Warning! This is a tale about men loving men. If you find this disturbing - click off. If it's unlawful for you to read this - click off. If you under age - good luck if you can get away with it.
This is not a story for getting your rocks off. Just thought I'd let you know so you won't waste your time if that's what your looking for.
Otherwise, I hope you enjoy my writing.
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Those Golden Eyes
As soon as dusk came, Jason put on a jacket and scurried across the campus to Fine's Grocery/ Deli. He kept his head down as he pushed a cart through the aisles, praying no one would recognize him from the posters. He gather dry cereal and milk and then sandwich makings.
Outside a grimy bum was chuckling to himself as he sneakily torn a poster off the wall.
As Jason went through check out the woman looked at him for several seconds as she ran his chosen items across the scanner. Jason cringed. He ducked his head praying that she hadn't figured out where she'd seen him.
"I don't know what you've done, Honey. But good luck, huh?" she said handing him his bag of groceries.
"Thanks," he muttered and scurried out the door. He didn't notice the dark figure standing in the shadows studying a poster torn from a light pole. He didn't hear the man chuckle to himself as he fell in behind him.
With his head low he hurried back to Jake's apartment. He pulled out the key and started to put it into the keyhole. An arm sneaked around his throat as he turned it.
"Gotcha!" a raspy voice laughed in his ear.
Jason dropped the key and his groceries and kicked backwards, catching the man on his shin. He bopped Jason on the side of his head and tightened his hold on this throat. When Jason stopped struggling the man reached down and unhooked the cell phone from the clip on Jason's belt. He dialed the number from the poster.
Arlen and Pete dozed fitfully until the ring of the phone woke them. Pete fumbled for his cell phone in the dark. "Hello?" he answered, as Arlen found the lamp at the end of the sofa and turned it on.
"Are you the party offerin' the money for this little black headed hellcat?" a raspy harsh voice asked.
Pete mentally cringed at the thought of his sweet little guy in the hands of a goon with such a creepy voice, but chuckled at the thought of him being described as a hellcat. "Y-y-y-yes. Yes, that's me," he stuttered.
"Well, I've got the little bastard. Meet me outside number 14 at the Collage Garden Apartments on Harding Street. I grabbed him just as he was unlocking the door. Get here fast. He's already bitten my arm and kicked me in the shins."
Pete heard Jason yell in the back ground, "Let go of me you stinking bum."
"Don't hurt him." Pete yelled into the phone. "The reward is off if you do."
"Well, hurry up. I don't know how long I can hold on to this little fucker.
Pete hurriedly wrote down the address."We're on our way." He struggled to get out of the lounger. Arlen, who already had his jacket on and held the one that Jim had altered for Pete to wear over his cast, put his shoe on the footrest and pushed. Pete shot up and Arlen steadied him on his feet. Pete yelled, "Come on." ignoring the jacket as he pushed past the big jock and headed out the door. Arlen pulled the door closed and beat Pete to the car and opened the door to help him in.
While the man was on the phone, Jason squirmed and turned until he faced him. His nose was buried in the man's filthy shirt. It smelled of unwashed body, spilt stale beer and cigarette smoke.
Apparently Jason's diminutive size gave the man false confidence, he was unprepared for his attack. As he closed the phone, Jason simultaneously rabbit punched the man in the stomach and in his side, and raised his knee to connect hard with the man's testicles.
The man grunted and let go of Jason to protect his balls. Jason took off running. The man held them for a moment, waiting for the pain to subside, watching his reward get away. He straightened and scurried after him. Jason ran as fast a his short legs would move. He was fortunate that the man, although long legged, was not in good physical shape. Jason kept his distance and ran for the Tower. Bursting into the lobby, he collapsed against the Guard's desk. "Dave Gate's, please. I'm Jason Warren."
The guard took his time calling up to verify that it was okay to send Jason up to the Eyrie.
"The first elevator." The guard pointed at the single door next to the two double doors.
As the elevator enclosed Jason in its safety, the bum rushed into the lobby. The guard stepped around the desk to intercept him.
"Where did that little creep go?" the dirty man demanded, clinging to the edge of the desk to keep from collapsing as he sucked in air. He looked around full of suspicion as if the guard was letting Jason hide behind a palm.
"What are you talking about?" The big guard asked, his voice full of disgust.
"I saw him come in here..... I want my money...... I'm the one that found .... him." he was breathing hard, gasping out the words.
"Looks to me like he got away from you. Did he steal some money from you?"
"Nah! The reward..... five hundred dollars..... for catching him..... And I caught him,..... but he got away.... I saw him run in here...... Where did he go?"
"Well, that I can't rightly tell you." the guard said.
"You know where he went. You just want that money for yourself." The man slunk outside. He wasn't defeated yet. He slipped Jason's phone out of his pocket and called the number again. It rang a couple of times before a different voice answered. "I want to speak to the guy offering the reward."
"You're speaking to him." Arlen replied. "Where are you. We're at the apartment and you nor the young man that we're looking for is here."
"He got loose and ran. He's some where it this tall building called The Tower. The guard won't tell me where he went."
In the Eyrie, Dave and Joe had gotten Jason calmed down enough he could talk. He'd slowed his breathing to normal, but he was still bristling with the indignities of the nasty street person having his hands on him. He shuddered as he watched Dave was standing at the microwave heating milk. Joe put a comforting arm around his shoulders.
"Can you believe there are posters all over campus offering a reward for catching me. I guess I should be thankful it didn't say 'Dead or Alive,' I'd probably have been shot by some maniac by now."
"Why is he trying to catch you? What did you do?" Joe asked.
"I didn't do anything." He couldn't keep his eyes off the cups Dave was removing from the microwave.
"So why don't you sit down and drink this hot chocolate and start from the beginning." Dave sat three steaming cups on the table.
Jason sat down and the two men sat on each side of him. He took a cautious sip of the hot brew. "Mmm, this is good." His stomach growled. "I have eaten anything all day. I was afraid to leave the apartment until dark."
"You might have been safer shopping in the daylight." Joe commented, and watched Jason grimace in response.
"Would you like a snack?" Dave asked.
"Anything, thank you."
Dave got up and sliced some roasted chicken and made a sandwich for him. Neither of the men pushed him to talk while his eyes followed Dave's every move. When Dave sat the sandwich in front of him Jason grabbed it up and took a big bite.
Joe chuckled. "Slow down, Man, no one's going to take it away from you."
Between mouthfuls Jason began telling them about yesterday's events. Joe interrupted him when he got to where he'd sneaked upstairs and saw Pete laying on the bed sobbing. "Have you stopped to wonder what he was crying about, Jason?" Dave asked.
" Arlen probably had his way with him and then dumped him. I just wanted to run."
"Which you did." Joe commented dryly. "Go on."
When he got to the point where he saw Jake's name on the book and called him, Joe interrupted. "You talking about the author of "These Shifting Sands"?
"Yeah, Have you read it?"
"Damned right. It's probably the most important Gay novel ever written. It might yet even change the attitudes of the damned military." Dave injected.
Joe laughed. "Sure it will."
Dave ignored the derisive tone of voice and asked, "So you are friends with Mr. Shipman?"
"Ever since Jim started taking care of Pete. He was Jim's friend you know?"
"So where is he now?"
"He didn't tell me. I guess he and Jim broke up and Jake left town for a while. He sounded like he was on the edge of a freeway when I talked to him."
"I'd really like to meet him." Dave said.
Jason continued his story, telling about hiding behind the hedge. This time Dave interrupted. "Jason, if you knew Pete was searching for you, why didn't you just go talk to him?"
"He was with Arlen. Have you seen that guy? He's huge. Well, not huge, but tall and well-built and handsome. He's the star quarterback. What kind of competition could a puny little runt like me offer? There's no way I could compete." Anger had enter his voice again.
"Have you stopped to consider that there is no competition, that you have Pete's affections hands down?"
Jason looked at Dave like he'd lost his mind. "If you had a choice between me and a big gorgeous football player who would you chose?"
"Jason, from what little I know of you I would probably choose you. You may be small, but your handsome and spunky. You're one of the sweetest guys I've ever met. And if I was as madly in love with you as Pete is, there would be no choice, would there? And from what I've seen, you are Pete's whole world."
Jason studied the table top, it could have been seconds or minutes. Joe and Dave waited for him to complete his thoughts. Finally looking up he siad, "Maybe I should call him, huh?"
At that moment the chime from the guard in the lobby sounded." Dave went to the phone and picked it up, listened a moment and said. "I'll be right down." He turned to Joe and Jason. "There's a disturbance in the lobby. I'll be back in a moment." He turned and stepped into the elevator. Joe and Jason looked at each other.
"It's that bum. I bet he's still trying to get that reward."
Joe smiled and shrugged. "Well, he won't get his hands on you again."
When they'd arrived at the apartment Arlen picked up the spilled items, stuffing them back into the bag. He discovered the key laying on the edge of the sidewalk, nearly hidden by a plant, unlocked the door and carried the bag into the kitchen. Pete's cell phone rang, "Stay right there we're just a couple of blocks away." Arlen yelled into the phone and then cut the connection and yelled for Pete who was wandering listlessly though Jake's apartment, taking note of how Jason had already settled in.
In minutes they were pulling under the portico at the Tower. The grimy man with stringy greasy hair and a dirt streaked face stepped out of the shadows. "You's the guys offering the reward?" he asked."
"Yes, where is he?"
The man shrugged. "Like I told ya, the guard won't tell me."
"Well, if we can find him, you'll get your money. Wait here." Arlen commanded and went inside
The grimy man looked at Pete with his cast. "That little turd do that to ya?" he asked motioning with his chin at Pete's arm.
Pete looked at the man with disgust. "No and don't call him a turd."
"I call 'em like I see 'em."
"You want that reward you'll show a little respect." Pete countered.
"You damned college kids are all alike, playing high and mighty with daddy's money. Wait 'til you get into the real world you'll see it ain't so easy."
"It's obvious that it hasn't been for you." Pete turned and went inside where Arlen was already querying the guard.
"So what are you hunting him down for?" the guard was asking.
"It's a private matter. I promise we're not going to hurt him. We just need to talk to him."
Pete stepped up and interrupted. "Sir, would you call Mr. Gates and tell him that Pete is in the lobby."
"And who is Pete?"
"Do you have a last name?"
Arlen was looking frustrated that Pete was being so polite to the stubborn guard and that the guard was being more responsive to him. Pete shrugged.
The guard took a minute to process the name and what was occurring in the lobby up to Dave. When he put the phone down he looked at Pete with a new respect in his eyes. "I'm sorry, Mr. Peterson, Dave will be right down."
Arlen leaned into Pete and whispered, "This is The Dave Gates."
Pete only nodded. He noted the guard's name as he spoke to him. "Bert, don't call me Mister. I'm one of Dave's employees just like you are."
"No, I work in his bookstore. Well, I will again soon as I get this cast off."
Alton reached across the desk offering his hand. "It's really cool to meet a real hero, Pete."
Pete blushed and said, "I just did what I had to do. I'm no hero."
Bert grinned and winked. "Bull shit," he said.
Arlen was looking puzzled. Bert turned to him. "You are aware this man saved Dave's life, aren't you?"
"I had no idea." Arlen muttered.
The guard grinned. "That's why he's wearing that cast. Took the hit for Dave. Modest young bugger, isn't he?"
At that moment the elevator opened and Dave strode across the lobby to Pete and gave him a big hug. "Are you all right, Pete?"
Pete just nodded. Dave turned to Arlen. "Hi, I'm Dave Gates. Just Dave to my friends and family. If you're a friend of Pete's, then welcome to the family."
"It's nice to meet you, sir. I'm Arlen Aldridge My dad will have a stroke when he learns I met you. He handles your accounts in the New York area."
"Carl Aldridge. Yes, I remember him mentioning that his son is attending school here. When you talk to your dad give him my regards. And you might tell him you have some very esteemed friends." He nodded at Pete who just blushed again. "Pete you know that Jason is up in the eyrie, right?"
Yes sir, that's why I'm here. I've been trying to catch up with him for two days. He just keeps running."
Dave chuckled. "So you put up a reward and wanted poster. Ingenious, but it sure pissed him off. He's......
Arlen interrupted him. "Excuse me, but speaking of rewards I owe the bounty hunter that ran him to ground." he turned and went outside to deal with the man who had called them.
"As I was saying," Dave continued, " you have Jason running scared. That man that Arlen is paying off out there the scared the bejesus out of our boy."
"I wasn't the ingenious one, but maybe I can talk to him before he runs again."
"Is it too personal for me to ask what your argument is about?"
"We haven't had an argument yet. He caught Arlen kissing me and just packed and left."
"You have something going with Arlen?"
"No, Dave. We're just friends. Arlen is straight as far as I know. He was just curious to what it would be like to kiss me. He caught me off guard and Jason caught us in the act."
"Hmmm." was Dave's only comment as Arlen came back inside and Dave motioned the two young men to the elevator. "Thanks, Bert." he called across the lobby and waved to the guard.
"You know that is probably Pete coming up with Dave." Joe said.
Jason nodded, looking at the elevator doors with trepidation. When the doors opened to reveal Arlen with Pete and Dave his fear turned to consternation. He stood up knocking his chair over backwards.
Pete walked up to him. "Jase, we have to talk."
Jason held himself stiff with anger. "You've got your new boyfriend, there is nothing to talk about."
"Jase, you've got it all wrong.....
"Wrong? I saw you kissing that big gorilla and I have it wrong?"
Arlen pushed Pete to the side and stepped up to the diminutive Jason. He picked up the chair and set it upright and then pushed Jason back to sit on it."Why don't you sit there and shut up until your boyfriend has a chance to explain. Yeah, you saw me kissing him. He didn't have a choice, I forced him. I've apologized to him repeatedly. And I'll apologize to you, too, if you'll let me. I know he totally loves you and I know you feel the same about him, so why don't you stop being stupid and make up."
The other three men in the room stood stunned and surprised at the direct no bullshit approach Arlen used. Jason gulped and nodded his head. He looked from Arlen to Pete and back. Sliding off the chair he put a hand on Arlen's stomach and pushed. "You're standing between me and my boyfriend, you big bully."
Arlen stepped back grinning. Jason stepped up to Pete. "I'm sorry, it's just my nature to run from hurt. I've hurt you and I'm sorry, Petey.
Pete wrapped his arm around the little guy. "There is no one in the world for me but you, Jase. And if you don't start believing that, I don't know what I'll do."
"I know you do. I saw you in his big arms and my mind just shut down. I never stopped to think. I just ran."
Arlen tousled his hair. "Jason I gotta admit I really like kissing your boyfriend, but I'd rather have the two of you as my friends. I apologize for all the mayhem I've caused."
"Jason looked up at the big Jock. "Well, if we're going to be friends. We need to start off on the right foot." He offered Arlen his hand to shake. "Hi, I'm Jason Warren. Pete's boyfriend."
"It's nice to meet you, Jason. I'm Arlen Aldridge. Pete's friend, and hopefully yours." He took Jason's hand and formally shook it.
Pete smiled. "I guess none of this would have happened if I'd introduced the two of you on day one." He hugged Jason again. Arlen just beamed along with Joe and Dave.
"Have you guys had dinner?" Joe asked. With an unanimous "No," he suggested they all go to Gio's for dinner on him.
Dave laughed. 'When have you ever had to pay for a meal at Gio's?"
Nothing was said during the meal at Gio's about Pete and Jason's altercation. The two young lovers kept glancing at each other all evening, once in a while catching the others eye. When they did they'd smile shyly. When they left the restaurant they all strolled back to the Tower and parted ways in the lobby. Arlen offered Pete and Jason a ride home.
Jason had to sit in the backseat by himself. He hadn't gotten over the insecurities that seeing Pete and Arlen kissing had instilled in him. He hunkered in the uncomfortable seat, and watched the ebullient Arlen talking to Pete. It was something about one of their classes. Jason paid no attention. 'I'm just a backseat person. The big guys always put me in back.' he thought to himself, ignoring the fact that Pete could no way get in the back of the Mustang with that awkward cast. But he knew that even without the cast Pete with his long legs would sit in front where there was more leg room while he being small would be shunted to the back seat. He sighed, 'It's no big deal, I just live in a big people's world.'
Arlen pulled his car into their driveway, hopped out and opened the passenger door and helped Pete out, who made his way to the porch. Arlen then held the seat forward so Jason could crawl out of the back. He tousled Jason's hair as he straightened up. Jason frowned up at the big smiling jock. "Arlen if we're going to be friends, your going to have to stop treating me like a pet."
"What do you mean? I thought I was being nice to you."
"That was the fourth time you have tousled my head in the last three hours. I really don't like it. Okay? I'm not a puppy."
"Hey, man, I didn't mean anything by it. I was just being friendly."
"I'm the same age you are, Arlen. Despite my size, I'm not a little boy. You want me to respect you, then you've got to respect me."
"Gee, Jason, I'm sorry. I did look on you as just a cute little kid. Forgive me, again?"
"We'll get off on the right foot yet, Arlen. I think I might even learn to like you." Jason smiled. "You seem okay, despite having kissed my boyfriend,."
Arlen looked relieved. He had come to value Pete's friendship and he knew it couldn't come to full fruition unless Jason was his friend, too. "Are you guys going to be okay with each other? I still feel really bad for being responsible for all this."
"Is it true that you really gave that bum $500 for finding me?"
"Yeah, I did. I was desperate. Pete was going out of his mind not knowing where you were, and it was all my fault. I had to do something."
"You are a good guy, Arlen. Pete's lucky to have you for a friend."
"I'm the lucky one. And I want to be friends with you, too, Jason."
Jason wrapped his arms around the big guy. His head only came up to Arlen's chest. Arlen hugged him around his shoulders with one hand and rubbed his back with the other. He kept his hand away from Jason's hair. "We're friends." Jason declared.
Pete had watched in apprehension from the porch. He couldn't quite hear what his lover and his friend were saying, but he knew everything between them was okay when Jason hugged Arlen. Jason turned to walk up to the house, Pete waved. "Thanks, Arlen, I'll talk to you tomorrow."
Jason took Pete's keys and unlocked the door. Once inside they were shy with each other. They had hardly said a word to each other all evening.
They stood facing, at a loss for words for where to begin knitting up the damage they'd both done to their relationship. Pete reached for Jason's hand and they ended up in a tight embrace.
"We have a lot to talk through, but we're both exhausted. I stayed in that damned lounger last night. I don't sleep well with out you in my bed. Let's go to bed and talk tomorrow."
"I love you, Pete."
"I love you too, Babe. Come on let's get some sleep."
They crawled into bed with Jason on the right side away from the cast arm. He snuggled against Pete with his head on the corner of his pillow which he'd pulled over the cast that covered his lover's upper torso. When Pete's breathing settled into a soft snore he rolled to his side of the bed and lie staring at the dark ceiling.
It may have only been a splinter, but it was a wedge none the less that Arlen had driven into the his trust of Pete. Despite the protest of innocence Jason knew what he'd seen
and he had seen Pete caress the back of Arlen's head during the kiss. And the image of that caress lay on his memory like a scab. Would it in time dry up and fall away, leaving an unnoticeable scar. It would take trust. Could he find faith in Pete's love for him to be able to rely him without question, without doubt? Jason turned on his side to stare at his lover in the dark. He had no choice. His love for Pete left him with no choice.
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