Those Golden Eyes
By the third night that Jake hadn't called and didn't answer any calls, Charley called the bookstore and inquired if they knew anything. They knew nothing, they hadn't seen him since the last book signing session. Charley wished that he'd paid more attention to names, he couldn't recall Jason's last name. The only person's name he knew in full was Jim Provost's. He wasn't about to call him. He couldn't recall Jake ever mentioning the name of the apartment complex he lived in. The fourth night he sat and nursed a few of beers while he contemplated what to do and fell asleep in his club chair.
The next morning, nursing a hangover and a stiff neck, he went in the Station and tendered his resignation, telling everybody he'd decided to go back to school. He turned in his badge and ID, gave his uniforms to a fellow cop, and left. After packing a few clothes and essentials, he threw it all into the cab of his pickup and loaded his Harley. As he was double checking to make certain all the utilities were turned off his phone rang. His heart skipped as he prayed it was Jake.
"Charley Hill." he answered.
"Hey, Son, I haven't seen or heard from you in over a week. How are you? And how's Jake? Have you heard from him?"
Charley silently cursed. He hadn't thought of anyone except Jake for days. "I'm okay, Pop. I quit the force this morning. I...."
"Pop, I haven't heard from Jake for nearly a week. I'm going crazy. Something's wrong. I've got to go find him."
"Did you two have an argument?"
"No, Pop, last time we talked we discussed whether he was coming here or if I was going over there for a few days. He insisted that he wanted to come over here, but there were a few things he had to take care of first. Then nothing."
"Have you made inquiries to the Highway Patrol, State Police, Hospitals?"
"Why don't you do that before you go running off?"
"I guess I should.
"It would be the sensible thing to do, Son. Listen, I'm on my way over. You don't need to be alone in this."
He flopped into the big club chair and stared at the phone. He'd purposefully not called in fear of what he might find out. Picking up his Rolodex, he found the number for the State police first and after identifying himself as Officer Charles Hill of the Kirksville Police, he inquired if there had been any accidents involving a motorcycle between University City and Kirksville. After receiving a negative, he repeated the process with the State Police and then the UniCity Police.
As he hung up after getting another negative on the third call, he heard two cars pull into his drive way. He ambled to the door to greet his Dad. Gloria, his mother was right behind him. He hugged his dad and received a kiss on the forehead. He sighed as he hugged his mother.
"I knew that man would end up hurting you. I told him that didn't I?"she said, and gave him a peck on the cheek.
Jim had spent the last few days reconciling his life. The near loss of his testicles and Jake's clemency had set him on his head. He spent the first couple of days being angry. As he got over that he began to see the kind of person Jake really was. For so long he'd thought of him as just a really good fuck buddy. And then when he disappeared, he began to miss him. Not just the fucking, God knows he missed that, but the gentle, caring man himself. Jim shuddered recalling how he'd driven Jake to nearly castrating him.
He decided that he need to apologize to Jake and make amends with him. When he left the Paolini's that afternoon he decided to change clothes and go talk to Jake. As he rode up on his Harley, he noticed Jake's Indian Motorcycle parked in front of his door. 'Ah, good, he's home,' Jim thought. He rang the doorbell and got no answer. He banged on the door and called out. Still there was no answer. He started to turn away when he noticed the mail box next to the door was overflowing and there was a bundle of mail laying on the stoop under it. This was strange. Something was wrong here. Jake was just too meticulous to ignore the mail.
He turned and looked at the bike. It was covered in a layer of dust. It was obvious Jake hadn't been near it in days. Jim began to feel panicky. Something was definitely wrong with Jake. 'Oh God! I hope he hasn't killed himself because of what I did to him.'
He ran to the Managers office and demanded that he open Jake's apartment. The man was hesitant. "He might still be alive. For Christ sake, stop stalling," Jim yell at the man.
The manager grabbed his keys and ran to Jake's door and unlocked it. Jim barged past him, yelling for Jake, only to be met with silence. He burst into the bedroom and saw Jake lying in a fetal curl, fully clothed, in the middle of his bed. He ran to the bedside and shook Jake's leg. "Hey, Wake up." There was no response.
As a nurse his first action was to feel for a pulse. He sighed with relief when he found one. He told the apartment manager to find a phone and call 911. He then rolled Jake onto his back. Jake looked like a cadaver. His skin was dry as a fallen leaf. His cheeks were sunken in. Jim ran to the kitchen and grabbed an icetray from the freezer and dropped the cubes into the sink. Taking a heavy glass he crushed one, scooped up the small pieces and ran back to Jake's side and forced a piece of ice into his mouth. There was no response. Jim started silently praying he wasn't too late, that Jake wasn't too far gone to recover.
As he stood there waiting for an ambulance, he wondered if the after effects of the little pill he'd given Jake had done this. 'No, I did this.' he thought, as Jake's words echoed through his mind, "I told you what I wanted and you ignored me." "You selfishly took what you wanted and left me with nothing." "Do you think there is any way I can face Charley after last night?" "There's no forgetting, Jim. There is no forgiving either. You took my life away from me last night." "Remember, I have nothing left to live for, so I won't be losing anything...." He shuddered.
And then he remembered the vial with the two other pills. Jake had stuck it into his front pocket. Jim pushed his hand into Jake's right hand pocket and found the tiny vial, rushed into the bathroom emptied the two pills into the toilet and dropped the vial in, too. He sighed with relief as he watched them disappear. No one else would go through what he had put Jake through.
When the emergency medic rushed into the room Jim identified himself as a Nurse and told them Jake was dehydrated. They immediately started an saline I.V.
Jim watched them move Jake onto a gurney and put him into the Ambulance. He then had to give a statement to the police
officer. He said nothing about what had transpired between him and Jake. Nor did he mention the pills.
Being a nurse had it advantages, Jim had no trouble getting to read the doctors prognosis. Once he saw that Jake was going to live, he sped over to Pete and Jason's. If anyone knew how to contact Charley it would be Jason. He figured from the way Jake had talked about Charley, he was the only person that could put Jake back on track.
"I have a strong feeling that he is in the hospital because of something you did." Jason replied when Jim had told him about Jake being in the hospital and had asked about how to contact Charley. "Why do you want that number, Jim?".
Jake's reaction and Jim's guilt over what he had done and his contemplation of it for the last few days had humbled him. He was no longer arrogant, not even to the diminutive Jason. "You're right, Jason, it is my fault. I think that Charley is the only one that can set things right again. I've got to talk to him. I have harmed them both and I need to try to rectify what I have done. Please, Jason."
"What in hell did you do to him?"
"I can't tell you right now. Give me the number, please."
Jim looked so contrite that Jason pulled out his cell phone and hit the auto dial, and handed the phone to Jim.
Charley pulled away from his mother with a look of impatience. "Mom, Jake hasn't hurt me. Something has happened to him."
"I think he has abandoned you. He just a wandering vagabond. He rode into town on that big motorcycle, stole your heart and left."
"Mom, cut the drama. Jake is a published author. His latest book has been number four on the New York Times Best Seller List for the seventh week." Charley gave his dad a pleading look.
"Gloria, lay off. Charley doesn't need you adding to his distress." his dad said.
"Chess, I've said I don't trust that man. He's....."
Chess held up both hands warding of his wife's words. "Gloria, if you cant be supportive, go home."
Gloria turned to Charley. "I sorry, Baby," she wheedled. "I just can't stand to see you hurting."
"Mom, your talking bad about Jake is what hurts. Can't you understand? Your attitude is what's hurting me."
"Oh," she said in a meek little voice. "I didn't mean to hurt you."
"Gloria, Please. Just sit down and be quiet while we consider what needs to be done," Chess said.
Gloria plopped on the sofa, Charley sat down in the club chair and scrubbed his face while Chess paced in front of the fireplace. No one said a word for several minutes. The jangle of Charley's cell phone jarred the still room. Charley picked it up.
"My name is Jim Provost, Charley. You don't know me, but I'm a friend of Jake Shipman's."
"I am aware of who you are, Provost." He had a hard time keeping hostility out of his voice.
"Yeah?" Jim bristled and then put his irritation aside. "Well, I'm calling to tell you that Jake is in the hospital in intensive care."
"What's wrong with him?"
"I would like to tell you that to your face."
"If you have harmed him. I promise, you will pay for it."
"I didn't harm him physically, But I'm afraid I am responsible for what he did."
"Explain," Charley demanded.
"How long will it take you to get here?" Jim asked ignoring the demand.
"At least five or six hours."
"I will be waiting for you in the hospital lobby. That's the University Hospital. And, Charley?"
"Jake is going to be okay."
"Thanks. I'll be there ASAP."
Charley closed his phone and stuck it in his shirt pocket and looked at his dad. "Jake is in the hospital." The love and concern in his father's face brought Charley's tears to the surface.
"Is he going to be okay, Baby?" Gloria asked from the sofa.
Charley turned to his mother. "You know..."He chewed on his lower lip and shook his head. " I'm twenty-seven years old. I think you can drop that name, Mom. Yes, Jake will be okay."
"I don't know why you have such animosity towards me these days. What have I done?" she whined.
"I'm leaving for UniCity in a little while. Think about it while I'm gone, Mom. Maybe you can figure it out."
Chess stepped up to his son and place a loving arm around his shoulders. "Relax, Charley, you've found him. That's what matters."
"I've got to get going."
"I'm going to drive you over there. You don't need to be by yourself in this."
"I'd really enjoy the company, Pop."
"Well, it will make me feel better knowing that you get there in one piece." Chess turned to his wife. "Would you lock up, dear? If we're going to get there in five hours we've got to get moving. I need to stop at the house to change and pack a few things."
"Of course I will, Chess. You just take care of my b...son." Gloria hugged and kissed her husband, and then hugged her son. "Charley, I hope Jake is going to be okay. I really do."
"Thanks, Mom. I love you."
Within forty-five minutes the two men were on the road. Charley was sitting with his hands clinched between his knees as he leaned forward as though the position would speed them in getting there. Chase held the speed at an even sixty-eight miles an hour.
"I assume Jake is in a coma since he's in intensive care?"
"I don't know, Pop. I didn't get much information from Jim."
"Who exactly is this Jim?" Chase asked, breaking a twenty minute silence.
"He's...uh...a friend of Jake's"
Chess studied his son for a moment and then turned his eyes back to the road. "He wasn't more than just a friend?"
"Yeah, they were more than just friends. But they were never lovers. Jim wouldn't allow that."
"So they were just fuck buddies."
Charley's head jerked around to stare at his dad. Chess glanced at him with as smirk. "Didn't mean to shock you, Son. I'm not just a stodgy old lawyer, you know. I played around a bit in my younger days before I met your mother."
Charley just continued to stare in disbelief at his dad. Chess grinned, a bit embarrassed. "Why do you think it was so easy for me to accept you and Jake?"
Charley didn't answer. He stared out the window paying little attention to the farms and rolling hills as the miles rolled by, remembering going through puberty. He'd had a crush on his oldest brother Tom and his dad in those times. He recalled how he had masturbated wondering what his dad looked like naked, if he looked like Tom. He'd seen him naked a lot when he was still living at home before he graduated and went off to college. He grinned to himself wondering how his dad would react if he told him about his teen age crush on him. He got a little rise thinking about his dad in bed with another man. The thought made him blush.
Chess noticed Charley's darkened complection and asked, "Are you alright, Son?"
"Yeah, Dad, I was just letting my mind wander into things I shouldn't."
"I didn't mean to embarrass you."
"You didn't. I embarrassed myself."
Chess chuckled. Charley blushed again. Chess reached over and cupped his son's neck and pulled him over and kissed him on the forehead.
"We have all gone through those thoughts, Charley. It's only natural."
Charley straighten on the seat and smiled. "I love you, Dad. You are always one step ahead of me."
"Hey, I'm your father, I'm suppose to be."
"Thanks for coming with me."
Chess studied Charley a moment. Their eyes communicated silently. "You're my son. I'd do anything to assure your happiness," Chess said aloud.
Charley smiled and ducked his head, praying that Jake would be okay.
When Jason and Pete met up for lunch Jason eagerly told Pete about Jim's visit, begging to talk to Charley. "He refuse to tell me what he'd done to Jake to put in the hospital, and when I connected him with Charley Hill through the number that Jake had given me, he refused to tell him over the phone, too. So what ever he did he's going to tell Charley to his face."
"I wonder what happened. Did Jim look like he'd been in a fight?"
"Not at all. He did say that he'd hurt Charley as well as Jake."
"Hmm. It must have been something sexual." Pete surmised.
"Do you suppose he raped Jake? But Jake is so much bigger hand heavier."
"There are ways to subdue a man without force."
"God. Do you really think that Jim would use drugs?
Jim sat on the padded bench beside the elevators, his forearms rested on his thighs as he crimped the rim of a empty plastic coffee cup whose contents he'd swallowed over an hour ago. He knew he should be sitting in jail for what he'd done. He mentally shuddered for the thousandth time. What could he have been thinking when he'd purchased those pills. He was a nurse. He knew better.
He thought back to the time he was in nursing school. He'd been so in love then, with a big controlling hunk. They had been seeing each other for nearly six months when the guy had just cut off the relationship informing him he was going back to his wife. Jim hadn't even been aware that the man was married.
It had devastate him. He put his whole life into finishing school, swearing he'd never get involved with another man emotionally. When he met Jake. He could easily have given him his heart, but afraid of being hurt again, he flatly refused to let Jake into his heart.
When Jake had disappeared, he had realized how much he had lost. He blamed it on Jake. Jake was the one who had walked out. Jim realized how fucked up his thinking had been to punish Jake for his own failings. He could only pray that Jake wouldn't press charges.
He'd called Charley Hill seven hours ago and he was still waiting for his arrival at the hospital where Jake lay sedated in the intensive care ward. He had no idea how things would go with this Charley fellow. He knew nothing about him except that he was Jake's new lover. Jim had resigned himself to taking a beating if that was what Charley chose to do after hearing his confession. He knew much worse could happen if Jake and Charley decided to pursue legal channels. Not only could he lose his nurse's licence, he could end up doing a long time in jail if he were prosecuted.
He felt rather than heard the lobby doors open and looked up to see a tall blonde muscular god hesitate and looked around the lobby. Behind him was an older, slightly shorter, version. Jim sucked in his breath as his eyes connected with the handsome blonde's. He dropped the paper cup on the bench as he nodded to the unasked question in the man's eyes. He stood and walked toward the two men. The blonde god walked toward him, but the older man hung back, observing.
"Jim Provost?" the man asked, not offering his hand. His baritone voice resonated through Jim's being.
"Yes. You are Charley Hill?"
"Let's go into the cafeteria and talk," Jim said.
"I'd like to see Jake first."
"He's still in intensive care. I'm sorry, they won't allow you in to see him."
"I'm sorry. It's a stupid hospital rule."
Chess caught up with them at that point and put his arm around his son who just stared at the floor.
"Take it easy, Son. Let's go get a cup of coffee and listen to what Mr. Provost has to tell you."
Charley allowed Jim to lead them to the cafeteria. When they entered Chess volunteered to get coffee. Jim lead Charley over to a quiet corner away from the other people and pulled a chair out and motioned for him to sit and then took a chair on the other side of the table.
Jim studied the table top a few moments and then looked up to meet Charley's hostile stare.
"I've been sitting in the lobby since I called you thinking about how to tell you about what occurred. I guess I should preface with a little history."
Chess arrived with three cups of coffee. Jim looked up at him with an uneasy expression.
"This is my dad, Chester Hill. He knows the whole story. So fill free to say what you have to say," Charley said.
As Chess sat down next to his son, Jim introduced himself and shook hands with him.
Jim cleared his throat and looked from one man to the other before his spoke. "I don't know of any easy way to say this. So I'm going to be blunt and shoot straight from the hip."
He cleared his throat again and then started telling how he and Jake had met. "I told Jake from the beginning that I didn't want a lover. He seemed to accept that for a long time. Once he made overtures, telling me that he was in love with me. I shut him down. He seemed to accept that for a long while and them about three... no it was a little over five moths ago, the day he disappeared, he came onto me again. I shut him down again. He left in a huff and I didn't see or hear from him again until I took him out for dinner the other night. I heard a month or so ago that he was in town for a couple of days starting a book signing tour." Jim swirled the cold coffee in his cup and took a small swig and grimaced at the taste.
"I know it was crazy, but I was feeling like a rejected lover even though I'd been consistent in telling him that we weren't. Jake is a natural bottom."
"For Crist's sake, this is my father your saying that in front of."
Jim turned to Chess. "I'm sorry, Sir, if this is offensive to you, but it's at your and your son's insistence that you're here."
"I know what a bottom is, tell it like it is."
"Well, Jake has this need. And I was always happy to help him with it. We never got into any S and M, but I thought he would enjoy a little helpless fucking."
It was obvious to Chess that Jim was having a lot of inner turmoil. He glanced at his son. Charley's expression was simply a hard emotionless stare. It made Chess shudder, he's seen that expression on a man's face when he was practicing criminal law. The man was confessing to the premeditated murder of his wife.
Jim continued talking, he looked at the ceiling and everywhere but at the two men sitting across from him. "Shit. Who am I fooling. I did it in anger to get a little revenge for him leaving. A buddy had offered me these little pills that render a person physically helpless while all there senses are still alert. I took Jake out to dinner and slipped one into his beer just before leaving. I didn't know how quickly the pill would work and by the time we got to his apartment he was losing muscular control. I almost had to carry him from the door to his bed."
Jim looked down at the table, picked up the cup and took another quick swig of the cold bitter coffee. He looked straight into Charley's eyes. There was no challenge to the look, just straight forward honesty. "I stripped him and fucked him. He was protesting. I ignored it." He paused studying his cup of coffee. "I guess that makes me a rapist, doesn't it."
The question seemed to release a spring under Charley. He abruptly stood, knocking his chair over, and leaned across the table to grab the front of Jim's shirt.
"God damned fucking right it does. I'd kill your stupid ass if I thought I could get away with it," he hissed. Chess grabbed his son's wrists and forced him to let go and sit down. The people sitting around the room turned to gape at the outburst.
"It's all right folks. Just a little emotional out burst." Chess announced to the room. Everyone turned back to what they were doing, but continued to keep a wary eye on the three men.
"You're a registered nurse playing around with illegal drugs. If you think your getting away with this you are wrong. I'm going to see your stupid ass in Jail." Charley stated.
Chess rubbed his back. "Calm down, Son."
"He drugged and raped Jake, Dad."
"There's plenty of time for action later. Let's hear what else he has to say."
Jim had buried his face his hands. When neither man said another word he glanced at them. "I deserve what ever you throw at me." Chess and Charley just looked at him.
"I felt like a turd after I left Jake. I'd let my libido over rule my sensibilities and was feeling rotten for what I'd done."
"It was premeditated Rape," Charley hissed.
Jim looked at him and nodded. There was a few moments of uncomfortable silence before he continued.
"He showed up on my doorstep the next morning looking and acting like he wanted more. All my guilty feelings flew. I grabbed him and started some rough foreplay on his tits. Jake hit me with both fists. Next thing I knew I was tied spread eagle on my bed with my head throbbing from being K.O.'d. Jake grinned evil as hell at me while he poured ice water on me.
"I thought he was going to do a turnabout and rape me, but he had other ideas." Jim closed his eyes and shuddered, hard. He shook his head. "I hadn't listened to what he was saying the previous evening. But every word he said while I was tied to that bed in burned into my memory." He paused and looked both men in the eyes. "I promise God that I will never ignore someone saying "No" to me again. I was filled with remorse just listening to the great sadness in Jake's voice. And then he told me he was going to give me a lesson that I would never forget. He was going to geld me."
The two Hills looked dubious." What's that?" Charley asked. Jim closed his eyes.
"Castrate, that's what they call it when it's done to a horse. Jake was going to castrate him," Chess answered.
"He pulled this pliers-like device out of his rear pocket and a little zip-lock bag of tiny O-rings. I watched in horror as he took one little ring and put it on the device and stretched it. But before he put it on me he demanded the little vial that held three more of the pills that I had given him the previous night. He carefully rolled one into his palm and held it up for me to see. And then he forced my jaw open and stuck his thumb and finger to the back of my mouth and commanded me to swallow. I tried to refuse, but he poured water into my mouth, forcing me to swallow.
"He played with that shiny chrome tool, holding it up to let me see how it would stretch the tiny band. He talked for a while. It was crazy. There was little emotion in his voice as he talked about how he loved you, how he'd promised to not have sex with me again. And then his voice turned icy as he told me in detail how my balls were going to shrivel and just drop off. He cried telling how I'd killed any chance he had of making a life with you.
"He loves you, Charley. You've got to be there for him when he wakes up. It wasn't his fault I fucked him again. And I apologize to you for doing it, for making him break his word." Jim was weeping at that point.
"I'm here for Jake. I didn't come four hundred and twenty eight miles just to hear you feeling sorry for yourself. So, I take it he didn't put that rubber ring on your balls."
Jim looked up at Charley. "You think that at this point I'm feeling sorry for myself? To hell with that. I am regretting what I did to Jake. Yes, he put that rubber ring on my balls and let me sweat it a few minutes while I was waiting tor the paralysis from the pill to take over my body. But in the end he untied one of my hands. After I got loose I discovered the powdered pill on the floor.
"In my own warped way I love that man more than anything else in the world. I want to see him happy with you, Charley Hill. The man loves you. And I can see that you feel the same way about him. Yeah, I fucked up. And I'll take the consequences. But first, I want to do everything I can to rectify what I have done to him. And I.... I need your help to do that."
"You still haven't told me why he is in intensive care. What happened to him?"
"I am a registered Nurse. I am qualified to work in any section of the hospital, from surgery to OB. I choose to take care of people outside of the hospital. I've read all of the doctor's notes. And knowing what I do, I suspect that the pill had an adverse effect on his depression. I think he wanted to sleep it off and simply didn't wake up until he was so dehydrated that he had to be hospitalized. Right now they have him in a medically induce sleep until his body regains a lot of its moisture."
"He doesn't have any family. He was an only child and both of his parents are dead. All he's got is me. I've got to be allowed at his side when he wakes up." Charley said to no one in particular.
"And he has me--- if he will let me still be his friend."
"That's entirely up to Jake." Charley's voice was still cold.
There was quiet around the table as each man pondered what to do next.
"Charley, I think I can pull some strings to get you in there." Jim said.
"How?" Charley asked.
"Let me make a phone call." Jim pulled out his cell phone and searched for a number and then dialed it. "Good afternoon, Mr. Gates, this is Jim Provost."
"Thank you, Dave. Are your familiar with the name Jake Shipman?"
"Yes, that is him. He is in the hospital in intensive care."
" He's under sedation he's suffering from dehydration."
"Well that's a long story I'd rather not get into right now."
"The problem is he has no living relatives and his lover is sitting here in the lobby. He's not allowed on the floor with Jake."
"Thank you, Dave. I knew that if there was anybody that could help, it would be you."
"Yes, Sir, I will tell him." Jim turned to Charley. "That was Dave Gates. He said to tell you that he would take care of the problem. Not to worry."
Charley studied Jim. "I feel like I should be thanking you, and at the same time I want to rearrange you face."
Jim looked him in the eyes. "I don't want your gratitude. I'm just trying to rectify the harm I've done. I won't resist if you need to punch my lights out. But I think we should take it out side if that's what you want to do."
Charley sighed. "No. I'm not going to get physical. What happens from here will be up to Jake."
At that moment they were interrupted by a man approaching their table and introducing himself as Dr. Chestnut.
"May I sit down?" he asked.
Charley pulled the chair out and gestured for him to sit.
"I am the staff psychiatrist. When a patient attempts suicide I am called in to deal with it. Dave Gates called me and informed me that I should be talking to you two fellows."
Dr. Chestnut visited with the three men for a few minutes and then made separate appointments for Jim and Charley to meet with him the next morning and then left.
As he walked away a nurse came into the room, looked around and headed for the table where the three men sat.
"Are one of you Charles Hill?"
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