the other doctor disappeared behind a pair of nearby doors and Davis Clark turned toward Ron, recognizing him.

“Dr. Clark?” Ron said, extending his hand.

Dr. Clark took Ron’s hand in his own and covered it with his other hand. Looking into Ron’s eyes he said softy, “I’m sorry …. He’s gone.”

Even though he had steeled himself for this possibility, Ron’s eyes again filled with tears and he muttered in desperation, “Oh no! Please no!”