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

Thanks, Ben, for your editing and above and beyond that for your expert consultation on PTSD, Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder. Pay attention, friends, this can affect anyone. And any kind of trauma can cause it. Even a mild case can disrupt one's life and the lives of one's loved ones.

Those Golden Eyes

Chapter 52

Jake no sooner walked into the house than Charley verbally attacked. "Where have you been?" he demanded. "No, don't answer. I already know. I saw you having coffee with that college football jerk."

Jake waited until Charley was through, and then moved over to sit on the sofa facing Charley who was stretched out on the lounger. "Why didn't you stop and join us? You know you would have been welcome."

Charley made a rude noise. "I'm not in to doing a menage."

"And I'm not into anyone but you, Charley. Even when you're being a complete ass." It would be so easy to just let go, let his temper go and flare up at Charley when he was being like this. Jake knew what Charley was going through and he knew that either Charley had to start recognizing the signs or he was going to have to reach crisis level before he would accept help. So Jake stayed calm.

Charley just glared at him.

"Arlen, who I considered a jerk like you do," Jake continued, "stopped to ask me to meet with Jim. It appears that the two of them are an item now. Arlen is trying to help Jim get over what he did to me."

"You should have gone ahead and castrated the bastard."

"Well, I'm glad I didn't. I'd have gone the rest of my life feeling guilty." Jake got up and headed into the kitchen to see what there was to cook for dinner.

"You're such a wuss, Jake," Charley yelled after him.

Jake walked back into the room."Do you really think that, Charley?"

"Hey, you let Jim get away with raping you. You got all charges dropped on Robert after he tried to bludgeon your brains out. What should I think?"

"I guess that in your present state of mind, you should think I'm a wuss," Jake muttered and went back into the kitchen. He plunked down onto a chair and propped his elbows on the table. He'd lost his appetite, and at that moment he didn't care whether Charley ate or not.

A few minutes later he heard the lounger moving into an upright position. He looked up to see Charley standing with his arms akimbo, his fists planted aggressively on his hips. "I thought you were fixing dinner."

Jake shrugged. "I'm not hungry."

"Well, what about me?"

"You're a big boy. You know how to cook or go out to get something to eat."

"What's the matter with you, Jake?" Charley's voice was almost whining. "You're acting different these last few days. You used to care if I was hungry and you'd be home when I got home. You don't even try to snuggle me anymore."

Jake stood up and moved across the room to stand in front of Charley. He didn't touch him. "Charley, I love you more than life itself and that's not going to change. But I can't show you that love as long as you don't get help and start being the Charley I know again."

"I'm doing fine. What do I need help for? "

"Charley you've gone through a bad trauma. And you are not handling it. You are not doing fine. You need professional help."

"That's so much bullshit, Jake, and you know it." Charley turned and strode into the livingroom.

"Well, I'm not going to argue with you. You just remember that I love you, Charley. No matter what."

Charley mumbled something under his breath. Jake repeated, "No matter what," as though he was trying to convince himself. He went into his office, sat down and stared at the computer's blank screen.~~~

Roger had a difficult time with the key opening the door. His epiphany while talking to Sue had left him in a high state of excitement. He was eager to get inside and tell Brian how he felt. In all his excitement he never stopped to think of how Brian might accept his announcement.

He got the door unlocked and burst into the room, startling Brian who had gathered his book and towel and had just entered the room from the opposite side. They both froze. Roger's eyes roamed over Brian's smooth young body. This embarrassed Brian and he unconsciously moved his towel to cover his front.

Roger shook his head. "God, you are beautiful."

The words broke Brian's enthrallment and he blushed from his head to his toes, and moved toward his bedroom.

"Please?" Roger begged.

Brian turned. "What?"

"Please, don't go," he whispered.

"Your acting weird, Roger. What's going on?"

Roger moved toward him. "I've fallen in love with you, Brian."

"You're straight, Roger. Why are you talking like this? You're freaking me out."

"No, don't you see? I'm not."

"Yes, you are. Stop messing with me. I need to get dressed." Brian turned and ran into his bedroom and slammed the door closed. He stood in the middle of the floor turning this way and that trying to make sense of what was happening. 'Why would Roger look at me like that? There's nothing feminine about me. Is there?' He turned and studied himself in the mirror.

As he studied his body, the words that Roger has said moments ago echoed in his mind. "God you are beautiful."

Brian frowned and looked more critically at himself. He had a good body, well developed muscles, no washboard, but a flat belly still. Some chest hair and a trail going from his navel to the top of his Speedo. There was more hair on his arms and legs. He could see nothing girly about his looks at all. And he knew he didn't act or talk the least bit girly. Roger must have slipped a cog.

He turned away from the mirror and slipped the Speedo off, and put on his Levi's. When he was fully dressed he faced the door and wondered what to say to Roger when he went back out there.

Stunned that Brian had fled, Roger scolded himself while he regrouped his thoughts. How could he just assume that Brian would be all over him when he'd announce his feelings. He'd been posing as a straight man, even making snide remarks of the guys he knew to be gay, so why would he think that Brian would instantly see that he wasn't straight and why would he simply accept Roger's feeling for him. Roger leaned against the wall and sighed. Stupid, that's what he was. Simply stupid. Now he'd probably scared Brian off and he'd want him to move out. The thought of not being near Brian wrenched at him.

He heard Brian's door open and fled into the kitchen. He was nervous. He decided to sit at the dinette table. Brian walked into the kitchen, stopped when he saw Roger. He felt like bolting out the front door. Roger's voice stopped him. "Brian I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that. Well, at least not without building up to it. Would you sit down and talk to me?"

Brian didn't move. He still eyed Roger with suspicion. "Being gay isn't contagious," he said. "So what gives, Roger? Are you straight or gay? Why are you playing with me?"

Roger held his gaze. He sighed. "I'm....I'm....not playing. I'm serious..... very serious." He looked away and then down at his hands resting on the table. He looked back up at Brian. "I'm queer as a three dollar bill."

That announcement angered Brian. He now had to change his thinking about Roger. He'd pigeon-holed him under "Do not touch-Straight man." And here was Roger saying that he's gay and in love with him. His mind refused to make the shift. Roger was had to be straight and just playing with him. He decided to respond by being difficult. "Queer. That means strange, odd, abnormal, unnatural, or bizarre, freakish. Is that what you are?"

Roger hung his head. "You know that's not what I mean."

"Then say what you mean."

Roger looked up at him. Brian's response was pissing him off. He frowned and raised an eyebrow. He grew up playing with words. His sister and he used to play this game. "Well, I'm not happy, joyous, or jubilant. Nor am I ecstatic, exuberant, or exultant. So I must not be gay. But I am attracted to you." he cocked his head to the side. "Okay?"

Roger was getting more and more out of character. Brian frowned back at him. He ambled over and sat down across from him. "I didn't know you were so fluent in the English language. And what do you mean you're attracted to me? I'm not a pussy."

Roger ignored that last sentence, which really turned his blood cold, and chose to respond only to the first sentence. "I know how to use a dictionary," he growled.

Brian was getting the upper hand, he couldn't resist another jab. "And you can remember three and four syllable words."

Roger grinned. "Fuck you."

Roger's smile did something to him. Brian tried to keep the smile off his face. "You didn't answer my question."

Roger leaned forward and stared intently into Brian's eyes. "I want to look into your baby blues while I make love to you." Brian wasn't ready for that tactic. It bewildered him. If he could have, he'd have blushed even more than he already was. "You are so beautiful, Brian."

He wanted to retreat, run from what Roger was making him feel. He wiped his straw-blonde hair off his forehead. He was losing this game fast. "Guys aren't beautiful." He whispered trying to get control of his voice. His Texas drawl had intensified, 'guys' became two syllables, as did 'aren't', and beautiful four.

"Okay, you're most handsome and good-looking." Roger grinned. "I really like looking at you." Brian had capitulated. It made his heart sing.

Brian ducked his head and shyly looked up at Roger. "I like looking at you, too. I love your beard. But you're not really gay, are you?"

Roger ignored the question. "I love listening to you talk. There is something so romantic about your cowboy accent."

Brian frowned. "Stop sayin' those thangs. I wish you'd stop makin' me blush."

"But you're so cute when you blush." Roger mimicked the way Brian put a long hard 'u' in blush.

"Ah shucks. That's what my mama was always tellin' me."

"It's true."

"Well, you don't have to go sayin' it. 'Specially if you don't mean it."

"Okay, but you know it now anyway. And I did mean it."

Brian eyed Roger a moment and then studied the table top as he drew little circles with his finger. And then he looked back up at Roger. "Did you really mean what you said a while ago, when you first came in?" He looked back down.

"You mean about falling in love with you?

"Yeah, that."

"Yes, I did."

"So you're not straight. It wus just an act. "

An hour ago it would have killed Roger to admit he was gay, but trying to convince Brian of his feelings made it easy. "No, I'm not."

"So when will you know for sure?" Brian asked and drew more circles"

"I know for sure right now that I am not straight, Brian. And you're the first person I'm admitting it to."

"No, about what you said before, that you're fallin' for me."

"Right about now."

Brian looked up. "You mean that."

"More than anything I've ever said."

"That's good." Brian said, rising from his chair and moving around the table. He ran the back of his hand down the side of Roger's face, coursing his fingers through the dark red beard. He wondered at the difference between the rich brown hair on his head and his beard. "Cause I want to believe you. I'm crazy about you. Have been from that first day when you told me about your dad. And if you turn out to be straight and are just pulling my leg..... Well,.... I don't know what I'll do."

Roger grasped his hand and kissed it. " I'm not pulling your leg, Brian. Why didn't you say something if you felt that way about me?"

Brian pulled his hand away. "With you havin' a reputation for saying derogatory thangs about gay guys, I'm going to tell you how I was feelin'? No way, Jose."

Dropping his hands back to the table top, Roger said"I'm ashamed of myself for trying to hide behind that kind of bullshit, sounding like my dad. Probably didn't fool anybody."

"You had me fooled. But I wanted to be your friend anyway." Brian slid his hands down Roger's chest, ending up with his chin resting on the top of his head.

"Why?" Roger asked, as he tilted his head back, slid his hand up Brian's arm until he reached his neck and pulled him down to kiss him. A minute later he broke the kiss and looked into Brian's eyes. "Why did you want to be my friend?"

"'Cause I was figurin' you were just puttin' up a tough front."

"Pretty astute for a kid from Texas." Roger pulled Brian around and down onto his lap.

"Hey, Don't mess with Texas." Brian laughed. He felt silly sitting on another man's lap.

"Now what the fuck does that mean?

"I don't know. I just saw it on a dumb-ass bumper sticker."

Roger laughed. "That's just what I thought." He grasped the back of Brian's head and pulled him into another kiss.

Brian wrapped his arms around Roger, got involved in kissing him back and forgot about feeling silly.~~~

Dave leaned against the door sill watching Joe pull off his shoes as he sat on the edge of the bed. "So how is Charley holding up?" Joe asked.

"He's not but I feel that he's going to break soon."

"He's not going to harm himself, is he?

"I hope not. His dad and brother are coming down in the morning. Jake has invited us to join an intervention tomorrow afternoon. He's doing a backyard barbeque and pool party. Roger, Johnny and Tim, along with Paul, are going to be there."

Joe stood and started unbuckling his belt. Dave move in and took over the task."Shouldn't there be a professional head shrinker, too? I mean we don't know how to handle a crisis like this," Joe asked, stepping out of his pants.

Dave emptied the pockets, and unhooked the little gun from the inside the waist band laying it with Joe's wallet and cell phone. He folded the pants across the back of a chair, while saying, "I'm sorry, Robert's partner is a psychologist. He dealt with the Marines coming back from Desert Storm."

Joe had unbuttoned his shirt. "And who is Robert?"

"Charley's brother." Dave skinned the shirt off Joe's shoulders and down his arms. He stopped to kiss each of Joe's nipples and nuzzle in the thatch of blonde chest hair.

Joe moaned and then asked, "The one who put the gashes in Jake's scalp?"

"Yeah." Dave tossed the shirt into the hamper. When he turned back, Joe had already slipped out of his boxers and was putting on a ragged pair of running shorts. "You really should throw those things away." Dave said.

Joe grinned and wrinkled his nose at him. Dave's shorts were in no better condition. "You know, if I didn't know what Charley is going through and if I hadn't met his dad, I'd think his whole family is psycho," Joe said.

"Not really." Dave wrapped his arms around Joe's chest and rubbed against him. He could feel Joe's arousal against his own. "From what Jake has told me Charley's mom is going through menopause and having a difficult time adjusting. His oldest brother is pretty cool. He's a lawyer in his dad's firm. Robert is really the only one that would have raised doubts, but he's doing okay now." Dave's breath caught as Joe licked that sensitive spot on his neck just behind his ear. "He's getting a divorce and his new lover is, like I said, a psychologist, " he panted. "Why did you bother putting your shorts on?"

Joe chuckled. "'Cause I know how much you like taking them off of me."

Dave groaned and slid down his lover's body to kneel at his feet. He looked up at Joe, grinned lasciviously and then he slid Joe's shorts down to his ankles. Dave groaned again at the magnificent sight before him as he laid his face into it.~~~

Chess lounged in the big roomy back seat of Les's Cadillac They had left Kirksville right after an early breakfast at Sally's Café. They'd be in Uni City by noon. He'd told Sally about what Charley was going through. "You make sure you tell him I'm praying for him," Sally had said.

He could see that the two men in front were holding hands as they rested their forearms on the armrest. It was heartwarming to know that Robert and his lover felt comfortable and secure enough with him to do that. But then Chess had always had a close relationship with all three of his sons. For a few years there Robert had pulled away, but now he was back again thanks to Jake and Les.

His thoughts turned to Jake and his heart went out to him. Just in the short time he'd known him he'd gone through so much. And now it sounded like Charley was putting him through hell.

Jake had described in detail how proficiently Charley had done his job protecting Dave and Joe. But with all his training in the Kirksville police, and the special training he'd gone though in Chicago, the experts had left Charley's mind vulnerable to PTSD. Les had explained how a mind that had suffered a traumatic experience could twist everything, and distort one's outlook on life. Chess knew that his youngest son had gone through debriefing when he'd returned from Iraq, but still Charley wasn't recognizing the signs in himself that he was suffering from the trauma of killing another human being.

Chess was impatient to be there. He wanted to hold his son and tell him everything was going to be okay. And he wanted to be there to support his new son in this time of difficulty.~~~

Once Roger had realized that with his Father now buried, he found it easy to admit his sexual preference. He didn't give a rat's ass what his older siblings thought, he'd never see any of them again anyway. He was free of their shackling attitudes. He found it easy to fall into the natural role of being a gay man. Not that it was that different from straight. It was just some of the attitudes and they were forced. When they fell away he accepted himself and the fact that he'd fallen in love with his beautiful young Brian. That's the way he thought of him even though he was only five years younger.

So when Roger called Dave and asked him if it would be appropriate to ask Jake if he could bring his boyfriend, he thought nothing of how Dave would react to his change.

Dave didn't drop a beat."Well, I don't think Jake would have any objections, but does you "boyfriend" know what's going on? This is going to be an intervention, not just a barbeque."

"Well, he saw the whole incident and was the one to call the police. He told me he that after the police left, he woke Jake and told him to go out and talk to Charley."

There was silence on Dave's end for a few moments. He'd just been thrown a double whammy. Roger wasn't just Gay he'd just told Dave who his boyfriend is. "You're talking about Brian Henderson?"


"Oh..... Well...... Yes...... Definitely call Jake. Do you have his cell number?"~~~

If Chess had arrived alone, and if Jake hadn't been standing next to him when his dad wrapped him in a hug, Charley would probably have broken down and bawled. But Robert and his psychologist lover were with Chess, and Jake was with him, so Charley remained stoic and withdrawn. He felt that he was carrying a heavy burden and nobody gave a damn. He inwardly sighed feeling put upon that he had to act the part of being the host, and welcome them. 'He slowly turned away, a single tear ran down his cheek.

The three men acted like everything was normal and set about helping Jake get ready for the afternoon. Robert and Les helped Jake in the kitchen, While the big T-bone steaks were marinating, Jake prepared a potato salad, Robert did a green salad and sliced vegetables into wedges and chunks to grill along with the steaks. Les filled a plastic tub with several brands of beer and covered them with ice. Chess started to volunteer his help, but before he could Jake caught his eye and motioned for him to keep Charley company. So he led his youngest son to the far side of the pool to talk. Chess made a point of talking about any and everything except the cause of Charley's affliction. Charley remained unresponsive and moody. Replying when he had to with a monosyllable or a grunt.

When the others began to arrive Chess left Charley to greet them. Charley continued sitting where his dad had left him and nursed his now warm beer. He resented that these men had invaded his privacy. He wanted his dad to himself. It was all Jake's fault. Why was he having a party? Just because his dad and brother came over for the weekend was no reason. All these guys had been picking at him for days, and he didn't want them being on his own private turf.

And then Charley saw Roger walk into the back yard with that young college kid that worked evenings and weekends in the Tower. It didn't occur to Charley that they were a couple. It pissed him off that Jake had invited him, too. He felt like getting up and kicking the two of them out of his backyard and house, but it would to take too much effort and it just wasn't worth it. He sighed and wondered where Gio, Teddy, Pete and Jason were, but put the thought out of his mind, thankful that they at least weren't here to gang up on him.

Roger walked around the pool with his arm around Brian's shoulders. He ignored Charley's hostility, smiled and thanked him for his hospitality. Charley glared up at the two men. "You two sure are chummy."

"Yep, we are," Roger said as he kissed a grinning Brian on his cheek.

"So, Roger, you're a fucking fag, after all. I'd have thought that you would have told me, being we work together."

Roger almost unloaded on Charley, but remembered what Dave had said about not attacking him about anything. "It just happened yesterday. You are one of the first to know," he said.

Charley just bounced his eyebrows and grunted. Roger could feel Brian's tenseness and knew how he reacted to the word 'fag'. Talking to him in a low voice, he guided Brian away before he exploded at Charley.

Each of the men made a point of walking around the pool and warmly greeting Charley. Dave even took him a cold brew, which Charley accepted with a surly,"Thanks." Charley didn't once bother to get up, nor did he act like he was happy to see them. He was merely civil to them. They left him to himself and visited with each other until the steaks were brought out and put on the grill. Jake had called to Charley that doing the grilling was his job and everyone cajoled him to come cook, but he refused and didn't budge from his lounge chair until the steaks were ready. Then Charley grudgingly got up and ambled around the pool, got a plate and filled it. It looked delicious and his stomach growled at the aromas.

Chess made a point of insisting that Charley sit next to him at the long trestle table that had come with the house. And Jake sat on his other side. The camaraderie was warm and friendly and the chatter and banter was light until everyone had finished and were just relaxing. Charley had eaten three bites of his big T-bone, poked at his baked potato and ignore the grilled vegetables he'd taken. His appetite had disappeared.

When they had all finished they each carried their plates into the kitchen, rinsed and put them into the dishwasher. Except Charley, he simply swivelled on the bench and leaned back resting his elbows on the table. Jake took his plate into the kitchen, wrapped it in plastic and put it into the fridge.

Chess came back out ,sat next to him and placed his hand on Charley's shoulder. "You know I love you, Son."

Charley leaned into his dad. "I love you to dad."

"And you know that Jake loves you." Chess moved his arm around to hold Charley

"I know that, Dad." Jake sat on the other side of him and took his hand, holding it in his lap. This move seemed to be the signal for the rest to of the men to stop their individual conversations and concentrate on Charley.

"And you know that everyone of these men love you and have great respect for you."

Charley could sense that they were going to gang up on him. He tensed and tried to sit up straight, but Chess continued to hold him and talk quietly, soothingly to him. "Son, everyone of these men have expressed their concern to me. Their concern is filled with love and that concern is you. Les is one of the top authorities in this country on treating Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder. He actually wrote the book that the Marines use to treat it. He worked with the men coming back from Desert Storm and Sarajevo."

Charley forced his dad to let him sit up. Everyone was ganging up on him he could feel it. "What does this have to do with me? Why are you telling me this?" He felt panicky.

"Les has volunteered to help you get back on track."

Charley's hostility flared. He looked at Les. "Is this true?"

Les merely nodded.

Charley looked at Jake. "You knew this? You asked him to come here?"

"Your dad told me about Les. Les volunteered." Jake said, refusing to let go of Charley's hand when he tried to pull away.

Charley yanked his hand away and stood. He turned on his dad. "I really didn't expect you to gang upon me with the rest of these ass holes. I thought you would try to understand." he turned and glared at the other men. "Every one of you have been telling me what to do, and what to feel. It's all a crock of shit. Just leave me alone." He started toward the house.

Robert jumped up and stepped in front of Charley, getting right in his face. "Charley, I want to tell you something."

"Get out of my face, Robert."

"You can hit me if you want, but you're going to hear me out."

Charley backed off

"Sure, I'm your older brother," Robert told him, "but you've always been bigger than me. You've always been better at everything you've done, and I've always envied you. I only dreamed of running off and joining the Marines instead of going to school and becoming a lawyer like Dad and Tom. You had the guts to do it. I never did. And then you come back and become the best motorcycle cop Kirksville has ever had. And to top it off you found yourself one the best men a guy could ever wish for.

" These men are your friends. They can see that you are in pain and they want to help you. And you're you acting like a sniveling dog, like everyone here is picking on you. You can't even face up to your own problems." Robert stopped to catch his breath. "I wonder why I was ever envious of you. You're just a...a coward."

"Robert, that is enough," Chess said. The fight went out of Charley. He'd always taken pride in knowing that Robert, his older brother, looked up to him, but now he was accusing him of being a sniveling dog, a coward. His shoulders had drooped.

"You know it's true, Dad." Robert said still staring belligerently into Charley's face.

Les laid a hand on Robert's arm. "Enough, Rob."

Robert turned away and sat back down.

Charley's body visibly slumped in defeat as he continued to stand where Robert had stopped him. Chess went to him, putting a protective arm around him. "Son, not one person here is against you, they are all pulling for you. They all love you. They want to see you get the help you need. Come sit down and listen to us. Please?"

Charley wrenched away from him. "Don't you get it?" He yelled. "Don't any of you understand? I killed a man. He was just a boy. I'm a murderer." he dropped to his knees. His voice was barely audible. "So why are you trying to help me? I am beyond help." Tears ran down his face as retreated into the recesses of his mind.

Jake started to get up and go to Charley, but Les motioned for him to sit and let Charley be. Jake looked around the group of friends. There wasn't a dry eye. Everyone was hurting for Charley. Chess sat back down next to Jake and put a comforting arm around him.

Les settled into a half lotus in front of Charley. Charley continued to stare straight ahead taking no notice of Les. Les looked around the group. "You fellows let me talk to Charley for a bit. Rob, didn't I see you getting the coffee ready earlier?"

Rob took the cue and lead everyone except Jake into the kitchen.

"Charley, look at me." Les said. Charley stared ahead, never even blinking. Jake leaned forward with his hands clasped between his knees. He was in line with Charley's peripheral vision. Les looked over at him, and motioned for him to leave. Jake ignored him. "Jake, get the hell out of here. This is between Charley and me."

Jake reluctantly got up and went into the house. He turned and watched from just inside the door. Chess stepped up behind him and laid a hand on his shoulder. Jake clasped it with his own.

They watched Les talk to Charley. Looking at the back of Charley's head, they couldn't tell if Charley was reacting at all. Les reached out a hand and cuffed him on the side of his head and yelled, "CHARLEY". Jake tried to bolt out the door, but Chess held him back.

Charley started rocking back and forth. He threw his head back and let out a primal cry. It was an inhuman sound. It wretched at the heart of every man there, Chess held Jake who still tried to go to his lover. They all watched with lumps in their throats as Charley raised up and then fell into Les wrapping his arms around his neck as though he was hanging on for life. Chess could feel the vibration in Jake's chest as he quietly cried while they listened to Charley heart broken bawling. Jake wasn't aware that everyone was gathered around him watching with him and crying. too.

Eventually, Charley let go of Les and sat back with his head down his hands covering his face. Les was talking to him too low for the others to hear. "Charley I know that you know this but I'm going to say it out loud and want you to hear it. I want you to realize that what I'm going to say is the truth. Deep down you know this but you need to know it on the surface, too. Are you going to hear me?"

Charley nodded.

"First thing I want you to hear is: you did not murder that man. Do you hear me?

Charley nodded.

"Tell me what I just said."

"I did not murder that man." Charley mumbled.

"I didn't hear you, Charley. Say it louder." Les kept his voice level and calm.

"I did not murder that man."

"That is true. You are not a murderer."

"I am not a murderer."

"That man was a predator. You know that. He was intent on causing harm to the men you were there to protect. He had his arm around Joe's neck choking him. He had a gun pointed at you with his finger on the trigger. Tell me, Charley. Is this true?

Charley nodded. "It's true."

"You were the only one capable of stopping him from dragging Joe into that car. You were the only one that could stop him from pulling that trigger."

"I could of shot the gun out of his hand or just wounded him." Charley protested. "I didn't have to kill him."

"Charley look me in the eyes and tell me that he wouldn't have killed you if you hadn't been so fast. Tell me that he wouldn't have shot you if you'd only wounded him. Tell me that he wouldn't have succeeded in kidnapping Joe if you hadn't stopped him. Look me in the eyes and tell me that."

Charley shook his head. "No, he would have done all that."

"So you stopped him. You saved your own life as well as Joe's and maybe even Dave's and Jake's. If you hadn't stopped him if he could have killed all of you."

Charley silently nodded.

"Say it out loud, Charley. Hear yourself."

For a few moments Charley didn't respond. And then he raised his head and looked Les in the eyes. "I did what I had to do."

Les nodded, silently urging him to continue.

"I stopped that man from harming Joe. He had his finger on the trigger pointing his gun at me. I stopped him. The only way possible. I put a bullet through his head. If I hadn't he'd have suerly killed me, and taken Joe. I did what I had to do."

Les watched Charley closely as he spoke he could see that Charley was meaning every word and that the light in his eyes had returned. He smiled at him. "That is the truth. Now let's start getting rid of all the shit you have piled on your head. Let's get rid of this stink."

Charley grinned. It was still a rather weak grin, but still....

"Charley, I know your dad has told you at least a couple of times today, but I want you to hear it again and believe it."

Charley looked intently at Les, ready to hear what he said.

"All of these men gathered here are your friends. They love and care about you. You do know that don't you?"

Charley nodded.

Les smiled. "So tell me."

"I know that these men care about me. I know I've been a total shit to them, and still they love me. I know that, Les."

"Good. Now what you and I need to do is go over each and every emotion you have been going through. I'm sure you remember the list of symptoms for PTSD. We need to go through that whole list and discuss if and how you have experienced it. And I want to reassure you that I won't leave you until you can handle this on your own, Charley."

Charley nodded and looked contrite.

" This grass is rather hard on the butt, why don't you and I go find a comfortable place to talk privately. Are you willing to do that?" Les asked.

Charley nodded again and struggled to his feet.

Jake had stood in the doorway the whole time with Chess holding him. The men were still grouped behind him.

Jake opened his arms to Charley as they walked through the door. Chess joined in the hug. Les tapped him on the shoulder and Charley pulled away to follow him.

The men parted to let Charley and Les through. Charley looked at all his friends. Everyone's eye's were red, some were still teary. They all looked at him with concern. Realizing they really were worried about him, Charley teared up. He turned to Jake. "Have I really been that bad?"

Jake squeezed his hand and nodded.

"God, I'm sorry, Jake. After what you've been through recently you didn't need to be putting up with me being an ass hole, too."

Jake wrapped his arms around Charley. "Hey, I'd go through hell for you, Charley."

Charley hugged him back giving him a long loving kiss, and then turned to all his friends. "I'm sorry," he said and turned to Les. "Let's go talk. Jake, get these guys outside and let them enjoy the pool one last time before it gets too cold."~~~

It took several minutes for everyone to realize the crisis was over. Charley was willingly getting the help he needed. As the tension fled they all felt exhilarated. The mood turned festive. Nobody had thought to bring a swimsuit. They were all looking longingly at the pool.

Jake grinned. "Hey, we're all guys here. The pool and backyard are totally private. If you're shy swim in your undies. Within minutes there were ten naked men in the pool, eight gay and two straight.

Paul pulled himself up on the edge to catch his breath and watch the younger guys cavorting. Chess pulled himself up to sit beside him.

"I'll bet you never thought you'd ever knowingly go swimming naked with a bunch of guys you know to be gay," Chess said.

Paul looked at him and grinned. "You know, it is strange. I feel safer with this bunch of men than I ever felt in a pool of supposedly straight ones with swimming suits."

"And you realize that everyone of them have checked you out?"

"Hell, that's a natural man thing. I know I have, and I'll bet you've checked everyone of them out, too. Right?"

Chess grinned and nodded.

"And we can all see where Robert and Charley got their's from." Paul added with a wicked grin.

Chess grinned, shook his head and dove back in to see how many youngsters he could dunk before getting ganged up on. ~~~

Jake had been dunked one too many times. He knew that it was all done out of love and their wanting him to not feel left out. He managed to get to the shallow end and stand up. His cock was more than half hard. He ignored it. And strode to the edge and got out. He grabbed a towel and standing at the edge of the pool, he starting drying off. A head bobbed up in front of him and arms grasped the ledge. Jake looked down into Robert's grinning face. Before either of them could say a word, Chess surfaced and docked beside his son and looked up a Jake.

"Charley's one lucky guy, isn't he, Son?" Chess said.

"Robert turned red and grinned up at an embarrassed Jake.

"Yeah, he is. But no more so than me." Robert let go of the edge of the pool and sank below the surface before pushing off.

Jake turned away from Chess's stare. "Yes, Charley is one lucky son." Chess said, ogling Jake's backside as he climbed out of the pool.

Jake wrapped the towel around his waist and turned back to face Chess. "You know that Charley would be willing to share with you anytime you want, Chess."

"Chess nodded. "I know, Son. I know." He turned and picked up a towel, drying himself, he gathered his clothes and went into the house. He went into his room and closed the door. As he moved toward the bed he caught his reflection in the mirror over the dresser. He stared into his own eyes. "Chess, behave. What you have between yourself and Jake is priceless. Don't go letting hormones fuck it up. Besides, you don't believe for one moment that Charley would ever be willing to share him. If roles were reversed you sure wouldn't. Maybe you need to get out and find someone your own age."

Chess set down on the bed and thought about seeking out a lady to fill his needs, and immediately rejected the idea. It wasn't because he felt any loyalty toward his wife at this point. He simply wasn't attracted to the thought of a female in his bed at this point.

He rose and went in to shower off the chlorine before dressing. The idea of looking for a male as a partner simply didn't enter his mind.~~~

Jake watched Chess until he disappeared. He then went searching for his clothes and dressed. It shook him up to feel desire for his father-in-law. He went into the kitchen ans started cleaning occasionally looking out at his beautiful naked friends enjoying the pool and the warm late October day. He realized that even though he relished looking at their bodies he felt no desire to do or be anything with them except friends. He thought about what had just occurred with Chess. And as he analyzed it he realized that the attraction he felt toward him was mostly spiritual. He wondered about what he had said to Chess as he left the pool. He decided that he would never let it get to that point. He loved Chess but even though he was attracted to him sexually there was no way he would ever act on it. It would remain just a harmless little private fantasy. He put the thought away and went back outside to see if anyone wanted a fresh drink. ~~~

"Okay, Charley, here's what I want us to do."

Les and Charley had settled into the two desk chairs in the room Jake called the office. It was where he worked. Both his and Charley's computers were set up there.

"I've talked with each one of the fellows out there in the pool. They each and everyone agreed to one or two of the signs to look for when watching for someone suffering from PTSD. Now that you're thinking reasonably again I'm sure you, too, will agree that you have been showing these symptoms. As a way to make your subconscious realize these things I'll name off each one and you tell me how this symptom showed its ugly head. Ready?"

"Being verbally abusive to a loved one or someone you work closely with."

Charley hung his head. "Poor Jake every time he's turned around recently I attacked him."

"Name an incidence."

"I called him a wuss for trying to help Jim and Robert. Told him he should have gone ahead and cut Jim's Balls off and let Rob stay in jail."

Les went through the list. Withdrawing and Isolating oneself from friends and loved ones. Daydreaming, not able to concentrate. Drinking more alcohol than usual to numb the pain. Being easily angered. Defensive about the smallest things. Feeling picked on. Tired and lethargic. Loss of sex drive. The list went on and nearly everyone of them Charley identified with.

He was emotionally exhausted when Les suggested that they rejoin their friends. ~~~


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.