This multipart story is primarily about romance and relationships between men. Any reference to actual persons, living or dead, is only to enhance the fictional nature of the story and does not suggest a particular sexual orientation. If you are offended by graphic descriptions of homosexual sex, what the hell are you doing here? Bye, bye.
Special acknowledgements to Drew and Brad for providing diligent proofing and editing of the story.
If you have any comments or suggestions for the author, feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Support Nifty!
Chapter 11, Unwelcome Company
Dex knew two things: they had been skillfully over-powered and Geoff was the target. 'But of what?' he wondered as the SUV sped down Connecticut Avenue. The driver traversed Dupont Circle and turned onto Massachusetts Avenue. 'This has got to be more than a kidnapping for ransom money...although god knows Timmons has enough of it. I wonder how long they've been watching him or us?'
"One wrong move and you're dog meat," the man next to Dex said. Without warning, Dex felt the cold metal of handcuffs being secured around his wrists.
As his cuffs clicked, he heard a similar sound to his immediate right. He turned and verified that cuffs also secured his client. Dex looked at Geoff and briefly shook his head negatively when Geoff started to speak.
"You have no..." Geoff started to ask before being cut off.
"I demand to know what is happening to us," Dex said to no one in particular, mustering up a voice of authority. He wanted to divert attention away from Geoff.
"All in due time. Until then, be still or you'll be having your testicles for lunch." This time the driver spoke.
From their accents, Dex was positive the men were Middle-Eastern. 'Maybe politically motivated? But if so...for whom?' he wondered while he prioritized a possible game plan.
A hood suddenly appeared and was pulled over Dex's head. There was an open area around the mouth but all vision was suddenly cut off. He assumed they had treated Geoff similarly. The man in the front seat suddenly barked orders in a language that Dex now recognized as Farsi. 'These assholes might be Iranian or Afghan,' he pondered. Immediately, Dex felt hands searching his body. Roughly, he was 'patted down' and winced with a sharp pain when the Beretta compact revolver tucked away in the small of his back was ripped away from its belt holster.
"Ump," was all Dex could utter when a fist slammed into his stomach. Because the hood blinded him, he couldn't see the fist coming and prepare himself for the violent impact. "What, urghh, the fuck was that for?" he mumbled when he got back his breath.
"The gun. Why do you have such a weapon?" yelled the man in the front seat.
"Because it is my job to provide protection." Dex decided it was best to say nothing else.
"Ha. Then I suggest that you find another job...something you're good at," the man replied with a sarcastic tone.
More orders were issued in staccato fashion in Farsi. With a flurry, hands picked into each of his pockets and retrieved his cell phone and wallet. Dex knew from the sound next to him that Geoff was similarly being searched. The summer air swirled around the SUV as the passenger door window was opened. Dex assumed that the cell phones were history somewhere on the streets of D.C.
"In case they try to trace with your cell phones, this should throw them off a bit. Now, let me look at your wallet. Hmmm, ah, Mr....Fletcher," the man in the passenger seat said.
Dex heard the scraping of plastic as his I.D.'s were removed. Because he was working, the wallet only provided minimal details of his cover. In addition to a valid District driver's license, the wallet contained an American Express card, bank debit card, Exxon/Mobil credit card, a few pictures of a fictitious girlfriend, and business cards with the Timmons Bank logo and Washington, D.C., address. The card identified Dexter Fletcher as Security Associate for the bank. The same name was on every piece of I.D.
"I hope you're bright enough to figure out the situation. Geoffrey Timmons is a very valuable commodity who will be under our care for a while. You, um, Mr. Fletcher, just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. "
"Valuable? You're kidnapping Mr. Timmons for a ransom?" Dex asked. He slowly moved his cuffed hand over to Geoff's leg and subtly patted it. In return, Geoff flexed his thigh muscles a few times. He hoped that Geoff would bear up under the pressure that was sure to increase as the night wore on.
"Ransom, yes. For money, no."
"But, why are..."
"I've told you all you need to know...at this point. If you cooperate and our demands are met, neither of you will be harmed." The man in the passenger seat had absolutely no emotion in his voice. "I suggest that you and Mr. Timmons, um, as you Americans say, 'go with the flow'."
Dex contemplated the man who was the spokesman. He was obviously well educated and, except for the accent, had an excellent command of the English language. The determination in the voice and the flawless execution of the kidnapping concerned Dex. 'I've got to be very careful about conducting business,' he thought. 'I'm going to assume that these guys are Iranian. Afghan Taliban aren't active in this country.' He tried to recall physical details of his captors from memory. Except for dark features and shortness in height, nothing really rang out. The clothing was basic dark pants and black tees.
The SUV slowed down as it turned onto another street. As they drove further the noise of traffic became less prevalent. 'Must be on a residential side street near the Capital,' Dex judged from the amount of time on the trip. They came to a stop and the driver said a few words before he turned off the engine and opened the door.
"We are transferring to another vehicle. Your guards will lead you," came the command from the leader in the front.
Dex could hear the rear doors open and he was pulled from the seat, slowly enough so he could get footing once he slid out of the seat. He guessed that Geoff was being handled in similar fashion on the other side. 'Well, so much for satellite tracking of the Land Rover," he thought. All AOI vehicles had positioning transmission devices installed somewhere in the under-carriage. Knowing the probable neighborhood they were in, Dex imagined that the SUV would probably be stripped or stolen before long.
"Sorry for any discomfort," the leader said with an undertone of contempt and sarcasm as he pushed Dex into the back of a van or truck. Dex had the presence to get up and crawl on the rough metal deck of the truck. Someone grabbed his cuffed hands and secured them to a chain and cleat on the lower bulkhead of the van.
"Ah, for Christ's sake...Neanderthal arseholes..." Geoff uttered when he was obviously secured in the same way.
"Easy, Sir." Dex said. He purposely kept a formal spin on their relationship for the consumption of the kidnappers.
Geoff paused and sighed.
Looking down his face to the mask's mouth opening, Dex reasoned that they were in the darkness of an unlighted van cavity and still guarded one-on-one. He slowly reached over to the cuff button of his jacket, depressed it and pulled the button away from the jacket. He hoped that the noise of the van would mask his actions as he lowered his cuffed hands and dropped the button into the crevice where the deck met the bulkhead. He waited. Nothing. No movement or recognition from the guards. With luck he had tucked the electronic homing device, masking as a button, far enough into the crevice so that it would not be detected. He would use the one remaining button later. Dex knew that headquarters would be monitoring his movements and would pick up that vehicles had been changed.
Over the next half-hour - although it seemed like the entire evening - the van maneuvered city traffic before getting on a highway. Dex could feel the sensation of the van traveling at high speeds. Then, with a sudden swerve, they decelerated and came to a sudden stop. Again, more conversation and commands in Farsi before the van lurched forward. From the winding and rolling, he assumed they were now someplace in the countryside. Maryland? Virginia? Dex weighed the advantages of being held in a remote location versus the city. 'Less chance of collateral damage,' he considered. 'However, any attempted rescue would be detected more easily.' His assumptions were verified when the van slowed almost to a stop, turned and resumed its travel on a crunchy gravel surface.
Jack regained consciousness, was successfully treated by EMS and taken to the George Washington University Hospital ER. The senior member of the EMS team said that he thought the patient would probably be diagnosed with a minor concussion, be given a few stitches to close the laceration and be in the hospital for a day or so for observation.
Kyle was very worried about Dex and in no mood to talk with the police. However, he did want to cooperate and, with Brad's assistance, gave details as best as he could remember. His attention became more focused when the investigation was transferred to the F.B.I. Two agents, both around Dex's age, suggested that he and Brad could join them at a nearby coffee shop to discuss any further information they could provide.
"Officer, agent, um, I really don't know what to call you?" Kyle said to the one who had done most of the talking and interviewing. 'Kinda cute in a young, retro Dick Tracy way,' he thought.
"Officially, I'm agent Benedict. However, since you're a friend of Dex, why don't you call me Bill? And my partner on this case is Charlie Shaw. We were both in training with Dex at the academy."
"I feel better already. Do you mind if we call Brad's older brother? Brad is just visiting from California and we need to let his older brother, Chip, know what's happening. Ah, Dex and Chip work together at AOI." Kyle decided to let the agents know that Chip was one of the good guys.
"Here, use my cell," Agent Benedict said, without hesitation. "I figure that we're going to be working closely with AOI."
"I'll punch in the numbers," Brad offered. "Let me say 'hi' to Chip, first." He was handed the cell phone and Brad rapidly dialed Chip's number with his well-practiced thumb. The call was answered after two rings. "Chip, it's Brad and there's a problem that you need to be aware of." He listened and silently nodded his head. "No, nothing like that. Ah, I'm going to let Kyle give you the rundown." Brad gave the cell to Kyle and anxiously looked at him.
"Chip, hi. Hold your breath and let me give you the bottom line. Basically, ah, Dex and Geoff have been, um, kidnapped and we're with a couple of F.B.I. agents."
~~~ "Holy shit, uh, were there any injuries?"
"The driver got hit pretty bad and he's been ambulanced to a hospital. Could you, ah, join us? We're at a coffee shop in a book store called Kramer's near the Q Street Metro stop."
~~~ "Jeez, I'll find it. Give me a half-hour. I'm going to call AOI and see if I can find out anything. Kyle, I'm sure that it's just a kidnapping and Dex is just fine. See ya soon."
"I hope you're right. Bye." Kyle returned the cell phone to Bill Benedict and noticed that Charlie Shaw was on another cell.
Charlie nodded as he listened to the person at the other end of the cell phone. He turned and winked at Kyle and slightly smiled as he clicked off the cell. "Well, guys, I was just told that AOI is already plugged into this incident. They are targeting the location of the vehicle and should be able to give us some information shortly."
"Kyle, I know you and Brad have been questioned by the Metro detectives. But there are a few details that Charlie and I would like to re-trace. By the way, another ex-F.B.I. agent was in Dex's AOI training and they work together," Bill said with a comforting, cryptic smile. "He's a very good friend of mine."
"Oh, yes...Spicer, um, Tom Spicer. Right?" Kyle returned the smile with a 'got your message, loud and clear' grin. "When Dex gets out of this mess we'll all have to celebrate."
"You're on," Bill replied. "Now let's review what you saw."
For the next 45 minutes, Kyle and Brad retold their story. After a while Kyle started slipping into rote descriptions. Three or four times, Charlie took calls on his cell. On each occasion, he pulled Bill aside to relay the conversation. Bill would then pass on the positive news that they were successfully tracking the men.
"Brad, Kyle...sorry I took so long getting here," Chip said as walked briskly up to the table. "Gentlemen, I'm Chip Lewinthal, Brad's brother. I've been in contact with my associates at AOI and assume you've been updated on our progress in finding the men?" Chip shook hands with the agents as they introduced themselves before sitting down.
"Chip, you probably have more current info than we do since it's AOI tracking equipment that's doing the job," Charlie said. "We're getting updates every so often."
"The latest just before I came in here was that the subjects have not moved in the past 5 minutes. What's puzzling is that the coordinates indicate that they have stopped nearby or in a small body of water out in rural Virginia. At least that's what the GPS imaging shows." Chip was clearly worried and did not mask his concern very well.
"This news is definitely more current that what..." Charlie's cell rang again and he immediately punched the 'on' button. He solemnly listened and answered with "Yes, Sir," before disconnecting. "Our office just confirmed what you told us. There is no further movement."
"Meaning what?" Kyle asked in an alarmed state.
"Meaning that they've stopped. The good news is that we may be able to position ourselves nearby for a rescue. However, none of us know why there is no movement. Our GPS confirms they're in the middle of unpopulated farmland," Bill replied. He scanned the group before looking up at another man coming forward. "Speaking of movement, here's a welcome sight. Hey, Tom." Bill stood up and smiled as he shook hands with a man about the same age but much taller.
"Guys. Chuck, Chip...I wish we were meeting under different circumstances. I'm Tom Spicer and you must be Dex's friend, Kyle?" He smiled and shook hands. "We're doing everything we can in cooperation with the F.B.I. to get Dex and Timmons back. It's just going to take time and patience."
"Thanks for coming, Tom. I know that Dex has really enjoyed getting to know you better at AOI." Kyle felt somewhat relived with the arrival of Tom as part of the AOI detail.
"Yeah, we really didn't have a chance when we were with the bureau. I look forward to all of us becoming friends." Tom looked at Bill and raised his eyebrow a little.
Dex was puzzled when the van came to a stop. From the silence, he knew that they were out in the vastness of a rural area. 'But, where?' he wondered. Suddenly his hands were grabbed and someone unlocked the chain from his cuffs.
"Out. Now," came an order from a man next to him.
"Easy, I'm going," Dex said. He heard a click and a chain drop to the metal deck nearby. 'Geoff must be getting the same treatment,' he decided. Dex breathed in the agricultural scents and confirmed his suspicions.
"Bloody barbarians," Geoff muttered.
"If I didn't have orders to take good care of you, Mr. Timmons, you'd find out how bloody we are to an infidel."
"Humph," was the only reply that came from Geoff as he moved out of the van.
Dex stood and stretched a little when his feet touched the ground. He felt Geoff's presence and discretely patted the standing body next to him. He felt better when a hand touched his and squeezed twice. However, any sense of harmony was shattered when another vehicle's engine was started and it slowly drove toward them. He heard a door open and they were immediately pushed into the back of some sort of SUV. From the smell of leather he assumed that it was a late-model luxury brand. The vehicle slipped into gear and spun gravel as it shot away. Within minutes they were back on a pavement.
"Gentlemen, we will be at our resting place in a half-hour," said the same leader as before.
Suddenly, some sort of cable was wrapped around his waist from behind. He heard a rustling noise next to him and then two clicks of metal latching closed. Dex knew that their guards were now positioned in a further rear seat and had secured Geoff and him to some sort of cable or heavy rope. The SUV gained speed and the driver seemed to be cornering the road curves carelessly. Once more he could hear heated discussion in Farsi. Dex could also hear highway noises becoming more intense. 'Fuck,' he thought, 'we're going to get lost in the traffic.' This was confirmed when he felt acceleration as the SUV seemed to be merging onto a fast moving Interstate.
The SUV moved smoothly on the highway for approximately 20 minutes before it slowed down. Dex could hear the turning signal clicking, felt the vehicle head down an off-ramp and lurched a little forward as they came to a stop. He knew from the muffled sounds outside the SUV that they were in an urban community and could only guess that it must be around 10:00 p.m. Professionally, he admired the way his captors laid out a series of false tracks before coming to their headquarters. 'My associates at AOI are going to have their hands full with these guys,' he thought.
They continued on surface streets - commercial business areas, Dex judged from the traffic - until they made a series of turns. The quietness indicated that they were in a residential neighborhood but not like the one they had traversed earlier; there were no boom boxes beating out urban rhythms or street chatter.
"Gentlemen, we have arrived at your new home...for a while," said the leader from the front seat. The vehicle slowed down and turned into a dip in the road.
'This must be a curbside bump and driveway entrance,' Dex considered as they slowly drove up a small incline. He heard tree branches rub against the side of the SUV as they advanced. The louder echo of the engine indicated that they had approached a confined space. 'Probably we're between a building and a wall.' Dex's attention was diverted when he felt the cable around his waist being loosened and removed.
"Out. You know the drill," the leader barked.
The rear doors were opened and Dex was roughly pulled across the seat. His legs were swiveled so that he knew to feel for the ground with his feet. From the mouth hole of his hood, he could tell that they were still in darkness. 'Time to activate the last tracking device,' he decided. 'I'm sure that this jacket will be history soon.' Dex pressed the other jacket button with his cuffed hands, pulled it off the fabric of the sleeve cuff and dropped it to the ground. He coughed when he approximated the button would hit the paved surface and stood still for a few moments. He was relieved that the movements had not drawn attention.
"Move aside," one of the men said.
Dex was pulled slightly away from the vehicle. The doors slammed shut and he sensed the vehicle slowly moving forward. He became alarmed when he heard a slight crunch at the base of his feet. 'Shit. This frigging SUV just ran over the button,' Dex thought as a jolt of despair shot through his body. He was sure that the tracking device couldn't withstand the impact of that much weight.
The unmistakable sound of a garage door opening told Dex that they were at their final destination. It was confirmed when one of the men grabbed his arm and led him forward. Dex knew that Geoff was right behind him by the heavy footsteps.
"You need to be aware of two steps," the leader said.
They stopped and Dex toed the edge of the steps before ascending. A door opened and he automatically exaggerated a movement to avoid tripping on any threshold. He heard other footsteps and his guard purposely walked slower until the door closed. Dex assumed that they were in a kitchen because of the tile floor. As they continued, the floor surface changed to carpet and he knew that they were in a hallway by brushing against the wall. Suddenly he was stopped and pushed through a doorway.
"This is your new home, gentlemen. I hope you enjoy it," the leader said with a guttural laugh.
Without warning, the hood was removed from Dex's head. He squinted and blinked to adjust to the bright ceiling lighting. He slowly turned and focused on four swarthy, short dark men who held weapons before he turned to see his client. Geoff reacted similarly to the hood being removed. Dex nodded and looked at Geoff with a positive expression. He wanted to communicate that this was a situation that would be resolved. Geoff nodded back before he turned to look at the standard 12' x 12' carpeted room. Except for a double bed with a metal frame back, there was no other furniture. The window had been professionally boarded over and steel bars protected the surface. There were two doors in addition to the hallway door. Dex assumed that one led to a bathroom and the other to a closet. A fast check of the ceiling corners verified that video security cameras were installed. 'These guys are no slouches,' he concluded. 'I'm dealing with a very well-equipped and trained group of bad guys.'
"Time to get comfortable. Strip," the leader barked abruptly. Two of the guards unlocked the handcuffs and motioned Dex and Geoff to disrobe. Both men rubbed their wrists and stretched their fingers.
'Guess I'm going to get to know Geoff better than I anticipated,' Dex thought with a shrug. Methodically, he removed his jacket and tossed it to the floor. He toed off his shoes and unfastened his pants. He pulled them down and stepped out of the legs. After he took the shirt off, Dex stood with only socks and his CK briefs in place. He subconsciously stood at a 'rest' position with his hands in front of him while Geoff removed his street clothing.
"Everything," the leader yelled.
"Is this really necessary?" Geoff asked indignantly. "I mean this is absurd, you..."
"Mr. Timmons, I think it wise to follow their instructions," Dex inserted with a cautious expression. He observed that his client was definitely a boxer man...albeit low-rise, form-fitting AussieBum underwear. 'Geoff certainly will make someone a happy man,' he judged as he noted the banker's trim torso, developed biceps, six-pack and respectable bulge in the crotch. Dex pulled off his socks and slowly removed his more conventional briefs.
"Um, Dex, I understand. It's just, well, privacy is..."
"You are wasting my time, Timmons. Either get undressed or someone will do it for you," the leader snarled.
Geoff looked a little startled but complied in short order. As soon as the colorful AussieBum boxers were puddled on the floor, he gently kicked them to join Dex's discarded underwear. One guard grabbed Geoff's arm and pulled him over to a position next to Dex. Without warning, one-half of the handcuffs were secured on Geoff's right wrist; the other half was clamped on Dex's left wrist.
"Listen closely. It is almost 11:00 p.m. and lights out will be at 11:30 p.m. I suggest that you go to the bathroom if you have to relieve yourselves before you go to bed. Lights will come on at 6:30 a.m. Tomorrow you will be given the privilege of a shower and breakfast will be in this room around seven. Any questions?"
"Ah, how do you expect someone to, hmmm, relieve themselves locked up together?" Geoff asked, genuinely perplexed.
"Use your imagination and your Cambridge education. From what we know, you don't usually have any problem being nude with another man." The leader laughed and motioned for the other guards to leave the room with him. One of the guards picked up all the discarded clothing and shoes and trailed the swarthy group. He closed the door behind him and someone secured the lock.
"Mr. Timmons, I believe we can work this out. Allow me to lead the way." Dex slowly started walking to the bathroom door and Geoff joined him. Dex looked down at the floor and whispered, "As you are probably aware, they are able to monitor us by the TV security cameras and microphones...Sir." Dex exaggerated the word 'Sir' to communicate the relationship that should be played out for their captors. He also didn't want the cameras to be in position so that his lips could be read.
"I understand completely," Geoff replied as they arrived at the bathroom door.
"Let me also say that we had no idea that you would be a kidnapping target." Dex stepped a little to the side so that Geoff could enter first. He thought it best not to verbalize anything else at that point. He wasn't even sure if the last tracking device had registered their location back at AOI operations. They walked over to the toilet bowl and, after a few tentative moments, let loose with a 'power piss'.
"Jesus, Dex, I thought I was going to pee in my pants." Geoff naturally pulled back his uncircumcised foreskin while aiming and discharging.
"Yes, Sir. This was a much-needed pit stop." Dex looked down and casually checked out Geoff's manhood...with extra emphasis on hood. 'Ah, if this were a different place and a different time in my life,' he thought as he fleetingly admired the banker's male appendage.
"Ahhh, mission accomplished."
"I suggest that we take water from the faucet. It doesn't appear that we've been left any bottled water and dehydration is the last thing we need to worry about." Dex noted that they were both shaking the final drops away at the same time.
"Excellent idea." Geoff flushed the toilet with his free left hand and sidestepped over to the washbasin.
"We'll talk tomorrow when we shower together. The water will mask our words," Dex said rapidly to take advantage of the flushing sound.
"Ha. Gives room service a new meaning." Geoff looked into the mirror and slightly raised his eyebrow at Dex.
Dex turned on the cold faucet handle and splashed some water on his face before offering the faucet to Geoff. "God, this feels good to wash a little of the grime away," Dex said.
Geoff copied Dex's moves before taking a long drink. When he was finished, Dex did the same thing. They looked at each other, shrugged and shuffled their way back to the bedroom.
"The accommodations are very sparse and the bathing facilities include no bidet," Geoff said with a forlorn expression. "Certainly wouldn't pass a Michelin Guide test."
"However, I think that comment just passed the supreme irony test. Um, I..."
"If you're ready, let's lie down." Geoff raised his eyebrow and motioned to the bed.
"Absolutely." Dex noted that there was no light switch to turn off. 'Probably all the lights are controlled by remote,' he considered as they walked over to the bed. "Um, Geoff, let's lie down with our heads at the foot of the bed."
"I think so." Dex was sure that Geoff understood that there was probably some sort of listening device in the headboard. "Let me get on the bed first." He balanced himself and scooted over the mattress. Geoff followed and they lay prone, shoulder-to-shoulder. "Geoff," he whispered, "again I offer my utmost apologies for this problem. This was something we, um, I had not planned on. Ah, we'll talk tomorrow in the shower."
"No problem. Your job was merely to provide cursory protection. I think that we'll learn early tomorrow what and who we are dealing with. If it's money they want, Dad will deliver." Geoff was equally discrete with the response in a low, barely-audible whisper.
"I have a gut reaction that these characters - who I think are Iranian - have some sort of political agenda that involves whatever group they represent and Great Britain. You are merely a means for them to achieve their goals."
"This could be a nasty situation if that's the case. Those buggers are going to possibly turn this into an international incident."
"That's my thinking. Somehow, we'll get through this. Just be prepared for some rough patches. These assholes are probably capable of almost anything."
"I understand." Geoff took a deep breath just as the lights were shut off. "I think we best try to get some sleep."
"Um, let's give it a try. Nothing else to discuss." Dex pushed up a little and added, "Let's rotate so we're lying as this bed was designed."
"Right, Mate. Oh, ah, Mr. Fletcher...if either or both of us wake up, ah, physically aroused, let's agree that it means no emotional attachment," Geoff said with a low chuckle. "G'night."
"Tempting but agreed. G'night, Sir." Dex closed his eyes and replayed the evening's events in his mind. Blurred images kept returning of Kyle on the sidewalk. 'Please, God, look after him.'
TO BE CONTINUED