The Key Anthology:

Frankie and Aaron

Chapter 11

Final thoughts


Aaron left Martin and Angelo back at the fancy hotel room where everything had started. Dressed in a light windbreaker and with a cap on his head he walked through the old neighborhood. In the past he’d always wanted to be noticed, but not now. He had the collar turned up on the windbreaker and walked slightly hunched over with his hands in his pockets. As he looked around the neighborhood, his old life and its memories came into his mind unbidden. When he stood outside the old and rundown apartment building he used to live in with his parents, he felt himself stiffen up and grow hot. It was almost as if he could still feel his father’s hard, calloused hands slapping his bare skin or the stings of the leather belt both his parents used on him which left welts and bruises. There was nothing to miss about his old life with them and there was no love for him in that building. But there was nothing for him in his current life either—he was lost and alone. He turned from there, and continued walking, not even realizing where he was going until he stood outside Frankie Jr’s sandwich shop. Peering in, he saw no sign of Frankie Jr., but he did see Wanda and she looked like she was bussing a table. Aaron walked away wondering why he’d even come to the sandwich shop. Seconds later he felt a slap on the back of his shoulder.

“Ya crazy, son of a bitch! Ya gonna leave without even saying hello and missing a chance to see me in my new career.”

Aaron turned around and was warmly embraced by Wanda who ushered him into the sandwich shop and seated him in a booth.

“We’ve got a lot to talk about, boy,” Wanda said. “What can I get you?”

“How’s about some fries and a Coke?” Aaron said.

“Oh, so we’ve decided to live dangerously today,” Wanda said. “I’ll go get that for you, then we can blab.”

It was an hour or so later when Aaron hailed a cab to go back to the hotel. Sitting back in the seat, he closed his eyes and thought about everything Wanda had told him. He was happy she’d found a way out of whoring and into a decent career. She’d also told him about what Frankie Jr. was planning and that he was leaving town. Being Wanda, she’d also said he’d be a fool not to pack up and go with Frankie Jr. Aaron didn’t want to be a heavy weight around his friend’s neck, but maybe he didn’t have to be, he thought. Maybe he could be a help to him. Suddenly being a waiter, or even a busboy, in a greasy sandwich shop didn’t seem like such a bad proposition. He faced the fact that he’d just about hit rock bottom as a whore.

“We’re here,” the cab driver said, in a rough, gravely voice.

Aaron paid him and got out of the cab. He was grateful that both Martin and Angelo were asleep when he entered their suite. To his surprise, the minute his head hit the pillow he fell fast asleep. Before the alarm even sounded he was up and getting ready. Whenever he knew he had to be somewhere his body would automatically wake him early. Once he’d showered he looked himself over in the bathroom mirror. His hair was longer than when he’d left, he was just a bit thinner, and to be honest with himself, he looked tired and worn out. He heard the door open and Angelo walked into the room.

“I didn’t want to bother you, Aaron, just wish you luck.”

“That’s a funny thing to tell someone going to a funeral,” Aaron said.

“Maybe I’m hoping things work out for you and that Frankie Jr. guy and you don’t come back.”

“You want Martin all to yourself, huh?” Aaron said, then smiled.

Angelo smiled back at him and they embraced as if they’d been lifelong friends. Aaron got dressed in a dark suit he’d managed to buy before they left France and was ready to walk out the door when Martin emerged dressed in an expensive navy suit. He walked to Aaron, gave him a hug, then kissed him hard on the mouth.

“I never even noticed when you got out of bed,” Aaron said.

“I’m quiet when I wanna be. I showered sometime in the middle of the early morning before the sun came out, while you were still asleep. You know I can dress quickly when the need arises. No worries, I’ll keep my distance in the church. I’m just curious about the young man who you’d come all the way back home to see. And I’m also wondering whether you’ll choose to stay with him or leave with me.”

Aaron started to say something but felt Martin’s finger pressed against his lips.

“No need to say anything,” Martin said. “Not yet.”

They walked out the door and to a waiting limo.


* * * *


There was a large group of people assembled at the church but it was no surprise to Aaron as Frankie Jr’s mom was well known and highly respected in her circles. True to his word, Martin found a seat in the back row, out of the way. Frankie Jr’s Mom saw Aaron and immediately went to him, gave him a hug, and pointed to a back room where Frankie Jr. was waiting. She mentioned that Wanda was busy minding the sandwich shop, after which Aaron said a few words to her before leaving to find Frankie Jr. He felt apprehensive standing outside the open doorway of the room where Frankie Jr waited, and kept his head held down.

Frankie Jr. looked up and saw him. Their eyes met for a moment, then Frankie Jr. ran to his friend whom he hugged and held tightly for a few moments.

“I missed you, Aaron, I’m glad you came. Your hair’s longer—I like it.”

“How could I not be here after all your parents have done for me?” He looked at Frankie Jr., and noticed some changes in him.

Frankie Jr. smiled shyly. “I guess you noticed I’ve lost weight. Twenty pounds, to be exact, from going to the gym. And I cut my hair, it’s still wavy but more tame and professional. You were always so keen on appearance and I never did take good care of mine. My appearance that is… well you know what I’m talking about. I cut back on the fries and—”

Aaron interrupted him with a passionate kiss on the lips that shocked Frankie Jr. for a second.

“You always looked good to me, Frankie Jr.,” Aaron said. “I guess it was just easier for me to make fun of you, then to face up to what I really felt. But you knew… didn’t you? I mean you had to know….”

“Yeah,” Frankie Jr. said, pulling back from Aaron but keeping a hand on his shoulder. He leaned forward and whispered in Aaron’s ear. “I always knew how much I turned you on and how much you turned me on.” He took a step or two back and smiled. “Why do you think I’ve waited for you so long.”

“You deserve better than me,” Aaron said.

“Maybe,” Frankie Jr. said. “But it makes no difference because you’re what I want. Still, it’s time you made a decision because I have to move on and I’d rather not do it alone.”

“OK,” Aaron said. “I don’t have much in this world, but I’m a really hard worker—or I can be a really hard worker. I’ve seen too much, Frankie, and I’m ashamed I ever made fun of what you do.”

“Just tell me you wanna come with me and leave your old life behind, that’s all that matters right now. And don’t worry about anything else. We’ll both have to work hard to make a go of the new place but we can do it together.” He reached out and took hold of Aaron’s hand.

Aaron felt a tear in his eye and gave Frankie’s hand a squeeze. “I’m sorry about your pops.”

“It’s OK. He felt no pain and he was ready to go. He’d hoped you’d come back to town. He even told me if we went into business together we’d have his blessing for that and any other partnership we might form.”

Aaron laughed. “Your dad said that?”

“Yeah. He always knew about us it turns out… so did Mom. They both love you a lot. I hope you realize that.”

“I did… I always did . It was just hard to love myself, which made it harder to love anyone else. Speaking of hard people to love; I don’t see my parents.”

“They came by to pay their respects earlier. They seemed a little shook up when they left. Someone told me that they went from here to the bar.”

“Typical,” Aaron said. “I’m surprised they had the decency to show up.”

The pastor walked in quietly. “It’s time, boys. Aaron, it’s good to see you.” He gave Aaron a warm embrace and whispered, “You’ve been missed by a lot of people around here.”

“Thanks, Father Kelley,” Aaron said. “Maybe we can talk later. I could stand to give a good confession on my part before I start my new life.”

“Good,” Father Kelley said. “I’m glad you’ll be going with Frankie Jr. then. You two can take care of each other.”

“Does everyone know our business around here?” Frankie Jr. said, not really that upset.

“Anyone that’s known you two since you were but wee lil ones remembers how you always watched out for one another. Off the record, I think it’s nice and a good thing you’re going to start a life together. And sorry, later I’ll have to confess myself, for listening outside the door. Everyone laughed before leaving the room.

Frankie Jr’s Mom insisted on Aaron sitting with them during the funeral and at the grave side. But the entire time Aaron was aware that Martin was never very far away. Frankie Jr. finally took Aaron to a nearby mausoleum on the grounds, away from the crowds.

“Who’s the guy you keep staring at, Aaron? The sickly looking man.”

“I’m sorry, Frankie, he insisted on coming to see whether I decided to stay with him or you. He’s the one I went away with… the john I was screwing.”

“It’s OK, I was just curious. It’s all in the past now, right. I started seeing someone when you left too, but that’s over with now. It’s no big deal, honest. You never hid that life from me—I always knew.”

Aaron moved to hug Frankie Jr when he heard someone behind him.

“Well, I guess you’ve decided and I’ve lost,” Martin said, holding out his hand for Frankie Jr. to shake. “So sorry about your Dad. You two make a nice looking couple, I wonder if you’ll be happy. So few people are in this world.”

“Don’t worry about us,” Frankie Jr. said.

“You know what Aaron is and what he’s done and still love him?” Martin said.

“Yes, Sir. And he loves me.”

“Good,” Martin said. “That’s good. Maybe Aaron will stay on the straight and narrow. Pardon the word straight. But, he’d be one of the first I’ve known to not look back at his old life and the money.” He smiled. “Still there always has to be a first time. A first time for sex and a first time for true love to win out. I know when it’s time to make my exit. Aaron, will you at least help me back to the limo I’m feeling a bit weak?”

“Can I help?” Frankie Jr. said.

“I’m used to leaning on Aaron,” Martin said. “You’d better go to your mother so she has someone to lean on.”

Frankie looked at Aaron.

“It’s fine, go on,” Aaron said.

Martin leaned on Aaron as they walked to the limo.

“Say, Aaron, is there anything I can offer you so that you’ll stay with me just till the end—which should be soon now?”

“I’m sorry, Martin, really, but Frankie Jr. needs me. It’s our chance and I don’t wanna blow it.”

They got to the limo where the driver was waiting with the back door open.

“Do you mean there’s no amount of money that could ever sway you from him, ever? You can take the money back to Frankie Jr. It would help, wouldn’t it?”

It took Aaron a moment to answer. He didn’t want to think he could ever go back to that life, but if things got desperate who knew what he would do.

“It would help, but I hope more than anything that I’ll never go back to my life as a whore.”

“Maybe I can help you with that,” Martin said, as Aaron was helping him into the limo.

“Ouch!” Aaron felt a sharp pinch in his arm then blacked out.

The next time Aaron woke up he was lying in an alley with the limo blocking the way so no one could see what was going on. Three tall, husky-looking black man were standing over him. To the side, leaning against the limo were Martin and the driver.

“I did tell you there would be a price to pay,” Martin said.

Aaron couldn’t speak and tried to stand but his legs were wobbly. That’s when he felt the first punch to his side and the other to his face.

“Have fun with him boys, I want to be entertained!” Martin said, laughing.

The punches came faster and Aaron could see the blood spurting out from his face. It hurt, it hurt badly and there was nothing he could do… not even cry. He felt his clothes being ripped off his body, then he lay there naked with nothing to block the attackers’ savage punches and kicks. His stomach hurt and he vomited all over himself, but the men just laughed.

“Clean him up in your own special way, boys!” Martin said.

Aaron felt warm streams of piss making his open cuts burn and still the punches kept coming. More and more to his face, then one of the men pushed Aaron’s face into a puddle of piss and pebbles. Aaron tried again to stand up. He thought he heard himself whisper Frankie Jr’s name but wasn’t sure if it was just in his mind. Out of the corner of his eye, which was getting puffy, he thought he saw Angelo hiding behind some boxes. He tried to call out to him, but couldn’t—and he wasn’t entirely sure it wasn’t his mind playing tricks on him.

“Clean my dick off, bitch!” one of the men said as he shoved his dick into Aaron’s mouth.

Aaron choked and vomited again. He couldn’t even tell where pain was coming from anymore. Everything hurt and he tried to stand again. But he was hit from behind as someone else kicked the back of his legs and then his stomach. They slapped him so hard across the face he fell backward into the wet piss. There was nothing he could do anymore. He was weak… weaker than he’d ever been, and he felt his body shutting down. It was over. Just as everything was taking a turn for the better… he was finished. Something gleaming on the pavement caught his eye. The key that started it all had fallen out of his pocket. It had led him to the life he thought he wanted and it was the last thing he saw before everything around him started getting dark and the world went black.


To be continued.


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