The story below is a work of fiction. It may contain erotic or sexually explicit behavior between males. If you find this type of work offensive or are too young, 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 those of us who sometimes feel lost and lonely.

If you’d like to comment or just say ‘hi’, my e-mail address is John T.


Chapter Thirty-seven

Monday morning 8:00 AM, The Thornton Center

“ ‘Morning Leonard,” Ron said stepping through the door into the Director’s office with Matt close behind.

“Good Morning Ron. Morning Matt,” the older man said smiling. “I really didn’t expect you this morning. I barely made it in myself. Have a nice weekend?”

“It had its adventures,” Matt replied. “I decided to come by to see what’s happening. We have other obligations later, but I thought I’d check out my desk and inquire as to how the boys are doing.”

“Jessie and the few remaining staff kept a good eye on the place while we were gone. Of course the boys came back from Florida with the house parents a week ago, so they’re settled in and back in school or working.”

“Any problems I should know about?” Matt inquired.

“Not really, we got a couple more boys last week, so we’re now at capacity for our finished houses. The next three are nearly finished. The first of them is done and the house parents moved in over the weekend. We are going to have to do a reshuffle pretty soon, but I’d like to wait until at least next weekend when the second of the three is finished and its house parents are in place too. By the end of the week after that all six houses will be done and we’ll get settled again. Hopefully it will take care of us for awhile.”

“I think we’d better start moving on the last six houses,” Ron advised. It will take about 6 months to have any more units ready.”

“That’s your call,” Leonard said. “I’m not up-to-date on the finances for more construction.”

“I’ll have Mr. Peterson drop by later to give you a personal update,” Ron offered. “I’m sure it’s not a problem though.”

“Speaking of Mr. Peterson,” Matt said. “He’s going to retire at the end of next month. Ron and Tyler have asked me to leave Thornton and come into the office to manage all our trust funds.”

A look of surprise crossed Leonard’s face.

“I’m truly sorry to hear that,” the Director said. “The boys here love and trust you. Of course I never believed that you’d stay forever, but I was hoping.”

“That’s awfully nice of you to say my friend,” Matt said smiling. “We’ll have plenty of time to get a replacement. I won’t leave you hanging.”

“Thanks Matt,” Leonard responded. “I sure hope you won’t be a stranger.”

“Actually, I’ve asked Matt to take my place on the Thornton Board of Directors,” Ron responded. “He has a great interest in the Center, naturally, and it would relieve my schedule a bit, yet let me keep apprised about what’s happening through him.”

“That sounds like a perfect solution,” Leonard said.

“If you’d excuse me, I’ll go check out my office and mail,” Matt said. “Ron, would you like to come along or stay here?”

“Go on ahead Babe, I’ll just wander around for a while, maybe check out the construction. Just call me on my cell phone, when you’re ready to go,” Ron responded. Then standing he offered his hand to the Director. “ It was nice visiting with you Leonard. You’re doing a great job.”

“Thanks Ron. Glad you’re back Matt. We’ll see you again tomorrow.”

“Yep,” Matt said as they turned toward the door. “8 o’clock.”

The two men exited the room, then Matt turned toward his office and Ron walked toward the front doors.

“Catch ya in a while Babe,” Ron said in parting.

“Yeah, I’ll call you when I’m finished,” Matt said with a wave.

Ron passed through the entry doors and turned right, going around the side of the Administration building toward the Recreation Center. Passing through the main doors of the large facility, he glanced at the now fully equipped recreation/cafetorium, then at the kitchen which was closed but which brought back vivid memories of the attack on Peter Sigler. Walking across the large room he entered the hall that led to the library/computer room, crafts room, restrooms, office and storage room. Approaching the first room, which looked out onto the main recreation hall, he saw Jessie sitting at his desk working on some paperwork. Although hesitant, he stopped at the door and knocked.

“Come in,” a voice said from within.

Ron pushed down on the door handle and stepped into the room.

“Hello again, Jessie,” Ron said to his surprised ex-lover.

“Hi Ron,” Jessie replied. “Can I help you?”

“Not really, I’m just looking around while Matt is checking out his office for anything that might need attention.”

“Have a seat,” Jessie offered. “Can I get you coffee or a soft drink?”

“Coffee would be nice,” Ron replied. “Just a little cream if you have it.”

Jessie rose and walked to the small refreshment bar located near his desk, poured the coffee and opened the small under-counter refrigerator door taking out a container of half and half. After splashing a bit into the cup, he returned the container to its place, picked up the cup and deposited it on his desk in front of Ron.

“Thanks Jessie,” Ron said, unsmiling.

Jessie took his seat and looked at Ron who was taking a sip of the hot liquid.

“Ron,” he said, “I’d like to offer my congratulations on your commitment to Matt and to apologize for the way I acted when I first came here. I already apologized to Matt, and even though I don’t deserve anything from you, I hope you won’t hold it against me.”

“Matt told me,” Ron replied. “Your coming here opened up some old wounds, Jessie. I won’t deny that I really cared for you, and your leaving hurt me. That’s all in the past, but I’m having a hard time pretending that it never mattered. I do want you to know that I’m truly in love with Matt, and that I’ll protect my relationship with him at all costs.”

“All I want now Ron, is that we not be enemies.” Jessie stated. “I know I treated you badly, and honestly, I treated the guys I was with after you no better. When I got dumped on by my last boyfriend, I got a taste of my own medicine, and believe me I didn’t like it. Now I really want to start a new life here. If you can’t totally forgive me, I’ll understand. I’m not asking to be part of your life or to cause any grief to you and Matt, but I’d rather leave than know that you hate me.”

“I don’t believe in harboring grudges nor do I waste my time with hate,” Ron replied. “I’m not sure I’m ready to socialize with you at this stage, but I’ll not deny you the chance to make amends.”

“What can I do to make it up to you?” Jessie asked.

“Two things,” Ron responded. “First, do your job well. Matt and I both care a great deal about the boys here at Thornton. If you do your job well and you give them the love and attention they deserve, it will go a long way in proving your sincerity. The second is a bit harder. Find someone to love, someone who you care for more than you care about yourself. I’ll never rest easy until I see the look of love in your eyes for a partner that’s as sincere as what I see in Matt’s for me.”

“The first is easy. I love my job here even though the guy who was here before is a hard act to follow. Nevertheless, I’ve never been happier with any work I’ve ever done before. The second is not as easy. I’m not sure where to start.”

“You’re right about Barry, your predecessor. He was a fine man and will be truly missed. As for the other, don’t hurry to find someone. That kind of thing will happen when it’s supposed to.”

“I’m sure you’re right,” Jessie said. “Kind of off the subject, but did you know that this coming Sunday there will be a small ceremony in Barry’s honor?”

“No I didn’t,” Ron answered. “What’s happening?”

“There will be a ceremony in remembrance of Barry. The building we’re in is going to be renamed the Barry Young Memorial Building, and a bronze plaque with his likeness will be installed outside the main entrance doors.”

“That’s very fitting,” Ron said. “Matt and I will be here for sure.”

“There should be a notice on his desk.”

“I’m sure he’ll tell me about it then,” Ron concluded. “I’d better run for now. I want to check out progress on the new houses.”

“Thanks for listening Ron,” Jessie said, offering his hand. “I feel much better.”

“You’re welcome. I’ll see you again on Sunday. Goodbye for now.”

“Goodbye,” Jessie responded.

                                    *                      *                      *

45 minutes later, The RET office building, Tyler’s office

“May I speak with you Tyler?” Wes Harper asked as the principal owner of Aztec-Turner Security was speaking to his Administrative Assistant outside his office.

“Sure Wes. Come on into my office,” he replied to the Chief of Aztec’s Las Vegas operation.

He turned and led Wes through the still open door. As he closed it behind them, he asked, “What’s on your mind?”

“I’ve got a confession to make,” Wes said.

“Father Tyler is here,” Tyler said grinning. “Spill it!”

“Well, without your permission, I took it upon myself to continue the investigation of Tracy Clark and his cousin, Christine Rogers.”

“Good! So what’s the problem?”

“I spent our time and resources on an investigation for which we have no customer nor source of profit. I did it without permission or without even talking to you about it, that’s what’s wrong!”

“Who tied your leg to the chair, Wes?” Tyler asked.

“Huh?” Wes responded not comprehending.

“When I put you in charge of this office, I put you in charge! You made a judgment call. That’s what I pay you for! If it costs us something, it costs something. By the way, it cost’s both of us. Your bonus is driven by the bottom line. You have the freedom to act any way you see fit as long as it’s within reason. I’m not upset that the investigation turned out to be a dead end.”

“Oh, it didn’t,” said Wes.

“What?” Tyler asked.

“It didn’t’ turn out to be a dead end. We found out quite a few things about them both.”

“Is what you found out important?”

“Yes, I think so,” Wes responded.

“Wait just a minute!”

He picked up the phone and punched in three numbers.

“Ron, this is Tyler. Can you come into my office? Wes has something important to tell us.”

He listened to Ron’s response and then said, “Sure bring Matt too. See you in a minute.”

Turning to Wes he asked him to sit down, while they waited for Ron and Matt to appear.

Three minutes later the door opened, and Matt and Ron walked in.

“Take a seat guys,” Tyler beckoned with a sweep of his arm. “Wes has continued the investigation into Tracy Clark and his cousin Christine. He was about to reveal the results. I thought you’d be interested.”

Wes began. “After talking to Gary Franklin who had met Christine at her farm south of Phoenix when the FBI was trying to capture Tom Clark, Tracy’s brother, I got an uneasy feeling. I knew, of course, that Tom was dead and Tracy had a broken back and was awaiting trial, but that still left Christine. I sent a couple of guys to Phoenix to nose around. One of them acted as a real estate developer, and made some inquiries about her farm. It turns out that she has sold the property, for several million dollars. Following up on her forwarding address, it turns out that she has moved to Las Vegas.”

“Our office here continued the investigation, and found that Tracy has been released to her custody because of his injury, and is awaiting trial. She has rented a modest house not too far from this office where they both are living. She has also purchased a new Cadillac which was followed on more than one occasion passed here deliberately going out of her way.”

“Wow!” Ron said, almost in shock. “I had hoped that whole episode was behind us. I guess we were too distracted by other things to think about it. Good work, Wes.”

“What should we do now?” Matt asked.

“Wes, this is your baby,” Tyler said. “What do you recommend?”

“Thanks guys. I must admit that I was worried because I had spent company money on a non-revenue producing witch hunt.”

“Well, your hunt was successful, Wes. You found the witch,” Tyler responded.

“I think we should increase our surveillance for starters,” Wes recommended. “Then if we can determine what she’s up to, we can formulate a plan. Right now, everything is circumstantial. She’s done nothing illegal or improper. In fact, if she didn’t show so much interest in this office complex, I’d be hard pressed to recommend any further efforts.”

“So far your instincts have been right on-the-money, Wes,” Tyler said as a well-deserved compliment. “Continue on as you deem appropriate. The expense is no object and it won’t come out of your bonus package either. I don’t want you to ignore the profit side of our business, but you can consider that this project is fully authorized. We’ll worry about how to charge it off later. Gary Franklin is coming on board and should be through with his hiring paperwork soon. Feel free to work with him on this project. Even though he’ll be doing some traveling with me to Atlanta, there should be enough time to help with this work. I’d appreciate it if you’d take him under your wing until he understands how we operate. This project will give you the opportunity both to work more with him, and to bring him up to speed on our operation. I’ll repeat what Ron just said: Good work!”

“Thanks to you all,” Wes said. “I’d better get back to work. There is a lot to do. Thanks for your time.”

“Don’t mention it Wes,” Ron said with a smile. “Thanks again. Good bye.”

The three men shook hands with Wes Harper who then exited the room. Ron looked at Tyler and said, “You’ve got a good man there.”

“Yes, I’m more than pleased.

Three days later, Thursday, Ron and Matt’s home.

Ron, Matt, Tyler and Dan were just finishing dinner when Parker entered the dining room.

“Mr. Turner? ” Parker said, addressing Ron in a manner unusually formal for the normal ‘no company’ standard.

“Yes Parker?” Ron acknowledged.

“Mary and I have set a tentative date for our wedding. It’s for Saturday the 5th of June, if that will work for you.”

“I’m sure that will be fine,” Ron answered. “Have you considered my offer to cruise on the PT II?”

“Yes Sir, we’ve discussed it, but we think it might be too hot in Florida or the Caribbean at that time of year.”

“It’s much nicer in the Mediterranean,” Ron replied smiling. “We were talking about sending it there for the summer.”

“That would be wonderful,” Parker replied.

“We were considering docking it in Monte Carlo, but if you wish we can have it meet you elsewhere where it is easier to fly in, such as Barcelona.”

“We’ll talk about it,” Parker promised.

“Where are you going to have the wedding?” Matt asked.

“We’ve been considering that too,” Parker replied as Mary joined him from the kitchen. “We’re not church goers, so we haven’t really decided.”

“You’re welcome to have it here,” Ron said. “We can have a minister officiate if you’d like. This is your home too, you know.”

“That’s very kind, sir,” Mary replied. “We’ll discuss your generous offers and let you know very soon.”

“Good,” Ron replied. “It might make it easier here. We can accommodate quite a number of people.”

“I think there will only be 50 or so,” Mary responded. “We don’t have a lot of friends, and few family members that we feel close to.”

“Whatever you wish,” Ron said smiling. “I hope you will take at least 3 weeks off for your honeymoon.”

“Oh, we couldn’t tie up your yacht for that long,” Parker said adamantly.

“The yacht will be best for Italy, Spain, Greece, and the South of France. If you want you can spend the rest of the time in Paris, London, Germany and Switzerland you could spend a week or two in hotels wherever you wish.”

“You’ve given us a lot to think about. Let us talk about it some more and we’ll tell you what we want to do,” Parker replied. “We need to discuss how to cover your needs here too while we’re gone.”

“That’s something I suggest you work out with Dorothy. I don’t want you working as hard in the future as you have been, so we could staff up with some extra help. We might even interview some prospective staff for Tyler and Dan’s new house. It should be under construction by then, and it’s something we need to think about.”

“Thank you sir,” Mary said. “We’ll keep you informed as the plans develop.”

“We’d like you to have a wonderful time without you worrying about us,” Matt added. “Don’t worry about the expense. It’s time that someone took care of your needs, rather than the other way around.”

“I’m not sure we’d know how to behave,” Parker responded.

“Suffer!” Ron said laughing. “Thanks for including us in you plans. We’ll do all we can to make it a memorable time.”

“It’s all really too much,” Mary said. “We’re just simple people.”

“Just plan what you want to do,” Matt suggested. “If you want to go to Motel 6, it’s alright with us. Do what will make you happy.”

“Thanks Matt,” Parker said. “We’ll get back with you. Now, if there’s nothing else, we’ll get back to work.”

“Everything is fine,” Ron replied.

“Thank you all,” they both said as they turned and headed for the door leading to the kitchen.

“You’re welcome,” Matt said, answering for the four men at the table.

After they left, Matt looked at Ron.

“I’m sorry if I played down your idea of the European trip too much, Babe, but it’s their honeymoon and I think they should do whatever makes them happiest.”

“I’m sure you’re right Matt, but they’ve taken care of me for so long that I want them to have the best to show my appreciation.”

“I understand, Ron, but if they decide to do something simpler, I hope you won’t be disappointed.”

“I guess the only way to know is to let them talk about it. I’ll accept whatever they want to do. Now does that make you happier?” Ron asked appearing a little hurt.

“I don’t know how I could be happier,” Matt responded. “You make me happy, lover. That’s all I need.”

“I apologize if I sounded grumpy,” Ron responded. “I guess I’m just too used to driving the boat, so to speak.”

“It’s something you do well, Poopie, so you won’t hear me complain.”

“Have I told you lately that I love you?” Ron asked.

“Yeah,” Matt said grinning, “but I never tire of hearing it.”

Tyler looked at Dan and gave him a quick kiss, following the lead of his brother with his mate.

When the moment of tenderness passed, Tyler looked at Ron and Matt and asked, “Are you guys visiting Ronnie today?”

Matt replied, “Yes. We went this morning and are going back again in a few minutes again.”

“How’s he doing?” Dan asked.

“With some luck, he should be released tomorrow. He’s such a cutie. It’s a crime that he’s had to endure all the pain those guys put him through. What’s happening with his attackers, Tyler?”

“We’ve been working with Metro and the DA’s office. Their arraignment was yesterday, and they all pled guilty to a lesser charge of aggravated assault with intent to do bodily harm.”

“How long will they get?” Matt asked.

“At least 20 years, with the possibility of parole in 10,” Tyler replied. “Since they are young they might get a lesser sentence, but it’s not likely.”

“Let’s hope you’re right,” Ron said. “I guess I’ll never understand why people are so filled with hate just because someone else is different. It’s diversity that has made this country great. Every racial, ethnic and religious group has added to the stew we call America. Our history is one of struggles by these groups to be accepted. Every one has had to fight bigotry to become part of the whole. I think that the gay population is the last frontier of this fight. We’ll ultimately win of course but not without sacrifice.”

“Love always wins,” Matt said. “It’s the good guys over the bad guys. Sure, we’ll lose battles, but not the war.”

“Why are you so convinced?” Dan asked.

“I believe in the inherent goodness of Man,” Matt replied. “Even though most of us have things in our lives we aren’t proud of, I think that we all want to be good people. I also think that everyone wants to be loved. To be loved you have to love. It’s an exchange. But love and hate don’t mix. It is inconsistent for the far right church zealots to preach hate. If God is love, and sin is the separation of Man from God then hate separates from Him those who desire closeness with Him. If God is good, and God is love, it is contrary to His teachings that there are those whom He’s created that can be hated and outcast by those who profess belief in Him. He made us thinking creatures with the ability to reason. That reason He's endowed us with will ultimately prove the falseness of hate.”

“Amen,” Ron said. "Well guys it’s about time to go see Ronnie. Who wants to come along?”

“I’m going of course,” Matt answered.

“We’ll go too,” Dan said after an affirmative nod from Tyler.

                                    *                      *                      *

Thursday evening, University Medical Center.

“Mr. Turner?” the nurse at the nurses’ station on Ronnie’s floor said as she raised her head and recognized Ron from his twice-daily visits.

“Yes?” Ron and Tyler both said automatically.

A great smile broke out on Ron’s face as he realized that Tyler had spoken in response to their family name. He knew that it signaled complete acceptance in Tyler’s mind of their common heritage.

“Don’t mind that clown,” Ron said laughing. “He’s my brother.”

“I was just going to say the same thing,” Tyler quipped, with a feigned frown.

“Doctor Simoncelli asked me to tell you that your son can be released tomorrow.”

It was Matt’s turn to smile as Ron ignored the error.

“When is ‘check out time’?” Ron asked.

“Anytime between 10 AM and noon will be fine,” the nurse responded.

“Please tell the doctor that we’ll be here at ten,” Ron directed.

“Fine, sir. I’m sure the patient will be glad to leave. The only time he seems really happy is when you’re here.”

“He’ll be much happier at home, I’m sure,” Ron responded as he followed the others who had continued on when he stopped at the nurse’s desk.

“Hi Ronnie,” Matt said as he entered the room followed by Tyler and Dan.

“Hi Matt, Hi Tyler, Hi Dan,” the youngster said looking at the now empty doorway. “Where’s Ron?” he asked with a worried look on his face.

“He stopped at the nurses’ station on the way in,” Matt replied. “I think he’s finding out when you can get out of here.”

“Well when?” Ronnie asked excitedly.

“I’m not sure,” Matt kidded. “I thought I heard something about next week?”

Ronnie’s smile evaporated.

“But….but…” Ronnie stammered.

“Tomorrow morning,” Ron said grinning as he entered the room.

Ronnie’s smile grew bigger than before.

“Whoopee!!! I can’t wait! I wanna go home now!

“Hold your horses kiddo,” Ron said laughing. “Speaking of horses, did I tell you that we have some at our house?”

“You’re kidding me,” Ronnie said, not believing what he’d heard.

“He’s speaking the truth,” Matt replied. “The last time we counted there were seven of the critters.”

“Wow! I always wanted to ride a horse,” Ronnie said enthusiastically.

“I’m sure you won’t be bored, what with school and all,” Ron responded.

Ronnie’s enthusiasm vanished.

“School? I haven’t been to a school since my dad threw me out.” Ronnie said sadly.

“I’m sure that’s true,” Ron responded, “but it’s only been a few months. I thought we’d see if you couldn’t catch up by going to summer school.”

“Aw, do I have to?” Ronnie asked.

“We’ll talk about it at home. I have a counselor from the school system coming over next week. We’ll see where you are, and decide on what’s best,” Ron answered. “If you don’t go to summer school, you’ll probably have to stay back a grade. That may be best, but we won’t know until we look at where you are in school.”

“Well ok I guess,” Ronnie said with a frown. “I’m sure you know best.”

Ron smiled.

“Of course, we’d have to take a short vacation first,” Ron admitted slyly.

The enthusiasm of the youth perked up again.

“A vacation? Where do we get to go?” Ronnie asked.

“Matt and I were thinking about taking a short cruise on our boat in San Diego, after a stop at Disneyland on the way.”

“Yeah!!!” Ronnie whooped, then he asked haltingly, “I getta go too don’t I?”

“Sure, we wouldn’t go without you,” Matt responded. “Heck, we might even bring Tyler and Dan, and maybe we could find a friend for you too!”

“Yeah! All right! We could all go to the Zoo and Sea World there, too!” Ronnie said clapping his hands in anticipation.

Ron looked at Matt with an expression that said, ‘What are we getting ourselves into?’

Tyler and Dan saw the look on Ron’s face, and responded with grins as big as the one that appeared on the face of Ron’s partner.”

                                        *   *   *   *   *