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.
I appreciate feedback and do my best to respond to it all. I may be contacted at: J S.Collection@Verizon.Net
Once again I'd like to express my appreciation to Dave for his corrections of all my mistakes. If there are any now it's because I added more after he did his magic. Thanks again, Dave. JWS
Those Golden Eyes
Charley and Johnny boarded the plane for Chicago. Dave felt no compunction not to lavish the wealth on all his family and close friends. They were flying first class. Charley lay back in his comfortable wide seat enjoying the luxury thinking about how quickly Dave had found his way into his heart. He loved Dave unconditionally as a close friend and as his bodyguard he would willing put his life on the line for him. He enjoyed this luxury of flying first class, but he was still miserable being away from Jake. He glanced at his partner in this venture. Johnny didn't look any happier than Charley was feeling. He felt Charley studying him and they exchanged looks. "Must be hell, having only three days in your new home with Jake before having to go off like this," Johnny said.
"It's not a good feeling," Charley replied.
"Well, this time should go fast in Chicago. Before we know it we'll be headed back."
"I know you're right, but it doesn't make me feel any better right now."
Johnny gave him a commiserative smile. They sat back and closed their eyes, waiting for the plane to fill.
The flight attendants started their routines for take off. As soon as it was over and they were in the air, Charley laid his seat back and stared out at the passing clouds and thought about Jake.
He still was amazed when he thought about how Jake had without hesitation had taken care of him after he had been shot and had broken his leg. It had to have been love that made Jake put up with his mother's treatment while he was on the mend. Charley shuddered thinking about the cruel nasty threats his brother, Robert, had made against Jake. It never upset Jake's equanimity, he'd not said, a word even when Charley had found the notes and confronted him with them. Charley could still see and hear him say, "I love you, Charley. That's all that matters."
Jake had seemed like his old self for the last month. There had been no relapses into the black depression he'd suffered after the rape. Of course, living in the same house with Jason and Pete had had a lot to do with Jake's well being, but now they were living in their own house, and Jake would be in Kirksville most of the week. He'd be safe with his dad near by to watch over him. Charley still worried.
He wondered if Jake felt the need for a public declaration of love from him like Tim and Johnny were planning. He couldn't really believe that they were actually going to do it. He turned and looked at Johnny sitting next to him. Johnny caught his pensive glance. "What are you thinking about, Charley?"
"You and Tim are getting married for real the week after we get back?"
"Well, my sisters insist on calling it a wedding. We are having a commitment ceremony."
"I think that is fantastic, Johnny."
"I'd like for you and Jake to be there."
"Really? You haven't even met Jake yet."
"No, but I've read both of his books and like them. You and I are becoming good friends and I have a feeling that Tim and Jake will feel the same."
" Paul was telling me about how you two met. Tim must really be something."
"Yes, he really is a special person."
Charley thought to himself, 'So is my Jake.'
Jake stepped out of Sally's café into the pool of white sodium light in which his classic 1953 Indian motorcycle sat. He'd spent a busy day helping at the sale, lugging and loading furniture and everything else into people's vehicles as they purchased them. He had enjoyed the light flirtatious banter with his two sister's-in law. That's the way he thought about them for he considered himself married to Charley for the rest of his life. Gloria had seemed almost friendly most of the time. Jake still caught a furtive look from her occasionally. Chess and his two sons hadn't come around, being Friday they all had to work. They'd all three probably be at the house helping tomorrow. Jake looked forward to spending the day with the whole family. It would be good to get to know Tom better. Maybe he could get over the feeling that Robert was still antagonistic toward him.
After dinner with Chess and Gloria at Sally's, they'd gone home and he'd spent the last couple of hours sitting on a stool next to the cash register visiting with Sally. When closing time came, she had her routine to go through closing up the place, so he left her and her cook to it.
He stood in the harsh glare and breathed in the night air. A hint of night-blooming Jasmine reminded him of his new home. He wished Charley was with him. He missed his lascivious grin. As he started to heft his leg over the cycle he heard his name barked. Dropping his foot back to the ground, he turned to see Robert standing at the corner of the building, barely visible in the dark shadows. "Robert," he said, and turned to walk toward him.
"You and I have to talk, Jake. Come over to my car." He turned and walked away as if he expected Jake to follow him.
"What's so secret that we couldn't just go back into the café and talk over a cup of coffee?" Jake asked, as he followed his brother -n-law into the darkness. His senses were on alert.
Robert proceeded to the driver's side of the big black Cadillac as though he hadn't heard Jake's question. The car was a big black, ominous shadow in the darkness. Jake heard a scraping noise behind him and whirled. He heard the thud more than he felt it as a policeman's baton struck his shoulder. He moved with the direction of the blow lessening it's impact. Before his attacker could raise the hard black rubber stick again Jake slammed his fist into his big beer gut. It was soft and the man whooshed with the impact. He folded forward with the blow. Jake's other fist connected with the man's eye. He staggered backward into the light and Jake recognized his attacker.
This wasn't going as Robert had planned it. That big clumsy cop had given himself away. Now Jake was fighting back. Robert quickly opened the trunk and grabbed the tire iron and ran toward the two scuffling men. He was torn about which one to use the iron on. The thought flew though his mind that if he took out the cop he could claim he was coming to Jake's rescue. But then he'd have to explain why he was there in the first place and his hatred boiled up.
Jake heard Robert running toward him. He glanced back at him. For some stupid reason, he momentarily thought he was coming to his aid and turned to ward off the 'beer gut's' next attack. As Robert swung the tire iron, Jake realized his mistake and tried to dodge, but it grazed the side of his head, raking over his ear and bounced off the shoulder muscle. The blow was enough to drop him to his knees.
A boot toe to his chin from the 'beer gut' laid him out on his back. He heard them both curse and call him foul names. A kick to his side cracked a rib. A hard heel ground into his groin. Jake bellowed, rolled over and tried to get up. A kick to his head set off a burst of red stars. Then a scurry of fleeing feet as a car pulled into the parking lot, its headlights raked over the scene missing Jake's crumpled form and the two men running. Tires screamed as Robert and his accomplice fled the scene. The occupants of the car seeing the closed sign in the café window, left, unaware that just might have saved Jake's life.
Jake rested a few minutes, trying to dim the pain and then he staggered to his feet. The red searing pain in his head nearly blinded him. He stumble back to the café, holding his side as he gasped for breath. His energy ran out and he collapsed against the door. Sally heard the heavy thump and walked over and peered out. Seeing the Indian still sitting where Jake had left it she opened the door to peer out. Jake slumped at her feet.
"Jake," she screamed, turned toward the kitchen and called out to the cook. "Slim, come out here and help me." Slim was the opposite of his name. He waddled out, took stock of the situation, lifted Jake in a fireman's hold against his barrel chest and big belly, and said, "Where'd ya want 'im, Sal?"
Sally ran to the nearest booth pulled the table out of the way. "Lay him on the seat," she said.
Slim duck walked him to the booth seat and sat him down. He lifted Jake's feet and turned him. Sally supported his head as she helped him to lie back. Sally dug her cell phone out of her handbag and called 911, and then she got a fresh bar towel, wet it and wiped the blood off his face. She thanked God that his face wasn't cut and prayed that he wasn't badly hurt. Soon after she heard a siren wailing in the distance, a police car pulled into the parking lot. Two policemen jumped out and ran into the café. "Sally, who is it?" one of them called out as they approached the booth
"Jimmy, I'm so glad it's you two guys. It's Jake Shipman. Charley's partner."
"Oh Christ, Charley's going to come unglued."
"Yeah, I know."
"You don't know who did this, do you?" Jimmy asked.
"No, I don't. I was just closing up when I saw his motorcycle still out there. I opened the door to look out and he fell in on me."
Jimmy's partner, Curt, squatted next to him. "Jake, Jake can you hear me?" He laid his hand gently on Jake's cheek.
He groaned again and turned his head into the comforting hand.
"Who did this to you, Jake?" Curt ask again.
"Cop." Jake mumbled. "Robert." he was coming around and the pain made him want to curl up in a protective ball.
"Lie still, Jake," Sally said, rubbing his arm.
Curt laid his other hand on Jake's chest to hold him still. Jimmy and his partner looked at each other. "We don't have any police named Robert." Curt said.
"That's Charley's brother's name." Sally said, looking up at them. "He and Jake had a falling out the first time they met back when Charley was in the hospital after he was shot."
"Oh yeah, I remember Bubba telling me about Robert's rampage." Jimmy said.
"I remember that, too," his partner added.
"Ma--McCall," Jake mumbled through cracked lips. "The cop was McCall." He lay there watching the interaction between the two cops as Jim laid a hand on Curt shoulder and squeezed. They'd had their own run-ins with bigoted cop.
Sally looked up at Jim and then at Curt.. "Jeb and Charley exchanged insults last week when he came in with Jake. He called Charley an ex faggot cop and Charley called him stupid."
"Jake, did either man say anything while they were beating you?" Jimmy asked.
Jake had figured out they were more than patrol partners. "Yes, they called me a faggot cocksucker, a fudge packer and a few other derogatory things. Curt had a small recorder close to Jake's mouth while Jimmy was furiously writing down what he had said."
"Damn, this is a hate crime," Jimmy muttered.
"Yes, and to make matters worse Jake is nationally known," Sally said.
"What do you mean?" Jimmy asked.
"He wrote the book I just finished reading," Curt said before Sally could answer.
"Oh, the one you told me I should read."
"Damn, this is a tough one. We'd better call in on this," Jimmy said, striding back to the cruiser to call to his superior.
The ambulance drew up next to them and the medics took over. Sally watched as they examined Jake. "Is he bad off?" she asked.
"I think he has a couple of broken ribs and probably a concussion. Until he's thoroughly checked out and x-rayed I can't say more."
"I think I should call Chess and let him know what has happened." She walked away digging for her cell in her purse. Curt followed her.
Jake tried to sit up an object, but the medic held him down with a firm hand on his chest. "Lie still, Buddy, we don't know how badly you're hurt yet." Jake groaned and closed his eyes.
"Who is Chess?" Curt asked.
"Chester Hill, Charley's dad. Jake is staying with him and his wife."
Curt raised his eyebrows, but didn't say anything.
Sally called and told Chess how she'd found Jake nearly unconscious with blood all over his head. Chess asked if she was going to the hospital with him and she replied "Of course."
"I'll meet you there." He turned to his wife who was lying in bed next to him, reading. He was perplexed by her reaction. when he told her what had happened. Even though she acted shocked, he got the feeling that she wasn't totally surprised. He didn't like the feeling. He looked at her several times as he dressed. She'd gotten up and put on a robe. She seemed genuinely concerned. He shook himself out of his suspicions, kissed her cheek and left for the hospital.
Four policemen along with a supervisor descended on Officer Jeb McCall's home. His mousy little wife answered the door. When they asked to speak with Jeb, they were informed that he wasn't home. When asked his whereabouts, the frightened little woman told them she didn't know, but that he'd spoken with someone by the name of Robert before he left the house. After asking the approximate time that had occurred, they thanked her and left. She hadn't asked why they wanted to speak to him.
An APB was put out on his car. A call came in immediately saying that the car was parked in front of the bar two blocks from the police station, where most of the police fraternity hung out. The APB was cancelled and the five policemen proceeded to the bar.
As they entered a jocose Jeb was regaling three of his cohorts about the faggot bashing. "The fucking faggot was a fighter, though," he was saying as he showed them his swollen, discolored eye as if it were a badge of accomplishment. He then noticed the five uniformed cops around him. "Hey, you guys know you're not suppose to wear a uniform into a bar."
"We're on duty, McCall."
"All the more reason for you not to be here." Jeb roared with laughter. These cops in uniform were men he didn't like and it was obvious by their demeanor that they despised him. He didn't notice that his small group of listeners had abandoned him nor that he was the only one laughing.
"Are you coming quietly, or do we have to add resisting arrest to the charges?"
"What the fuck are you talking about, Johnson?"
"You are under arrest, McCall."
"For what? A little gay bashing?"
"Your little 'gay bashing' is considered a hate crime, Stupid. It's going to be hitting national headlines."
"Hey, don't call me stupid. I'm not stupid."
"Do you know who you just assaulted?"
"Yeah, that faggot 'girl' friend of Charley Hill."
"You are stupid, Jeb. The man is Jake Shipman."
"I know his name. So?"
"He's a popular writer. He's got a book on the national best sellers list," the supervisor said, repeating what Kurt had told him. "Don't you think there will be repercussions from your little escapade?"
"Oh." He gave no resistance to being handcuffed and led out of the bar. The policemen took statements from the three fellow cops that had been listening to him.
Across town in the wealthy country club district two policemen were knocking on the door of Robert Hill's elegant home. Elaine answered the door. After asking the two policemen to come in, she called her husband to the door. In shock she heard the charges as he was handcuffed. She only nodded as the policemen made their apologies, and silently, she watched her husband led away, spewing hateful words about her sweet gentle new brother-in-law. He was still cursing Jake as the policeman close the car door. She stood at the door and watched the police car out of sight.
Walking over to the phone, she picked it up and dialed. When the call was answered on the other end, she calmly spoke into the mouthpiece, "I hope you are happy, Gloria. Robert was just arrested for assault and battery with a deadly weapon and committing a hate crime."
"Elaine, I told Robert to leave Jake alone."
"So you knew Jake was the victim."
"Chess just got a call that Jake was being taken to the emergency. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out."
"I'm suing for divorce."
"Elaine, you can't."
"MY children don't need to be taught hate like that."
Jake was adamant that he was not going to be put into the hospital. He'd been X-rayed and examined. His rib had been wrapped, and the two gashes on the sides of his head stitched.
"You need to be under observation for, at least, the next twelve hours, Mr. Shipman. You may have a concussion."
"I am okay, Doc."
Chess stepped up. "I will keep a watch over him, Chuck." Chess and the doctor were old golfing buddies. "Just tell me what to watch for."
Jake was released into Chess's care. As they walked to the car, Sally on one side of him and Chess on the other, Jake remembered his motorcycle. Chess volunteered to ride it home. So Sally drove them over to pick up the old classic Indian and then followed Chess to his house. Chess got into her car after parking the motorcycle in the driveway, and Sally drove him back to the hospital parking lot where Jake and he said good night to her, got into the Mercedes and headed home.
Gloria was at the door when they drove up. She was very solicitous.
Jake was too tired to be suspicious of her. He let her to mother him. Since he had to stay awake for at least the next eight hours, she make a pot of coffee and settled in to help her husband keep him awake. Chess forgot about his earlier suspicions about her earlier reactions.
They turned on CNN news. The woman on the screen said, "Tonight, Ladies, and Gentleman there was another hate crime committed in the heartland of our country. In the small city of Kirksville, a local policeman and an upstanding citizen of the community beat Jake Shipman, a popular novelist, who at the moment has a book, "Those Shifting Sands," in number three spot on the New York Times top ten best sellers list." The picture from the inside of the book cover was shown on the screen.
"Police officer Jeb McCall and Robert Hill, who is the brother of Mr. Shipman's life partner attacked him in the parking lot of Sally's Café in Kirksville.
"Fortunately, Mr. Shipman survived with a slight concussion, a broken rib and a few contusions. It our understanding that Mr. Shipman is resting comfortably in the home of his partner's parents, while their son Robert Hill, and Jeb McCall, the policeman, sit in the city jail waiting for arraignment. We've been told that since both men are so hostile and verbal they may not be given bail before their trial.
"Mr. Shipman resides in University City. He is visiting his in-laws for a few days while his partner is in Chicago for special training to be the personal body guard to the reclusive billionaire Dave Gates who also resides in University City."
Gloria turned off the TV. "How do they get all this information so quickly?" she asked.
Chess sat in shock. He'd been so worried about Jake he'd forgotten to asked him who his attackers were."Robert did this?" He turned and stared at Jake. "Did Robert do this?"
Jake bowed his head and didn't answer.
"I told him to leave Jake alone." Gloria said.
Chess turned on her. "You knew he was planning this?"
"No, of course not. I only knew that he has an active hatred for Jake. He insists that Jake made Charley gay and that he said he should pay for it. He was jealous of how you feel about Jake."
"Robert has always kept me at arms distance. I've never been able to get close to him. He's so different from Tom and Charley.
Jake had gotten up and left the room as they continued their argument. He appeared in the doorway with his duffle and saddle bags. Gloria was saying, "It's so obvious how you feel about Jake. It's no wonder Robert was jealous."
"Robert is my son. I love him as much as I do my other two sons. How I feel about Jake has nothing to do with Robert."
"Maybe I'm the one who should be jealous."
Chess was astounded that she had said that. "You're being ridiculous, Gloria."
The last thing Jake heard as he quietly closed the back door was Gloria asking, "Am I?" He attached his bags to the back of his motorcycle. As he pushed it down the long drive way to the street before starting it, he was filled with deja vu. He'd left another member of the Hill family the same way.
He had thought about just heading back home but decided he wasn't up to the long ride. He stopped at the motel where he'd stopped the first night he'd spent in Kirksville months ago. He collapsed onto the hard bed, fully clothed and drifted into sleep wondering what Charley was doing.
Johnny and Charley were sharing a suite in a hotel near the school they were attending in Chicago. The concierge had awakened them at five a.m. as they had requested. It was Charley's turn first in the bathroom, so Johnny lay back and flipped on the morning news. When he saw Jake's photo on the screen he yelled for Charley who came scurrying out of the bathroom still dripping.
He collapsed into a chair. When the news went to the next item. "I'm going to kill them. How dare they lay a hand on Jake," he mumbled.
"Call Jake. First find out if that's the truth."
Charley picked up his cell phone and called his parents home. Gloria answered. "Charley, have you heard from Jake?"
"No, I just saw what happened on the news. Is he all right?"
She proceeded to tell him how Jake had just walked out while she and Chess had been arguing after hearing that Robert had been involved. Charley asked her if they had tried his cell phone. When she said that they hadn't and that she didn't know the number, and that Chess was down at the police station trying to get Robert released on bail, Charley said he'd talk to her later. He broke the connection and called Jake's cell.
Jake's cell phone woke him. He sat up, dug into his 501s, pulled it out of the pocket and looked at the caller ID. He turned the phone on and put it to his ear, his voice groggy as he answered, "Hi, Charley."
"Babe, are you okay? I saw it on tv. Where are you? I called Dad and Mom and she said you left without even saying good-bye."
"I'm okay. I'm in a motel on the edge of Kirksville. You're Dad and Mom were fighting about me. I couldn't stay there."
"I love you, Jake."
Jake was silent for a few seconds. Charley started getting apprehensive. And then Jake said, "I love you, Charley. I'm sorry. I never had love from my dad. I shouldn't have taken love away from you and your brothers."
"What the fuck are you talking about? MY dad loving you has nothing to do with how he feels about me, or Tom, or Robert."
Jake didn't respond.
"Please call Dad and Mom, Jake. They are really worried about you."
Jake was still silent.
"Jake, please tell me you will call them. I need to hear you say you will, before I go to class." He heard a sigh. "Jake?"
"All right. I'll call." Jake murmured.
"Thank you, Babe. I love you Jake. I'm late. I've got to go."
"I love you, too, Charley, call me tonight."
After talking to Jake, Charley called his dad's cell. He told Chess where Jake was and was informed that the judge was reluctant to release Robert because of all the hatred he'd spewed out when he was arrested. Chess told Charley he'd head right over to the motel and talk to Jake, not to worry. Charley went off to school feeling that things were going to be okay at home. At least his brother was where he should be.
Jake sat on the edge of the bed cradling the phone in his two hands on his lap as he thought about the last sixteen hours. He'd promised Charley to talk to his parents. Despite what he'd heard Gloria say as he left the house he'd keep his promise. He decided to call Chess's cell phone instead of the house. It was busy. He got up and slowly stretched his sore aching body, being careful not to breathe too deeply. He hobbled into the bathroom to relieve himself, then started to carefully strip his clothes off. His whole body was stiff and aching. He got a sharp pain in his side every time he breathed too deeply. He moved slowly. He'd gotten his shirt, both boots and one sock off when there was a knocking on his door. He removed the other sock and then hobbled to the door. He peeked through the spy hole, and seeing Chess, he opened it.
Chess immediately enfolded Jake in his arms. "Are you okay, Buddy?" he asked, running his hand up and down Jake's naked back.
Jake clung to him. "Yeah, Chess, I'm doing okay. Charley called you, huh?" He relaxed his grip on his father-in-law.
"He's worried about you, Son." Chess let go of Jake and let him move back into the room. Jake sat down on the bed and studied the ugly shag carpet. Chess took the only chair, a straight back. "Now tell me why you left."
"I caused your family enough trouble by being here. You don't need it. I'm sorry, I'm headed home this morning."
"Bullshit, Jake. You have nothing to be sorry for. My idiot son and that redneck cop are the ones that caused the trouble. Not you."
"Robert wouldn't be in jail if I had stayed away."
"What Robert did was totally reprehensible. He deserves to be where he is. I never knew that he harbored such feelings. Apparently nobody did, except that stupid cop."
"Still if I had stayed home none of this would have happened."
Chess could see he wasn't going to get through to Jake so he changed tactics. " Were you just getting into the shower?"
"Go ahead and do it. When you get dressed I'm taking you for some breakfast and then I'm going to escort you back to the house."
Jake looked dubious. He glanced up at Chess, shrugged and stood up. He unbuttoned his 501s and stepped out of them. Chess gasped. Jake looked up at him to see what it was about. Chess was staring at Jake's crotch. The area was bruised, black and blue, and his testicles were swollen. "The doctor said it wasn't bad. McCall didn't do any real damage."
"Did he photograph it?"
"Yeah, he did. My ribs and my head, too." Jake felt like he should cover himself, but figured what the hell, Chess had already seen it. He turned and hobbled into the bathroom.
When Jake came out several minutes later, Chess was still sitting where he'd left him. Chess looked up at him. "If McCall did that," he pointed at Jake's balls, "that means my son was at your head. Right?" Jake glanced at him and turned to pull a clean pair of jeans out of his duffle. "This is the scenario as I figure it," Chess continued. "You can tell me if I'm wrong." He stood up and approached Jake. "Robert lured you into the darkness. Jeb attacked you from behind. You heard him approaching and ducked. His club hit you here." He touched the bruise on Jake's left shoulder. Jake winced." Sorry. You hit him in the eye."
"I punched him hard in the belly first."
"Robert came from behind and hit you with a tire iron. It was a glancing blow that hit the side of your head and then hit you right shoulder."
Jake turned back to getting dressed.
"That knocked you to the ground. Jeb kicked you here." he pointed at the cut under his chin. "That laid you out on your back. He then stomped your groin while Robert kicked you in the ribs." Jake calmly ignored Chess and put on his boots. "An approaching car scared them. Robert kicked you in the head and then they fled."
Jake put his shirt on, packed his dirty clothes, picked up the duffle and saddlebags and turned to Chess. "I'm ready for breakfast. Sally's?"
Chess stood with his hands on his hips blocking Jake's exit. "I figured it right. didn't I?"
Jake looked at him and smirked with one side of his mouth. "Nope, you got one thing wrong. It was McCall who kicked me in the ribs." He pushed past his father-in-law and opened the door. "Come on, I'm hungry."
Chess followed Jake back to the house after they had lunch. Gloria met them at the door. She gave Jake a careful hug. He couldn't help but see the look she gave her husband. She went to her study up stairs leaving the two men to fend for them selves. Chess led Jake into his study off the den. "This is the most comfortable room in the house, Jake. Make yourself at home." Jake chose a high-backed wing chair and settled into it. Chess pulled a hassock over and lifted Jake's feet and placed it under them. Chess pulled another hassock in front of the matching chair and made himself comfortable. They talked sporadically though the afternoon. Jake dozed off and on while Chess read. When Gloria didn't appear after dusk, Chess fixed the two of them a light meal. Jake retired early. Chess went back to his study and read until he fell asleep in his chair
Monday morning, the police came to interview Jake more thoroughly. He was told he needed to stay in town until the investigation was completed. Chess gave him an 'I told you so' look and Jake grinned. Late in the day the court called Chess and informed him that the charges against Robert had been changed to include attempted murder.
Tears filled Jake's eyes as he watched Chess's remorse. "I rue the day I volunteered to come help with the estate sale," he said to them. He turned to go upstairs to the bedroom.
Chess stepped in front of him and got right up in his face. He gripped Jake's biceps. "You listen to me well, Jake Shipman, Robert may be my son, but I want you to know you are so much a better human being than Robert will ever be."
Gloria hade appeared during the phone call, she watched stoically as Chess hugged Jake to his chest and then she turned and walked away.
Tim sighed and closed his text book. He wished Johnny was here. Tim needed the knots massaged out of his shoulders and back. Johnny had spoiled him doing that for him nearly every evening when he got through with his studies. He sighed again. More than missing Johnny's massaging, he missed Johnny himself. The mere presence of the man did more to soothe him than anything.
Standing up, he stretched, ambled over and flopped into Johnny's favorite chair. It not only flattened out into a chaise lounge, it vibrated with rollers that went up and down the back. Tim turned it on and then turned on the news. When he saw Jake's photo he turned it up to hear more.
It was too late to call Johnny and Charley to tell them about it. Johnny had expressly told him not to call after nine o'clock. He felt slightly guilty for not having accepted the invitation Jake had extended, thinking that it may not have happened if he had. He knew the feeling was nonsense, but it was there none the less. He promised himself he'd call Charley and Johnny first thing in the morning. He fell asleep. Eventually the chair and the TV automatically turned off.
When Timothy and Edie arrived a week before their son's commitment ceremony, they had both made comments about having bought new clothes for the occasion. Dave suspected that they would still look like the country bumpkins they were. This was not being snooty, Dave really wanted to help them fit in and not feel out of place. But until Tim asked to talk to him Dave did nothing.
In the months that Tim and Johnny had been together, Tim had learned a lot about dressing to fit in. As a college student anything he wore to class was acceptable, but going out to dinner or to a play dressed in the same clothes he soon learned was frowned on if he wanted to be accepted. Because of his muscular build Johnny had taken him to the tailor shop his dad and grand dad had always used. Through their guidance Tim soon had a wardrobe fit for any occasion. He was still Tim though, and still a student. His dress style didn't change there. Johnny had found that admirable in him. As he did most things that Tim did.
So when he went to Dave for help with his parents he found willing help.
Since the Paolini women were making this a formal occasion, Dave had figured out how to manage getting Timothy into a tux but he had no idea about what to do for Edie. So he ended up going to his mother and sister for help. Jean's response had been, "Oh, that's easy, Dear, women love to shop. We'll just take her to the right places and help her pick something suitable. You can pay for it and we'll just say it's your gift to the mother of the a----."
"Groom, Mother, they are both grooms," Mary said.
"Thank you, Dear, I was at a complete loss there. I guess I've never really thought about this before."
Dave enticed Timothy off to see the Way mansion with him, so Mary and jean could descend on Edie. Edie was so proud of her new dress that they almost felt guilty about what they had planned. If it hadn't been for the flowers and ruffles all over it they might have let it go, but once they saw that, they knew the woman needed help, for certain. They agreed that her rufflely thing was nice. And then over coffee discreetly talked her into going shopping with them, telling her they needed a new outfit for this special occasion.
They drove Jean's new little black Lexus downtown and parked in front of the most exclusive women's dress shop in the city. Jean and Mary had dressed down to keep Edie from standing out. Edie gasped when she entered the store. "My I've seen things like this in movies and on TV but never in real life. I can't afford to shop here. But I'll look while you girls find what you like." Jean heard one of the sales women snicker and whisper something to another one. She strode over to the woman. And handed her the credit card Dave had given her. "Check the line of credit. And then if you want to keep your job you will mind your manners and help us to dress that woman. I want her to be the best dressed woman at this shindig. That's going to take some doing on your part. Because not only will she be contending with the Mayor's wife, the Governor's wife will be there too, along with a state senator or two."
The woman, not to be cowed, primly took the card and with a stiff back walked into the office. Not five minutes later she came out with a totally different attitude. The other two sales women seeing the change in attitude decided they had better pitch in and help, too.
Three hours later, the three women left the shop with enough bags and boxes to fill the trunk and much of the backseat of the car and the laps of the two passengers. The sales clerks stood on the sidewalk and waved them off. "Exactly who were those women?" one of them asked as they observed another car with two men who looked like undercover cops following them.
"The older one is the mother of one of the wealthiest men in the world. The younger one that looked like her is his sister. And the country one is well I'm not sure. She kept talking about her son being the groom. She asked me if I knew the Paolini's. When I said 'Yes' she asked if I knew Johnny. I told her I used to date him in high school. She told me that he wouldn't be dating anyone anymore because he's getting married. And when I asked who he was marrying she just smiled, shook her head and wouldn't say anymore."
"So it's going to be a double wedding. Johnny Paolini and that woman's son are going to be the grooms. They must be best friends to share their wedding day," one of the other two surmised.
"You don't think he's marrying Didi Wilson, do you? He is a policeman. And she's the police chief's daughter."
"God hates him, if he is."
Timothy about had a heart attack when the three women whirled in with all her boxes and bags. Dave and Joe were called down for the show as Edie modeled all the clothes she had acquired that day. Timothy drew in his breath when his wife walked out of the bedroom wearing a peach colored, slim sheath dress with a simple shawl of a darker shade of the same color around her shoulders. She wore one simple piece of jewelry, her mother's watch broach. It was gold with a circle of small diamonds. The simple pumps on her feet matched the dress as well as the hose on her legs. Mary had piled her shoulder length hair on top of her head and made up her face with just a touch of mascara and lipstick to match the outfit. A wide brimmed woven hat set off the whole. "You look like a movie star. Holly Go Lightly. You're beautiful, Edie." She glowed with her husband's praise. It had been years since he'd told her she was beautiful. She knew it was her fault. She'd tried to be a good Christian like the minister of her church required. And that meant no ----. She knew now that he was wrong on that too, not just on gays.
When she went back into the bedroom, Joe told Timothy that if he was going to be escorting his beautiful wife, he was going to have to have an afternoon tuxedo. Dave jumped right in and volunteered to take him to be fitted tomorrow.
Later, Dave called Tim and told him not to worry, his parents would be the best dressed couple at the ceremony.
For the next couple of days Jake saw very little of Gloria. He got up and had coffee with Chess each morning, and then he'd spend the rest of the morning sitting at the window in the guest room writing. He'd meet Chess for lunch downtown, and then spend a couple of hours visiting with Sally over coffee. Dinner was with the three of them sitting formally in the dining room. The live-in maid/cook served them. Conversation was stilted. Gloria would go immediately to her rooms after the meal. Jake spent the evenings in conversation with Chess, cloistered in his study.
The two policemen, Jim and Curt, made a pint of stopping and visiting with Jake everyday when they saw his motorcycle parked in of Sally's. The last day he was in Kirksville he invited them to come visit in University City sometime soon.
Robert and Jeb McCall were arraigned separately on Wednesday. Robert was formally charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and committing a heinous hate crime. Chess sat with Jake and observed the proceedings. Gloria had stayed home in bed with a sick headache.
When Robert entered the room and saw Jake sitting next to his father he exploded with invectives, railing about how that cock sucking faggot had seduced his brother and now had stolen his father's love from him. His lawyer tried to quiet him, but he ignored him. The judge managed to get his attention and told him that if he had another such outburst he would be physically gagged. Robert complied, but that didn't stop his eyes from expressing what he felt. His trial was set for January 3. He would stay in jail until that time.
Jeb McCall was charged with aggravated assault and committing a hate crime. He was contrite and quiet as the charges were read. He was released on bail. He had been suspended from the police force pending being fired. He never even glanced at Jake the whole time.
Jake got permission to go home. Chess hugged him and kissed him on his cheek. "I'm going to miss you, Son. Tell Charley
to take good care of you." Jake mounted his Indian, after thanking Chess for everything, and rode down the long driveway.
At the gate he stopped and looked back. Chess was still standing where he'd left him. He waved and Chess waved back.
Jake rolled into the street and gunned his bike toward the freeway, home and Charley.
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