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

A Note of Appreciation to Ben for his ever important, indispensable input and for correcting all my booboos. Thanks Bear Guy! Jack

Those Golden Eyes

Chapter 51

Roger had reported his return to Paul Hansen, the chief of security, Sunday morning soon after Charley and Jake had left the Tower.

He'd walked up to the front door, wondering why there was a maintenance crew scrubbing down the driveway and washing the windows. He held up his ID badge. Brian Henderson was still on the desk, and let him in. Roger walked up to the desk and introduced himself.

"I'd just started here when my dad had a heart attack and I had to go home to see him," he told Brian.

"How's he doing?"

Roger looked away, blinking. "He died." He turned back and looked at Brian. The look of compassion broke down his defenses and he found himself telling this young stranger what had happened.

"He was alert and seeming to be okay when I got there. The doctor said he was stabilized. He had a massive coronary in the middle of the night and died." Roger shrugged and shook his head like he couldn't explain it. He was fighting the tears that wanted to come.

"That's tough, Man. I wish I could relieve your pain." Brian said.

The sincerity in Brian's voice got to Roger. He glanced at him and said, "Thanks," turned and headed back toward the security office before he totally lost it.

He went into the Men's room. He stood at the wash basin and stared into the mirror. "What the fuck got into you? Blabbering like a girl to that kid." He washed his face with cold water. After looking in the mirror at his bloodshot eyes, he took a paper towel, soaked it in cold water and compressed it against his eyes. After a minute or so he looked at himself again. They didn't look quite so red, so he combed his hair, straightened his clothes and headed into the office to see Paul.

He jokingly asked Paul if he was hiring high school kids as desk guards.

"You're referring to Brian? He's twenty despite his baby face. Kind of reminds me of Tim, just an overgrown boy."

"Nice kid." Roger responded thinking about how the kid had shown such concern for him.

Paul looked surprised that Roger who had up until then always given the impression of being a redneck ruffian, but didn't comment.

After getting his schedule and visiting a bit more with Paul, Roger walked back out into the front lobby to find that Brian had just gotten off duty and was waiting for him. "Have you had breakfast?" Brian asked.

"Yeah, about three hours ago."

"Ready for lunch?"

The delight Brian showed when he said, "No, but I'd like a cup of coffee." made Roger feel warm and fuzzy, although he'd never have admitted that he felt that way, much less would he have described himself ever feeling that way. Roger couldn't help but be moved by how open, up front and eager Brian was."You have a place in mind?" he asked.

"How about that coffee place in the bookstore down the street. They have a breakfast sandwich and great coffee."

"Mr. Gates's bookstore. You buyin'?"


"Let's go then." Roger said heading out the door.

Brian trotted to catch up. "Dave owns that place? I didn't realize that. I mean I knew it's the Gates-Way bookstore, but not that Dave is that Gates,"

"Yup, I hear tell that he used to work in there everyday until his partner died and left him a big fortune."

"His partner was rich and made Dave work in the bookstore?"

Roger shrugged, not connecting partner with lover as Brian had.

"That's eccentric. Weird." Brian exclaimed. Roger wondered why he say that and then put it out of his thoughts.

Minutes later they were sitting at a small sidewalk table away from the students that populated most of the place. Roger was hunched over his mug, staring into the depths of it. This bright eager young fellow sitting across from him was stirring feelings he thought he'd successfully squashed. He hadn't added any cream or sugar to his coffee, but he slowly stirred it with a swizzle stick. The action seemed to concentrate his thought. Brian took a bite of his sausage and egg sandwich and watched Roger stir while he chewed. He took a sip of his coffee and leaned toward Roger, grinning. "Stir and stir, bubble and brew." he murmured.

Roger looked up at him. "I was just thinking of all the stuff I've been through in the last couple of weeks." He lied. His thoughts had been totally on Brian and wishing he could be so open and free.

"Bad, was it?"

Roger nodded. "Yeah, real bad. I don't think I'll ever go back there."

Brian didn't say anything as he continued to eat his sandwich and watch Roger. Finally, he asked him if he wanted to talk about it. "I'm a good listener," he added.

Roger looked up at him, tried to smile and failed. He stared back into his mug from which he hadn't yet taken a drink, and turned his thought to what he'd just said. "My dad and I always fought. He blamed me for my mother's death."

He stirred his coffee and Brian finished off his sandwich, washed it down with another swig of his coffee, and then leaned forward with his elbows on the table and watched Roger stare into his mug and stir the black brew. "Hell, he was the one that killed her," Roger continued. "She was forty-six when he got her pregnant with me. She'd already given the bastard seven kids. What did he need one more for?"

"Aren't you kinda glad he did, being it was you?" Brian quietly asked.

Roger looked up, not really seeing him or paying attention to the question. "I never knew my mama, but I'd have given my life for a chance to know her."

Brian's eyes misted. He grimaced at the heart-felt pain.

"I thought seeing the old bastard on his death bed, he might have a kind word for me." Roger sighed. "All he said to me was, "Came back to make sure I die, did you? Well, I probably won't disappoint you." He died that night. I was glad he was finally gone, but I was sad, too. I mean even though he hated me, he was my father." Roger paused and drank half the contents of the mug. Brian didn't move as he waited for Roger to continue. "My older brothers and sisters all seemed to take my ol' man's attitude. Only my youngest sister, Jan, she's five years older'n me, was the least bit understanding. I was always her little baby. She and I are the only ones that moved away. She lives up in Chicago. Married to a good man. She's going to school to be a lawyer. The only one of us to make something of herself." He picked up his mug, drained it and set it down with a clunk. "Enough." He shook himself as if shedding a heavy cloak. "So what about you, Brian. Where you from?"

Brian raised his eyebrows and shrugged. "Abilene, Texas."

"I thought that was a Texas drawl. So why are you so far from home?"

"I came here to go to school."

"Why here?"

Brian shrugged. "It's as good as any place."

"And a place your parents wouldn't think of looking for you." Roger added.

"Fuck. How would you know that?"

"I left home when I was sixteen. Maybe not for the same reason you did, but I didn't want to be found either. Not that the ol' bastard would have looked for me."

Roger felt like someone was watching him he glanced toward the coffee shop door and saw Sue Morrow standing there watching him and Brian. He'd been introduced to her right after he started working for Dave. He caught her eyes and she smiled at him and then turned back into the store. Roger turned back to Brian. "So why did you leave home?" he asked.

"Private reasons."

Roger studied him a moment. "I can respect that," he said. Then he asked, "Want some more coffee?"

"Sure." Brian said, and started to get up.

"Sit still, I'll get it." Roger said, putting a hand on Brian's shoulder as he got up.

Brian watched him walk away, and couldn't help but take note of his muscular back side and his sexy masculine walk. He wondered if Roger could be gay.

As Roger was paying the student cashier for the coffee he saw Sue and nodded to her. She smiled at him again.A couple of minutes later, he saw Brian looking at him as he walked back toward the table and noted that he quickly turned away to keep from staring. He found Brian to be very attractive, wondered whether he could be queer. It didn't matter to him, he liked the kid anyway. Roger pushed Brian's mug across the table to him as he sat down. "So where do you live?"

"You know Jake and Charley?" Brian asked.

"I've met Charley. I'll be working with him." Roger recalled the gaff he'd made that first day on the job with Charley.

"Well, I rented Jake's old apartment. Where are you living?"

"A cheap little motel over on Lincoln Ave. I just got back and I didn't have a chance to find a place before I left."

"The apartment has two bedrooms. I was going to advertize for another student to rent it. You could rent it or just stay with me until you find a place. Save the money."

Roger thought a moment. He'd already decided that there was a good possibility that the kid was queer. But that didn't matter he told himself. He'd been around queer guys before. They didn't bother him. "Sure. If I can pay half the rent."

"If you looking to just stay until you find your own place the rents already paid."

He shrugged. "That's the only way I can do it. Half or no deal." Roger was thinking he'd try it and if he liked living with another guy he'd stay and rent it. He was having a difficult time keeping the niggling little thoughts that he'd so successfully closed off from breaking free. He didn't want to deal with them right now.

Brian shrugged back. "Cool." He pulled his key ring out of his pocket and took off the spare key to the apartment. "I'd been meaning to find a place to hide this in case I locked myself out," he said handing the key to Roger.

"So how much is the rent."

"Seven fifty a month."

"Damn, I'd be paying more than that if I stayed in that motel a month."

"Yeah, well, Three seventy five doesn't include clean sheets and towels daily, either."

Roger grinned at him. "You mean you're not going to make my bed for me?"

"Fuck you. I'm not a maid."

Roger bit his tongue to keep from making a risque reply. He just grinned, shrugged and said, "Can't blame a guy for trying." He immediately blushed. He'd never flirted with another guy before.

Brian thought about making the bed after Roger had slept in it leaving his distinct scent in it. He blushed and turned away, again saying, "Fuck you."

Roger found himself thinking Brian was so cute when he blushed. He wondered what it would be like fucking Brian. He'd fucked a couple of guys while he was in the Army. He'd liked it, but forced himself to not think about it because he didn't want to think about how queer it was. And he didn't want to be queer, so he blamed it on having too much to drink. His father, for no reason other than to be mean, used to call him a pansy assed little faggot. He'd always hated that. He'd never done anything to make the old man think he might be queer. . He put the thought out of his head. "You want to help me get my stuff?" he asked.

"You have a lot?"

"More than I can carry in two arm loads ."

"Let's go get my car then. The apartment is just across the campus."

Roger laughed. "Brian, mine is sitting right over there."

"You mean that red and white '56 Chevy? That's a cool car."

Roger thrilled.

As Roger drove to the motel, Brian told him about the mornings events. "That Charley is awesome. I just stood there behind the desk, frozen, and watched this guy jump out of the car and grab Joe around the neck. I couldn't move. At first I thought that Joe was hurt because his knees buckled. But then I realized he did it on purpose to make it difficult for the kidnapper to move him. But Charley was so fast that the man was dead before anyone knew what happened. Man he put that bullet right through his for head."

Roger wasn't showing any reaction to what Brian had told him. His sole comment was, "Oh, that was why the maintenance crew were in on Sunday scrubbing down the driveway." He was thinking about the time he'd looked up from his sandy foxhole to see this young Iraqi, no more than a kid, with an automatic rifle pointed at his buddy. Roger had reacted so quickly that the kid was falling into the hole with them before his buddy realized how close he'd come to dying himself. It had taken Roger months with a lot of counseling to get over the fact that he'd killed the kid. He wondered how Charley was dealing with it.~~~

Teddy leaned back in his chair, crossed his legs and put his feet up on the edge of Gio's desk. They were in the restaurant alone, being it was Sunday morning. They were there to catch up on the paper work and to lay out plans for the next week. He cradled a mug of coffee in his lap. Gio pursed his lips and squinted at his handsome young lover. "You're insolent and insubordinate."

Teddy grinned at him. "Yeah, but you really don't mind that I put my feet up, do you? Actually, I get the feeling that you love me with my feet up."

Gio didn't miss the innuendo. He loved getting Teddy's feet up in the air. He shook his head. "If I didn't love you so much I'd kick your pretty little ass out of my office."

Teddy smiled at him over the rim of his mug. Then his expression turned serious as his thoughts turned to other things. "You know, I can't imagine how terrible it must feel to kill somebody. Poor Charley. Did you see him? He had this..... this hollow expression. It must really be getting to him."

Gio grimaced and shook his head. Ted sipped his coffee. ~~~~


A week had past since that fateful Sunday. Pete and Jason slept in. Only on Sunday mornings did they do that. Jason woke first and looked at the clock. It was nearly ten. He looked at Pete who was still sound asleep. Jason felt sure that his man could sleep through a tornado tearing the roof off the house. He leaned over and softly kissed him on his temple. Pete didn't stir. Jason slipped out of bed, went to the bathroom and then headed for the kitchen. He started the coffee maker and then turned to gaze out the window into the back yard. With his elbows planted on the counter top he rested his hands on his clinched fists. He thought about the party a week ago, reviewing all that he'd seen. He wondered how Arlen was faring with Jim. He could imagine those two alphas together. He was sure they'd be constantly butting heads. He'd seen Arlen just to wave in passing on the campus, but they hadn't talked at all. Well, as soon as the infatuation is over he'll get back in contact. Jason couldn't imagine Jim being able to have a real loving relationship with another man.

He felt two hands caress his butt and then slide up around his chest as Pete lay his bigger body over him to plant a kiss on the back of his neck.. Jason pushed his butt against Pete's hard cock. He grinned over his shoulder. "Are you glad to see me or is that just a morning woody?"

"I already peed," Pete growled.

"So what are you just standing there for?" Jason asked, wiggling his butt, happy that there was no one living with them. Jason was eager to take advantage of the privacy every chance he got.

Pete aimed and thrust. Jason gasped. "Oh yeah, this is the way to start the day."~~~

Charley and Jake had showered, had eaten a light lunch and were sitting at each end of the sofa enjoying a cup of coffee. Sunday mornings after returning from their run with the two Paolini brothers and their lovers, they usually sat with their legs entwined, reading the Sunday paper. Today Jake sat facing Charley with his legs stretched out toward him, but Charley sat facing forward in a Lotus with his feet tucked in ignoring Jake's attempt at a little intimate foot play.

It had been a week since the attempted kidnaping. Jake couldn't help but notice that Charley was changing. His sex drive had dropped . They'd have sex if Jake initiated it, but other wise Charley paid little attention to him. And it certainly wasn't making love. Jake didn't say anything about it, but he continued to carefully watch him to gage how he was continuing to react to killing the would-be kidnapper. Charley's eyes still looked haunted, even though he smiled with his mouth.

The run had started out congenially with the usual banter between the six men. Jake had already noted that Charley was withdrawn. And then Johnny had casually asked Charley how he was coping and Charley had snapped at him telling him to mind his own fucking business. The rest of the run had been quiet, with only an occasional comment about something general. Charley had done his stretches away from the other guys and then barked, "Jake. Let's go," and headed for the garage and their motorcycles.

Jake had apologized for Charley's behavior, but Dave put him at ease saying that they understood what was going on. Charley was already heading out of the garage when Jake mounted his Indian. Charley had stalked into the bathroom and was finished with his shower by the time Jake had picked up the damp running clothes that Charley had left on the bedroom floor and dropped them on the washer. Jake fixed breakfast and watched Charley listlessly play with it and ended up throwing half of it away. Charley was still brooding. "Whatever happened to that new guard you had the run-in with just before I got out of the hospital?" Jake asked in an attempt to get Charley's mind off of the morning run.

"Roger? He went back to Iowa. His father had a heart attack."

That was the most that Charley had spoken all day. It gave Jake a momentary hope that he might come around. "You never had a chance to have that dinner conversation with him, huh?" He asked, hoping Charley would open up.


"Is he coming back?"

"Don't know." Charley abruptly got up and went into the bed room.

Jake dropped his head to his chest. He knew that Charley was digging himself into a deeper depression. When he didn't come back after a couple of minutes he got up and went looking for him. He found him lying on the bed staring at the ceiling. Jake sat down on the edge of the bed next to him and placed a hand on Charley's chest. Charley ignored him. "I'm here for you, Babe, if you want to talk about it," Jake said.

"I just need some space. Okay?" He lifted Jake's hand off his chest and placed it in Jake's lap. "Just let me alone for awhile."

Jake stood up and looked down at him. Charley wouldn't meet his eyes. Jake nodded and sighed. "Okay, I'll be in my office writing if you need anything." At the door he turned and looked back at Charley. "Are you sure you are all right?"

"I'm all right." He turned and glared at Jake. "Alright?"

Jake nodded and left the room. when he sat down at the computer to work he couldn't think of anything except how Charley was acting. He stared at the blank screen and wondered if he should call Allen and talk to him. Instead he called Chess.~~~

Charley wasn't dealing with his depression at all. Despite having gone through "debriefing" and "reintegration" when he returned from the Mideast, he wasn't recognizing the symptoms of PTSD. He stared at the ceiling feeling that everyone was turning against him. Roger making what Charley felt to be uncalled for remarks. Accusing him of being absentminded and daydreaming on the job. He even had gone so far as to threaten to put in a request with Paul to work with someone else if he didn't start straightening up his act. And Dave. He hadn't said anything, but Charley could tell that he was watching him, waiting for him to fuck up. And this morning Johnny sticking his nose into it. Who the hell did he think he was. And Tim eying him like he was some kind of weirdo or something. Jake was the only one that was treating him halfway decent. But even he was smothering him with all the attention. 'Shit,' he thought, 'I should just quit and go back to Kirksville, I know I could get back my old job in a second and not have to put up with all these ass holes."~~~

"I'm at my wit's end," Jake said to Chess. "I just don't know how to get through to him, Chess." He just finished filling Charley's dad in on the killing and how Charley was reacting.

"I think that I need to discuss this with Les before I give you any advise, Jake. I've been spending a lot of time with him and Robert these last couple of weeks. I know he was one of the psychologist that worked with Marines returning from the Mideast back in the George One's administration. If anyone would know it will be him. When is Charley back on duty?"

"Tomorrow morning at eight."

"I'll call you around eight-thirty then."

"Thanks, Chess."

"Hey you two are my sons."

"Love ya, Dad."

"I love you too, Jake."~~~~

Monday morning found Charley snuggled against Jake. He had an arm across Jake's chest and a leg over his hips. Jake lay there missing the hard cock that usually was pushing against his ass.

When the alarm went off Charley rolled away from Jake and turned it off. Instead of turning back and cuddling with Jake for a few minutes before getting up, he lay at the edge of the bed and went back to sleep. Jake lay there feeling at a loss for what to do. He sorely missed Charley's affection, but he was more worried about him. He heaved a big sigh and rolled off the bed and after a trip to the bathroom he went into the kitchen and made coffee. While it brewed he stared out the window at the back yard.

When the coffee was ready he filled two mugs, put two sugars into Charley's cup, and went in to wake him up. Charley was sitting on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands. He didn't look up when Jake walked in. Jake set his coffee on the bed stand kissed the crown of Charley's head and started getting dressed. Charley sat up and took a sip of his coffee and mumble what Jake construed to be a thanks. He noticed that Charley was not only not hard, it was pulled in to where he only showed and inch or two. He normally swung a good four inches when soft. And was usually at attention until after he'd taken a piss.

Charley stood and did a slow stretch and shuffled into the bathroom. Jake listened to him relieving himself and looked at the clock. He went to the bathroom door and told Charley he had twenty five minutes to get to work. A mumbled, "Fuck off," was Charley's reply. Jake shook his head, took his coffee into his office and sat down at the computer. He forced himself to start writing and after a couple of attempts got into it and was typing away when he heard Charley's Harley start up. He'd left without saying anything. Charley glanced at the clock next to the screen. Charley was already late. ~~~

Charley walked into Paul's office. Roger was sitting in front of his desk. It was obvious that they had been discussing him. "Sorry I'm late."

Paul looked up at him." This makes it the fourth time in the last seven days. What gives, Charley?"

Charley slumped into a chair next to Roger, leaned forward and ran his fingers through his hair. "I just overslept. Won't happen again."

"It better not. I'll have to start docking you."

Charley half-heartedly shrugged.

Paul and Dave had discussed Charley and he was on the lookout for changes. Charley had always been prompt. Paul didn't make an issue of it, hoping Charley would see what was happening and seek help on his own."Well, Dave has a busy schedule today. So you two are going to be kept busy." Paul went into the details of what Dave would be doing. Charley stared at the floor not paying attention. He got up and left as soon as Paul indicated that he was through and waited at the outer door for his partner. He noticed Roger give Paul a significant look as they exited Paul's office. Paul patted him on the shoulder and said something Charley couldn't hear. Roger nodded and walked over to Charley who opened the door and then he followed Roger out. "Talking about me, huh?" Charley said to his back.

Roger turned and looked at him. "We were discussing a problem. You just happened to be it."

"Tell me to my face if you find I'm being a problem. Don't go talking behind my back."

Roger stopped and turned around. "You need to seek some professional help, Charley. You are not handling things very well at all."

Charley frowned at him. "Get out of my face, Rog."

"Then get some help."

Charley stepped around him. " I don't need any help and I damned sure don't need you telling what to do. So fuck off."

The rest of the day was spent with the two men glowering at each other. Dave noticed the animosity and held his council.

The rest of the week Charley made it to work on time, but just barely. Dave made no comments, but took notice of Charley's surliness. He spoke to Paul about it, again suggesting counseling for him.~~~

Chess called Jake at 8:35. He had Les and Robert on a conference line. Jake filled them all in on Charley's behavior, and after a good bit of discussion it was decided that the three men would come over for the weekend. Les suggested that they set up a intervention with Charley involving all the key people he worked with. Jake decided to have a barbeque/pool party.

When Jake told Charley that his dad and brother were coming for a visit Charley nodded and said, "I need to talk to Dad."

Jake called Dave and discussed setting up the intervention with him. Dave suggest that Roger, Paul, Johnny and Tim, and Joe and himself be the only ones involved besides the three men from Kirksville and Jake. It was all set for Saturday afternoon, two weeks after the incident.~~~

Thursday afternoon Jake sat at a sidewalk table outside of Gates-Way Bookstore enjoying a cup of espresso and a novel by Robert B. Parker. His reading was interrupted by a body plopping down in the chair on other side of the small table, and a "Hi, Jake. How's it going?"

Jake looked up to see Arlen smiling at him. Arlen wasn't one of Jake's favorite people. He thought him to be immature and too self absorbed. He hadn't liked how Arlen had handled the situation involving the kiss when Jason had told him about it. He figured Arlen to be just a rich, spoiled brat. Jake nodded, "Arlen," he said.

Arlen turned and sat up straight, facing Jake. "I know you don't like me, Jake. But I need your help, and I don't mind eating crow to get it."

Jake raised his eyebrows in inquiry and waited.

"I'm sure you saw me talking to Jim at the commitment party last week and that I left with him."

Jake chewed the inside of his lip and nodded.

"We're together now."


"I get the feeling that you're not going to make this easy for me to ask."

"Just ask, Arlen."

Arlen nodded and studied the cover of the book Jake had laid face down on the table when Arlen had interrupted his reading. "I.... We.... You need to have it out with Jim. You've both avoided each other since he.... since he drugged you. He needs to get beyond what he did to you and I don't think he can until he confronts you face to face. You know he still loves you."

Jake snorted. "Jim's never loved anybody. Don't kid yourself Arlen. Jim's incapable of loving." Jake wondered at the animosity he felt as he said that.

Arlen looked up at Jake. "You know that's not true. And it's pretty obvious that you still care about him."

Jake just stared at Arlen. How dare this pretty college boy tell him how he felt, even if what he said was true.

Arlen dropped his gaze back to the table top. "Talk to him, please. Forgive him if you can. I know that Jim and I have only known each other for a week, but we both want to make a go of it. But you keep getting in the way. Not you personally. But what Jim did to you. Do you know what I mean?"

Jake studied the top of Arlen's head as he continued looking at the table top. "You surprise me, Arlen. I didn't think you had any real depth. I really thought you were just a spoiled rich college kid out to get his jollies."

Arlen looked up at him with a sad grimace. "My image keeps coming back to bite me in the ass. Jim thought the same thing."

Jake studied him a minute. "Alright, I will talk to him. I really don't hold any animosity toward him. I probably know him a lot better than he knows himself. And I didn't mean what I said about him not being able to love. Being a loving person is what made him such a good nurse. It's just that he got fucked up somewhere along the way when it comes to personal relationships."

"I know, we've been talking a lot about his past relationships. It was too bad they got between you two, although I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you if they hadn't."

Jake smiled. "Yeah, and I wouldn't have found Charley." A shadow passed through his expression.

"I read about the kidnap attempt. Is Charley handling it okay?"

Jake just shook his head.

"If Jim and I can do anything to help...."

"No, no, we're getting a handle on it. It's just that it all takes time."

Arlen nodded to indicate he understood. "So do you need Jim's number?" he asked.

"No, I've still got it up here." Jake pointed at his head.

Arlen stood up. "You don't know what this means to me, Jake. Thanks."

Jake stood. "No sweat, Man," he said, and offered his hand. Arlen shook it and left.

Jake sat and stared off into space. He sighed. 'I guess it is time,' he thought to himself. He pulled out his cell and called Jim. "We need to talk," he said when Jim answered.~~~

That same Thursday afternoon, Dave had decided to spend the afternoon at home. He's told Charley and Roger to just go on home and relax, but to keep their phones handy just in case.~~~

Having been let off early Charley waited until Roger had left the building before leaving himself to walk home. His sleep pattern was changing and this morning he'd awakened early. He'd left the house forty-five minutes before time to be at work and before Jake woke up. He'd walked across the campus to a little 24/7 coffee shop and then had gone to sit in the quad until time to show up at the Tower.

As he left the Tower and walked through the quad, he glanced across the street at Dave's bookstore. He saw Jake sitting at a table and was about to give in to the urge to join him when he saw Arlen walk up and sit down with Jake. "Figures." he muttered and turned toward home.~~~~

It was a warm afternoon and Brian was through with his classes for the day. He'd put on a Speedo and was laying on a big towel out on the deck, just enjoying the fresh air as he read for his Lit 1 class. He had ear phones on listening to classical music and didn't hear Roger come in.

Roger had walked in and called out for Brian and got no answer and assumed that he wasn't home. He went into his bedroom and stripped down to his tighty-whities and then wandered into the kitchen to grab a beer out of the fridge. With his hand in his drawers playing with his balls, he wandered over to the sliding glass door that looked out on the private little deck. He froze when he saw Brian lying on the other side of the glass. Brian was on his stomach, his elbows supporting his upper body. His legs bent at the knees with his feet in the air, he was keeping time to the music with his toes.

Roger stared at the round firm butt tightly contained in the blue Lycra. His eyes roamed up the strong smooth muscular back and down the long sinewy hairy legs. His hand was still in his Jockeys, but it no longer cuddled his balls, it was wrapped firmly around his hard pulsing cock.

Brian sensed that he was being watched and looked around. He couldn't see anyone and he didn't look into the apartment subconsciously assuming that no one was there. Roger moved away from the glass and went back to his bedroom. He jacked off imagining what Brian's ass looked like without that bit of stretchy blue material covering it.

He cleaned himself up, got dressed and left the apartment. He was feeling guilty for what he'd just done. Good God, he just gotten his rocks off over another man. It was Brian's fault. He shouldn't lie around in those skimpy little swim suits. Damn, he was just too sexy dressed like that.

He ended up back at the café. He noted that he was sitting at the table he'd sat at with Brian last Sunday. What the fuck? Why would he pay any attention to something like that? It was just so faggy. He stirred his black coffee, and the image of Brian smiling at this little habit of his came to mind., "Stir and stir, Bubble and brew." Roger mumbled and smiled to himself.

He caught himself daydreaming about that sweet smile, and berated himself again. The image of his ol' man calling him foul names and beating him swept the thoughts of Brian from his mind. Roger's anger boiled up. At first it was aimed at Brian for making him have these thoughts that his father would have tried to beat out of him if he'd know about them. And then as he thought about it, the anger turned toward his father. His frown deepened and he stirred his coffee with more vigor.~~~

Sue Morrow didn't miss much of what went on in the bookstore and café. Since Dave had left the place for her to manage and run she was even more thorough on keeping up with everything.

She stepped out on to the sidewalk to check how things were there. Jake was sitting by himself reading. She was aware of his custom. He glanced up, seeing her, he waved and went back to his book. She saw Roger hunched over a mug deep in thought as he stirred his coffee. Dave had introduced him to her a couple of weeks ago and she'd noted that Roger didn't put additives in his coffee.

She had seen him here about a week ago with another young man in a Tower guard's uniform. Being an astute observer of others, she recalled Roger's warring expressions that day as he talked with the young man. She casually strolled through the tables, picking up a used mug and some soiled napkins and depositing them at the cleaning station as she wended her way over to Roger's table.

She stopped in front of him. "Roger, isn't it?" she asked, knowing it was. She never forgot a name.

Roger looked up and smiled. "Hello, Miz Morrow."

"Oh my, Please call me Sue like everyone else does. Miz Morrow makes me feel ancient. Do you mind if I sit a moment and rest my weary feet?"

Roger jumped up "Please do." he said and held the chair for her. "Would you like me to get you a cup of coffee?"

"Thank you, no. I drink way too much working in this place."

Roger sat back down picked up his swizzle and fiddled with it.

"You were very deep in thought. Did I interrupt something?"

"No. Actually I'm glad you did."

"Ah, it must have been something very serious."

"Kind of."

"An affair of the heart?" Sue asked.

Roger blushed and commenced stirring his coffee.

"Did you know that I've worked for Dave since the day he and Bill opened this bookstore? We were just out of college. Dave and Bill were so in love. And that love was just as strong the day Bill died."

Roger studied her. Sue didn't give the impression that she ever said anything idle. He wondered what she was telling him. And then he remembered catching her watching him when he'd come here with Brian last week and she had smiled at him. He'd not thought anything of it until now. That smile seemed to say she approved.

"I've not met the young man yet that you were here with last week. What is his name?"

Roger thought about playing like he didn't know who she was talking about and then decided what the hell, no one around here cares. "Brian. Brian Henderson."

"He certainly is a handsome young man. Paul tells me that he is going to school here."

Roger knew already that his boss was seriously dating Sue, so he knew who the Paul was that she'd so casually mentioned. That implied that she already knew his name and was trying to draw him out. That aggravated him. "So did my boss also tell you that we have the same address?"

Sue realized that he was onto her and grinned. "Fast work. Congratulations."

"Ma'am, I think you're jumping to conclusions. Brian and I only share an apartment."

Sue was embarrassed. "Oh, I'm sorry, Roger. I... I....


Sue nodded, looking properly chastised.

Something inside Roger snapped into place, or it maybe it fell away, letting Roger see the truth of his feelings, and he gave in to the urge to tell it to this warm caring woman. "You obviously saw how I feel when I looked at Brian. And if I have my way, your assumptions will be true." He lost himself in thought for a moment and then jumped up and grabbed Sue in a hug. "Thank you, Sue, for helping me see what I need to do." He let her go and headed back across the campus leaving a bemused Sue calling good luck to him.~~~

Jim's automatic response to Jake's call was to tell him to fuck off, but he caught himself and instead he asked,"Sure, Jake, when and where?".

"You know I can get away anytime," Jake said. "So when would be a good time for you?"

"How about in twenty minutes." Jim said, glancing over at Papa Joe.

Jake wasn't doing anything. With Charley acting the way he was, he couldn't concentrate on writing. 'Besides, Charley was at work,' he thought, 'so why not now.' "Sure," he said into the phone, "how about meeting me right here at the bookstore."

"That's good. I'll see you in a few minutes then."

Jake closed his phone, sat back with his book and tried to read.~~~

Jim turn to the old man who for all appearances seemed to be reading the paper. Jim knew better. After being the old man's companion for nearly six months, six days a week and between eight to twelve hours a day, he knew that as soon as he heard Jake's name he was concentrating solely on the conversation. "Papa, that was Jake. He finally wants to talk. Do you mind that I go now?"

"What are you standing around here for? Go. Make sure you say what you need to say."

"I will, Papa.~~~

While Jake waited he stared at the opened book, but didn't see the words on the page. He thought about Jim. He wondered what Jim might have learned from what he'd done. Did he have any compunctions about his actions? Had he felt any qualms? Did he have any regrets, except for losing his nursing license? Was he really contrite?

Jake also wondered if Jim had been able to control his insecurities enough to open himself to Arlen and tell about the past that he only alluded to in the three years he had been with Jake.

Someone must've hurt Jim very badly a long time ago, Jake figured. It must have been very deeply for him to have built such a thick impregnable wall around his heart, around his soul even, imprisoning himself more thoroughly than any physical prison ever could.~~~

Jim's mind was in a turmoil of conflicting emotions after Jake called. The call wasn't totally unexpected. Arlen had threatened to talk to Jake if Jim didn't. And Jim had promised he would, but had procrastinated. Arlen must have followed through on his threat. That gave Jim a warm feeling, knowing that Arlen cared enough to take the matter in hand.

Jim knew Jake to be a kind gentle man. But he also knew that if he was driven to it he could be vengeful and capable of using physical force. "God knows I drove him to that point,' Jim thought.

He was thankful that Jake hadn't sought legal action for what he had done. He could very well be sitting in jail right now. And he knew that Jake was not going to be vindictive now, but he was still apprehensive about meeting him in an unstructured situation. ~~~

Jake looked up when he heard a motorcycle stop at the curb. He watched Jim sit on the machine for several seconds before dismounting. Their eyes locked as Jim looked about for him, and then he dropped his gaze and walked over to Jake's table.

He stopped several feet from him. He looked up imploring. "I am so sorry for what I did to you, Jake."

Jake pushed his chair back and stood up. "Come on over here, Jim, and sit down. You know I'm not going to bite you."

As Jim approached Jake held out a hand. Jim tentatively took it and Jake pulled him into a hug. "It's good to see you again," he said. Jim started shaking. Jake patted him on the back and held him until Jim calmed. "Sit down Jim, can I get you a cup of coffee?"

Jim wiped at his eyes and nodded. "Yeah, I need something to steel my nerves." Jake stood and turned toward the coffee shop. He noticed the people at several tables blatantly watching him and Jim. Seldom did his ire get the better of him, but it really irked him that they woulds o blatantly refuse him the privacy he deserved as a fellow human being. So what if he was a somewhat celebrity? He deserved his privacy as much as the next person.

Having to deal with Charley, and now Jim, made him just a bit testy. He glared at them. "Why don't you folks mind your own business?" He said. Their head snapped away and they all pretended that Jake wasn't there. He smiled to himself, picked up his mug and proceeded into the shop.

He looked around at the occupied tables when he returned. No one appeared to be interested in him and Jim. "You still like it black, right?" he asked as he set a mug of coffee in front of Jim.


Jake sat down and sipped his coffee. He figured that from here on he'd let Jim set the tenor. Jim sipped his coffee and kept his eyes averted. He could see that Jake wasn't going to make this easy for him.

"I guess I've really been messed up for a long time, Jake. I have come to see that if I don't change my ways and take responsibility for myself and my actions, then I am no better than the men I hate and despise for what they did to me.

"I know you tried time and again to get me to open up and talk to you about my past. I wish I could have. I wish I could have told you how I really feel about you, too, Jake. I do love you, you know.

"I realize now that despite it having been absolute idiocy, what I did that night was an expression of my fucked up love. How stupid does that sound? I drugged and raped you to express my love for you. How insane is that?"

He finally looked up at Jake. He wasn't sure what kind of reaction he expected from him, but to see no emotion of any kind not even in his eyes as he looked back at him, shook Jim to the depths of his soul.

"Can you forgive me, Jake?" he asked.

Jake's eyebrows rose and his expression changed. Jim felt that what he was seeing in Jake's eyes was love, a caring kind love.

"Can you forgive yourself, Jim? If I say I forgive you and you can't forgive yourself, then nothing has been accomplished.

"I left, Jim, not because you didn't love me. I left because you couldn't let that love out. You couldn't let my love in. I believe that if you can't openly express your love for that pretty college boy and accept his love in return, he'll eventually leave you, too. You do see that, don't you?"

Jim nodded.

"What you did, what I did, that's all in the past. We have to move on and not let it affect us adversely. Tear down that wall around your heart. Arlen loves you, Man. Let his love in and love him in return."

Jim looked up. "So you forgive me?"

Jake closed his eyes and then looked at Jim again. He shook his head. "Don't you get it? I forgave you when I untied your hand."

Jim's expression was blank for a moment and then he grinned.

"Arlen's standing over there about to wet himself. Go prove to him that you learned something from all this." ~~~

When Jake said that Arlen was waiting for him, Jim's heart quickened. He stood and looked where Jake pointed. He grinned at Arlen and jerked his head toward his Harley. Arlen met him at the motorcycle and got on behind him. The both turned and waved at Jake before riding away.

Neither man tried to talk until Jim parked the bike in his driveway.

"Aren't you on duty?" Arlen asked.

"Papa told me to say what I needed to say. Jake and I had our say. To use a cliche, we brought closure to our past. But I still have things I need to say to you." ~~~

I enjoy getting feed back on my chapters. So if you liked it or hated it, won't you take the time to tell me why? I can be contacted at js.collection@verizon.net.