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

The author reserves copyright privileges as of June 2004. This work may not be posted on any other website, nor reproduced, except for personal use, without the written permission of the author.

Dedication: To those we love, and those who love us.

If you’d like to comment or just say ‘Hi”, my e-mail address is John Tucker.


Chapter Forty-six

Monday evening, Ron and Matt’s home

The four men and Ronnie settled into seats in the family room of Ron and Matt’s palatial home. Jerry remained in his wheel chair and had moved it next to the upholstered chair where Ronnie fidgeted nervously. Jerry reached out his hand to his friend’s, holding it to give his new soul mate confidence and assurance that he was there to support him.

“Have you given some thought to our offer to take you into our family as our son?” Ron asked in a kind voice. It was evident that he was prepared for the worst, even though the concern that was revealed in his face conflicted with the small smile his lips displayed.

“Yes sir,” Ronnie said with an uncommon formality. “I want you to know that there is nothing I want more than to say yes.”

‘Uh oh,’ Ron’s mind registered.

Ronnie continued. “This is scaring me to death, because of the risk of losing your love and your rejecting me. I can’t say yes though, unless you know the truth, even though you might hate me for it and throw me away.”

“That’s all we can ask son. We promise that if you tell us the truth we’ll stand behind you. We’ll never throw you away. Lies are much more destructive to love than bad news. We all make mistakes,” Matt admitted freely. “We’ll listen while you tell us what’s on your mind.”

“It all started when I was living on the streets after my dad threw me out...”

For the next 15 minutes Ronnie told the story he had revealed to Jerry only hours before. The four men listened with few questions as the youth poured out his tale.

“And now it’s the present,” Ronnie said with tears in his eyes. “You’ve asked me to be your son, and at the same time I’ve gotta  betray you or pay the consequences. I know that bad man will do it too. I could see it in his eyes.”

“Ronnie, my boy,” Ron said smiling. “Nothing you’ve told us makes us love you any less. We’re proud that you’ve had the courage to tell us. You’re still the same boy that we love, that’s what’s important.”

Relief showed on Ronnie’s face, yet the concern of uncertainty remained.

“But what are we gonna do? He’ll hurt me and he’s after you too.”

“The easy thing to do would be to take you away from here, far from where the man can reach you, but that’s not the best thing,” Ron answered. “We don’t run from problems. Together we are strong. When you become one of us you become strong too, knowing that we’re together, facing life’s dangers and challenges as a team of loving men.”

“Do you know who the man is?” Tyler asked.

“I think so,” Ronnie said with a tinge of doubt in his voice.

“What do you know?” Tyler probed.

“Well, when I first met him I was scared waiting in the car for him to bring out the sandwich. I looked in the glove box of his car. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for but I found some papers for the car in there. I guess I was hoping there would be money that I could take and just get away.”

“Was there a name on the papers?” Tyler asked.

“Yeah, I think it was….” Ronnie paused as he thought hard, “Darn… let’s see… I think it was Benjamin...something…”

“Young!” the four men said all at once.

“Yeah, that’s it!” Ronnie said. “Do you know him?”

“Very well, unfortunately,” Ron replied. “His son, Bennie, is gay. When he found out about Bennie’s sexuality, he beat him and threw him out. We found him on the streets and found a home for him in a center for gay youths that we sponsor. The man had some men kidnap his son and in the process, a friend of ours was killed trying to protect him. Later two of the men in the kidnapping were killed in a car wreck in their attempt to escape and Bennie was injured but is now ok. You’ll meet him one day soon. His father is facing charges in the kidnapping. He hates us, but we’re not afraid of him.”

“Wow!  I knew he was bad but I never guessed he was that bad!” Ronnie exclaimed. “What are we gonna do?”

“Nothing right now,” Tyler said, taking over. “My guess is that he’ll try to contact you at school. From now on you’ll be protected. Before you go to school tomorrow, I’m going to give you a “panic button” that you will carry with you everywhere. There will always be someone close, though you probably won’t ever see them or even know that they’re there. If anyone threatens to harm you, all you have to do is push the button and within a minute help will arrive. You’re not to use it if you are contacted, unless you think the guy is going to hurt you. Right now I’m thinking we should set a trap for Mr. Ben Young.”

“How are we going to protect him within the school grounds?” Matt inquired.

“Do you know anyone within the school district?” Tyler asked Ron.

“Yes I do,” Ron answered. “You want to put a plainclothes man on the inside?”

“Yes,” Tyler said smiling. “I think Ronnie’s school could use another janitor.”

“You can do that?” Ronnie asked, astonished.

“In a heart-beat son,” Ron replied. “He may not be in place first thing in the morning, but my guess is that by noon, we’ll have a man inside.”

“In the meantime, we’ll put a couple of men outside the school,” Tyler decided. “My guess is that since you sent the second postcard, he’ll be getting ready to move. He has to do something pretty quickly, because his court date is coming up soon. If we have to, we’ll send the third postcard, telling him you’re ready and asking for instructions. When we’re through talking, I’d like you to find that remaining postcard and give it to me. We might need it for evidence if we don’t send it.

“Can you do all of this?” Matt asked Ronnie. “If you’re afraid, we won’t make you do it. We don’t want to see you hurt.”

“I’ll try,” Ronnie said. “As long as I know that help is near, I can be pretty brave. It makes me mad that the man would hurt his own son.”

“Good! We’ll work on the plan and make any adjustments necessary as soon as we find out what his intentions are,” Tyler said. “In the meantime, if you’re contacted you’re to pretend that you still intend to accuse Ron and Matt.”

“Ok,” Ronnie said with conviction, “I can do it.”

“Ronnie, I hope all this means that you’re saying ‘yes’ to becoming our son?” asked Ron hopefully.

“Yes ‘Dad’,” Ronnie said smiling.

“That’s great. How’s about a hug for your two new dads?”

Ronnie jumped from his chair and ran to the sofa where Ron and Matt sat side by side. He leaped into their open arms and warm hugs were exchanged to the delight of the onlookers, Tyler, Dan and Jerry.

After a few moments of hugs and some tears, Ronnie got up and gave Tyler and Dan hugs too, then turned to his friend Jerry.”

“Thanks Jer,” he said as he gave his final hug to his friend. “You were right.”

“Like Gramma always said, ‘You’ve gotta have faith,’’ Jerry answered.

“Hey Dads,” Ronnie said enjoying his new role, “Can Jer and I go up to my room. Uh… we’ve got some things to discuss.”

“Sure son,” Ron said grinning. “I just wanted to tell you one more thing to make you feel better about this thing with Ben Young.”

“Yeah?  What’s that?” Ronnie asked.

“You remember what I said earlier about it being okay to lie to liars?”

“Yeah, I remember.”

“Well Ben Young is a politician. They’re the biggest liars on this planet!”

                                    *                      *                      *

Tuesday morning, 11 AM, RET Office Building, Tyler’s office.

Tyler looked in bewilderment at the piles of reports and correspondence on his desk. He had arrived only moments before, after seeing Jerry and Dan off at the airport. Now he faced a week’s backlog of catching up. The evening before he had called Wes Harper to set up the security for Ronnie at school, and earlier in the day had heard from Ron that it was cleared with the school district to have a new ‘janitor’ at Ronnie’s school. He felt sure that the present janitor would be delighted to have some free help for a week or two.

A knock on his door pleasantly interrupted his digging into the pile of papers on his desk, his major task for the day.

“Come in,” he called, knowing his ‘executive assistant’ Wayne Templeton, was away from his desk.

Wes Harper stepped through the portal and after pouring himself a cup of offered coffee, took a chair opposite Tyler at his desk.

“Ronnie’s security is in place,” he reported. “We’ll have John, the new ‘janitor’, in position by noon. I met with the principal after Ron called, and everything is moving into place nicely.”

“Good work, Wes. I knew I could count on you,” Tyler complimented.

“Thanks. I wanted to bring you up to date on a few things we’ve done since you’ve been gone.”

“Shoot,” Tyler invited.

“For one we found the security breach at Ron and Matt’s. It took a bit of  ‘clandestine observation’ to find it, but it seems there was a security gap between shifts. That’s how the bomber got in and out. That has now been corrected. I’m a bit embarrassed about it, but you needed to know.”

“I appreciate the initiative, Wes. I’m sure the breach was there before we took over. I’m just glad that nothing serious happened. What else?”

“We’ve finished the security system at Thornton. The common buildings and all the units are now equipped with alarms and the video surveillance system is in place and operating. We set up a security office in the Rec. building and everything is monitored 24/7. It’s not perfect, but it can never be with open access to the campus, and the freedom to come and go for the kids there.”

“Well, we don’t want to make the place a prison,” Tyler commented. “At least now we’ve got a fair chance to keep an eye on activities there. My guess is that the principal job of our security men will be to keep peace among the ‘inmates’,” he said laughing.

“I suspect you’re right,” Wes responded with a grin. “I’m going out there to do a final inspection this afternoon. Wanna come along?”

“I’d love to Wes, but this pile of paper has a hammer-lock on me. There’s a lot to do, what with all the excitement of the Atlanta purchase.”

“Yes. Congratulations on that. Do you think that Gary will be running that operation?”

“Perhaps,” Tyler speculated, “unless of course you’re interested. He has good ties there, but you have more experience.”

“If that’s an offer, I’ll talk to my wife and we’ll consider it,” Wes responded.

“It would mean about 20% more money for you, since all the southern offices will be reporting through Atlanta. Of course it would mean more work too, at least until you got things organized.”

“It sounds like a good opportunity,” Wes agreed before changing the subject. “Would it be ok to take Gary with me out to Thornton this afternoon? I suspect that if I were to go to Atlanta, he would be named as Manager here?”

“Sure, he can go. As for your second question, it’s a definite possibility,” Tyler said. “Why don’t you broach the subject with your wife and get her input about moving. If it looks like it’s something that you both want we’ll talk more. Let’s just keep it loose for the time being. It will take a month to close the deal anyway.”

“Sounds good,” Wes responded. “I know she’d hate to give up her new house, but I’ll give her credit, she’s been a real sport about doing whatever is necessary to further my career. If it turns out that we go, I know I’ll miss being here. I really like Las Vegas and the organization we’re building here and around the country. I’ll miss being ‘in the know’ about all the exciting things we’re doing company-wise.”

“Yes,” Tyler said. “But as with everything in life, there’s no ‘free lunch.’ Even for good things there’s still a price to pay, including  career advancement. And with our technology, you can still be in the loop.”

“I have to agree with all of that,” Wes responded as he rose from his chair. “I’ll get on with my tasks. >From that pile of paper on your desk, it looks like you have more than enough to do today.”

“Don’t remind me,” Tyler said looking wearily again at the stack in front of him.

                                    *                      *                      *

Mid afternoon, the Thornton Center

Wes’s sedan pulled into an empty parking place at the Thornton Center that was marked at the curb for ‘visitors’.  The trip to the Center was spent discussing the recent trip to Atlanta, and the progress that had been made in the purchase negotiations. Wes asked about living conditions there and the recreational possibilities. There was no doubt that the countryside around the Capital city of Georgia was far more attractive than the arid “Entertainment Capital of he World.”  Yet with that beauty came heat with steaming humidity and a myriad of bugs that infest the damper parts of the country.

The discussion gravitated to each other’s possibility of being named the Manager of the Southern Regional Office of Aztec-Turner Security. Neither felt that it was a competition, and that each had strengths and weaknesses that would be weighed by Tyler, and, to a lesser extent, by Ron.

Upon arrival at the Center the discussion ended and the men left the car to review the security setup that had recently been modified and completed. After a courtesy visit to Leonard in the Administration Building, the men moved to the Recreation Building where the new security office was now in full operation. As they neared the doors, they paused at the statue of Barry Young, the first Director of Sports and Activities who had been killed trying to prevent the kidnapping of Benny Young by the thugs hired by Benny’s father. Barry Young had also been Gary’s lover.

“He was a handsome man,” Wes commented as they looked at the statue and plaque.

“More important,” Gary added, “he was a good man. There was not a mean bone in his body.”

“It’s our loss,” Wes observed as he stepped toward the doors.

“Yes, our loss,” Gary muttered under his breath before following Wes into the building.

Jessie Fox, the current Director, walked across the wood floor to meet the two men.

“Leonard called and said that you were on the way,” Jessie said. “I thought I’d roll out the welcome mat.” He extended his hand. “It’s good to see you both again,” he added.

“Heck, I was here only last week,” Wes commented.

“Well, Gary then, if you insist,” Jessie said smiling.

“We thought we’d come in and see the new security installation,” Wes informed the handsome man dressed in gym shorts.

“Come along,” Jessie said as he turned to lead the way. “The new security office is finished and staffed. It’s nice to have some company during the day when most of the kids are in school. That will change though,” he added, “as soon as school’s out. The kids like to hang out here, as there is plenty to keep them occupied. We have several programs to improve the kids’ athletic skills so that they can feel comfortable being on little league teams, or joining Pop Warner Football and the like. While I know it’s like an antithesis of the stereotypical gay image, I’m convinced that kids will like things they do well, so we’re trying to work with them on their physical development, as healthy, developed bodies lead to self respect.”

“Not to mention that they attract other guys,” Gary said laughing.

“That too, I guess,” Jessie agreed with a sly grin.

“There’s more than one way to keep kids from becoming couch potatoes”, Gary observed.

“Oh we have several kids that are rather cerebral too, but we use a lot of peer pressure to get them to participate in athletics, even on a minimum level,” Jessie reported. “Several of them are pretty good athletes, and it’s encouraging to see the crossing of the lines both ways between the jocks and the egg-heads.”

The men arrived at the security office and Jessie excused himself so that they could discuss the security operation with the officer on duty. After they toured the office and the building, the security trio visited each of the houses and spoke with the house parents to assure themselves that each was acquainted with emergency procedures, not only for security, but also for fire.

On leaving the last house, Wes said, “I’d like to suggest something to Leonard, Gary.” I’ll do that, and you can go say goodbye and thanks to Jessie. Meet me at the car in, say, ten minutes?”

“Sounds good to me,” Gary agreed as he turned toward the Recreation Building.

Ten minutes later Gary left the building with Jessie’s phone number in his pocket and a promise from Jessie of a phone call.

                                    *                      *                      *

About the same time in Ron’s office at the RET building.

Ron, Matt and Tyler had gathered in Ron’s office at his request and were sitting in the conversation area sipping tea.

“I hope I’m not rushing things,” Ron began, “But I think we should start adoption proceedings for Ronnie, and for Jerry too if you and Dan are ready, Tyler.”

“In our case, it’s more that Jerry needs a little time to get over Emma’s death,” Tyler responded. “We love the kid and will adopt him in a minute, when the time is right.”

“Well, I think belonging to you guys right away as a son would give him the security he needs to get over Emma’s death and to win his fight with leukemia,” Matt said.

“That’s a good point, Matt,” Tyler agreed. “I’ll talk to Dan about it tonight and let you know.”

“That’s fair,” Ron said with a nod. “It will take us longer with Ronnie anyway. Even though his dad doesn’t want him, it will be far easier to adopt him if we have the father’s agreement. I have no doubt that we will be successful, but it might just take longer than with Jerry. I could set up a meeting for us all with Steve Bartholomew, the attorney we’ve used before for child custody work.”

“Sounds good to me,” Tyler agreed. “I wish that Dan could be here.”

“Yes, that would be ideal,” Ron conceded. “However I suspect that it will take a month or more to do the paperwork and get a court date. There’s a reasonable chance that both Jerry and Dan will be back here then.”

“That’s true, if my prayers are answered,” Tyler said.

“Ours too,” Matt said, joining Tyler’s sentiment. “Speaking of Jerry, if there is any news on the health front tonight when you and Dan speak, please let us know. We’re all hoping that his absence from treatment during the trip won’t have a negative effect on the wonderful progress he’s been making.”

“Amen to that,” Ron said.

“Sure, I’ll give you a call if there’s any news at all. And I’ll also let you know what Dan and I decide about proceeding with the adoption.”

“Thanks brother. I guess we’ll see you at dinner,” Ron said as he rose from his chair.

“Yep. Thanks for the break. Another 30 minutes work and I’ll have finished with my catch-up paperwork. Then I think I’ll go home and jump into the pool before dinner.”

“That sounds like a good plan,” Ron agreed as Tyler left. “Matt, let’s clear the decks in about thirty minutes and head home too.”

“It won’t take me that long, Babe. I wanna see you in that Speedo as soon as possible.”

“Don’t kid me, Matty Baby. You just wanna see me put it on.” 

“Yeah,” Matt said with a leer. “It’s like that old TV show, ‘Mission Impossible’.”

“It’s only that way because you keep manhandling the luggage,” Ron said accusingly.

“Heh, heh, heh,” Matt responded with a wink.

                                    *                      *                      *

The same evening, 8 P.M. Ron and Matt’s family room

Ron, Matt, and Tyler sat sipping after-dinner drinks having left the dining room table where Mary had served her usual outstanding fare. The men were casually dressed in shorts and shirts that had been thrown on after their hour-long lap workout in the large outside pool, and the following showers. Ronnie was in the game room playing a video game and was engrossed in becoming proficient. The day had been uneventful for the youngster, with no attempted contact from Ben Young.  As Tyler had promised, the security detail was for all intents and purposes invisible, except that Ronnie had noticed a new janitor whose body was much more chiseled than ones that usually were found in public schools.

The conversation had drifted to the weather that had become unseasonably warm, but was expected to cool off in a couple of days, when Parker stepped into the room.

“Mr. Tyler sir. Telephone,” he announced as he handed the walk-around phone to the buff security man. 

“Tyler Turner,” he said into the mouthpiece.

“Hi Babe.  How are you and how’s Jerry? Did you have a good trip?” 

After a few ‘uh huhs’ and ‘yes’s’ and a couple of silent nods, Tyler let out a whoop!

“They’re sure?” he was yelling excitedly. “Really?” 

“Hot damn!” 

“Hang on a sec Babe, I gotta tell Ron and Matt!”

Putting his hand over the mouthpiece he said to his brother and his partner, “Dan said that the doctor did a blood test of Jerry, when they got in, and there’s no sign of leukemia. Jerry’s in total remission!”

“Damn! That’s great!” Ron and Matt both said as they gave Ron’s brother a hug.

“Just a minute,” he requested.

“Is he back in the hospital?” he asked Dan in Houston.

“He’s in the apartment?” Tyler asked incredulously.

“When are you coming home?”

“Mmm. Not ‘til Friday, huh? Well I guess it’s still great news.”

“Go tell Ronnie,” Tyler said to his brother and his partner in a stage whisper. “Tell him that I’ll put Jerry on the phone for him when I get through talking to Dan, but it might be awhile.”

“You got it,” Matt said as he and Ron hurried toward the game room.

Upon arrival, they found Ronnie engrossed in his game.

“Uh, can we interrupt?” Matt asked.

“Just a minute,” Ronnie said in deep concentration. “I’m almost past my record score.”

Ron and Matt watched as Ronnie suddenly pounded on the controls in frustration.

“Darn! You made me lose my edge,” he said shaking his head. “It better be important!”

“Sorry. I guess it could have waited,” Ron said. “Tyler just got some news on Jerry’s condition.”

That announcement got Ronnie’s rapt attention.

“How is he?” Ronnie asked with genuine concern.

“The doctors think that he’s in complete remission,” Ron answered.

“What does that mean in plain talk?” Ronnie questioned.

“It means, that unless the cancer reappears later, he’s completely well.” Ron said with a smile.

“Yippee!” Ronnie whooped with pleasure, jumping up and down in excitement. “Why didn’t you say so?”

“Some people are never satisfied,” Ron muttered with a wink at Matt.

“I gotta talk to him, right now!” Ronnie demanded.

“Tyler is on the phone with Dan. You can talk to Jerry when they’re through after while.”

“We got more than one phone,” Ronnie reasoned.

“Yes, but there’s only one phone at the apartment,” Matt explained.

“Oh… Yeah,” Ronnie said in disappointment. Then his face lighted up. “You mean he’s not in the hospital?”

“Nope,” Matt smiled, “he’s staying at the apartment with Dan.”

“Wow!” The gleam from Ronnie’s exposed teeth would have lit up a room.

“Tyler said he’d come and find you when he’s finished,” Matt said. “Just be patient.”

“Ok. Ok. When are they coming back here?” Ronnie asked next.

“I think I overheard that they’re returning Friday,” Ron said as a veiled guess.

“Shoot! If he’s well, why can’t he come back tomorrow?” Ronnie asked.

“I’m sure they want to make certain that the cancer doesn’t come back right away,” Matt said. “We don’t know all the details yet and won’t until Tyler gets through.”

“I sure hate waiting,” Ronnie commented.

“Yes, it’s one of the tougher things in life,” Ron agreed. “Why don’t you go back to your game?”

“I couldn’t keep my mind on it now,” Ronnie admitted.

“Then I guess we’ll just have to go into the kitchen and see if Mary has any ice cream,” Matt suggested.

“Yeah, let's  do that!” Ronnie agreed.

The two men followed the boy out of the room, headed for the kitchen.

                                    *                      *                      *

At the same time, Senator Ben Young’s study.

“Orville,” the Senator said into the phone. “I need you check the mailbox first thing tomorrow. I’ve got a message I want you to deliver to the kid at school. Your job as janitor there will be perfect cover. It’s time to move!”

                                   *            *            *            *            *