My Belovèd is mine, and I am his.
Song of Songs 2:16
Carl Emrick must have been
exhausted. Kevin and Cam never heard a peep out of him after Cam
had coated the welts on the boy's body with a soothing cream, covered
him with a sheet, and left him prone in their bed. They went back
out into the living room, and Kevin sat on the couch as Cam added some
wood to the fire. There had been no letup in the rain, which still pounded on the roof with a dull roar.
Cam walked back to the couch and sat down beside Kevin, hugging him around the neck.
"You said something earlier today about counting your blessings," Cam
said. "Considering what Carl's been going through, we all have
a lot more to be thankful for than we realize."
"Yep," Kevin agreed, resting his head against Cam's. "It's hard
to believe that one human being could do that to someone else, let
alone a father to a son. I don't even want to think about the sex
part. How does anybody ever get over something like that?"
"I don't know," Cam said. "If you do recover, it must take a lot
of work. And probably a lot of professional help. To look
at Carl from the outside, you'd think he was just a handsome, happy,
adjusted, assertive jock without a trouble in the world. You
know, an asshole like us." He grinned wryly. "On the
inside, though, well...I just hurt for the guy, and I hardly know him."
"I don't even want to think about it right now," Kevin said. "To
change the subject, how about a game of chess before we have to call
the Carsons? I'd like to whip your
cute little ass again."
"You probably have a
lot of subconscious desires when it comes to whipping my ass that I don't know anything about," Cam said deadpan.
"I do," Kevin admitted. "But most of them center around helping you be a better boy."
"What a waste of time and energy that is," Cam said,
sitting further back on the couch with a smug look on his face.
"When you have perfection, don't toy with it. That's my advice."
"And your advice is worth every penny I'm going to pay you for it--NADA!"
"What a tight ass you are," Cam said. "In more ways than one!"
"Did you just tell me not to toy with your perfection?" Kevin
smirked. "That'll make things awfully dull for us in bed, won't
it? And I had so many fun things planned for you."
Cam laughed and hugged his partner. "You win this round.
not gonna win another chess game. My finely honed mind is simply
gonna crush you." He got up and moved around the coffee
table where the chess board was and into a chair opposite the couch.
Kevin picked up a white pawn and a black pawn, juggled them behind his back,
and held his fists out to Cam. Cam tapped Kevin's right hand, and
voilà, Kevin was black for the game. They set up the
board, and Cam led with his King's Knight's pawn.
Kevin liked to start his campaign of mental intimidation early in the game.
"What's that, the MacKenzie gambit?" he asked Cam scornfully as he
followed suit with the King's Knight's pawn on his side of the
board. Harassment was part of Kevin's psychological game.
"Yeah," Cam said. "I'm gonna jack you around for awhile before I finish you
off. Soon these lips of mine will be sayin', 'Checkmate.'
Count on it."
"Well, right now these lips of mine are sayin', 'Bullshit.' Count on that."
They played two games, Cam winning one and Kevin the other.
"I'm still a game up on ya," Kevin said smugly. "I like that."
"You cheapen yourself when you brag like that," Cam said slyly.
"You oughtta know. You've had plenty of practice."
Cam was going to let out a shriek of frustration and rough Kevin up a
little bit when he remembered Carl was sleeping in the bedroom. He
looked at his watch. 4:45 p.m.
"I better wake up Carl or he'll be groggy when we call the Carsons," Cam said.
"Yeah," Kevin said.
Cam got up went into the bedroom. Carl was sleeping soundly on his
stomach under the sheet, face turned away from the door. Cam sat
down on the side of the bed gently and touched Carl's shoulder.
The boy woke up with a yell.
"Oh, shit!" Carl said. "You scared me. I'm a little jumpy."
"I'm sorry, man. Are you all right?"
The boy moved gingerly on the bed, turning his head toward Cam.
"I don't think so," he said. "My skin feels like it's starting to crinkle up or something."
"I wish there were something I could do," Cam said.
"Me, too, dude."
Cam bent down to pick up Carl's clothes to put them on a chair when he saw blood in the boy's boxers.
"Carl, did you know your ass is bleeding? It's not from the welts, either."
"No, I didn't. My dad fucked me pretty hard last night, though,
after he whipped me, so I'm not surprised. He hurt me so bad."
Cam shook his head somberly. "If I'd known you were
bleeding, we'd have taken you to a doctor right away," he said.
"Anyway, we'll have a doc look at you as soon as we can. I
just woke you up to tell you it's almost time to call the
Carsons. But I'm gonna get you some more pills for pain before we
Cam went into the bathroom and once again got a Motrin, an Excedrin and
a Tylenol out of their bottles, and ran a glass of water. He went
back into the bedroom where Carl was still huddled under the sheet.
"Do you need some help?"
"Yeah," Carl said. "Pull back the sheet and help me sit up, willya?"
Cam put the pills and the water down on the beside table, where he was
embarrassed to see Kevin's and his pile of unopened condoms still sitting
out in plain sight. He grabbed them up and shoved them into a drawer,
but Carl had seen them. The boy smiled, but didn't say
anything. Cam pulled the sheet down to Carl's butt and helped him
get into a sitting position, and then gave him the water and the pills. Carl threw them back, and drank the water.
"I hate to ask you to do this, but I think we should take some pictures of your wounds before we get you dressed."
"We just don't know what's gonna happen from here on in. We need
to have some evidence of what your dad did to you, just in case anybody
down the line tries to play fast and loose with the facts."
Carl sighed. "All right."
"Kevin, would you come in here for a minute?" Cam called out.
"Comin'," Kevin said. He crutched his way into the room. "What?"
"I'm gonna take some digital shots of Carl's backside before we get him
dressed," Cam said. "Will you help him get flat on his stomach
again while I dig the camera out of my bag?"
"Yes." Kevin slowly lowered himself to his knees and leaned his crutches
against the side of the bed. Pulling the sheet from around Carl's
body, he helped the boy lie down slowly on his stomach again as Carl
"I'm sorry, man," Kevin said. "This sucks so bad..."
"I know," Carl said. "Please don't desert me and my brother,
willya?" he added in a low voice. "I don't know what's gonna
happen to us now."
"I promise you we won't," Kevin said.
Cam came back to the bed. "I have the camera," he said.
"Kev, hold the table lamp up and tilt the shade so more light falls on Carl's
back, will ya?"
The enormity of what Carl's dad had done to him was now more
clearly visible in the bright light from the lamp, and the sight almost
made Kevin, tough Kevin, physically sick. He looked away as Cam began snapping
flash pictures from different angles, making sure that Carl's face
showed in some of them so there would be no doubt of the victim's
identity. When Cam finished up, he put the camera on the bedside table.
"OK, Carl, we gotta get you dressed now," Cam said.
Carl groaned and tried to roll on his side to get up. Cam bent
over the bed and helped him, eventually getting him into a sitting
position, feet on the floor.
"I'm gonna stretch out your T-shirt a little so it won't scrape your
skin so much going on," Cam told the boy. He did that, trying not
to make the shirt too misshapen, and slipped it over Carl's head and
slowly down over his torso.
"Do you want a clean pair of boxers?" Cam asked Carl. "Carl has blood in his underwear," he explained to Kevin.
"Well..." Carl hesitated.
"Good idea," Kevin said. "So let's take Carl's boxers with us when we leave in case we need evidence, OK?"
Cam went to his bag and pulled out a gaudy pair of boxers with the
Oakland Raiders emblem all over them. He helped Carl into them,
and then tried to help him put on his 501's, but they were too tight to
get on him without a lot of discomfort.
"Kev, I think I packed you a pair of carpenter's pants, didn't I?" Cam asked.
"Can Carl borrow them? They'll go on him real easy 'cause you have such a big butt."
Kevin laughed and shook his head at Cam's remark. "Go for it," he said.
Cam went to Kevin's bag and brought the baggy pants over, and helped Carl
slip them on, rolling the legs up at the bottom because of Kevin's
greater height. Next Cam put Carl's sweat socks and Nike's on
him, and Carl was dressed.
"Stylish, dude!" Kevin said, appraising him. "How you feelin'?"
"Hurtin'," was all Carl said.
"All right, time to make the call," Cam said, standing up. "Let's
all hold a good thought that this will be the answer we're looking for."
"He means he wants us to pray," Kevin said in an aside to Carl.
Carl smiled, and emptied the pockets of his Levi's and put the stuff in the pockets
of his borrowed carpenter pants. The three of them went into the living room.
"Go ahead and call," Carl said, steeling himself. "I hate this, but it has to be done."
Once in the great room, Cam consulted the piece of paper
Mrs. Carson had given him, and picked up the cabin land line and dialed
* * *
Ian and Mary Carson had just walked in the door
with their two boys after an afternoon visit to Mary's mother, who was
in a nursing home in the city. William and Mark Carson weren't
ecstatic about spending their Saturday afternoon like that, but they
were pretty good boys who loved their grandmother, and so they didn't
bitch about it to their parents. Only to each other, sotto voce. Alice greeted the family happily.
The housekeeper answered the telephone in the kitchen, and not knowing
that the Carsons were back, started to take a message when Ian Carson
picked up the phone in the front hall.
"I have it, Mrs. Vega, thank you," he said. "This is Ian Carson."
"Mr. Carson, my name is Cameron MacKenzie. I'm calling from the
Big Sur," he said. "I met your wife yesterday when we found
Alice, and she gave me your number."
"Yes, Cameron," Mr. Carson said. "Mary told me a little about you
and your friend, Kevin. I want to add my thanks to hers. Alice is
special to our whole family, and we're all very grateful to you
"I'm glad we could help," Cam said. "I feel a little embarrassed
about calling you with a problem so soon after meeting Mrs. Carson, but
we have a serious one. I need to ask for your help and advice."
"We owe you, and I'm all ears," Carson said. "Fire away."
"My friend Kevin and I met a new friend, Carl Emrick, from Seaside
yesterday afternoon after Mrs. Carson went home, and he came to my
dad's cabin this afternoon. To make a long story short, he was severely beaten and sexually molested by his father last
night. His father is very prominent in Monterey County and has
financed a lot of political campaigns in the area, and Carl believes
that he can't go to the police or even Child Protection because he thinks his
father will use his clout to get Carl committed to a mental institution
to escape any punishment for himself. There's an added
complication. Carl has a brother who's two years younger that
he's trying to protect. Once Carl is out of the picture for any
reason, Carl believes that his brother Danny will be his father's next
"My God in heaven!" Ian Carson said. "What's Carl's father's name?"
"Hold on," Cam said. "What's your father's name?" he asked Carl.
"Walter. Walter Emrick."
"Walter Emrick," Cam relayed.
"I know him. Or I've met him, I should say. He owns the Cadillac dealership in Monterey," Carson said.
"You're not his lawyer or something, are you?" Cam asked, suddenly apprehensive.
"No. Don't worry about that."
"Mr. Carson, we need some help. And Carl needs to see a
doctor. He's had some rectal bleeding and is in a lot of pain
from the beating."
The man groaned, and then there was silence.
"Cameron, let me talk to Carl, please," Carson said after thinking for a moment.
Cam passed the telephone to Carl.
"Yes, sir?" Carl said.
"Is what Cameron told me true?"
"Yes, sir, it is."
"Carl, give me ten minutes or so, and I'll call you back. Give me the phone number there, and you all stay by the phone."
Carl handed the phone back to Cam. "He needs your phone number," he said.
"Mr. Carson? Here's the number." Cam gave him the cabin's land line number.
"Cameron, give me ten or fifteen minutes, and I'll call you back," the lawyer said.
"Yes, sir. We'll wait to hear from you."
Cam hung up, and the three boys sat and looked at one another.
"I need to check in with Danny," Carl said, pulling out his cell phone and dialing.
Dan answered on the other end.
"Dan, where are you?" Carl asked the boy, and listened to the
response. "Where's Dad?" Carl then asked, again listening.
"All right, Dan, I need for you to do something for me. Trust me
and don't ask a lot of questions. Leave the meeting now, and go
home and pack a bag with clothes for a few days. Some people and
I will be picking you up at home, probably in about an hour. If Dad gets
home before we get there, take the bag and get out of the house so he
doesn't see you and go up in the tree house, and stay there until I
call you, OK?"
The boy must have protested.
"Dan, I've never needed you to do what I tell you more than right now,"
Carl said, almost pleading. "Please do this for me."
Danny must have agreed, because Carl said, "Good!" and snapped his phone shut.
"Is Danny all right?" Kevin asked Carl.
"Yeah. He's at a Boy Scout meeting and Dad's at work. At least for right now."
"That's good," Cam said. "Don't worry now, everything's gonna work
out, Carl," he told the boy with more confidence than he himself was
feeling at the moment.
Carl nodded as he tapped his fingers nervously on the arm of the rocking chair he was sitting in.
"You guys want something to drink while we wait?" Cam asked.
"Coke for me," Kevin said.
"Me, too," Carl said. "Need some help?"
"Naw," Cam said. "Sit and relax." He got up and headed for the kitchen.
Carl looked down at the coffee table at the chess board. "You guys play chess, I see."
"Yeah," Kevin said, grinning. "Well, I play, but Cam only tries to play.
So-o-o-o easy to beat. He hardly knows one piece from another."
"I heard that!" Cam said from the kitchen. "Don't be tellin' my secrets, Kevin."
Carl and Kevin smiled at each other in the momentary silence that followed.
"Have you guys been 'together' for a long time?" Carl asked out of the
blue. "You don't have to answer that question if you don't want
to, but you seem so comfortable together."
"Not long," Kevin said. "Not the way you mean. We lived
next door to each other all our lives, and we're on the school soccer
team together. But we've been best buds forever."
"Neither of you acts gay," Carl said.
"You're changin' your story. You said you knew we were after we met on the beach," Kevin said.
"Yeah, but as I told you before, it was more the way you seemed to care
so much about each other,
not any particular mannerisms, that clued me in. Uh, could I ask
you, how did you two come out to each other after being friends for so
"I can thank Kevin for that," Cam said, bringing three cans of coke
three glasses of ice back into the living room on a tray just
then. "We've lived together with my mom in our house this year so
he could finish school in San Rafael, because Kevin's mom died last
year and his dad
moved to New
York City for his work. My mom is Kevin's guardian, and that's
tough duty for her, believe me." Cam smiled. "Anyway, Kevin
my room late one night and told me he was horny and not to be
denied. He jumped my bones with no warning, and had his way with
me. Long story short, against my will he made me gay practically
overnight, and I've suffered with that--and with him--ever since."
Carl burst into laughter.
"Untrue, and inappropriate under the circumstances, you dunderhead,"
Kevin told his partner unsmilingly. "You have all the finesse of
It hit Cam then about what he'd just said in light of Carl's dad's sexual assault on him, and Cam got a stricken look on
his face. "Shit, Carl, I'm sorry I said that. I'm a real dufus, and I'm really sorry."
"I know you didn't mean anything by it," Carl said. "Now, what really happened?"
"True story this time," Cam said. "Kevin came into my room and said he
thought he might be gay, and that
he loved me. And he gave me the courage to tell him that I've
loved him since I sprouted my first crotch hair. Being with him
relationship, with him physically, I mean, fulfilled a longtime
dream for me, believe me. I love everything about him."
"Kevin, I may be out of line here," Carl said, "but you said yesterday on the beach that
your former girlfriend is having your baby. Is that true?"
"What's going to happen with the baby?"
"Cam and I are going to take the baby and raise it together," Kevin said.
"Wow!" Carl said. "That blows me away. I admire that so much!"
Cam looked at his watch. It had been twenty minutes since Ian
Carson said he would call back, but it seemed like an hour. The
three boys looked at each other nervously just as the phone rang.
Cam picked it up.
"Cameron? This is Ian Carson."
"Hello, Mr. Carson. We were starting to get worried."
"It took a little longer to line things up than I thought it
would. I had to call in a few favors. Here's what's going
to happen. I'm coming down to pick Carl up as soon as I can get
there. I'll have the Department of Social Services' associate
director for Child Protection in northern California with me, along
physician and an associate attorney general. The California
Highway Patrol captain with jurisdiction in Monterey County will meet
us at your cabin. We should all arrive in about an hour. I
want Dr. Junius to examine Carl when we get there, and Director Reed to
talk with him. If the story as he's told it to you is
verified, we'll ring up a judge and head for court right away.
The attorney general's office will ask the judge to issue an arrest
warrant for Carl's father, and Director Reed will petition the
court for jurisdiction over Carl and his brother and remove them from
his father's home.
The only person among the local authorities who will be involved at
this point will be the judge, and if he balks for any reason when it
comes to doing his job with respect to Walter Emrick, we'll move right
on to an appellate
court. Where is Carl's brother right now?"
"Let me put Carl on the phone, and he can tell you," Cam said.
"I--we--can't thank you enough for doing all this, Mr. Carson."
Cam handed the phone to Carl.
"Yes, sir?" Carl said.
"Cameron told me when I talked with him before that you have a brother living at home, is that right?"
"Yes, sir. A younger brother."
"How old is he, and what's his name?"
"He's 15, and his name is Dan."
"All right. You understand that you and Dan are a package deal,
don't you. If and when we ask that you be removed from your
father's home, Dan is out, too."
"Thank you for that. I won't go without him," Carl said gravely.
"All right," Ian Carson said. "I know you must be pretty tense
right now, but I want you to trust that everything is going to
work out. You can expect us in a little over an hour."
"Thank you, sir. I apologize for putting everyone to so much trouble."
"See you soon."
They hung up, and Carl looked over at Cam and Kevin, and put his face in his hands.
"I hope to God I'm doing the right thing," he said.
"You are, man" Kevin said. "There's just no way you could
continue the way you were. And you're thinking about Danny, just
like you should. Hang in, now. We won't desert you."
Carl nodded and gave him a small smile of appreciation. That was all he could manage.
"Carl, how about a game of chess?" Kevin asked, trying to think of a
way to get the kid's mind off his troubles for a few minutes.
"Well, I'm not so good at the game," Carl said.
"You're bound to be better than Cam."
"I don't know about that."
"Trust me, I speak the truth," Kevin said. He moved forward on
the couch as Carl pulled his rocking chair up to the coffee
table. Carl picked the hand with the black pawn in it, and after
they set up the board, they started the game. Cam pulled a chair
around to the end of the table so he could watch the board
action. But he found himself watching the two boys who were locked in
mental battle more than he was watching the game itself.
Kevin had his game face on--intent, focused, expressionless, his brown
eyes opaque. The short, black hair of his crewcut head looked
thick and healthy. The way the light in the room fell on him, Cam
could see a few dark whiskers that his partner has missed that morning
when he had shaved. His dark complexioned face was thinner than
it had been before he'd been beaten up by the Butler brothers, but his
athletic build hadn't changed a bit as a result of being
brutalized. His pecs filled out his t-shirt, and his thighs
stretched the denim in his jeans taut. His crotch gave ample
suggestion of what Cam well knew Kevin was packing down there.
Cam's eyes shifted to Kevin's big hands, resting on his knees between
chess moves. When they made love, those hands had made Cam's body come alive in ways
that he had never dreamed possible. To
Cam, Kevin was the epitome of everything that was male and
Cam couldn't help thinking about how fortunate he was to be partnered
with someone of Kevin's mental and physical
attributes. He knew even at that point in his life that if he
and Kevin had not become partners, there would have been a void in the
depths of his own being that probably never would have been
filled. Yes, there would have been other people in his life, he
knew, even other lovers, probably, but they would never have given him
the stimulation, the elation, the love that Kevin did. He was
Cam's gaze shifted to Carl. The angular face under the boy's
crewcut looked tough and determined, but weary, no doubt as a result of
his current anguish. That face was strikingly handsome, with a
medium length nose, blue eyes, and smooth, unblemished, healthy looking
was a hint of a dark line on his upper lip, indicating that Carl
probably had to shave regularly unless he wanted a mustache adding a
new look to his
face. An observer, even at a distance, would have immediately
and rightly concluded from this boy's body that he, like his two hosts,
athlete. His arms were muscular, his stretched-out T-shirt was
filled. Cam would have known Carl's thighs and calves were thick
and developed under the baggy carpenter's pants that Carl had borrowed
even if he had not seen him naked on their bed.
Despite the crisis in his family, Carl's overall manner testified to
self-confidence and toughness that comes from repeatedly testing one's
against athletic competitors and experiencing satisfaction and
triumph. Cam hoped that the boy's psycho father hadn't fucked the
kid up so badly that he wouldn't be able to live a normal life, at least in time.
He thought about Alex and John and Catherine, their goodness and kindness to him and
Kevin, and again was thankful for his own circumstances.
"Checkmate," Cam heard Carl say, and sure enough, Kevin was whipped.
Cam kept his mouth shut.
"Shit," Kevin said. "You're crafty. How about another game?"
"OK," Carl said.
Just as they had set up the board for game 2 and Carl made the first move, Cam
heard the stones in the driveway crunch as a car pulled in. He
stood up and went to the door, peering out into the rain. A
plain, white Ford sedan parked behind the Camaro, the trunk of the new vehicle
sporting a virtual forest of radio antennas, several of which continued waving
after the car came to a stop.
The car door opened, and out stepped a tall state
trooper, probably 6'4", who looked to be in his mid-forties. He
was in full uniform. The man put on his smoky bear hat and moved
quickly to the steps and up on to the deck of the cabin where he was
sheltered from the driving rain.
Cam opened the cabin door wide and stepped outside. He saw there
were captain's bars on the trooper's uniform shirt as the man came
"Good afternoon, sir," Cam said.
"Are you Cameron?" the visitor asked in a deep voice.
"Yes, sir. Please step inside."
"Thanks." Once inside the door, the man offered his hand. "I'm Tom Ridenour," he said.
"Cam MacKenzie, Captain," Cam said as they shook hands. "That's Kevin Stoltz on
the couch, and this is Carl Emrick." He pointed to Carl.
Carl stood up to shake hands with the trooper, and Kevin struggled to do the same.
"Sit," Ridenour said to Kevin, noticing the crutches leaning again the
couch, and went over to shake hands with him. "I'm the first to
arrive, I take it."
"Yes, sir" Cam confirmed. "Please have a seat. How about a cup of coffee or a soft drink?"
"Just some water would be fine," the trooper said, sitting down, removing his hat and perching it on one knee.
"I'm sorry you were brought out on a day like this," Carl said, the chess game now abandoned.
"Did you ever try to say 'no' to Ian Carson and the attorney general's office?" The big trooper laughed.
"The attorney general's office?" Carl asked.
"Yes," the trooper said. "From what he said, I don't think Ian wants to trust the local prosecutor on this one."
"Oh," Carl said. "That makes me feel a little better."
Cam went into the kitchen for a bottle of water and came back, handing it to the police officer.
The trooper twisted the cap off the bottle and took a good,
deep draught of the cool liquid as they heard the gravel in the
driveway crunch with another arriving vehicle. Cam again stood
and went to the cabin door. A big, cream-colored Lincoln Navigator was
parked behind Carl's Escalade. The doors of the car popped open,
and three men and a woman made a run for the deck in the pouring
rain. Cam stepped outside to meet them.
"Cameron?" the man in the lead asked. He appeared to be in
late 30's or early 40's, tall and thin, clean shaven, with prematurely balding sandy hair
worn in a businessman's haircut, clad in a stylish khaki, belted
raincoat. His facial expression was that of an intelligent and
vibrant person. He thrust out his hand. "Ian Carson," he
"Yes, sir. Cam MacKenzie," the boy answered.
"Let me introduce Associate Director Lauren Reed of Child
Protection, Dr. Earl Junius, our physician, and Assistant Attorney
General Richard Hanosh." Carson pointed to the lady and the men as he introduced
them, and Cam shook hands with all of them.
"Thank you so much for coming all the way down here," Cam said. "Come on inside out of the weather."
Carl and Kevin were both standing up when the crowd entered, and Cam,
who had always been good with names, introduced all the visitors to
Carl and Kevin, and also Captain Ridenour in case he was not known to
everyone. Cam and Carl took the newcomers' rain gear, and hung
their coats in a closet by the door. Cam invited everyone to sit
down and offered them something to drink. Everyone declined.
It was easy to see who was going to be in charge, and he didn't waste any time getting down to business.
"Carl, why don't you tell us what's happened to you and why you need help," Ian Carson said.
Carl's face turned scarlet, and he looked at the floor.
"I know this isn't easy to talk about, and particularly in front on
strangers," Carson said, "but you understand that every one of us is here to help
you. So, to do their work, they have to know."
"Why don't Kevin and I excuse ourselves now," Cam said, trying to take some of the pressure off of Carl.
"No, man, don't go," Carl pleaded. He looked at Ian Carson.
"They know everything already," he said, "and they've seen everything
my father did to me, so can they can stay? Please?"
"All right," Carson said. "I hate to press you like this, but we
have some time constraints if we're going to get this job done today."
"Yes, sir," Carl said, shamefaced. And he began to talk, telling
the strangers surrounding him the story of what had happened to him,
leaving nothing out, as Cam and Kevin stared at the floor in
embarrassment. When his monologue was over, Mr. Hanosh, the
assistant attorney general, asked a few questions. There was a
"Carl," Mrs. Reed said, "Dr. Junius and I are going to have to examine
you. Is that all right? I'm a nurse," she added.
"Cameron, can you lend us a room?" the doctor asked.
"Yes, sir." Cam took Carl, the doctor and the social worker/nurse
back to a guest bedroom rather than into his and Kevin's room with its
disheveled bed, and shut the door behind them. He went back into
the now silent living room, and sat down beside Kevin. No one
Dr. Junius and Mrs. Reed emerged from the bedroom a few minutes later, leaving Carl to get dressed.
"That son of a bitch," the doctor muttered to himself about Walter Emrick.
The physician's face was pale. "They're all bad, but this is one of the worst cases
I've seen in a long time." He held out his hand to Mrs.
Reed. "Give me the papers."
She handed over the medical certification of alleged child abuse form, and the
doctor sat down in the rocker, using the surface of the coffee table as
backing to write.
"I don't know how you do this work day in and day out," Junius said to
Mrs. Reed, signing and handing the papers back to her to sign.
She did so, and handed them on to the assistant attorney general.
Carl came back into the room, re-dressed and downcast, and gingerly sat down on the couch next to Kevin.
"Carl, do you have any relatives in the immediate area that we can
place you and your brother with, at least temporarily?" Mrs. Reed asked.
"No, ma'am. Nobody."
"I'll need to be in touch with the Monterey County child protection
office to see what's available," she said. "We're going to take
good care of
you and your brother, though, Carl," she said, trying to relieve some
of the boy's stress.
Carl said nothing, sitting on the couch with his head down.
"Uh, I don't suppose there's any chance my wife and I could take them, is there, Lauren?" Ian Carson asked.
"Well...I'd have to approve you as foster caregivers on an emergency
basis and let our Monterey County office know that," Mrs. Reed
said. "That's not our normal procedure...and of
course, you don't reside in Monterey County. When and if Carl and Dan were
needed in court, you'd be responsible for seeing that they got down here
from the city."
Kevin put an arm around Carl as tears suddenly sprang into the boy's
eyes and began to run down his face. Carl didn't make a sound as he
enormity of his and Danny's situation had really, finally hit
him. Cam pulled a clean handkerchief out of his back pocket, and
reaching across Kevin, gave it to Carl. The boy held it over his
eyes without unfolding it.
"But you can do it, correct?" Carson persevered.
"Yes," Lauren Reed said. "I can do it."
"Good. Unless something totally unexpected happens, let's do it
that way, then," Carson said smoothly, smiling at Mrs. Reed. "Is
that all right with you, Carl? I think you and your brother would
get along with my boys just fine."
"Yes, sir," Carl said despondently.
"Are we ready for me to call the judge for a hearing?" Assistant Attorney General Hanosh asked.
The adults looked at one another, and Ian Carson said, "Go for it!"
Hanosh pulled a small black book from the breast pocket of his suit, consulted it, and dialed a number on his cell phone.
"Good afternoon, your honor," he said when the phone was
answered. "This is Richard Hanosh with the San Francisco Attorney General's
office. I'm sorry to bother you at home, sir. Your honor,
we have a child protection case that we need to put before you
immediately, and I'm requesting an emergency hearing to be held as
quickly as possible this afternoon for that purpose."
The judge must have asked him why the local prosecutor was not the person calling.
"This case is of such gravity that Child Protection and my office
didn't want to take a chance that the local prosecutor's schedule might
be backed up." The assistant AG winked at the others in the
room. "My office is assuming direct responsibility for the case
at this time."
Hanosh listened for a moment, and then smiled. "Thank you,
Judge. Again, I'm sorry to bother you on a weekend. We'll
see you shortly."
"Judge McDowell will meet us at the courthouse in an hour and a half," he told the group.
"Excellent!" Ian Carson said.
"I can get an arrest warrant for Walter Emrick from Judge McDowell, then?" Captain Ridenour asked.
"Yes," Hanosh said. "I'll ask McDowell for it."
"Carl, call your brother and tell him we'll pick him up in, oh, say twenty minutes, OK?"
The boy wiped his eyes with Cam's handkerchief, his eyes red. He
pulled his cell phone out of the side pocket of the jeans Kevin had
loaned him. The phone beeped as he pushed buttons.
"Dan?" Carl said. "We'll be by to pick you up in twenty
minutes. Is Dad still at work?" He listened. "Good,
see you in a few."
Ian Carson stood, as did everyone, Kevin struggling with Cam's help to get upright.
"Well, let's do this!" Carson said. "Cameron, I'm glad you called
me, and that I could help. We'll take good care of Carl and Dan,
you can count on that."
"Kevin, I'll wash your pants and send them back to you," Carl said. "And your boxers, Cam."
"Don't worry about it," Cam said.
When they said good-bye, Carl, Kevin and Cam had themselves a long
three-way hug, not the dap and shoulder bump or high five that usually passed for
hello or good-bye among jocks. The boys ignored the adults looking at
"Please don't forget about me and Dan," Carl whispered to the boys.
"We'll be into town to see you guys next weekend," Kevin promised. "Or maybe sooner. Won't we, Cam?"
"Absolutely!" Cam confirmed.
Cam pulled Ian Carson aside briefly and thanked him personally, and
then spoke up and thanked all the adults for taking their personal time
to help Carl and his brother with their problem.
After Kevin and Cam shook hands with everybody, the group went to the
door, on to the deck, and down to the Navigator and police car.
Carl looked back up at Cam and Kevin standing on the deck before he got
into his Escalade to drop it off at home. Then they were gone.
It was rapidly getting dark, but it had stopped raining. Cam
retrieved a couple of lawn chairs from where they leaned against the
cottage on the deck, and they sat down next to each other.
"That was intense," Kevin said, looking at Cam and taking his hand and
holding it. "You did a good thing, though, calling Mr. Carson."
"I hope so."
"You did! Carl's asshole father would have ended up killing him
or his brother before long, you know that! The kid came to us for
help, and he got it. Why the remorse?"
"It's just hard to see somebody without a place to call home, that's all."
"You mean like I was when my dad moved to New York?" Kevin asked.
"Well, yeah, kinda, I guess. But now, where I am, that's your home. And vice versa."
Kevin let go of his partner's hand and put his own hand behind Cam's head,
pulling his face over for a kiss. A gentle kiss that they held
for a long time, lips barely touching.
"I love you like there's no tomorrow," Kevin said when they pulled
back. He studied Cam's face. "Everything in my life that
means anything to me at all starts with you."
"What brought this on?" Cam asked, smiling.
"Friend, lover, partner, that's what you are to me, bud," Kevin said seriously. "I just wanted you to know, that's all."
"I do know it." Cam acknowledged. "You don't have a clue how good that makes me feel."
"Yes, I do," Kevin said.
"No, you don't," Cam insisted.
"Arggggggghhhh!!!!!" Kevin screamed in mock frustration into the trees
surrounding the cabin. Alarmed, some birds flew away,
squawking and circling the area.
"Don't be a dick, Kev. You're scaring the wildlife," Cam said.
"You're the only wildlife that needs scaring. I either had to
yell, or put you down on this deck and pork you until you begged
mercy," Kevin said, grinning.
"You're such a horny little fuck!" Cam said. "Sex is the only
thing on your mind! Not that I'm complaining, you understand."
"I do understand," Kevin said.
"No-o-o-o! Don't start that shit again!"
Kevin grinned broadly. "All right. But only because I love you."
"I've had enough of you for the moment," Cam said. "I'm gonna change clothes and go for a run up to the
highway and back. Looking at your gut, it wouldn't hurt you to do
a few crunches while I'm gone. I don't want to be slipping and
sliding around on your big, fat stomach when we're in bed feeling amorous."
Kevin shook his head sadly. "You're such a brat. Have I mentioned that lately?"
"Constantly. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to change clothes
so I can exercise and maintain my body as a temple to the Lord."
Kevin groaned. "Get away from me before I...well, just get away!"
Cam leaned over and kissed him, and then got up and went into the
cabin. When he returned, dressed for his run, Kevin called him
over to his chair, and holding his friend's butt, shoved his face into
Cam's crotch, smooshing around and kissing and nibbling his dick
through the filmy running shorts and jock before he let him go.
That's why Cam began his run in a state of semi-arousal. With a
smile on his face.
* * *
It was clear from the moment the hearing began
at the courthouse in Monterey that Judge McDowell was dismayed that one of his
community's leading citizens was allegedly a child molester, and would
likely be subjected to arrest. McDowell would have tried to stall a
bit, but there was just too much fire power on hand in the courtroom to
get away with that, particularly in light of the graphic
testimony about the sexual abuse. It was so graphic, in fact, that the judge ordered
Danny Emrick removed from the courtroom until testimony was
completed. In the end he had to grant Child Protection's petition
for custody of Carl and Daniel Emrick, and issue a warrant for Walter
Emrick's arrest for child abuse and aggravated sexual assault of a minor. The tall, grim captain of the CHP took the
warrant when the clerk had completed it and the judge had signed it,
and left for the Cadillac dealership.
Ian Carson made himself known to the court, although Judge
McDowell had recognized him immediately from meetings of the bar they
had both attended in San Francisco. Carson petitioned the court, with
the support of Associate Director Reed of Child Protection, to be
appointed guardian ad litem for the boys in any subsequent legal action which might occur. The
judge granted the petition, and things were pretty well wrapped up in a
half-hour. McDowell gaveled the hearing to a close, and the
group walked out together.
Ian Carson took the opportunity to call his wife Mary in town, and
informed her that they had just become foster parents of two boys from
Monterey County. Mary was used to the unusual and unexpected,
given whom she was married to, and took it all in stride. She
said she'd have their guest room with twin beds ready for Carl and Dan.
Ian Carson then called Captain Ridenour, and finding out that Walter
was in custody and being booked, drove to the Emricks' house to pick up
some of Carl's
clothes. Carl put the Escalade into the garage, and Danny got a
few more things out of the house, too, now that he knew that
they might not be back for a while. The Navigator was fully
loaded with people and luggage as
they headed for San Francisco. Carson dropped off Lauren Reed and
Richard Hanosh at their homes with his profuse thanks, and then he and
Dr. Junius took
Carl and Dan to the 24 hour emergency room at San Francisco General
Hospital on Potrero Avenue for a physical examination.
He produced his court papers showing that he was guardian ad litem for
the boys and that they were placed with him by Child Protection, and
asked that they be examined by a doctor on the senior staff. The
desk didn't want to page anyone senior to come in because it was the weekend,
but the resident in charge finally capitulated to Ian's request.
A half hour later, a grumpy senior staff doctor, George Suthon, showed
up, his mood improving fast when he found out it was Ian Carson who had
requested him. They knew each other socially.
Dr. Suthon and Dr. Junius together took Carl and Dan one at a time into
examination room. Dan was in good shape. But in addition to
his welts and abrasions, the physicians quickly honed in on the
bleeding from Carl's rectum. Dr. Suthon used a sexual assault kit
to secure a specimen, and sent it to the lab for testing. In the
doctors' opinions, no surgery
would be required on the boy's rectum, certainly not immediately.
They felt that the
modest anal tearing involved would likely heal itself in good
time. Dr. Suthon gave Carl a prescription to promote healing by
keeping the boy's stools soft, as well as for some suppositories, some
pills, and an unguent for his welts.
It was 10:30 p.m. by the time Carson dropped Dr. Junius off, and
stopped at a pharmacy to fill the scripts. Then he headed for
home, parking the Navigator in the lot in the basement of his condo
building. He helped the boys with their clothes and luggage to
the elevator, and up they went to the penthouse. Carl and Dan
were sad and exhausted by then. Mary was waiting for them at the
door, and Ian introduced the boys to his wife. She welcomed them
and shook hands with them, and then, without a word, drew each of them
into a hug. Dan cried. William and Mark came out of their
rooms, met the boys, and then led the way back to their new room.
Ian told Dan and Carl they could either sleep as late as they wanted
to, or get up at 10:00 the next morning to get ready to go to church
with the family. The boys said they'd play it by ear, and
everybody retired for the evening.
The Emrick boys got ready for bed. Dan was shocked when he saw
what their father had done with his whip to Carl's back and butt and legs. It
blew any thoughts out of his mind about getting on Carl for what he
had done to have their dad arrested, especially when Carl told him what else their dad had done.
"Do you think we'll ever get to go home?" Dan asked his brother, voice quavering a little as he sat on the side of his bed.
"I don't know, Dan. But very honestly, I doubt it. I think we're pretty much on our own now."
They had their own bathroom. Nothing more was said as they
brushed their teeth and used the toilet. Carl took his pills, and
sitting on the toilet, put a suppository up his butt, which started to
give him immediate relief. Carl washed his hands, and the guys
climbed into their freshly
made beds in their boxers. Carl thought about asking Dan to put
some cream on his wounds, but he knew Dan was probably too tired, so he let it go.
Carl turned off the light on his bedside table, and put his head on the pillow.
"I made two new friends today," he told Dan, speaking into the
darkness. "Cam MacKenzie and Kevin Stoltz. I met them the other day on the
beach outside of town,
and they were the ones who called Mr. Carson for help. These guys
promised they won't desert us, and I believe them. They live in
Rafael. And I think the Carsons are our friends. So,
look...it's been a bad day, but lets stay hopeful, Dan. We're
together, and we have some people who care about us, so let's make the
best of things, OK?"
They both fell into an exhausted sleep.
When Carl woke up the next morning about 11:30, he was alone in
the bedroom. Dan's bed was empty and unmade, with no sign of him
anywhere. The place was silent. Carl got up and used the
bathroom, and climbed back in bed when he saw a note on his bedside
table from Mary Carson, saying that the family had gone to church,
taking Dan, and that they would be back around noon. He snuggled
down into the bed, intending to crash for a few more minutes. He
went into sort of a half sleep, awakening a half-hour later only when Dan came through
the bedroom door.
"Hey," Carl said softly to his brother.
"Hey," Dan said. "You were really crankin' out the Z's when I got up, so I didn't wake you up to go to church."
"That's OK. I'm still feeling tired."
"You should have seen this church! It's HUMONGOUS! It's the
Episcopal cathedral, I think they said. Grace Cathedral,
something like that. But the Mass was almost the same as ours at
St. Michael's, so I knew what was going on."
"That's good," Carl said absently, yawning. "Did everybody eat breakfast already?"
"No. Mrs. Vega is just starting to cook some eggs an'
stuff." Dan laughed. "My mission was to get you up, dude!"
"You're sure feeling better," Carl said, smiling at his brother.
"Just takin' your advice. Livin' in the moment."
"Do I have time for a shower?"
"No. Mrs. Carson said there's a robe and slippers in the closet, and you should just come on out to the kitchen."
"OK." Carl threw back the covers, got out of bed, and went over
to the closet. There were two robes and two pairs of slippers,
and Carl picked a robe, put it on, and slid his feet into
slippers. "Ready as I'll ever be," he told Dan.
"Come on. Wait 'til you see this place. It's fantastic!"
They went down a long hallway with lots of bedroom doors, turned left, and they
were in the kitchen. It was filled with good smells of cooking
food, and full of light because one wall, dominated by a lengthy table
with benches, was glass. Carl was stunned by the breathtaking view of downtown San Francisco from
the kitchen. A door in the
glass wall could be opened up to a sizable outdoor deck where family meals could be eaten in clement weather.
"Hey, dude!" William greeted him with a slide and dap handshake.
"Hey, man," Carl said. "'Morning, everyone."
"'Morning, Carl," Mary Carson said from where she was busy helping
their housekeeper, Mrs. Vega, fix breakfast. "How did you sleep?"
"Great, thanks," Carl said. "Uh, I want to thank you folks again for taking us in. It's really nice of you."
"We're glad you're here," Mary said. "Carl, this is Mrs. Vega,"
she continued, "without whom this place wouldn't run. Yolanda,
The short, petite Chicano woman working at the huge stove stopped what
she was doing, and turned and shook hands with Carl.
"You boys sit down and have
some orange juice, and breakfast will be ready soon," Mrs. Vega instructed in an Spanish accented voice.
"Thank you," Carl said.
He and Dan sat down with William, the older Carson boy, and Mark, the
younger, and they talked about school while they drank their orange
juice and got acquainted. The Emricks were really taken with
their hosts' children, who were both good looking and engaging, with lively personalities.
In a few minutes, Mrs. Vega put a huge platter of huevos rancheros on
the table, along with bacon and a covered dish of hot tortillas. She refilled glasses
of orange juice, and poured coffee for Ian and Mary Carson. Mary Carson invited the
four boys to stand as she offered the grace, and
they all sat down and began passing food around. The four boys
ate like there was no tomorrow, and soon the eggs had disappeared.
"Excellent, as always, Yolanda," Ian Carson said. Mrs. Vega
smiled and waved a hand dismissively as she began to clear the table.
Ian stood up from the table and stretched, relaxed and yawning. "Carl, can you spare me a few minutes to talk?"
"Let's go into my study."
Carson filled up his coffee mug and carried it with him as they walked
out of the kitchen, through a beautifully appointed dining room and
then a huge living room with a massive fireplace
and comfortable chairs strategically placed to promote
conversation. They turned down a short corridor into a room with
cherry wood secretary which was obviously used as Carson's desk. The top
of the secretary was filled with books. The front of the desk was
folded down, revealing a green felt writing surface inlaid in the
wood. There was a couch against one wall, and several easy chairs
were scattered here and there. The outer wall of the room was
glass, once again giving a magnificent view of the city from that side
of the building.
"Please sit down," Ian said, gesturing to an overstuffed chair, and
Carl sat down gingerly, his backside still sore from the whipping he'd
received from his father. "You're still hurting?" Ian asked
"A little. But it's better."
"Good. The reason I wanted to talk with you is that there are
some decisions we have to make about school for you and Dan, and some
"I'm going to have to clear whatever we decide with Child Protection,
but I want you to know that we'll do as much of what you want as we
"Thank you," Carl said.
"We have some options," Mr. Carson said. "First of all, you're
what? About 8 weeks from graduation? Do you want to get
placed in Monterey County so you can get back to your own school as quickly as
possible, or do you want to stay here and have me get your credits
transferred to a school here in town?"
"I can't speak for Dan, but I don't want to go back to Seaside anytime soon," Carl said. "Everybody is gonna know what
happened, and I'm ashamed."
"You don't have anything to be ashamed about, and we need to talk about that. You're
right about everybody knowing what happened, though. I pulled up the
Monterey Herald on the net this morning, and your dad's arrest and the charges against him are front page headlines."
"Oh, man." Carl put his face in his hands.
"Look at me, Carl," Ian said, and the boy looked up.
"It's! Not! Your! Fault!" Carson said, emphasizing
every word, looking into the boy's eyes. "You're going to have to
learn the truth of that, and learn to love yourself in a whole new way. A better way."
Carl dropped his head and was silent for a moment, looking at the
floor. Then he looked up. "Why did you bring me and Dan
Ian locked eyes with him. "Because I was molested as a young man
when I was about your age. By an uncle that everybody loved and respected."
"Only my wife knows that. Not the boys. I'll appreciate it if you'll keep that information between you and me."
"Yes, sir. I promise I will."
"I've been through what you have, and lived through every pain you're
experiencing and the shame you feel. So I have a good idea of
what you're going to need to get better. To heal, I mean, not just get through it.
Healing your physical body is the least of your challenges. Let me be
blunt. You've been damaged, mentally and emotionally and
spiritually, by what your father did to you, far more than you
know. I want you to stay here with us long term, both you and Dan if you can
talk him into it, because I can get you the help you need, the same
kind of help I was fortunate enough to get when I needed it. That help has
allowed me to function well in life as a human being, and that's what I
want for you. I know you don't know me and my family very well,
but I hope you can find it in yourself to trust us and let me help
you. Along with the therapy, and equally as important, you'll
receive something from my family that can't be bought: we'll
love you and your brother."
"What do you want me to do," Carl whispered, tears in his eyes.
"You're asking the right question, Carl Emrick," Ian said, nodding his
head. "The question that's going to give you a good life, a
wonderful life, I can promise you that."
He stood up, followed by Carl, and Ian stepped over to him and drew the
boy into his arms, just holding him as Carl wept quietly. Nothing more needed to
Cam and Kevin had gotten up by 9:00 that Sunday
morning after waking up during the previous night and making love twice, each of them
topping once. They were getting more skillful all the time when
it came to pleasuring each other. Cam had awakened first that
morning, and held his partner loosely, head on the boy's chest,
tucking his nose into Kevin's armpit just to savor the male
smell of his body. He had wondered idly if Kevin could
physically feel the love for him that Cam felt pouring out of his own
being as they lay there together.
They had been feeling pretty logy when they got up, and for good
reason, given their extended sexual acrobatics, but Cam had still wanted to go
to Mass. And after Cam had shown him such a good time the night
before, Kevin figured, who was he to say "no" to going to church.
Cam had made them some coffee, which they didn't usually drink, just to
give them a kick start. After eating some cereal and drinking orange
juice, Cam had taken Kevin into the bathroom to give him another sponge bath in front of the sink.
"You don't have to wash me, Cam," Kevin had said. "I should start doing this for myself."
"Shutup," Cam had said. "I want to."
Despite his desire to be as independent as possible and not
have Cam wait on him hand and foot all the time, Kevin got the shivers
just to be
touched like that by his lover.
"I really like this little threesome you've got down here," Cam had
told him after he reached his midsection, washing and drying Kevin's dick and balls, and then bouncing
his testicles in his hand.
"'Little?' Whaddaya mean, 'little?'" Kevin had protested. "You weren't complaining last night."
"It's more an observation than a complaint, Kev. I didn't
want to discourage you last night while you were in the throes of
Kevin had laughed helplessly, shaking his head, and he had put his arm
around his lover's neck, squeezing it and kissing him on the ear.
"You're really annoying! Have I told you that lately?"
"I don't remember," Cam had said, grinning. "But it's my job. It's 'Job One,' as the Ford people say."
"Well, you're good at it. Too good, if you don't mind my saying so."
"Any and all compliments are gratefully accepted," Cam had said,
finishing the sponge bath, drying his buddy, and then offering his shoulder for support,
had taken Kevin back into the bedroom.
Cam had sat him down on the side of the bed, and he brought him clean
clothes and helped him put them on. When he'd finished, he
sat down on the side of the bed, too.
"These have been a couple good days for us," he'd told Kevin, putting
his arm around him. "We got to relax and make love a lot and even
help out somebody that needed it. You can't beat that."
"Thanks for bringing me down here," Kevin had said, turning his head to look into those green eyes he loved.
"Where I go, you go, bro!" Cam had said.
Kevin had kissed his cheek. "I wonder how Carl and Dan are doing?"
"There's no reason we can't find out," Cam had said. "I have a list. First, Mass. After Mass, maybe we can
check out the kennel in Seaside. Who knows, we might get lucky and find a
little Alice look-alike. I bet we will. Then, why don't we
call the Carsons, and if the timing's good, maybe we can stop there
on the way home."
"Good thought!" Kevin had said, pushing Cam down on his back on the
bed. He lay across him, nuzzling his face with his nose and rubbing the crotch of
his partner's 501's with his hand. "You're just full of good thoughts!" he'd added.
"And all kinds of other good stuff."
"Yep," Cam had agreed. He'd been sorely tempted to strip Kevin
right then and there and make love to him again, but thought better of
it so they could pack up and make it to church on time. Moving
efficiently, Cam had packed both of them up, picked up the place a little, and then called Mr.
Anderson, the caretaker, to tell him that they were leaving for home, so
he could have the cabin cleaned and locked up.
As they'd driven toward Seaside in the Camaro to go to Mass, Kevin had
reached over and held Cam's hand where it lay in his partner's lap. The
last three days had been a powerful time of bonding for the two of
them. Kevin knew he had loved Cam for a long time
before they had come out to each other, but as the relationship with
him had continued to deepen, it made his heart sing.
© 2005 Don Hanratty. Thanks
to Eric for editing this chapter, and to readers for patiently waiting
while it was written. If I have to evacuate New Orleans because
of Hurricane Dennis, the next chapter may be a little late as
I'd made arrangements with a reader who was going to help Eric proofread Belovèd, and now I've lost his name and addy. Email me, man. Thanks.