Those Golden Eyes

Chapter 8

It quickly became a custom for Dave to stop and chat with Tim every evening when he left the bookstore. In these conversations he learned that Tim's dream car was a '91 El Camino. Dave searched the internet until he found one that was really clean with low milage. He bought it and had it shipped to the bookstore.

When it arrived he had it detailed and waxed. He drove it over to the Tower and parked it right in front of the door. Tim wasn't at the desk, so Dave picked up one of his notebooks and quickly scribbled a note, and then place the notebook back on the desk and dropped the keys to the pickup on top of it.


Tim was glad that the two elderly ladies that live in the Tower shopped together. That way he only had to help them get their groceries to their condos every two weeks. They always managed to embarrass him about being so helpful as he refused their meager tips.

When he walked back into the lobby, he immediately saw the sleek black El Camino sitting in front of the door. He walked around it whistling to himself. 'Wow, what a beauty! I could really see myself driving this baby,' he thought to himself. He wondered who had left it there and where they had gone. He couldn't believe that one of the tenants in the Tower could be cool enough to own it, except Joe or Dave.

He sighed, promising himself that one day he would again have the money to buy one. In high school he had saved enough to buy one, but had ended up using the money to go to college after he had walked out of his parents' lives. Wandering back inside, he sat down behind the desk and stared at the sleek black beauty. He had his elbows planted on each side of the notebook and keys. He took no notice of them, until he decided he'd better get some studying done.

He absentmindedly brushed the keys off the notebook as he put it aside to pickup a textbook. The jangle of the keys brought him out of his daydream. He picked them up and saw the note that Dave had left. Tears blurred his vision as he read it.


You may have noticed that we never thanked you after the abduction. Your quick witted response saved me. For that I am eternally grateful. No amount of earthly goods can ever repay you. However, as a token we want you to have this. The keys fit the El Camino sitting outside. It's already registered in your name. In the glove box is a box of checks and a bank signature card. Sign it, return it to the bank, and quit this job. Finish your education and get on with your life with Johnny.

We love you,

Dave and Joe

Tim picked up the keys and walked out to the pickup. Opening the door he sat behind the steering wheel. He stuck the key into the ignition and started it. He grinned to himself as he listened to the purr of the engine.

He fiddled with the radio and then remembering the rest of the note, he opened the glove box and took out the box of checks. Opening the bank book he stared at the amount of deposit with no comprehension.

"Holy shit!"

It dawned on him that there were six zeros after the five. Turning off the ignition he gathered the box and its contents and laid them on the counter top of the desk with the keys. He sighed as he looked at the El Camino and went back to his studies.

An hour later he heard the garage door open. Looking up he saw Joe walking toward him grinning like a baboon. He stood up.

"What's with the dour look, Tim?"

"Mr. Paolini, thank you, but I can't accept this."

He pushed the box and keys toward Joe. Joe ignored them.

"Mr. Paolini is it? I'm you brother in law. What happened to Joe?"

"I was only doing my job. I can't accept it."

"Look at it this way, Tim. It's just a little bonus for a job well done."

"There's nothing little about five fucking million dollars. All I did was call the police." Tim yelled.

Joe's voice was low and calm as he answered.

"You helped save Dave. Isn't his life worth at least that much? Besides, Dave went through a lot of trouble to find that pickup. You're really going to hurt his feelings if you refuse it."

"But, Joe, he's just a store keeper. This has got to be his life savings. He can't afford this kind of extravagance."

"Tim, you're family now. I'll let you in on a secret. The bookstore is just Dave's toy."

"What are you saying?"

Dave is richer than Croesus. That money is pocket change to him."

"Dave? Dave Gates?"

Joe nodded.

"But don't let him know I told you. He's a bit eccentric. He might get upset."


"And, Tim, Don't embarrass him. Just say thanks and give him a hug. Let it go at that."

Tim couldn't answer, he just stared at Joe trying to comprehend it all.

"Oh, by the way, this is my half." Joe said extracting a folded check from his shirt pocket and handing it to Tim.

Tim looked like he'd just been hit between the eyes with a sledgehammer. Joe had to let himself into the elevator with a cardkey.


Dave wondered if there was any way to get into the building without being seen. He knew, though, that there were monitors on every door. He loved doing things for other people, but the gratitude always embarrassed him. He just knew that Tim was going to be a problem. 'Well, I've got to face him some time, might as well be now." He thought to himself as he crossed the street.

Tim was sitting in the El Camino when Dave walked up. Dave rested his folded arms on the opened door.

"Do you like it?"

Tim looked up and grinned.

"Hi, Dave. It's so beautiful, you sneak. I love it. Thanks so much. It's exactly what I've always wanted."

"I'm glad you like it."

"Oh, I do, Dave. And thanks for the bonus. I'm going to stay with this job until the end of the semester. And then I'm going to take a full schedule after that. I'll be graduating in a year and a half instead of three."

He rubbed an invisible smudge off the door with his elbow as he closed it.

"Have you talked to Johnny?"

"No, he'll be over here about nine-thirty."

"Tell him to come up and have a drink with us when he gets here." Dave said as he walked toward the elevator.


He turned and looked back at Tim, who had his hands jammed into his pockets, looking like a little kid.

"I love you guys."

Dave walked back to him and wrapped his arms around him, hugging him tightly.

"I love you too, Son. And I want to thank you too. I'm so glad that your part of our family."

They were both a little teary-eyed as Dave stepped in to the elevator. He could have sworn that he saw Tim mouth "Thanks, Dad," as the door was closing.

Dave had a warm feeling as he ascended to the eyrie.

Johnny was filled with a swirl of emotions as he stepped out of the elevator. He heard Joe yell.

"We're in the gym. Come on in."

He leaned against the door jamb as he watched Dave doing presses. Joe was standing above his head spotting for him. He looked up and smiled at his brother. Both men were dressed in baggy sweats. Johnny wished for a moment they were both naked, but then pushed it from his mind remembering what Tim had just told him a moment ago.

Dave finished and sat up wiping his face and neck with a towel.

"Would you like to join us Johnny? We've got more sweats if you do."

"Thanks, but I went to the gym earlier."

"Well, then why don't you get yourself a drink. Let us get showered and we'll be right out to join you."

"Hey, don't let me interrupt your routine."

"No problem we'll get in our jogging in the morning."

Johnny went into the den and fixed himself a dry martini with couple of olives. He loved the huge olives Joe always kept on hand. He was standing at the parapet looking out over the downtown area when Dave came out in slacks and a soft pullover. He heard the clink of ice in a glass, turned and watched his handsome brother in law walk towards him. When Dave cleared his throat Johnny realized Dave was standing in front of him and he was staring at Dave's bare feet.

"Like um?" Dave asked grinning at him.

Johnny looked him in the eye as he answered.

"They are probably the most beautiful feet I've ever seen. It's a shame my brother found them first."

"I've heard about your silver tongue. Surely your handsome young partner has nice feet."

Tim has nice feet. But they are the feet of a big man, a football player's feet."

"I played football. I've still got my highschool trophies to prove it."

"Well, you know what I mean."

"What are you two talking about?" Joe asked as he came out with a glass of wine.

"Nothing." Dave said.

"Dave's feet." Johnny said simultaneously.

Joe grinned.

"He does have nice feet doesn't he. He goes barefooted just to titillate me."

"Enough about my feet and I go barefooted 'cause it feels good."

The two brothers grinned at Dave's red face.

There was an awkward silence with Johnny looking uncomfortable. Joe studied him for a moment.

"Something's bothering you, Bro, Give."

Johnny looked at Joe and then Dave.

"Tim showed me the bank book and check."


"I know Grandad made some really good investments for you, Joe. But not to the tune of giving away five million dollars. And you, Dave are just a lowly bookstore owner. I'm assuming that both the account and the check are good. Are you guys dealing drugs big-time or what?"

"Tim didn't tell you?" Joe asked.

"Tell me what?"

"He obviously a man of his word not even telling you. Dave you want to fill Johnny in?"

Dave had a mischievous grin on his face.

"Nah, let's leave him in the dark, and let him wonder."

"Dave, you're so mean to my little brother."

"Alright you two I'm losing patience."

Dave feigned a surprised look, and just grinned at Johnny.

"So tell me."

"Well, you never met my deceased partner, Bill. He inherited a large fortune when his dad died. He didn't want it to change our lives, so we never touched the money while he was alive. He left the fortune to me when he died. Ten mil is just a drop in the bucket."

"Alright, that explains your part. So where did you get that kind of money, Joe?"

"Out of the same account Dave got his."

Johnny thought for a minute, and the turned to Dave.

"You've allowed my spend thrift brother to get access to you money? He'll break you in a year."Johnny was grinning as he teased his brother.

"Johnny, even if he tried he'd never succeed. There's just too much of it."

Johnny looked at his watch. It was time for Tim to get off duty.

"Sit still. I'll invite him up." Joe said, getting up and going to the intercom.

A few minutes later, Tim was half sitting, half laying against Johnny with Johnny's arm draped over his shoulders. He had a can of Coke in his hand. Joe and Dave had gone into the kitchen to put together a snack for everybody.

"Johnny," he said, looking up at him, "Tomorrow there will be two names one this account." He patted his shirt pocket. "Yours and mine."

"That's your money. Why would you want to share it with me?"

"You are serious about our commitment to each other aren't you?"

"Tim, I told you I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I'd gladly give my life for you. I love you, my man."

"So if we're going to share our lives with each other, why wouldn't a little thing like money be shared, too?"

Johnny answered by kissing Tim's nose.

"I love you, Johnny."

Dave turned to Joe as they stood in the door listening to the exchange.

"I told you it would work. Now there can be no question about the ethics of Johnny receiving money from us."

"Now we just have to figure out how to do the same for Paul."

Every once in a while Dave felt the need to get back to his roots as he called the first few years that he and Bill had struggled though after opening the bookstore, so today he was doing an inventory of the Science Fiction section. In those days Dave hadn't know that Bill came from an incredibly wealthy background, because Bill refused to talk about his family.

Dave didn't learn about it until several years into their relationship when Bill's father died and they went to his funeral. All these years later he shuddered at his first run-in with Mrs. Way. At that moment he understood why Bill had never said anything about her.

She had been giving him the evil eye from the moment they had walked into the church. She had kept quiet until William Way Sr. was lowered into the ground and nearly everyone had left the grave site, then she had exploded. She had called Dave every vile nasty name she could think of, accusing him of leading her innocent son down the path of degradation.

"That's enough, Edith." Bill said. He had never called her mother.

She ignored him. Dave's reaction was to turn and walk away.

"That's right, run away like the cowardly faggot that you are." She screamed at him and then she had turned on Bill.

"You're as spineless as your father. May he burn in hell with his whore." She pointed a crooked at the quiet petite well-dressed little lady, sitting demurely on the other side of the grave. "Yes, you. You damned cunt. I've known about you for years. Taking my dear William's love and money away from me. Not a pittance will you get from his will." She shrieked. "I'll see you penniless and on the street before I'm through with you."

Bill ran after Dave and grabbed his arm.

"Please. Don't leave. Just ignore her. I need you, Dave. Help me get through this."

Dave looked him in the eyes.

"Of course, I'll stay, Babe."

Bill squeezed his arm and smiled at him.

Edith turned on her son again.

"I don't know why you would even show up for your fathers's funeral. He never loved you. He cared nothing for you from the day you were born. He gave you to a nanny to raise and shipped you off to boarding schools so he wouldn't have you underfoot."

"You're wrong, mother. Yes, he did all that, but it was to keep me away from you and your vile hate. My father loved me. He couldn't show it because you would have used it against him."

Edith Way looked like she had been slapped. She had never considered what Bill had just told her. She deflated. She had run out of steam. William had won after all.

She looked at her son and Dave.

" Humph." She said in disgust, and stomped off to make life miserable for her chauffeur.

The lady on the other side of the grave sat with her eyes down cast, mourning the man she had loved for most of her life. She ignored the horrid black witch that was screeching over William's grave. Although she had never ask it of him, she knew that he would have refused to divorce Edith and marry her. She had accepted the love he gave her and she had returned it in kind. When he had given her a house, she made it into a home for him where he was always welcome. A place where he could find some peace away from Edith and the hell he lived in with her.

Bill had known of Joan's existence for years. He had never seen her before. As he studied her he found himself wondering what his young life might have been like if she had been his mother. Maybe he would have had a chance to know and really love his father if she had been. He took Dave's hand and led him around his father's grave. He sat down beside her and took her hand. She looked up at him with tears and humiliation on her face. Bill took her hanky and wiped away the tears.

"I'm so sorry, Joan, that you had to put up with my mother's vituperation. Is there any thing I can do for you, anything at all?"She shook her head and smiled at him.

"No, the only thing I want, God disapproves of, so I will bide my time. I will be with William by and by."

"Joan, I want you to meet my partne,r Dave. Dave, Joan was the love of my father's life." he turned back to her. "May we take you out to dinner some night soon, Joan? I've never had a chance to know you. You must be some lady for my father to put up with the hell he did at Way House over you. I won't call it home. It never was that. I'd like to get to know you. And maybe through you, get to know my father, too."

Joan smiled at him.

"Of course, I'd love to have dinner with you and Dave. You look so much like William. I'd like to get to know you, too. Here is my calling card. Please call soon."

Bill looked at the card.

"My God. All these years we've lived only five blocks from each other. Yet my father never stopped to see me."

"He wanted to. He was afraid you would lay into him again. He kept track of you all the time. He knew you were happy in the life you've made with Dave."

"I always wanted to know him. But my mother always stood between us. And he let her. When she condemned me for being gay he didn't say anything. I was hurt and I took it out on him for not standing up for me. I've always regretted it."

"I never learned what it was, but Edith had some thing on Bill that kept him from divorcing her. He wouldn't stand up to her because of it. He loved you, Bill, he protected you by not showing it. Edith would have destroyed even you to get to him. He came to me for solace. It nearly killed him when you castigated him in front of your mother. But he couldn't let her know how vulnerable he was when it came to you. She would have attacked you with as much venom as she constantly attacked him. He loved you, Bill, he really did."

"Thank you, for telling me this, Joan. I think I can now bury my rancor and let father go in peace."

Dave hadn't thought about that in years. He had been amazed, after learning about Bill's youth, that he had turned out to be so even-keeled and loving of everyone around him. In a moment of intimacy one time, not long after having dinner with Joan, he had asked Bill why he wasn't a spoiled rich brat.

"Dave, I love you with all my heart and soul. I am able to be this way because I had a very loving nanny and for the first eighteen years of my school life I had a teacher that took me under her wing. She became my surrogate mother. She was so warm, loving and generous. She imbued me with her values and taught me to love. She healed the scars my real mother had already inflicted. If not for her I would have been an emotional cripple. It was because of her that I wasn't showered with all the things that wealthy parents throw at their children to assuage their guilt for abandoning them. I knew my parents were wealthy, but under her guidance I learned to live like a normal kid without all the things that money can buy.

"You and I have manage to build a wonderful life and good business together. I came into a large inheritance when my father died, but I haven't touched it. It may be selfish of me, but I love my life as it is."

Dave smiled to himself as he remembered how Bill had let him know that he had given him access to all that wealth with out any strings attached. He could have done anything he wanted with it and Bill would have let him. Dave had given much thought to it. He had been sorely tempted to buy things , the luxuries they didn't need, but in the end Dave had decided that he was happy to leave it just as Bill had. Bill's happiness was more important than any amount of money.

Sue interrupted his thoughts.

"Dave there is a Mr. Clyde Williams wanting to speak with you. He looks like a lawyer. He's at the front desk."

"Send him back to my office, would you?"

Clyde Williams introduced himself.

"I am Mrs. William Way's attorney."

Dave's heart jumped. What kind of shenanigans was she up to now?

"Mr. Gates, you were to sole inheritor of her son's fortune."

Dave gulped. She had found a way to get it.

"Edith Way was the last of her family. She was wealthy on her own when she married William Way. He of course divided his wealth between his son and wife. The portion that went to Edith was with the stipulation that on her death it all go to William Jr. William Jr. died before Edith. Edith never got around to changing her will. Now with her death---"

"Mrs. Way is dead?"

"Yes, exactly eight days ago she had a massive coronary. She wasn't discovered until the house keeper found her three days later."

"I hadn't heard."

"Yes, well, as I was saying. With her death and no other person designated in her will, and no relatives on her side of the family or William Sr.'s, the inheritance goes to the person that William Jr. had designated as his inheritor. Namely you, Mr. David Gates."

"You're kidding."

"No, Mr. Gates, I don't kid. Now if you will just sign these papers--------

After Clyde Williams left Dave's office he sat there for several minutes. There wasn't a coherent thought in his head. A light tapping on his door brought him out of his stupor.


"Yes, Sue come in."

"Are you okay? You look like you've seen a ghost."

"Bill's mother is dead."

"Oh." She said, and then, "That's good, isn't it?"

"Yeah, it's good." He looked around absentmindedly. "Sue take charge. I've got to go home."

Dave walked passed Sue and out the door. Sue watched him. He walked as though he were asleep. She hurried up to the front and grabbed Pete, one of the part time student employees.

"Pete, follow Mr. Gates. Make sure he gets home safely. He's not himself at the moment."

"Sure, Sue."

"Come right back and let me know he made it."

Pete followed Dave at a discrete distance. He could have walked beside him and Dave would never have known it. He crossed the street in front of the bookstore okay and wandered across the campus. He stepped off the curb in front of the Tower without looking right or left. Pete saw a car speeding toward him. He sprinted into the street, grabbed Dave around the waist hurling him to the side of the street. Pete rolled, trying to get out of the way too. He wasn't fast enough the car hit him, knocking him toward Dave. The screeching tires brought Dave to his senses.

The driver came running back. Pete lay unconscious in Dave's arms.

"Oh god. I was dialing a number on my cell phone. I didn't even see him."

Dave looked at the man with a withering icy stare.

"You've got the damned phone in your hand. Dial 911."

"Yes, of course."

Dave had a bandage of the side of his forehead and on his right arm where he had connected with the pavement. He sat in the waiting room still in a daze, wishing Joe was there with him. Several times he had tried to contact him but had failed. Finally, he called Sue and asked to hunt him down.

Pete had been rushed to surgery. Dave still didn't know why. He waited, anxious to hear how Pete had faired. The young man had nearly lost his life saving his. Dave had told them to spare no expense with Pete. The hospital had notified his parents. Dave had asked Sue to call them immediately after arranging for them to fly first class. They weren't expected until tomorrow morning.

When Dave had called Sue and told her what had happened, she went into a guilt trip. Dave set her straight fast.

"Listen, Sue, I would be dead now if not for you. You couldn't have foreseen the accident. So stop with the guilt. I'm alive because of your mothering instinct and Pete's bravery and willingness to sacrifice his life to save mine."

"Oh, God. You mean Pete's going to die?"

"At the moment, I don't think the doctors even know, so think positive."

Another student employee was listening to Sue's conversation. She wanted to know what had happened to Pete. Sue filled her in. And within a couple of hours the news of Pete's heroism spread across the campus.

Pete was a quiet, studious kid. He as well liked by those who knew him. His shock of blonde hair hanging in his laughing blue eyes could often be seen in the midst of one group or another. In the bookstore he was always on top of what needed to be done, seldom having to be told what to do. He never hesitated to ask if he was in doubt of what to do.

As Dave waited for word of Pete's condition, a small dark headed young man wandered into the emergency area looking scared and lost. Dave saw him and smiled. His big expressive liquid brown eyes filled with relief when he saw Dave. A hesitant smile brightened his face as hurried to him.

"Sir? Is Pete going to be okay?"

"I'm still waiting to hear. A nurse came out a while ago and told me he is still unconscious. That's all I know."

The young man bit his lip. He had tears in his eyes.

"I'm Dave Gates. Pete works for me."

"I know, Sir. I stop in to see him sometimes when he's working. My name is Jason. Jason Warren."

"It's nice to meet you, Jason. Please call me Dave."

"Thanks, Dave. I'm just so in awe meeting you. You are an icon on campus you know.

"What are you talking about?"

"It's so difficult to be openly gay on campus. Yet you and Mr. Way went to school here and then opened the bookstore nearly on the campus. You never made any bones about being gay, but you never denied it either. You both were football stars. One would never image that you're gay.

"Everyone was so saddened by Mr. Way's death. It must have been very hard on you, losing him."

Dave didn't know whether to be proud, cry for his lose or just be embarrassed. He chuckled.

"Are you always this wound up, Jason?"

"No, Sir, I mean Dave. I'm just so worried about Pete. We just started dating about six months ago. It's starting to get serious." Suddenly Jason broke down. "I love him so much, and now I may lose him. We haven't even had sex yet."

Dave's heart went out to the kid. He stood up and hugged him. Jason laid his head on Dave's chest and cried.

"Hey, everything is going to be okay. He's getting the best medical help money can buy."

"I don't know how he can pay for this." Jason said, sitting down. "He's barely gets by with what he makes working in the bookstore. His parent don't have much money and they took out a loan to pay for his schooling."

"How do you know so much about him?" Dave asked sitting next to him.

"Pete and I talk a lot. We've told each other everything. We're planning on having a commitment ceremony in June. Right after he tells his parent he's gay. He doesn't know how they will take it. They're really religious.

"Well, Jason, you don't need to worry about Pete and his parents having to pay for any of this. It's all taken care of."

"Gee, Dave you'll end up having to put your store in hock. Hospitals are expensive, especially surgery and intensive care."

"Don't worry about it, Jason. I've got a nest egg I can use."

"That's so good of you, Dave."

"Hey, Pete saved my life. I can't do too much for him. He'll never want for a thing as long as he lives."

"You talk like you"re rich man, Dave." He threw his arms around Dave's neck, giving him a big hug. Dave automatically returned it.

"I do, don"t I?"

They hadn't notice Joe walk up.

"Somebody mind telling what this hugfest is about?"

Jason let go of Dave like he had grasped a glowing ember. He was beet red. Dave turned to Joe.

"Hey, Babe" He said as Joe wrapped him in a tight embrace, kissing him. Dave melted into it. The kissed seemed to last forever as Jason watched big eyed. When the two men broke apart Dave turned toward Jason. He was still blushing, but it was now from watching the two masculine men kiss. Dave laughed.

"Sorry, Jason, we didn't mean to embarrass you. This is my partner, Joe Paolini. Joe this is Jason Warren, He's Pete's friend."

Joe stuck out his hand to Jason.


Jason hesitated taking it.

"You're the famous architect? That Paolini."

"The same one." Joe said grinning.

"Wow, Mr. Paolini," He grabbed Joe's hand with both of his. "It's so neat to meet you. We've been studying your work. We're going to be taking a tour of the Tower in a couple of weeks. This is so cool, getting to meet you before hand."

"It's nice to meet you too, Jason. So how is Pete?"

"We haven't heard anything yet. He's been in there for nearly an hour now."

Joe had his arm around Dave's waist. He pulled him tight against his side.

"If he comes through this, there's nothing that boy is going to want for, Dave."

"I just told Jason the same thing."

A surgeon came into the room removing his mask. His countenance was calm, but all three men looked at him expecting to hear the worst.

The doctor looked from one to the other.

"I know none of you is the parent of the young man."

"No, sir," Dave said. "I have arranged for them to be here by tomorrow morning around nine o'clock. Can you tell us how Pete is doing?"

"Well, he had a hard hit on his head. We had to relieve the pressure on his brain. He is unconscious. Until he wakes up we won't know whether we have succeeded. However, it looks very good.

We had to pin his clavicle which was shattered by the impact and set the bones in both his upper and lower right arm. Other than a few abrasions he should be in pretty good shape. There's nothing you can do here, so why don't you men go home."

"Thank you, Doctor. We appreciate you telling us this. I'll see you tomorrow with his parents."

"And you are who?"

"My name is Dave Gates. Pete is my employee."

"You are the David Gates?"

"What do you mean by the?"

"David Gates the third wealthiest man in the U.S."

Dave turned red with anger.

"How would you know that?"

"A front page article in my financial paper. You just inherited the Way fortune."

Dave was at a loss. " How does that information get out to the public?"

"Excuse me, Mr. Gates, but big money does not have privacy. Everyone in the money market knows any time something that big transpires.

Dave turned to Joe looking helpless

"Yes, Doctor, you've got the right man. Please keep it to your self. Dave is a very private person. I can promise you that whether young Peter pulls through this or not, the hospital will receive a very large endowment."

"Of course, your privacy is safe with me. You look very familiar. Are you the architect, J.V. Paolini?"

"You are very astute, Doctor.

"John Sanderson, Yes, I read a lot. I've seen your picture in several publications. Congratulations on all of the awards you've won."

"Thank you, Dr. Sanderson."

"I'm sorry I can't stay and chat but I've got to get back to the surgery."

"Thank you again, Doctor, for telling us about Peter." Joe said. Dave just stood there staring at the door as it swung closed. He was realizing that his world was about to change.

Jason sat with his mouth open looking at Dave as though he was in the presence of the queen of England.

Joe noticed. He was already in protective mode, he was sensitive to Dave's anxiety

"Close you mouth, Jason. And find your manners. Dave is still the same person you were talking to a moment ago."

"I know but, Wow. I've never known a really rich person before."

That brought Dave out of his stupor. He sat down and took Jason's hand.

"Jason, if what you were saying earlier is true. If you really do respect and admire me, please, don't tell anyone what you've heard here tonight. If word got out it would totally disrupt the way I live. I really like being close to everyone else. If they knew I have so much money they wouldn't let me. I don't want to have to hide and live with guards all the time."

"Dave, I will never tell anyone. Not even Peter. I liked you and wanted to be your friend before I knew anything. I still feel the same."

"I'd be honored to have you as my friend, Jason."

End of Chapter 8