Disclaimer: the following story is completely fictional. It describes sexual acts between boys and men and boys on boys so if you don't like that sort of thing, don't read it! However if you do, I appreciate feedback.
Odd Team: Michael, Robert, David, Oliver.
Even Team: Josh, Philip, Akira, Nick, Lauro.
"Thanks for not voting me off guys," Robert said, shifting uncomfortably as he faced his two teammates.
"Michael was a jerk," Oliver said dismissively before walking past Robert into the showers.
He watched Oliver go before turning back to Dave, who was examining the wall, which suddenly made him feel very nervous. Was Dave having second thoughts now that he knew about his older friend?
"Why didn't you tell me?"
Robert swallowed the lump in his throat and shrugged. "It never came up." Dave glared at him and started to turn and walk away. Robert grabbed his arm, "It's not like it's something you tell people."
"We're all bumboys." Dave snapped, repeating what Oliver had said earlier.
"No, we're not." Seeing the confusion in the other boy's face, Robert explained. "I like the stuff I do with my Coach. I like sucking his cock. I like when he sucks mine. I like when he puts it in me. I like when he kisses me and hugs me and just about everything else we do. This show is different. I'll admit I'm having fun, but it's not the same. It feels different."
"So I'm just fun?" Dave asked.
"What? No, I like you. We're friends. I like doing stuff with you."
Dave was still frowning, not understanding, and Robert couldn't even guess at what his friend didn't understand. "So you love him?"
Robert felt his face turn red just like when his mom asked him that question. "I don't know. I like him."
"Like you like me?" Dave asked.
"No, I don't know. It's different." Robert didn't like talking about feelings like this. It was uncomfortable and that was when he had an idea. "Dave, you want to talk to him?"
Robert grabbed Dave's arm and pulled him to his room. He was already making the call before he glanced at the time and realized it was 6:30 in the morning there. Well his coach was usually up by now. He wasn't sure what he was doing, but his coach would help him out. He always did.
The connection finally came through and his Coach appeared on the screen a little bleary-eyed. "Robert?"
"Hey, Coach. Sorry, I thought you would be up."
"Robert, I only get up early when I have to or when you," he trailed off, his eyes focusing on Dave. "Hey there."
Robert pulled Dave to the center of the screen. "Coach this is my friend Dave. Dave this is my Coach, he's my older friend."
They muttered greetings to each other before a silence fell that hung over their respective continents. Robert was just starting to think this might not have been a good idea when his Coach spoke up again.
"Dave, if you don't mind me asking, do you have an older friend?"
Robert smiled as his Coach laughed. "Please don't call me sir. It makes me feel old. Still, it's interesting. Robert's never introduced me as his older friend before, to any of his friends at least. He must really like you."
"Yeah, I mean his parents know and everything, but as friends go, you're the first. Where about do you live?"
Dave hesitated, but answered. "Near Winnipeg, outside of a small town. Why?"
His coach nodded to himself. "Well, if you two want to stay in contact after the show, I could probably drive Robert to your house on occasion. That is, if you want to hang out and your parents are okay with it. Just saying, I'd be happy to help you out there."
"You would do that?" Dave asked.
"I don't see why not. Robert seems to like you and he trusts you."
"Maybe?" Dave said noncommittally.
"Well, I'll just leave it up to you and Robert to sort out those details. Talk to you later Robert, and it was nice meeting you, Dave."
With that, the call ended and Robert shifted, still uncomfortable. His coach usually came through for him.
"He seems nice," Dave said.
Robert shrugged. "He is, most of the time. I don't like when he teases me sometimes but, you know."
"Yeah, so I'm really the first of your friends to meet him?"
"Well, he's a coach for my hockey team, but you're the first to know we do stuff. It's not something I really want everyone to know. My brother picks on me sometimes because of it."
"So, you two really do it?" Dave questioned.
"Well, yeah." Robert glanced down at the floor.
"Why?" Dave asked.
"Because it's nice and I like it." Robert suddenly had the feeling that this conversation was going to be like ones he had with his brother and those didn't end well.
"I don't like doing it."
Robert looked up suddenly angry and demanded, "Then why have you been doing it with me all this time?"
The other boy took a step back and he looked like a dog that just had his nose whacked with a newspaper. "Not the stuff with you, with them, the men."
"Oh, okay. It never looks like you're having much fun. It's not for everyone I guess." Robert had a thought, but he had to know something first. "Are we still friends or you just angry at me?"
Dave smiled nervously, "Sorry. I was just... never mind."
Robert smiled and nodded. "Well, do you want to stay in contact after the show? We could call our parents and see what they think."
"Alright, but maybe we should wait a while. I don't think mine will be up yet."
"Yeah, mine neither. We could pass some time in bed if you want?" Robert was actually hoping for that. The last round ended before he could deal with his hardon.
Dave's shoulders slumped. "If you want, but I'm really not in the mood."
"That's okay. Let's grab the TV before anyone else leaves their room."
Lauro's car crashed into a barricade and spun back into the street taking out several other racers which in turn crashed into others. The game immediately launched into an instant replay from a higher angle as the other boys shouted and laughed. Smiling, he handed off the controller to Dave who was next. As he settled back into the couch he felt a tap on the shoulder and looked up to see Oliver standing behind the couch.
"Follow me," the boy said, nodding towards the rooms.
Lauro glanced back at the screen, but it would be a while before his turn came around again. Getting up, he followed the boy to his room wordlessly. Oliver hopped onto his bed and gestured for him to close the door before speaking up. "So you're in the same position I am in."
"What?" Lauro said confused.
"We're both going to be eliminated when our teams lose next."
"What? I'm not going to be eliminated. Why are you saying that? You don't know!" He would've left right then if Oliver hadn't propped himself up on his elbows and gave him a pitying look.
"You haven't noticed?" The boy took his silence as a yes. "Josh, Nick and Akira are going to stick together and vote you off next. It's the same for me with Dave and Robert."
Lauro frowned. He hadn't really thought about it. "But I won the last round for my team? Isn't that important?"
The other boy shrugged. "Not really. The best you can hope for is that your team doesn't lose any more rounds because when there are five or six players left, that's when the teams are dissolved usually. Either way, it's one of us who is going to get kicked out next."
It took Lauro a moment to understand what Oliver was saying. Oliver really hadn't talked much to anyone, so Lauro didn't really know if he was trustworthy, but now that he thought about it, Josh and Nick were usually together. They even slept in the same room. Akira seemed to like Nick, but he hadn't thought this competition was about friendship. Why try your hardest if it didn't matter? He chewed on his lower lip for a moment trying to figure it out.
Reluctantly, he came to the conclusion that he had voted Philip off because he hadn't liked him. Philip had not cost them the round or anything, and if anything, had probably helped them win the first one. He had sort of kept to himself, unlike the others, so he guessed what Oliver was saying made sense. It kind of hurt, though, since his teammates had been so nice. Lauro stared down at his sock covered feet, realizing he had failed his parents.
"Don't cry, I have an idea," Oliver quickly spoke up.
Lauro sniffed and wiped his eyes just to be sure. "I'm not crying."
"Whatever," Oliver said swinging his legs over the side of his bed and gesturing for him to come closer. The darker skin boy did so eagerly. "You know we can drop out right?"
"Yeah, but then we can't win," Lauro said frowning in confusion.
"True, but no one has ever done it."
"How do you know?"
Oliver shifted and looked a little chagrin. "My brother has an older friend and he's a big fan of the show. He told me all about it."
"An older friend?" Lauro echoed. The word sounded familiar, but he couldn't place it.
"He's a bumboy," Oliver said.
That word clicked immediately. It was like a bad word you weren't supposed to say so of course he had heard it. "Oh."
"It's not a bad thing. He's a really nice guy and my brother has been a lot nicer to me since they started hanging out. They even let me come along sometimes when they go out."
"Yeah I get it, I guess." Lauro said quickly, remembering Zeke. The man had been nice and gentle, and he really hadn't minded getting caught, except for the fact that his team lost. He really hadn't liked the wrestling, but perhaps if it had been with Zeke it might've been different. Then he tried to imagine Zeke's penis going into him and he had second thoughts.
"Earth to Lauro, you still there?"
He shook his head to clear it. "Yeah."
"So anyway the show has to be prepared for at least one of us quitting. I mean if one of us went home early they would lose an episode or at least a challenge. However, if both of us threatened to quit then maybe we could cut a deal."
"A deal?" He wasn't following the other boy's thoughts.
"Yeah, Alex that's the name of my brother's friend said it would be worth a try if I got into a situation like this."
"What type of deal?" Lauro said again.
Oliver shrugged. "Maybe we could have them break down the teams now or at least get a little more money. If that happened the two of us could make the alliance with one of the others, probably Robert and David."
"Why not the others?" He sort of felt some loyalty to his team.
The older boy rolled his eyes which made Lauro a little angry. "Because right now, unless your team hit a losing streak, it's going to come down to the three of them. I don't know if Akira is planning anything but I know Josh and Nick are special friends so they are going to be in the finals unless one of them is eliminated. If we could team up with David and Robert, we get rid of one of them."
Lauro thought about it for a second and he started to feel something in his stomach. His mom always told him that was his conscience telling him he was about to do something wrong. "It's not right."
"It's not wrong either," Oliver countered. "There's no rule against it. I mean they didn't say we could form alliances, but everyone but you and I have."
He frowned, sort of understanding what Oliver was saying, but it still didn't feel right. "I don't know. Let me think about it. You're smarter than I am."
"A lot of people tell me that," Oliver said grinning showing off his perfect teeth. "One of my teachers told me that if my mom didn't take me to so many damn modeling shoots I could've skipped a grade."
Lauro didn't like the swearing, but seized the opportunity to change the subject. "You don't like modeling?"
"It's all right, and I kind of like getting out of school sometimes, and sometimes it's fun. Like this one time, I was doing a bathing suit shoot with a friend of mine. Anyway, he got hard for some reason so the photographer told him to go deal with it. So he went to do that and I followed him and gave him a blow job. Of course, that got me hard and he had to give me a blow job. Now every time we work together, we have to do that beforehand."
"Really? I never did anything like that until I got on the show."
Lauro shook his head.
"I have two friends I mess around with. So, you have an answer yet?" Oliver grinned.
"I don't know."
"I'll do all the talking." Oliver offered.
Lauro was caught. On one hand he wanted to do the right thing, but on the other hand, he didn't want to lose. In the end, though, it came down to money. Money was why his parents worked so hard. Money got you things. That was easy enough to work out. Besides, if it wasn't against the rules then it was only sort of wrong, "I'm in."
"Two of the contestants want to see you." Edward announced to Ryan.
Edward's voice pulled Ryan out of his thoughts. "What?"
"Two of the contestants are requesting a meeting." Edward said slowly.
"Alright, show them in," Ryan said, standing from the editing table. The only reason a contestant would want to see him was either there was something very wrong, or they wanted to drop out. The latter had only happened once before, during the first season. He had been able to convince the kid to sleep on his worries and the kid ended up taking second place. That was one of the reasons he insisted on a participation fee to avoid that situation again. Of course, something being wrong seemed unlikely, since there were cameras everywhere, except for the toilet.
As he stepped into his rarely used office, he found the two boys already waiting for him. Oliver and Lauro was a combination he had not been expecting. "Boys, sit. What's up?" He tried to sound confident and casual, but the pessimist inside him was saying something was very wrong.
The two boys plopped into the available chairs, Lauro in a very defensive posture his arms crossed over his chest, while Oliver was looking confident.
"We're out," Oliver said without preamble.
The words hit Ryan like a truck, but it took him a second to recover. "Both of you?"
"Yeah, me and Lauro talked about it. We both want out." Oliver said quickly.
Ryan glanced over at Lauro who shifted uncomfortably. The boy probably hadn't spent any time in the principal's office or in front of a teacher for that matter. "May I ask why?"
The question was directed at Lauro, but Oliver answered. "Because we know we're going to be eliminated, so why bother?"
"You'll be forfeiting your participation fee. You know that right?" Ryan said, knowing something was up, but not sure what. He had worked on this show long enough to know kids could come up with plans, even if they weren't always well thought out.
"Only part of it," Oliver chimed in. "If we choose to leave the show before being eliminated, we receive a thousand for every episode we were in."He smiled, "My mom read the contract very carefully. She's good at things like that."
Ryan wasn't sure if that was accurate or not. Sure, he knew the broad outlines of the contract, but when it came down to the nitty-gritty stuff, legal was in charge of that. "Well, that may be, but why not stick around and get the full amount. You get that no matter when you're eliminated."
"Yeah, but then you wouldn't lose two episodes if we did that." Oliver grinned, as he played his trump card.
At that moment, Ryan realized two things. The first was that someone had to have helped Oliver with this plan. It was too abstract for a kid. The second thing was, this was a negotiation which was worrying. "I'm guessing there's something that would keep you here?"
"Yeah, more money, or you could dissolve the teams now and give us a fighting chance," Oliver said, relaxing his posture.
"I see," Ryan said as he leaned back in his chair and thought. He juggled things in his head. Someone had clearly thought this through. He could argue that this was in breach of contract, but the critics of the show would latch onto that, and much like the Nicholas situation, it was publicity he didn't need. More money would require clearance from higher up and he didn't like the idea of angering them. Dissolving the teams while there were still seven contestants left would seem odd to the viewers.
He thought about the future events he had planned and an idea occurred to him. "Why not a third option? In the later rounds, voting is usually done away with and one of the later events was designed so that the winner could kick anyone off. I'll make that the next one. Then you'll just have one round before the teams are broken down. How's that sound?"
For the first time Oliver looked over at Lauro clearly unsure what to do. His confidence was gone and that confirmed to Ryan that someone else had planned this. They weren't prepared for a third option. He made a mental note to exclude anyone who had any show business experience from future competitions.
"That sounds good. Right, Lauro?" Oliver asked, as the other boy nodded.
"Well, I'm glad we could work this out. I wish you both the best of luck."
Both the boys nodded and left, looking relieved that the meeting was over with. Once they were gone, Ryan just shook his head. He was annoyed, but kind of felt bad. Lauro had seemed more terrified than when he had been caught during Cowboys and Indians. He supposed it was inevitable though. Parents or other adults would suggest strategies to their kids. He made a mental note to look over the contracts more thoroughly before next season started.
Leaning back in his chair, he thought about taking a nap when there was another knock on the door. "Come in." Ryan said, without opening his eyes.
"Sarah's on the line for you," Edward said closing the door behind him.
When it rains it pours Ryan thought as he opened his eyes just in time to see Edward take one of the vacated chairs. He wasn't sure if he liked the young man's assumption or not as he hit speaker on the old-style phone. "Sarah, you have good news I hope."
"I have news," she said, her voice sounded unusual. "This woman is a real coldhearted bitch."
Ryan felt like he was in freefall. He knew Sarah on a professional level and in all that time, she had never been anything but professional, delivering her oral reports in a calm and collected manner. Then again, she'd never found anything too bad before.
"Is it that bad?" Ryan questioned.
"Ryan, there's something you don't know about me. I have a special place in my heart for kids. I like them, they are very genuine. The more investigations I do, the more I like them. There's so much crap out there and I'm not just talking about spouses cheating on each other. I've investigated politicians; have done counter corporate espionage and the bread and butter of my company is background checks. I've seen a lot, but this woman is in a special class I haven't seen outside of the Third World before."
"Details Sarah, please." He really didn't want to hear more. So far, he had put the situation off to one side and pretended everything would be okay, but it was becoming all too real now.
"Right, well, I did a background check on her before for you, and don't think someone's not going to lose their job over missing something like this, but Rachel Douglas is 32 years old, single, and lives with her one son. She went to college and got a degree in French literature and with that type of education she ended up working for a rather racy bordello called the Lakefront. It's licensed, legal and generally, a pretty high-class place.
"Rachel was never a prostitute though. She's worked there as a waitress and tips are pretty good. Her current coworkers say she's a bit distant, but you pretty much know all this already. Here's the first piece of new information. We tracked down one of her old coworkers who told my investigator that Rachel had a little side business going. Like I said before, this bordello is pretty high-class. They have live performances and everything. To actually have sex with a girl is pretty pricey, so those who can't afford one of the girls, can afford Rachel. I'm guessing, one of these men turned out to be Nicholas' father since he's not named on his birth certificate.
"She's not licensed, so it's illegal, but that's just a fine these days. I doubt the owners would approve, though, since they would be facing a much larger fine. Anyway, for whatever reason, she kept the baby. Everyone says he's a sweet kid. I guess gold can come from shit."
"Sarah, with all due respect, this isn't what I was asking you to investigate."
"This is background." A sound came over the phone like she was adjusting her chair and Ryan could almost picture her rolling her eyes. "Anyway, that was years ago. She's getting a bit long in the tooth for it. In fact, I would say she stopped her side business about a year after her kid was born. Her spending habits changed, not dramatically, but subtly."
"How could you tell that?" Ryan asked, interrupting her again.
An audible sigh came through the phone. "Laws can be such an impediment sometimes. Not saying I broke any, just saying."
"I see." Ryan decided not to ask more questions.
"Anyway, in the last two months her spending habits had reverted to when she had her side business. So, we thought to look into her e-mails and lo and behold, we found a brief correspondence that she attempted to delete. Not sure exactly where she met this guy, but they were pretty blunt. She was prostituting her son for $1000. They've set up another appointment for after the show ends too. Either, she doesn't have much confidence he'll win or she's just covering her bases. The next time only cost $250 by the way."
Ryan felt his stomach turn. Watching the kids during the events and over the closed-circuit camera, you could get a pretty good sense of their personality. Nick was sweet and he probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the show and being a prostitute, at least not just yet. And it didn't help that accusation was often leveled at his show, which the media would jump all over. Once this hit the media, he was probably going down. "Alright Sarah, thank you. We will proceed from here."
"Wait Ryan, what are you going to do?" Sarah asked.
"What else? Tell the cops."
"When did you get stupid?" Sarah said calmly. "Most of the stuff I have won't stand up in court. At least not the way I obtained it. Besides, Rachel Douglas may be a worthless human being, but she's clever. You only had suspicions when you came to me, which wasn't enough for the cops. You might get her on tax evasion, but like I said, she's clever. She puts her legitimate money in bank accounts and pays all the necessary taxes and then lives off the other stuff. It's pretty subtle and for the amounts involved, I doubt they'll bother. The best thing we could do right now is to make an anonymous tip to the cops and that could take months unless the boy would go along with the cops."
"It's the right thing to do," Edward said, speaking up for the first time. "We can't let this go on."
There was a long pause on the other end of the line and then Sarah said softly, "Who are you?"
"His name is Edward and he's one of my interns. He was worried about Nick and wasn't sure if I would do the right thing." Ryan wondered if he should of mentioned that earlier.
"I see. Well, that's not something I was worried about with you, Ryan. Despite what people say, I know when push comes to shove, you come through. Besides, our top priority should be protecting Nick. Not sure how child welfare services work these days, but I was in one of those systems and it's not ideal. It's a bit on the shady side, but if we can get him away from his mother he would be out of danger. I say we show her some of what we've obtained, then according to the profile I have developed, she would be inclined to sign over custody. She's quite a narcissist after all."
"Would it really be that easy?" Edward asked.
"Well, I presumed you would want to follow this strategy because it has the highest probability of success. I'm searching for relatives right now, but no luck as of yet. Her parents both died when she was in her 20's, so no loving grandpa or grandma. We'll continue the search though. You just have to keep Nick away from his mother for now. This is, of course, unless one of you wanted to try to go to the cops, which has a pretty low probability of success, in my professional opinion."
Ryan looked at Edward, who didn't seem too happy, but then again, he wasn't happy either. Still, this strategy Sarah was suggesting, seemed promising. There was a nagging part of him that questioned if he was doing this because he thought it was best for Nicholas or best for the show. Scandal seemed to loom either way. "Thanks Sarah. Keep us posted."
Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts you would like to share about this story please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you liked the story you might want to check out my four stories or you could just e-mail me and ask for them to be sent to you. In the young friends section: Mar 13 2010 treasure-hunting.html, Feb 5 2010 unseen-helper.html and Oct 31 2010 candy-and-boys.html with the fourth Dec 22 2010 a-christmas-promise.html in the science fiction/fantasy section.