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: JS.Collection@Verizon.Net

Those Golden Eyes

First off, y'all give a big thanks to Ben for his fine job of editing. Now, because of his efforts, you don't have to stumble over all my orrible mistakes.
Plus his suggestions make a much better read. JWS

Chapter 50

Jim had assumed that eventually he'd get to a point where he'd go out again looking for someone. He hadn't felt just plain horny since the incident with Jake, but he did feel the need to be loved. This neediness disturbed him greatly. As a young man he'd always gone for older men. Being a big kid, men seemed to enjoy abusing him and belittling him. It was almost like he sought out the one's that would wound him emotionally, because three times he'd fallen for a guy only to be hurt by the guy walking away, just when he thought he'd found a permanent relationship.

After the third time he made the decision that he was not going to be hurt like that again. He started building muscle to complement his big frame. Soon, no one messed with Jim. Jim messed with them. He became like the men that had hurt him, a calloused controlling user. He took what he needed and gave little of himself in return, letting no one get close enough emotionally to hurt him again.

And then he met Jake. Funny thing was that Jake was younger than Jim. Jake nearly got through his defenses. Jake's loving, trusting, and in Jim's mind, almost needy nature reminded him very much of himself.

Although, he could never let Jake see it, he'd come to love him. He was still too vulnerable to let Jake know it. Jake had eventually walked out of his life leaving him to hurt again. He'd tried to blamed Jake for the hurt, but he knew that he'd caused it all himself this time.

And then Jim had pulled that stupid trick with the pills and really fucked up his own life. He'd nearly lost Jake as a even a friend. Not only that, he'd lost the trust of every one around him, except for Papa Joe, and succeeded in making Charley his enemy.

Jim was no longer the arrogant egoist. He'd fairly well destroyed himself and didn't have much self confidence left when Arlen introduced himself. And now he was taking Arlen home? Could he do this? Between Papa's verbal harassment trying to bolster him and Arlen's apparent desire to stay close to him, he figured he just might succeed this time.

Jim was almost reluctant to let Arlen out of his sight when they left the Paolini's. Fearful that he might change his mind and disappear. But he had his Harley and Arlen had his red Mustang. Arlen must have read his mind or felt like-minded. "Do you want to ride with me? I'll bring you back for your bike tomorrow," he asked.

Jim didn't hesitate. "Sure," he responded. He gave Arlen directions to his house as they wended their way across the city. Arlen's football jacket was laying over the seat back. "University Football Star, are you?"

"Yeah, I'm on the team."

"What position do you play?"


"I read somewhere that this year's team is one of the best in years."

'We're not bad."

"No, contending for one of the championship bowls is not bad." Jim said softly, almost to himself.

"Did you play?" Arlen asked.

"Yeah, but a knee injury my Junior year in highschool put an end to it."

"That's a bummer."

"At the time I thought it was the end of the world. It's no big deal now."

When Arlen parked next to the house he was impressed with how Jim's place seemed so isolated and private from the rest of the neighbors. He imagined Jim tied to the bed with that castrator rubber around his scrotum, screaming his head off and no one hearing him. He shuddered. Jim looked at him in concern. "What's going on, Arlen?" he asked.

"Nothing." Arlen tried to sound innocent.

"Okay." Jim paused. "Let's get one thing clear from the start. Unless you're just wanting a one night fuck......." Jim thought a moment. He hadn't considered that he might be just another notch on this pretty college boy's belt. "Is that what you want?" he asked.

"No, if it works out between us, I want a whole lot more."

It restored a good bit of Jim's self confidence to hear that. "Well, then, rule number one. We are up front and honest with each other from the get go."

Arlen nodded.

"So will you answer my question?"

Arlen nodded. He was hesitant as he said, "It feels so isolated here. I know there are houses on the other side of those trees, but it's just so private."

"Does that make you nervous?"

"No. No, it doesn't."

"Then why did you shudder?"

Arlen shuddered again. "I-- I had a vision of you tied up with that thing around your nuts, yelling for help and no one hearing you."

"Hmm. That is enough to make you shudder, for sure."

They both stared out the windshield in silence. Jim momentarily lost in his own thoughts. Arlen because he didn't have any idea of what to say next. He started feeling uneasy. He didn't understand what the silence meant. "You asked me. I told you."

Jim looked at him, putting his thoughts aside, reached over and gave an affectionate squeeze to the back of Arlen's neck and then opened his door. "Let's go inside."

Once inside the house, Arlen lost his college jock attitude and became shy. Jim removed his suit jacket and pulled off his tie. Arlen watched with his hands stuffed into his pockets. Jim stopped and looked at him. "Are you having second thoughts?"

"No. I'm just not sure of what to do."

"Get comfortable then. Would you like something to drink?"

"I fine." He started taking his jacket off. Jim stepped up and loosened his tie. Arlen froze with the jacket hanging half off his arms.

"Relax. I'm just helping you."

Arlen let the jacket slip off his arms and fall to the floor.

"Are you afraid of my past reputation, Arlen?"

"Ye...No. I mean I don't believe you'd force me to do something I didn't......"

"I promise you, Arlen, I'll never do anything to intentionally hurt you. We'll never do anything sexually that you don't want to do. I will not dominate you. I'm through with that game. We will be equals, Arlen. Do you understand what I'm saying?"

Arlen studied Jim, wondering if he really did understand anything that Jim was saying, and then it dawned on him."You're going to let me fuck you?" The idea of it shook him. He hadn't really thought beyond just getting Jim's arms around him and kissing.

"Put bluntly. Yes, and I'm going to fuck you, too. Have you ever been fucked, Arlen?"


"What experience do you have?" Jim asked.

"I kissed Pete."

Jim chuckled. "How about with a girl?"

"I had a few dates in high school. I kissed them good-night, but not like I kissed with Pete." Why was he feeling like he was fourteen years old?

"I'll bet that Jason would throw a fit if he ever found out."

"Shit. He saw me do it," he laughed. The sound that came out was more like a nervous bark than a laugh. "He was one pissed off little fucker."

"I'll bet he tried to kick you in the balls."

"Nope, he packed up and disappeared for two days. It took a reward to find him and then a lot of talking to convince him that I was not competition."

"SOP for him." Jim proceeded to tell him about Jason running twice the first day Jim was on the job taking care of Pete. His quiet baritone voice mesmerized Arlen. He didn't notice that Jim had completely unbuttoned his shirt and was sliding it down his arms, until Jim ducked his head and touched his tongue to his nipple. Arlen whimpered when he realized he was bare chested and his hands were caught in the shirt sleeves. Jim straightened up and looked him in the eyes. "I meant what I said. If I do anything you don't like just say stop and I will." He went back to licking Arlen's nipples

"God, if it feels that good, I'll never say it." He was struggling with the buttons on the shirt cuffs. When he got the damned things undone he let the shirt fall on top of the jacket. His hands, of their own volution, caressed Jim's back. His fingers ran through the short hair on his head. He grabbed him by his arms and pulled him up to meet his lips. "Kiss me, Jim. Kiss me."

Jim hesitated a moment. Kissing was too intimate. Kissing was opening the gates to all the emotions that had hurt in the past. And then he remembered how he'd fucked up with Jake. He was not going to make this all about sex with Arlen. He wanted more. He needed more, He needed and wanted the intimacy, the love. He removed his hands from Arlen's muscular bubble butt. One hand went to the small of his back, forcing Arlen's pelvis against his own as he straightened up, grinding his hard cock against Arlen's The other hand cupped the back of his head, pulling him to his lips. His tongue darted out demanding entrance.

Arlen relaxed into the kiss and let Jim's tongue explore and then his own tongue copied what he'd learned. The kiss was so hot, it had Jim feeling like a horny teenager about to blow his wad in his pants. He broke the kiss and pulled back to look into Arlen's eyes. They were both breathing hard. What he saw there was hot eager desire and something more. Something that made Jim feel vulnerable. Yes, he needed, wanted, desired with all his heart what he saw in Arlen's eyes. It scared him. He dropped his head onto Arlen's shoulder, fighting the warring emotions inside his head. He knew that if he was going to win this battle, he was going to have to surrender completely. He wanted to win. "I think it's time for you to fuck me, Arlen. Claim me," he whispered.

Arlen was a big football player, but compared to Jim he was slender and smaller. "Yes, I want to claim you, Jim. I want to fuck the cum right out of you. Make you mine."

Jim was ready to surrender. Arlen's hands were all over his torso. Jim's hands caressed Arlen's back. Down his hands went to the muscular globes of his butt, stopping to massage and knead. And then down further they went and grasped Arlen's legs. Jim needed to be loved, and now he felt that despite his fears of being hurt again, he was going to have to trust Arlen. Jim lifted Arlen. Arlen wrapped both arms around Jim's neck, and locked his legs around his hips. "Whoa, I thought I was going to----"

"Shut up and hang on. You are going to in just a minute." Jim said and headed for the bedroom. Their lips sought each other again. Jim backed up to the bed and sat down with Arlen straddling his lap. Arlen pushed him onto his back and lay on top of him. His tongue sought to duel with Jim's. Jim finally broke the lip lock and whispered in Arlen's ear, "Do it, Arlen. Claim me now."

"Are you sure, Jim," Arlen asked, moving his knees between Jim's legs.

I"m sure." Jim said, raising his legs and resting them on Arlen's shoulders.~~~

In the predawn darkness, Arlen awoke to sensations he'd never before in his life experienced. The pillow he was hugging was warm and furry, and it was hugging him back..The heartbeat against his ear was so comforting. As his awareness expanded, he felt a leg laying over his own. His hardon throbbed. He could feel another one throbbing against his belly. It was then that his memory kicked in and he remembered last night. Jim. He contracted his rectum and felt a slight ache. 'I'm not a virgin anymore, in any way,' he thought. He recalled how well fucked he had been. He was still amazed that it hadn't really hurt. He moved his hips, rubbing against the hard phallus, feeling the hugeness that had been inside of him, and sighed contentedly and remembered how hot and moist it was to be inside Jim. His cock jumped at the memory. He moved his head slightly and felt a nipple against his lips and nibbled at it.

"Keep that up and you're going to get fucked again." Jim mumbled.

Arlen froze for a moment as he considered the consequences, and then stuck his tongue out and raked it over the tender nub. Jim bucked against him. "I'd like that, or we could flip to see who gets it first." Arlen murmured, and took the nipple into his mouth and worked it over. Jim groaned and pushed his chest up. "Turn over," he commanded. Arlen twisted around forgetting about the coin and ground his smooth butt against Jim's hairy crotch, feeling the hugeness that was about to invade him again. Jim's voice was a bit froggy as he muttered, "Eager fucker aren't you?"

"I'm not giving my butt to you to fuck, Jim. I want you to make love to me again like you did last night."

Jim stopped, his cock lay against Arlen's butt crack. "We were making love last night, huh?" Arlen couldn't see the smile on Jim's face.

He twisted in Jim's loose arms. "Were you just playing with me last night? Were you only fucking me? I gave up my cherry to just a fuck?" He started pushing away from Jim to get out of the bed. Jim tightened his hold on him. Arlen struggled to get his arms loose. "Let go of me, you ass hole."

"Would you stop struggling and listen to me?"

"I'm not sure I want to hear what you have to say," Arlen said, continuing his attempt to get free of Jim's embrace. "And if you don't let go of me I'm going to pee on both of us."

Jim let go of him. "Why didn't you say you had to piss. Hell, I do, too."

But before Jim could get off the bed Arlen had grabbed up his clothes, gone into the bathroom and locked the door. Jim walked over to the locked door and laid his head against it. "I'm sorry, Arlen. I've just got a sick sense of humor."

There was no response from the other side of the door.

"Arlen, please."

The door was suddenly opened and Jim nearly fell into the bathroom. Arlen's natural response was to grab him before he fell and discovered himself again wrapped in Jim's strong arms.

"Let go of me. Damn, you're like a fucking octopus."

"I'll let go if you'll promise to sit down and listen to me."

"Alright. Alright, I promise."

"Will you let me take a leak first? Promise you won't run away?"

"Go piss, Jim. I won't go anywhere."

Jim took time to brush his teeth before he went back into the bedroom. Arlen wasn't there. His shoulders sagged as he dropped onto the bed. He sat there a few minutes, occasionally sighing. 'God, I'm such a fuckup. Why'd I have to open my mouth. Things were going so good. Arlen is so beautiful, so sweet. Yes, I was loving him last night, so why did I make light of it this morning? I'm such a shithead.'

He reached for his jeans and lifted a foot to stick into them when he heard a noise behind him. There stood Arlen with two mugs of steaming coffee. He was naked. Jim's eyes watered as he stood up. He dropped his jeans back onto the chair and grinned at Arlen. Arlen handed him a mug. Jim took it, staring into his face. "I don't understand you," he said.

"Jim, actions speak louder than words. Words can lie. A body can't. You are afraid of letting me get close to you. Yet that's what you want most. I reacted badly when you froze, forgive me."

"I guess we're both insecure in our own ways."

Arlen set his mug on the bedside cabinet and then took Jim's and set it next to his. He then stepped up to Jim and put his arms around his neck. "We were about to do something wonderful a few minutes ago. Do you want to continue?"

"Fuck yeah." Jim picked up Arlen.

"Damn, you are so strong." Arlen gasped, as Jim gently laid him on the bed.

Jim just smiled as he crawled into position between his legs. "Now let me give your beautiful butt some of the loving it's craving," he said.

"Oh yeah." Arlen lifted his legs to give him access.~~~~~

At the same time on the thirtieth floor of the Tower, Tim and Johnny were snuggled together and just drifting off to sleep. On the floor the empty magnum lay on it's side next to the well broken-in, cum crusted, black leather bed cover. ~~~~~

In the Eyrie Joe scooted down and took Dave's morning woody into his mouth. Dave groaned and pushed into him as he started waking up. Joe pulled off and moved back up to lie on top of him grinding their cocks together.
Dave stretched. "Good morning, Lover. I love waking up like that."

Joe grinned and kissed his nose. "Do you want to run first or would you like to be ravished right now?"

"Yes, but I've got to pee first." Dave kissed him back on his chin.

Joe laughed. "That's a good answer. But which is it going to be?"

Dave thought about it. He hated having to be logical this early in the morning, but he knew Charley and Jake would soon be in the lobby waiting for them. He sighed, "I want both. In that order. I want to run and then come back up here and thoroughly enjoy your sweaty body."

"Oh yeah, let's do it." Joe murmured in his ear. He made no move to get off of Dave.

Dave now completely awake, wrapped Joe in a hug, licked his neck making his squirm. With a heave of his hips, he tossed Joe and rolled over on top of him. He ground his hard cock into Joe's belly. Joe gasped, "Oh don't do that, I need to piss, too." Dave raised himself with his hips still pushed against Joe, and grinned maliciously. "Payback," he chuckled and the leapt from the bed before Joe could reciprocate. Dave held a hand out and pulled him up. Joe embraced him and planted a kiss on his lips. "Come on, let's go relieve ourselves." A few minutes later they were dressing.

Dave had called Charley before he started dressing, to coordinate and by the time they stepped out into the lobby on the ground floor they saw the big black Harley, with two men on it, pulling into the garage. They stopped to pass the time with the young guard on the desk until Charley strode in with his shoulder holster strapped around his chest over his t-shirt. To hide it he wore a sweatshirt that had the arms cut out and slit to the waist band. Jake was right behind him, looking not quite awake. This was his first run with them. He walked right into Dave's arms and gave him a hug. "You guys are nuts. It's uncivilized to be up this early," he groused, as Dave turned to give Charley a hug.

"You'll get used to it, Jake." Joe gave him a welcoming hug. "Eventually, you will find you crave it." Joe turned and gave Charley a hug. "That was quite a party yesterday. What time did you fellows leave?" He headed toward the door.

"We hung around with Johnny and Tim until everyone left. About eight- thirty," Charley answered following him out the door.

"They'll start running with us tomorrow. I'm sure they're sleeping in this morning."

Charley chuckled.

Dave had leaned against the desk to retie his left shoe. Jake, still somewhat somnolent, waited for him. The young guard had watched in awe as the four men had greeted each other. "Excuse me, Sir," he said to Dave. "Do you guys always show so much affection for each other?"

Dave raised is head and looked at him. He still had his ankle across his right knee. The look of young tender innocent interest caught Dave off guard. "Yeah, we do," he said.

"It's so cool. Even Mr. Hanson hugs. And he's straight."

Dave blinked and Jake woke up a little more.

"Does all this hugging bother you?" Dave asked.

"Oh, no sir. I envy y'all. Y'all are just so awesome."

"What's your name?" Dave asked

He didn't have a name tag on. His hand flew up to cover the spot on his shirt where it should be. "Oh shit," he said and then turned a dark red having realized he'd just cursed in front of his employer. "I'm sorry. The pin broke." He pulled it out of his pocket and held it out to show Dave. "My name is Brian. Bryan Henderson, sir."

"Where are you from, Brian?"

"Abilene, Texas, Sir."

Joe stuck his head back through the door. "Come on, you two, the sun is coming up."

Dave waved a hand at him and Jake started toward the door. Dave turned back to the desk. "How late are you on the desk this morning?"

"I'm here until eleven."

"Good. I'll stop and talk some more."

"That would be cool, Sir. I apologize for cursing."

Dave grinned at him. "Hey, shit happens," he said, and ran out the door to catch up with the others.

The morning air was brisk, soon they'd have to start wearing more clothes to run. Dave fell in beside Joe with Charley and Jake following.

"So what's with the guard?" Joe asked.

"His name is Brian and he's from Bush town. That's all I found out, except he envies us hugging each other."

"Where's Bushtown?"

"Dave laughed. "Abilene, Texas."

"Do you think he's gay?" Joe asked, breathing evenly as they jogged through the empty campus quad.

"I suspect that he may be. Why would he come all the way here from Abilene."

Joe bobbed his head in agreement.

They then ran silently through the early morning. They made a big circle and ended up back at the Tower. Dave and Joe stopped under the portico to cool down and do some stretching. Charley and Jake had stopped on the far side of the drive way on the grass to do their's.

A big black town car with darkened windows rolled into the portico. Charley was on instant alert. The car was between him and the two men he was there to protect. Neither Joe nor Dave paid any attention to the car and continued their stretches. Charley quickly moved to the back of the car just as a man jumped out of the passenger side, holding a gun out in front of him. He grabbed Joe around the neck as he straightened from a stretch. Charley already had his gun out and pointed at the man. "Drop your gun and let the man go." Charley barked the command.

When Joe realized what was happening, he slumped. The man was fighting dead weight as he swung around trying to hold Joe in front of him and point the gun at Charley. A small hole appeared in his forehead. Red spattered the window beyond him. Dave looked up in shock as he was spattered with the man's brains and blood. The gun clattered in the shock of silence as it skittered across the concrete. The man crumpled to the ground. It was only then that anyone was aware of the hand gun having been fired. Charley was at the driver's side with the gun at the driver's temple. "Out," he barked. "Hands on top of your head. Move wrong and you are dead."

The man slowly put his hands on top of his head and slid out of the car. Jake watched in amazement. He'd been totally unaware of Charley's abilities. Dave was standing with his held hands out from his sides frozen, stupefied. And then he focused on Joe who had a Biretta derringer in his hand prodding the dead man with his toe. Dave ran to his side. "Where the hell did that come from?" he asked pointing at the tiny gun in Joe's hand.

"I always carry it." Joe ignored the blood spattered all over Dave.

"I've never seen it before."

Joe shrugged and slipped it back into the holder in his waist band. He walked over to Charley and shook his hand, ignoring the handcuffed driver on the ground next to his dead companion. Charley turned to Dave and Joe. "You two go on up. I'll handle the police. There, of course, will be someone up to take your statements later." He summarily dismissed them and turned to Jake who was still standing where he'd been stretching. He held his arm out to him. Jake walked across the driveway and stopped just out of reach.

"That was totally the most awesome thing I've ever seen." he said.

There was a new respect in his eyes that Charley hadn't seen before. He shrugged. "It's what I do, Babe. It's no big deal."

"You fuckin' liar. It is a big deal. You just saved Joe and Dave."

"I'm just doing my job."

"When you get through here, I want you to make love to me. I want you to fuck me into next week." Jake said, stepping into his arms.

The man on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back twisted and looked up at them. "Wouldn't you know it, I got caught by a goddamned faggot."

Charley put his foot on the man's head and pushed him back down. "You sure did, asshole." He kissed Jake.~~~

Brian had observed the whole incident from inside. He'd immediately called the police and informed them of the situation, telling them that there was a man down and that the other was safely handcuffed.~~~

Dave and Joe got into the elevator. As the door closed, Joe exclaimed, "That Charley is amazing. Did you see how fast he moved. That man was dead before he knew what had hit him. Man, what a shot. Right through the forehead."

Dave stared at the floor deep in thought, and didn't respond to Joe's enthusiasm.

"Dave? Are you okay?"

Dave sighed. "Yes, I okay." he mumbled. Shock was setting in and neither man was aware of it.

Joe turned and took Dave in his arms ignoring the fact that he was getting blood on himself. He lifted Dave's chin to look him in the eyes. "What's wrong?"

A man had died a violent death. The man had had his arm around Joe's neck with a big gun in his other hand. Either one of them could have died. People react differently to psychological shock.. Dave's mind chose to zoom in on the derringer rather than what had just occurred down on the street and Joe reacted with an anger that he usually would have squashed. Neither man thought about how close they had come to being victims of the slain man.

Dave grimaced and pulled free. "I've known you for nearly a year. You're telling me you always carry that thing. I've never seen it before. What else are you hiding from me?"

"Dave, don't do this. This gun is like my wallet. I never even think about it. I get dressed I put it on. I get undressed I take it off. I never think about it."

"I've seen your wallet, your keys , your phone, hundreds of times. I've never seen that gun before."

"I guess it's just become second nature to be discreet with it."

"So what else are you 'discreet' with?"

"I hide nothing from you, Dave."

"You hid the fact that you're opening two restaurants on top of your new office building."

"That was to be your surprise birthday gift. And I'm still hiding something about them that will still be your birthday gift."

"Ah ha!"

"Don't give me 'Ah ha. There is a big sealed crate on the lower parking deck. What are you hiding in it, Dave."

"How do you know it's mine?"

"Paul told me it's yours."

"Paul's got a big mouth." Dave muttered.

"I asked, he told me. So what are you hiding from me, Mr. Self-righteous?"

"It's your birthday gift." Dave muttered.

"Touche." Joe smiled.

"You still hid the gun from me."

Joe looked at him in disgust. "Oh, give me a break." He strode into the bedroom and slammed the door.

Dave stared at the closed bedroom door a while, then wandered into the kitchen, slumped into a chair and laid his chin on his crossed arms on the table. He stared at the far wall not seeing it. He knew he should go in and apologize, but he sat immobilized until Joe came out freshly showered and dressed. He sat up and watched him get a glass of orange juice and drink it down. "Joe, I'm sorry,"he said..

Joe turned and studied him. "What have you to be sorry for?"

"I was being an asshole."

"Well, you'll get over it. Go wash that blood off your face. I'm going back down stairs to see how things are proceeding."

Dave felt like he'd been slapped in the face. He stupidly watched Joe get into the elevator and the doors close. He wondered if he had stepped over an unseen boundary. Joe had never snapped at him like that, nor said anything so viciously to him. His eyes had stayed green. That realization hurt more than the words. He held his arms out and stared at the blood as if he hadn't realized he was covered in it. Eventually he turned and went into the bedroom, removing his clothes as he went.~~~~~

While waiting for the police to arrive Charley wandered over to the dead man and squatted down to study his face. How is hell's name had a kid so young gotten himself in this situation? Tears ran down Charley's face. Jake stood to the side watching his lover. He knew that Charley was going to have a difficult time getting beyond this. He knew that if it had been him that had put the bullet through the kid's skull, he be living with a feeling of guilt for the rest of his life. But at the same time he knew it had had to be done. The kid could easily killed Charley and/or Joe and Dave. Jake knew he had a big job ahead of him helping Charley cope with the remorse and PTSD. He just hoped his love would be enough.

When they got home they didn't make love as Jake had expressed a desire for earlier. They tenderly bathed each other and then they sat on the sofa with Jake holding Charley snuggled against his chest.~~~

Tim had gotten up to relieve his morning bladder when he heard sirens. It sounded like they were right below when they stopped. After finishing in the bathroom he pulled on some shorts, stepped out on to the balcony and looked down. Three police cars and an ambulance were parked in the driveway. As he peered down he saw the medics push their gurney around to the back of the emergency vehicle. The body was completely covered. Tim knew someone was dead. He hurried back into the living room and called the security desk on the ground floor and asked the operator what was going on out front.

Brian had met Tim who hung out in the security office sometimes visiting with Paul Hanson, the Chief of Security, who used to be Johnny's partner on the police force.

"Hi Tim, it appears that a couple of men tried to kidnapped Mr. Paolini when, and arrested the other one before he could escape. Joe and Dave are safe and back up top. Congratulations, by the way. I hear you are now a resident."

"Yeah, as of last night, Brian. Look, I'll stop down later. Let me go wake up Johnny."~~~

Gio and Teddy were getting into Gio's car when they heard the first siren screaming in the early morning. Teddy's response was "I'll bet some drunk driver heading home after a night of debauchery probably wrapped himself around a telephone pole."

As they drove down the street toward the University the saw two more black and whites and an ambulance heading toward the Tower. They rounded the corner and a car marked Coroners Office whizzed past them.

"I'm going to detour past the Tower to see if that's where it is,"Gio said.

"It's for sure something serious," Teddy commented.

A police car blocked their way. A cop motioned for them to turn on to the side street. Gio stopped and asked what was happening. The cop shrugged. "Not sure." Arlen had opened his door and stood up to see if he could see anything. "Gio, Charley and Jake and Joe are all in the middle of it."

Gio looked at the cop. "Joe Paolini is my cousin and business partner. I am Giovanni Paolini." He pulled out his driver's license and showed it to him. "Please let us through." The cop smiled and stepped back motioning them to pass.

They parked on the street and ran over to see what was happening. The ambulance was just pulling away. With the somber looks on everyone's faces, Gio, who could not see Dave anywhere, assumed it must have been him in the ambulance. Joe seemed to be unconcerned. That confused Gio. Jake was standing to one side, ignored by the police. Gio and Teddy approached him. "What happened?" Gio asked.

Jake gave them the full story. "So where is Dave?" Teddy asked.

"Up top in the Eyrie."

Gio had become very fond of Dave in the time he'd known him. "Let's go see how he's doing," he said, grabbing Teddy's arm, pulling him toward the door.

Dave was standing at the elevator door to greet them. He'd showered and dressed. He gave them each a warm welcoming hug.

"We just came up to check on you, to make sure you're okay."

"I'm okay. I was a little shell-shocked, but I'm fine now. I just made a fresh pot of coffee. Care for a cup?"

"No, we've got to get in to work. We have a full crew waiting for us."

'So are you ready for the grand opening?"

"We will be."

"That was a wonderful buffet you did for Johnny and Tim. I heard quite a few exclamations about it."

"It was our pleasure to do that for them. We've really got to run, Dave."

"Well, I'll catch up with you soon. We don't see much of you anymore," Dave said hugging Gio and then Teddy.

"Once we get operational that should change. Bye." The elevator door closed, leaving Dave to stare at it for a few moments before he turned back to what he had been doing.

The intercom beeped and Brian's voice announced that there were two policemen on their way up to interrogate him. He sighed and went back to greet them.~~~

Finally, about ten-thirty the police had folded up and left. Johnny and Tim had gone back up to their new home a couple of hours earlier. Joe had gone back up to the Eyrie after being grilled for half an hour. Two cops had spent half an hour up there grilling Dave. Jake had collapsed into a chair in the Tower lobby and dozed off after giving his statement. Charley, left on his own, had to answer hundreds of questions, most of them the same, simply phrased differently.

Once the police had gone, Charley sat on a concrete bench and stared at the ground in front of his shoes. The air was cool, nearly cold for the way he was dressed. The body heat from running had long ago cooled The adrenalin rush from having killed another human being had dissipated. The cops were gone, the car had been hauled away. All that was left was the depression from the deed.

Brian sat behind the desk waiting for Charley to get up and come inside. When he continued to just sit there, he walked over and shook Jake awake.

"That man out there needs you, Sir." He pointed out the window at Charley.

Jake sat up, rubbing his eyes. "How long has he been sitting there?"

"The cops left about ten minutes ago. I thought he'd come inside and wake you himself, but he just sits there staring at the ground."

"Thanks, Bryan." Jake said, rising and going out to sit beside his lover. Charley didn't seem to notice him. Jake sat forward and rested his arms on his thighs, copying the way Charley sat, only their shoulders touched. He started talking. "You know it had to be done. You saved Dave and Joe from God knows what. If the man had succeed in taking Joe, you know he may not have been returned alive. If Dave or Joe had moved wrong the man may have shot them. You prevented him for doing any of those terrible things." He noticed Charley nodded very slightly. "You're my hero, Charley, and I don't like seeing you down on yourself for doing what had to be done."

Charley looked at him. "I've never knowingly killed a man before. I'm sure that in Desert Storm I killed some of the Iraqis. But they were faceless and they were shooting back. It never really meant much, you know? They were just the faceless enemy."

"Charley that guy was the enemy, too. He had a gun in his hand, he could have easily killed any one of us, including you."

"Did you look at him, Jake? He wasn't any older than Jason and Pete, and he's dead now. I placed a bullet through his head, just as if I were shooting at a cardboard target."

"He was old enough to wield a gun, Charley. He was old enough to know the consequences of his actions. You did what you had to do to keep Dave and Joe safe. And if you didn't feel remorse you would be no better than him. "

Charley nodded his head. "Yeah, I did. I did my job and I feel like shit for having done it. But I wouldn't hesitate to do it again if I had to."

"Let's go inside Charley, it's cold out here."

Charley nodded and stood. As he did Bryan stuck his head out the door. "Charley, Paul called and asked that you wait for him. He'll be here in about fifteen minutes."

Charley nodded and allowed Jake to lead him through the door that Brian held open for him. "Brian, please call up to the Eyrie and tell them we are coming up," Jake said.

"Sure, Dude." He returned to the desk and Jake led Charley to the elevator. Brian opened it for them from the desk controls and let it close when they stepped inside. He watched on the monitor as Charley allowed himself to collapse into Jake's arms. He got a knot in this throat imagining the agony that Charley was feeling. He didn't start the elevator until Charley had his emotions under control.

Charley noticed they weren't moving as he wiped his wet cheeks. He looked up at the monitor and nodded. The elevator started moving. He smiled at Jake. "I like that kid. He's got a good head on his shoulders."

"So do you, Babe,"Jake said and kissed him, aware that Brian was probably still watching them.~~~

Dave had stared in disbelief as Joe had rebuffed his apology and stepped into the elevator. He thought about how close they'd both come to losing each other again.

"Why in hell do I do things like this?" He asked himself as he showered. "Why do I make a big deal out of nothing? I should be happy that Joe carries that gun to protect himself. He came so close to being kidnapped. I might never have seen him again and I'm making a big hoopla out of him carrying a gun."

After getting dressed he went to the kitchen and made a big pot of coffee. Just as it finished the intercom beeped. Dave answered it.

"Sir, Gio and Teddy are on their way up to see you."

After their brief visit, Dave had started back toward the bedroom when the intercom beeped again.

"Sir, there are two police officers requesting permission to go up and take your statement."

"Send them up, Brian."

Dave was standing by the elevator when it opened. He welcomed the two policemen, asked them to join him at the kitchen table and offered them a cup of coffee. The two men tried not to show their awe as they looked around at the livingroom.

"Mr. Gates, pardon us for having to intrude on you morning, but.....

"That's okay. You have your job to do."

Dave gave them a detailed account of what had happened. He didn't mention the little gun that Joe had pulled out of the waistband of his running shorts. When the two men had asked their last question Dave escorted them back to the elevator and then collapsed into a big armchair. He drew his legs up and wrapped his arms around them. He shook his head. How foolish. What did it matter if Joe carried a gun? He heard the elevator and got up. As the doors open and Joe stepped out Dave stepped up to him. "I love you, Joe. And I apologize for being so foolish." He watched Joe's eyes.

For a moment he thought they weren't going to change, but then the golden flecks filled them as Joe took him in his arms. "I love you, too, Dave. And I apologize for reacting so badly."

After just holding each other for a couple of minutes Joe sniffed. "Do I smell fresh coffee?"

Dave laughed and pulled away. "You will in five minutes."

Joe over acted being relieved. "Oh, good. I thought I was imagining it."

"I love you, you nut,"Dave said, heading into the kitchen to make fresh coffee. As he measured the water, he looked over at Joe who had followed him. His eyes were still golden, everything was okay. "How is Charley taking it?" He asked.

"I don't really know. He was totally professional with the police."

"Well, he was one of them just a few weeks ago."

"Do you think we should look into getting counseling for him. I would suspect he has never shot another person much less killed one."

"Let's see how he holds up. He may not need it."

Just as Dave poured the first cup of coffee. The intercom chimed and announced that Jake and Charley were on their way up and that Mr. Hanson would be up there momentarily. Dave got out two more cups and set them on the table while Joe went out to greet the two men.

They sat at the table and talked. They were all subdued. Charley assured them he would be okay. Jake's love was all he needed to keep his head on straight. Paul showed up and Charley had to go through all the events again and ended up reassuring his boss that he was okay. The three men soon left.

Dave leered at Joe. "That was a long delay. Weren't you going to do something important when we got back from our run?"

You don't think I could forget something this important, do you?" he asked wrapping Dave in a warm embrace.~~~


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