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.
Fuck. That single word summed up the situation pretty well Ryan thought. Normally he didn't care who was voted off, but the one time he did care about a kid, that was the one that got knocked off. Damn it, he should have seen it coming! Nick was safe in his little alliance with Josh and Akira, but he had to go and mess things up. Ryan mused he could have handled the situation differently. He should have said to hell with his schedule and to hell with the budget. It was better than losing the entire show! He tried to calm himself. It had been a stressful day. Nick being voted off had only been the start of his headaches.
When it had registered with the little blonde boy what was happening, he almost had a breakdown. Ryan had seen kids cry before when they were voted off, but never this bad. Nick had been inconsolable. Ryan ordered filming be stopped . The sight of Nick's meltdown had killed every erection in the room! Even the other boys had been uncomfortable and all but Akira and Josh had been shuffled away. Even then, they weren't able to calm him down. In the end, Nick exhausted himself and he was currently sleeping in the infirmary. Nick would probably end up in a foster home and critics of the show would use this as ammunition to destroy it. Maybe, Ryan hoped, Sarah might have found some family member to take Nick in and that would keep things quiet and he would be with someone who cared about him? Now, if only Sarah would pick up the damn phone and tell him of this benevolent relative.
He gave up and slammed down the phone again for the third time. The trouble with going around the world was all the damn time zones. He was currently 11 hours ahead of her which made it about five in the morning where she was. Apparently she didn't live in her office.
The vibration of his onboard phone in his pocket startled him. He checked the caller ID which only said 'Private Caller'. Unsure who it was, he answered. "Hello?"
"What's the emergency?" Sarah's voice asked over the phone.
Ryan was a little surprised. He really hadn't been expecting to actually contact her for at least another hour or so. "Sarah? Are you masking your company's ID?" He suddenly had a fear she was trying to distance herself from him.
"I'm not. Whenever the same number calls my office three times in under 10 minutes, I get a message at home." Suddenly there was another voice that was audible over the phone, but he heard Sarah reply faintly, "Go back to bed dear. I'll be back shortly." It was an unexpected peek into her life and he suddenly felt like a voyeur. Unlike when he watched recordings of the boys in their private rooms, which he knew was more than just business, this little peek into her life was a little uncomfortable.
"Have you made any headway in finding someone for Nick? He just got voted off."
There was a sigh followed by a long silence. "The kid's got no one. All of his mother's relatives are either dead or so distant they're hardly related."
"So that's it then." He tried to convince himself that this might not be the end. It was possible, that no one in the police, the child protective services or the neighbors would think it was worth violating Nick's privacy to attack the show. Even if that happened, it would only take one reporter, one confidently moral reporter, to find out and in typical reporter twisted logic, believe they were doing the right thing by splashing it all over the media. The pessimist inside him said that was the most likely outcome.
"Maybe," Sarah began.
"Do you have an idea?" Ryan demanded.
"Long shot, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take it."
Sarah paused. "What about that other kid's family? Might you be able to convince them to take the kid?"
"I don't think so. Why would they?"
Sarah sighed, "It is a long shot I will admit, but you said one of them used to work for child protective services and he might have certain sympathies. Also their son is crushing hard on the boy from what you tell me. This way they'll get to be with each other at least, so you may be able to enlist the kid's help in persuading his parents to do it."
"First of all, that was his uncle the boy was confiding in, and secondly, Sarah, taking in a kid is a big responsibility. There's no way they would do it on a whim like that."
"Unlikely, but not impossible," Sarah interrupted. "Just put it out there and be honest. See if you can scrape some money from the budget to put in a trust to offset the cost if you can. The only other option is the government which you can still go for."
Ryan's stomach churned. "I don't even know how to go about that."
"It's not too hard nowadays." Sarah said reassuringly. "They simplified the process a few years back. Basically, the legal guardian signs a piece of paper saying they're giving over their parenting rights to the other party and then six months later, they go before a judge and if nothing seems wrong, it's made permanent."
"What about Nick's mother? We have been assuming she would let go of her kid, but what if she doesn't?"
"You leave that to me," Sarah said. "Listen, call me back in a few hours when you've made your decision. I'll know which way to go from there. How much longer can you keep the kid anyways?"
"After being voted off, we're supposed to get them home within 48 hours. I have neglected to inform his guardian and he's on the plane with us underway to the next location."
"Good. We have some time to play with. Call me when you make a decision."
He heard the sound of her phone disconnecting. Almost immediately, he felt a wave of nausea so bad he darted towards the bathroom, but thankfully nothing came up. He hadn't signed up for this crap. He was supposed to be the host of a fun little cable TV show. Still, after a moment, he headed back to his computer and started to look at the budget for the show.
Josh looked at Nick sleeping. He felt strange. When Nick cried, it had crushed him. He had just wanted to make his friend feel better, but he hadn't known how. It was weird. His confusion had turned to anger. He was angry at Lauro for picking Nick. He was angry at this stupid show, and he was angry at himself for being scared.
Nick stirred, his cheeks still flushed from his earlier crying. Blinking, he looked up at Josh and the boy forced a smile. "Hey."
"Hey," Nick repeated looking around. "Where are we?"
"The infirmary aboard the plane," Josh answered. "You um," he trailed off.
"I'm thirsty," Nick said.
"Oh, yeah here," he twisted around and grabbed a cup of water off the table. "They said you would be thirsty."
Sitting up, Nick took the glass and drank. They were quiet for what felt like several minutes until Nick spoke up, "I don't want to go."
Josh's smile faltered. "I don't want you to go, but at least you can be with your mom again." He felt a twinge of guilt. He had never quite figured out what was going on there.
Nick tucked his knees up to his chest and spoke into them, "Mom's not going to be happy."
Josh hesitated but decided not to be a coward. "Does she hurt you?" The look he received was unreadable to him.
"Mom ignores me when she's angry with me. So I tried to do good, but I didn't win, so she will be angry."
The way Nick had laid it out was so simple that Josh understood and at the same time he didn't. It sounded like Nick's mom could turn herself off and on. It didn't seem right. People shouldn't do that. He was about to hug his friend because it seemed like the only thing he could do, but a voice broke into their privacy.
"You're awake. That's good. Josh, may I speak with you privately?"
Josh shot a glare at Ryan. "What do you want?" He spat the words out.
The host, who was usually so confident, hesitated, "Well, Josh, there's something important I need to discuss with you and it's not about the show."
"Fine, what is it?"
"It's about what you talked over with your uncle." The host replied.
His head started spinning the moment Ryan said that. He was trying to figure out how he learned about his uncle before remembering that everything was recorded except for going to the bathroom. The cameras were well hidden and he had completely forgotten about them. He stared blankly at Ryan for a full minute. Something was telling him that Nick shouldn't hear this. Getting up, Josh followed Ryan out of the small room. Crossing his arms, he glared at the man not knowing what to expect. "What?"
Ryan knelt down to be at Josh's eye-level. "Listen, I was editing the show together and I heard your conversation with your uncle. It got me concerned, so I hired some private investigators to look into the matter. It turns out, you're right. Nick's mother is not a good person."
"So tell the cops." Josh suddenly felt a little disconnected. He wasn't sure what was going on. Suspecting abuse and actually confirming it felt differently than he suspected it would.
"I would like to, but it's not as simple as you might think. Unless Nick has given you some details, there's not much to go on. The stuff that we gathered on her isn't something the police can use. If Nick says everything is fine, there's not much the police can do. She's covered her tracks very well. So, what do you think Nick would say if he was asked about his mother?"
Josh had to think for a minute. If you were in trouble, you went to the police. The idea that they couldn't help was weird to him. "He probably wouldn't rat on her." He remembered Nick hugging his knees just now. "We have to do something."
"Yeah, we do. That's where you come in."
"Me?" Josh said.
"Sort of," Ryan repeated. "It is pretty easy to transfer legal guardianship nowadays. I'm pretty sure she will sign off that she's an unfit mother if we commit not to disclose what we found out about her. Problem is, we need someone to take guardianship. Do you think there's any chance your parents would be willing to do so?"
His stomach churned. He thought about Nick. He was in trouble and needed help. His parents had always told him you should help others, but Josh also knew the world really wasn't like that. "I don't know. I just don't know." His voice had ended on a high squeak that was embarrassing.
A hand landed on Josh's shoulder and he looked at Ryan. "It'll be okay. Do you want to tell him what's going on or should I? He can't stay with his mother and if you're parents can't take him, he will go into foster care."
"I'll tell him," Josh answered immediately pushing the hand off his shoulder.
"All right," Ryan said standing. "I'll be calling your parents in about an hour. I would prefer waiting but we really shouldn't. You think you'll be up to being there by then?"
"Yeah." Josh said, not really paying attention.
When he went back into the room and related what he had been told, the boy really didn't react. He just hugged his knees to his chest and hid his eyes. The silence was uncomfortable.
"I know she doesn't like me." Nick finally spoke but did not look up. "I tried to be good like those kids on TV. I love her. Why doesn't she love me?" Josh didn't want to say. "Then she told me about the show. If I win, she wouldn't have to work and could spend all her time with me."
Josh gave the boy a hug. "You don't have to do anything. I love you."
The words had come out without any thought and in Josh's 12-year-old mind they were true. Josh started to talk about his house and the people that lived there. The more he talked about it, the more he missed it.
When he sat down next to Ryan to call his parents, he still felt disconnected. The conversation was awkward. His parents started out by asking if he was okay and all he could answer was he was worried about a friend. Then he sort of tried to follow the conversation as other people talked. Some woman talked for a while about giving them some money, and when that was mentioned, his parents got angry but then they calmed down. He wasn't sure, but it didn't sound like they were going for it.
"Mom." The single word stopped the conversation. "I love him."
"Honey," she began.
"I love you. I love Dad, and I love Bethany. I also love Nick." He paused, not really knowing what he was saying. "His mother doesn't love him. He told me that, but he loves her. I just want him to be happy."
The silence that followed was long.
"As I said," the woman started again, "whether you think we're doing this to try to cover ourselves or not is irrelevant. Nick can either go into foster care where he knows nobody and risks getting damaged in the system, or he can go with you where he knows Josh and will be safely cared for."
Josh watched the monitor and saw his parents looked at each other for a long time. They were doing the thing where they didn't talk but still communicated. When his father looked back, Josh didn't know what he was going to say.
"What do we have to do to make this happen?"
Robert's fighter took a hit from an energy attack and fell to the ground. He glanced away from the handheld screen and over at the boy sitting next to him on his bed. "I thought you said you didn't play this that much?"
"I don't," Dave said before smirking, "doesn't mean I'm not good."
Robert shoved the other boy playfully hoping to start a little wrestling, but Dave just sat back up and sent a request for another match. Disappointed, Robert accepted and they played another match in silence. When the next request came Robert accepted and asked, "Something bothering you?"
Dave pulled off a combo that sent Robert's character flying through a billboard.
"Nick," he said.
"The crying?" Robert questioned.
"Yeah, that was weird." He couldn't remember his little sister ever crying that long, but then again she had been a pretty quiet baby.
"I've been trying, but I can't remember why he said he was competing, do you?"
"No," Robert said. "I never really talk to him. He and Josh were pretty inseparable. I'm pretty sure he would have told him. Things like that always come up in pillow talk."
"Pillow talk?" Dave repeated.
"Talk you have after sex. It's easier to talk about some things after you've had an orgasm."
It was quiet for a moment as Robert finally gained the upper hand in the game only to have a move reversed on him as Dave asked, "You never told me why you were competing?"
Robert shrugged, "A million is a lot of money." That was only partially true. The part he couldn't tell was his coach had a plan. Apparently, the show was popular enough that people actually bet on who would be voted off. Since the show didn't air until it was complete they weren't supposed to talk about it until the season was over. If he fed his coach the right names in the right order they could both make a little guaranteed money. Not a million, but at least the money wouldn't have to go through his parents. It didn't really matter if he won or not as long as he stuck around for a little while longer. Not that he would complain if he did win.
"Seriously, it is just that?" Dave asked.
Robert felt a little guilty, but turned the question around. "Well, your house can't cost $1 million. What's up with that?"
They fell silent for a second. "I told you, it not just the house. I don't really understand, but my parents took out a loan against the house to fund their business and it's not doing so good. They told me we had two mortgages on it. I don't want to move into an apartment. Right now we've got a lot of land I can wander around on and there are some good spots to find fossils."
"Why do you like fossils anyway?" Robert asked as he tried to block a combo.
Dave smashed through his defense and delivered a fatal blow. "Fossils are cool. I have some shell fossils that I found and their millions of years old. They are amazing."
Robert didn't know what to say so he just waited for the next challenge to come. Instead he was pushed over and before he knew it, Dave was grinning down from on top of him and pinning his arms to the bed. "I think we just had pillow talk before doing any sex thing. We should fix that."
Robert smiled as he felt himself become hard. "Kiss me."
The other boy leaned down and did as asked. Dave had come a long way in less than a month, but he had not done much kissing. Robert sort of regretted that. Kissing had not been one of his favorite activities, but with Dave he was the teacher. He felt himself getting hard in his shorts as was his friend. There was a part of him that wanted to rip off their clothes, but then they would have to stop kissing.
Robert wrapped his legs around Dave to push them together. When he did this with his Coach, he could only lock his ankles together and it felt like he was just clinging on, but with Dave he felt like he had control as they ground into each other. It felt good. He wasn't sure if they were having sex or making out but really didn't care. All he wanted was the feeling of an orgasm.
Dave came first, breaking the kiss and letting out a little moan. He let Robert finish, using his body as the source of grinding before rolling to the side. They lay there in silence panting. Robert looked over and against Dave's flushed cheeks was a line of drool.
"You've got something on your cheek."
The boy's hand went up and when he felt it, he bolted up and started rubbing it vigorously. Robert laughed which got him a dirty look, which caused him to laugh harder.
"It's not funny. It's disgusting," Dave complained.
Robert grinned, "We were just playing tonsil hockey." He lowered his voice and mock whispered, "We might've swapped a little spit."
The other boy just glared at him, but the argument ended when there was a knock at the door. "Come in," both answered.
The door cracked open and Oliver stuck his head in. "Good, you're both here." He then seemed to notice the red faces and added, "I can come back."
"We're done," Robert answered as Dave looked embarrassed.
"Okay," Oliver said, stepping into the room and closing the door behind him. Robert thought the room suddenly felt crowded with three people in it.
"I wanted to tell you this first." Oliver hesitated and then blurted out, "I'm dropping out."
Robert and Dave both looked at each other and Robert ventured, "Why?"
Oliver was looking down at the floor. "It's complicated."
"Is it because of Nick?" Dave asked.
"Sort of," Oliver answered.
"So you're just going to abandon us?" Robert demanded, feeling angry as the information sunk in.
Oliver glared at him. "Yeah, like I wouldn't be the one voted off if we lose the next round. You two are friends, I'm just a teammate."
"Yeah, but with one less team member we might lose anyways. You're not being fair to us," Dave said.
Oliver bit his lip. "Usually, the teams are dissolved when there are only five contestants left, voting is dropped when there's three."
"And there's three of them," Robert observed. "You're eliminating us!" He didn't really care about winning or losing, but this sucked.
"I'm not," Oliver protested. "Josh and Nick were like you two. Akira was friends with Nick, if they lose the next round, Lauro is out. If the teams are dissolved now you two and he can be the final three."
"Why do you care what happens to Lauro?" Dave asked.
Oliver didn't answer so Roberts supplied, "You like him?"
"No," Oliver snapped.
"Then why?" Dave reiterated.
"Because it's my fault," Oliver shouted. "I told him about Josh and the others. I threw the round because I knew he would pick one of them. Now I feel guilty about it and I just want to go home!"
"So are you two doing stuff?" Robert asked.
"Not like that," Oliver snapped. "I mean we are friends, but not like the way you two are. It's just I think he deserves the money. I mean when I started I thought it would be nice to win, but my mom just wanted me to raise my profile. Lauro really wants it. It wouldn't seem right if I got it all."
Dave glanced at Robert who shrugged. "They better dissolve the teams."
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.